Tuesday, July 10, 2007

North Korean big wig blows hot air

Last week Chatham House hosted a talk by Ambassador Han of the Institute for Disarmament and Peace in Pyongyang. He gave a talk very similar to this piece by An Song Nam of the same Institute. After the talk there was a Q&A session. Now, as you can guess, everyone in the audience was keen to see if they could get this guy to say something remotely sane rather than the ridiculous diatribe he had spoken for his talk. It was not to be - he did not once acknowledge that perhaps, maybe on of the off-chance, there was another point of view to the one he had.

The event at Chatham House strongly emphasised (to me) the argument in favour of not talking to these guys. It really seemed that it was a complete waste of time trying to talk, let alone negotiate with people like him. However, I do hold that talking is better than not talking. As I have argued earlier, even if you can't expect anything of the North Korean regime and its representatives, it is better to chat inanely with them than to provoke them. Also, there is NO WAY that guy doesn't know the other side of the argument. I would think that the more you engage and ask questions, the more likely it is that one day these representatives are seriously going to start thinking for themselves and hopefully thinking about the crimes they are complicit in by supporting the DPRK regime.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui