Archive for September 27th, 2021

Monday, September 27, 2021

“Voice of Korea” comments on the “Path to the Development of Choice” as a Human Right

North Korean foreign radio’s German service read out an article concerning human rights on Monday. As I haven’t found it online yet, I’ve translated it into English to post it here.
This will be a rather unreliable translation as the broadcast was on shortwave, and I may have misread one or another passage of it.

This starts with the author’s name itself. “Kim Jin-ji”*) is my phonetic perception only. The German language makes a difference between male researchers (Forscher) and female researchers (Forscherin). Based on the language used by Voice of Korea, Kim is a female researcher.

But first, some (likely) context to make sense of the North Korean broadcast.

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From the South: KBS World Radio, broadcasting in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese

Earlier this month, South Korean foreign radio’s (KBS World Radio), in its weekly program on North Korean issues,  touched upon the United Nations general assembly session, scheduled to begin on September 14. The North Korean nuclear issue and North Korean human rights issues were expected to be major topics there, according to KBS.

UN secretary general António Guterres had presented a report in August, on the situation in North Korea, KBS said, and he had shown concern about North Korean prevention measures against COVID-19 that could affect the country’s food security. The UN member states were likely to make another call for resolving the nuclear issue.

Against this background, KBS took a closer look at the criticism of North Korea of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The article read out by Voice of Korea today isn’t related to Afghanistan, but appears to follow the same script.

As far as North Korea’s criticism of America’s Afghanistan policies are concerned, KBS quoted political commentator Choi Young-il:

In the wake of the Afghan incident, the international community denounces the U.S. in light of human rights concerns. This is a great opportunity for North Korea to counterattack. By bringing up the human rights issue involving the U.S. preemptively, the North is condemning the U.S.

and

Countries in hostile relations with the U.S. blame the U.S. for the crisis in Afghanistan and mention the human rights issue. North Korea is moving fast to join them. It might feel pleased to attack the U.S. with no other than the human rights issue, but it has nothing to gain practically by doing so. By using this issue, North Korea may want to create a communication channel with the U.S. Also, it wants to tell the U.S. that North Korea is different from Afghanistan and the U.S. cannot deal with the North in the same way it handled Afghanistan. Pyongyang probably wants to say that it is a nuclear weapons state and it is far more powerful than Afghanistan, so the U.S. should negotiate with the North on an equal footing.

Nothing to gain? In fact, by criticizing the U.S., North Korea may not only draw some (desired) attention from Washington, but it may also be able to become part of a broader front against Western or international sanctions. There may be some common denominators that may be rather easily found between Pyongyang and the rest of the world, such as a rather negative take on Afghanistan, or on the nefarious American blockade of Cuba. Emphasizing indignation shared with otherwise distant countries may provide icebreakers to soften North Korea’s international isolation.

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From the North: Voice of Korea, broadcasting in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Spanish

Now, here is Monday’s readout by the Voice of Korea’s German service (my translation into English).

Kim Jin-ji Kim Jin Hui*), researcher at the Institute for International Issues, published an article titled “The Inhumane Crimes that obstruct the Path to the Development of Choice”. The article says,
Not long ago, the UN human-rights experts issued a joint declaration. They claimed that by the unilateral sanctions of the U.S., the economic development of many countries and the improvement of individual lives were sharply affected and that the states’ development rights were harmed. They emphasized that development rights were a human right that nobody was allowed to rob. Development right is a human right that must not be robbed. This definition was in the proclamation about development right that was passed on December 4, 1986, at the 41rst UN general assembly.
After this declaration, the World Human Rights Congress in June 1993 adopted the Vienna Declaration that recognized development right as a category of human rights.

Dozens of years have passed since, but in the international arena, the right of the development of choice, a dignified right of the independent state, isn’t cherished as a true human right.
On the contrary, they were seriously harmed by the unilateral and illegal interference of the USA into the internal affairs of other countries. By more than sixty-year-long blockade of the USA, Cuba suffered enormous economic damage of more than a trillion U.S. dollars. Despite the global spread of COVID-19, the U.S. once more pressurized foreign companies trading with Cuba and made them refuse supplies of oxygen machinery that are necessary for treatment of the malign disease. Recently, they have adopted maximum measures for the restriction on goods supplies to Cuba which was a heavy blow to Cuba’s health system and which has created great difficulties for the peoples’ lives. In other countries, too, like Venezuela and Syria, the evil influence of the USA on politics, economics, military, culture and even everyday life stalls the entire economy and seriously impedes the normal and peaceful development of the [unreadable] state.

Great concern is caused by the fact that such actions that gravely harm the right of independent states on the development path of their choice are committed exactly under the guise of protecting human rights. The U.S. are a country that read most loudly about human rights. On every occasion, they make unfounded accusations of violations of human rights against the other countries, and publish an annual report on the human rights situation of the countries as if they were an international human-rights judge. There, they give negative accounts of the human-rights situations in other countries. In July of this year, the U.S. department of state made promotion of human rights and democracy the number-one duty of the U.S. diplomats in many countries of the world and gave instruction to take all kinds of means to their achievement into consideration. Thus, the Americans revealed their dark intention to interfere even more strongly and more openly into other countries’ internal affairs. In particular, they consider the human rights issue a means of political pressur on anti-imperialist and [unreadable] countries. They refer to the legitimate Belarusian government as an illegal regime busy with reprisals and repression, and incite anti-government forces’ internal insurgency.

They also like to mention the issues of Xinjiang and Hong Kong in China, and try to destroy this country’s social stability. All facts show clearly that the vocal human-rights campaign of the USA is just a ruse to easily achieve their global-rule ambitions. It is exactly the USA who are the greatest violators of human rights worldwide that, under the guise of human rights, seriously impede the normal and peaceful development of the [unreadable] states. If the hypocritical ploys of the USA for the protection of human rights aren’t thwarted, neither sovereign development of the countries nor the building of a free and flourishing world can be expected.

Many countries take firm action against the human rights violations of the USA that impede their development. The ploys of the USA for the protection of human rights will certainly be thwarted.

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Updates/Corrections

*) Her name is Kim Jin Hui – her article as translated into English and Chinese by KCNA news agency can be found there.
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Related

“Old lessons learned in Washington”, Sept 6, 2017
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Monday, September 27, 2021

Germany after the Federal Elections – Arithmetics of Power

Even though the German “Liberals” (the FDP) supported a coalition with the Christian Democrats and their Bavarian sister party, they would join an SPD-led “traffic-lights” coalition if the SPD should win the September 26 federal elections, Dr. Zhu Yufang, a researcher at Tongji University’s German Studies Institute wrote on Sunday morning Beijing time, in an assessment for the Shanghai online newsportal “Guanchazhe” (Observer).

Now the Social Democrats appear to have won the elections, and Dr. Zhu’s expectations can perform miracles – if they can. And that’s a big “if”.

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Gains and losses, according to ARD Television / infratest-dimap projection at 21:36 UTC

Germany’s investors immediately went into the process of telling the Greens where to go. In the words of “Wirtschaftswoche”, a German weekly published in the neighborhood of Armin Laschet, the Christian Democrats’ and Bavarian Christian Socials’ (CDU/CSU) candidate for chancellor, the Greens’ path towards Laschet’s party is shorter than the FDP’s path towards the Social Democrats (SPD) and their candidate, Olaf Scholz.

If you go by German ARD television’s / infratest dimap projection published at 21:36 UTC, the CDU/CSU got 24.1 percent of the vote, narrowly beaten by the SPD with 25.8 percent. The far-right AFD would get 10.5 percent, the “Liberals” or FDP are at 11.5 percent, and the Left Party appears to remain under the 5-percent threshold that would bar it from re-entering the Bundestag, but three directly-won mandates (or more) will secure their re-entry with whatever percentage, even with less than 5 percent of the overall vote, they may get.

Basically, any coalition among the parties that obtains a majority of the seats in the Bundestag is conceivable, with the likely exception of the far-right AFD (“Alternative für Deutschland”).

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Infratest dimap / ARD Radio and Television, Sept 26, 21:36 UTC projection

This means that the SPD, the Greens and the Left combined would fall short of a majority by five seats, and this would have been the only safe SPD-led government coalition. The SPD and the Greens alone are – all according to the 21:36 UTC projection – 45 seats short of an overall majority.

The likelihood that the FDP will fill this gap – as expected by Dr. Zhu – is rather small, and the likelihood that the Greens will extract concessions from the CDU/CSU that may enable them to sell a coalition to their grassroots is fairly high. The CDU/CSU will want to remain in government at nearly all costs.

On the other hand, the FDP may try to extract concessions from the SPD which the Social Democrats are unlikely to accept.

Dr. Zhu’s expectation that Laschet will only be a transitional successor of incumbent chancellor Angela Merkel may not hold water either. When Merkel became chancellor in 2005, she looked like the actual loser of the federal elections that still brought her to power. Helmut Kohl, who became chancellor in 1982, was a joke – that didn’t keep him from becoming the longest-serving federal chancellor to date.

If Laschet should indeed be an “transitional” chancellor, it won’t be because of him in the first place, but because of the CDU/CSU. The Christian Democrats’ and their Bavarian sister party didn’t only offer the public the weakest candidate. Their platform is nothing to write home about either. After sixteen consecutive years at the helm of the federal government – all led by Merkel – they are out of ideas and of personnel.

But that has never kept them from running the country in the past.

(OK. Obviously, I hope that I’m wrong, but had to get this out of my system before going to work.)

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