In the wake of the inquiry into North Korea’s Human Rights Abuses published in February 2014 by the United Nations Human Rights Council, there has been a large global focus on the abuses of human rights by the rogue state. The inquiry, which compares the North Korean regime to that of Nazi Germany (Kirby, Darusman, and Biserko, 2014), has generated widespread global discussion about the conditions within the totalitarian state, and for the international community it is difficult to dismiss the considerable injustices that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRKs) citizens are suffering under the current North Korean regime.
North Korea is a state frozen in time, devoid ...view middle of the document...
Realism and what the main state actors have to gain
The UN Inquiry and Chinese National Interest
Though there has been questioning over whether the People’s Republic of China will continue to back the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Maass, 2012. pp101) (Chung and Choi, 2012. pp243) (Taylor, 2013. pp85), there has been no indication that there will be a change in the Chinese national interest in regards to North Korea; that of no regime change for the DPRK (Guo and Wang, 2013). China is the DPRK’s only patron state and powerful ally (Taylor, 2013. pp85), and China does not stand to benefit from any regime change for a number of reasons. Beyond the D.P.R.K. serving as an excellent buffer state between China and the U.S. forces in the R.O.K., in the past China has been able to work as a mediator between Washington and Pyongyang, with North Korea serving as an excellent mechanism to help China deflect U.S. pressure on certain issues (Bajoria and Xu, 2014). It is also understood that any economic or political dislocation in the could cause a massive influx of North Korean refugees into China through their shared land boarders, as the area around the DMZ is too heavily militarized to safely cross into South Korea (Taylor, 2013. pp86)(Bajoria and Xu, 2014). Any process of unification of the two Koreas would not be optimal for the People’s Liberation Army, as the unification process would produce a flood of unwanted American military personal in the East Asian region (Taylor, 2013. pp87). Despite the numerous reasons for the Chinese interest to be against a regime change, the nature of the Chinese-North Korean alliance can be determined simply by their similar stances towards the United States and the Republic of Korea (Dwivedi, 2012. pp 95) and so “no action by China should be ruled out where North Korea is concerned” (Scobell, 2008. pp4). If Beijing believed the unification of the Koreas to be more beneficial to its national interest, China would not hesitate to let Pyongyang fail (Scobell, 2008. pp13).
As with many global powers, the People’s Republic of China has responded to the United Nations Human Rights inquiry, however unlike other states, China criticized the Inquiry, labeling the report “unreasonable criticism” (Mullany and Cumming-Bruce, 2014). In the response from Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, stated that, “policing human rights issues is not conducive toward improving a country’s human rights” (Mullany and Cumming-Bruce, 2014). If this statement is correct, the inquiry will serve the Chinese National Interest only to the extent that no change will arise from the report.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and their national interest
Unlike its Northeastern Asian counterparts, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s economy is bleak, and one of the main ways the North Korean government attempts to counter this and to help insure the states survival is to acquire foreign aid. Manipulation of foreign...