Friday, November 18, 2005

United Nations 1, South Korea 0

The UN General Assembly seems to have its head on straight today. The General Assembly voted on a resolution introduced by the EU. It was similar to the resolutions that have been voted on in the Human Rights Commission every year for the last three years and successfully passed. Today they passed the resolution before the entire assembly. i can only say that i am more than a little excited about this.

The assembly's social and humanitarian committee backed the EU-sponsored document in a 84-22 vote, with 62 abstentions - among them South Korea

I was impressed by how the difference in votes seemed more significant than i remember the votes in the UNHRC. And i don't just mean there were more of them; i mean the gap was proportionally larger (though there were a alarming number of abstentions)

Speaking of abstentions, sticking to form, South Korea abstained from the vote, as noted above. I wasn't surprised but i was still dissapointed by this. I thought that perhaps the GNP pressure would have perhaps done something to change this, but alas.

Its representative Shin Kak-soo said Seoul "shares the serious concerns of the international community regarding the human rights situation" in North Korea.

"At the same time, my government has other crucial objectives in our policy towards the DPRK (North Korea) which in our view are vital for peace and security in the Korean peninsular," Shin Kak-soo said.

Here is more coverage. and here as well.

on a positive note, the GNP has become more and more vocal about this issue in the Korean Assembly and has straight up called out the Uri party on this issue. this may be a political move, but on this one i am willing to be more utilitarian.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Fresh Start

This represents a graduation of sorts. I figured that it was about to move away from xanga and, well, keep a real blog. Not that I am totally opposed to my xanga but it is more of a forum for keeping up with the happenings of one's life and that isn't quite what i am shooting for.

I ran across this article on Xinhuanet. i was a little surprised as i hadn't heard anything about this anywhere else and i was more surprised it wasn't as acerbic as i would have expected out of xinhua on a topic like this. It seems that there are some unhappy folks in the US Congress. So unhappy that they are willing to throw down:

The chief sponsors of a US Senate bill threatening China with a 27.5 percent tariff on its exports to the United States said on Wednesday they would delay a promised vote on the bill until March 31 at the latest, the Reuters reported.
Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said he and Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, were hopeful that President George W. Bush's visit to China later this week would prompt China to take positive steps to revalue its currency.

Now two things. One, 27.5 % is a very large number. Second, Graham and Schumer aren't exactly ideological brothers. This reflects a general sentiment, it seems, in Congress as a whole.

We hope and pray that the Chinese will move. We don't want to dictate anything to the Chinese. We don't want to tell them how quickly they should move or to what degree, but we do need to see some more movement on something that just about everyone agrees ought to happen," Schumer said. Schumer and Graham unexpectedly won a procedural vote 67-33 on their bill early this year.

This is an issue that needs pressure from congress. in my opinion, the Chinese have been given economic reign to develop their production - which outstrips the rest of the world, hands down - while not having to give up much - like allowing American and European companies and banks to have at the financial market in China. China has also been quick to blow the WTO whistle on other countries, especially when it comes to the textile trade, but is very defensive about their own protectionism. Congress is merely seeking some parity.