tv Discussion on Human Rights in North Korea CSPAN May 9, 2016 10:26am-12:09pm EDT
likely to be supportive and express my views. >> watch "the communicators" tonight on c-span2. >> later today a look at the rise of terrorism in europe and why certain groups are being blamed for promoting a has haddi jihadist in the region. 12:30 p.m. on c-span. >> how has the federal reserve changed since 1913? we'll have a conversation about the evolution of the fed and its current role. live coverage at 5:30 on c-span. >> now officials from south korea and japan and state department talk about human rights abuses in morning korea. we'll also hear from a north korean refugee and the son of a woman abducted in japan. this is 1:40.
>> good afternoon, i'm senior adviser and chair here and as well as professor at georgetown university. we want to welcome you all here this afternoon for a very special event. before i begin though, i do need to note we care a great deal about the security of our guests. and so we have a security plan for the building in the event of any emergency, your full cooperation will be appreciated. we have december designated officers for any event. for this it is dr. green, please follow the instructions of dr. green and his staff. the issue of north korea for the
longest time was really a single issue, the security threat and security threat as it related to nuclear weapons. then in good part thanks to the u.n. commission of inquiry and commission members for about two years ago a report was issued that created a ground swell of interest of human rights abuses in the dprk. this movement is real. it has traction and it has results. and it will continue to do so into the future. but for each of the countries, the united states japan and south korea, while the human rights issue was important to all three countries, in many ways thern not connected. it was a dispar at issue. the united states had its concerns about human rights abuses and south korea had its
own agenda with regard to human rights and japan of course had its own agenda. but i think what we're seeing today at the event that we are hosting is really the unity among the three countries, not just as allies, not just in terms of the security issues related to dprk but also with regard to the human rights issues. we have with us today, the three ambassadors from the three countries with regard to this issue. and what we think is a very unique opportunity for the sharing of views and perspectives and a way forward on this issue. to start us off this afternoon, i will introduce dr. michael green, michael green is a senior vrpt for asia. japan chair and soeshlt
professor and chair in could be temporary and modern foreign policy. he'll be moderating the event today as well as introducing our three distinguished speakers for the first panel. i'll turn it over to mike. >> thank you everyone for coming. this is an important meeting in many respects. as victor noted, international attention to human rights in north korea has really intensified and spread the sqid once common, that was an obstacle to diplomacy or that
human rights were somehow in contrast to strategic interests has largely dissipated. there's broad consensus emerging that progress on the korean peninsula will have to involve efforts on human rights as well as strategic issues we face on their own tracks and merits but not one at the cost of the other. it's a significant meeting because this is the first time that the ministers and ambassadors responsible for human rights in north korea have appeared together from the united states from the republic of korea and from japan. and agreed to do so under the heading we gave this session, standing together for human rights in north korea. and i hope it's the beginning of many more try lateral sessions like this and much closer to u.s. and japan cooperation and coordination on this issue as fellow democracies and humanitarian and human rights focused states and allies.
we're going to hear from the thee government speakers first. we'll hear from ambassador -- excuse me from minister kato who i'll introduce shortly. then i'll invite ambassador lee and bob king to the podium. after which we've have some discussion up here and open it to questions. then we'll invite grace cho, each in their own ways will put a human face on what the human rights tragedy in north korea means for individuals for their families and then open it up again for further discussion. let me introduce our first speak, i've known decades, i think. he graduated from the university of tokyo and entered the ministry of finance. then ran for the liberal democratic party from oak yam ma. he's held critical positions and
previous position deputy chief cabinet secretary, sort of the equivalent of deputy chief of staff to the white house in the cabinet of prime minister abe. and this year he took over his current position as the minister in charge of the abduction issues. he has other issues in his portfolios, women's empowerment and gender and so forth. but he's very focused in particular on the mission he's here in washington to advance. that's human rights north korea and abductee issue. so to open up, please welcome to the stage minister kato. [ applause ] >> ambassador lee and king and dr. green and doctor,
distinguished guests and ladies and gentlemen. i'm the minister in charge of the abduction issues. it's a great pleasure for me to co-host this event. one of the most renowned think tanks in the united states, let me extend my heart felt appreciation to dr. green, who kindly accepted my offer. the cabinet minister in charge of the abduction issue, which is at the top policy priority of the abe administration. it's also my honor to have an opportunity to explain how i view the current situation surrounding human rights issues in north korea. including the abduction issue and how the government of japan addressed those significant and commonly shared issues of
international concern. today i'm particularly eager to engage in food for discussion with my distinguished colleagues and close friends, the united states and the republic of korea and other members of the distinguished audience regarding those common concerns. in japan, we are now enjoying so-called golden week, week long holidays. thus this is indeed literally a golden opportunity for me to have an in depth discussion with he steamed participants, including our expert dr. green. in february two years ago, the report of the commission of inquiry coi on human rights in the democratic people, the republic of korea, was released regarding human rights by -- in
north korea. it stated in that report the gravity, scale and nature of these reveal a state that does not have any power in the contemporary world, the abduction of japanese conducted by north korea are well form of such human rights committed by north korea. in the coi report, the issue of the abduction of japanese is described as power with the other similar case of abductions and enforce disappearance from the republic of korea and other countries. and it is categorized into the item of abductions and enforce disappearance from the other countries. the report also concluded that
in many instances, the violation of human rights found by commission, constituted crimes against humanity. the japanese government has identified 17 abductees, including five abductees who have returned home and there are numerous cases, 886, to be precise, under investigation and inquires by the police authorities. if it's the possibility of abduction cannot be ruled out. the abduction of japanese students by north korea is a matter of grave concern. it undermines the nation sobriety of japan and the lives and safety of the japanese people. at the same time, the issue is a gray matter, in terms of human
rights and human concern as abductees, precise future, countless dreams and ir replaceable time with families have been taken away. abductees and their families have been growing old in the 40 years since they are captured by north korea. some of the family members were unable to see the abductees again and pass away in seoul. there is no time to waste, to rescuing abductees with the understanding of the issues as the abe cabinet considered th that -- the government should take responsibility for absorbing it, one it has given the highest priority, it has
been taking steps to resolve it. under the pressure and action for action, ir respective of whether they are actually identified as abductees, the abduction of japanese by north korea were conducted in the 1970s and 1980s. however, north korea formally admitted to the abduction for the first time during the prime minister. in 2002, at the first japan summit meeting. chairman of the national defense commission of north korea informed japan the only full abductees were surviving and eight had died. there were no records of entry
into north korea for one. at that time, the two leaders the pyongyang declaration, which describes the manner of the relationship between japan and north korea. it states both readsers confirm the shared recognition that establishment of political, economic and relationship between japan and the dprk, through the settlement of the unfortunate pass between them and understanding issues of the concern, will be consistent with the fundamental interest of both sides. and would greatly contribute to the peace and stability of the region. it also states both sides confirm that they would
cooperate with each other in order to maintain and strengthen the peace and stability of northeast asia. both sides confirm that for overall resolution of the nuclear issues on the korean peninsula, they would comply with all related international agreement and both sides also confirm the necessity of reserving security problems, including nuclear and missile issues, by promoting dialogue among countries concerned. according to the pyongyang declaration which includes basic ideas for achieving the peace and stability of the northeast asia, when north korea will work on building understanding issues such as the abduction and nuclear and missile issues, during the normalization process, japan will provide
economic cooperation with north korea. after the normalization of diplomatic relations, there is however, a huge gap between the ideas described in the pyongyang declaration and preparing circumstances in which north korea makes no attempt to take an honest approach to the comprehensive resolution and understanding programs. based on pyongyang declaration, prime minister abe has repeatedly emphasized that without the resolution of the abduction issues, there can be no normalization of diplomatic relations between japan and
north korea. and it will result in paying a heavy price. without result -- without absorbing various outstanding issues, such as abduction, nuclear and missile issues, north korea cannot look ahead to a bright future. >> meanwhile, regrettably, morning korea continued to take action which contradict the pyongyang declaration. instead of sincerely responding to various outstanding issue of concern, even after signed the declaration. to be more specific in the japan dprk summit meeting, north korea admitted to the abduction of japanese people and apologize. according to the decision of kim jong-il, chairman of the
national defense commission of north korea, as a result five survivors and their families returned home regarding victims who were said to have died. however, north korea admitted remains a proof of this. which identify as a remains of the other persons. north korea's response to japan has been thoroughly lacking in good faith. meanwhile, the japanese side has long continued to strongly demand that north korea secure the safety and immediate return of all abductees, investigate to rebuild the abductions and extradite those responsible for carrying out abductions to japanese authorities. as a result, in may of 2014, at
the japan -- north korea intergovernmental concertation in stock holme, both sides reached an agreement according to the agreement, north korea is established special investigation committee to conduct comprehensive and full scale investigation on all japanese nationals, including abductees. japan decided to part of the measure against north korea, that agreement precisely reflects our principle of dialogue and pressure and action. based on those principles in the agreement, japan state that japan would consider an appropriate time to provide humanitarian assistance to north
korea from the humanitarian viewpoint to urge north vee korea to take sincere resolution towards the abduction issue. it is regrettable, however, that we have not seen any progress towards the return of abduct tees since north korea started to comprehensive investigation nearly two years ago. in addition, north korea conducted the nuclear test last january. and ballistic missile launching after that. therefore we decided to take unilateral measures against north korea toward a comprehensive resolution of outstanding issues, namely, the abduction, nuclear and missile issues. responding to our decision, north korea unilaterally insisted that this is the
declaration of its own scrapping of the stockholm agreement and declared that the comprehensive investigation into all of the japanese will be stopped and that special investigation committee will be dissolved. we protested against north korea's claim as we were unable to accept it at all. north korea must conduct comprehensive and full scale investigation based on the commitment made by north korea itself in stockholm and must allow all abduct tees to return home as soon as possible based on the result of the investigations. the government japan is concerned party of human rights violation in north korea. as a concerned party, we have lately been encouraged by
momentum gained by the international community towards the improvement of north korea's human rights situation, more than ever before. as everyone here is familiar with the action taken so far, i will no go into details. those actions include number one, the release of the report of the commission of inquiry on human rights in the democratic people's republic of korea. number two, official discussion at the u.n. security council for two consecutive years, subsequent to the abduction of the res ligs concerning north korea's human rights situation at the u.n. general assembly. number three, the report of the pursuing accountabilities of north korea for crime against
humanities proposed by the u.n. special prosecutor and the resolution reflects that report that u.n. human rights council last month, according to establish a group of independent ex-pats on accountable. in addition, at the summit meeting that took place at the occasion of the nuclear security summit held in washington, d.c. this spring, confirmed the need to move forward with cooperation in the security field among japan and the united states and the republic of korea. in order to deal with the threat from north korea and obtain understanding and support for
japan's effort in abduction issues, at the japan summit meeting, prime minister abe explained that japan intends to continue cooperation aimed at reaching a resolution to north korea's in the united states the north korea sanctions and enhancement act of 2016 was enacted this february. in this act while the requirement for suspending the sanctions is that the government of north korea has made progress towards accounting for and
repatriating the students of the country abducted of the government. also one of the requirements for termination of those sanctions is that the government of north korea has made significant progress toward fully accounting for and repatriating united states student abducted by government of north korea. the concurrent resolution explain concern over the disappearance of -- [ inaudible ] >> we are keeping a close watch. we are aiming to improve north
korea's human rights situation. we will continue to address the issues. north korea has repeated a series of probative action and has listened to the voice of the voice of the international community generally. it's necessary to exact pressure on north korea and to have north korea clearly recognize that provocative action will result in paying a heavy price. there is no point in conducting -- if they do not aim at resolving the issues. otherwise the abduction issue cannot be resolved. he also insists that it will be impossible for north korea to
envision their future result, the resolution of the abduction issue. the abduction issue is a serious issue of concern between japan and north korea is as important as nuclear and missile issues. as i explained about the pyongyang area, the issue as important as north korea as a missile issue for japan. there can be no normalization of the relations. the japanese government also will not provide -- sanctions result in north korea's concrete action toward a resolution, various outstanding issues,
including abduction issue. in other words, north korea needs to realize that unless the result it will be impossible for north korea to envision their future. on the other hand, if north korea sincerely works on very outstanding issues and observes them in accordance with the pyongyang declaration, japan can develop a constructive relationship for the future with north korea, including -- and important involvement of international community with north korea will deepen. based on that assumption, japan is ripe to cooperate with the
u.s. and korea and the united nations so that north korea works on dissolving the aforementioned issues. in north korea, due to its socio political system, kim jong un has the authority to make final policy decisions. thus the japan -- the administration urge kim jong un to gain an accurate understanding of what the situation and return all abductees as quickly as possible and the issues of concern would
be the rational choice for north korea. the japanese governor will cooperate with the international community, according to the aforementioned approach. at the same time, unless north korea takes positive measure towards a resolution of its various understanding issues, the japanese government will continue to impose strict sanctions on north korea, as well as seek a meaningful dialogue which can lead to a comprehensive resolution of those issues. thank you very much. >> thank you, minister. this trilateral was proposed by
minister kato when he took up his post. we'll hear next from ambassador jung-hoon lee. he received his b.a. from tufts and masters from oxford. he heads the center for modern korean studies and center for american studies. since 2013, he's taken on a very weighty post in addition which is the republic for korea's human rights. please welcome to the stage ambassador lee. >> thank you, michael, for the introduction. distinguished guests, participants, honorable members of the media, civic society,
government and academia, i am greatly honored to have this opportunity to say a few remarks to address the continuing problem of human rights violations taking place under the tyranny of the kim jong un regime. i'm of course particularly grateful to victor chara, michael green and minister kato for putting together this very meaningful gather. it is a common platform and today's event is an opportunity to strengthen the trilateral
stance. it's been two years since the u.n.'s commission of inquiry produced the report concluding that the totalitarian state systemic and wide spread cruelties against its people are tantamount to crimes against humanity. the report identified forced labor, infant i side and our barbarics. today's recommendations have none been followed up with the kind of urgency needed to make a difference. the good news is the international community is not only taking the issue much more
especially for your very powerful conclusion on this kind of coordinated effort. finally we're going to turn to our friend, ambassador robert king to offer some summary comments. ambassador king is the special envoy for the department of state and he was appointed and nominated and confirmed bit senate in 2009. he served before that for a quarter of a century on the hill, most of that for one of the lions of human rights and house of representatives, tom lantos in california and bob served as his chief of staff and
the chief of staff for the house international races commit. bob, thanks for joining us. we appreciate your comments. >> thank very much for the opportunity to participate in this discussion today. one of. things i want to make very clear from the outside is the united states stands very much with japan in its effort to resolve the issue of the abductees. we support the japanese government, we have sought to hem them and work with them as sought a resolution of this issue. we continue to press for a resolution of that issue. issue of the abductees, which has been primarily seen as a
japanese issue, is part of the much broader issue of north korea's human rights record. and we've had a good discussion this morning about the issues of the north korean human rights, the commission of inquiry, the effort that has gone in to publicizing and emphasizing the north korean record in this regard. the japanese government has played a very important role in this process as co-author with the european union, of resolutions in geneva at the human rights council in new york at the general assembly, to call attention to the north korean efforts. we appreciate the role that japan has played in this regard. the point that ambassador lee made about the value and the importance of trilateral cooperation between the united states and japan is another
point that i'd like to emphasize because the three of us, thee three countries of all of the countries that are most involved in dealing with the problems and the provocations and the difficulties that north korea has created, share the same values and the same ideals in terms of our commitment to rule of law and to the value and importance of human rights. and as the three of us have worked together and cooperated closely in terms of dealing with these issues, i think we've strengthened the effort that we've made in terms of pushing forward on these extremely important issues. the united states is committed to continuing to work with japan, with south korea in dealing with the issues and efforts in north korea and continuing our effort to pish forward on human rights. you have a lot of questions. there are questions for questions for the panel.
i'm not going to take more of your time. but let me say we are committed to continuing the effort and the struggle that we've made and we continue now on this human rights issue and it's an extremely important one that we're going to continue to press on. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> thank you, bob. i want to ask a few questions of the panelists before we move on to the next part of our program. perhaps i can open with minister kato. you gave a very clear and very principled japanese government's position on diplomacy with north korea. i'm wondering what role there is for diplomacy now. clearly the north korean side has done nothing but provocations and has been
dishonest and far from forthcoming with respect to the fate and disposition of those abducted. is diplomacy with north korea on hold? is there a point at which direct negotiations make sense? i understand why the diplomacy is not moving now but one of the circumstances -- what would the strategy be for diplomatic efforts directly with north korea in the future? what would the environment have to look like for that to be possible?
>> translator: what kind of response on the diplomatic front? that was the question. nuclear development and missile launch by north korea is being done and of course japan as well as the united states and the united nations all have decided on harsh sanctions, but be it the u.n. resolution, one of the major basis of these sanctions is the human rights violations in north korea. and the reaction of north korea with regards to nuclear and missile program has led to the heightened interest towards human rights issues in the intercompassion community, raising the level of momentum in the local community with regards to north korea.
in order to extract specific action, by reducing pressure, we need to pull out north korea and have them out to the international for resolution. if we are able to do that, we can extract out of north korea some action between japan and north korea. we also want to pursue dialogue and responding to abduction, nuclear and missile is a rational choice for north korea. and we have to do something to make them understand that that is the rational choice and that is why we have to impose pressure. and the international korean
team must be united in imposing pressure and that is why we are placing so much weight on trilateral pressure and those pressures are being taken on the front of the united nations and ambassador lee, you've made various suggestions on the possible move that we can implement and institution of those processes, we need to go ahead and collaborate closely. >> let me good. victor cha and i worked for president bush for whom this issue was very important. at that time i thought personally before we see any movement from north korea, we probably will have to see movement from china. and that for us to see movement from china, we're going to have to see greater consolidation of
international opinion. you've touched on this. the core of it will be the rfk in japan, which gets beijing's attention. if we can tcontinue building ths international consensus, what are some actions we want from china to help improve the lives of north koreans to maybe get more help on the beabductees. american and korean politics are becoming more interesting. we have an election this year, korea has a presidential election nerks year. what is your sense of the continuity of our current approach to this problem and
what would you say to the next administration to make sure we continue with the kind of momentum we've had to date at least in international opinion and to build on that going forward? minister lee, do you want to started then we'll go to bob. >> the most paimmediate problemf course involves and the north korean defectors because north korean defectors risk their lives to cross the border. but as you all know, crossing the border in itself is not the end. once they're successful in crossing the border, then they go through another -- a major struggle to find their way to south korea or elsewhere.
china does not abide by the u.n.'s call for -- it means that china does not recognize them as refugees. they simply recognize them as illegal aliens so they round them up and send them back to north korea knowing fully well that they will be persecuted. i think it should also be noted that over 70% of these defectors are women, who are subject to all sorts of sexual assault, including rape. so the stories are well chronicled of some of these victims and what they've had to go through before finally finding their way to korea is
just unthinkable that this is happening in 2016, that this is happening right underneath our eyes is just unacceptable. so to answer your question, the first thing is for us to really emphasize on china is for it not to send back the defectors, whether the answer lies in a creation some kind of a refugee camp in china or in mongolia or wherever it may be, but first and foremost i think it's very, very important that we convince china to adhere to the principles of the international community.
the second question was about your next administration s? >> what would you recommend for them? >> i arrived yesterday and because of jet lag, i've been watching your new programs a lot. it's very interesting. whoever it may be, which ever party succeeds, i just don't see how this particular issue when it comes to north korea and human rights could vary depending on whoever the administration may be. now i would think that for some, i don't know, there may be greater efforts to engage on north korea.
i hope it doesn't turn into human rights versus assistance, human rights versus accountability and enforcement. that would be the wrong approach. i think the international setting and the trend is very clear. it's about accountability. it's about taking responsibility and asking responsibility and possibly prosecution of those people who are responsible for all sorts of atrocities involving human rights violations. so i hope that trend is not in any way reversed with the u.n. administration. in the meanwhile, i mean, if you're able to successfully somehow engage north korea in a constructive engagement, pat
them on the back and try to convince them to shut down gulag system, well, good luck to that. that's not going to be easy. why it's not going to be easy? because for north korea, nuclear weapons and human rights go hand in hand. these are two very, very important tools north korea uses so they can go on to do what they want. human rights violations is needed because north korea needs to keep its own population down from expressing whatever displeasure they might have. here's the tricky question. how do you convince it to
reversion a policy that may, as far ass -- as far as the regime is concerned have detrimental effects. that's why there's limits to gauging nor engaging north korea and somehow convincing it to do better. >> that was good vice and artfully done. i couldn't tell whether you were advising the next american president or the north korean president. >> one of the benefits of being in a think tank is you can ask to you questions and not have tos and them. that's what i think mike himself done today. let me ask a couple of questions about china. china plays a very important role in terms of what happens on north korea, both on the nuclear issue but also on the human
rights issue. i don't see the glass as empty or full. i see it rather half fall with regard to china and human rights. we're pressing the chinese to make progress on human rights and will continue to press china. but when you look at china and its role in north korea and the human rights issues, there are two points i'd make. first of all, the chinese have a mixed record on repatriation. initially they were returning pretty much all of the north koreans who went through china that they captured. there were a week or two ago 13 north koreans who were working at a restaurant in china. they ended up in south korea. now, it is hard to believe in a state like china, that could have happened if the chinese had not wanted that to happen. i think the chinese are conflicted. i think the chinese have relations with south korea that
are important to them, and i think they're increasingly frustrated with the north koreans. i think we need to continue to press the chinese to recognize the refugees who are leaving north korea and fleeing through china, which sts only way for them to leave and allow them to go to south korea if that's where they want to go. but i wouldn't say the chinese are all on one side or all on the other in that issue. on the second issue i think is important, the issue of information, yes, the internet is controlled in china, yes, the china will block out cnn on certain issues that it may cover. but when you're in north korea, china looks wonderful in terms of the information that you can get and radio broadcasts in korean for domestic korean audiences in china are listened to very carefully in north korea because in spite of the
limitation in china, the information in north korea is even more lip ted but it's not a teely negative picture. with regard to the question of continuity because of potential changes in what's going on in both countries, one of the american citizens who was a detainee in north korea, kenneth bea, was released two years ago, he has a memoir coming out tomorrow talking about his experiences. the thing that he described as one of the worst things that he had to go through was listening and watching north korean television. that's probably a worse punishment than torture. they didn't physically torture him, they made him watch north korean television. one of the things that i feel
sorry for ambassador lee is coming to the united states and having to watch the coverage of our election. i would put it in somewhat the same category. enough said about the election. the one thing that i think that is encouraging looking at the united states and at south korea is that on the human rights issue, there is a growing con sen -- consensus that we need to pressure. we can't even vote on a supreme court justice, we find great difficulty in dealing with budgets and other important issues, but when the house and the senate considered legislation on north korea earlier this year, it passed the senate unanimously and there were only two votes against it in the house, and both of the individuals who voted against it
got stories asking why they voted against it. i think we're safe in the united states on that issue. south korea has been trying for 12 years now to pass a human rights law. that human rights law was adopted just before the election. i think it reflects a growing consensus in south korea that the human rights issue is an issue that needs to be death with and that it covers the very broad spectrum of differences in south korea on that north korean issue. >> excellent. if you were trying to evade a former government official's question, i couldn't tell it was a forth right and rich response. last word on this issue from minister kato. >> translator: first of all, in relation to china or in relation to the factions that have been
ree -- sanctions that have been recently decided upon, they have to be coordinating with us or else the effectiveness will be limited in terms of trade between china and north kree yash the volume of trade between these two countries is gigantic and we assume the amount of funds flowing between those two countries is quite significant. so in terms of imposing economic influence to north korea we have to have china coordinate with ourselves. in the u.n. resolution, there was cooperation with the united states and with the leadership of the united states we were able to get china on our side. so that's what we need to be able to have more of. japan is in no position to talk about the next administration but as mentioned by ambassador king already, for example, in the united states, in the united
states and the north korean sanction and policy enhancement act, it means that each country, as well as the international community must be united and i think in all countries such consensus is on the rise. so regardless of which choice the americans take on the next administration, i think there is already a strong president obama to pursue this issue and i'm sure that the u.s. government will continue to uphold its very strong level of interest towards asia and as a back drop, these symposiums are being organized, which hebs and and every american citizen a standing on these issues.
>> i'd like to invite two important and distinguished guests to join us at the podium. grace jo was born in north korea. she almost starved to death as a child. i can't read her background, it's almost too tragic to read. she lost her father, she lost her siblings because of the efforts that were made to feed her family because they were considered criminal. grace got out and with the help of missionaries after phillip buck got to china and then the u.n. hcr helped her get out of china and into the united states as a legal refugee. grace is only one of about 180 in the united states and is now
working in north virginia as a dental assistant and leading what might be considered a normal american life and american dream but at the same time, she is a powerful spokesperson for those still in north korea. see approach tez wies it with g dignity and as her name would suggest, grace. and from japan, koichiro iizuka. he's the oldest son of his mother, who was beabducted. he's an outspoken champion for those whose family members are still missing and considered
abducted. he has a twin brother and it's hard to tell. but he visited president bush in the white house with his parents who have emerged as very powerful symbols of determination and perseverance and grace. their daughter was be a ducked at a very young age in elementary school from the coast. and his parents came to the white house and really galvanized i think congressional and administrative interests in finding the fate of the abductees, i think putting a human face on this was i can tell you from having been in the government at the time and from
bob in the congress i'm sure it was no less true, a very powerful reason for us to focus on this and really help to galvanize and build consensus about the importance of human rights and abductee issue. perhaps we'll hear from officials as well afterwards. please. >> it's very important to be here and share my story and among great leaders of the world and i'm very honored. i would like to start with a quote from martin luther king jr. human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable.
the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. i ask for myself a lot of questions as i was preparing today's testimony. what are human rights? why do we have to fight for them? the flood of information makes me dizzy. i close my laptop and i think about my day of a life in america. ready for school or work and my relatively normal american life here has never stopped me from thinking about my home country of north korea. when i think about north korea, i remember that in my neighborhood, there were no lights and no electricity for 22 hours of the day. and families who do not have enough wood to burn.
people didn't have toilettories like in the usa and china. i shared my personal family history before here so i won't go into all the details. my father was caught, punished and died for illegally buying us rice. my grandmother and two younger brothers died of hunger. my oldest sister disappeared in china and we have no idea where she is right now. it's been 18 years of separation. my mother carried me on her back and with my sister crossed the river, leaving china, learning the language and looking for work to survive and always in hiding. we were unsuccessful. we were caught and forcefully returned to north korea four times. my mother carries all the scars
and injuries to her body with her. my sister and i as her remaining two daughters could not forget our past. so we have committed to sharing about what happens in north korea. we face daily challenges as we continue to adapt to this new land and there is the drive to focus on taking care of my family, getting a better education and working hard to earn money for my mom and sister. but what keeps me up at night is the not of my father, my grandmother, anyway mmy missing and my little brother and so many others in north korea. the government decided it was better to punish us for trying to find work and survive than to lose control over its people, even when it comes couldn't feed us. this is why we started an organization in 2011 called
north korean refugees in the united states that helps north korean refugees who, like us, wand to escape and find freedom. every day is a challenge to me but i can't be thankful enough for the freedom i enjoy. i thank the u.s. government for accepting us as refugees and giving us a chance to live like a human. i thank the u.n. for protecting my life and helping us to gain safe passage to the united states. finally, wouldn't be here today if it weren't for the prayers and activism of individuals with a big heart from north korea, many of whom are in this room so thank you. lastly, i wanted to share one last story from my memory from 2002. i remember a cousin told me to
put a bucket under the faucet and asked me to turn it on all the way until i see water coming out. she told me that once the bucket was filled up, i should dump into the big pot in the kitchen. i did that until three pots were filled, one big jar filled and small containers were filled. there was only one issue. water was scarce so water didn't come out of the fas oughts like we have here in the rest rooms. it came out one drop every two seconds. i asked her what is it for? she said we are going to use that water for three days, maybe longer. the village has said all running water will stop, even dripping water. and i was allowed to drink only one cup of water per day. so we decided every drop
precious. i believe our efforts for north korea are like those drips of water. i believe that our efforts like the water faucet, drip by drip, may seem insignificant in small doses but those doses will fill up buckets and ultimately rise to a we that will bring down the walls of oppression in north korea. one drop of water a week collected over time has the power to pierce stone but only if we never, ever give up. i believe being able freely pursue the basic needs. i believe that living in the u.s. i've discovered for myself what human rights looks like. i hope my brothers and sisters one day in north korea can
experience the same wherever they are. i must be persistent until that day comes. thank you. [ applause ] >> translator: nice to meet you. i've traveled from japan. thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to speak in front of the audience. i'm turning 39 years old this year but certainly i have no memory whatsoever of my mother. i've never talked to her, i have no memories of talker her. when she was 22 years old, she
spent busy days raising myself and my elder sister, 3 years older than i, only by yourself. and my sister was 3 years old and 1-year-old when she was suddenly abducted by north korean agent. i have only one photo to prove my family ties with her. when i was just 1 years old i was violently separated from my mother and that situation still continues. in september 2002, the japan/north korea summit meeting and north korea admitted for the first time they had be a dabduc mother but north korea explained she was killed in a traffic accident. when i heard the news, i was
sh shocked. there are no words to explain how i felt then. i just remember i could not stop crying. but the news was untrue. the news that that she was dead was not grounded in fact. they told us she was killed in a traffic accident but they showed this document that they called as death certificate, which was unveiled that it was counterfeited and we discovered that there was no name of her in the traffic accident report that was submitted by north korea. and i believe that north korea made up the story that my mother had already been died in order to conceal the fact that she is still alive. and i'm sure she's still alive
in north korea. and i know that she is still waiting impatiently to be rescued out from north korea. including my mother, there are at least 17 japanese citizens who have been identified officially by japanese government as victims of abduction by north korea, although five of them have returned to japan, there still remains 12 that haven't. today we have a man in the audience, and his elder sister was abducted by north korea when she was as young as 13 years old. in addition to these 12 cases, there are still hundreds of cases of which abduction by north korea cannot be ruled out. there are so many contradictions
and awkwardness in their explanation. for example, in 2004 north korea presented what they called -- dna tests conducted proved that the remains presented contain contained -- abduction is not on limited to japanese citizens. in the united states there are allegations that mr. david sneden might have been abducted and based upon the testimony of japanese abduct years, there is a possibility that citizens of the republic of korea, thailand and romania may also have been abducted by north korean. there are also adaptees as
suches can countries at singapore, france and china. this means that the abduction by north korea is a human rights issue for the entire international community. presently are the presumption that the abductees are still alive, the japanese government continues to encourage north korea to return the remaining citizens. likewise i think the governments of countries o whose citizens have been abducted by north korea, should cooperate for the return of their abductees. already 30 to 40 years have passed since the string of abduction cases took place in japan, much to our sorrow. time lost can never be
recovered. familiar lip members are age it is important for us to have a higher level of protection rather than to only focus on the nuclear issue. ladies and gentlemen, i would urge you to support in having all the abductees returned from north korea as soon as possible. in closing i'd like to express my deepest gratitude to my adoptive parents who raised me. i also really hope that the day will come soon that i will look directly into the eyes of the woman who brought me here and call her mother. thank you very much for your attention. >> it's impressive that they have the perseverance and the courage to speak out, but all
the more so for those of you who follow this when you realize that for many, many years the japanese government and the u.s. government would not acknowledge that there in fact had been now families were right and deserve our support. we're the center for strategic and international studies not the center for human rights. not the center for human beings or something like that and i think it's very, very important that at a session like this with senior officials focusing on policy and analysis we hear these voices. far too often grand strategy is posed as something that involves ignoring human instincts, human rights being dispassionate and calm. but when you think about north korea, we spend a lot of time debating how can we reassure north korea with a peace treaty, what form of diplomatic
framework would be right and so forth? it's voices like these that are a reminder that ultimately the greatest threat to the north korean regime, the one they worry about the most is their own people. when you hear these voices it puts the strategic problem in a different context. it's very important we do that. i promised we'd take questions. why don't i take one or two questions and the ministers and ambassadors may have an opportunity as well as our guests. yes, please? we have a mike. >> my name is susan and i thank each of you for really a fascinating and very powerful presentati presentations. my question is to minister kato and ambassador king. the japanese government, the national police agency identified several individuals who are north koreans responsible for some of the abductions and has issued arrest warrants for those individuals
and has also passed their names on to interpol where i believe arrest warrants were also issued. i'm wondering whether on the accountability issue using the u.s. sanctions from february, the legislation, the new human rights legislation, that permits individual sanctions to be imposed whether the japanese government has thought about doing something similar and whether the japanese and american governments have considered using those individuals whose information is out there to list as individuals responsible for the violation of the human rights of these abductees. >> thank you. let me take one more question and then we'll have a last word from our panelists. yes, please, briefly. >> i'm a partner for the interstate travelers company and one of president obama's presidential partners. my question is taken off
ambassador lee's comments. you described why nuclear weapons and human rights violations are both necessary for the survival of the north korean regime. so my question, sir, or all of you, is it possible to devise the international community can apply the kinds of pressures on north korea where they will come to see that their continuing violations are of great er thret to their survival than the -- than anything else? >> good question. thank you. so if i can ask the panel to try to, in one minute each, answer and wrap up beginning with bob king and we'll work down, and you get the last word, grace. bob? >> first of all, with regard to the question on individuals involved in sanctions being --
individuals involved in abductions being sanctioned. we're looking at the issue of how we might identify individuals in ways that meet our legislative requirements to apply sanctions against individuals. and there are a whole range of issues that we're looking at and people involved in abductions would be one we are looking at. so, yes, we're looking at it. with regard to the question of the international community pressing the dprk, i think we've done a fairly good job of trying to bring the international community together and press the north koreans, and i think the north koreans are feeling the pressure. in terms of look iing at human rights when the commission of inquiry issued its report, the north koreans came back very
aggressive aggressively. they had a couple of people in new york. for the first time they tried to defend the north koreans in light of what the results were on the human rights issue. the north korean foreign min minister for the first time in 14 years made an appearance in new york and spoke at the general asem plsembly session. that continued during 2015 and the north koreans fought back. they attempted on the resolutions that were being adopted in the general assembly and the human rights council to call for votes. they had allies who -- the countries you'd expect who voted against the resolution. the numbers didn't change that much from what it was looking like before. the north koreans and the human rights council got maybe eight votes in support of them. those who voted against them
were five times that number. so, i mean, it -- the north koreans have tried it. this last year, this year, the north koreans announced in geneva that they weren't going to contest the brutality to which they were being subjected for their youawful human rights record and when the issue of north korea was taken up in march, the north koreans were not present in the chamber. they were present in the building because we saw them. but they didn't bother to come into the chamber because they didn't want to have to go through the embarrassment of being the only one to defend north korea's human rights record. it was interesting, even the countries that spoke out against the resolutions that were being adopted, countries like belarus, zimbabwe, countries with sterling records on human rights didn't defend north korea.
they said we don't think an individual country should be singled out. so the north koreans after finding, "a," they didn't have a lot of support, said we're not going to contest. we're going to ignore it because we don't think it's worth noting. and, in fact, this year for the first time in several years when the resolution was taken up in geneva, it was adopted by consensus. there were a couple of countries that disassociated themselves from the consensus but this reflects, i think, the fact that we have pressed hard and the north koreans are feeling the pressure. we need to continue that pressure. >> i fully agree with what you've just mentioned. it's obviously, as of right now, north korea probably feels that the benefits of doing what they've been doing outweighs the
cost. so how do we reverse that? there are, as ambassador king has mentioned, a good number of sanctions not necessarily on human rights but various sanctions for the nuclear tests and the launch of the missiles and so on. so i think it's important that the proper message is september on human rights as well. there should be increased sanctions and pressure to clearly signal to north korea this is just unacceptable. i mean, minister kato has elaborated and, of course, we have mr. iizuka on victims. we have grace jo who has gone through so much in her upbringing. these are testimonies and examples of what's going on in that country.
we have to draw the line and make sure that this is something the international community is not going to accept. there has to be a change. whether it's the return of the citizens, whether it's the closing down of the goologs in north korea and we have to ask ourselves are we doing enough? i don't think we are. i think we should be doing more. >> translator: thank you very much. japan is also considering measures such as arrest warrants, vis-a-vis those involved in the carrying out of the abduction. there are four principles we uphold, safety of all abductees, immediate return and investigation to reveal the
value and extradition of the criminals who were involved in the abductions. i'm not well versed with identifying individuals, but to the extent that our police authorities know those who have been involved in the actual conduct, yes, we think that international warrant is most effective for those individuals and, further, as we investigate those viindividuals, known individuals, others involved become clear, we can think of measures. we haven't gone to that stage yet. that is why we don't have plans of identifying individuals. japan is thinking comprehensively how to resolve the abduction issue and if there are effective measures we will be implementing measures. our principles and dialogue
action and based upon those principles we will be taking all measures available. and also, as already mentioned by ambassador king and ambassador lee, pressure vis-a-vis north korea, obviously north korea is very sensitive to various developments in the international community and there is a likelihood or i say even certainty there is monitoring -- they are monitoring this very symposium. so through the events like the one we're having today, we should tell them that there is one united voice in the international community to take action not to tolerate what's ongoing in north korea. so each and every word you speak in solidarity, grace talked about one drip of water and, like she said, each individual
step may be small but when accumulated we think we can invite effect and we may be able to invite more positive action from north korea. >> translator: i am not a politician. so i would not speak about the high-level discussions. i will leave it up to the specialists, the experts on this. one point i would like to emphasize on this matter is that we, the families, and also it's important for all of us including us families to understand the human rights violations taking place in north korea and important to pass those words to other people, the speed at which those words are
communicated is also very important. we should not just think of this as a human rights issue. it's a matter of life or death, so time is limited. there may be a family member or maybe my mother might die tomorrow, so we are at such a juncture where time is important. it's a very, very challenging time. in order to ensure the return of be abductees from north korea, we must communicate this to everyone in the world. i think this is very important.
>> i'm not really familiar with the politic issues but as a former defector and human rights activist i would like to add several things here. i believe either government individuals or angel organizations. i really encourage them and i believe the government, either the south korean or the u.s. government needs to encourage them and help them to keep their work and do whatever they are doi doing. for example, radio in sending information into north korea
among the civilizations. so i believe that's great and important method we can reach out to the people and change their mind individually. we really needed to pressure them through the governments and change the individual people's mind in north korea and i believe those organizations who are in south korea or in the u.s. are doing a very good job on this part. i also want to add one more thing. after the fall, are we really ready to help those north korean defectors and those prisoners and people from north korea? i want you to -- the
organizations in the u.s., i want them to prepare after the region falls, too, because right now so many refugees, defectors, mention their experience and how horrible the north korean regime is. many of you already know that. do we have any specific system that helps those people after they got released and came out f of the north korean regime. resettlement, he heducation and pressure, all those three parts are very important for efforts in the u.s. or the international community. thank you. >> the fact of this meeting, i think, has some significance but the content has been superb. i want to thank our special
guests. we've touched on topics in terms of building international pressure for change, things we can take to help north koreans and then longer term about how we help the north korean people after the regime is gone. we could spend hours elaborating on each of these. each of us has a job, grace jo, let us let her get back to her job. i want to thank the panel for your individual efforts and for coming so far to join us.
coming up in about 20 minutes, author of a book about islamic terrorism in europe talks about recent attacks in paris and brussels and how militants operate in and around europe. new america is the host of this event. it's set to start live at 12:30 eastern on c-span. the u.s. senate is back on this monday afternoon. senators will continue work on a water spending bill. a key procedural vote at 5:30 eastern this afternoon. you can see it live. the u.s. house is back tomorrow. we'll take up a series of measures designed to combat opioid use including grants to states for abuse prevention and treatment programs and later in the week members plan to amend the bill and then