An important essay by one of our very best analysts and scholars on north Korea (and a mentor of mine) from the new blog "War on the Rocks." This is probably one of the most succinct and understandable explanations of the nature of the Kim Family Regime.
TRUSTPOLITIK VS. DISTRUSTPOLITIK: DOWN AND OUT ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA
After decades of tensions and stalemate, Trustpolitik, a fresh approach by South Korean President Park Geun-hye towards North Korea, indicates why it is so difficult to build anything resembling a stable relationship between these troubled neighbors. Through Trustpolitik, Park has sought to avoid the excesses and naïveté of Kim Dae-jung’s “Sunshine Policy” – which aimed to induce the Kim family’s Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the table through almost unconditional economic cooperation and aid.
But even President Park’s approach imagines too much sunshine in North Korea. The distrust between North and South Korea, rooted in their antithetical political systems, cannot be erased. This distrust has produced one war that has resulted in the death of millions, mostly Koreans, but also troops from the People’s Republic of China, the United States and member nations of the United Nations Command. It has also produced an armistice that has served as the setting for a 60-year military standoff for, countless provocations, North Korea’s development into a de facto nuclear state, and countless failed attempts at reconciliation.
North Korea remains a family cult-centered dictatorship with the world’s fourth largest military, a poorly-fed populace isolated from the rest of the world, a failed economy, and the ignominious title of the world’s 23rd most failed state, The Republic of Korea in the South, has become an ultra-modern, full-fledged democracy with the world’s 15th largest economyand the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) ranking as the world’s 6th most-wired country.
In the 41 years since the first inter-Korean talks of July 4, 1972, there have been 606 meetings between the North and the South. These meetings have produced small results and great disappointments. The July 4th 1972 Joint Declaration, supported by the leadership of the North’s Kim Il-sung and the South’s Pak Chong-hui, was significant in that it was the first official negotiations between the North and South. . In 1991, the North and South held several meetings to produce the “Basic Agreement,” signed in 1992, but never implemented the agreement due to the North’s pursuit of nuclear technology. The agreement would have established a security “holding pattern” while the North figured out how to deal with its security and economic problems in the context of the fall of the Soviet Union.
Perhaps the most significant development of these meetings was more meetings: two summits between the North’s Kim Jong-il and two South Korean heads-of-state – Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun. The first summit, in 2000, produced the June 15 Declaration that stated the two Koreas’ determination to solve Korean reunification without outside interference.
(Continued at the link below)