This article will analyze the connection between history, countervailing ideologies, that is, the legacy of the Cold War, and the perceived identification of human rights violations as they pertain to countries with major security interests in Northeast Asia. This article will further show that the enduring nuclear-weapons problem in North Korea has been inextricably linked to human rights issues there, specifically because Washington wants to change the behavior of officials in Pyongyang so that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) becomes a state that at least remotely resembles a liberal democracy. Although supported by much of the international community, including the United States' South Korean and Japanese allies in Northeast Asia, Washington's North Korean policy has remained ineffective, as Pyongyang has continued to perform missile testing and still possesses nuclear weapons.

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