[House Hearing, 113 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
THE SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT
NORTH KOREAN TYRANNY
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED THIRTEENTH CONGRESS
MARCH 26, 2014
Serial No. 113-132
Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
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COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California, Chairman
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
DANA ROHRABACHER, California Samoa
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio BRAD SHERMAN, California
JOE WILSON, South Carolina GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
MICHAEL T. McCAUL, Texas ALBIO SIRES, New Jersey
TED POE, Texas GERALD E. CONNOLLY, Virginia
MATT SALMON, Arizona THEODORE E. DEUTCH, Florida
TOM MARINO, Pennsylvania BRIAN HIGGINS, New York
JEFF DUNCAN, South Carolina KAREN BASS, California
ADAM KINZINGER, Illinois WILLIAM KEATING, Massachusetts
MO BROOKS, Alabama DAVID CICILLINE, Rhode Island
TOM COTTON, Arkansas ALAN GRAYSON, Florida
PAUL COOK, California JUAN VARGAS, California
GEORGE HOLDING, North Carolina BRADLEY S. SCHNEIDER, Illinois
RANDY K. WEBER SR., Texas JOSEPH P. KENNEDY III,
SCOTT PERRY, Pennsylvania Massachusetts
STEVE STOCKMAN, Texas AMI BERA, California
RON DeSANTIS, Florida ALAN S. LOWENTHAL, California
TREY RADEL, Florida--resigned 1/27/ GRACE MENG, New York
14 deg. LOIS FRANKEL, Florida
DOUG COLLINS, Georgia TULSI GABBARD, Hawaii
MARK MEADOWS, North Carolina JOAQUIN CASTRO, Texas
TED S. YOHO, Florida
LUKE MESSER, Indiana
Amy Porter, Chief of Staff Thomas Sheehy, Staff Director
Jason Steinbaum, Democratic Staff Director
Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio, Chairman
DANA ROHRABACHER, California ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
MATT SALMON, Arizona Samoa
MO BROOKS, Alabama AMI BERA, California
GEORGE HOLDING, North Carolina TULSI GABBARD, Hawaii
SCOTT PERRY, Pennsylvania BRAD SHERMAN, California
DOUG COLLINS, Georgia GERALD E. CONNOLLY, Virginia
LUKE MESSER, Indiana WILLIAM KEATING, Massachusetts
C O N T E N T S
Ms. Grace Jo, survivor of North Korean human rights abuses....... 8
Mr. Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director, Committee for Human
Rights in North Korea.......................................... 15
Mr. Bruce Klingner, senior research fellow, Northeast Asia, The
Heritage Foundation............................................ 24
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Ms. Grace Jo: Prepared statement................................. 11
Mr. Greg Scarlatoiu: Prepared statement.......................... 17
Mr. Bruce Klingner: Prepared statement........................... 26
Hearing notice................................................... 62
Hearing minutes.................................................. 63
THE SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT NORTH KOREAN TYRANNY
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26, 2014
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 2 o'clock p.m.,
in room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Steve Chabot
(chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. Chabot. The hearing will come to order. Good afternoon.
I am chairman of the Asia and Pacific Subcommittee, and I'd
like to yield my time to the chairman of the full committee, Ed
Royce of California.
Mr. Royce. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I want
to welcome our witnesses. I think my good friend, Steve Chabot,
has done a lot of work over the years, and holding this
important and timely hearing is part of that effort to make
certain that we see some justice for people who have been
through things which are unimaginable for us here.
I want to take the opportunity to welcome Ms. Minhee Jo to
the Foreign Affairs Committee, and to thank her for bravely
sharing her story. And I want to also share, as chairman of the
Foreign Affairs Committee, that it's my commitment to all the
people who continue to suffer in North Korea that this
committee will do all it can Kim Jong-un and his generals
accountable for crimes against humanity.
Today, I am announcing that the committee plans to consider
bipartisan sanctions legislation against North Korea which I
authored in May of this year. My legislation targets the regime
where it is most vulnerable, in the pocketbook, and it will
prevent Kim Jong-un from assessing or accessing, having the
ability to use that hard currency that he needs in order to pay
H.R. 1771 now has over 130 cosponsors, and it will go a
long way toward bankrupting the regime in North Korea.
It is important that we wake up to the reality that North
Korea is not interested in reform. Frankly, that's not--
denuclearization does not drive their calculus. And, thus, I
urge the administration to work with this committee so that the
people of North Korea can finally have an opportunity to live
without fear, to have an existence without abuse.
And I've long been involved in shining the spotlight on the
horrific human rights abuses in North Korea. I've had many,
many trips to that part of the world and spoken with so many
defectors about their particular circumstances. I've had people
show me the scars on their bodies from when they tortured in
I co-chair the International Parliamentarians Coalition for
North Korean Refugees and Human Rights, and I can say that the
Committee of Inquiry Report on North Korea offers one of the
most comprehensive accountings of human rights abuses in that
Despite the international community's focus on North
Korea's weapons program over the past 20 years, too little
attention is paid to the question of human rights, the lack of
human rights in the country. And this report has finally
changed the way the world views North Korea, and I'm hopeful
that with this new awareness action is not far behind.
Last month I led a bipartisan delegation to Seoul. I've
been there many times, but this is the second time in some 12
months in order to reaffirm our nation's special alliance with
South Korea. In my meetings with President Park, she has always
stressed the importance of fighting, struggling for human
rights for the people of North Korea. She said it last year,
and she said it again this year to us.
As a longtime friend of the Korean people, I know that this
issue is very important to South Koreans and Korean Americans
alike, and that's why I'm committed to passing this legislation
into law, and also because I've looked into the eyes of those
who have survived in North Korea. And I want to make certain
that that type of horrific thing does not continue to occur.
Fighting for human rights is one of the most important
tasks that we have as a nation, and that we have here as
members of this committee. When we see grave abuses occurring
it is our duty to stand up and take action.
Chairman Chabot, thank you for your leadership on this
issue, and I look forward to hearing the testimonies of this
Mr. Chabot. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And the chair
announces that we have a series of votes on the floor. The
buzzers that you heard going off were to call us over to the
floor to vote, so we're going to go over and vote right now.
Then we'll come back and finish opening statements, we'll hear
from the panel, and have time for questions, and that sort of
thing. So, we apologize for any inconvenience, but we have to
head over and vote. We'll be back in a short period of time.
The committee is in recess.
Mr. Chabot. Welcome, everyone, to this afternoon's Asia and
Pacific Subcommittee hearing on the shocking truth about North
Korean tyranny. I want to thank my colleague from California,
Mr. Ami Bera, for serving as today's ranking member and also
thank our distinguished witnesses for being here, as well.
We're especially extremely grateful to Ms. Grace Jo, as the
chairman mentioned before, that you could join us here this
afternoon. Your perspective will be invaluable for everyone to
hear today. I'll make my formal introductions of all the
witnesses after I've concluded and the ranking member has
concluded his opening statements here this afternoon.
We've already heard from the full committee chairman, Mr.
Royce, but we had to go into recess because of votes. We won't
have any votes for another hour and half or so, I don't think,
so hopefully we can get through the rest of the hearing before
we have votes again.
For 60 years, North Korea has been ruled by one of the most
repressive totalitarian regimes on earth. Millions of North
Koreans have been starved to death and sent to concentration
camps to die in inhumane ways not seen since the days of Hitler
or Stalin. The extent of human rights abuses, a list too long
to go into great detail, are deliberate and calculated actions
utilized by the Kim regime to quell dissent and maintain
ultimate control, just as his father and grandfather did before
In February, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry
released its report on human rights in North Korea, yielding a
compendium of crimes against humanity committed by the North
Korean regime. While the totality of this report is certainly
shocking--a wake up call for the international community to
take action--the horrors described are not a surprise to the
human rights community, which has worked with dozens of
individuals who have been lucky enough to escape from the Kim
chamber of horrors. Yet, North Korea remains one of the least
understood regimes in a world seemingly focused elsewhere.
As discussions at the U.N. about the Commission of Inquiry
Report continue throughout this week in Geneva, I would urge
the international community to reach a consensus to do more
than just condemn by words. The time for willful blindness, for
looking the other way for North Korea's abuses must come to an
end. There is a tremendous amount the international community
can and must do. Future discussions about North Korea should
make human rights a priority right alongside nuclear
North Korea has consistently represented one of the
greatest security challenges for the United States because of
its determined pursuit of nuclear weapons and missiles. But the
threat North Korea poses to our South Korean ally, its record
of human rights abuses and the dangers that it presents to
regional stability make dealing with North Korea that much more
difficult. After decades of trying to negotiate, cajole, and
pressure North Korea to halt its proliferation and stand by its
commitments, we have seen little success. In fact, North Korea
seems much more determined today to act irresponsibly than ever
Since 2009, the U.S. has pursued a reactive policy toward
North Korea called ``Strategic Patience,'' which maintains
leveled pressure and resolute warnings with a door to renewed
discussions partly open. This policy, however, has not slowed
North Korea's nuclear program, as illustrated by Pyongyang's
decision to restart its Yongbyon reactor, and as has been noted
in the recently released U.N. Panel of Experts Report, North
Korea continues to develop creative ways to evade U.N. Security
Council prohibitions on trade and economic activities to boost
its nuclear and missile programs. It has also done nothing to
decrease the extent of human rights violations in North Korea.
Clearly, U.S. policy has been ineffective.
Since Kim Jong-un assumed power in December 2011, he has
embraced the evil, tyrannical, depraved, corrupt, and vile
characteristics of his father and grandfather. Despite only
slight stylistical leadership differences, the ultimate goals
for North Korea remain the same and the pursuit of nuclear
weapons continues unfettered.
Throughout 2012 and 2013, the world witnessed an escalation
of war-like rhetoric and dangerously irresponsible actions from
the third-generation Kim, who wanted nothing more than to show
the world his threats were real. And this bellicose behavior
continues. During this year's joint U.S.-South Korea military
drills, which began in February, North Korea conducted a number
of prohibited missile tests. Just this past weekend, North
Korea test fired 46 short-range rockets, bringing the total to
70 over the course of the last month, one of which came within
range of a Chinese passenger plane. Pyongyang has claimed these
tests as part of its own routine self-defense exercises.
The Obama administration appears to have outsourced its
North Korean policy to China, but China's policies, too, are
failing. The sudden and brutal removal of Jang Sung Taek
thought to be close to Beijing, was a blow to China, and now
the Kim regime seems to be trying to push China out of its
circle of influence. This raises a number of concerns and
questions as to how China will act in the coming months as the
U.S. urges Beijing to not veto the inevitable Security Council
resolution condemning North Korea's human rights record, and to
stop evading our sanctions policy by funneling money to support
Pyongyang's nuclear and missile production.
It's clear that a non-nuclear and compliant North Korea is
an unreachable goal if the administration maintains its current
policy approach. We cannot become comfortably accustomed to
North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons or its systematic
torture and killing of its own people.
North Korea is a grave threat to the United States and our
allies in Asia. Policies pursued by Presidents of both parties,
with minor variations, have failed. It is time for us to
reconsider the policies that haven't worked, and reapply those
that have. Trading valuable concessions failed once, so let's
not ``buy the same horse twice.'' I believe it's possible to
disarm North Korea involuntarily without the use of force.
Legislation was introduced last year to give the President the
legal tools to do just that. The U.N.'s report makes it vividly
clear that if the world community continues to dawdle, growing
numbers of innocent North Koreans will suffer and die in
horrific ways. Now is the time to put our resources together
I look forward to our witness' testimonies this afternoon,
and discussing options we have to hold the North Korean regime
accountable. At this time, I would like to turn to the acting
ranking member of the committee, Ami Bera from California.
Mr. Bera. Thank you, Chairman Chabot. And thank you for
calling this incredibly important hearing to discuss North
Korea's abysmal human rights record, and clearly the other
serious issues that are taking place as North Korea postures.
As we all know and we've talked about in the past, North
Koreans are deprived of just the basic fundamental freedoms and
universal human rights for decades. North Koreans don't have
freedom of speech, they don't have freedom of movement, they
don't have freedom of religion, and they're also subjected to
chronic starvation and abysmal and dismal public health system.
Last month, the U.N. released a disturbing report on the
gross human rights violations and oppression that North Koreans
experience under the Kim regime. The U.N. report details
atrocious crimes against humanity that are occurring every day,
such as persecution, murder, sexual abuse, and forced abortion.
However, the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes remain
immune by the North Korean justice system, which is utterly
Unless rampant immunity is addressed and stopped, these
egregious violations against humanity will, unfortunately,
continue in North Korea. I'm also very concerned with North
Korean's aggressive behavior toward South Korea, its nuclear
weapons program, and the security threat it poses to the
Just last Saturday, as the chairman mentioned, North Korea
launched 30 short-range rockets into open waters to demonstrate
its discontent with ongoing U.S.-South Korea military
exercises. This morning North Korea fired two mid-range
missiles in Japan's direction in protest for trilateral talks
that were held between the U.S., Japan, and South Korea.
These types of provocations are completely unacceptable and
threaten to destabilize the region. As the world's greatest
democracy, we must take a tougher stance with our international
partners on North Korea's threatening antics and deplorable
human rights record.
Lastly, I want to highlight the importance of strengthening
our partnership and our relationship with South Korea. In 2013,
South Korea was the United States' sixth largest trading
partner. According to the California Chamber of Commerce,
California is Korea's fifth largest export destination, and in
2013 exported nearly $8.4 billion of product to South Korea.
It's an incredibly important relationship.
Korean Americans also have a very deep-seated history and
deep-seated roots in my home state of California. The vibrant
and thriving Korean community has successfully created two of
the largest cultural heritage centers outside of Korea in both
Los Angeles and Oakland. Deepening our longstanding friendship
and cooperative relationship with South Korea is imperative and
necessary as we look to stabilize the inter-Korean
I look forward to reviewing our positions, and I remain
whole-heartedly committed in supporting a peaceful and
prosperous Pacific region.
Mr. Chairman, I'd like to thank you again for calling this
crucial hearing, and I look forward to the testimony of our
Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much. And now are there any
other members who would like to make a brief opening statement?
I'll recognize the gentleman from California, Mr. Rohrabacher.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for
holding this hearing and let the word go forth that the
Congress of the United States understands the monstrous nature
of the regime that now controls North Korea.
North Korea's military power has been financed by taking
food from its people, medicine from its sick, education from
its children. They have used that wealth that should have gone
to supply just basic needs for their people, and instead used
it to subsidize a ghoulish elite that is guilty of monstrous
crimes, and to subsidize a military power that would then, of
course, be used not only for their country's security against
threats from abroad, but also be used against its own people to
keep themselves in power.
The North Korea horror story is testimony to the failure of
a policy that is based on trying to change the behavior of some
monstrous gangster regimes by treating them well, or by doing
them favors, or trying to figure out a way of being nice to
them thinking that that will change the fundamental nature, or
in some way affect the decisions of those people who rule with
an iron fist as far as North Korea.
Mr. Chairman, I'm not sure if you were here then or not,
but I certainly remember a debate in which I sat right over
here years ago about whether or not we should be providing
North Korea with energy, with oil, and whether we should help
feed their population. And, of course, over a decade we
provided huge amounts of food and energy for the North Korea
Government and surprise, surprise, it didn't change the nature
of that horrible regime. It didn't civilize the leaders of that
country whatsoever. And today we, in fact, can see no results
whatsoever to the hundreds of millions of dollars of
humanitarian assistance that we gave to the people of North
Korea, yet they are still held in bondage and their
government--it has had no impact on their government policies
We need to take this as a lesson, make sure that it guides
what our decisions are in the future, which is we should be
siding with the oppressed rather than trying to curry favor
with the oppressor. And we have not reached out to the people
of North Korea in an effort to eliminate that horrible regime
that oppresses them, so I look forward to hearing more details
about what's happening in North Korea from our witnesses.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. Mr. Rohrabacher, by the way, is the
chairman of the Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats
Subcommittee. I'd now like to recognize another gentleman from
California. We've got a lot of Californians here this
afternoon. Brad Sherman, who is the ranking member of the
Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee. The
gentleman is recognized.
Mr. Sherman. Mr. Chairman, it was good to be with you, the
chairman of the full committee, and others on our trip to Asia
last month where we had a chance to meet with President Park,
to view the DMZ, and even a few soldiers of the North Korea
military. And one thing that's striking because I think it's
the only place in the world where this is true, land is
considerably cheaper in Northern Seoul than Southern Seoul
simply because in Northern Seoul you're under the gun of more
than tens of thousands of artillery pieces north of the DMZ. I
think Seoul is the only great city in the world where you have
a national security reason for land to be cheaper on one side
of town than the other side of town.
The gentleman from California makes a point about our aid.
I would say that were there to be a curtailment and rollback of
the nuclear program of North Korea, that might not help the
people of North Korea, but it would make this a safer planet.
And I would differ with him under those circumstances which do
not exist and, therefore, don't differ with him.
You know, I've served on this committee for about 18 years.
We've heard every possible description of cruelty, but this is
a nationwide gulag. This isn't some people being oppressed,
this is virtually everyone. And this will go down in history as
one of the cruelest regimes in the world, certainly the
cruelest in Korean history.
We should keep in mind that this regime survives only
because of the subsidy it receives from China. And on a trade
policy that gives China--allows China to sell $300 billion more
in the United States than we sell there empowers Beijing, and
Beijing doesn't always use that power for good.
Kim Jong-un has simply added an element of immaturity and
mercurial unpredictability, and instability to what was already
a cruel regime.
And, finally, we should never hesitate to call on Japan,
and especially South Korea to spend more on its military. We
who are blessed to behind oceans and are not on the front lines
spend over 5 percent of our GDP on our military if you include
veterans benefits, as I do, whereas South Korea spends roughly
2.7 percent, Japan slightly less than 1 percent. And those who
are on the front lines who face the greatest threat should be
willing to spend as much of their treasure as we do. I yield
Mr. Chabot. I thank the gentleman, and I'd at this time
like to introduce our distinguished panel.
We begin with Grace Jo who was born in North Korea, a place
where she almost starved to death as a child. In 2006, Ms. Jo
and two of her family members escaped North Korea. Soon after,
she and her family were rescued by the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees which enabled them to enter the U.S.
as legal refugees. Grace is one of 170 refugees from North
Korea who have settled in the U.S. She became a U.S. citizen
last year and we congratulate you for that, and welcome you.
Grace lives outside of Washington, DC. She and her family have
actively protested the forced repatriation of North Korean
escapees hiding out in China. In addition to being a human
rights activist, she dreams of going to law school to study
international law for the purpose of helping North Korean
defectors. Ms. Jo works as a dental certified assistant in the
United Dental Group to earn a living. She attends classes in
the evening to reach her academic goals. She also volunteers
for her sister's nonprofit organization, North Korea in USA,
which helps North Korean refugees in the United States and
China. And we welcome you here.
I would next like to introduce Greg Scarlatoiu. Mr.
Scarlatoiu is the executive director for the Committee for
Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) where he handles outreach
programs aiming to focus world attention on human rights abuses
in North Korea. Prior to joining HRNK, he was the director of
public affairs and business issues of the Korea Economic
Institute. He has also served as management associate for the
International Science and Technology Institute in Arlington,
Virginia. He previously lived in Seoul for 10 years and is
fluent in Korean, French, and Rumanian. He has also authored a
weekly radio column broadcast by Radio Free Asia to North
Korea. Mr. Scarlatoiu holds master's in international relations
from Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and
Seoul National University, and a B.A. in international
relations from Seoul National University. Mr. Scarlatoiu was
conferred the title of Citizen of Honor, City of Seoul and is
also a member of the board of directors for the International
Council on Korean Studies, and we welcome you here this
We also have Bruce Klingner who is the senior research
fellow for Northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation's Asian
Study Center. Previously, he served as the CIA's Deputy
Division Chief for Korea where he provided analysis on
political, military, economic, and leadership issues for the
President of the United States and other senior U.S.
policymakers. He was the Chief of CIA's Korea Branch, which
analyzed military developments during a nuclear crisis with
North Korea. Mr. Klingner is a distinguished graduate of the
National War College where he received a master's degree in
national security strategy. He also holds a master's degree in
strategic intelligence from the Defense Intelligence College
and a bachelor's degree in political science from Middlebury
College in Vermont.
And, as I said, we welcome all three witnesses here this
afternoon. We have, of course, what you probably heard referred
to as the 5-minute rule. There are lights down there that will
let you know when you have 1 minute to go, it will turn yellow
at that point, and when it turns red, we ask that you wrap it
up. Your time is up at that point. We'll also limit ourselves
to 5 minutes in asking questions. So, we'll begin with you this
afternoon, Ms. Jo, and you probably need to turn the mic on
there. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF MS. GRACE JO, SURVIVOR OF NORTH KOREAN HUMAN
Ms. Jo. Thank you very much. Hello, my name is Grace Jo.
It's very nice to see everyone here.
I was born in 1991 in North Hamkyoung Province in North
Korea. In 1993, our family started to have shortage of food. In
1997 to 1998 my family was my father, maternal grandmother,
younger siblings and big sister.
Since I was born, my parents have tried many different ways
to raise us. They tried to find sustenance in wild vegetables,
grasshoppers, rats, tree barks and even cattle in government-
operated farms. In North Korea killing a cow is considered a
crime comparable to homicide, so a person caught killing a cow
could be sentenced to death by shooting.
Fully aware of these facts, my parents risked their lives
in order to feed my family. Our family did everything we could
try but due to the government's prohibition you cannot do any
business, and eventually even my parents ran out of ways to
feed our family. They made the hard decision to illegally cross
the border to China. In Spring 1997, my parents illegally
visited a relative in China and purchased some food with their
However, when they arrived home, my father was arrested by
the police, and officials of our home town came with clubs and
took my mother away after ruthlessly beating her. They also
took away all of the food. My grandmother, my younger brother,
my older sister, and I all cried as we tried to hold on to the
things that they were taking away. In 1 day we lost our parents
and our food, and our house was in ruins with nothing left for
us. Later, we learned afterwards that my father had told the
officials about my mother's pregnancy and begged for her
release. However, my father admitted all the charges that they
were accusing him of and he was punished.
Because he was a man, he had to suffer from all kinds of
torture by the police. In the end, while he was being
transported to a prison on a train he passed away unable to
stand any further.
Continuously, many things happened that led us to leave our
hometown and escape to China. However, we were deported back to
North Korea four times. When we were sent back to North Korea,
I myself did not receive too many punishments since I was a
minor. However, the miseries I saw ripped at my heart. When
minors are sent back to North Korea, Bo-Wee-Bu take them to
orphanages called Koo-Ho-So. The first orphanage I was sent to
was located in Sinuiju. In Sinuiju, among the people who are
staying at the orphanage included a 5-week-old infant to an 18-
year-old. The directors at the orphanage gave only 40 gram of
baby formula per day. Sixteen-year-olds were less than four
feet tall. There were two groups of children at the orphanage.
The first group was those few children who had enough strength
to go out to the market field and steal food. And there were
those who could only stay inside of the orphanage. Those who
could move built storage rooms and did other labor.
Inside the orphanage there were about 10 rooms and 15 to 20
children stayed in each room. The space was so small that
everyone had to sleep in the same direction at night. There
wasn't enough water. And for food, instead of rice, we were
given barley and radish soup.
After waking up at 6 each morning, we had to work until 7
p.m. For the smallest instance, the directors would punish us.
And because guards stood post every day, we couldn't escape
outside the orphanage over the wall. For an example, a 15-year-
old who was caught escaping tore his left leg tendon as a
result of a beating. And there was no one to take care of his
condition. Some of these children who were beaten had their
food taken away and worked endlessly, died because of their
I am 5 foot 3 inches, but when I was sent back to North
Korea in 2006, they used to call me a giant. And one time I was
slapped on the face on account of my height. Likewise, many
others born in and after the `90s couldn't grow due to
Education was available only for those children from
families with good backgrounds, with ties to the government,
and with ties to Communist heroes. Only those from families who
did well enough to give money or other goods to the teachers or
schools could attend schools. The study materials available
were in poor quality, such as paper made from tree barks for
Lastly, in October 2006, there were three boiled potatoes
that the orphanage was giving out to the children. Our family,
before being released, was staying together for 3 days at an
orphanage after transported to my hometown. And when we asked
the girl who brought the potatoes to us, she said they had been
living on those potatoes for the past 2 weeks. I was well over
10 years old, but North Korea had not changed at all during my
A country that beats people to death like they are animals
for having a religion, a country that sends a family of three
generations for one family member's trivial comment, a country
that requires a travel permit for someone to attend his or her
parent's funeral, in novels, books, biographies, and poems,
nothing else can be written but praises of the Great Leader. It
is a country with absolutely no freedom, a country that abuses
its senior citizens and mistreats its children while it labels
them as ``treasures.'' A country that has beaten its citizens
for the past over 20 years, a country in which the soldiers rob
the civilians of their food. I believe in the U.S. and the
U.N., a country and an international body that actually do
treat the children as they should be as ``treasures.'' I would
like to please ask the U.S. and U.N. to rescue the suffering
North Korean people.
I would like to please ask you, please remember the
Holocaust. At least the survivors have finally found their
freedom, and may live freely as all of you do. However, the
people in North Korea have been living under tyranny over the
past several decades, and even right now, as the people
suffered under the Nazi regime. Please be their voice, and be
advocates of their human rights. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Jo follows:]
Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much for your testimony. Mr.
Scarlatoiu, you're recognized for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF MR. GREG SCARLATOIU, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMITTEE
FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA
Mr. Scarlatoiu. On behalf of the Committee for Human Rights
in North Korea, I would like to express great appreciation to
Chairman Steve Chabot and the distinguished members of the
subcommittee for holding this hearing today to highlight the
human rights situation in North Korea and for inviting me to
testify. Mr. Chairman, in today's oral testimony I will be
summarizing my written statement.
One hundred and twenty thousand men, women, and children,
those suspected of being disloyal to the Kim regime and up to
three generations of their families continue to be brutally
persecuted behind the barbed wire fences of North Korea's
political prison camps. The people of North Korea continue to
be divided into three social categories and 51 subcategories
based on their loyalty to the regime.
In the mid to late 1990s, as up to 3 million North Koreans
starved to death, the Kim regime continued to invest in the
development of its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons
program. The human rights situation has deteriorated under the
Kim Jong-un regime. Three trends stands out in particular, an
aggressive crackdown on attempted defections, a forceful purge
of former officials, and the restructuring of North Korea's
political prison camp system, facilities near the border with
China have been closed while other camps have been expanded.
The U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North
Korea established by consensus by all 47 member states of the
U.N. Human Rights Council found that in many instances the
violations identified entailed crimes against humanity based on
state policies. Systematic, widespread and gross human rights
violations that have been and are being committed by North
Korea involve extermination, murder, enslavement, torture,
imprisonment, rape, forced abortions, and sexual violence,
persecution on political, religious, racial, and gender
grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced
disappearance of persons, and the inhumane act of knowingly
causing prolonged starvation.
The Commission of Inquiry determined that crimes against
humanity target anyone viewed as a threat to the political
system and leadership of North Korea, in particular, political
prisoners, those attempting to defect, religious believers,
Christians in particular, people introducing information from
the outside world into North Korea, and citizens of other
countries abducted by North Korea.
The Commission of Inquiry pointed out that since the
Government of North Korea is not willing to prosecute its own
officials, the United Nations will have to protect the
population of North Korea and insure that those most
responsible for crimes against humanity are held accountable.
The Commission of Inquiry further recommended that the U.N.
Security Council refer the North Korean situation to the
International Criminal Court. Furthermore, the inclusion of
North Korean human rights in the U.N. Security Council's
permanent agenda would be a long overdue and feasible measure.
It is our Committee for Human Rights in North Korea's view
that the United States Government ought to support greater
involvement by U.N. agencies in North Korea beyond the human
rights bodies. U.N. agencies to which the United States
Government is a significant contributor, agencies tasked with
development of humanitarian assistance should be fully aware of
the findings of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry and find ways to
U.S.-North Korea policy has been dominated by grave
political security concerns. The policy of Strategic Patience
has been one of very few, if any, options within a context
defined by the North Korean regime's lack of international
credibility and established patterns of deceitful behavior.
Nevertheless, crimes against humanity have been and are
being committed in North Korea.
As the horror of what author Mark Helprin termed as a
``slow motion holocaust continues,'' the people and the
Government of the United States can unambiguously afford no
Strategic Patience that would allow the Kim regime more time to
abuse, starve, wrongfully imprison, maim, torture, and kill the
Human rights concerns must be included in the agenda of
future bilateral and multilateral talks with North Korea should
such talks be resumed. The international sanctions regime
against North Korea aims to prevent the development and
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic
missile technology by North Korea, and is not linked to North
Korea's human rights situation.
In order to achieve international momentum on a scale
comparable to the anti-apartheid campaign of the 1980s, the
international sanctions regime must address North Korea's human
A sanctions regime effectively addressing the North Korean
human rights situation must sever access to funds linked to the
crimes against humanity and other human rights violations
perpetrated by the North Korean regime until the situation has
been verifiably remedied. Effective sanctions should also sever
the access to luxury goods and foreign travel for those
officials most responsible for North Korea's crimes against
Mr. Chairman, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea
considers it essential to bring attention to the systematic
widespread crimes against humanity, and egregious human rights
violations perpetrated by the North Korea regime to protect the
victims, to bring justice to their tormentors, and without
further delay to seek ways to improve the human rights
situation in that country. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Scarlatoiu follows:]
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. We appreciate your testimony. Mr.
Klingner, you're recognized for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF MR. BRUCE KLINGNER, SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW,
NORTHEAST ASIA, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION
Mr. Klingner. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and distinguished
members of the panel. It is truly an honor to be asked to
appear before you on such an important issue to our national
As we've heard from my colleagues, North Korea's crimes
against humanity clearly show the regime is a threat to its
citizens. North Korea under Kim Jong-un has also demonstrated
it is a military threat to U.S. allies in Asia, a worldwide
proliferation threat, and increasingly a direct military threat
to the United States.
It is fitting that today's hearing occurs on the 4-year
anniversary of North Korea's sinking of the South Korean naval
ship, Cheonan, a North Korean act of war which resulted in the
deaths of 46 South Korean sailors.
North Korea has made greater progress than widely
perceived--if not already achieved--warhead miniaturization,
the ability to place nuclear weapons on its short-range
missiles, and a preliminary ability to reach the United States.
As such, the United States and its allies face a greater threat
today than is widely construed.
Despite repeated U.S. attempts at diplomacy, North Korea
refuses to abide by the commitments it made during numerous
international agreements to give up the nuclear weapons that it
had previously agreed never to pursue in the first place. North
Korea now demands recognition as a nuclear armed state. It
declared, ``There will be no more discussions over
denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,'' and proclaimed,
``Only fools will entertain the delusion that we will trade our
nuclear deterrent for petty economic aid.''
Despite initial hopes that the new Chinese leadership would
more fully implement U.N.-required actions against North Korea,
Beijing instead continues to be part of the problem rather than
part of the solution. Clearly, the United States cannot rely on
China to constrain North Korea.
President Obama declared that North Korea's nuclear weapons
program was a ``threat to U.S. national security'' and vowed
``significant, serious enforcement of sanctions,'' but despite
this, the United States has pursued a policy in which we only
incrementally increase punishments on Pyongyang toward repeated
defiance of the international community.
The United States has pulled its punches when targeting
financial measures against North Korea. By contrast, the U.S.,
EU, and U.N. have imposed far more pervasive and compelling
measures against Iran, even though Pyongyang and not Tehran has
withdrawn from the non-proliferation treaty, tested nuclear
weapons, and repeatedly threatened nuclear attacks on the
United States and its allies.
By adopting a sanctions policy of timid incrementalism,
with promises to be tougher the next time that North Korea
misbehaves, the U.S. is squandering the opportunity to more
effectively impede progress on North Korea's nuclear and
missile programs, and coerce compliance with U.N. resolutions.
Just as strong measures induced Iran back to the negotiating
table, more robust sanctions are needed to leverage North
There is a widespread misperception that North Korea is the
most heavily sanctioned country in the world, and there's
nothing more that can be done. That is simply not true. In my
submitted testimony I've provided an extensive list of
additional specific financial measures that the U.S. can and
should impose on North Korea, as well as against non-North
Korean entities that are violating U.S. law and U.N.
Most of these recommended actions have already been applied
against other nations, including Iran and Burma. These are
targeted financial measures against the regime and other
violators, not the North Korean people themselves. In essence,
they are financial precision guided munitions and not economic
carpet bombing against the populace.
Since it is a unilateral U.S. financial strategy against
violators, China cannot veto it and Beijing will find it harder
to block than a diplomatic strategy or traditional trade
A few of these recommended actions are to: Designate North
Korea as a primary money laundering concern, as the U.S.
previously did with Iran and Burma; ban North Korean financial
institutions correspondent accounts in the United States--even
financial institutions not doing business in the U.S. would be
affected since nearly all dollar denominated transactions
internationally must pass through U.S. Treasury-regulated
banks; publicly identify and sanction all foreign companies,
financial institutions, and governments assisting North Korea's
nuclear and missile programs; impose third-party sanctions on
entities that trade with those on a sanctions list; compel the
removal of North Korea from the SWIFT financial transfer
network as Iranian banks were in 2012; formally charge North
Korea as a currency counterfeiter; tighten maritime counter
proliferation by targeting shipping companies and airlines
caught proliferating; and finally, enhance U.S. inspections of
shipping companies transiting ports that consistently fail to
inspect North Korean cargo.
In conclusion, the current U.S. policy of Strategic
Patience is predominantly passive because it fails to impose
sufficient pressure to effectively degrade North Korea's
capabilities or alter its behavior. Minimalist measures have
only encouraged North Korea to continue to expand and refine
its nuclear arsenal of missiles and embolden it to proliferate.
The U.S. has sufficient tools, it has only lacked the resolve
to use them.
Finally, I would submit that the operative question should
be why would the United States hesitate to impose the same
measures on North Korea that Washington has already implemented
on other countries for far less egregious violations?
I thank you again for the opportunity to appear before you,
and I look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Klingner follows:]
Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much. We appreciate the
testimony from all three of the witnesses here this afternoon.
I'd now like to recognize the gentleman from the Commonwealth
of Virginia, Mr. Connolly, for the purpose of making an opening
Mr. Connolly. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate
very much your holding this hearing. I also appreciate the
testimony particularly of Ms. Grace Jo, and just listening to
what she went through and her family went through. Thank you so
much for the courage of testifying today.
I'm also, Mr. Chairman, delighted that the chairman of the
committee has announced that we're going to actually markup
H.R. 1771, North Korean Sanctions. And, Mr. Klingner, am I
pronouncing that right? Thank you for your list, very helpful,
because I think they do need to have teeth.
Two points I would just make, Mr. Chairman, listening to
this panel. One is, it is imperative that the United States put
teeth into the sanctions it imposes in the North. They should
never be less than what they are with some other rogue states.
And, secondly, we may have an opportunity with respect to
China, and I know we're going to explore that on this panel.
But the fact of the matter is, when Kim Jong-un executed his
uncle, he executed the Chief Interlocutor with the People's
Republic of China. And in doing that, perhaps the Chinese got
the message that their longstanding policy with respect to
North Korea may no longer be tenable. And that may give us a
diplomatic opportunity. And, again, I very much look forward to
talking with the panel about that.
Mr. Chairman, thank you so much for the opportunity.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much. I'll now begin by
recognizing myself for 5 minutes for the purpose of asking
China's policy toward North Korea, and Mr. Connolly already
alluded to this, appears to have undergone some evolution in
the year since Xi took office. In some instances, appearing to
be more willing to express its displeasure with Pyongyang.
What, if anything, can be done to influence China, who is,
after all, the key here and has the most influence to pressure
North Korea, to lean on them to civilize itself. That seems to
be beyond the capability of this regime but to at least be less
oppressive to its people than it currently is? I would welcome
any of the witnesses to talk to us about that. Mr. Klingner.
Mr. Klingner. Yes, sir. As I said, there were hopes that Xi
Jinping would be different, and a year ago during the time when
North Korea was heightening tensions to a dangerous level it
appeared China was more angry with its recalcitrant ally. Since
then, since North Korea has shifted back to a charm offensive,
we've seen Beijing sort of walk back from those initial
positive hopeful steps.
Most recently, we've seen China has rejected the U.N.
Commission of Inquiry's Human Rights Report saying its
``divorced from reality,'' and they have refused U.N. action to
refer it either to the ICC or a tribunal. We have seen in the
past, China has turned a blind eye to proliferation that
transited its country--North Korean missile parts, for example,
going to Iran. We've seen it refuse to take actions when the
U.S. Government even provided information.
It did recently take action, it severed financial relations
with North Korea's Financial Trade Bank. It had done this a
decade ago, and then undid that action, so there are a number
of things China has done, but then undid them. So, again, I
think we need a focus on a unilateral U.S. strategy rather than
on China in the U.N. Security Council.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. Mr. Scarlatoiu, did you want to add
anything to that?
Mr. Scarlatoiu. Certainly, Mr. Chairman. China is an
aspiring super power that helped establish and maintain the Kim
regime in power for more than 60 years. In a letter addressed
to the President of China, the Commission of Inquiry made it
clear that by its policy of forcibly returning North Korean
refugees to conditions of danger, China puts itself in a
position where it is aiding and abetting a regime that has
committed crimes against humanity.
Certainly, as Mr. Klingner has pointed out, the
recommendation that the Security Council submit, refer the case
to the International Criminal Court is unlikely to happen over
the short to medium term, in particular because of a potential
For what it's worth, we might as well push the Chinese and
place them in a position where they actually have to exercise
their right to veto as a permanent member of the Security
Council, further reinforcing the clear impression that China is
aiding and abetting a regime that has committed crimes against
Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much. Ms. Jo, if I could turn to
you now, and ask you a different question. As a refugee
yourself, could you share with us your insights about the
obstacles that you faced obtaining refugee status in the U.S.,
and about the humanitarian conditions that North Korean
refugees face, in general?
Ms. Jo. Yes, sir. As a refugee our family has lived in the
United States almost 6 years now. And in the beginning we had
support from the government, about 8 months, which is Medicare
and Food Stamps, and cash about $250 for each person, so that
helps our family a lot. And I believe most of the refugees they
do get same benefits as our family.
The one thing I would like to ask government to support
refugee, which is North Korean refugees, is we need some sort
of organization to support new refugees to educate them in
society, and in America, the language different, and society is
different. It's very difficult to assimilate in the society as
a refugee, so I don't know is there any organization we can
educate them, but I would like to ask government to support
some organization to educate them and support them about a year
or year and a half to help them to know the United States.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. My time
has expired. The gentleman from California, Mr. Sherman, is
recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Sherman. Ms. Jo, thank you for your courage and for
telling us your story.
Mr. Klingner, how many nuclear weapons, and I realize this
is unclassified and just does North Korea have, or at least
have enough fissile material to create? And can you tell us the
status of uranium and plutonium programs to create additional
Mr. Klingner. Well, sir, the information on North Korea is
very difficult to get. Even when I was in the intelligence
community, we referred to it as the hardest of the hard
targets. But I think experts generally assess that North Korea
likely has six to eight plutonium-based nuclear weapons. The
uranium program I believe is much further along than some
believe it has achieved because it has been underway since the
late 1980s. It also received critical support from Pakistan and
the A.Q. Khan Network. There's been a rogues gallery of
interaction with Iran, Pakistan, A.Q. Khan, Libya, and North
Korea where they exchanged valuable information and components.
So, I think in return for North Korea assistance on putting
warheads onto short and medium-range missile to Pakistan,
Pakistan replied by providing centrifuges and critical----
Mr. Sherman. So, their plutonium program generated enough
fissile material, from six to eight weapons, and the consensus
seems to be that that program is not producing any more fissile
Mr. Klingner. It has been dormant for some years, but we've
seen just in the last year from unclassified satellite imagery
that North Korea is expanding its uranium reprocessing
facilities. The reactor program at Yongbyon, as well as two
very extensive missile launch facilities on the east and the
The latest missile test, I'm sorry, the latest nuclear test
may have been uranium, but we were unable to determine whether
it was plutonium.
Mr. Sherman. I would point out that there's a focus on
missiles, even missile defense. And, obviously, the highest
status for a dictator is to have a nuclear tipped
intercontinental ballistic missile, but the less prestigious
way to deliver a nuclear weapon is to smuggle one, and you can
easily smuggle one into the United States inside a bale of
We're not safe from this. We declared that it was
unacceptable for North Korea to have a nuclear weapon, and then
went to sleep pretty much. So, we are now in a position where
it may be in our interest to negotiate with a terrible regime
and to provide the kind of aid that Mr. Rohrabacher would decry
if there was a way to limit them to their current six to eight
plutonium-based weapons. The only thing worse than North Korea
with six to eight weapons is a North Korea with 16 to 18
Has the North Korean Government shown any interest in even
limiting, let alone disgorging, the fruits of its nuclear
weapons program, Mr. Klingner?
Mr. Klingner. No, sir. They made very clear under Kim Jong-
il, and now under Kim Jong-un that they have no intention of
abandoning their nuclear arsenal. They have repeatedly----
Mr. Sherman. Of abandoning or even failing to augment, or
just they have no intention to abandon, or no intention to fail
Mr. Klingner. Right. They have violated the four previous
agreements that they signed to never pursue a nuclear weapons
program. They violated the three agreements to denuclearize.
They've indicated no indication that they want to pursue that.
Mr. Sherman. So, we have no reason not to follow every one
of your suggestions as to how to impose additional sanctions.
Mr. Klingner. What I recommend is, as part of a
comprehensive integrated strategy, using conditional
engagement, and also more effective punitive measures to try to
compel them to return to their denuclearization commitments.
And then since perhaps those two----
Mr. Sherman. Well, the problem we have on denuclearization
is Gaddafi gave up his nuclear program which was more advanced
than we realized. Saddam gave up his weapons of mass
destruction, the Ukraine gave up the third largest nuclear
arsenal. Gaddafi and Saddam are dead, and Ukraine doesn't have
Crimea. It's going to be very hard to convince any country that
has nuclear weapons to give them up given that track record.
We may be able, though, to halt progress toward future
weapons whether it be Iran, which is still at zero, or North
Korea, but I think that goal of a non-nuclear North Korea is a
goal we should have stuck to, and didn't. But I thank you for
outlining the possible actions we could take to try to create a
verifiable destruction of those tools that they are using,
particularly in the uranium area, to expand their stockpile of
nuclear weapons. And given how this regime treats its own
people, it's pretty important to make sure they don't have even
more. I yield back.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. The gentleman's time has expired.
The gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Perry, is recognized for 5
Mr. Perry. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Scarlatoiu, what would you characterize as the
successes of our policy of Strategic Patience?
Mr. Scarlatoiu. Mr. Perry, certainly in our area of human
rights, unfortunately the greatest challenge that we face is
that we have paid a lot of attention to the very important
political security challenges that we face on the Korean
Peninsula, but not the human rights considerations.
I think that we need to take those concerns into account
because concern for human rights is part of who we are, because
these are values that we share with our friends, partners, and
allies in Northeast Asia and beyond, in particular, with----
Mr. Perry. Let me--pardon my interruption, but let me
So, are there any successes, strategic, tactical, nuclear,
human rights, are there any successes to this strategy that you
can enumerate for me?
Mr. Scarlatoiu. As far as I can see, there are no
successes, Congressman Perry. As far as I can see, the policy
of Strategic Patience is one of very few, if any, available
options that we have under the current circumstances, in
particular, because North Korea has entirely lost its
international credibility, as Mr. Klingner was mentioning, by
joining the non-proliferation treaty, pulling out of the non-
proliferation treaty, joining the Geneva Agreed Framework,
pulling out, most recently in 2012 agreeing to the leap day
agreement, then two and a half----
Mr. Perry. Right. I mean, we know that they don't honor any
of their commitments. I'm just--I'm frustrated, I think as many
Americans are, that what we're doing is just kind of sitting
back and waiting to see what happens; meanwhile, the things
that Ms. Jo enumerated are occurring on a minutely,
instantaneous basis every hour of the day. And it breaks our
heart to know that, and know that we're literally doing nothing
about it. Let me move on.
Mr. Klingner, how do you view the international interim
nuclear deal with Iran in relation to the North Korean nuclear
problem? Do you see any juxtaposition, does one have any effect
on the other, or does one incentivize North Korea in a certain
way, or not? Is there any interplay whatsoever in your mind?
Mr. Klingner. Well, in reviewing the interim agreement, I
certainly had a case of deja vu having followed North Korea for
20 years. I think there are lessons that we've learned from
negotiating with North Korea that should be applied with Iran.
I think we need very extensive, very detailed negotiations or
agreements like we had with the Soviet Union in the Warsaw
Pact. We need very, very stringent verification measures to
insure that North Korea or Iran is not cheating, as North Korea
repeatedly has done in the past.
We need to have the willingness to walk away from the table
if it's a bad deal. I think in the past with North Korea we
often saw, as one negotiator put it, the desire to keep the
bicycle moving. If it stops, it falls over, so the negotiations
were kept going for the sake of----
Mr. Perry. So, we learned, but in essence we--I mean,
learning is this--I would think you would take a different
action based on what you learned from the mistakes that you
learned. But we have the information, we know what was
successful, we know what failed, but we haven't applied any of
that in Iran, if I could be succinct about your answer.
Mr. Klingner. I think the lessons are there. Whether we've
learned them is a different story.
Mr. Perry. All right. Do you accept the assessment of the
U.S. Intelligence Committee that North Korea will be deterred
from using nuclear weapons except possibly in the scenario of
imminent regime collapse?
Mr. Klingner. I would largely agree. I think they realize
that using nuclear weapons would bring about the end of their
regime and the end of their country. I think their nuclear
weapons are intended more for compellence or coercion. The U.S.
and South Korea have been deterred from responding to military
attacks that North Korea has committed in the past even before
they had nuclear weapons. And now that they have nuclear
weapons, North Korea would think that they could get away with
more than they did before.
Mr. Perry. Okay, thank you. I will tell you that I--as
other members of the panel listened intently to your list of
potential options for the United States, and I'll be working
with the chairman and the other members of the committee to
help draft that legislation, partly due to the list that you've
provided, or with that in mind, because I think it would be
Just in the time remaining, Ms. Jo, your story is
incredibly compelling, and I could tell you, I think it breaks
everyone's heart in the room, and if every American could hear
it, it would break their heart. But from your point of view,
and I understand you've been gone a long time, and you were
there as child, but the things you've seen and endured, what
from your perspective would make a difference to turn that
leadership around, to turn--to have the people rise up against
this oppression, to completely change the situation in North
Korea? What will motivate--is there anything that could
motivate the people? Is there any chance for the people to do
this on their own, and some way for the United States and the
United Nations to motivate that, empower that, encourage that?
Ms. Jo. Politically, I don't have full educated, so I
cannot give you the exact answer. But in my opinion and
thinking, the United States, we can help the Ministries or the
individual people who already escaped into China, who are
seeking freedom. So, we can rescue refugees in China to the
freedom country. And once we rescue hundreds, thousands
refugees from North Korea, I believe one day North Korean
regime will fall down.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much, and thank you for your
Ms. Jo. Thank you.
Mr. Chabot. We appreciate that. The gentleman from
Virginia, Mr. Connolly, is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Connolly. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Klingner, first of all, I don't--it's not often I find
myself in near total agreement with the Heritage Foundation,
but I must say I found your testimony right on, and very
helpful in terms of not just providing a critique of U.S.
policy, but giving us a roadmap for how we might become much
more efficacious. And I thank you for that contribution, as
well, and I echo what my colleagues said.
I think when--I've written the chairman requesting a markup
of H.R. 1771, and we're going to do that. And when we do, we
certainly will take a very close, hard look at your
recommendations, so this hearing is very timely.
Let me ask you about China. How important do you think
China is to the ultimate issue of North Korea and ultimate
reunification? Conventional wisdom had it that the Chinese
would never support reunification, that having the hermit
kingdom sort of under their thumb served their interest,
keeping the peninsula divided served their interest, but you
could make the case that perhaps in light of recent events and,
frankly, the opening up of the Chinese economy, they have a lot
more in common with the South than they do with the North. And
that the North has now become an albatross more than anything
else. And in this case even a sort of unpredictable albatross,
if such a thing exists. I don't know if albatrosses can be
unpredictable, Mr. Chairman, but let's assume they can.
Especially in light of the execution of Kim Jong-un's uncle.
So, how important is China? What leverage do they have? And
are we--do we have reason to believe as the United States that
they might be more open to our importunings than in the past?
Mr. Klingner. You ask a very good question, sir, because
experts on China and North Korea have been struggling with
that, and we haven't come to an answer.
The Chinese-North Korean relationship is complicated, and
what we've seen in China, even at the senior leadership level,
is a split between, if you will, old school who support their
ally and alliance forged in blood, and the younger leadership
who sees, as you pointed out, North Korea is an albatross. The
future of China on the Korean Peninsula is with the South for
economic reasons, so there is that struggle. But to date, the
old school has outvoted the new school.
As for unification, the Bush administration, the Obama
administration, and Track II discussions outside of government
have tried to get China to articulate what are its red lines,
what are its thoughts toward unification, would it accept it?
What would cause it to go into North Korea? And China has been
resistant, so that lack of transparency is very concerning to
U.S. and South Korean policy makers.
Just yesterday when Xi Jinping met with Park Eun Ji, he
seemed to indicate acceptance of unification or support for
President Park's unification approach. We don't know how much
we can take that to the bank. One would hope China would
acquiesce to a Korean unification, but we don't know. And that
uncertainty is of great concern to the United States.
Mr. Connolly. What is the remaining leverage Beijing has on
Mr. Klingner. Although it has the most leverage of any
country in the world on North Korea, its amount of leverage is
less than perhaps people think. Of course, you can point to the
overwhelming majority of economic engagement from North Korea
to China, it's its largest trading partner. You know, people
say China could cut off the food and the fuel, but China is
unlikely to do that. That would create a crisis on the border,
which is what they want to avoid.
So, I think what the U.S. needs to do is point out to China
that its refusal or its resistance to putting pressure on North
Korea is bringing about the very crisis it doesn't want. It's
encouraging North Korea to pursue these nuclear programs and
missile programs, to engage in deadly acts of attack on South
Korea, which will bring about U.S. and South Korean military
responses that Beijing doesn't want. We need to make clear to
Beijing that it can act now, or it can act later.
Mr. Connolly. One can also say that, I suppose, of the kind
of situation Grace Jo described. I mean, returning North Korean
refugees who get into China back to the North Korean regime is
virtually a death sentence, and certainly a terrible blemish on
the Chinese record. And one wonders whether the Chinese think
that continuing that policy makes any sense in light of the
brutality and the lack of international acceptance of the North
and its behavior by any norms at all.
Mr. Klingner. Right. As my colleagues can address far
better, is that forced repatriation is itself in violation of
Mr. Connolly. If the chairman would allow Mr. Scarlatoiu to
address the questions, then I will relent.
Mr. Chabot. Sure. The gentleman's time is expired, but Mr.
Scarlatoiu can respond.
Mr. Connolly. I thank the chair.
Mr. Scarlatoiu. Thank you, Congressman Connolly.
China joined in 1982 the U.N. Refugee Convention, the 1951
Refugee Convention. Pursuant to that Convention, if a person is
repatriated and faces conditions of danger, then that person
automatically qualifies to be granted access to the process
leading to acquiring political refugee status. We have had
numerous credible reports of North Koreans who were forcibly
returned by China, especially those who came in contact with
South Koreans or Christian missionaries along the road of
defection were tortured, beaten, imprisoned in political prison
camps, North Korean women who became pregnant with Chinese men
along the road of defection, were subjected to sexual violence,
rape. We have credible reports of infanticide, forced
China continues this policy of forcible repatriation of
North Koreans claiming that they're illegal economic migrants.
Last week in Geneva on the 17th of March, right after the
submission and the presentation of the report of the U.N.
Commission of Inquiry by Judge Michael Kirby of Australia,
China again stated that these North Korean refugees are not
political refugees, but illegal economic migrants which makes
absolutely no sense, and is a flagrant violation of the 1951
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. The gentleman's time has expired.
We'll go into a second round in case any other members have
questions. We're going to have votes here shortly, so just a
couple of quick questions.
Mr. Scarlatoiu and Mr. Klingner, let me ask you this first
question: You both mentioned the need for more effective and
targeted sanctions against North Korea that link sanctions to
North Korea's human rights abuses. And we've mentioned the
legislation that's being contemplated here, H.R. 1771. Could
you touch briefly on what in H.R. 1771 you like that may
actually have some impact? Mr. Scarlatoiu?
Mr. Scarlatoiu. Chairman Chabot, the Committee for Human
Rights in North Korea recognizes that the North Korea Sanctions
Enforcement Act of 2013 addresses not only North Korea's
nuclear and missile programs, but also identifies human rights
violations as conduct that is subject to sanctions.
The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea appreciates
that H.R. 1771 also insures that humanitarian assistance to
North Korea is not affected by the sanctions in the spirit of
targeted sanctions called for by the recently released report
of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry.
We are aware that the revised draft of the legislation
actually insures that funds that would otherwise have been used
by the North Korean regime to purchase ski lifts, luxury goods,
weapons and missile components will be used for the purchase of
humanitarian supplies, food, and medicine for those who need it
most for the North Korean people. It is certainly also
important to insure that humanitarian assistance is adequately
monitored and reaches those who need it most, the most
vulnerable people of North Korea.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. Mr. Klingner, did you want to
comment on that?
Mr. Klingner. Yes. H.R. 1771 certainly has an extensive
list of actions that--I noticed a lot of overlap with my own
I think, notably, on the human rights front, that is
something that has lagged on the North Korean side, as we've
seen legislation against Iranian human rights violations,
Syrian. And I think just to go along sort of my theory of do
unto North Korea as we have already done unto other violators
of either human rights accords, or U.S. law, international law,
So, I think--and a good starting point is look at the
Commission of Inquiry's listing of the many North Korean
Government entities or organizations that it condemns as being
involved in these human rights violations. They should go on a
U.S. sanctions list, not only the organizations themselves, but
the individuals who head those organizations. I think that
would be a very good starting point.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. This one is my last question. Ms.
Jo, how do you assess the impact of foreign radio broadcasts
from the U.S. and South Korea into North Korea? I think the
administration favors increasing them and there's some question
as to how effective they've been. How effective do you think
they have been? Is there any way to make radio broadcasts into
North Korea more effective? Did you ever hear anything like
that? How old were you when you left, when you got out of North
Ms. Jo. The last time was 16, 16-years-old.
Mr. Chabot. Okay. Did you ever hear any radio broadcast
coming in from outside of North Korea that said anything that
would let you know what's really happening out there in the
rest of the world? Did that ever happen?
Ms. Jo. When I get international news or information is in
Mr. Chabot. From China. You didn't get anything from the
U.S. or from South Korea that you're aware of then, I guess?
Ms. Jo. Before we come to the United States.
Mr. Chabot. Yes.
Ms. Jo. We only watched the news about America. That's the
only information we got from Chinese TV.
Mr. Chabot. And that was from Chinese TV channels? Okay.
Ms. Jo. Yes.
Mr. Chabot. Okay, thank you. Okay. I'll turn the question
over to you gentlemen then.
Mr. Scarlatoiu. Mr. Chairman, the company tasked to monitor
broadcasting to North Korea, InterMedia, published a couple of
years ago--back then, InterMedia was tasked to perform this
mission, published an excellent report entitled, ``A Quiet
Opening.'' It conducted interviews with North Korean defectors,
North Korean escapees. About one-third, 30 percent of them
stated that they had listened to foreign broadcasting while in
North Korea. Foreign broadcasting also includes broadcasting by
stations based in South Korea.
For the past 10 years, we have seen a constant increase in
the percentage of North Korean defectors who stated that they
had listened to foreign broadcasting. Certainly, this does not
necessarily mean that one-third of all people of North Korea
listen to foreign broadcasting. These were those who were most
likely to actively seek out information from the outside world,
but North Korea is a country where radios have been sealed and
basically set to one set government frequency. In the aftermath
of the great famine of the 1990s, small informal markets have
developed as a coping mechanism, not as the result of top down
reform, and cheap radios have been available in these open
markets, so more North Koreans have had access to radios, and
to broadcasting stations based here in the United States, and
also in South Korea.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. My time has actually expired. Mr.
Klingner, did you want to add anything on the broadcasts into
Mr. Klingner. Yes, if I could, sir. Information is one of
the instruments of national power of the United States, along
with diplomacy, military, economic, and other means. And
getting information into North Korea I think is good. It's
beneficial. It can have a corrosive effect on the regime. And
we can do that through overt and covert means. Overt is through
exchanges which are fine. We shouldn't oversell them as a
substitute for conditional diplomatic engagement or more
effective punitive measures.
We also should do it covertly. There's been a great deal of
information that's gotten into North Korea through thumb
drives, through pamphlets being transported by balloons, people
bringing in DVDs and others. And that really shows the people
of North Korea the reality of their own regime, as well as the
reality of the outside world. So, I think we should do
everything we can to encourage getting information in and out
of North Korea through any means possible.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much. As I said, my time is
expired. We do have votes on the floor, but the gentleman from
Virginia is recognized for up to 5 minutes.
Mr. Connolly. I'll just ask one question as a follow-up if
I may. Well, actually, two.
Mr. Klingner, with respect to the chairman's last question,
you had been talking earlier about we ought to do unto North
Korea what we've been willing to do to Iran. Do you think one
of the reasons there's been some reluctance to do that is that
one of the differences is Iran is sensitive to the impact of
sanctions on its own population; whereas, North Korea seems to
be utterly insensitive to the impact of sanctions or any other
economic consequences, and is willing to have some percent of
its own population starve to death, or suffer severe
malnutrition rather than to bend the knee or relent. Is that--
do you think that that may be one of the concerns the West has,
that in inflicting punishment on a regime we're, in fact,
directly inflicting punishment on innocent civilians?
Mr. Klingner. Actually, I think the reluctance to impose
greater punitive measures on North Korea really is
counterintuitive. As I said before, North Korea has withdrawn
from the NPT. It's exploded nuclear devices. It says blatantly
its nuclear program is for military purposes, and it also
doesn't have a valuable commodity, oil, like Iran does. One
would think there would be far greater sanctions on North Korea
than Iran, but it's the opposite.
I think it's also useful to point out, though----
Mr. Connolly. I guess what I'm getting at is why do you
think that is so? And I'm offering you perhaps one theory for
why it may be so, which in a strange way is a humanitarian
Mr. Klingner. Right. But, actually, the targeted financial
measures are not--would not impact the populace. They are not
trade sanctions, they are not general sanctions. They are going
after very specific financial links of the regime and other
violators to the outside world. So, you know, I think the
reluctance really is puzzling, not only to experts on North
Korea, but particularly South Korean citizens who can't
understand why the U.S. and the international community has
been more reluctant to impose these things on North Korea. So,
you know, it's targeted financial measures that we want, not
broad sanctions that would impact the populous.
Mr. Connolly. Yes. Thank you very much.
Mr. Scarlatoiu. Scarlatoiu, yes, sir.
Mr. Connolly. Can you just briefly bring us up to date on
one of the more bizarre practices of the North, and that is
this whole phenomenon of abductees? It sounds to the
uninitiated almost like a science fiction UFO kind of thing,
abductees but, in fact, it's real.
Mr. Scarlatoiu. Congressman Connolly, thank you for the
question. Our organization, the Committee for Human Rights in
North Korea produced the only extensive English language report
on this topic published 3 years ago entitled, ``Taken.'' One
hundred and eighty thousand citizens of South Korea and other
countries, including Japan and others have been taken by the
North Koreans beginning on the 25th of June, 1950 when the
North Korean military attacked South Korea. The practice goes
back to a decree by Kim Il-sung. They initially intended to
bring over the best and the brightest from South Korea to set
up a new society. Most of them ended up in political prison
camps. Ethnic Koreans from Japan who decided to return to North
Korea, or were pushed to return at the time were never allowed
to leave. Their Japanese spouses were not allowed to leave.
There have also been foreign nationals of countries, including
even, for example, Romania, former Communist ally of North
Korea, who were taken, who were abducted by North Korean
agents. They were forced to teach foreign languages and
cultures to North Korean intelligence operatives. Their
identities were used in North Korea's covert operations. And as
I'm sure you recall, Congressman Connolly, in 1987, two North
Korean agents bombed Korean Air Flight 858, before the 1988
Seoul Olympics. The two North Korean agents who bombed the
plane posed as Japanese nationals, one of them, a woman,
survived, sentenced to death. She survived, her sentence was
commuted, married her bodyguard, became a star in South Korea,
and told the story of how some of the Japanese abductees had
provided training while she was in spy school.
Mr. Connolly. It's an unbelievable story, and it deserves
much more attention. Thank you for doing the only English
report on this terrible practice. And, again, thank you to all
of the panel for being with us today. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much. The gentleman's time has
expired. I also want to reiterate what the gentleman just said.
I think this has been an excellent panel. We especially thank
you, Ms. Jo, for having gone through this personally, and the
trauma that you've suffered during the course of your life.
Thank you, gentlemen, for devoting your lives to a critically
important issue here. We appreciate it very much.
Members will have 5 days to submit questions, or to revise
and expand any of their remarks. If there's no further business
to come before the committee, we're adjourned. Thank you very
[Whereupon, at 4:09 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
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