The North Korea Freedom Coalition sent the following open letter to President Bush in response to the Beijing Surrender; I have reprinted in full (with permission from the good folks at NKFC).
February 28, 2007
The Honorable George Bush
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing on behalf of the North Korea Freedom Coalition, a nonpartisan group of over 65 American and Korean-American human rights, religious, and non-governmental organizations representing millions of American citizens. We are deeply grateful for what you have done to express solidarity with and hope for the people of North Korea enslaved under the Kim Jong-il dictatorship.
The North Korean Freedom Coalition believes you accurately described the Kim Jong-il regime as “a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.” We were greatly encouraged when you signed the North Korea Human Rights Act of 2004 citing its "useful new tools to address the deplorable human rights situation in North Korea" and vowing to "work with other concerned states in the region and internationally to take steps to improve the lives of the average North Korean." We appreciated your subsequent appointment of Jay Lefkowitz as your Special Envoy to "greatly enhance our efforts to encourage North Korea to accept and abide by internationally accepted human rights standards and norms.”
We were very encouraged when, in 2005, you met with North Korean defector Kang Cheol-hwan, and in 2006, on North Korea Freedom Day, you met the director of Free North Korea Radio, Kim Seung-Min, and Kim Han-mee and her family, as well as Sakie and Shigeru Yokota, and Shigeo Izuku, whose family members had been abducted by Kim Jong-il’s regime.
Your administration has worked to hold this regime accountable for its illicit activities: counterfeiting, money laundering, and drug-trafficking. The section 311designation by the Treasury Department had a strong impact on the regime’s inner circle. The UN Sanctions imposed after the missile tests of July and the nuclear test of October 2006 stand as great achievements in your administration’s international diplomatic initiatives. The effect of these measures was clearly felt by the regime, as evidenced in its strong protests and sales of gold overseas.
Just as these efforts were beginning to bear fruit, State Department negotiators persuaded you to mitigate this pressure in order to win North Korean acceptance of additional meetings and vaguely-worded commitments relating to North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
Leverage obtained over years of showing strong resolve to halting the regime’s activities were exchanged for a commitment to again shut-down Yongbyon, an “empty shell” according to the defectors, and to talk.
These actions have given Kim Jong-il’s regime new life: American criticism of North Korea’s illicit activities has been modified, our insistence on international sanctions has been undercut, and our criticism of the regime’s human rights record has been quieted. These actions have undermined the long-term interest of the United States in Asia and undermined negotiations with other hostile rogue states; harmed our alliance with the government of Japan; and betrayed the people of North Korea.
As you deal with North Korea in the critical months ahead, we urge you to:1) Reaffirm designations under section 311 of the Patriot Act for banks that facilitate North Korea’s illicit activities;
2) Promise energy assistance and medical and food aid only when -all abductees and POWs are released and allowed to return to their homeland; -aid can be monitored as required under UN resolutions 1695 and 1718; -North Koreans are allowed freedom of movement; and-the political prison camps are dismantled and the International Red Cross is allowed to administer to the victims there.
We also encourage you to 3) implement and fully fund the North Korea Human Rights Act of 2004;4) continue to list North Korea as a state sponsoring terrorism until it apologizes for past terrorist incidents, makes restitution to persons killed or harmed by its terrorist acts, and returns perpetrators of terrorism to justice in countries where the acts were committed; and5) instruct U.S. negotiators to insist on human rights protections for North Korea’s citizens in any discussions.
We strongly desire the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula and the normalization of relations with North Korea, but this can only be accomplished when the regime is pressured to protect the human rights of its own citizens.
The nuclear issue is a diversion from the real issue: human rights. No one understands this better than the 10,000 strong North Korean defectors, who have escaped their enslavement to live in freedom. Because of your past actions, they have long believed that you and your administration are the greatest hope today to helping the millions still enslaved. There is still time, and we hope and pray that as the leader of the Free World, you will stay true to your principles and promote human rights for the North Korean people. We also hope that you will meet with the leadership of the North Korean defectors when they visit Washington, D.C. for North Korea Freedom Week April 22-29, 2007.
Suzanne Scholte Sin U Nam Rabbi Abraham Cooper
Chairman Vice Chairman Vice Chairman
Ann Buwalda Mariam Bell Sue Yoon Logan
Treasurer Legislative Chair Administrator
North Korea Freedom Coalition Members
Public Members (partial listing):
American Anti-Slavery Group
American Family Association
Christian Solidarity International
Christian Solidarity Worldwide - USA
Citizen's Coalition for Human Rights of Abductees & North Korean Refugees
Coalitions for America
Commission to Help North Korean Refugees
Committee for the Rescue of Korean War POWs
Concerned Women for America
Defense Forum Foundation
Democracy Network Against the NK Gulag*
Discovery Institute Embassy of the Prince of Peace
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Exile Committee for North Korean Democracy*
Family Research Council Focus on the Family
Freedom Society of America
Free North Korea Radio*
Helping Hands Korea
Human Rights Coalition-USA
Human Rights First
Human Rights Without Frontiers
Institute on Religion and Democracy
Institute on Religion and Public Policy
Intl Korean War Memorial Foundation
Korean-American Freedom Fighters Movement
Korean Congress for N. Korean Human Rights
Korean Freedom Council (KFC)
Korean Freedom Democracy League of America
Korean War Abductees Family Union
Life Funds for North Korean Refugees
National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea
National Council for Freedom and Democracy
NY Commission to Help N. Korean Refugees
N. American Religious Liberty Association
Open Doors USA
Religious Freedom Coalition
Salvation Army, U.S.A.
Save North Korea
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Southern Baptist Convention, ERLC
The Israeli Jewish Comm. Against the Gas Chambers in North Korea
The Wilberforce Forum
* - organizations of North Korean defectors
Suzanne Scholte, Chairman
Sin U Nam, Vice Chairman
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Vice Chairman
Mariam Bell, Legislative Co-Chair
Ann Buwulda, Treasurer
Sue Yoon Logan, Administrator
Advisors: Hwang Jang-Yop, Chuck Downs, Col. Gordon Cucullu, ret.