[House Hearing, 113 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY IN NORTH KOREA
MEETING AND HEARING
SUBCOMMITTEE ON AFRICA, GLOBAL HEALTH,
GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS, AND
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED THIRTEENTH CONGRESS
JUNE 18, 2014
Serial No. 113-197
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--5/20/14
SEAN DUFFY, Wisconsin--5/
Amy Porter, Chief of Staff Thomas Sheehy, Staff Director
Jason Steinbaum, Democratic Staff Director
Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey, Chairman
TOM MARINO, Pennsylvania KAREN BASS, California
RANDY K. WEBER SR., Texas DAVID CICILLINE, Rhode Island
STEVE STOCKMAN, Texas AMI BERA, California
MARK MEADOWS, North Carolina
C O N T E N T S
The Honorable Lee Jong Hoon, Ambassador-at-Large for Human
Rights, Republic of Korea...................................... 4
The Honorable Andrew Natsios, co-chair, The Committee for Human
Rights in North Korea.......................................... 29
Shin Chang Hoon, Ph.D, director, Center for Global Governance,
Asan Institute for Policy Studies.............................. 43
Mr. Shin Dong Hyuk, survivor of North Korean prison camp......... 56
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
The Honorable Lee Jong Hoon: Prepared statement.................. 7
The Honorable Andrew Natsios: Prepared statement................. 33
Shin Chang Hoon, Ph.D: Prepared statement........................ 45
Mr. Shin Dong Hyuk: Prepared statement........................... 59
Hearing notice................................................... 74
Hearing minutes.................................................. 75
The Honorable Lee Jong Hoon: Crimes against humanity report...... 76
The Honorable Christopher H. Smith, a Representative in Congress
from the State of New Jersey, and chairman, Subcommittee on
Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International
Organizations: Statement from the U.S. Commission on
International Religious Freedom................................ 80
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY IN NORTH KOREA
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18, 2014
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health,
Global Human Rights, and International Organizations,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2 o'clock
p.m., in room 2200 Rayburn House Office Building, Hon.
Christopher H. Smith (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. Smith. Good afternoon.
Today's briefing, which will then become a hearing and it
is just due to technical regulations proscribed by the
committee and by the House, hearing from an Ambassador cannot
be done in a hearing setting but it is a briefing. It is really
a distinction without a difference.
So today's hearing and briefing deserve to turn the world's
attention to the systematic abuse of human rights in North
Korea, which amount to crimes against humanity by perhaps the
world's most repressive totalitarian regime.
And so very correctly, as stated in the United Nations
Commission on Inquiry report on North Korea, such a regime is a
state that does not content itself with ensuring the
authoritarian rule of a small group of people but seeks to
dominate every aspect of its citizens' lives and terrorizes
them from within. So by definition this is not an authoritarian
regime, it is an absolute dictatorship and totalitarian regime.
For in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea we see a state
that seeks to control all aspects of the lives of its citizens,
not only their political lives but also that innermost
sanctuary that we call conscience as well.
The term ``hermit kingdom'' is applied to any nation that
wilfully cuts itself off from the rest of the world either
metaphorically or physically. This term was applied to Korea as
long ago as the late 19th century, but it continues to be
applicable to North Korea today.
This is why the terrible human rights violations in North
Korea are little noticed outside of foreign policy circles. We
must see that the crimes of the North Korean regime are far
more widely known, combated, and raised, and pushed against
than they currently are now.
The first step toward that, one, is what we are trying to
do here today, to call in experts to present testimony on the
horrific situation in North Korea where political prisoners
serve as virtual slaves, where starvation is used as a
political weapon, and where religious believers, Christians in
particular, are imprisoned, tortured and killed with such
ferocity that some say it amounts to genocide.
In the past, and this is probably I think the sixth or
seventh hearing that I have had on human rights in North Korea
or the lack of them, we have heard from people, especially
women who have been trafficked, who had made their way into
China and then were sent back, involuntarily repatriated by the
Chinese Government, only to be sent to a gulag where they were
tortured and in many cases executed for leaving the country.
So seeking to gain some liberty they ended up first being
sex trafficked and then secondly exterminated and killed by a
barbaric regime. Unfortunately, today's world's attention is
distracted by manifold crises which seem almost to overwhelm
us, and we will enumerate just a few.
The breathtaking collapse in progress of the Maliki regime
in Iraq, which we had supported at the cost of so much American
blood and treasure, various humanitarian catastrophes in
Africa, most notably the Central African Republic and South
Sudan, which was the subject of a resolution passed just a few
minutes ago, but also the presence of violent Islamist
movements such as Boko Haram. I was just in Nigeria and saw the
devastating impacts again of what that terrorist organization
does to innocent people. And, of course, al-Shabaab in the
major nation of Kenya where they have been hitting most
The ongoing tensions in Ukraine, as a restive Russia seeks
to reassert the imperial hegemony over neighboring states and
clashes in the South China Sea as an increasingly bellicose
China makes a gambit to become a maritime power and fill a
We have always lived in a wounded world, but today the
tourniquets required to stop all the bleeding the world over
would tax even the most compassionate of souls.
Yet it is precisely this exhaustion of compassion that we
must fight against. Compassion fatigue is not a luxury that we
can afford and we must summon the necessary conviction to
address the sufferings of the beleaguered people of North
We will have testifying today an eyewitness to the
barbarity of North Korea's cruel regime, a defector from North
Korea who was born in a total control zone--political prison
camp and he will give us an unsettling firsthand account of
exactly what he experienced.
The torture he endured and not simply physical torture, as
horrific as that was, but was a psychological barbarity and
such ruthlessness that once you have heard what he underwent
your imaginations will forever be affected.
Members of this subcommittee are no strangers to the
brutality of starvation in many parts of the world,
particularly in Africa. But today they will hear stories of
starvation by design, how the denial of food is used as an
instrument of wide scale torture.
We will also hear about a North Korean nuclear program that
goes beyond the headlines. Yet we do know that North Korea, in
its quest for nuclear weapons, threatens to destabilize the
world. But what many of us did not know and what we will hear
today is the extent to which the North Korea nuclear program is
built upon the cadavers of its own people.
The United Nations Commission of Inquiry report, as
important as it was, never explored the full extent to which
workers in uranium mines are exposed to high levels of
radiation and how even the most basic concern for the safety
needs of workers are routinely ignored.
Finally, I want to call attention to H.R. 1771, the North
Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act. It is my hope that Congress,
both House and Senate, will take to heart the testimony that is
presented today and with a renewed focus on North Korea's human
rights record pass this important legislation which takes a
step for holding this rogue regime accountable for the sins
committed against its own people.
I, finally, just note parenthetically that we did invite
Special Envoy Bob King. He is traveling. We will have him here
as our Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues.
His position was created as part of the North Korean Human
Rights Act and we look forward to his testimony because he has
worked very, very hard and I will just also remind my
colleagues who were here he used to be the staff director for
the Democratic side of the aisle for the Foreign Affairs
Committee under Tom Lantos.
So I yield to Ms. Bass.
Ms. Bass. Okay. Chairman Smith, thank you for holding this
hearing today. I would also like to thank our distinguished
witnesses and I look forward to hearing your perspectives on
the ongoing challenges to human rights in North Korea.
I am also interested in hearing your perspective on what is
ultimately at stake if efforts to address North Korea's human
rights abuses are not sufficiently managed.
As we prepare to hear from today's witnesses, I hope we can
learn critical lessons from their experiences and use them to
increase awareness and support for the improved protection of
human rights in North Korea and across the globe.
I am committed to working toward this end and look forward
to working with my colleagues to find the most effective and
Thank you very much and I yield back my time.
Mr. Smith. Thank you very much. Mr. Marino.
Mr. Marino. I have no----
Mr. Smith. I would like to now welcome to the table
Ambassador-at-Large for Human Rights of the Republic of Korea,
Ambassador Lee. Lee Jong Hoon is the Republic of Korea's
Ambassador-at-Large for Human Rights.
He is also a member of the faculty of at Yonsei University
where he directs its Centers on Korean and American studies.
Ambassador Lee hosted a weekly television program on current
affairs for 5 years and his writings and commentaries appear
frequently in Korean and international media.
He has written widely on East Asian affairs with special
reference to foreign policy and security issues. In the last
Korean Presidential election he advised President Park on
foreign and security affairs.
He also serves as co-chair of Save NK, a nongovernmental
organization dealing primarily with North Korean human rights
Mr. Ambassador, welcome to the committee and please provide
us with your statement.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE LEE JONG HOON, AMBASSADOR-AT-LARGE
FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Ambassador Lee. Good afternoon and thank you, Mr. Chairman,
Ranking Member Bass and members of the subcommittee for giving
me this opportunity to address you today. Before I begin I
would ask that my written remarks be made part of the record.
Mr. Smith. Without objection, so ordered.
Ambassador Lee. Thank you. I would also like to thank your
staff as well as the staff and volunteers at Human Liberty,
without whose hard work and dedication today's briefing and
hearing would not have taken place.
In 1945, the sense of revulsion at what had taken place at
Auschwitz, Treblinka, and other concentration camps was
manifest not only in the Nuremberg trials but also in the
adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Together, these two events ushered in a sea of change in
thinking about human rights. Subsequently, the community of
nations has drafted and adopted a number of additional human
Whether through sanctions or armed interventions, steps
were taken against regimes that have blatantly violated the
Universal Declaration's ideals. The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia,
apartheid in South Africa, and the genocide in Rwanda are cases
One country that has largely escaped the world's notice,
however, is North Korea, a country that is arguably the world's
worst violator of human rights.
Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, we are all
gathered here today because we share a common goal as well as a
concern. The concern, of course, is the unrelenting deprivation
of fundamental human rights in North Korea.
Our shared goal is to raise international awareness, to
extend hope for those languishing under the near 7-decade-long
tyranny of the Kim Dynasty. We wonder how long must this
suffering go on.
What will it take for the international community finally
to say no more to the North Korean regime? Why can't there be a
red line for human rights as there is for weapons of mass
destruction? In a normal state, national security is pursued to
ensure human security.
In North Korea, however, national security ensures only
regime security. The state takes no responsibility to protect
its own people. It is no wonder why North Koreans en masse
resort to taking refuge across the border.
Why? Because there is no hope in a country ruled by
political prisons, torture, hunger, and public execution,
completely void of the fundamental rights to an adequate
standard of living, not to mention life. The question remains
how to get at the main sole source of all problems--the
Pyongyang regime itself.
In March this year, the Commission of Inquiry on North
Korea unveiled its final report at the UNHRC. The report
represents a significant milestone in how the world views and
deals with the human rights crisis in North Korea.
The COI report characterizes North Korea as a totalitarian
state that has committed serious human rights violations
amounting to crimes against humanity. Since the release of the
report, the international community has come together as never
before on this issue.
One outcome worth noting is the work of Human Liberty that
actively seeks to create a coalition of partners and volunteers
to sustain this momentum.
Of particular significance is the commissioning of Hogan
Lovells, an international law firm based in London, to conduct
an independent evaluation of COI's work pro bono.
I would ask, Mr. Chairman, that the full crimes against
humanity report be made part of the record.
Mr. Smith. Without objection, your request will be honored.
Ambassador Lee. Thank you. I am here to make public for the
very first time the commissioned work by Hogan Lovells, which
unequivocally endorses the findings and recommendations of the
COI. But Hogan Lovells goes a step further to charge that the
North Korean regime may be guilty of the crime of genocide.
How so? Because the North Korean regime has, with full
intent, been involved in the extermination, at least in part,
first, of the so-called hostile class; second, those who are
adherents of religion, Christians in particular; and third,
those who are not ethnically North Korean.
With respect to the hostile class, North Korea has imposed
what it calls the Songbun system--essentially, a caste system
where the hostile class with suspect state loyalty is placed at
the very bottom of the society.
As such, a legitimate argument can be made that North Korea
has effectively created a group with a separate cultural
identity within the society and as such it constitutes a
On that basis, the extreme discrimination to which this
class is subjected, especially the deprivation of food,
constitutes a form of genocide. In this case, it will be
genocide by attrition or starvation.
Now, on religion, Christians are viewed by the North Korean
regime as a political threat because the state does not allow
any belief system other than its official state ideology called
Juche, or self-reliance.
Just recently, the regime arrested an American tourist by
name of Jeffrey Fowle, who reportedly left his Bible in a hotel
room. Last September, there were reports that 33 North Koreans
associated with South Korean Baptist missionary Kim Jeung Uk
were sentenced to death for helping to establish underground
churches in North Korea.
They were executed by firing squad on November 3rd of last
year when coordinated public executions reportedly took place
in seven cities across the country in front of thousands of
spectators including children, who were forced to watch. If
that is not genocide, I don't know what is.
The third category that are victims of genocide in North
Korea are the non-Koreans. To the regime, any interracial
marriage corrupts the purity of the society.
As a result, the government brutally enforces a policy of
forced abortion and even infanticide against mixed-race
children, especially those with Chinese fathers.
The Human Liberty report contends that an argument for
genocide could be made on the basis that these mixed-race
children who are victims of infanticide will qualify as a
protected group under international law on racial and ethnic
Considering the strict and narrow defines of the term
genocide, the COI report was hesitant in charging the North
Korean regime of genocide, suggesting instead that perhaps the
term political genocide might be more applicable.
The Human Liberty report prepared by Hogan Lovells,
however, finds enough evidences to conclude that in North Korea
genocide is taking place.
During his presentation of the COI report, Chairman Michael
Kirby said, ``These are the ongoing crimes against humanity
happening in the DPRK which our generation must tackle urgently
and collectively. The rest of the world has ignored the
evidence for too long. Now there is no excuse because now we
So the question remains, Mr. Chairman, now that we know
what do we do? How can we provide the beacon of hope for those
North Koreans desperately yearning for freedom?
To bring about a real change, it takes courage and the
political will to confront the Pyongyang regime. What is
required is worldwide mobilization.
Ending the human rights abuses in North Korea will require
a global campaign reminiscent of the international anti-
apartheid movement. U.S. House subcommittee hearings such as
today's can only boost such a global campaign.
It matters, and I am deeply grateful, and that is why I
flew 12,000 kilometers today just to give this briefing,
however short it may be. It is my way of thanking you and also
letting you know that we are in this together.
Thank you and God bless, and with that, Mr. Chairman and
subcommittee, I will be pleased to answer any questions that
you might have.
[The prepared statement of Ambassador Lee follows:]
Mr. Smith. Ambassador Lee, thank you so very much for your
extraordinary statement, your call for a global mobilization.
You are absolutely right. I mean, this committee would concur
with you. If this isn't genocide, what is?
You know, whole or in part this is almost whole, because of
the numbers of people who are systematically exterminated. I
regret that we have one vote on the floor of the House so we
are going to have to take a very brief recess and then we will
come back and I know we all have a number of questions that we
But thank you again for making your way here from the
Republic of Korea, flying all night, and but above all thank
you for your commitment to the people who are suffering
unbearable and unspeakable agony in North Korea. We will stand
in brief recess.
Mr. Smith. We will resume and Ambassador Lee, thank you
again for your testimony. Just a few opening questions, if I
First of all, on a note that is very near and dear to my
heart I want to thank you for the work that you have done in
your country on combating human trafficking.
You know, as the author of the Trafficking Victims
Protection Act, and I have worked with many of your lawmakers
and have been to Seoul on trafficking missions, your laws are
extraordinarily effective and, frankly, I think we are working
side by side, not only there and here, but also around the
world, to combat that modern-day slavery. So thank you for that
leadership because it is very real.
Now, on the issue of North Korea, I wonder if you could
just answer a couple of questions. You know, you have called
for a mobilization. I wonder if you can suggest to us what you
think might be the best leverage.
I know the U.N. General Assembly frequently takes up the
case as does the Human Rights Council. I don't think that
United Nations Genocide Convention's panel of experts has done
It seems to me, as you pointed out, this is genocide. That
would be a very appropriate place to at least take this up
whether or not they are signatories or not but certainly the
Human Rights Council needs to do something more than what it
does, which is like an obligatory denunciation and it doesn't
seem to go further than that.
Everyone says okay, North Korea is bad, doing horrible
things to its people, slaughtering. But I think your idea of a
mobilization where more people, parliamentarians, congresses,
the European Union, everyone starts really focusing.
It has been frustrating for me and members of our panel
that even in the Six-Party Talks human rights always get thrown
to the back, if they are there at all, and it seems to me, and
I have said this so many times, there needs to be integration
of the human rights issue with the nuclear issue so that every
time one is spoken about the other is raised equally because if
you can't treat your own people with dignity and respect how
can we trust and verify, particularly since on-site inspections
are very difficult to accomplish in a nuclear agreement.
Human rights are integral to everything, in my opinion, so
your point about the mobilization, the red line, thank you for
that, that is a very important statement that you made.
Let me just ask you as well just to explain maybe for all
of us about Juche. I read a book on Juche years ago and it was
written by a Christian who said you Westerners really don't
understand that whole principle and how it is integrated with
this morphed communist ideology of the Kims.
Could you maybe elaborate for us more on the genocide, what
leverage we might have and what haven't we done, what else can
be done. I think integration into the Six-Party Talks when they
do occur ought to be a part of this. But Juche, if you could
also speak to that as well.
Ambassador Lee. Well, thank you for those questions, Mr.
Chairman. I really think the COI report really opened up a new
chapter in dealing with the North Korean human rights crisis
situation. Maybe 3 or 4 years ago we would not have imagined
putting in a single sentence Kim Jong Il, well, now, of course,
his son, Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, the
International Criminal Court, or prosecution.
I mean, and yet we are liberally and more often than not,
talking about these things. So that is a huge leap forward, I
believe. Of course, with the prosecutory mechanisms at the
U.N., it is not going to happen overnight.
It is a long drawn-out process. It is complicated. It is
costly. I understand that. But just the fact that we are now
talking about these things is a very positive development in
dealing with North Korean human rights issues.
Now, with regards to the genocide that you are asking
about, of course, Chairman Kirby in the COI report, as I
mentioned in my briefing, felt that, well, crimes against
humanity is sufficient for their mandated purpose.
There is probably evidence for political genocide but as
you know genocide in international law has a very narrow scope,
definition that you just have to fit things into.
But as I was explaining, Hogan Lovells, a major law firm in
London, these are lawyers and they have given it a very careful
study and felt that there is enough evidence to warrant
Now, that is crimes against humanity plus genocide. These
are the two worst possible crimes in international law that
there can be.
So I think it is significant that we start to delve into
this issue of genocide as well, on top of crimes against
humanity, because we are just only beginning, and when I speak
of an international campaign and movement it is about the
international public opinion. In order for there to be
international public opinion there has to be a much more
increased awareness of what is going on so that the United
Nations, particularly the Security Council, understands that
there is this demand in the international public opinion that
something needs to be done in North Korea. Let there be
pressure on China and Russia. Let them think twice before they
veto anything down.
Mr. Smith. Is it a referral to the ICC that you contemplate
as well or have you thought about maybe a specialized court
like we had for Sierra Leone, Rwanda and the court in
Ambassador Lee. Well, I mean, yes. I mean, these are all
things that is, of course, recommended by the COI, by Justice
Kirby and his team, that it should be referred because, of
course, as you know, North Korea is not a party to the Rome
It should be the Security Council that is making the
referral. If not, the ad hoc tribunal as we know of the former
Yugoslavia. It could be a joint tribunal, as in the case of
But that is probably highly unlikely because the North
Korean regime will not agree to such a thing. But, you know, as
I said, it is going to be difficult journey but we are now
talking about it. Let us increase the awareness.
Let us increase the education of the young people so that
more people go to SMS, Twitter and talk about these issues,
maybe even in China.
I think there are a growing number of netizens in China who
are saying what is our government doing with this rogue state?
Why are we doing this at the embarrassment of our people? Why
are we being patron to this country that is an embarrassment to
So I think the international awareness for education,
publicity is very, very important. So that is what I am
basically talking about when I am saying that we should
increase the campaign and mobilize the international campaign.
Juche is the is about, well, literally self-reliance. They
don't need anyone; they are self-sufficient, that this is a
paradise that they have created. Far from it, of course. North
Korea basically has two tools for regime survival and make no
mistake, their only interest is regime survival.
To deal with the outside world, weapons of mass
destruction, nuclear weapons. They need to hold on to this and
make it because with the nuclear weapons basically they are
saying nobody touch us and we can do whatever we want and we
are not going to have the United States or, you know, United
Kingdom or whoever, South Korea or even the United Nations,
telling us what to do or what not to do. Internally, it is the
human rights violations.
That is their tool to subdue any sort of anti-government
thoughts or any movement to challenge the regime. So these are
two most useful tools for the regime: Nuclear weapons and human
One for external, one for internal, and it is not going to
change and therefore the pressure has to be very, very firm. We
can't just pat them on the back and hope that things will
change. It will never change.
It hasn't changed for nearly seven decades and therefore
this sort of hearing and while we talk about putting it into
action is so important and in Korea, I might just add, the fact
that the U.N.'s field office structure will be established in
Korea is another very significant development in my country's
dealings with the North Korean human rights issue.
Mr. Smith. Ms. Bass.
Ms. Bass. Well, first of all, let me thank you again for
traveling all the way from Korea to provide your testimony
today. I wanted to understand because I am aware of the man
that is in prison now because he left a Bible in his hotel room
and I just wanted to know if you could talk to me a little bit
about tourism. I don't quite understand tourism in North Korea.
What do they do when they are there? I mean, what kind of
tourism is there? Because you hear about it. I mean, I think
the last person that was in prison had been there. Wasn't he
getting ready to leave and they pulled him off a bus or
Ambassador Lee. Yes. Yes.
Ms. Bass. That was the one with the Bible. So who is going
and what are they doing there?
Ambassador Lee. I don't think there are a whole lot of
tourists. I don't have the statistics but the most active
tourist activity was the tourism of Kun-Dong Mountain, which
was part of South Korea's effort to enhance inter-Korean
relations hoping that things like that, Kun-Dong Mountain
tourism as well as building the Kaesong Industrial Park would
Ms. Bass. Right. That is right on the border, right?
Ambassador Lee. That is right. But, of course, you know
that one of the South Korean tourists, a woman in her 50s, was
taking a stroll early in the morning and she was shot down----
Ms. Bass. Right.
Ambassador Lee [continuing]. Because apparently they are
claiming that she actually crossed beyond the beachfront where
she wasn't supposed to be. I mean, this is a tourist and
thereafter it shut down. So----
Ms. Bass. Okay.
Ambassador Lee [continuing]. I mean, if you are asking a
question as to, you know, who goes there I wouldn't, that is
Ms. Bass. No, I mean, but, you know, you hear about that
and that is when you hear about these folks being stopped. I
have been there to the--right to the border, you know, to the
DMZ and so that was a few years ago, maybe 3 years ago, and I
know it was shut down then. Are you saying that it still hasn't
been opened up?
Ambassador Lee. No.
Ms. Bass. The industrial area has not been opened up?
Ambassador Lee. No. No. Kaesong Industrial Park, of course,
continues but Kun-Dong Mountain tourism has not reopened.
Ms. Bass. I see. I see. And then the ideology that you
described I just want to make sure that I--the self-reliance. I
don't know how it is said in Korean. Could you elaborate a
little more on that?
I understand the basic premise. It is, you know, the Korean
people are supposed to be independent and not rely on anybody
else, how the regime survives when folks are starving and are
obviously not self-reliant and then--so I wanted to know if you
could expand a little bit more on that ideology and how it
And then also are there any internal underground struggles
that are happening? You hear of people escaping but I don't
know if there is any underground movements that are happening
within North Korea.
Ambassador Lee. Yes. I mean, you know, it is the most
closed society in the world so information, intelligence, is
very hard to come by.
We do time to time hear about explosions where the Kim
family train might have passed through. But I think the
frequency is very, very small and North Korea is one of the
highly monitored societies.
Even those North Koreans--I mean, you go out abroad, you go
to New York, the U.N., or other parts where North Korean
diplomats are that you will able to meet or restaurants that
they run, they are never alone.
They are always in twosomes or threesomes because everyone
is watching over his or her shoulders and therefore even within
North Korea the monitoring mechanism is so severe and intense
that it is probably very, very difficult to anticipate the kind
of Jasmine Revolution that we have seen in other parts of the
But nothing is impossible. I am sure that deep inside the
people of North Korea have this desire and that is why, you
know, what I am saying is let us find ways. Let us find ways to
somehow help these people to expand on their desire whether it
is by sending USBs. I don't know----
Ms. Bass. US what?
Ambassador Lee. USBs about the outside world--the
information. Chairman Kirby was recently in Korea to visit and
he was asking the Korean Government people about how to get the
translated version of the COI report so that North Koreans can
read it, how we get it to North Korea.
So sending information to North Korea I think will be a
very, very important task going forward so that people know
that more people understand what their situation is in light of
the outside world.
Ms. Bass. Yes. It is just hard to see how the regime falls
considering it has been seven decades. You know what I mean?
Short of a massive invasion somewhere because they are blocked
off from the rest of the world.
We know starvation is going on but yet they continue. What
is your guesstimate as to the number of people that are in
Ambassador Lee. I think, you know, anywhere between 120,000
to as many as 200,000. But, again, you know, when we are
talking about these political prison camps it is not like
prisons where you might have 200 or 500 people.
I am sure you will get a much better testimony from Mr.
Shin. But we are talking about, like, 50,000 people--people who
are born into these prison camps and dying. These are towns. It
is a different world that they have created--a world of hell.
Now, and it is important that you mentioned this point
about when it falls. It has been there despite all the talks
about economic difficulties that it has been--the regime has
survived for seven decades.
Well, I believe that in particular China's role is very,
very important. North Korea, despite its resilience in a bad
way, is very much dependent on China in terms of energy, in
terms of food. So if, I believe, China made the decision to,
for example, really cut off all financial transactions, if it
really used its energy and food leverage on North Korea, it
I am not saying that it will collapse. It could. But
certainly it will change because the regime cannot survive. So
I think that is where the focus ought to be.
Mr. Smith. Thank you very much, Ms. Bass. Mr. Marino.
Mr. Marino. Thank you, Chairman. Good afternoon,
Ambassador Lee. Good afternoon.
Mr. Marino. I want to talk to you for a moment about the
United States' role in the world and particularly in the United
Everybody comes to the--when there is an issue, even if
they are not favorable to the United States, they call on the
United States for assistance whether it is natural disasters or
manmade, and that is what we do in the United States. We help
people around the world and we try to resolve problems.
But I am not seeing very much or hearing very much out of
the United Nations, particularly the Secretary-General who, by
the way, is Korean, and he assumed the Secretary-General
position I think it was about 2007. He was reelected in 2011
He was Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade for and other
high-ranking positions for almost 37 years. His wife, Madam
Yoo, is devoted to women's and children's health issues,
autism, violence against women, et cetera.
But yet when I hear the Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon,
speak, the last issue I heard concerning Korea was in April
2013 and he was on a CNN interview and he had a couple of
sentences where he scolded the leader of North Korea.
In August 2013, he had a press conference and most of it
was on Syria, nothing about North Korea, and if you look on his
bio and his major initiatives and any other statements that he
makes pursuant to speaking to the media he starts out with
things like climate change. They are calling it climate change
It used to be global warming and then since we had a couple
of harsh winters they figured that global warming thing isn't
working so now we will go to climate change.
Next week who knows what it will be. Economic upheaval,
food, energy, water and strengthening the U.N. Give me your
assessment of what the Secretary-General is doing or, more
importantly, what he is not doing concerning North Korea.
Ambassador Lee. Well, that is a tough question.
Mr. Marino. You are darn right it is.
Ambassador Lee. Yes. It really is a tough question and I
think he really has to walk a fine line because if you--if he
in fact focus too much on the Korean Peninsula issues he may
get criticism from the outside world that he is putting the
national identity above and beyond his sort of U.N. status.
So there is sort of a trap, if you will. Now, having said
that, on the other side of the spectrum, as you have pointed
out, maybe he is not doing enough.
I cannot pass judgment on that issue but he does have to--
it is a world government, in a way. I mean, he does have to
handle so many different issues so--yes.
Mr. Marino. I understand and I appreciate your position.
But I can pass judgment, given the fact that United States is
the largest financial contributor to the U.N.
The Secretary-General rarely comes to an agreement with the
United States and I don't think it shows favoritism. When
people ask me why did I make a particular vote here in Congress
that was a hard vote, that is why I came here, to make the hard
votes and to try and improve the quality of life for all
I think the Secretary-General falls in that category as
well and I can't think of anyplace else on Earth other than in
one or two countries on the continent of Africa where such
travesties are taking place and I think that he should be
speaking out more about this.
I think he should put together a task force. They are
always putting together some kind of a committee or task force
at the U.N.
I don't know what they do but they have task forces. We
never hear from them once the committee is put together, and I
think it is due time that South Korea and other countries put
the pressure on the Secretary-General to address what it taking
place in North Korea.
I do it all the time. My chairman does it all the time.
Many members of the House and the Senate do it all the time.
But we don't seem to get the support and the cooperation
from the U.N. and I think that is a place where we can have a
tremendous impact on what is taking place in North Korea.
China is an entirely different issue. They are funding
North Korea. There is no question about that. Without the funds
coming from China, North Korea would collapse.
I think that is a political move that the Chinese decided
to take because they know that North Korea is a thorn not only
in the side of the United States but around the world and to
keep controversy going.
But it is about time that more world leaders step up to the
plate with the United States and I think the U.N. should lead
that concerning North Korea as well, particularly given the
fact that the Secretary-General is Korean.
Ambassador Lee. I will take that as a comment, not a
Mr. Marino. I yield back.
Mr. Smith. Thank you very much. I yield to the chairman of
the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice on the
Judiciary Committee but also the chairman of the International
Religious Freedom Caucus here in the House, Trent Franks from
Mr. Franks. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you,
Mr. Ambassador, for being here with us. You know those of us
that have a deep concern about religious freedom often try to,
I think, accurately build a construct of where there is no
religious freedom then totalitarianism and a lot of human
rights violations soon follow.
Where you have religious freedom it seems like there is
much greater embrace of human rights in general as well. I
guess the first thing that I would ask you if you would just
comment on that general concept--do you find that to be a
general pattern that where you have religious freedom you often
times also have other human rights protections?
Ambassador Lee. I am not quite sure if I understand your
question. In North Korea?
Mr. Franks. In North Korea or anywhere else in the world. I
mean, you don't have religious freedom in North Korea, do you?
Ambassador Lee. No, of course not.
Mr. Franks. But and you don't have human rights. North
Korea fits the matrix I am talking about. But generally is it
not your belief that where religious freedom is restricted then
oftentimes other human rights abuses follow?
Ambassador Lee. Absolutely. The causal linkage is quite
Mr. Franks. Yes. I didn't mean to ask the obvious question
but it always seems to be important to get that on the record
because religious freedom seems to portend almost all other
freedoms. It seems to be the cornerstone of freedom in general,
certainly here in America and I think across the world.
I serve on the Armed Services Committee as well and one of
the great concerns that some of us on that committee have, of
course, is North Korea's nuclear weapons capability and you
are, in my judgment, correct that they find themselves almost
impervious to diplomatic pressure because of this checkmate
capability that they have.
But we have sanctioned them for 50 years to starvation and
they have tested three times and I think that calls into
question the efficacy of sanctioning countries to reduce their
nuclear weapons pursuit in the first place. That is another
But do you believe that there is anything that you would
suggest that we could do to somehow take this terrible
capability they have out of their hands so that there wouldn't
be this impossible effort to try to convince them to restore
human rights and other fundamental freedoms?
Ambassador Lee. The nuclear capability of North Korea is
obviously a serious, serious challenge not only to the
peninsula but Northeast Asian security environment and also to
the nonproliferation regime.
But the simple answer to your question really comes back
down to China--the role of China. Yes, you are right. We do now
have four U.N. Security Council resolutions with sanctions--
economic sanctions on North Korea--three for the nuclear tests
and one for the long-range missile.
I have no doubt that North Korea is probably, with its
nuclear weapons and the delivery capability, is probably
targeting some of your forward bases in Guam, maybe in Japan,
Mr. Franks. And they are moving toward missile capability
to put in their range the entire United States so I think that
for us to suggest that North Korea represents no national
security threat to the United States is ludicrous, at least
within the short term and I know that is not what you are
Ambassador Lee. Yes. Well, I don't know about the mainland
but certainly, as I said, you know, your forward bases in the
Asia Pacific anyways. But yes, for the past 50 years, as you
were saying, North Korea, irrespective of the sanctions, it has
continued with the development.
But one has to ask the question of if those sanctions
really been effective, meaning have we had everyone on board in
effectively applying those sanctions and the answer, of course,
And even my government has, I think, to be taking blame for
some of that as well because as we tried to improve the inter-
Korean relations there is cash going into North Korea at some
China even today, despite its seeming commitment to the new
sanctions, I believe the economic activities continue to go on.
So if we really, as I said, have the political will to make a
change I cannot say for sure that we can actually convince
North Korea to give up its nuclear.
That is going to be really tough. But in order to at least
get to that stage where they might contemplate it seriously, I
think one has to, particularly your government, has to find a
way to deal with the Beijing government as to what will it take
for Beijing to really not just going to the extent of oh, we
will hold these Six-Party Talks and resume the Six-Party Talks
and try to resolve this peacefully.
Well, what have we had over the years? The first nuclear
test, second, third. This year it seemed in the spring that
North Korea as poised for the fourth nuclear test.
I think we will have that. I have no doubt. It is just a
question of timing. So unless China comes on board and somebody
convinces China to do so, it is going to be a really, really
difficult task. So I think the focus has to be China.
Mr. Franks. And, you know, given the fact that China
probably is not broken-hearted over the fact that North Korea
represents sort of a stumbling block to the United States and
to the world, it is probably unlikely that they are going to
have some major epiphany in that regard.
If you had one other factor besides China that the United
States should pursue, and incidentally I am convinced that, you
know, when we were in a position to have prevented North Korea
from gaining nuclear weapons capabilities, we paid the ransom
but we didn't secure the hostage under the Clinton years, and
consequently now that they have the nuclear weapons
capabilities very, very difficult to get them to give it up.
And I think that we should consider that in the instance of
Iran because we may have another rogue state in the world.
Well, we do now, but another nuclear-armed rogue state which
really puts a different pall on it completely.
But if we had one other factor besides China, and I agree
with you completely that China is the key, but I am not sure
that we should hold our breath until they change their mind.
If we had one other area of pursuit which do you think
would be our most efficacious line of either diplomacy or
pressure to bring North Korea in line with human rights
considerations and maybe someday hopefully see them disinvited
from the nuclear arms community?
Ambassador Lee. Well, I remember back in the 1980s the
anti-apartheid campaigns very strong throughout the world on
campuses of your country. On U.S. American college campuses
there were movements to boycott some of the businesses,
companies like, I believe, like Nestle not to buy their
products--those companies that is doing business or have
invested in South Africa. Now, of course, North Korea is no
There is not a whole lot of businesses that they have
invested in. But still there are, I believe, some commercial
entities, probably Chinese and elsewhere, who do business with
North Korea could be targeted, I believe.
So that is not a, you know, government to government thing
but I am talking about commercial activities--banking
activities, financial areas. I think there has to be greater
focus on these activities because, I mean, there is no other
way. We have tried engagement.
I mean, I am not here trying to be overly firm in dealing
with North Korea. If we hadn't tried before to engage North
Korea and to provide goodwill and provide all sorts of
financial and economic packages we have done that. We called
that the Sunshine Policy back in the '90s.
It hasn't worked. Despite all that, despite billions of
dollars going into North Korea, they put on the front as if
they are going to maybe give up nuclear weapons.
Mr. Franks. Yes.
Ambassador Lee. They go through the motion of Six-Party
Talks and all that. But behind the back, of course, what they
are doing is building it up. So it doesn't work. So
unfortunately this is the only way to really, really focus on
where it hurts the most on North Korea and we have to find
Mr. Franks. Well, I think it says a great deal about South
Korea the way you have had a sense of stability in the region,
and I have been to South Korea and the DMZ and observed your
growing capacity and it is really--it has been an honor to see
you here and I echo your thoughts just here finally that, you
know, whenever we appease despotism it almost always backfires.
I mean, what the little verse says--what is it, no one
gains when freedom fails, the best of men rot in filthy jails
and those who cried ``Appease, appease'' are shot by those they
tried to please. It always seems to work out that way, doesn't
So thank you, Mr. Ambassador, and thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Smith. Let me just ask you a few final questions and
then yield to my friend, Mr. Marino, for some additional
questions. Has it gotten worse since Kim Jong Il's death and
Kim Jong Un has come in? Has it deteriorated in North Korea?
Secondly, as Andrew Natsios points out in his testimony,
April 17th was the first discussion of the DPRK's human rights
issues among Security Council members, informal as it was the
Is that a result of the COI? Is it a reaction to it and do
you see that as, you know, the beginning of an embrace there
and, again, the hope would be that some referral would be made
to the ICC.
Ambassador Lee. April 17? Which one are we talking about?
Mr. Smith. Yes. That would be the Security Council. When
Security Council members spoke----
Ambassador Lee. Yes.
Mr. Smith [continuing]. And discussed----
Ambassador Lee. The Arria?
Mr. Smith. Yes, the Arria. Third would be on refugees. I
have met with Antonio Gutierrez many times on the rapprochement
issue of forcing North Koreans back from China, and as a
signatory to the refugee convention China has serious
obligations that they are breaching with impunity by forcibly
sending people back.
As you know, if a woman is pregnant and I--we heard from a
German physician here--I held a hearing a number of years ago--
who was honored first by Pyongyang and then went and came out
and told the world what was going on. He told stories and
They were--they were representations of what they do to
women in prisons including putting boards on their abdomen, on
pregnant women, and guards standing, jumping up and down to
kill their unborn children, another hideous form of forced
abortion and, of course, it very often kills the woman as
well--a horrible torture.
And yet he said these kinds of things go on as well as
other abject cruelty that the world needs to know about. Your
thoughts on the forced repatriation issue? Why doesn't China,
why doesn't UNHCR?
There are actionable mechanisms that they have that they
could employ to try to ensure that they live up to their
obligations, they being the People's Republic of China.
On the issue of South Korean media, on one trip to Seoul I
was told by a number of parliamentarians that the South Korean
media does not focus the way we would have thought they would
on the atrocities committed by Pyongyang.
Is that changing? Does the COI change that at all in terms
of a new and fresh look, that a lot of the young people don't
even have a clue in the Republic of Korea about what is going
And let me also just ask you about freedom broadcasting.
Free North Korea Radio, VOA Korean Service, Radio Free Asia are
broadcasting. Is it getting through? Is it heavily jammed or
jammed at all? If you might speak to that and that would be it.
Ambassador Lee. Those are a lot of questions to----
Mr. Smith. Thank you.
Ambassador Lee. Yes. The April 17th Arria meeting I think
is very significant, and Justice Kirby was there, and of the 15
Security Council members, 13 were present.
Of course, the two obvious absences were from Russia and
China, and of the 13, nine voted favorably to the Security
Council referral to the ICC. That doesn't mean the remaining
four were against.
They just didn't vote in favor. So I think the mood is
changing, and this is something that Mr. Marino was earlier
talking about, the role of the U.N., the U.N. is very slow to
move but at the same time it is moving and after all COI is a
U.N. endeavor and finding.
So slowly but surely it is moving toward a direction that
we would like. The forced repatriation is a very, very serious
issue and this is something that, again, COI points out.
I think it is very bold that the COI--and I was there in
Geneva on March 17th when Chairman Kirby was addressing the
U.N. Human Rights Council and the Chinese delegation was just
there and he made it very clear.
I mean, at the U.N. it seems that, you know, that China is
of such a stature--has such a stature--enjoys such a stature
that they are very diplomatic, I believe overly diplomatic. And
yet, Justice Kirby was very direct in pointing to the Chinese
that, as you know, that the--repatriating North Korean
defectors back to North Korea, knowing fully well that they
will be subjected to some kind of penalty--political prison
camp, torture, maybe even execution--is aiding and abetting
crimes against humanity and that is a very serious charge.
You were earlier mentioning human trafficking and as you
know a significant number of the North Korean defectors are
women and children, and one of the women that we have
interviewed is of the opinion that maybe as many as eight out
of 10 are subjected to--I mean, they are vulnerable--they are
subjected to rape and all sorts of unthinkable doings--damages
So why is China doing that? Probably it feels that if it
were more lenient on this matter that there will be a mass
exodus that they could not possibly handle, number one.
Maybe it will lead to a situation like East Germany just
before the unification, that this will really be a politically
damaging thing for the North Korean regime.
What that means--what that suggests is that for some reason
Beijing still holds firm to the political calculus that
propping up North Korea is still more advantageous to China
than not. So that balance has to tip at some point and I
believe that it will, but it hasn't as of yet.
So unfortunately China may be still captured in this, you
know, Cold War calculus of how North Korea may still play this
buffer role--buffer zone and that it serves a useful purpose
and that is why it is turning a blind eye to this issue of
human rights violations.
But I think increasingly with time this is going to be a
huge burden on China because China is a G2. It wants to play,
you know, a global leadership role.
It wants to compete with the United States. How can you
have that moral leadership in the global context being a patron
to a country that commits crimes against humanity, genocide? It
cannot sustain. So I think we are getting to the point where
balance might tip.
So I think we have to keep pushing so that that balance
could be tipped. I don't know what else. Freedom broadcasts--
yes, there are jams. There are restrictions on. The Far East--
it is a Christian broadcast--Far East Broadcasting does get
into North Korea but I think that is another area that we
really have to look into to open more.
Mr. Smith. If I could just add one thing. If you would
consider this in your calculus. The Chinese Government is
missing as many as 100 million girls--women because of their
forced abortion policy, the one-child-per-couple policy and the
emphasis on sex-selection abortion.
I have been arguing with our own TIP office for 10 years
and they finally did it last year, and matter of fact they did
it in their narrative in the Trafficking in Persons Report
about China, that the magnet as to why so many bride sellers
``traffickers''--sex traffickers are bringing women across the
border or when they make it across the border on their own
volition seeking relative freedom, relative with a capital R,
they are trafficked because of the dearth of girls.
They simply have been exterminated one by one so the one-
child-per-couple policy is the largest magnet ever on the face
of the earth and that goes equally for those areas that are
adjacent to North Korea. And I have had three hearings where we
have had women who have been trafficked who told that story.
These were the lucky ones, obviously, who made their way to
safety and out of China as well and, you know, they were sold
as brides, each and every one of them that testified. I think
your other calculus is right on point as well. But I think that
needs to be in there as well. Mr. Marino.
Mr. Marino. I thank the chairman.
Ambassador, the U.S.' relationship with the Republic of
Korea is very important to us. You are a very true ally, a very
good friend and I can only see that relationship between the
United States and the Republic of Korea becoming even more
strong and we look forward to that.
But what do you think that together the United States and
the Republic of Korea can do concerning China? You know, China
has quite a few human rights violations. Just look when they
build the Three Gorges Dam they displaced at least 1\1/2\
It is probably--you know, it is about 10 percent of their
population. The environmental effects, the ecological impacts
of the dam that the built has to be tested yet, it is not
As my chairman spoke about, what is taking place with
unborn females. There is a great deal here concerning human
rights and the environment but what do we do together, the U.S.
and the Republic of Korea, to have a positive impact on China
concerning North Korea?
Ambassador Lee. Well, first of all, I believe the ROK-U.S.
relations today are very healthy. Your President visited, very
recently, Korea. Although it was a very short visit, it was a
very successful visit.
The press conference that President Obama and President
Park Geun Hye had together was extremely constructive and
visionary. They for the first time actually in the press
conference talked about human rights in North Korea, which is a
They also decided to renegotiate the timetable for the
transfer of operational control, thereby delaying the abolition
of the Combined Forces Command which is also a very positive
development because why would you want to, you know, do away
with a system that has been very effective as a deterrent at a
time of maximum threat, which is now. So that is a big
They have also talked about the possibility of somehow
making the missile defense system interoperable. So a lot of
things were discussed which were very, very positive so those
are good developments.
Now, with China I don't think that South Korea and the
United States have any interest in somehow ganging up on China.
China is a very important partner for both the United States
and South Korea.
Our trade with China is larger than our trade with Japan
and the United States put together. We have huge foreign direct
investments in China. It is a very important partner.
So I think what we can do together is somehow continue to
try to convince Beijing that, and this is something that
President Park Guen Hye has very often referred to the
importance of reunification. She talks about the reunification
She talks about reunification in Dresden. So reunification
is very, very important and I think it falls on South Korea in
particular. But if we can do that with the United States so
much the better.
Trying to convince China that reunification--peaceful and
free reunification is beneficial to China--that with
reunification China's long-held hope for the successful
economic development of the northeast region for three
provinces is possible with the reunification of Korea and that,
you know, it really--China stands to gain by a reunified Korea
under South Korea's leadership, economically, and if that is
something that we can convince China together with--between
these two countries I think that is where our focus ought to
Mr. Marino. I visited the Republic of Korea about a year
ago for several days. Had a wonderful time. The Korean people
treated us like royalty.
But I think also together with what you said concerning
what we need to do with China I think the Republic of Korea and
the United States need to put some type of pressure on the
United Nations to become more vocal and more involved in this.
So thank you, sir.
Mr. Smith. Thank you so much. Mr. Meadows.
Mr. Meadows. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for
coming to testify. I think, you know, I am going to be brief
with my questions. My apologies for just getting in. We had
another hearing on the Taliban release and so I just came from
But from a human rights perspective, how do we--as Members
of Congress how to we best at times put forth the carrot to
address those issues and at times maybe the stick on addressing
those issues? And hearings like this--do they really matter?
I guess the question is the chairman has been very
deliberate and tenacious in his willingness to address this
issue. I have supported him wholeheartedly, continue to do so,
and yet there are times where we wonder, you know, are people
listening--are we really making the efforts or where are we
missing the boat and should we use more carrot or more stick?
And I don't know if that makes sense or not but I would
like you to comment on that.
Ambassador Lee. Well, earlier I have made a comment on the
carrot part and how we have actually tried a very large carrot
in dealing with North Korea. Unfortunately, it has not worked.
All it has led to was more nuclear tests and continuing
violations of human rights, and things stand at that.
Mr. Meadows. And why do you think--and why do you think
that is? I mean, is it that they don't know how good the carrot
tastes or they just don't see? I mean, is it hard to get the
hope or where they realize how wonderful the potential benefit
could be, that there is a lack of believability? I mean, what
is your perspective on that?
Ambassador Lee. Well, under the normal case----
Mr. Meadows. I don't think that is the case but I do----
Ambassador Lee [continuing]. Under normal circumstances,
under normal leadership what you suggest might apply but this
is not a normal state.
Mr. Meadows. Right.
Ambassador Lee. This is not normal leadership. Their goal
is not to see to the welfare of the people. Otherwise, it would
not have lasted nearly seven decades as such.
Mr. Meadows. Right.
Ambassador Lee. Right. Their interest, their single sole
purpose is national policies for regime survival and they have
done that and they are happy with that and they are not going
to change and they are going to use the two most effective
tools, as I was mentioning earlier, to continue to sustain
this. One, of course, is the nuclear weapons to deal with the
outside world, your country in particular.
Mr. Meadows. Right.
Ambassador Lee. Two, internally, I mean, North Koreans are
tough people, right, so for decades to suppress them as such
they have to rely on a very, very harsh suppressive and
oppressive policy and violation of human rights starts with
that and it ends with that.
So unfortunately, you know, what we think conventionally
this is what is best for North Korea. I mean, wouldn't they
want to really improve the society so that people won't starve
to death and all that. Well, that is what we think. That is not
the way of thinking of the North Korean regime.
They are quite happy with the way things are as long as the
regime is intact. In the mid-1990s as many as a staggering 2
million to 3 million people died from starvation and they were
okay with that as long as the regime survives.
So that is why we have to take into account. They
understand what is at stake in terms of carrots and sticks and
we have tried, you know, billions of dollars of, you know,
support and supply and assistance to North Korea from South
Korea. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked.
Mr. Meadows. So, Mr. Ambassador, would you--would you say
then, I guess, as we start to look at this dynamic that their
belief is that a more prosperous citizenship in North Korea is
a real threat to their regime and if so why do they think that?
Because generally if you look throughout all the other
uprisings it is--it is the lack of funds or the lack of jobs
that is creating the threat to regimes and yet what you are
saying here is it is exactly the opposite. They want to keep it
suppressed both human rights-wise, economically, et cetera, to
keep the regime in place. And so do they see that prosperity
would be a threat to their rule?
Ambassador Lee. Well, theories on revolution and how
revolutions occur suggest that it is not when people are in
abject poverty that revolutions occur.
Revolutions are more likely to be caused when people get a
taste of better life and then they want more. That is when
revolutions occur. I think North Korean regime understands that
very well and therefore doesn't want the society to get to that
So I think it is direct intentional policy to keep the
people in abject poverty and despair because if they wanted to
improve the situation they certainly can. We have South Korea.
We have the whole world, international organizations,
willing to help out, if only. But it is not bending because it
doesn't want that world. That is what we are dealing with here.
Mr. Meadows. All right. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, I yield
Mr. Smith. Thank you very much. Ambassador Lee, thank you
for your very, very keen insights. I would associate myself
with the remarks of my distinguished colleagues and Mr. Marino
has talked about Ban Ki Moon stepping up and doing more we
would all hope that he will; that is a position of strategic
leverage and power and I think he would be highly applauded and
regarded for that because he knows the situation, as we all
know, given, you know, his prior work in the Republic of Korea.
So I would hope that that would be taken seriously by him.
But thank you so much.
Ambassador Lee. Thank you for the opportunity. Thank you.
Mr. Smith. Your words very insightful for us----
Ambassador Lee. Thank you.
Mr. Smith [continuing]. And for those who will read this
record and that will be many.
The briefing now comes to an end I call pursuant to notice
the hearing on North Korea human rights and crimes against
humanity in North Korea, and we welcome to the witness table
our three very distinguished witnesses beginning with
Ambassador Andrew Natsios, who is the co-chair of the Committee
for Human Rights in North Korea.
He is also executive professor and director of the
Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at Texas A&M
University. Ambassador Natsios was most recently a
distinguished professor in the practice of diplomacy at
Georgetown University and before that former Administrator of
As USAID administrator from 2001 to 2006, Ambassador
Natsios managed a huge portfolio of humanitarian and democracy
assistance programs. He also oversaw reconstruction programs in
Afghanistan, Iraq, and Sudan. He served as the U.S. Special
Envoy to Sudan from 2006 to 2007.
He is a veteran of the Gulf War, from 1993 to 1998, was
vice president of World Vision U.S., the largest faith-based
nongovernmental organization in the world. He is the author of
three books including ``The Great North Korean Famine`` and he
also was director of the Office of Disaster Assistance. So
every hat imaginable of helping people, that is Ambassador
We will then hear from Mr. Shin Chang Hoon, who is a
research fellow and director of the Center for Global
Governance at the Asan Institute of Policy Studies. Previously
he taught public international law, international space law,
and the Law of the Sea at the School of Law and International
Organizations and the graduate school of international studies
at Seoul National University.
His research focuses on international dispute settlement
mechanisms, the Law of the Sea, international environmental
law, humanitarian law and the study of WMD nonproliferation
And then we will hear from Mr. Shin Dong Hyuk, who is a
North Korean defector and human rights activist who is the only
person known to have successfully escaped from a total control
zone political prison camp in North Korea.
He is agreed to be the only person who has been born into a
North Korean political prison camp to escape from North Korea.
He is the subject of a best selling biography published in
2012, ``Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from
North Korea to Freedom in the West.''
He has given talks to audiences around the world about his
life in Camp 14 and has been described as the world's single
strongest voice on the atrocities inside North Korean camps.
Ambassador Natsios, the floor is yours.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ANDREW NATSIOS, CO-CHAIR, THE
COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA
Ambassador Natsios. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you
for inviting me. It is good to be back in the Congress. I have
formal remarks which are much lengthier that I would like to
submit for the record.
Mr. Smith. Without objection, so ordered.
Ambassador Natsios. I would also like to say, while I am
co-chairman of the Committee on Human Rights in North Korea, we
didn't take my 10-page testimony and get it approved by the
board so I don't want you to take everything I say as the voted
position of the committee.
I usually say some egregious indiscretion in all of these
hearings, Congressman, as you are aware of, over the years. So
I don't want to blame the committee for that--I am not
representing Texas A&M or the Bush School of Government where I
While the committee asked me to focus my remarks on U.S.
Government policy on human rights in North Korea, I would like
to begin with a description of the cause of those abuses.
The fundamentally totalitarian nature of the North Korean
state, its economy, and political culture is the reason that
there is no protection for virtually any human right even at
the most minimal level.
North Korea has no rule of law, no independent court
system, no civil society, no private institutionalized
religion. It has no independent news media, no independent
political parties other than the Workers Party--the Communist
Party--no freedom of expression in any way, no choice of
competing candidates on the ballot for any public or party
office, and without these checks and balances we know that
means there is no constraint on the power of the state to abuse
their own citizens.
The North Korean state--and I have been to more than 100
countries in the world--I have seen--I was in the Rwandan
genocide, I saw the atrocities in Bosnia, in Darfur unfold as I
was Special Envoy.
I have seen terrible things over the years. But the North
Korean state remains the most oppressive, the most brutal and
most severe violator institutionally of human rights in the
While most observers and scholars understand the
totalitarian nature of the North Korean state, detailed
evidence of these abuses remain very limited in the past
because of the insular nature of the country.
That changed over the last decade and a half and now we
have abundant evidence of those crimes. The cataloguing of this
evidence has been made possible by the most cataclysmic event
in North Korean history, which I wrote a book about, since the
Korean War and that was the Great North Korean Famine between
1993 and 1998 which I estimate killed 2.5 million people.
And by the way, the third ranking member of the politburo
estimated that actually it was 3.5 million when he defected to
South Korea. The system of control which insulated the country
from the outside world collapsed during the chaos of the famine
and has opened up to researchers new sources of information
about conditions inside the country.
I myself travelled to the North Korean border to write my
book and I interviewed dozens of refugees escaping North Korea.
I did it under cover with a Buddhist NGO from South Korea that
I am associated with.
One of the most credible sources of details of this abuse
is the Committee on Human Rights in North Korea, which I serve
as co-chairman of with Roberta Cohen, which undertakes in-depth
research conducted by recognized experts and publishes
carefully documented reports on human rights in North Korea.
The committee is a nonpartisan human rights research center
which has produced 20 research reports since we were founded in
October 2001. I might add the first institution I am aware of
in the world that proposed that this issue be brought before
the Security Council was our committee and I believe that the
first institution advocating for the Commission of Inquiry was
the Committee on Human Rights in North Korea.
U.S. Government policy on North Korean human rights has
evolved over the past two decades. The policy focus of the past
three Presidential administrations has been to use diplomatic
negotiations to prevent the North Korean Government from
developing nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.
This policy has been an abject failure. It has been
repeated several times. We have had three nuclear tests. The
fourth one is being prepared now and they are developing
missiles to deliver those weapons. All of this is about regime
survival. Several people before us said that. That is
We can talk about precisely how their behavior is connected
to this obsession with regime survival. I researched this for
the book that I wrote and came up with some interesting
The willingness of the U.S. Government to raise the North
Korean human rights issue has increased as the failure of U.S.
policy in the nuclear issue has been more apparent even to its
strongest advocates, and my view right now is the main reason
that we are--the U.S. Government is pursuing this is because we
don't have any nuclear negotiations.
If we start doing that again you watch, the nuclear issue
will overshadow the human rights issue very quickly. The
nuclear talks have been effectively abandoned but the Chinese
Government is attempting to revive them.
Despite this reluctance to engage in the human rights
issues, both the Obama and the Bush administrations have made
public statements about human rights abuses in North Korea.
Both President Bush on April 30, 2008, and President Obama in
March 26, 2012, made very strong statements on the human rights
issue in North Korea.
The U.S. Government has consistently voted for every U.N.
General Assembly resolution on human rights in North Korea
since 2005. Without going into depth of what the resolutions
say, they are moderately worded but as the Commission of
Inquiry moved through the process, more and more countries are
becoming more aggressive in the language they use.
I have to say when I did the research on the North Korean
famine for my book, I found one report on human rights done by
the Minnesota Lawyers International Human Rights Committee. I
could not find any copies of the report.
Finally, I found one in the Widener Library at Harvard and
basically what happened is the committee went around--they deny
doing this but the committee went around that wrote the report
and they destroyed all the copies because they were convinced
by some pro-North Korean expatriates that the report was
engineered--all the information in the report--by South Korean
It was all fictional. It was complete nonsense. If you read
the report it goes back. It is 20 years old. Everything in that
report has now been proven. It is in the Commission of Inquiry
but they successfully suppressed that report.
Even the people that wrote it became convinced or at least
had enough questions that they suppressed the report 20 years
ago. How long--how far they have gone attempting to stop this
from getting out and now it is out and the North Koreans can't
I would also add that Ambassador King has endorsed the U.N.
Commission of Inquiry in a statement March 17, 2014. He
testified before the or spoke before the Human Rights Council
on the matter.
The Commission of Inquiry accused the North Korean
Government of crimes against humanity, a very strong term,
which has not been used in any of the U.S. Government documents
to this date. In fact, the Commission of Inquiry report, from
my experience with the U.N. over the last 25 years is a
historic document and it uses stark uncompromising and
undiplomatic language unlike most other U.N. documents.
The U.S. Congress has been at the forefront of pressing the
case for a more aggressive U.S. policy. There was an act passed
2004--H.R. 4011, the North Korea Human Rights Act. It was
reauthorized in 2008, signed into law by President Bush in
2008, and now there is a bill before the Congress on--I think
it is H.R. 1771, the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act,
which adds human rights into the existing sanctions law. The
existing sanctions law focuses exclusively on the nuclear issue
and other national security issues.
The act outlines specific measures to impose critical
sanctions on the DPRK because of its violations of human rights
against its own people. It has been reported, I believe, out of
The act will for the first time add some teeth to these
public statements because until now it has only been rhetoric.
Not that rhetoric isn't important but we need to take some
action as well.
Let me conclude by saying that the North Korean--and I have
more evidence in my testimony--that the North Korean
totalitarian edifice is eroding because of the long-term
consequences of the famine, the collapse of the Soviet economic
system of subsidies to its satellite states which North Korea
was certainly one, and Pyongyang's absolute refusal to initiate
any serious economic or political reform.
The spread of information technology has opened a window to
the outside world which is changing public attitudes,
increasing public hostility within North Korea toward the
U.S. policy ought to be to encourage these changes now at
work in North Korea and certainly do nothing to impede the
acceleration of these trends and to press North Korea to end
its crimes against its own people.
The U.S. Government should continue to press China to stop
repatriating people who escape from North Korea into China.
This is a clear violation of international humanitarian law
because we know what happens to them when they go back. They
either are executed or they are sent to the prison camps, which
Mr. Shin is going to talk about very shortly.
We need to raise the human rights abuse issue with the
regime in every forum available and any direct talks with North
Korea. We should support all Security Council efforts to take
action against the North Korean Government based on the
Commission of Inquiry report.
We should press for a shutdown of the political prison
camps and the release of prisoners, and failing that, regular
inspections of the camps by the International Committee of the
Red Cross or other international bodies.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Ambassador Natsios follows:]
Mr. Smith. Ambassador, thank you very much for your
testimony and for your leadership.
STATEMENT OF SHIN CHANG HOON, PH.D, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR GLOBAL
GOVERNANCE, ASAN INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES
Mr. C. Shin. Chairman Smith and the distinguished members
of this subcommittee, first of all, on behalf of the Asan
Institute for Policy Studies based in Seoul, Republic of Korea,
I would like to thank you for inviting me to testify about
human rights aspects in North Korea's nuclear program.
I already submitted a 10-page written statement. Am I
allowed to summarize the statement?
Mr. Smith. Yes, and, you know, while there are limitations
please be extensive.
Mr. C. Shin. Okay. Thank you very much. The story I am
going to tell you is about human rights abuses which occurred
at two nuclear facilities in North Korea.
One is Pyongsan uranium mine, a resource for the front end
fuel cycle in North Korea's nuclear program, and the other is
the radio chemical laboratory reprocessing facility located at
Yongbyon, a significant resource for the back end fuel cycle.
In the Pyongsan uranium mine, the workers were placed under
miserable and inhumane work conditions comparable to those in
the conventional mines where the political prisoners and the
ordinary prisoners in the prison camps worked, as detailed in
the United Nations Commission of Inquiry report.
High-quality food was well distributed to the workers of
the uranium mine, unlike the workers in the mines of the
ordinary prison camps because the nuclear program was always
placed as the top priority in North Korea.
However, like the workers in the mines of ordinary prison
camps they were also forced to work for 7 hours almost every
day of the week and have only 1 day off in a month. They were
subject to inhumane treatments including beatings.
They were conducted mainly inside underground mines with
the supervisors' intentional oversight and they were beaten by
metallic tools inside the mine, which horrendously terrified
the workers much more than outside the mine.
Moreover, I heard clear statements from the interviewed
defector that little consideration was given to work safety.
For instance, the interviewee recalled that he never witnessed
any ventilation system that diluted the concentration of radon
and radio nuclides from the uranium ore and he also said that
the quality of the anti-dust masks distributed to the workers
was so bad and it was so hard to breathe with a mask that the
workers inside the underground mine did not even carry them.
Since the inhalation of uranium ore dust, which consists of
radon, is known as a major cause of lung cancer, no anti-dust
mask during working hours means that they were directly exposed
to occupational diseases.
Working for 7 hours a day may be considered not so bad but
the work was extremely stressful and intense because of the
increase in number of sick workers, particularly with the skin
diseases in his unit.
During certain periods of time he witnessed that only half
of the unit members were available for work. The lack of
available workers created a heavier and more intense workload
because of the onerous allocation of daily work quotas.
We interviewed another defector who worked at the Yongbyon
radio chemical laboratory that was concluded during inspections
by the international agency IAEA to be a reprocessing facility.
He was an analyst of the concentration of high levels of
As he and his colleagues dealt with high levels of
radiological substances and waste, they carried film badges,
which are called dosimeters, which gauged the radiation doses
in the workplace.
However, the badges were monitored only once every 3 months
and the workers were never informed of the results of these
monitoring tests unless severe symptoms of radiation sickness
were present and visibly apparent.
Interestingly, he had a group of colleagues whose work
duties included helping other workers shake off their fatigue
and sleepiness during working hours. In addition, according to
his testimony, the fertility of women laborers was very low.
For instance, in his department 60 percent out of a total of 50
workers were women but most of the women who got married could
not conceive children while working at the factory.
The interviewee witnessed many workers who suffered from
nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and fevers at the workplaces, even a
sloughing of skins. To make matters worse, North Korea, as a
rigid totalitarian regime, controlled the flow of any sensitive
information, especially between the workers in the nuclear
This hampers the voluntary and bottom-up development of
safety and security culture among the workers in the nuclear
facilities. In addition, since North Korea left the NPT regime
and the IAEA in the early 1990s, the workers could not update
internationally-accepted safety standards and work conditions
for over the past 20 years.
Human factors really matter in ultra hazardous activities
like nuclear program. North Korea's nuclear program is known as
having developed with the sacrifice of the North Korean
However, we should not ignore the sacrifice of workers in
North Korea's nuclear facilities as well. If Six-Party Talks
resume, this kind of human rights violations in nuclear
facilities must be negotiated.
I hope that you find this testimony to be useful to further
discussions on North Korea's human rights abuses and crimes
against humanity at this committee.
Thank you very much for your attention.
[The prepared statement of Mr. C. Shin follows:]
Mr. Smith. Dr. Shin, thank you very much. It is more than
useful. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF MR. SHIN DONG HYUK, SURVIVOR OF NORTH KOREAN
[The following testimony was delivered through an
Mr. D. Shin. Thank you for making this time available in
the midst of your busy schedule for allowing me to speak before
you regarding the human rights situation in North Korea.
And before I begin my testimony, I want to share something
that causes me to feel a bit sad and disappointed before I
begin my testimony. I escaped North Korea in 2005 and came to
South Korea in 2006 so it has been almost 8 years since I have
come out of North Korea.
And the sad thing that I want to share is that during those
8 years I have never once shared or given testimony in the
South Korean National Assembly in South Korea.
The fact is that the United States and EU and other
countries have passed legislation regarding North Korean human
rights yet South Korea has yet to pass a single legislation
regarding the human rights of North Korea in South Korean
And I know that when I say this the South Korean media that
is present will perhaps edit and not fully carry what I said
here just now--my statement--and this could be my first--this
is my first or maybe my last opportunity to share and speak at
such a place like this.
So I want to again express my gratitude for giving an
opportunity to speak about the reality of what is going on in
North Korea right now.
I am from North Korea. My hometown is North Korea. However,
my situation is one where I cannot go back to my hometown, and
the place where I was born is the political prison camp in
I was born in the prison camp and my existence in the
political prison camp as well as the ones who are still
remaining there is an existence not fit for human beings and
even worse than those of animals.
And the first thing I remember seeing with my eyes were of
the prison guards carrying rifles and of political prisoners
wearing prison uniforms. These were the only things that I
remember seeing for the first time the world of the North
Korean political prison camp.
And my father and mother who gave birth to me were
political prisoners also and the moment I was born I too became
a political prisoner as well and everyone else around me except
for the guards and prison officials who carried out punishments
and made our lives miserable and made us suffer we were all
political prisoners as well.
And the prison guards who carried rifles drove into the
heads of us young children inmates, the young and immature and
ones who really didn't know anything, the following. They said
to us, you are all prisoners and your parents are prisoners as
well. In order to repay the fact that you are alive you must
all work hard.
You must work hard until you literally die and only then
can you pay for your crimes. We were all young but somehow we
knew and understood what the prison guards were telling us.
And even though I was so young I understood what the prison
guards were telling me. For us in the political prison camp,
there was nothing the prisoners could do. We could only eat the
food given to us, we could only wear the clothes given to us
and we could only do the work given to us by the prison
And when I was 14 years old, just like I learned from the
rules and regulations of the prison camp, I overheard my mother
and older brother talking about escaping. When I overhead this
I then reported this to the prison officials.
And I, who had reported my mother and older brother for
talking about escaping, I was rewarded with terrible
indescribably cruel and painful torture, and the prison guards
tied my feet in metal shackles and hung me upside down and also
tortured me over--I don't know if you would understand this but
they would torture me through the fire torture over a burning
And finally my mother and my older brother were publicly
executed in front of all the prisoners in the camp, and this
scene of my mother and brother being executed I had to see this
with my own eyes.
And I did not cry when I saw my mother and brother being
executed. I believed this was so because in my opinion in the
prison camp, looking back now, we did not learn growing up
being in the prison camp that if our mother or brother were
killed or executed that we were supposed to feel sadness or
shed tears. This was not something that I learned or had come
to experience in the prison camp.
And the torture I went through at that time, the scars from
that terrible time, are ones I still bear clearly on my body--
the scars from the metal shackles on my ankles, the burn scars
on my back from the torture of being burned alive over a fire
pit, the scars that formed all over my body from the beatings I
These vestiges of my suffering will never go away until the
day I die. The prison guards in the prison camps think of the
human prisoners inmates as worth less than that of animals.
The cruelest and most excruciating method of treating the
prisoners, punishing the prisoners, is by denying them food and
starving them. And if a prisoner does not work well or fails to
meet a work quota they are punished by the prison guards.
However, before the punishment is carried out the prisoners
are given a choice by the prison guards either by getting
beaten or having our meal or food taken away, denied from us.
And in my case, going hungry and being denied food was a
suffering and pain beyond my imagination so thus I chose the
punishment of getting beaten. And the reason why I say this
today is that even now as I speak before you in this chamber
there are still babies being born like I was born in the prison
There are still people who are getting killed by public
executions in the camp and are dying from starvation and
beatings in the prison camps right this moment.
I am not here in the U.S. right now to go on sightseeing
tours or to visit tourist spots and I am not here to visit or
take a tour of the U.S. Capitol either.
I am here today to testify and to tell all of you, the
distinguished and esteemed members of the U.S. Congress sitting
here before me, to help and safe the political prisoners in the
North Korean political prison camps who are dying and suffering
I am here to exhort all of you to save my brothers and
sisters who are suffering and dying, to save them so that they
might live, that they will not die but survive and live and
come out of the prison camps, that they too can see and enjoy
the bright and beautiful world that all of us take for granted
and accept as normal and commonplace.
And if this issue of the political prison camp of North
Korea is not solved through our concerted efforts and actions
and that of the U.S. Congress or even international
organizations such as the U.N., then all the inmates in the
prison camps created by the North Korean dictatorship they will
all die. And furthermore, also the citizens of North Korea who
are suffering under this dictatorship will die as well.
In closing, I want to share now for me the word that I love
and the word that I cherish and that word to me is the word
I believe that if the North Korean dictator himself enjoys
freedom so should the people of North Korea enjoy and live in
freedom as well.
No one has the right to deny or take away freedom, which is
the DNA of humanity, from anyone else and I am powerless, and
therefore I plead and exhort all of you here today with your
power and influence you can save my helpless brothers and
sisters who are waiting for death in North Korea and you have
the choice to save the people in the prison camps in North
Once again, I would like to thank you for giving me the
opportunity to speak before you today.
[The prepared statement of Mr. D. Shin follows:]
Mr. Smith. Mr. Shin, thank you for your powerful testimony,
which has to not only mobilize but shock us into further
action. You know, Ambassador Natsios talked about the abject
failure with regard to the nuclear issue and I would say even
though we have tried we have failed.
The proof is in the lack of positive consequences, the
inability so far to get countries that might have influence
including Russia and China, and I think Ambassador Lee's point
earlier about a global mobilization there needs to be a pivot
The COI plays at least part of that role to say enough is
enough. We need to do far more and that means a sustained
effort. While we don't have the leverage we had with South
Africa, and I was one of those who supported sanctions during
the early 1980s and did so strongly, there was economic
leverage there. But there are other points of contact that have
not been utilized. So I, again, all of you I thank you for your
very strong testimonies.
Dr. Shin, you mentioned, and you footnote, how the U.N. COI
report points out that many workers have been enslaved and died
from accidents and disease from the mines caused by the dust.
Is there any estimation as to how many workers have died?
And you also pointed out the paradox of giving healthy food
to increase productivity while simultaneously exposing them to
occupational hazards that almost ensure cancer and early death.
Could you elaborate on that and perhaps and then how many we
are talking about?
Mr. C. Shin. Mr. Chairman, the numbers of the interviewees
were really limited in numbers so----
Mr. Smith. You talked about the numbers of potential
workers that were sick or died.
Mr. C. Shin. I didn't talk about the specific numbers. But
in case of the counts on uranium ore they didn't notice any
death of the workers. This is because the witness was not
involved in the mining itself this kind of--I mean, digging
Mr. Smith. Let me ask you, you know, the referral to the
ICC if it does indeed occur the International Criminal Court,
as we all know, while it has some very positive aspects to it
has had only one conviction of a person of the Democratic
Republic of the Congo, people like Bashir from Sudan, as
Ambassador Natsios knows so well, have been indicted but still
remains at large and ruling a country.
The real convictions have happened at another level,
regional courts. I have been pushing for a court for Syria
since at least September and we had David Crane, who ran the
Sierra Leone court and did so as the chief prosecutor, talked
about the efficacy of those regional courts and I am wondering
if any consideration is being given to a regional court,
perhaps based in the Republic of Korea, that would begin
gathering testimonies and information for the purpose of
You know, evil doesn't have to be forever and there will
come a time when the Kims, including the current Kim, will be
held to account and all those who were complicit.
Has there been any thought given to a regional court that
might be housed, like I said, with sanction from the
international community? It might be hard to get acquiescence
by China and Russia but even if it doesn't, I think the effort
should be made.
What are your thoughts on that? Because, again, the ICC has
gone on that parallel track but they have not been effective.
They have had 18 indictments in a dozen years, one conviction
and, you know, but a regional court could begin really
gathering in a very effective way, I think, testimony.
Ambassador Natsios. This is a very odd situation but South
Korean politics is unusual. The conservatives in South Korea
are the ones that press the human rights issue.
The Korean left, left of center, do not. They believe it
compromises the ability of the South Korean Government to
negotiate with the North Korean Government. So they don't raise
Human rights in North Korea is a highly political issue in
South Korean politics. Here, you have bipartisan support among
Republicans and Democrats on many human rights issues. That is
not the case in South Korea with respect to North Korea. It is
changing among younger people.
There is a shift of opinion I noticed when I was there a
couple of years ago. But right now there is not going to be any
court, I have to tell you. There is a reason Mr. Shin just told
us that the South Korean Parliament has not had any hearings on
There is no legislation that has gone through. The Ministry
of Reunification does have a small unit that deals with North
Korea human rights issues. However, because of the divisiveness
of this issue in South Korean politics it is not at the
forefront. President Park did make a very strong statement but,
again, that is not usual.
Am I--is it unfair to say that?
Mr. C. Shin. I don't know.
Ambassador Natsios. I don't want to embarrass you because--
and I know this is a sensitive issue.
Mr. C. Shin. Well, I would like to go back to your
questions on the regional--I mean the possibility of regional
international criminal tribunals. Actually, in order to
establish a certain jurisdiction--criminal jurisdiction in
terms of individual criminal accountability there must be
collection of the data--I mean, perpetrators and the
activities, the atrocities committed by the perpetrators.
In that sense, I mean, field work, field structure, which
will be established in South Korea, will be conducive to this
kind of collection of the data.
However, well, as I already said criminal jurisdiction of
the international tribunals can be established by the consent
of the states concerned. So if there is no consent from the
North Korea--from North Korea it is very unfortunate. It will
be really difficult to establish regional international
Mr. Smith. I would just respectfully and I understand,
Ambassador Natsios, because I have had those conversations in
Seoul myself, but it seems to me that when Mr. Shin says that
his story is largely unknown and certainly how much of the
media does pick up on the human rights situation from a day to
day basis in the Republic of Korea and, again, that you have
not testified before the Assembly--I hope that they would
invite you--I mean, there is always a game changer and it seems
to me that when people hear truth left or right they should be
moved with compassion and empathy to embrace those who are
suffering abuse the likes of which I can't even imagine.
I wrote the Torture Victims Relief Act, Mr. Shin, to deal
with post-traumatic stress and other problems and when I heard
from witnesses what they go through, and it is a law that
provides PTSD--post-traumatic stress disorder assistance and we
heard from people with nightmares--I am sure you have dealt
with nightmares and flashbacks that none of us could imagine,
You sit there absolutely poised and strong and determined
but there has to be--how can anyone go through what you go
through without carrying agonizing scars, and I think the
people of the Republic of Korea left and right need to hear
that more now than ever, especially since the COI is now
finally embracing and, as you said, Ambassador Natsios, with
the nuclear in--you know, the paradox and human rights concerns
rising this is an opportune moment.
And, again, getting back to Ambassador Lee, the red line
idea and I think that is a really strong--you know, a real red
line on human rights coupled with, again, this global
mobilization so that, you know, the information will be so
compelling that the left will not be able to resist any longer
and stop, perhaps unwittingly, but to stop the enabling.
You know, when we have an NBA player, Dennis Rodman, going
over there woefully uninformed about these abuses, we are going
to send him a copy and the other NBA players who went to
Pyongyang to read what you have said in the hopes that they
will raise it in some way now or in the future if they ever
have further contact with Mr. Kim.
So this is a defining moment and I think your testimonies
and Ambassador Lee's statement are extremely important in that
process. So thank you. If you would like to respond and then I
will yield to my friend.
Mr. D. Shin. I have come to realize and I have seen with my
own eyes the international society and many international
organizations coming together and dealing with this issue of
human rights in North Korea.
Earlier this year in March in Geneva when I spoke at the
U.N. Human Rights Council, in the table or seat before me in
front of me there were diplomats from the DPRK, North Korean
diplomats who were watching me and monitoring me as I spoke and
as I was participating in the meeting, and I also had the
opportunity to speak in New York on April 17 for the Arria
function for the meeting at the U.N. in New York.
And I have also come to know that many scholars and many
organizations and groups they have stated that many North
Koreans have come into contact with South Korean media, South
Korean drama, South Korean movies through USB sticks, through
access to computers, through the exchange of information on the
black markets in North Korea, and it is true that the people in
North Korea through viewing South Korean dramas and watching
South Korean movies and being active in the black market and
listening to foreign broadcasts through radio all these things,
they are happening in North Korea right now and I believe that
these things are needed by the North Korean people.
However, what I want to say is that these things are things
that happened many decades ago as well and I tend to have
somewhat of a negative outlook regarding how many more decades,
how many more years it will take of North Korean people
watching South Korean dramas or South Korean movies for change
or for things to happen in the country.
And there is a reason why I have to say things like this in
this manner and what I want to say is that a person dying is
not something that happens over many years or many decades.
A person can end his life in a second or a couple of
seconds. More than 60 years ago when 6 million Jews were
murdered by the Nazis, it took less than 4 or 5 years for that
genocide to happen, for that large number of people to be
killed, and almost 40 years ago when almost 2 million people
were killed in the killing fields of Cambodia that took about 5
or 6 years as well.
And all of you know that 20 years ago when the Rwanda
genocide happened 800,000 people getting killed, that took only
about 90 days. And I say this because for North Korea the same
thing and the same future can happen in North Korea as well.
And what I want to say is that the dictatorship in North
Korea is without comparison compared to the other dictatorships
throughout history more evil, more terrible than any other
dictatorships in history is what we see in North Korea right
And my thought is that yes, radios, DVDs and exposure to
foreign media those are good and those are needed for the North
Korean people. But what I want to say is that the international
community coming together and forcefully warning and talking
and telling the North Korean regime, the dictatorship, of what
is going on, that is what is needed is what I want to tell all
of you here today.
Mr. Smith. I would like to yield to the former U.S.
attorney from Pennsylvania, a prosecutor of great distinction,
Mr. Marino. Thank you, Chairman. Ambassador and Doctor, I
don't know if you recall--please acknowledge if you do, if not
I will repeat it--my questions to our--to the Ambassador
concerning what role the U.N. can play in this. Would you--
either of you or both of you care to respond to my question/
Ambassador Natsios. I know there are Americans who are
critical of the United Nations. I have worked with the United
Nations for 25 years now. They can play a very useful role but
we should not exaggerate their effectiveness.
There were 32 resolutions on the atrocities in Darfur. It
didn't restrain Omar al-Bashir's government in terms of just
the resolutions. But that combined with media coverage, human
rights reports, U.S. sanctions, it is part of a larger picture.
So you create a wave that gets bigger and bigger and
eventually it does affect behavior and even in a totalitarian
regime like North Korea. No dictatorship likes having their
crimes put out there in public in front of everyone else.
So the U.N. can be very useful. I think the COI report,
frankly, is going to be one of the most powerful instruments we
have because when people say they don't like the United States
and that this is an American obsession, there is no truth to
any of that, I mean, there was no Americans on the commission.
It was the Chief Justice of the Australian Supreme Court
and the Attorney General of Indonesia and a leader of civil
society in Serbia who were on that commission. No Americans. So
when you have that kind of a body making these statements in
great detail and then using the term crimes against humanity it
can be used as an instrument to constantly repeat.
There is a lot of anti-Americanism in Europe now. I get
upset with it but it is there. That is the reality. So but
Shin's book is being read all over Europe now. I mean, his book
has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and it is a
bestseller. There is no other way of putting it.
Who is reading it? It is not just Americans. So I think the
more international this effort becomes, we have Latin American
and African countries voting with us on this on the U.N.
Security Council--it is a very powerful thing. It is a very
So I think we should simply be unrelenting in keeping the
pressure up on the prison camp but also these larger issues as
well. I mean, people don't even go to the camps. They just get
executed in the villages.
The people I interviewed, I think it was 30, I don't
remember exact number of people, but I did 2- or 3-hour
interviews and they saw people executed in their own villages
summarily. There were no courts.
One of them was caught killing an oxen during the famine.
It was a capital offense. Ripping up a photograph of Kim Jong
Il or graffiti attacking the royal family. When that happens
you can be executed on the spot. They don't even bother sending
you to the camps.
Mr. C. Shin. Okay. Yes. Thank you very much. Human rights
is a universal value, which needs. Multilateral approaches and
crimes against humanity is also an international matter, not a
domestic matter in which the concept of responsibility to
protect can be involved in.
You mentioned the role of the United Nations. The United
Nations is the right forum to deal with those kinds of
multilateral issues. When it comes to the role of the
Secretary-General in the United Nations, well, actually the
Secretary-General is an international servant who does not
represent any national identity.
But it is really difficult to handle the issues which he
cares about--and the states related to his nationality. So when
considering the conflict of interest, for instance, well, the
former United Nations Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali
and other former United Nations Secretary-Generals, have dealt
with their regional issues not directly but by other
representatives and other Under-Secretary-Generals of the
So we can apply this kind of role of the Under-Secretary-
Generals of the United Nations with regard to the human rights
issues in North Korea as well.
Mr. Marino. We also need to get countries on the continent
of Africa voting more with the United States on issues like
this. Mr. Shin, I just have to ask how did you escape?
Mr. D. Shin. I had no specific plan or thoughts of escaping
when I did escape.
Mr. Marino. Let me stop you there. I just thought of
something. I don't want you to reveal something that would let
the North Koreans know how people could escape. Okay. That is
fine. Go ahead, sir.
Mr. D. Shin. So for the first 24 years of my life, I did
not know anything about the outside world but through meeting
somebody who had been in the outside world who had been sent to
the prison camp and meeting this person and knowing and hearing
about the outside world and the food that people outside the
camps ate I began to have curiosity and interest regarding the
food and what people ate outside the prison camp.
And simply put, my plan when I decided to escape was that I
would escape and just for one meal--at least for one meal and I
would eat until I was very full and if I was caught and
publicly executed then I would die satisfied, having eaten a
So the person that told me about the outside world who had
been sent to the prison camp he and I attempted to escape
together from the prison camp by crossing the electrified
fence. And, of course, the prison camp system in North Korea is
not one that is easy for the prisoners to escape from.
So my colleague--the inmate who was escaping with me, he
was caught in the electrified fence and he unfortunately did
not make it out and I myself--my legs were caught in the
electrified fence and I was injured on my way out from the
prison camp crossing through the electrified fence.
So many inmates in the prison camps in North Korea do not
know about what is going on in the outside world. They cannot
access information from the outside world.
So for me when I heard about what was going on in the world
outside the prison camp for me the biggest interest that I had
was in the food, the meals that the people ate in the world
outside the prison camp.
Mr. Marino. Thank you. I am going to have to read the book.
The chairman pushed my button when he raised Dennis Rodman's
name and I am going to make it perfectly clear that Dennis
Rodman does not represent the United States, any part of it,
when it comes to North Korea.
He is an embarrassment to the United States and the only
way that he can redeem himself is to publicly, here in the
United States, condemn Kim Jong Un and his criminal thugs and
not visit North Korea again until he persuades his sidekick
over there to step down and stop killing people.
But we know that that is probably not going to happen. I am
a little bit of a history buff and a very amateur presidential
historian, and Ambassador or Dr. Shin, can you answer this
question for me? If Truman would have listened to MacArthur,
would we be where we are at today and would China have entered
into the war to cause a full-fledged third world war?
Ambassador Natsios. That is a very good question. I
understand why President acted as he did--and I am a fan of
President Truman. I think he is one of our great Presidents. He
created the post-World War II international order and I think
MacArthur is one of our greatest military leaders in the 20th
But he was insubordinate and that is unacceptable, in my
view, for any military commander to be insubordinate to the
President of the United States. However, on the matter of
whether his plan was right, I think he was right and I don't
think we would be dealing with this horror that the North
Korean people have had to endure all these years if President
Truman had taken a--but a lot of Americans had already died, a
lot of Koreans had already died. I understand why he did it but
I think he was wrong.
Mr. Marino. China had already crossed into North Korea.
Ambassador Natsios. They drove us back and then we drove
Mr. Marino. Do you have a theory as to how much more China
would have been involved in expanding their troops into North
Ambassador Natsios. I think we now know from histories that
have been written what Mao's motivation was and it was Stalin
actually who precipitated this whole thing because he wanted to
take pressure off him in Europe.
He wanted us to move troops from the European theater to
Korea and that is what he succeeded in doing. The Soviet
archives were open. They are not open anymore. But in the 1990s
we knew a lot more.
Mr. Marino. So much for democracy, huh?
Ambassador Natsios. Pardon me?
Mr. Marino. So much for democracy.
Ambassador Natsios. So much for democracy. We know, for
example--this is the most embarrassing thing that has happened
to the North Korean Government--is the Russian archives show
that Kim Il Sung was simply a tool of Stalin. He was put in
power by Stalin.
He was ordered by Stalin to do what he did and the notion
that he was some independent guerilla is a complete fabrication
of North Korean propaganda. He was a puppet of the Soviet
leadership for their own purposes.
Mr. Marino. I agree. Doctor.
Mr. C. Shin. Well, I would like to say it like this. The
Korean War is kind of the unsung victory of the alliance
between the Republic of Korea and the United States. It is a
total contrast when we compare the current situation of human
rights in both Koreas. This would be an answer to your
Mr. Marino. Thank you, gentlemen.
Mr. Smith. Just one final concluding question, if I could.
I have lots but the hour is late. What is next for this U.N.
Security Council, in your view?
As you, Dr. Shin, point out and as we all know the U.N. COI
recommends that the U.N. Security Council refer the human
rights situation in North Korea to the ICC as well as enact and
implement targeted sanctions against those who appear to be
responsible for carrying out crimes against humanity, and as
you point out in your testimony it is not the people of North
Korea that are targeted.
It is individuals and that has been the move increasingly
in legislation here as well, whether it be the Belarus
Democracy Act or the Magnitsky Act or any of these others,
targeting the people who are doing their horrific crimes.
But when do you think the U.N. Security Council will take
any of this up? You know, are we talking about weeks? Months?
God forbid, years? Not years. Okay. When do you think?
Ambassador Natsios. Do you have any sense?
Mr. C. Shin. No.
Ambassador Natsios. Trying to predict what the United
Nations is going to do is a difficult thing. I think it is a
matter of months.
Mr. Smith. There is a Human Rights Council coming up in----
Ambassador Natsios. Yes, there is.
Mr. Smith. The ICC.
Ambassador Natsios. So there are many forums in which these
issues can be raised and I am hoping the United States will
continue to raise them with other countries and I actually
think the more books are sold--Mr. Shin's--actually the more
pressure that there will be for other countries, not only in
the Council but in other forums within the United Nations to
press for action, and I think this relentless pressure on every
front is what is going to change things.
They don't want to be isolated. They are already isolated.
But there is another factor I just want to say that is going on
that we are not getting at this hearing, that is not
understanding in the United States and there are many people in
South Korea in denial.
The Chinese are taking over the North Korean economy. They
believe that they are a huge security risk. They don't want
them to have nuclear weapons or the missiles because it is
threatening the stability of the peninsula and South Korea is a
major trading partner, as you said, with China.
They don't want threats to South Korea either and the
Chinese are upset with the North Korean leadership. So what
they have done are two things that are fascinating. Since 2011
there has been a massive increase in trade, billions of
dollars. It is in extractive industry, it is coal, it is
minerals, some rare earth metals, gold, and the Chinese are
bringing technology in and there is not many--they are not
manufacturing anything in North Korea that they want but North
Korean--the Chinese industrial output needs these metals and
And it is in the billions of dollars and that money is
flowing into North Korea now. The second thing the Chinese are
Mr. Smith. And at fair value? Because what they are doing
in Africa is that----
Ambassador Natsios. It is not fair value.
Mr. Smith [continuing]. Pennies on the dollar.
Ambassador Natsios. Because they are the only trading
partner--serious trading partner of North Korea----
Mr. Smith. So they are fleecing North Korea.
Ambassador Natsios. Yes, and Chinese merchants are the only
ones doing business with North Korea now. The other thing that
is happening in the North is that the Chinese are building a
massive industrial complex in China along the border with the
Tumen River and the reason they are doing that is the way the
Chinese economy--I don't know if you know this--but because of
what has happened in Hong Kong under the British when they went
to a free market economy there was this massive economic
Chinese workers from China were going every day to work in
the factories in Hong Kong. They were coming back with their
money, buying TV sets. They were better fed than anyone else in
China was, and some Beijing party bureaucrats went down saying
how come everybody is better fed--how come people are better
dressed--how come they have television sets in their houses and
no one else in China does, and they told the story.
These workers are all in Hong Kong. So they went and looked
at what Hong Kong had done and they made a policy decision to
experiment. This was under Deng Xiaoping. And they decided to
do what Hong Kong did in the provinces around Hong Kong. It
worked. They extended it to the rest of the country.
I believe what the Chinese are doing now with this massive
industrial--there are some articles that have been written on
it in some depth. They are building an industrial
infrastructure and investing billions of dollars in China
hoping the North Koreans will go across the border, work there,
bring the money back and that will begin to change the North
Korean economy the same way that the Chinese economy was
changed through Hong Kong.
I believe that is what their plan is. Whether it will work
is a different matter. But the North Koreans privately are very
nervous that the Chinese in fact are economically taking over
their country, and they are. You know the currency that is used
other than dollars and the South Korean currency in the
markets? They don't use North Korean currency. They are
useless. They use Chinese currency. So they don't even have
control over their own monetary policy.
Mr. Marino. Chairman, if I may--if I may. I am a student of
China and you bring up a good topic and, you know, China--
people think China wants to rule the world militarily. That is
They are doing--they are trying to do it financially and
they will do it financially. Look at the investments China is
making on the east coast of the continent of Africa--their
refineries, the oil, the gas.
Look at the investments that they are making in Afghanistan
for precious metals, rare earths because of the technology age
that we need these materials to run our iPads and our phones
and who knows what is coming up in the near future.
They are very smart when it comes to that and the fact that
they undervalue their currency, the yuan, and overvalue our
currency, U.S. dollar, we better watch out because it is going
to come to a point where China is going to step forward.
If we are downgraded again in this country financially
China will step forward and say to the world, take a look at
us. They will let their yuan rise to its real level of value,
our dollar will plummet, inflation will skyrocket.
China is buying gold by the boatloads and they are going to
say look, we have virtually no debt. We have most of the
outside debt from the United States and we can back it with
So we better get our act together here and in Europe and
around the rest of the rest of the world when it comes to
finances concerning China.
Mr. Smith. Dr. Shin, did you want to speak to----
Mr. C. Shin. Yes.
Mr. Smith [continuing]. What's next in the U.N. Security
Mr. C. Shin. When it comes to the Chinese position on
international criminal justice I think we are not talking about
the normal violation of human rights.
We are talking about widespread, systematic and gross
violations of human rights which amount to crimes against
humanity that the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction
So we have to persuade China not to exercise, I mean,
political power such as veto powers in the United Nations
Security Council when it comes to--when dealing with these
kinds of crimes against humanity--I mean, jus cogens peremptory
norms that deal with prevention of crimes against humanity and
Mr. Smith. Thank you.
Ambassador Natsios. Let me make one last statement about
the food issue with respect to China. China has been giving
food to North Korea for some time but they just give it to
them. We know what the North Koreans do with it. They give it
to the military.
They give it to the capital city, to the Communist Party,
to the Secret Police who get even a higher ration than military
officers do. The Secret Police are critically important to the
I have tried to tell the Chinese it is not in their
interest to simply turn the food over. Who is escaping into
China? The elites? Of course not. It is poor people who are
hungry. That is the principal reason they leave.
That is why Mr. Shin tried to escape from prison. It wasn't
because of freedom--he didn't know what freedom meant. He said
it in his book. He said it today. He was hungry, okay. If the
Chinese Government wants to stop, create a positive incentive
for stopping the mass population movements across the border,
which they have cut down anyway--there has been a 50-percent
drop in defections in the last couple of years and I put that
in my testimony--what the Chinese need to do is to work with
the United Nations and the United States.
If they are going to do a food program, insist on
international conventions that can prevent the food from being
diverted by the elite. Why?
If you feed the poor there is going to be less motivation
for crossing the border. It is in the Chinese interest,
frankly, to follow international conventions on these issues
because if you create the positive incentive the incentive
won't be there for them to leave.
Mr. Smith. Are there any plans afoot for the World Food
Programme or USAID? Because that--the diversion issue was
always big, I know.
Ambassador Natsios. There was a time----
Mr. Smith. So the Chinese would be the ones we need to have
Ambassador Natsios. There was talk about a food aid program
but after they did the last nuclear test that shut down
everything. Even I, and you know how strong I have been on this
issue, I said I am fed up with them.
Mr. Smith. The thought of the International Committee of
the Red Cross--are any monitors getting into the prisons? Is
Ambassador Natsios. We have raised it.
Mr. Smith. I know you have and you raised it again in your
Ambassador Natsios. I don't think they are going to let
them in there.
Mr. Smith. Okay.
Mr. D. Shin. There is one last thing that I would like to
say to you, and what I would say is that when we see the young
dictator, Kim Jong Un of North Korea, living in luxury,
drinking expensive wine and smoking expensive cigars and Dennis
Rodman going over there and spending time in luxury with Kim
Jong Un, the American people saw this and saw that Dennis
Rodman was helping Kim Jong Un in this sort of lifestyle that
he was leading.
And also that almost more than half of the tourists that go
to North Korea are U.S. citizens. Americans are going to North
Korea and that despite the economic sanctions and the decrees
from the State Department telling American citizens not to
travel to North Korea, American citizens on their free will are
travelling to North Korea and they are spending money on their
own and the money that they spend is allowing Kim Jong Un to
continue to live in luxury, to drink the fine wine and to smoke
the fancy cigars and footing the luxurious lifestyle of Kim
And as a victim of the North Korean dictatorship, when I
see American citizens going to North Korea as tourists,
spending money, that is something that I oppose and something
that breaks my heart when I see that. And it is very
unfortunate for me to see American citizens going there as
tourists and spending their money that is supporting the
When I see that happening, that is very disappointing for
me to realize what is going on.
Mr. Smith. Ambassador Natsios, Dr. Shin, Mr. Shin, thank
you so very much for your powerful testimony and I can assure
you we will widely disseminate this and will help not only me
but members of this committee to be more informed and
absolutely more motivated.
And Ambassador Lee, thank you for your statement and your
call for a global mobilization and that red line. I think that
is something we really need to stress.
Without objection, a testimony submitted by the United
States Commission on International Religious Freedom will be
made part of the record. Anything further?
Mr. Marino. I agree with Mr. Shin concerning travel. That
is another failure on the part of the Obama administration and
that he could very easily put a stop to that.
Mr. Smith. The hearing is adjourned and thank you very
[Whereupon, at 4:51 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the RecordNotice deg.
Material submitted for the record by the Honorable Lee Jong Hoon,
Ambassador-at-Large for Human Rights, Republic of Korea
Material submitted for the record by the Honorable Christopher H.
Smith, a Representative in Congress from the State of New Jersey, and
chairman, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights,
and International Organizations