In a 2021 State Department report, the U.S. government assailed the North Korean regime for, among other things, “significant human rights issues included: unlawful or arbitrary killings by the government; forced disappearances by the government; torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment and punishment by government authorities; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions, including in political prison camps; arbitrary arrests and detentions; political prisoners and detainees; politically motivated reprisals against individuals located outside the country; no judicial independence; arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; serious restrictions on free expression, the press, and the internet, including violence, threats of violence, or unjustified arrests and prosecutions against journalists, censorship, and site blocking.”
Now, North Korea has attempted to turn the tables, citing recent gun massacres in the United States to allege a human rights problem of America’s own. According to KCNA Watch, North Korea’s state-owned KCNA news service issued a statement about the recent violence in the United States, including the Uvalde school massacre in Texas and the hospital gunfight in Tulsa.
“It is the miserable human rights situation of the U.S. where children lose their lives by gun-related crime at all hours when they are about to come into bud,” KCNA said, per KCNA Watch. “Despite all these facts, the U.S. often picks faults with the human rights situation in other countries at its pleasure and uses the human rights issue as the means of interference into others’ internal affairs… The U.S. had better take care of its own affairs rife with immorality and depravity before “meddling” in other’s affairs.”
According to NK News, North Korea’s state media has been making statements about gun violence in the U.S. for many years, especially in English-language outlets. “While these accounts often deploy bombast to level accusations of hypocrisy, they have at times adopted a more objective tone, such as in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting,” NK News said.
Meanwhile, CNN reported Thursday that North Korea appears to be expanding work at its nuclear testing site, the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility, to add a new tunnel. This adds to speculation that the North Korean regime may be preparing to conduct another nuclear test.
North Korea has declared a moratorium on nuclear and inter-continental ballistic missile tests, but leader Kim Jong-un has declared that the regime is no longer bound by it.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.