Andrei Lankov: Previewing Park's New North Korea Policy

tags: North Korea, National Interest, South Korea, sunshine policy



Andrei Lankov is a professor of history at Kookmin University in Seoul. His most recent book is The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia.

Park Geun-hye, the newly elected president of South Korea, has embarked on her first official overseas trip. Predictably enough, her destination is Washington.

Of the many issues which are likely to be discussed at President Park’s first summit with President Obama, questions related to North Korea are of special significance. If rumors are to be believed, President Park is going to brief her counterparts in Washington about her new approach to North Korea.

While Park comes from the same conservative camp as her predecessor Lee Myung-bak, her attitude to North Korea is quite different. Lee Myung-bak was a hardliner who always insisted on reciprocity when dealing with North Korea. The North Korean side was in no mood to reciprocate: it did not agree to pay with political and other concessions for South Korean aid. Thus, President Lee’s tenure ended rather badly—most of the joint North-South projects collapsed under his watch while relations between the two Korean states hit the lowest point in two decades....



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