February 19, 2007


Saving North Korea's Refugees (NICHOLAS EBERSTADT and CHRISTOPHER GRIFFIN, 2/19/07, NY Times)

[I]nexplicably, the Bush team continues to overlook a spectacular opportunity to deliver freedom to tens of thousands of North Koreans, to pressure the country from within for fundamental change and to lay the groundwork for a peaceful, reunified Korean Peninsula. By fostering an underground railroad to rescue North Korean refugees living in China, the United States could do all these things at once.

On humanitarian grounds alone, the case for action on behalf of the wretched North Koreans in hiding north of their country's border along the Yalu River is compelling. While the exact numbers are unknown, this refugee emergency may be second only to Darfur: the International Crisis Group speaks of scores of thousands of refugees, and recently uncovered Chinese official documents indicate hundreds of thousands.

As illegal immigrants in China (Beijing insists North Korean border-crossers are economic migrants, or worse), they live in constant fear and at terrible risk. [...]

The desperation of North Korean refugees has also attracted unscrupulous entrepreneurs who guide refugees out of China for a profit. This latter-day flesh trade has been criticized by the governments of China and South Korea -- each eager, for its own reasons, to discredit any efforts at exodus from North Korea. But whether created by noble motives or mercenary ones, this continuing trickle of escapees proves that a path to freedom already exists. And that trickle would grow if these North Koreans knew they could count on official protection along the way.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2007 9:23 AM

Shhhh. Don't tell Mark Krikorian or Pat Buchanan this.

Posted by: Brad S at February 19, 2007 11:44 AM

Shhhh. Don't tell Mark Krikorian or Pat Buchanan this.

Posted by: Brad S at February 19, 2007 11:47 AM

Yup, it is the US's fault, not China, not SK, not Japan, not Russia, not anybody else that NK refugees aren't being taken in. Also the idea is that a flood of refugees would embaress NK leaders and bring world condemnation onto NK - which of course won't happen given the past 10 years or so. As OJ has said NK will need a regime change to get it fixed.

Posted by: AWW at February 19, 2007 11:55 AM