Needless to say, relations between Pyongyang and Seoul are a delicate matter, but the U.N.'s recent move to launch a human rights probe in North Korea has put undue pressure on Seoul, who must handle matters with their northern cousins quite carefully. A probe at this juncture, however well intended and even well received amongst the South Korean population, could have explosive effects on already icy relations.
The U.N. human rights chief declared recently that it was time for a “long overdue” investigation into what she called unparalleled rights abuses in North Korea. The probe, unprecedented in scope, could help establish whether Pyongyang’s leaders are committing crimes against humanity.
Navi Pillay’s January proposal has already drawn support from the United States. But the decision has proved sensitive in still-undecided South Korea, where leaders remain divided over whether to confront the North or try to somehow reduce tensions with it, even after Pyongyang last week detonated an underground nuclear device.
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