Obama says US prioritizes N. Korean human rights
WASHINGTON (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said North Korea's human rights record is a key factor in Washington's approach to the communist nation.
"Improving human rights conditions is a top U.S. priority in our North Korea policy and it will have a significant impact on the prospect for closer U.S.-DPRK ties," Obama said in response to a question on North Korea, according to the White House. DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Obama is on a visit to South Korea for a Nuclear Security Summit. The U.S. Embassy in Seoul held a competition titled "Ask President Obama," in which people submitted questions to Obama via social media.
"The United States remains deeply concerned about the well-being of the North Korean people, the human rights situation in the DPRK and the plight of North Korean refugees. The United States has led efforts around the globe to call attention to the human rights situation in North Korea," Obama said, responding to a winning question from a former North Korean defector living in the South.
"Your personal story of courage is remarkable and a testament to the possibility for North Koreans to lead lives in freedom and dignity," Obama said.
He added the U.S. had raised the human rights issues in its recent bilateral talks with North Korea.
Asked about the alliance, Obama said Seoul is more than an ally of Washington.
"It is one of our largest trading partners, which supports prosperity on both sides of the Pacific," he said. He added he will continue to introduce South Korea's success story in his future public speeches.
"Korea’s success is a tribute to the sacrifices and tenacity of the Korean people. You show what can be achieved when people come together, educate their children, stand up for their values, and pursue a positive vision for their country. I think the Korean story is important, and that’s why I will continue to speak about it," he said.