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South Korea’s Search for a New Diplomatic Strategy Toward North Korea: Trustpolitik as a Goldilocks Approach?
Author: Shin-wha Lee
Region: Asia
Theme: Security
Published August 18, 2014
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With the North Korean nuclear threat still lingering, the international community’s decadeslong effort to bring about peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was in vain. Although there were only a few optimistic moments for establishing a peace regime on the peninsula, no such mechanism has been created thus far. The Six-Party Talks’ last push for a permanent peace regime in late 2007, which was facilitated by the September 19 Joint Statement and the February 13 Joint Agreement, was as close as we could come. Kim Dae-jung’s Sunshine Policy of engagement, Roh Moo-hyun’s unreserved outreach to North Korea, and Lee Myung-bak’s stern response to the North’s nuclear program and provocations all proved to be fruitless to induce changes in North Korea. There seems to be no escape from the treacherous repetitive patterns in dealing with Pyongyang. This is the sobering legacy that Park Geun-hye inherited from her predecessors.

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