There are deeper issues behind the arrest of American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee by North Korea. First of these is the politics that divide the United States and North Korea, back to the days of the Korean War and very recently the US support for sanctions against North Korea for its missile program. Second, is the continuous defiance of North Korea for world efforts on disarmament and nuclear weapons ban. Third, North Korea is deflecting the attention of the world from its internal troubles such as its worsening economy and the poor health of its leader Kim that may pave the way for handing over the reins to his son.
Based on the AP report of William Foreman and Matthew Lee, North Korea is “less interested in having the women sent to its gulag … will likely try to use them as bargaining chips.” Professor Kim Yong-hyun of Dongguk University in Seoul shares Foreman and Lee’s assessment by saying that the North “is going to try to use the reporters to facilitate relations with the US.” Washington treats the journalists’ arrest as separate from the missile issue and would exhaust all diplomatic channels to resolve it. They see it from the humanitarian standpoint and not from a political viewpoint.
The women are being used as pawns and human shields to get the best deal in the stand-off. The women represent those who would brave the odds to bring the truth to the world. From their current situation, the world stands as judge to see the ends one man would pursue to prevail over common good. As a citizen of the world our response should be that of intolerance for the abuser of freedom, truth and justice. The use of force should be the last option, every diplomatic means must be resorted to and we should temper our anger with reason.
The circumstances of the arrest and the process of trial are kept from the world. These are already violations of the journalists’ human rights for a fair and just defense.
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