North Korea’s terrible human rights record warrants criticism, but the current dialogues with the US center around more pressing issues, infers the editorial board of Arkansas Online. This meeting is the first step in building better relations. President Trump understands the atrocities that are happening in North Korea, but is rightly prioritizing initial engagement with the regime. Eventually, it can be pushed to treat its people better, but only as part of a gradual peace deal. To even get there, the US has to get to the negotiation table. The talks are about de-escalation; one can’t expect peace to be established after just one meeting.
The US should be firm with North Korea, from the beginning of talks, that human rights are non-negotiable, asserts Nicole Bibbins Sedaca of Foreign Policy. While the Trump administration may have other priorities, the countless abuses against North Koreans should not be ignored. The conditions of many of its citizens have been compared to those of Nazi concentration camps. The plight of US citizen Otto Warmbier, who died after having been imprisoned by the regime, is significant. American policy has long centered around this issue, it should not be dismissed. Protecting human rights is a cornerstone of US values.