The Korea Society Featuring HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu

The Korea Society
"North Korean Human Rights: Two Years beyond the COI Report"
February 18, 2016


Stephen Noerper: Welcome to the Korea Society. We’re delighted to have you here this afternoon on a very important anniversary—that of the second year since the release of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry (UNCOI) on Human Rights Abuses in North Korea. This is an area that we know many of you in our studio audience here feel very strongly about and we welcome all of our viewers online as well as those listening via podcast or watching the video. We are delighted to have with us Greg Scarlatoiu, who is the Executive Director of HRNK, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. And we are absolutely delighted to welcome a member of his Board, Ambassador Winston Lord, who is in our audience today as well.

Before we begin in our discussion with Greg, we wanted to offer a few minutes of commentary from Seoul with a frequent guest to the Korea Society, Ambassador Lee Jung-Hoon, who is the South Korean Ambassador for Human Rights. He was unable to join us physically here today, but is very much with us in spirit and wanted to offer a few comments to kick us off. So, this will be about seven minutes of his thoughts on where we are at two years since the release of the UNCOI. Peter? Thank you.

Peter Stuehmke: Welcome Ambassador Lee. What do you make of the COI anniversary and current state of play?

Ambassador Lee Jung-Hoon: February is a very important month because it commemorates the second anniversary of the Commission of Inquiry report, which really stands as a landmark event. It really changed not only the way the international community views the North Korean human rights issues in a comprehensive way, but also, I would say that it really changed how the North Korean regime also deals and handles the human rights issue. It really, I think, was a game changer and it remains so. I think it’s very good that we’re addressing this second anniversary and really looking at so many things that were addressed by the COI report.

What has been done? And what still needs to be done? It is a very important gauge as to where we stand and what we still need to do as we move forward. We all know that crimes against humanity is one of the four major violations of international law. But the United Nations, after one year of very intensive investigation, has concluded that in North Korea, crimes against humanity are being committed and that this is something that needs to be referred by the Security Council to the International Criminal Court (ICC) so that those people who are responsible and who are committing these crimes against humanity ought to be prosecuted. It is on the agenda of the Security Council. It has been discussed in the most recent Security Council as well. So, we still need to get to the ICC, but I believe that the foundations are still there. And I think it is very important for the international community, whether it’s individuals, NGOS, churches, or whoever it may be, to keep raising these issues so that a lot of the points that have been raised by the COI can be followed up with.

Peter Stuehmke: What of the North Korean response?

Ambassador Lee Jung-Hoon: North Korea is responding to this issue as it’s never done so before—even at the Security Council level. For example, Ri Su-yong, who is the North Korean Foreign Minister who never came to the UN General Assembly for 15 years, all of a sudden shows up at the General Assembly and addresses the General Assembly by giving a speech. And he did that again in 2015. So, two years in a row. We see high ranking North Korean diplomats making rounds in Europe, meeting with, for example, the EU head of human rights, Mr. Lambrinidis. We have incidents of North Korea inviting Special Rapporteur Darusman to North Korea on the condition that he help to take out those conditions of referral to the ICC. This is hitting the core of the North Korean leadership because they know that now the international community is watching over them. For three years, the North Korean human rights issue will remain as an agenda item so that at any time it can be discussed. But just the fact that a North Korean human rights issue sits as an agenda item at the Security Council is a source of very significant pressure on North Korea. It's fully aware now that the UN, not only the General Assembly, but also the Security Council and the wide spectrum of the international community are scrutinizing the human rights conditions in North Korea. Increased pressure on North Korea is making North Korean violators of human rights think twice. And I think that’s a very important first step towards actual improvement in the human rights condition.

Peter Stuehmke: What of the new Seoul UN office on human rights?

Ambassador Lee Jung-Hoon: Just the fact that the field office was set up is a very significant development. The most important function of this office, number one, would be to continue to get testimonies and collection of data of human rights violations so that it can be kept as records for future reference. Just in case that, let’s just say, the issue does get referred to the ICC or if there is finally reunification on the Korean peninsula. There have to be measures to deal with what has happened in the past. It also serves the purpose of gathering people as a venue for discussions and trying to come up with better policies: improvement of relations so that we can actually begin to see improvements in human rights conditions in the North; just the advertisement factor; or just keeping the issue on the radar so that there’s a greater amount of media coverage. It’s very important, I think, to keep sending the message that the world is looking out.

Peter Stuehmke: What of new US sanction legislation?

Ambassador Lee Jung-Hoon: Once this Sanctions Enforcement Act of the US is in place, I think that it will just add to the pressure that North Korea will feel because it is about a secondary boycott. So it’s not just North Korean individuals and companies, but whoever else deals with North Korea will also be subject to sanctions.

Peter Stuehmke: And [South] Korea's human rights legislation?

Ambassador Lee Jung-Hoon: We remain hopeful that it will pass in the next general election. If it does, it will only add to, for example, the funding of a lot of the NGOs that do great work to deal with human rights problems.

Peter Stuehmke: And in closing, international efforts?

Ambassador Lee Jung-Hoon: I believe that there has to be a comprehensive global campaign. For example, what we have seen against South Africa’s apartheid system, where there was really a concerted effort made by the international community to really target South Africa to get rid of this system of constitutional segregation. And the sanctions, of course, applied to sports, culture, financial investments, and so on. I believe that it will take that kind of concerted effort by the international community to make a dent.

Peter Stuehmke: Thank you, Ambassador Lee.

Ambassador Lee Jung-Hoon: I hope you continue with this effort and I thank the Korea Society for all that you do. Thank you.

Stephen Noerper: And we really do thank Ambassador Lee for taking the time for that. And I’d like to thank Nikita Desai and Peter Stuehmke, part of our staff, for putting all of that together. Thank all of you for your attention.

Greg, we are honored to have you here. You are both a nationally and internationally recognized expert in this area. Your service with HRNK is remarkable as Executive Director and we’re so very pleased to have you on the stage of the Korea Society. Welcome.


What in this very eloquent and concise summary that Ambassador Lee has shared with us grabbed you the most?

Greg Scarlatoiu: Steve, first and foremost, the honor is all mine. Delighted to be here with you today and delighted that Ambassador Winston Lord is in the audience. Ambassador Lee Jung-Hoon visited all of the key points pertaining to the UNCOI and implementation of the UNCOI recommendations. I was extraordinarily impressed with his remarks about the need for a campaign on par with what was done to do away with South Africa’s apartheid. Many of us may have been under the wrong impression that North Korea was one of the most sanctioned countries in the world. It is not. And the sanctions regime as it stands today only addresses counter-proliferation—efforts to counter the proliferation of North Korean nuclear and missile technology. It has nothing—absolutely nothing—to do with North Korea’s crimes against humanity or egregious human rights violations. Now, HR 757, the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act, will be most likely—surely I would say—signed by President Barack Obama. This is a piece of legislation that factors in human rights concerns. This is going to be a first. This is a very important part of the story if implementation is adequate and if others participate in implementing these sanctions.

A second point that I would like to make is that yes, a campaign on par with what was done to do away with South Africa’s apartheid is important and if we are to see that, we really need the grassroots organizations. The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea does not have that capacity. We are a research organization. Of course, there is an embedded advocacy element in everything that we do since we deal with North Korean human rights, but we need the large international grassroots human rights organizations to engage in a global campaign to end crimes against humanity and bring improvement to the North Korean human rights situation.

Ambassador Lee Jung-Hoon was right on the mark in his comments on accountability and the need for accountability in North Korea. The UN Commission of Inquiry recommended that the North Korean case be referred by the UN Security Council to the International Criminal Court. As Ambassador Lee said, we’ve had good progress in 2014 and 2015. Both the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and the UN General Assembly here in New York City had two very strong resolutions on North Korean human rights, addressing both accountability and the ICC referral. Indeed, the Security Council held two meetings on North Korean human rights. North Korean human rights was placed on the agenda. Just a couple of months ago in December 2015, our own Ambassador to the United Nation, Ambassador Samantha Power, gave, I would say, one of the most powerful speeches ever given by U.S. a government official on North Korean human rights. We begin to understand that North Korean human rights violations and crimes against humanity in North Korea pose a threat to regional and international peace and stability. Yes, we are fully aware that merely including an issue in the agenda of the UN Security Council is a procedural issue that requires 9 out of 15 votes of permanent and nonpermanent members. Now, taking up the issue is a different matter. It becomes a substantive matter subject to a veto by a P5 member (a permanent member): potentially China or even Russia. We are fully aware of that difficulty. However, one has to remember that every time China attempts to block an initiative to address the egregious human rights situation in North Korea, China places itself in a position where it’s aiding and abetting a regime that’s committing crimes against humanity. Moreover, I think we have to remember, Steve, that the North Korean Kim regime has been a master of playing one super power against another: the Soviets against the Chinese during the Cold War and arguably, after the end of the Cold War, possibly the United States against the European Union and China regarding humanitarian assistance and other issues on a smaller scale. The point that I would like to make is that this is not a comfortable position for the Kim regime. The Kim regime cannot be comfortable knowing that China is the only one standing between Kim Jong-un and referral to the International Criminal Court.

In addition to the UN Security Council referral, in his most recent report to the UN Human Rights Council submitted just a few days ago, the UN Special Rapporteur, Mr. Marzuki Darusman, reminded us that the UN General Assembly can also rely on its residual powers to establish a tribunal dealing with crimes against humanity in North Korea. If this is done in response to the Security Council’s incapacity, an inability to address a situation that poses a threat to international peace and security, this would go to the precedent of Resolution 377 uniting for peace, which we all recall in relation to the Korean War.

Speaking of Special Rapporteur Darusman’s report, another point that he makes is that one of the recommendations of the UN Security Council was to establish a panel of experts, which would examine the applicable legal standard—a panel of experts that would prepare the ground for accountability in North Korea. The point that the Special Rapporteur makes in his most recent report is that there is no amnesty for crimes against humanity. Moreover, we cannot prepare overnight. We must be prepared when faced with a contingency—with a situation that most likely will require immediate procedures pertaining to accountability. And thus, once again, the Special Rapporteur has called for the establishment of a panel of experts. An international NGO consortium or several international NGOs are sure to push in this direction. This could be another step that we could see in the near future. And of course, as emphasized by Ambassador Lee Jung-Hoon, one very important recommendation of the UNCOI report was implemented: the establishment of a field office of the Office of the High Commission of Human Rights in Seoul. That office has been there just a few months. They’re already doing an extraordinary job collaborating with NGOs in South Korea and beyond, and also continuing to document human rights violations happening in North Korea.

Stephen Noerper: Thank you, Greg. That’s a very comprehensive and bold overview, and we appreciate your eloquence on that. You’ve given us a lot to work with here and I’m sure a lot will come out in the Q&A as well with those in the studio. I’d like to focus in on a few points and ask you for a bit more. One is this issue of China, where South Korea has put a tremendous amount of effort into its diplomacy and where you do have to ask the question about whether China gets to a point where there are trade-offs and whether its defense of the North Korean regime is really worth it. What are the practicalities of where you see China in terms of opposing further movement on this front? Where do you think there might be flexibility? And how does this relate to the broader security dynamic we see now given the January 6 nuclear test, the February 7 missile test, and the movement for stronger sanctions?

Greg Scarlatoiu: Now certainly, fundamentally, China is opposed at the UN to the so called “country-specific mechanisms”: UN Commissions of Inquiry and UN Special Rapporteurs. It’s not only China. It’s the Russian Federation, Venezuela, and others. Of course, the reason is simple: this establishes a precedent. Some other countries might be next. So, the point that China has made, time and time again, is that it opposes this type of country-specific mechanism, but it’s going beyond that. Of course, we could surely have a discussion about the traditional ties between the DRPK and China. We know that this has not always been a love story. There have been great times in this relationship. There have been terrible times in this relationship and in particular, during the days of the Cultural Revolution in China. China continues to be a fairly pragmatic actor. Its approach to North Korea is that it wants stability on its borders and unfortunately, under the current circumstances, China still believes that the only arrangement that can maintain stability on its border is the Kim Jong-un regime—as terrible as it might be. And I hope that China would see how terrible this regime is and what a liability it is. Secondly, China does not want to see any massive refugee inflows. Thirdly, if China can create a couple of business opportunities in the process, so be it.

Doing business in North Korea, of course, is not easy for China either and I’m speaking of those investors who go there for business reasons, for economic reasons. It’s a tough environment: bad infrastructure; the investment has to be front loaded; once you’ve front loaded it, they take you prisoner; informal taxation is a big problem; and North Korea is highly corrupt. So it’s not easy from China’s viewpoint either. Every time North Korea conducts another provocation—a missile launch or a nuclear detonation—China cannot be too happy to see U.S. B-52s, F-22s conducting nuclear bombing exercises so close to Chinese airspace. So China is not happy with North Korea, but at the same time, China has not reached a point where it’s ready to change its fundamental strategic stance on North Korea.

On human rights in particular, China could be tremendously helpful. This is a point made by the UNCOI. China forcibly repatriates North Korean refugees. Of course, China does not repatriate all North Koreans. There are North Korean workers officially dispatched to China by the North Korean government as part of their moneymaking operations. They work under terrible working conditions. This is pretty much bonded labor or forced labor; many organizations see it as slave labor. I’m speaking about those refugees who try to escape those dire circumstances in North Korea. If apprehended, they are forcibly repatriated to the North. China does this because it claims they are "illegal economic migrants" and not political refugees. It claims that many of them are in China because they are hungry and in search of economic opportunity. Are many of them in China in search of economic opportunity? Possibly, but what matters is that China is a party to the 1951 UN Convention Concerning the Status of Refugees, which stipulates that if a person has crossed an international border and upon repatriation faces a credible fear of persecution based on a political rational, then that person clearly qualifies to gain access to the process leading to acquiring political refugee status. As you know, leaving the country without the government’s approval is a criminal act in North Korea. Those returned to North Korea, in particular if they came across South Korean nationals and in particular if they came across Christian missionaries, are subjected to very aggressive interrogation and if it turns out that they did come across South Koreans or Christian missionaries, the punishment is extraordinarily harsh: imprisonment in the political prison camps or re-education camps and in some instances, even death. We’ve had terrible terrible reports, fully confirmed, of women who became pregnant with Chinese men along the road of defection. They were subjected to forced abortions and we’ve had reports of infanticide.

"...what matters is that China is a party to the 1951 UN Convention Concerning the Status of Refugees, which stipulates that if a person has crossed an international border and upon repatriation faces a credible fear of persecution based on a political rational, then that person clearly qualifies to gain access to the process leading to acquiring political refugee status."

So once again, there is a very simple step that China can take by protecting these refugees: allowing them access to the process leading to acquiring political refugee status. If China is afraid of increased numbers of ethnic Koreans in its border areas, the best way to ensure that they leave is to allow them access to this process because if they can approach the High Commission for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross, they won’t stay. They’ll leave. Probably, China’s fear here is a process similar to the “European Picnic” of 1989, when the Hungarians opened their border to East Germany and East Germans were flowing out of West Germany and this is what eventually brought about the fall of the Berlin Wall. Possibly, China might see this as opening the door to a process similar to what happened in Europe in 1989. Thus, bringing about the collapse of the Kim regime in North Korea.

Stephen Noerper: It seems, Greg, there have been two things in recent memory that have elicited a strong response from the North Koreans. One has been the restrictions around Banco Delta Asia and the other has been this and the frequent mention of ICC referral. The regime seems to be taking it very strongly and very personally. Do you have any sense or any intelligence that the behavior of the regime has at all altered in the last two years? Or that there has been any movement within North Korea relative to the camps? Has there been any easing of the gulags as far as you and the community are aware?

Greg Scarlatoiu: Unfortunately, as far as we are aware, there hasn’t been an easing on the gulags. What we have seen is a transformation of the gulag that may be related to international efforts to focus attention on North Korea’s political prison camps. As you know, there are at least four fully functional political prison camps in North Korea where anywhere between 80,000 and 120,000 people are imprisoned. A couple of years ago, one of the camps, located close to the border with China, Camp No. 22 in Hoeryong North Hamgyong Province, was shut down. It ceased to function as a political prison camp. Why? We can speculate that this happened because of international efforts to focus attention on North Korea’s gulag and also because it was so close to the border with China. It was bad PR. There were Chinese businesses in the area. There were Chinese tourists visiting the area. And also, the last thing North Korea wants is another escapee from a political prison camp managing to cross the border into China to tell his or her story about the horrors witnessed in the prison camps: the forced labor, the induced malnutrition, the torture, the rapes, the public executions, and the secret executions happening at the camps.

Most unfortunately, what we also know is that a few thousand inmates, a few thousand prisoners, went unaccounted for. We had reports from sources inside the country that they were put on trains and taken away in the middle of the night. We had reports that many of them were starved to death. They simply went unaccounted for. What we know is that other detention facilities—and this is based on satellite imagery research that we’re conducting corroborated with testimony by witnesses, former prisoners, former guards, former officials in charge of running the camps—have expanded. For example, Camp No. 25 in Chongjin, North Hamgyong province expanded pretty much twofold. These are reports by our organization, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, in collaboration with AllSource Analysis in Colorado; this is a satellite imagery company. Amnesty International and others also focused attention on Camp No. 14, for example. That facility has also expanded. It has actually expanded into the adjacent village. So, we have seen a transformation of the political prison camp system in North Korea. It may be in response to international efforts to address North Korea’s human rights situation.

Unfortunately, as pointed out in the UNCOI report itself, the Kim regime still sees these human rights violations as part of its modus operandi. These are not unfortunate side effects. These are at the very core of how the Kim regime operates.

Stephen Noerper: I know tomorrow in Washington you’re participating in a larger event. I was wondering if you could say a few words about that. And also, tell us here and to those viewing and listening, within the field, who do you consider to be the most effective actors right now? And I’m thinking primarily of suggestions in terms of the NGO world. How are they helping to move the agenda along?

Greg Scarlatoiu: Tomorrow we’ll be having an event in Washington DC hosted by CSIS, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, our second anniversary of observation of the UNCOI report. It’s a large conference and very well attended. We still have room for more attendees I hope. Basically, this is a collaborative effort. It’s us, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea; CSIS; the National Endowment for Democracy; our good and dear friend Ambassador Lee Jung-Hoon and the Human Liberty Center at Yonsei University; and the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas, Texas. This event will feature experts; witnesses; Justice Michael Kirby, the former Chief Commissioner of the UNCOI; and Mrs. Sonja Berserko, another member of the UNCOI. Unfortunately, Mr. Darusman will be unable to join us this time. He was there last year. So this conference will not only focus on the celebration of the UNCOI, but we will also discuss all of these key issues, which are part of the process of moving forward. Anything from the panel of experts to possible future efforts at the General Assembly and to the “rights up front” approach put forth by the UN Commission of Inquiry as a recommendation to those UN agencies involved on the ground in humanitarian operations in North Korea.

This main conference will be followed by our first ever celebration of the memory and legacy of one of our founding board members, Dr. Fred Iklé, who is well known for having been a great American who kept America safe and developed the nuclear deterrence strategy during the years of the Reagan administration in particular. We remember Dr. Iklé as one of the founding board members of our organization and as a board member who was extraordinarily dedicated to North Korean human rights. The stars aligned and our first keynote speaker at the Fred Iklé Lecture is going to be none other than Justice Michael Kirby. This will also happen at CSIS from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. tomorrow in Washington, DC.

Stephen Noerper: And that’s open to the public?

Greg Scarlatoiu: That is also open to the public.

Stephen Noerper: And so, other than HRNK, other bright lights in the NGO community and other people and organizations we should be paying attention to?

Greg Scarlatoiu: There are different organizations playing critical roles. What HRNK does, primarily, is to investigate and to publish on the North Korean human rights situation based on interviews with witnesses, based on satellite imagery, based on interviews with experts, and based on work out in the field. This is a very important role because this is what those engaged in advocacy need in order to move forward with their advocacy. Of course, there is an advocacy element embedded in what we do because, after all, what we deal with is North Korean human rights. But there are organizations tasked exclusively with advocacy. Their role is extraordinarily important. These are organizations that brought us the UNCOI. This was an effort, I want to say, spurred by NGOs. NGOs were also involved in efforts to push for the passage of HR 757 here in the United States, the North Korea Sanction Enforcement Act. NGOs have been fully engaged in efforts to persuade the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea to pass the North Korean Human Rights Act. This has been going on for more than 10 years now as Ambassador Lee Jung-Hoon said. All we can do is hope to see this act pass.

There are NGOs that have performed, I would say, the most important role of all. These are the NGOs that have been engaged in rescuing North Korean refugees or North Korean escapees. Remember that prior to the great famine that decimated North Koreans in the mid- to late-1990s, we had just seen a handful of refugees or a handful of defectors in South Korea. The numbers have increased sharply during and after the famine, and there are now 29,000 North Koreans, or former North Koreans, living in South Korea. Without their testimony and without their courage, we would not have had the UNCOI, we wouldn’t be seeing all of these efforts going on at the UN and elsewhere. I would say that organizations tasked with rescuing, protecting North Korean refugees, and enabling them to adapt to their new life—in South Korea, in Europe, in the United States, or Canada—perform an extraordinarily important role. And I would also say that NGOs that endeavor to provide training to former North Koreans—in particular, to young former North Koreans in their teens, twenties, and thirties—perform an extremely important role. I’m not trying to say that they should all become political leaders of a reunified Korea, but they need all the help they can get to become leaders and experts in their chosen areas of expertise. This is a mosaic of organizations performing very important roles that are complementary, I want to say, at the end of the day.

Stephen Noerper: Very important. Thank you. And before I turn to the audience, let me just ask quickly if you can say a few words about your work with Radio Free Asia in that I know that support for broadcast into North Korea has been one of the primary emphases both with the new legislation and in terms of some of the debate on how to move things forward.

Greg Scarlatoiu: I want to say that my work with Radio Free Asia is a labor of love just like my work with HRNK. I have had a weekly Korean language column for the past 13 years since 2003. Initially, I was building on my own personal experiences as one who was born and raised in Nicolae Ceausescu’s Romania, and this was the one country most similar to Kim Il-Sung’s North Korea, as you recall, and also as one who had lived for 10 years on a divided Korean peninsula while living, studying, and working in South Korea. I think that broadcasting is extraordinarily important. What we all want to see on the Korean peninsula is change. And change in North Korea can only come from the people of North Korea themselves. What we can do in order to enable them to see that there are alternatives to the current political arrangement in North Korea is to tell them three basic stories.

First and foremost, to tell them the story of their own human rights situation. They don’t know it. They don’t understand it living under such an oppressive regime. Religious freedom and freedom of speech and association have all been embedded in the constitution of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but North Koreans never read their own constitution. That’s the story we need to tell them. We need to tell them about international obligations North Korea has assumed by being a UN member state and thus, bound by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by being a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Economic and Social and Cultural Rights; the Convention of Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; and the International Convention of Rights of a Child.

Secondly we must tell them the story of the corruption of their leadership, in particular, the corruption of the Kim family regime.

Thirdly, we need to continue to tell them the story of the outside world, in particular, the story of South Korea, which is, as we all know, a miraculous success story. Once one of the poorest countries in the world just a few decades ago, [South Korea is] now the world’s 12th largest economy and moreover, a liberal democracy that’s a model for others in the region and beyond. Yes, a noisy liberal democracy, but that’s how we like liberal democracies—noisy. It’s very important to keep telling these stories to North Koreans and what we know based on surveys conducted by InterMedia and other companies tasked to monitor radio broadcasts into North Korea, former North Koreans interviewed state that about one third of them did listen to foreign broadcasting while they were in North Korea. South Korean broadcasting is also classified as foreign broadcasting. So here we’re talking Radio Free Asia, Voice of America, stations based in South Korea staffed with North Korean defectors, Kookmin TV (Korea TV), KBS, and so on and so forth. So, some North Koreans are listening, but probably not one third of all North Koreans. After all, these were the North Koreans who actively sought out information from the outside world. These are the North Koreans who had the courage to escape. But, nevertheless, we’ve seen the percentage of those who state that they listened to foreign broadcasting on the increase. We have to remember that there are new media storage devices. We know that USBs, DVDs, memory chips—in particular, memory chips and USBs—are very popular in North Korea today. We know that some North Koreans are familiar with the Hallyu (with the South Korean wave), the South Korean pop culture, and soap operas. Extraordinarily important.

Stephen Noerper: Greg, thank you for this very rich hour. Before we close, I wanted to give you an opportunity to share a few thoughts on Ambassador Steven Bosworth, who passed away earlier in January. Those of you who have been with us for programs over January and February know that we have tried to make frequent mention of Ambassador Bosworth’s very deep commitment to and effort for Korea-U.S. relations. We have on our website on koreasociety.org a tribute to Ambassador Bosworth. But I know that he was a mentor and friend to you, and was wondering if you would offer a few thoughts on his guidance and contributions in your life.

Greg Scarlatoiu: Ambassador Bosworth will always be remembered as an extraordinary diplomat. To us, those who graduated from the Fletcher School, he will always be remembered as the Dean who brought the Fletcher School into the 21st century. This has always been an extraordinary school, but he has added new programs, he has brought a true sense of strategic vision, I would say into the next century as well. For that we are all grateful to him. Personally, I am extraordinarily grateful to Stephen Bosworth. It so happened that we arrived at Fletcher at about the same time—both of us from Korea. I also happened to sit on the student council and I got to meet him regularly, at least a couple times a week, and work with him very closely. He was extraordinarily supportive. He was a friend; he was a mentor; he was a role model; and his personal support went to the extent that years after my graduation from Fletcher as I was applying for a position, he picked up the phone and called my employer to provide a recommendation that was tremendously helpful. I will dearly miss Stephen Bosworth. I was deeply saddened to hear the news of his passing. And I think that the best way for all of us to honor the extraordinary legacy of Steven Bosworth is to continue performing our mission. In our case, addressing this extraordinarily difficult situation in North Korea. I’m certain that Stephen Bosworth would be extraordinarily happy to see all of us here today. And what you have done here today, Steve, is an extraordinary way of honoring the legacy of Stephen Bosworth.

Stephen Noerper: Well, thank you very much. Please join me in thanking Greg for his keen insights. We do hope that you join us at koreasociety.org to become a member or to find out about future events. We would also note that this is our twelfth program on North Korean human rights leading up to and since the UN COI, so please feel free to consult and share any of those programs, which are available online, free of charge, in both audio and video form. And we would welcome you back next Thursday for a very interesting discussion on political forecasting: Korea and regional relations that will feature Ralph Casa, the President of Pacific Forums CSIS; Victor Cha who is the Korea Chair at CSIS and Korea Foundation Professor at Georgetown University—Victor will be hosting you tomorrow in Washington; and Scott Snyder of the Council on Foreign Relations. And so, really, three of our nation’s top analysts on political and security issues. Again, 12:30 next Thursday and we look forward to seeing you then. Thank you again for your attention today. Thank you, Ambassador Lord, for sharing your time with us and we’re delighted to have you here.

Greg Scarlatoiu: Thank you.


Edited by Rosa Park, HRNK Director of Programs and Editor

Original transcription by Liz Cheek, HRNK Research Intern

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