Lord Alton: Statement on UK Policy Towards North Korea

Lord Alton
Lord Alton

For more than a decade I have chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea. When it comes to North Korea there is a battle for ideas and a need for a clear headed security strategy.

The DPRK is a country where, according to the UN Commission of Inquiry, there are 200,000 people incarcerated in its prison camps. Its brutality was recently underlined by the recent reported purge of North Korea’s Defence Minister, Hyon Yong-chol. The BBC reported that Kim Jong Un also ordered the execution of fifteen senior official and four members of Pyongyang’s Unhasu Orchestra.

Although North Korea is on the wrong side of history it is still in a position to cause untold human misery – and I would like the UK Government to be clear on their assessment of the current stability of the North Korean regime, what are our policy objectives in relation to breaking the information blockade, to implementing the COI recommendations on human rights, to tackling the security threats and what steer will be given to Mr Alastair Morgan, our new Ambassador to Pyongyang, who takes up his position later this year.

Whether it is on the Korean peninsula – where 1,000 British servicemen died in the cause of freedom – or whether it is in the Middle East, Britain needs to champion the cause of freedom and the rule of law.

It is sometimes suggested that Britain should retreat from the world and relinquish our international responsibilities. How right was Maximilian Kolbe, murdered by the Nazis at Auschwitz, and who said that “The most deadly poison of our times is indifference.” Such indifference would be bad for Britain and bad for the world.