(Day Thirty-five of the Korean Ministry of the Information and Communications ban)
As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the North Korean Freedom Act is now before the US Senate. I had recently written to the office of US Senator Sam Brownback about the North Korean situation and received the reply below. Of course, it was most likely hammered out by an intern but the information is still 'official.' So here it is:
Thank you for contacting me regarding U.S. policy toward North Korea. I genuinely appreciate hearing the views of my fellow Kansans (YANGBAN NOTE: there wasn't a spot for me to list Korea, so I just said Kansas on the email form).
The government of North Korea poses a terrible threat, both to the United States and to its own people. In 1994, the United States signed an mutually agreed upon path for dealing with North Korea's nuclear weapons program in exchange for increased assistance from the United States and its allies. North Korea is now in violation of this agreement and continues to spend its scarce resources on weapons of mass destruction rather than feeding its starving population. Beyond the famine, North Korea systematically represses its people through a gulag-style prison system, heavy restrictions on speech, travel and religion, and other gross violations of human rights.
In response to the growing North Korean threat and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in that country, I introduced the North Korea Freedom Act (S. 1903) on November 20, 2003. This important legislation requires that all U.S. policies toward North Korea are contingent upon measurable progress on human rights. I believe that it is essential that we reach a new nuclear agreement with North Korea, but North Korea has proven repeatedly that it cannot be trusted at its word. Only when the regime displays a true change of behavior toward its own people can we begin to believe their sincerity at the nuclear bargaining table.
S. 1903 has been referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where it awaits further action. Be assured that I will keep your comments in mind as the Senate considers U.S. policy toward North Korea.
Again, thank you for expressing your concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact my office again in the future, and in the meantime, I encourage you to visit my website for additional information on other issues on which I am working.
United States Senator