Engaging North Korea: The Clouded Legacy of South Korea's Sunshine Policy

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No. 2, April 2010

The most prominent news out of the Korean peninsula in 2009 came from the North, where Kim Jong Il's regime continued its policy of military provocation, capped by a long-range missile test in April and a second nuclear test in May. But 2009 also marked the passing of two former South Korean leaders, Presidents Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo Hyun--the former succumbing to natural causes in his mid-eighties, the latter to a suicide in the face of a mounting personal scandal. Both leaders had staked their respective presidencies on engaging North Korea through the Sunshine Policy initiated under Kim Dae Jung a decade earlier and continued under Roh, albeit under a different name. From our vantage point today, nearly a decade after its implementation, the Sunshine Policy looks increasingly ineffective in light of Pyongyang's unmitigated nuclear threat and continued oppression of its population.

Key points in this Outlook:

  • The Sunshine Policy, an effort to engage North Korea initially implemented under South Korean president Kim Dae Jung, appears increasingly ineffective in light of North Korea's continued nuclear threat and oppression of its people.

  • Despite his work for human rights in South Korea, Kim Dae Jung chose not to address grievous human rights violations in the North in any meaningful way.

  • In light of Kim Dae Jung's failure to fight for basic human rights for North Koreans, future generations of Koreans are likely to see Kim Dae Jung and his Sunshine Policy in an increasingly negative light.

Designed to further peaceful cooperation and short-term reconciliation with North Korea in hopes of achieving eventual reunification of the Korean peninsula, the Sunshine Policy swung into full force following a dramatic inter-Korean summit in June 2000 between Kim Jong Il and Kim Dae Jung. In the decade that followed, South Korea provided copious amounts of economic aid and made a series of diplomatic concessions to the North, with little more than domestic political gains to show for its efforts. As the global diplomatic stage is once again set for the resumption of six-party talks in 2010--despite Pyongyang's intermittent protests to the contrary--it is important to reflect on the precedents, motivations, and potential legacy of South Korea's Sunshine Policy, which is perhaps the most deliberate and sustained effort of "engagement" with North Korea to date.

What will be the historical legacy of the Sunshine Policy? One possible answer, of course, would be akin to Chinese premier Zhou Enlai's supposed reply to Henry Kissinger's query about the impact of the French Revolution: "It's too soon to tell." The full effect of the Sunshine Policy will not be known until the Kim Jong Il regime either is no longer in existence or has undergone revolutionary changes. Indeed, even following unification of the two Koreas, it would probably be many years before a full accounting could be made of how the Kim Jong Il regime used Kim Dae Jung's unconditional aid to North Korea and what impact, if any, such generous aid had on modifying the regime's behavior or improving living conditions inside the famine-stricken, isolationist, totalitarian state. But we can, and should, make some preliminary assessments, if only to help the public and their representatives avoid repeating mistakes of the immediate past.

Kim Dae Jung's Sunshine

Kim Dae Jung is perhaps the most well known South Korean outside of South Korea. Few would deny that his international fame stems largely from the sensational June 2000 summit with Kim Jong Il and his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize later that year in recognition of his highly publicized overtures to Pyong­yang. It is possible that Kim Dae Jung will always be remembered favorably outside Korea as the symbol of inter-Korean reconciliation that he so assiduously aspired to be. For many Koreans at home, too, Kim Dae Jung symbolizes what the Korean nation has sought ever since the partition in 1945: unification. The overriding sense of collective Korean ethnic identity--one nation, one ethnicity, one language, and one culture--resonates in both the private and public realm on both sides of the border. The Korean term for the singularity of their divided country's nationhood is minjok, a concept that carries enormous emotional power for Koreans of all ideologies. The notion of minjok is particularly pronounced in--indeed, often central to--the politics of inter-Korean relations. For instance, it is enshrined in the 2000 Joint Declaration between Kim Dae Jung and Kim Jong Il.[1] More broadly, the Korean impulse toward unity is evoked with powerful pathos in the pan-Korean anthem, "Our Nation's Wish." The song was composed in 1947, only two years after the partition at the thirty-eighth parallel in the last phase of the Second World War.[2] In short, the lingering positive image of Kim Dae Jung in the Korean popular imagination is principally due to the fact that he appeared to embody the aspirations of a people, aspirations that have remained a powerful current in Korean political culture for over sixty years.

The majority of Koreans may ultimately remember Kim Dae Jung's Sunshine Policy most prominently for the hubristic adventurism with which Kim Dae Jung approached the North Korean regime.

But minjok may ultimately prove to be a double-edged sword for the Sunshine Policy, for history is not always kind to those who presume upon a people's deep historical yearnings for short-sighted or immediate political objectives. The majority of Koreans, those in the North and South as well as abroad, may ultimately remember Kim Dae Jung's Sunshine Policy most prominently for the hubristic adventurism with which Kim Dae Jung approached the North Korean regime, and they may question the astounding absence of humanism in that approach as official records during his administration--intelligence reports on the North's military threat level, internal memos on the potential costs of propping up Pyongyang, and corresponding policy recommendations--become available.

For much of his adult life, Kim Dae Jung espoused humanitarian ideals. As South Korea's leading dissident for much of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, Kim Dae Jung enjoyed a favorable image abroad, notably in Japan and the United States, based on his prodemocracy and anti­authoritarian stance toward governance. Kim Dae Jung's kidnapping by South Korean intelligence agents in Japan in 1973 and the subsequent U.S. intervention on Kim Dae Jung's behalf naturally cast him in a sympathetic light. Indeed, Kim Dae Jung became a symbol of what the South Korean nation aspired to become--a functioning democracy where constitutional liberalism could take root. In those times, Kim Dae Jung represented the hopes of a people and an era.

By the time Kim Dae Jung assumed the presidency in 1998, South Korea had enjoyed years of increasing international prestige on a variety of counts: the success of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the country's simultaneous and decisive transition from military rule to constitutional democracy, South Korea's accession to membership in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and, not least important, its post-cold war normalization of relations with almost all Communist states (North Korea and Cuba, still Communist in name, are notable exceptions). The growing economic gap between North and South Korea in the 1990s, as the South forged new trade relations while the North grappled with autarky, effectively marked the end of the economic component of the systemic inter-Korean contest.

With such a favorable formation of geopolitical forces, and with disturbing reports of a catastrophic famine in the early 1990s in the North intermittently making international news, Kim Dae Jung had an opportunity to engage the ever-more isolated Pyongyang in a manner that would reflect and even define the great will of his time. Instead, despite the tremendous economic and political levers at his disposal, once he became president, he courted Pyongyang--the world's most exemplary criminal, totalitarian regime--in a manner that can be described only as fantastic. Kim Dae Jung believed he could win North Korea's trust with patience and generosity while ignoring the fundamental political dynamics on the Korean peninsula--the ongoing pan-Korean contest for legitimacy and the threat South Korea, by its sheer existence, poses to the impoverished North Korean system. Much like Aesop's fable "The North Wind and the Sun," from which the name "Sunshine Policy" is derived, Kim Dae Jung's engagement policy was oddly optimistic, one-dimensional, and patronizingly didactic.

Ironically, North Korea initially perceived elements of coercive diplomacy in Kim Dae Jung's carrot-centered Sunshine Policy. Pyongyang at first averred that Kim Dae Jung was trying to scorch their skin through their clothing with his sunshine. The irony here lies not in the North's apprehensions about the Sunshine Policy's implicit intention of changing their regime's behavior, but in the fact that it soon became apparent that there was no element of coercion in this curious latter-day variant of "classical" coercive diplomacy. That is to say, the element of punishment in addition to rewards--particularly the sense of urgency that needs to be instilled in the state in order for coercive diplomacy to take effect--was utterly absent in the Sunshine Policy.[3] On the contrary, South Korea felt an urgent political need to continue the policy even in the face of naval skirmishes in 1999 and 2002; a missile firing over Japan in 1998; and deep, growing, and ultimately justified suspicions about North Korea's ongoing nuclear weapons programs.

Kim Dae Jung believed he could win North Korea's trust with patience and generosity while ignoring the fundamental political dynamics on the Korean peninsula.

Following Kim Dae Jung's Pyongyang summit with Kim Jong Il in June 2000, sunshine became a shibboleth in South Korea. Later, under Roh's watch, this South Korean sense of urgency to keep sunshine alive and well reached full flower in the face of North Korea's multiple missile blasts and its first nuclear test in 2006. What had begun as a means to an end had become an end itself--an end from which there could be no deviation and a dogma to which, as the Sunshine Policy approached its denouement, there could be no official denunciation.[4]

The Possibility of "Peace"

As president, Kim Dae Jung often oversold his role in advancing peace in the Korean peninsula. Forging peace with North Korea, he said, was a "matter of survival,"[5] although none of the articles in the joint statement Kim Dae Jung signed with Kim Jong Il in June 2000 contains the word "peace."[6] In April 2000, South Korean media reports on the upcoming first inter-Korean summit highlighted Kim Dae Jung's declared intention to conclude a "peace declaration" with the North.[7] In 2001, in his March First Independence Movement commemorative address, Kim Dae Jung called for a "peace regime,"[8] an issue he also brought up with the United States during his visit to Washington, D.C., the following week.[9] Despite such stated intentions and overtures, no signal of interest in an inter-Korean peace declaration came forth from Pyongyang.

Beyond Kim Dae Jung's repeated insistence on the need for a peace declaration and the seemingly contradictory claim that it was he who had brought genuine peace to Korea, the so-called peace agenda is a matter of continuing relevance and grave consequence for South Korean and regional security. At the same time, the Sunshine argument for a peace treaty is predicated on a number of questionable assumptions: first, that a paper agreement is a guarantor against war; second, that the absence of such a peace treaty, or even diplomatic relations, is an impediment to diplomatic progress on the North Korean problem; and third, that in the absence of a peace treaty, there has been something resembling continual war in Korea since the 1953 armistice.

A cursory overview of international history over the past century would reveal the first assumption to be patently false. The second assumption is debatable, especially in an alternative world that ignores the nature of the Pyongyang regime, the North-South dynamics on the Korean peninsula, and the manifest lack of progress toward a comprehensive resolution of the North Korean problem despite the lapse of nearly ten years since Pyongyang's normalization of diplomatic relations with virtually every European state, as well as most of its adversaries in the Korean War. As for the third assumption, de facto peace by virtue of the combined U.S.­-South Korea deterrent, specifically the presence of U.S. troops in South Korea, has been in place in the Korean peninsula since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

The issue of U.S. troop deployment in South Korea and the future of the U.S.-South Korea alliance lies at the center of any negotiations on replacing the armistice with a peace treaty or building a new "peace regime" in Korea.[10] Any peace treaty between the United States and North Korea would call into question the rationale for the continued deployment of U.S. troops in South Korea and thereby advance North Korea's strategic interests. Seoul would increasingly come under political scrutiny at home as well as in the United States--a point that would not be lost on Pyongyang in all its multifaceted dealings with South Korea, the United States, and Japan. Should the political forces surrounding the Korean peninsula align so as to lead to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea, the balance of power between the two Koreas would undergo a fundamental shift in Pyongyang's favor. Conversely, if North Korea were ever to reconcile itself to the continued presence of U.S. troops in the South, that would indicate, more than any peace agreement on a piece of paper, a fundamental shift in North Korea's national policy toward reconciliation and peaceful coexistence with South Korea.

Remarkably, upon returning home from his Pyong­yang summit in June 2000, Kim Dae Jung announced that he had persuaded Kim Jong Il to agree to the continued long-term stationing of U.S. troops in South Korea.[11] Had Kim Dae Jung truly persuaded Kim Jong Il to accept the continued deployment of U.S. troops in the South, it would have marked a breakthrough of near biblical proportions. Yet, immediately thereafter, official statements from North Korea, including statements by Kim Jong Il, repeatedly and explicitly called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. On June 16, 2000, the day after Kim Dae Jung's return home from the highly touted Pyongyang summit, the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Workers' Party of Korea, called for the "withdrawal of U.S. troops" as the "first step" in "Korea's reunification."[12] The next day, June 17, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the official North Korean government news agency, stated that "the peaceful reunification of Korea requires the U.S. troops' pullback from South Korea."[13]

Had Kim Dae Jung truly persuaded Kim Jong Il to accept the continued deployment of U.S. troops in the South, it would have marked a breakthrough of near biblical proportions.

In July 2001, Kim Jong Il told the Russian news agency Itar-Tass that "the United States is constantly threatening us by occupying a half of our country by force of arms."[14] Then, on August 4, 2001, as if to erase all doubt regarding the glaring variance at which North Korea's official position and Kim Dae Jung's protestations stood, Kim Jong Il, along with Russian president Vladimir Putin, signed the Moscow Declaration, of which Article 8 carried the following unequivocal statement: "the pullout of the U.S. forces from South Korea is a pressing issue which brooks no delay in ensuring peace and security in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia."[15]

Throughout 2000 and into the following year, North Korea repeatedly stated its longstanding position that U.S. troop deployments in South Korea are a major detriment to its national interest. On June 15, 2001, the anniversary of the South-North Joint Declaration, the Rodong Sinmun declared that "the U.S. should not run wild, seized with the ambition for hegemony, but [should] do things helpful to the implementation of the declaration for reunification of the Korean nation as a party directly responsible for the division of the Korean peninsula."[16] Lest the subtleties of Pyongyang's position be lost on the international audience, on June 30, 2001, KCNA stated that "since the North and the South of Korea declared they would reunify the country independently by the concerted efforts of the nation, there is no more ground for the U.S. forces to remain in South Korea. The U.S. forces should get out of South Korea at once."[17] Again, on July 18, 2001, the Rodong Sinmun, describing the continued presence of U.S. troops in South Korea as "a criminal act going against the trend of history and the times," "categorically" called for "the unconditional withdrawal of the U.S. imperialist aggression troops from South Korea."[18]

Despite what Kim Dae Jung repeatedly claimed, North Korea did not waver in its position regarding U.S. troops in the South. Moreover, North Korea saw the June 2000 summit--as did many South Korean critics of the summit declaration--as the basis for the North's repeated demands for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The aforementioned July 18, 2001, Rodong Sinmun article pointedly noted that in the 2000 South-North Joint Declaration, the two Koreas had "stated their will to achieve the independent and peaceful reunification of the country on the basis of reconciliation and unity."[19] The article specifically cites the June 2000 joint declaration as the reason the United States must "drop its criminal hostile policy toward the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] and immediately withdraw its aggression troops from South Korea."[20] Indeed, the joint declaration Kim Dae Jung and Kim Jong Il signed is a one-sided affair; that is, it overwhelmingly favors Kim Jong Il's North Korea, especially in article 1, which implicitly calls for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea,[21] and in article 2, which contravenes the South Korean constitution.[22]

Kim Dae Jung's faith that a secret--and ultimately, in the verdict of South Korean courts, illegal--$500 million gift and several other concessions to North Korean demands offered just prior to the summit would induce Kim Jong Il to reciprocate stems from Kim Dae Jung's own hubris that he could change the North Korean regime despite its strategic interests, which stood directly contrary to those of South Korea.

If he had not executed the Sunshine Policy in the manner he did--that is, through financial bribes for and a disposition toward appeasing an implacably hostile North Korean state--Kim Dae Jung's place in Korean history would most likely have been secure.

Ironically, if he had not executed the Sunshine Policy in the manner he did--that is, through financial bribes for and a disposition toward appeasing an implacably hostile North Korean state--Kim Dae Jung's place in Korean history would most likely have been secure. In assuming that he could succeed in changing the North Korean regime though all other South Korean and Western leaders before him had failed, Kim Dae Jung conflated his personal ambitions, his considerable powers of persuasion, and his own political hopes and dreams with the national and security interests of the South Korean state, and, by extension, the interests of the entire ethnic Korean nation. In this respect, Kim Dae Jung was a visionary of sorts: he saw things that did not exist in reality.

The Shadow of Human Rights

While the $500 million cash gift, larger than North Korea's annual export earnings, abetted the Kim Jong Il regime and was thereby tantamount to treason, there is another reason Kim Dae Jung's Sunshine Policy will come to be evaluated as a failure. Kim Dae Jung executed his Sunshine Policy while assiduously ignoring the massive human suffering in North Korea. He had fought for human rights in South Korea, but as president, he chose to ignore them in the North, where the scale, severity, and duration of human rights violations bear no comparison to those in the South.

Alleviating human suffering and advancing human rights requires a long-term commitment and significant economic and political capital. Evidently, the Sunshine Policy chose not to address such costly undertakings, opting instead for illusions of diplomatic progress and atmospherics of summit pageantry. The shadow of human rights in Kim Dae Jung's Sunshine Policy presents an irreconcilable conflict that will lead to a cold historical verdict on the man and his policy. In his effort to prevent the collapse of the North Korean system, Kim Dae Jung abetted and sustained the Kim Jong Il regime, a government programmatically committed to:

  • "Ensur[ing] the complete victory of socialism in the northern half of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the accomplishment of the revolutionary goals of national liberation and the people's democracy on the entire area of the country, with the ultimate goal of the indoctrination of the entire society with Juche philosophy and the establishment of a communist society . . . [and] oppos[ing] imperialism and hegemonism at the vanguard of which stands the U.S., and struggl[ing] to win the victory of the collective feats of peace, democracy, ethnic independence, and socialism."[23]

  • Building a nuclear arsenal through military-first (songun) politics, while taking a consistent position on the irreversibility of its nuclear weapons program. For instance, the North Korean Foreign Ministry stated in June 2009, "It has become an absolutely impossible option for the DPRK to even think about giving up its nuclear weapons."[24]

  • Denying its population the most basic human rights by blocking out cultural infiltration[25] and forces of globalization; North Korea describes the latter as "a basic way for the imperialists to build a neo-colonialist international order" that the "progressive people of the world" must unite to "thoroughly frustrate,"[26] or, variously, "resolutely smash."[27]

To the North Korean people, victims of the most systematic totalitarian oppression in the modern world, Kim Dae Jung offered no vision, no hope, and no future. When asked about human rights problems in North Korea at the American Enterprise Institute on March 8, 2001, three months after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Kim Dae Jung said, "To affront North Korea with human rights issues in their face, with criticism, would not be wise--the greatest human rights issue on the Korean peninsula is that of the 10 million members of the separated families."[28] Such pronounced reluctance to address human rights issues set the tone for Kim Dae Jung's Sunshine era, which remained firmly in place throughout the term of his successor, Roh, despite rapidly expanding public information about North Korea's vast political-prisoner concentration camps and the inhumane conditions the North Korean state willfully maintained in those camps.

The shadow of human rights in Kim Dae Jung's Sunshine Policy presents an irreconcilable conflict that will lead to a cold historical verdict on the man and his policy.

At the same time, to some, Kim Dae Jung continued to carry the mantle of humanitarianism as president. On October 23, 1998, he apologized on behalf of his country to twenty-nine invited South Korean-born adoptees from eight different countries for having sent abroad tens of thousands of Korean children over the course of the previous five decades.[29] It was the first official recognition of some two hundred thousand transnationally adopted Koreans. The apology itself on behalf of the country by an incumbent head of state may have been inappropriate, but the gesture was well-intentioned and generally well-received. Then, obvious questions arise. Why did Kim Dae Jung not officially recognize the tens of thousands of North Korean refugees in China, meet North Korean refugees who had made their way to South Korea, or, most importantly, call on Kim Jong Il to dismantle his vast system of political-prisoner concentration camps?

The Legacy of Kim Dae Jung

Robin George Collingwood, the Oxford philosopher and historian, writes in The Idea of History: "For history, the object to be discovered is not the mere event, but the thought expressed in it. To discover that thought is to already understand it. . . . All history is the history of thought . . . and therefore all history is the re-enactment of past thought in the historian's own mind."[30] In the case of Kim Dae Jung's Sunshine Policy, how will future historians come to interpret the thought expressed in the event?

History to date has not been kind to South Korean leaders. While "Great Leader" Kim Il Sung, the sole former North Korean leader, reposes in the world's most extravagant mausoleum, no former South Korean leader has been free of denouncement or controversy. Syngman Rhee, Chang Myun, Park Chung Hee, Chun Doo Hwan, and Roh Tae Woo all faced either a less-than-statesmanlike exit from office or postoffice ignominy. Most recently, Roh Moo Hyun, having served as president from 2003 to 2008, a time when South Korea was declared a full democracy, killed himself in May 2009 while facing investigation for graft.

Yet, in varying degrees, each South Korean leader defined and embodied the single greatest national task of his time and achieved it. For Rhee, it was nation founding and nation building in the 1940s and postwar reconstruction in the 1950s; for Park, eradicating abject poverty and widespread hunger while defending the nation against continued North Korean threats throughout the 1960s and 1970s; and for Chun and Roh Tae Woo, continued economic growth and the consolidation of a stable, educated urban middle class--the sine qua non in a functioning democracy--in the 1980s and in the wake of the cold war.

As future generations reflect upon the single greatest national challenge facing Kim Dae Jung's South Korea--an affluent democracy in a post-cold war era--in the late 1990s and in the early years of the new millennium, it will become increasingly apparent that the challenge was (as it remains today) the task of saving North Korean lives and alleviating the unspeakable suffering of the North Korean people. If my assessment is correct, future generations of Koreans will come to see Kim Dae Jung's Sunshine Policy in an increasingly negative light. As North Korea's political-prisoner concentration camps open up to outside scrutiny and the horrific conditions of life inside North Korea become universally known, Kim Dae Jung will increasingly be viewed not as a symbol of unification but as a misguided leader who, despite his intentions, ultimately abetted the world's cruelest totalitarian nuclear regime at the cost of his own country's security and tens of thousands of innocent Korean lives.

If my assessment is correct, future generations of Koreans will come to see Kim Dae Jung's Sunshine Policy in an increasingly negative light.

Kim Dae Jung's last words at his Nobel Prize lecture in Oslo on December 10, 2000, ring with a tone that is at once prophetic and disingenuous. He noted, "He who wins by injustice may dominate the present day, but history will always judge him to be a shameful loser. There can be no exception. I shall give the rest of my life to human rights and peace in my country and the world, and to the reconciliation and cooperation of my people."[31] Considering the failure of the Sunshine Policy and the persisting tyranny of the North Korean regime, history will most likely judge Kim Dae Jong as that very shameful loser who dominated the present day by pursuing false peace while sacrificing the human rights of his fellow Korean minjok.

Sung-Yoon Lee ([email protected]) is an adjunct assistant professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and an associate in research at the Korea Institute at Harvard University. This Outlook is based on remarks delivered at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars on December 2, 2009.

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1. Minjok is not a term native or exclusive to Korea. It is the Korean pronunciation of the Chinese characters 民族 (minju), meaning ethnic nation. At the same time, in the Korean context, and particularly in the common lexical configuration Uri minkokggiri (by the Korean ethnic nation ourselves), the term has an unmistakable connotation of Korean exceptionalism and exclusivity. In fact, the latter formulation is featured in the first article of the South-North Joint Declaration signed by Kim Dae Jung and Kim Jong Il at the 2000 Pyongyang summit. The same Korean words transliterated slightly differently, Uri minzokkiri, are the official name of a website run by the Committee for the Peaceful Unification of the Fatherland, a major arm of the North Korean propaganda machinery founded in 1961 under the auspices of the Workers' Party of Korea. See United States Institute of Peace: Peace Agreements Digital Collection, "South-North Joint Declaration," June 15, 2000, available at www.usip.org/files/file/resources/collections/peace_agreements/n_skorea06152000.pdf (accessed April 7, 2010).

2. The song, composed by Ahn Byung Won, with lyrics by his father, Ahn Suk Young, for the commemoration of the 1919 March First Independence Movement in 1947, is known by virtually every South Korean above kindergarten age. Known in North Korea as "Our Nation's Wish Is Unification," it was sung at the summit meeting between Kim Dae Jung and Kim Jong Il in June 2000 and also played at Kim Dae Jung's state funeral on August 23, 2009.

3. See Alexander George, Forceful Persuasion: Coercive Diplomacy as an Alternative to War (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1991).

4. On October 11, 2006, just two days after North Korea's first nuclear test, Kim Dae Jung, in a lecture at Chonnam National University, defended his Sunshine Policy and squarely laid the blame for the North's nuclear test on the George W. Bush administration: "North Korea is developing nuclear programs because the U.S. is refusing to enter into a dialogue with it and impose economic sanctions without giving it an exit to find a way to live otherwise. Why are people pestering the Sunshine Policy? Why are people pestering the [faultless] Sunshine Policy? Don't even think that the Sunshine Policy is your easiest punching bag on which you can place any blame." See Sunny Lee, "South Korea's Sunshine Policy Strikes Back," Asia Times Online, May 7, 2008, available at www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/JE07Dg02.html (accessed March 29, 2010). For a contemporaneous report in Korean, see Young-Soo Kang and Soo-Hyun Choi, "DJ: 'Haetbyeot jeongchaek silpae' neun haegwoehan iron" [DJ Calls 'Failure of Sunshine Policy' a Bizarre Theory], Chosun Ilbo, October 11, 2006, available at www.chosun.com/politics/news/200610/200610110205.html (accessed March 29, 2010).

5. Kim Dae Jung, "Ciampi Italia Daetong-ryeong naewoe juchae gukbin manchan dapsa" [Address to President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi during a State Visit to Italy, March 2, 2000], in Kim Dae Jung Daetongryeong Yeonseolmunjip Jaesamgweon [Selected Speeches of President Kim Dae Jung] (Seoul: Office of the President of the Republic of Korea, 2001), 3:102.

6. See United States Institute of Peace: Peace Agreements Digital Collection, "South-North Joint Declaration."

7. See "Gidae dwoeneun nambuk pyeonghwa seoneon" [Looking Forward to the North-South Peace Declaration], Kookmin Ilbo, April 14, 2000; Young-Sun Lee, "Nambuk 'pyeonghwa seoneon' mu-eol damna?" [What Will Be Featured in the North-South Peace Declaration?] Hankook Ilbo, April 13, 2000; and Hwa-Kyung Chang and Ho-Yeon Cho, "'Nambukhan peyonghwa seoneon' chujin" [Suing for Inter-Korean Peace Declaration], Kyunghyang Shinmun, April 13, 2000.

8. Kim Dae Jung, Kim Dae Jung Daetongryeong Yeonseolmunjip Jaesamgweon, 4:95.

9. See David E. Sanger, "Bush Tells Seoul Talks with North Won't Resume Now," New York Times, March 8, 2001.

10. The phrase "peace regime" is mentioned in the September 19, 2005, "Joint Statement of the Fourth Round of the Six Party Talks." Paragraph four contains the following: "The directly related parties will negotiate a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula at an appropriate separate forum." See U.S. Department of State, "Joint Statement of the Fourth Round of the Six Party Talks," September 19, 2005, available at www.state.gov/p/eap/regional/c15455.htm (accessed April 4, 2010).

11. For example, see Kim Dae Jung, "North and South Korea Find Common Ground," New York Times, November 28, 2000. Kim writes in the op-ed, "North Korea has consented to the South's view that U.S. troops should continue to stay on the Korean Peninsula. Korea is the only country in the world surrounded by four big powers--the United States, Japan, China and Russia. I have long been convinced that the U.S. military presence on the peninsula is necessary for the stability and balance of power there and in Northeast Asia. I explained this to Kim Jong Il, and he readily concurred, for the safety of the Korean people." Kim Dae Jung repeated this claim at his lecture when he received the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2000, claiming that "the two sides concurred that the U.S. military presence on the Korean peninsula should continue for stability on the peninsula and Northeast Asia." See Kim Dae Jung, "Nobel Lecture" (lecture, Nobel Peace Prize, Oslo, December 10, 2000), available at http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2000/dae-jung-lecture.html (accessed March 29, 2010).

12. See "Preparatory Committee to Remember Kim Il Sung Formed in Peru," Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), June 17, 2000, available at www.kcna.co.jp/item/2000/200006/news06/17.htm#7 (accessed April 8, 2010).

13. See "U.S. Urged Not to Stand in Way of Korea's Reunification," KCNA, June 17, 2000, available at www.kcna.co.jp/item/2000/200006/news06/17.htm#9 (accessed April 5, 2010).

14. "Kim Jong Il Answers Questions Raised by Russian Itar-Tass," People's Korea, July 24, 2001.

15. For the full declaration, see "DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea], Russia Reconfirm Revitalized Traditional Ties; Kim Jong Il Meets V. Putin Again in Moscow," People's Korea, August 11, 2001.

16. See "1st Anniversary of North-South Joint Declaration Observed," KCNA, June 15, 2001, available at www.kcna.co.jp/item/2001/200106/news06/15.htm#1 (accessed April 5, 2010).

17. See "U.S. Troop Pullout from S. Korea Urged," KCNA, June 30, 2001, available at www.kcna.co.jp/item/2001/200106/news06/30.htm#5 (accessed April 5, 2010).

18. See "U.S. Forces' Pullback from S. Korea Urgently Demanded by Times and Nation," KCNA, July 18, 2001, available at www.kcna.co.jp/item/2001/200107/news07/18.htm#6 (accessed April 5, 2010).

19. Ibid.

20. Ibid.

21. Article 1 of the declaration states that the two sides have agreed to resolve the question of unification "independently by the concerted efforts of the Korean ethnic nation ourselves." "Independently" and "by the Korean ethnic nation ourselves" (Uri minkokggiri) are not-so-subtle North Korean terms for "free of U.S. imperialist interference." See "South-North Joint Declaration," art. 1.

22. See article 1 of South Korea's constitution, which defines the Republic of Korea as a "democratic republic" whose sovereignty "resides in the people"; article 3, according to which, "The territory of the Republic of Korea shall consist of the Korean peninsula and its adjacent islands"; and article 4, which stipulates: "The Republic of Korea seeks unification and formulates and carries out a policy of peaceful unification based on the principles of freedom and democracy." See Constitution of the Republic of Korea, art. 1, 3, and 4.

23. Chosun Rodongdang Gyuyak Jeonmun [Preamble to the Charter of the Workers' Party of Korea], 6th revision, October 13, 1980, author's translation from the original Korean.

24. Statement by an unidentified spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry in response to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1874, which passed in the wake of North Korea's second nuclear test on May 25, 2009. The statement concludes with the following: "It is the Songun idea-based mode of counter-action for the DPRK to decisively counter 'sanctions' with retaliation and 'confrontation' with all-out confrontation." See "DPRK Foreign Minister Declares Strong Counter-Measures against UNSC's 'Resolution 1874,'" KCNA, June 13, 2009, available at www.kcna.co.jp/item/2009/200906/news13/20090613-10ee.html (accessed April 5, 2010).

25. See "DPRK's Socialist Constitution (Full Text)," People's Korea, available at www1.korea-np.co.jp/pk/061st_issue/98091708.htm (accessed March 29, 2010). Article 41 reads: "In building a socialist national culture, the State shall oppose the cultural infiltration of imperialism and any tendency to return to the past, protect its national cultural heritage, and develop it in keeping with the existing socialist situation."

26. See "Talk about 'Priority to Human Rights' and 'Liberalization,'" KCNA, January 12, 2000, available at www.kcna.co.jp/item/2000/200001/news01/12.htm#10 (accessed April 5, 2010).

27. See "Rodong Sinmun Calls for Smashing Imperialists' 'Globalization,'" KCNA, August 31, 2000, available at www.kcna.co.jp/item/2000/200008/news08/31.htm#10 (accessed April 5, 2010). Elsewhere, in 2007, North Korea describes globalization as "nothing but a yoke of exploitation and plunder, domination and subjugation as it is intended to put other countries under their tight control and bleed the world people white to the maximum under the spurious signboard of 'co-prosperity' and a neo-colonial system whereby to completely obliterate the Juche character and national identity of other countries." See "Imperialists' Moves for 'Globalization' under Fire," KCNA, February 25, 2007, available at www.kcna.co.jp/item/2007/200702/news02/26.htm#6 (accessed April 5, 2010).

28. Kim Dae Jung, "The Prospect of Peace on the Korean Peninsula" (speech, AEI, Washington, DC, March 8, 2001), available through www.aei.org/event/407.

29. See Tobias Hubinette, "President Kim Dae Jung and the Adoption Issue," Korean Quarterly (Spring 2003).

30. See Robin George Collingwood, The Idea of History (London: Oxford University Press, 1977), 214-15. Collingwood goes on to observe: "To the scientist, nature is always and merely a 'phenomenon,' not in a sense of being defective in reality, but in the sense of being a spectacle presented to his intelligent observation; whereas the events of history are never mere phenomena, never mere spectacles for contemplation, but things which the historian looks, not at, but through, to discern the thought within them."

31. Kim Dae Jung, "Nobel Lecture."

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