This episode of Living History series features part one of two interviews with Robert R. “Bob” King to mark the sixth anniversary of the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) report on human rights in North Korea. Ambassador King served as special envoy for North Korea human rights issues from 2009 – 2017, leading efforts to advance human rights and humanitarian conditions in North Korea, secure the release of U.S. citizens held in North Korea, and represent the United States in international organizations dealing with these issues.
Ambassador King recounts what it was like to visit North Korea and to raise human rights issues with North Korean leaders. He discusses the important role of the United Nations in calling attention to human rights conditions in North Korea and coordinating efforts to make progress on these issues.
As part of these discussions, Ambassador King shares his thoughts on the nexus between human rights and broader security concerns like denuclearization. He concludes with an assessment of progress made since the release of the UN COI Report in 2014, remaining challenges under the current administration, and the role that human rights should play in U.S. foreign policy.