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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Obama, Clinton ignoring North Korea threat

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A new report of the South Korean Human Rights Commission reveals the suffering of many innocent victims of communism in a network of labor camps across North Korea.

The report contains 200 accounts of former prisoners, accounts so horrific and shocking that they should convince President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to immediately stop making deals that extend the life of such a ruthless regime. To continue dealings with the regime would be immoral. President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea has urgently put human rights on the world's agenda, while Pyongyang continues to sponsor terrorism around the world. Kim Jong-il had cut off talks with the South and now Kim Jong-un has started a vicious campaign against Mr. Lee.

The U.S. policy of sustaining North Korea with food and other aid in response to nuclear blackmail extends the misery and suffering of about 200,000 political prisoners in the communist gulag (the Main Directorate of Camps) and millions of otherwise enslaved people in North Korea and Communist China. Earlier this month Kim Young-hwan, a member of the "386 generation" of South Koreans who were born in the 1960s and fought for democracy in the 1980s, was arrested in Dalian, China, where he was trying to help North Korean defectors. Like many student leaders, Mr. Kim once sympathized with North Korea but became disillusioned as the totalitarian system's imprisonments became better known and have continued. He and many other former supporters of the "Sunshine Policy" of engagement of former presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Myoo-hyun now work in non-governmental organizations that broadcast into the North or publicize the stories of refugees.

It is encouraging that over the past few years South Korean public opinion has shifted dramatically against Pyongyang, due largely to the growing number of defectors. More than 23,000 defectors now live in the South and tell horrific stories about torture and mass murder in the North. Pressure has been put on Beijing to stop repatriating North Korean refugees caught in Red China.

The agony of the Korean people will only end when the Kim family dynasty is overthrown. But that is unlikely to happen as long as they can play the game of nuclear blackmail with President Obama, the South and others.

By bowing to Chinese and North Korean dictators, our president has shown that he is not interested in defending freedom and keeping America a superpower. The Obama administration should learn from President Reagan about freedom, world leadership and how to deal with Communist China and North Korea. It has to stop them from stealing and robbing America blind.


U.S. Marines, retired


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