U.S. Should Seek Release of Detainees in North Korea—Without Policy Concessions

It is heart-wrenching to see Americans held in captivity by a dictatorial society with little respect for human rights, even more so with the grisly images of U.S. citizens brutalized by the Islamic State fresh in mind. As such, the U.S. should pursue all diplomatic means, both directly with North Korea and in the international community, to secure their release. However, Washington cannot give in to Pyongyang’s ransom demands by sending a special envoy to negotiate their release or by making concessions on U.S. policy toward North Korea. The U.S. should use the detentions to underscore Pyongyang’s aberrant behavior.

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