Time for regime change in North Korea?

From an Opinion piece by Lee Min-Yon,  a professor at Sookmyung Women’s University and the chief advisor of the Sookmyung Research Institute of Global Governance in Seoul, Korea:

There is a growing international consensus that the key to dealing with North Korea is regime change in the country.

The amount and degree of sanctions imposed on Pyongyang is regarded as the strongest ever. In 2016, the Third Committee of the General Assembly, which handles humanitarian affairs in the UN, unanimously adopted yet another resolution, calling for sending North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for human rights violations in North Korea.

The General Assembly acknowledged that North Korea is subject to most of the provisions regarding crimes against humanity stipulated in Article 7(1) of the Rome Statute of the ICC and added state-induced starvation of its citizens to the list of accusations. According to annual reports of the World Food Programme, North Korea is one of the four countries that suffer the worst chronic food shortages in the world. In 1990, about 5 million people suffered hunger in the country.

Now that five years have passed since Kim Jong Un took power, he is considered as even more tyrannical and vicious than the previous leaders. The acquired sins created by Kim himself are as follows: inhumane purges and tortures, including the killing of his uncle Jang Song Thaek and top military officers with anti-aircraft guns; and, aggressive and intensive threats and provocations, including the bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island of South Korea, nuclear tests and missile launches. While it took seven years for Pyongyang to conduct its third nuclear test, Kim carried out the fourth and fifth nuclear tests in 2016 following the third nuclear test in 2013. There have been 37 missile tests since Kim came to power, which is far more frequent than those during the reigns of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

Experts are having meaningless debates about when the country would cease to exist. Rather, the international community should talk about regime change in Pyongyang, as UN sanctions resolutions on North Korea have already provided the justification and rationalization.

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