Sunshine Policy Impedes North Korean Reformation

[imText1]The Bush administration’s hard-line inclusion of North Korea in the “axis of evil” was quickly reversed after the U.S. midterm election. The reversal marked by the February 14 agreement was lauded for paving the way to peace on the Korean peninsula and as a step towards openness and reformation.

However, others were more critical in saying it was too early to expect a peaceful Korea because the Kim Jong Il regime had yet to give up its nuclear capability. Many experts expect that Kim Jong Il to cling to that capability as a method of insuring his domestic and international survival.

Yoo Se Hee, the new chairman of Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights (NKnet), suggested that the impetuous execution of the Feb 13 Agreement was not helpful in solving the nuclear issue and specific accomplishments have yet to be realized.
In the interview with the DailyNK on the 28th, Yoo indicated that “we should confront the attitude the North Korean regime exhibited during the nuclear crisis in the mid-1990s.” He concludes that Kim Jong Il will never abandon nuclear weapons that were produced primarily for the protection of his governmental system.

With expertise in Chinese and Russian issues, Yoo Se Hee has been studying the regional issues of North-East Asia for 30 years and became the chairman of NKnet in last December. He has accepted the chairmanship of this non-governmental organization as a last duty in his pursuit of North Korean democratization.

An old scholar’s skepticism

Yoo believes the Sunshine Policy deferred openness and reformation in North Korea. “The Sunshine Policy has perversely propped up the dictatorship of Kim Jong Il and has contributed to North Korean civilian discomfort. Kim Jong Il is opposed to true reform because he is aware that the influx of liberal foreign ideas and free market doctrine threatens his grip on power. The Sunshine Policy is a failure,” he said.

Further, “If we want changes in North Korea, the South Korean government should drastically alter its policy and only respect concrete action by the North. South Korea should seek a “Reciprocity treaty” with North Korea, that is, if the North Korean regime does not show us a changed attitude and reformed policies, South Korea and the international community should not aid or accept official talks with North Korea.”

He stressed that we should show the North Korea regime that South Korea cannot and will not help unless North Korea provides evidence of reformation. The South Korean government’s inadequate Sunshine Policy has insured that its people are indifferent about North Korean nuclear issues.

He will be managing the “Strategic Forum toward North Korea,” organized into 6 sessions in April. The aim of the forum is to reassess South Korean government policy and seek a new, fair, and balanced policy towards North Korea.

Yoo Se Hee has been active in East Asian international relations as president of the Korean Institute of Communist Bloc, the chairman of the Institute of China-Russian Affairs at Hanyang University, and the president of the Institute of Korean Politics. After he resigned the vice-president of Hanyang University in 2004, he became a co-chairman of Citizens United for Better Society. Currently he became the chairman of NKnet in December 2006.