North Korea’s state news service, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), issued a vocal defense of its abysmal human rights record on Tuesday, alleging that “socialist Korea” presents “a good example in guaranteeing the genuine civilization and human rights” in contrast to the free societies of the West.
Following communist dictator Kim Jong-un’s meeting with leftist South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April, North Korea has increased the number of articles in its state media outlets dedicated to condemning the United States’ human rights record and elevating their own, ignoring the existence of torturous labor camps, use of extreme methods of execution against enemies of the state, forced abortions, and a total ban on religion in the country.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet Kim on June 12 in Singapore for an unprecedented summit between the two heads of state. The two are expected to discuss the potential dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and global investment in bringing North Korea’s economy into the modern world. American officials have made no indication they will pressure Kim to begin respecting international human rights norms.
KCNA claims North Korea already does.
“The human rights performance is the most serious problem in the world where many countries and nations and differing ideologies and systems coexist,” the outlet declares. “But, in socialist Korea, a good example in guaranteeing the genuine civilization and human rights is being set today when the rights of human being remain serious.”
In Korea, the article claims, “The working masses are masters of everything and everything of the state and society serve them.” The people “are enjoying the genuine political, social, economic and cultural rights.”
“Ordinary citizens of the country such as weaver, miner, peasant and scientist are elected as deputies to the Supreme People’s Assembly discussing the state affairs and represent the people’s interests,” the piece continues, adding that North Koreans enjoy state-sponsored education and housing. In North Korea, all education is geared toward brainwashing citizens into worshipping the Kim families. It is illegal not to decorate one’s home with photos of Kim Jong-un, his father Kim Jong-il, and grandfather and “Eternal President” Kim Il-sung. Couples receive the photos upon marriage to bless their homes.
“The politics of love and trust taking care of the people’s destiny in a responsible manner to the last have been enforced at a higher level century after century under the wise guidance of the WPK,” KCNA concludes. Kim Jong-un “formulated the people-first doctrine” and has blessed the nation by “giving priority to the people and respecting and loving them with his warm affection.”
The piece also notes that an unnamed “American journalist” was surprised by his or her positive experience in the country but did not specify who wrote the report, when it was published, or quote anything the alleged report said.
KCNA follows up its self-congratulatory piece by denigrating the United States in a commentary decrying the U.S. State Department for documenting human rights abuses in North Korea.
“The hackneyed human rights racket kicked up again by the U.S. before the DPRK-U.S. dialogue is a wanton violation of the dignity and sovereignty of the DPRK, a legitimate sovereign state, and the height of arrogance against the dialogue partner,” the commentary reads. It goes on to call the United States government “ridiculous” for pressuring North Korea to stop torturing and killing its citizens and claims America is “troubled with all sorts of social evils including unrelenting gun-related crimes, social inequality and racial discrimination.”
KCNA proclaims the soon-to-be swift defeat of “U.S.-style capitalism” in the face of North Korea’s repressive Kim cult, “a flower garden for the people full of respect and love.”
It is unclear, other than the global human rights report that the State Department publishes annually, what pressure KCNA is referring to. The Trump administration has gone out of its way not to discuss the dire human rights situation in North Korea since Kim and Trump confirmed they will meet in person next month. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has taken to referring to Kim Jong-un deferentially as “Chairman Kim,” said in an interview Sunday that the Trump administration would not pursue regime change for freedom for the North Korean people if a deal on nuclear weapons can be made.
Asked by Fox News’s Chris Wallace if supporting the Kim regime in any way, given its repressive history, was a problem, Pompeo responded, “Make no mistake about it: America’s interest here is preventing the risk that North Korea will launch a nuclear weapon into L.A. or Denver or to the very place we are sitting here this morning.”
North Korea’s propaganda against the United States, which has consistently branded America the world’s worst human rights abuser, is the only major part of the dialogue leading to the Trump-Kim summit addressing human rights.
Since the founding of North Korea under Kim Il-sung, citizens have been forced to worship the Kim family. Religion is strictly banned – particularly Christianity, which was so popular in North Korea before communism that Pyongyang was known as the “Jerusalem of the East.” Anyone found in possession of a Bible is immediately imprisoned and sent to a labor camp. Christians are routinely executed for not abandoning the faith, sometimes in gruesome ways like being bulldozed by a large vehicle. Labor camps also become the final destination for individuals found in possession of illegal material such as Hollywood films and foreign media, those whose bosses accuse them of not working hard enough, or those accused of insufficient enthusiasm for the Kim regime.