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    North Korea vs. Human Rights: A Brief History of the NK Human Rights Act

    November 14th, 2014  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

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    Recent efforts to pressure North Korea to improve its human rights conditions through the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI), which among other things, could lead to a UN resolution or ICC referral, has seemingly hit a sensitive spot within North Korea. However, prior to this, little substantive progress was made, in part, due to North Korea’s hard-line stance to its human rights conditions.
     
    Nearly a decade ago, U.S. legislation was enacted on October 18, 2004 known as the North Korean Human Rights Act. The passage of this Act marked a new and notable phase within the nuclear non-proliferation talks, whereby the issue of human rights was
    directly linked to the issue of North Korean nuclear non-proliferation in a Helsinki-style approach.
     
    The full text of the North Korean Human Rights Act can be viewed HERE.
     
    In form, the Act seeks to provide increased aid, monitoring efforts, and
    humanitarian relief to North Korea in the spirit of furthering human rights
    development within the DPRK. In substance, the North Korean Human Rights
    Act attempts to place greater diplomatic and legal pressure on the Kim Jong Un
    regime to improve its human rights record. At the same time, the Act also represents
    a possible negotiation strategy attempt to box in and make the DPRK regime more
    transparent with stipulated requirements for verifiable behavior in compliance with
    the Act.
     
    By placing human rights as one of the primary items on the negotiation agenda
    in talks with North Korea, two main schools of thought exist: ‘‘universalism’’ and
    ‘‘cultural relativism,’’ in terms of the currently existing literature related to
    international human rights issues. Universalists argue that certain rights are
    ‘‘universal’’ and thus should be globally uniform, such as equal protection, physical
    security, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech. Arguably, most of the language
    embedded in the North Korean Human Rights Act is based upon the ‘‘universalist’’
    rather than ‘‘cultural relativist’’ theory of human rights.
     
    One of the express purposes of the North Korean Human Rights Act is arguably
    to identify human rights as a major factor in future diplomacy between the United
    States and the DPRK, and for the region as a whole. For example, Section 101 of the
    Act notes, ‘‘It is the sense of Congress that the human rights of North Korea should
    remain a key element in future negotiations between the United States, North Korea,
    and other concerned parties in Northeast Asia.’’ It created the position of Special
    Envoy on Human Rights in North Korea with the responsibility of coordinating and
    promoting human rights efforts, and raising such issues with North Korean officials.
     
    The Act also specifically links non-humanitarian assistance to substantial
    progress in human rights in North Korea. For example, Section 202 identifies areas
    for improvement (i.e., basic human rights and freedoms, family reunification,
    information regarding abductees from Japan and South Korea, reform and
    independent monitoring of prisons and labor camps). It earmarks additional
    humanitarian and non-humanitarian assistance based upon improvements in such
    areas, but also threatens the withholding of such funds, present and future, in the
    event that evidence of improvements fails to emerge in North Korea. When such
    withholding of funds has occurred, at times, the DPRK, as a negotiation strategy,
    has become purposely more provocative in its actions, albeit verbally or through
    military exercises. In effect, this is a negotiation strategy of increasing (or as the case
    may be, creating) one’s ‘‘bargaining chips’’ to be later traded at the negotiation table
    for other items it may want or need.
     
    Efforts to directly incorporate universal human rights values into North Korea*
    with a government that typically sees human rights issues as varying, based on
    culture, and therefore non-universal*have often resulted in a negotiation clash of
    cultures by linking human rights with efforts related to North Korea, which have
    thus led to a further gap in related negotiations, such as the Six-Party Talks.
     
     
     
    If interested in how Asia-Pacific Global Research Group’s consultancy and training expertise can help your organization, CONTACT US HERE.
     

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    East-West Negotiation Strategies: Dealing with Seniority Status

    September 18th, 2014  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

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    Seniority is a near universal norm. Those who are older in age are generally given more deference and respect by those who are less senior and younger. So how is this different in Confucian cultures? Probably it’s the degree of deference and respect given to elders, which typically goes much beyond many Western “Socratic” cultures.
     
    Within the Confucian Code, age is a valuable poker chip. It may well surpass all other factors in determining who is in the more senior bargaining position. Conversely, those who appear young are generally viewed as inexperienced and more of a pupil than a master. This is in stark contrast to many Western cultures where youth is viewed as beneficial since it may provide a new perspective (albeit at the cost of lengthier experience).
     
    A problem occurs to a mainframe computer system in Japan. The person who is best positioned to understand and solve the problem is a relatively junior worker from California who has three years of experience. Although young, he knows the mainframe computer as well as anyone in the firm. So he is sent to Tokyo the next day. Upon his arrival, he notices right away that the reception he receives at the Japanese firm is less than friendly. Why would this be the case, he asks himself. After all, he is there to help the company solve the problem.
     
    Any guesses? It turns out that it was a Confucian Code gap in terms of how to solve the problem. Both sides certainly shared the same goal of solving the mainframe computer problem. But the “Socrates v. Confucius” invisible non-meeting of the minds occurred because of differences in the process of how to solve the problem, specifically, who should be sent to solve the problem.
     
    For the Socratic side, it believed it did the right thing by sending the most qualified person (based on knowledge, not on age). But for the Confucian side, it also believed it did the right thing by expecting an experienced person to do the job (which under the Confucian Code is generally thought of as a person with many years of experience).
     
    Was one side intentionally acting in bad faith leading to this gap? Absolutely not. Both acted reasonably and did in the right thing according to each sides’ respective view based on two separate cultures–which can be akin as operating systems in a smartphone–both trying to get the job done but in different approaches.
     
    Ideally, a person who appears in form to be senior, while also having a good working knowledge of the issue at hand would be the ideal situation. But if this isn’t possible, then spending slightly more on two people (or similar team composition) with a person who understands a particular issue in great detail along with a person with less detailed knowledge but appearing more senior could be the next best thing.

     
     
     
    If interested in how Asia-Pacific Global Research Group’s consultancy and training expertise can help your organization, CONTACT US HERE.
     

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    Relationships in Asian Negotiations: Knowing What You Want (To Get What You Want)

    August 21st, 2014  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

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    Do you value all relationships equally for the Asia-Pacific markets?
     
    Your answer should be no. We may all have a sense and have been told that relationships dealing with Confucian cultures are important. But the better question is, “Why do place value on relationships?” It is generally for the expected value (EV) derived or desired relating to a particular relationship where negotiation, persuasion, and influence may be needed. Your relationship calculation is based on all the information available to you (both public and non-public).
     
    Thus prioritize the relationships into the following matrix:
    Y axis (Time): Short-term, Medium-term, and Long-term
    X axis (EV): Low, Medium, and High
     
    The strategic question is thus, “Which matrix box does your relationship fit in?”
     
    The higher your EV, the more resources in terms of time, energy, and economics should be invested into the relationship. Conversely, if your relationship EV is low, then you should strategically minimize your exposure for the sake of the relationship.
     
    Your family will likely have a high relationship EV. The person selling you a used hat at the local flea market will likely have a low relationship EV. Your relationship EV calculation should be done in the preparation (pre-negotiation) stage. This is then constantly calibrated as more information and details become available and are incorporated into your EV matrix.
     
    This strategy in effect reverse engineers your desired relationship outcome. You first decide what you expect and/or aspire towards in the relationship, and then work backwards to step one.
     
    Your relationship EV calculation will clarify exactly what relationship you want, incorporating why you want such relationship level.

     
     
     
    If interested in how Asia-Pacific Global Research Group’s consultancy and training expertise can help your organization, CONTACT US HERE.
     

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    Trust-Building in Negotiations: Key Points

    July 23rd, 2014  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

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    How do you establish trust in negotiations?
     
    How to establish trust is the source of much attention in the negotiation field. This makes sense, since for many, negotiation success is largely driven by the level of trust established between the parties.
     
    A. Being Aware of Your Negotiation Trust Level

     
    The first step towards establishing trust is a keen understanding and awareness of the exact level of trust among the negotiation parties.
     
    Three Levels of Trust:
     
    According to Accordence, three levels of trust-related elements exist:
    1. Rapport: This represents the initial negotiation stage. It involves mostly superficial exchanges between the parties. Examples include shaking hands, exchanging contact details, and superficial level of information exchange. Here, no duty to the relationship exists.
    2. Reciprocity: This represents the mid-tier negotiation stage. It involves more substantive exchanges between the parties. Examples include a “give and take” in terms of information, and communication attempts seeking clarity regarding negotiation positions (“what” is being sought) and interests (“why” such positions are being sought). Here, a testing of the relationship occurs.
    3. Trust: This represents the upper-tier negotiation stage. It involves substantive exchanges between the parties. Such exchanges do not always need to be an equal quid pro quo. Even if a misunderstanding or good faith mistake occurs by one party, a benefit of the doubt is usually given by the counterparty. Here, both parties are working for the sustainable benefit of the working relationship.
     
    B. Establishing Trust Through the Likeness Theory:

     
    One such approach is the “likeness theory.” The likeness theory states what many of us may already instinctual believe to be true. That is, parties tend to trust others who are similar to themselves.
     
    This may seem obvious, but it has real potential upside in your negotiations. Beyond the superficial differences, seek specific (over general) similarities with your negotiation counterparties. Doing so, will help to accelerate and further trust. If not done, studies have shown that tendencies towards negative “biases” exist that may have the exact opposite of effect, that is,of acting as barriers to establishing trust. Such biases, according to the studies, include gender and racial stereotypes.
     
    Executive Summary:
     
    Keep in mind the three stages of trust. Awareness of which specific trust stage you and your negotiation team is in may help to determine your future negotiation strategies. Also have an expected value (EV) calculation in terms of the value of the counterparty relationship. If it is high, your aspirational negotiation stage should commensurately also be high. Thus, more effort and resources should be expended towards the relationship. Conversely, if it is low, then your aspirational negotiation stage should commensurately also be low. Thus, less effort and resources should be expended towards the relationship.

     
     
     
    If interested in how Asia-Pacific Global Research Group’s consultancy and training expertise can help your organization, CONTACT US HERE.
     

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    Hidden Meanings in Negotiations: 5 1/2 Things to Know

    June 21st, 2014  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

    Negotiation
     
    Negotiation is based on communication. Communication, in turn, is based on verbal and non-verbal communication.
     
    Science and studies have led to some startling and valuable findings that may provide “hidden meanings” for your negotiations.
     
    They include the following:
     
    1. Opposites: Some expressions when said are signals that mean the opposite of what is being said. Examples include, “In my humble opinion…” and “Although I sympathize with your opinion..”
     
    2. Prenouncements: Prenouncements are neuro-linguistic cues. Examples include “As you are aware,” “Before I forget,” “Incidentally,” and “By the way.” When these terms are verbally communicated, it can signal to the listener that an important fact or opinion (potential game changer) may follow such expressions, hence the term prenouncement (words prior to an important announcement).
     
    3. Legitimizers: Legitimizers are terms used that attempt to legitimize a subsequent statement. Examples include “Frankly,” “Honestly,” and “To be honest.” Ironically, such terms used to justify a subsequent statement may be a hidden clue that this may not necessarily be true.
     
    4. Justifiers: Justifiers are linguistic terms used to prepare the listener for failure or not meeting expectations. Examples include “I’ll try my best” and “We’ll see what we can do.” As a countermeasure, the listener should then try to recalibrate the expectation value (in negotiation jargon, aspiration point) upwards.
     
    5. Erasers: Erasers are words used that completely reverse (negate) some, most, or all of what was just said. The main two examples are “But” and “However.” From a neuro-linguistic perspective, the listener remembers very little of what was said prior to such eraser verbiage. Instead, try using “At the same time,” or “Having said that.”
     
    5 1/2. Deceptions: Decepter linguistics are terms that serve to disguise the true knowledge or skill-set of the negotiator. Examples include “I didn’t graduate from a big name school, but” and “Although I’m not an expert.”
     
    Excerpts inspired in part from Secrets in Power Negotiating by Roger Dawson.
     
     
     
    If interested in how Asia-Pacific Global Research Group’s consultancy and training expertise can help your organization, CONTACT US HERE.
     

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