Trump: North Korea’s Human Rights Record ‘Will Be Discussed More in the Future’

By Melanie Arter | June 12, 2018 | 11:40 AM EDT

President Donald Trump (Screenshot)

( – President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday in Singapore that North Korea’s human rights record “will be discussed more in the future” and that the country’s human rights record was discussed “relatively briefly” during talks in comparison with their talks about denuclearization.

When asked what Trump expects the North Korean leader to do about the country’s human rights record regarding the North Korean people, Trump said, “It was discussed. It was discussed relatively briefly compared to denuclearization. Well, obviously, that’s where we started and where we ended, but they will be doing things, and I think he wants to do things. I think he wants to -- you’d be very surprised, very smart, very good negotiator, wants to do the right thing.

“You know, he brought up the fact that, in the past, they took dialogue far -- they never went -- they never were like we are. There’s never been anything like what’s taken place now, but they went down the line. Billions of dollars were given, and you know, the following day the nuclear program continued, but this is a much different time, and this is a much different president, in all fairness. This is very important to me,” Trump said.

According to the State Department’s Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) 2017 Human Rights Report, the people of North Korea are subjected to “egregious human rights violations by the government in nearly all reporting categories including: extrajudicial killings; disappearances; arbitrary arrests and detentions; torture; political prison camps in which conditions were often harsh, life threatening, and included forced and compulsory labor; unfair trials; rigid controls over many aspects of citizen’s lives, including arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, and correspondence, and denial of the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, religion, and movement; denial of the ability to choose their government; coerced abortion; trafficking in persons; severe restrictions on worker rights, including denial of the right to organize independent unions and domestic forced labor through mass mobilizations and as a part of the re-education system.”

When asked whether North Korea’s human rights record was something that Trump will tackle in the future, Trump said, “Yes, it was discussed. It will be discussed more in the future -- human rights.”

“What was also discussed in great detail, John, was that fact that, you know, we have -- and I must have had just countless calls and letters and tweets, anything you can do -- they want the remains of their sons back,” the president said.

“They want the remains of their fathers, and mothers, and all of the people that got caught into that really brutal war, which took place, to a large extent, in North Korea, and I asked for it today, and we got it. That was a very last minute. The remains will be coming back. They’re going to start that process immediately,” he said.

“But so many people, even during the campaign, they’d say, ‘Is there any way you can work with North Korea to get the remains of my son back or my father back?” So many people asked me this question. And, you know, I said, ‘Look, we don’t get along too well with that particular group of people.’ But now we do, and he agreed to that so quickly and so nice -- it was really a very nice thing, and he understands it. He understands it,” Trump said.

“So for the thousands and thousands -- I guess way over 6,000 that we know of, in terms of the remains, they’ll be brought back,” the president added.

As reported, Trump and Kim both “committed to recovering POW/MIA remains, and immediately repatriate those already identified.” More than 7,800 U.S. personnel are still unaccounted for from the Korean War, according to the Pentagon’s POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

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