Trump-Kim summit

Why US should raise North Korea's human rights abuses

If Mr Donald Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi next week goes as the US President hopes, the two will emerge trumpeting promises of North Korea's denuclearisation, the proclamation of an end to the Korean War, and commitments by the international business community and multilateral lending institutions to transform the nation led by "Little Rocket Man", in Mr Trump's words, into the "economic rocket" of Asia.

While there's probably a better chance of pigs flying over Pyongyang, it is important to consider the latter prospect for one important but neglected reason: Mr Trump will never realise his dream of seeing North Korea trade its missile launch pads for beachfront condominiums and casinos unless he addresses the regime's massive human-rights abuses.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2019, with the headline 'Why US should raise North Korea's human rights abuses'. Print Edition | Subscribe