North Korea's human rights issue most divisive for South Korea, US

In: The Korea Times

Ramon Pacheco Pardo, said potential differences regarding human rights issues in North Korea will not prevent cooperation.

"Rightly or wrongly, denuclearization is a greater priority for both Moon and, especially, Biden. Thus, if there is an opportunity to sign a deal with North Korea on denuclearization, none of them will let the opportunity go due to human rights," he said.

"The means, however, appear to be different. The Moon government sees inter-Korean reconciliation as a way to improve the human rights situation in North Korea. It looks like the Biden administration is going to be more upfront and vocal about this issue. I think that it might be possible to strike a balance between both approaches."

Ramon also said the consultation process between the Moon and Biden administrations will allow human rights to become part of the discussion and therefore not significantly affect South Korea-U.S. cooperation on the broader North Korea issue.

"Plus, the U.S. has many other matters with which it wants cooperation with South Korea, such as dealing with China, expanding the G7, or multilateral government negotiations. So even if there are differences with regards to the human rights situation of ordinary North Koreans, I don't think that this will significantly affect South Korea-U.S. relations," he added.