North Korea’s state media has wrapped up 2018 with yet another tirade against the United States, this time condemning Washington’s rebuke of the dire state of human rights in the communist country and insisting that any criticism is the product of the envy Americans feel at the “flower garden of human love” in North Korea.
The statements, reproduced by the South Korean news agency Yonhap, came from an alleged “North Korean human rights association,” which condemned the United States in remarks published by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
“Does the U.S. not want to get over with the old conventions, prejudices and hostile ideas even now when the Singapore North Korea-U.S. joint summit agreement has been declared?” the association allegedly demanded to know, asking, “Point out if there is a flower garden of human love like our republic on the planet.”
The United States, the KCNA piece went on to claim, is seeking to “wipe out the most superior place for the people in the world and the utopia envied by humankind by toppling our socialist system.” Any criticism against North Korea for decades of human rights abuses against its people constitute “an act of political terrorism,” according to the piece.
Many human rights researchers consider North Korea the world’s worst state violator of human rights. The nation is governed as a dynastic communist dictatorship where dissent is harshly punished, typically with internment in labor camps. A suspected dissident and their entire families, sometimes for up to three generations, can suffer internment if suspected of political disagreements with the regime in any way. Other crimes such as being illegally in possession of entertainment from outside North Korea or a Bible can result in internment or public execution. Beatings, rape, killings, and forced abortions are common in North Korea’s camps, researchers have repeatedly found, citing the testimonies of survivors.
This has not stopped North Korea from condemning the United States for using international venues such as the United Nations to expose the regime’s abuses. Last week, Uriminzokkiri, a state media outlet, accused Washington of “fabricate[ing] human rights performance of those countries incurring its displeasure and mislead[ing] the public.”
“The wicked intention of the U.S. and its followers in getting vocal about the non-existent ‘human rights issue’ of the DPRK [North Korea] is to broaden the scope of the sanctions and pressure and escalate them,” the outlet proclaimed.
Uriminzokkiri continued its claims that North Korea, one of the world’s most impoverished countries, would “continue” to advance towards socialist victory in a piece published Monday.
“This year has witnessed sharper conflict and confrontation among big powers for supremacy and ever more undisguised and arbitrary practices of the imperialists to reverse the global trend towards independence, but they failed to shift the main trend of the times towards independence,” the article declared. “The more undisguised the imperialists’ strong-arm and arbitrary practices and interference in internal affairs of other countries, the stronger the international opposition to it.”
Rodong Sinmun, the official state newspaper, also declared 2018 a “historic year” for the country without specifically mentioning dictator Kim Jong-un’s first-ever meeting with an American president. Instead, Rodong Sinmun applauded Kim for his various travels abroad – to China, South Korea, and Singapore – and congratulated the world on having received his visits.
This year, the newspaper proclaimed, “is a historic year clearly witnessing the validity and invincibility of the socialist cause of Juche and convincing everyone that socialism is the future of mankind.”
“It is also the historic one that fully witnessed the great personality of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, great politician, ever-victorious brilliant commander and master of creation,” the piece concluded.
The overall tone of North Korean state media remained much the same as it had before President Donald Trump met with Kim this summer throughout the year, though articles condemning the United States appeared to increase in frequency towards the end of the year, when it became increasingly clear that Washington had no intention of lifting sanctions on Pyongyang given the latter’s lack of efforts to denuclearize.
This month boded well for further conflict between the two nations, as North Korean state propaganda declared that the Kim regime would not denuclearize at all unless the United States pulled its troops out of South Korea, arguing that true “denuclearization” was impossible so long as a nuclear power like America was present on the peninsula (the United States maintains no nuclear assets on the peninsula).
The Trump administration has remained optimistic about talks with the North entering 2019, however. President Trump suggested early this month that a second in-person meeting between himself and Kim is likely in the first half of next year.