Why Human Rights Must Be Raised At A Second Summit With North Korea

President Trump and Kim Jong-un are slated to meet for a second landmark summit on February 27-28. Given how little progress has been made since last June’s summit in Singapore, Summit 2.0 seems a bit premature. Still, it will offer an opportunity for Mr. Trump to raise concerns about North Korea’s horrific human rights record, as well as its nuclear weapons program.Sanctions are a key feature of President Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy to bring Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table. Administration officials have often said that the North Korean leader can expect no sanctions relief until he denuclearizes.Sanctions are a critically important part of U.S. strategy. But such statements fail to acknowledge that sanctions are instituted against Pyongyang for more than just its nuclear weapons program.North Korea is designated as a primary money laundering concern under Section 311 of the USA Patriot Act. It is also designated as a state sponsor of terrorism. As long as the regime continues to engage in these practices, neither designation can legally be lifted—even if it denuclearizes.

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