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The ROK's Sunshine Policy

The failure of the South Korean "Sunshine Policy" enacted by President Kim Dae Jung

Jeff Wagner

on 4 January 2013

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Transcript of The ROK's Sunshine Policy

South Korea's Sunshine Policy Inevitable Failure Three Principles:
1. No toleration of Northern aggression.
2. The South will not attempt to hurt or absorb the North.
3. The South is actively seeking cooperation Based on Aesop's Fable: "The North Wind and the Sun" First and Second Principle Third
Principle Arguments:
1. The numerous and excessive failures of this policy outweigh the slight benefits
2. The policy was short-sighted and founded upon false assumptions Positive Effects: 1. Increased political interaction among the two Koreas, peaking during two, first-ever, summit meetings
2. Installments of economic cooperation, such as the creation of Kaesong Industrial Complex, and social interaction, such as the opening of tourism to Mount Kumgang
3. Billions of dollars of humanitarian aid distributed to the North
4. Reunions of Korean War-separated family members Negative Effects 1. Ineffective in changing DPRK authoritarian regime, in both government structure as well as action
2. In spite of warming relations, DPRK still sought nuclear weapons and tested ballistic missiles
3. The millions of tons of food failed in its implementation
4. No sustaining cooperation between countries
5. Did not address possible conflicts, such as popular reunification -Kim dynasty is still in full force and did not waver during the policy's existence.

-Not only did the Sunshine Policy fail to produce change, it believed, just as the traveler willingly took off his coat, that North Korea would violate their founding principle of "Juchi" and willingly cooperate with the South.

-DPRK political interaction changed in style but not in substance. The North publicly ridiculed the idea of reciprocity and within the first year, the South had to rethink the application of mutual benefit. At least ten military skirmishes from 1999 to 2009 , resulting in multiple deaths of South and North Korean soldiers, including the deaths of SK civilians during the NK shelling of Yeonpyeong island. Failure of Sunshine Policy regarding North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile testing resulted in US President Bush listing DPRK as part of the "Axis of Evil", resulting in breakdown of talks between DPRK and ROK, and straining relations between ROK and the US As a result of these breakdowns and persistence of North Korean nuclear programs, a majority of US policymakers involved with Korea resoundingly point to this failure as the deciding factor in the failure of Sunshine Policy Basically, this proved that no matter how warm relations from South Korea will be, DPRK does not care and will pursue its own interests regardless. In spite of millions of tons of food freely given to North Korea throughout the 1990's, there still was a famine that left 600,000 to 3 million people dead.

From the testimony of refuged ex-North Koreans, the government distributes food based on social structure, with the military given the most and those at the bottom, such as housewives, given significantly less. Free humanitarian aid does not help the problem, it simply gives more resources for the running of the authoritarian regime

North Korean defector, Kang Chol-Hwan: "Giving aid only throws a line to the government, and prolongs starvation, surely a perverse outcome" After the shutdown of Kumgang Mountain for tourism and the breakdown of relations among the governments, there is no sustaining cooperation between the two nations.
While Kaesong Industrial Complex can be argued, it has been criticised by SK politicians of simply being a source of cheap labor for small companies Put simply, there has been no sustaining cooperation (other than a flimsy argument for KIC), proving further that the Sunshine Policy did not achieve its objectives of mutual cooperation. While publicly stating that the South will not attempt to "absorb the North" in its principles, it is common belief that the North and South will inevitably be reunited, as it has been for hundreds of years prior to WWII. Multiple studies show that necessary reunification is extremely popular, with some polls showing in the upper 90%s. This is an important issue, since the success of the Sunshine Policy would likely mean the attempt at reunification, which has been proven would be extremely economically devestating. Did not discuss what would happen if the Sunshine Policy succeeded. Would the US back the Sunshine Policy? What actions would ROK take if the US did not support the policy? Overall, The Sunshine Policy has been proven to be ineffective in changing the regime of the DPRK, changing DPRK’s persistence in obtaining nuclear weapons, altering the political landscape between the two Korean nations, feeding the millions of starving fellow Koreans across the DMZ, actually producing a sustaining cooperation between the two nations, and at times actually increased tension among the DPRK, ROK, and the United States. In the light of the policy’s failure, the North Wind, brute force, may be the only way to combat a dictatorial regime founded on self-reliance and twisted Marxist ideology, in order to accomplish any measurable gains on the peninsula in terms of eventual peace, co-existence, or reunification. QUESTIONS?
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