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Sunshine in Korea. The South Korean Debate over Policies Toward North Korea

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The debate in South Korea over the governments engagement policy toward North Korea the so-called sunshine policy did not start with Pyongyangs recent admission that it has been secretly pursuing a nuclear weapons program in violation of multiple international commitments. But the evolution of the debate will be an important determinant of how the South Korean and broader international response to this latest North Korean challenge ultimately ends. This report provides a framework for viewing South Korean responses to this challenge. It examines the South Korean debate over policies toward the North, analyzes the sources of controversy, and assesses the debates implications for South Korea and the United States. The report finds that much of the public debate is a product of differences among South Koreans over the changes Kim Dae Jung made in South Koreas long existing policy after becoming president in 1998, rather than over the need for some kind of engagement with North Korea per se. while partisan politics are a component of the debate, at its core are some big questions What should be the aim of any effort to achieve greater association with North Korea-reconciliation on the basis of Korea being one people or unification by extending South Koreas democratic, free-market system to the North What role should reciprocity play in this effort What should be the nature and scale of South Korean assistance to North Korea How should political efforts to engage North Korea be balanced against South Koreas security and other important interests How should the effectiveness of the governments policies be evaluated

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  • Government and Political Science

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