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Friday, November 21, 2003


stuart munro

Interesting, but I think your criticism mistakes the rhetoric for the fact. Although in principle the Sunshine policy is commitment to peaceful and negotiated union, should the North destabilize significantly the policy leaves the South with a strong force, suitable for police action should the opportunity arise.
In some respects the policy may be more directed at Northern citizens than their leadership, and it establishes the South's legitimacy as an intervening power, so long as it is not the instigator of any regime failure.
The previous balance, a life or death contest for legitimacy as whole Korea governments, did not seem to serve either country well.
With Juche looking untenable as a closed kingdom strategy, the collapse of the North seems to be less an if, than a when. Good relations between governments might indeed result in a negotiated settlement, as a Northern regime looks for an exit from an untenable position.
Unless a third power, like China, intervenes to exploit Northern instability, the opportunity seems unlikely to go away. The sunshine policy also makes outright absorbtion of the North by China less likely.
Perhaps the best thing about the policy though, is its effect on domestic politics. Hardline militarism has ceased to be a carte blanche for Southern governments, and quality of life in the South has improved.
Given that the Soviet collapse is credited as much to a living standards comparison as it is to cold war, and that it was driven at an elite rather than a popular level, Northern elites may by now be contemplating something similar.

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