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Empowering N. Korean people best path for real change in Pyongyang, top human-rights activist says


America’s decades-long effort to halt North Korea’s nuclear program has failed and the U.S. needs a new approach if it wants to see real change in Pyongyang, a leading human-rights activist and foreign policy scholar said Tuesday.
Katrina Lantos Swett, co-chair of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea and former Democratic congressional candidate argued that Washington’s often-singular focus on Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions has produced few tangible results.
North Korea has only poured more money into its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile arsenals while its people suffer some of the world’s worst living conditions, said Mrs. Lantos Swett, who asserted that empowering the North Korean people could help lay the groundwork for a popular uprising.
“We cannot ignore the terrifying threat that a nuclear North Korea poses to the world. That is something that we cannot afford to take lightly. But at the same time, we have to face the hard reality…We have abjectly failed to stop the North Korean nuclear program,” she said during an appearance Tuesday on the “Washington Brief,” a monthly virtual forum hosted by The Washington Times Foundation.
“We, I believe, have got to recognize that the way in which one changes regimes [such as North Korea] is by empowering the people in that country to basically destabilize their own authoritarian machine to the point where it collapses,” said Mrs.

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