Two Koreas, Two Looming Crises

◎ It is time for the U.S. to stop holding its tongue on the human rights nightmare in North Korea.

Kim Jong Un is back in public view following a prolonged absence that reportedly was related to his health, a possibility reinforced by the increased presence of his sister, Kim Yo Jong. Also back is the gradual but steady escalation of threats emanating from Pyongyang and resulting tensions with South Korea. The two developments seem related, now that Ms. Kim is taking a more visible role in delivering the harsh rhetoric. She announced the termination (for now) of the official communications link between Seoul and Pyongyang, and hinted at further measures to cut off the military hotline. She also indicated North Korea may end its limited economic cooperation with the South.

First published in The Hill.

Joseph Bosco served as China country director for the Secretary of Defense from 2005 to 2006 and as Asia-Pacific director of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief from 2009 to 2010. He is a nonresident fellow at the Institute for Corean-American Studies and the Institute for Taiwan-American Studies, and has held nonresident appointments in the Asia-Pacific program at the Atlantic Council and the Southeast Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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