Now, please enjoy this breezy S. Korean government montage of Moon and Kim's fast-blossoming friendship. pic.twitter.com/vwSmvW91z1— Jonathan Cheng (@JChengWSJ) September 18, 2018
South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as relations between their countries continue to thaw.
Videos of the two leaders warmly embracing each other at an airport in Pyongyang set off roaring appreciation from the crowd gathered near the tarmac.
But the crowd watching in South Korea wasn't as happy, The Guardian reports. In fact, they were "ashamed" because their president was being friendly with a notorious dictator.
While Kim Jong Un has agreed to denuclearize, he still needs to be held accountable for the gross human rights abuses his regime has carried out against its own people.
But that's not what the South Korean government is doing.
Seoul has, in fact, started a campaign that depicts a softer image of the North Korean regime. For example, The Guardian reports authorities have set up photo spots where people can recreate Moon and Kim’s famous walk on the walk bridge during the Inter-Korean Summit in April.
“It’s embarrassing – Kim Jong-un is a dictator who threatened the world to bring them to the negotiating table,” Choi Hyo-joo, a graduate student, told the newspaper. “It drives me crazy. We can talk to him without undermining our values.”
“I don’t think [Kim] is being accurately portrayed,” remarked Jang Eun-joong, another South Korean viewer of the Pyongyang meeting. “We shouldn’t be beautifying him and using positive words to describe him just because he seems to be wanting peace now all of a sudden.”
Since the beginning of the year, North Korea has attracted international headlines for considering denuclearization. But it should not be forgotten that the reclusive state still runs detention camps that hold between 80,000 and 120,000 political prisoners, according to the United Nations.
The UN investigation also found evidence of “extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation."
The prospect of North Korea giving up nuclear warheads is great but should that absolve Kim Jong Un of crimes against humanity?
That's a question leaders like Moon and U.S. President Kim Jong Un need to ask themselves.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Pyongyang Press Corps/Getty Images