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Sunshine Policy failed to change North Korea: report

donsutherland1

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From Reuters:

South Korea's peaceful "Sunshine Policy" toward North Korea failed, a government report has found, saying there have been no positive changes to Pyongyang's behavior despite a decade of mass aid and encouragement.

Aid shipped to the North during the administrations of Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun from 1998-2008 also failed to make a difference to the lives of destitute North Koreans, said the Unification Ministry white paper, seen by Reuters on Thursday.

Sunshine Policy failed to change North Korea: report | Reuters

This development is not too surprising. The differences between the two Koreas are rooted in North Korea's ideology not economic disparities. That ideology, which is imposed in a suffocating and pervasive fashion, largely makes it impossible for credit/good will to be nurtured toward those who provide the assistance.

If anything, North Korea, accustomed to receiving international assistance, has little incentive to change. Moreover, it has demonstrated a willingness and ability to resort to severe pressure to obtain aid.

If, on the other hand, assistance were tied to gradual and steady basic reforms, beginning not with markets but a relaxation of the regime's ideological oppression via North Koreans' being permitted to gain information from outside the regime/regime's propaganda organs, there might be somewhat better prospects for improvements in the future. Even that process could be gradual.

In the end, the international community would do well to consider the findings of this report before it heeds the UN's latest call to provide additional assistance to North Korea. Even as the UN's call concerns humanitarian assistance, North Korea's regime has had a long history of diverting that assistance to the country's military and other key sectors of society that support and sustain the regime, often despite the role NGOs have tried to play. Unless, access of the aid to civilians could reasonably be assured and it were assured the aid would not free up resources for the military/regime's supporters--assurances that would require a verification regime of sorts--the UN's requested aid would likely contribute to a propping up of the current regime, rather than materially providing for the humanitarian needs of North Korea's suffering people.
 

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From Reuters:



Sunshine Policy failed to change North Korea: report | Reuters

This development is not too surprising. The differences between the two Koreas are rooted in North Korea's ideology not economic disparities. That ideology, which is imposed in a suffocating and pervasive fashion, largely makes it impossible for credit/good will to be nurtured toward those who provide the assistance.

If anything, North Korea, accustomed to receiving international assistance, has little incentive to change. Moreover, it has demonstrated a willingness and ability to resort to severe pressure to obtain aid.

If, on the other hand, assistance were tied to gradual and steady basic reforms, beginning not with markets but a relaxation of the regime's ideological oppression via North Koreans' being permitted to gain information from outside the regime/regime's propaganda organs, there might be somewhat better prospects for improvements in the future. Even that process could be gradual.

In the end, the international community would do well to consider the findings of this report before it heeds the UN's latest call to provide additional assistance to North Korea. Even as the UN's call concerns humanitarian assistance, North Korea's regime has had a long history of diverting that assistance to the country's military and other key sectors of society that support and sustain the regime, often despite the role NGOs have tried to play. Unless, access of the aid to civilians could reasonably be assured and it were assured the aid would not free up resources for the military/regime's supporters--assurances that would require a verification regime of sorts--the UN's requested aid would likely contribute to a propping up of the current regime, rather than materially providing for the humanitarian needs of North Korea's suffering people.

Its time the world cut aid to these countries that cont to abuse its citizens by the ruling class. The people of NK are starving while the a few people ruling the country are acting like royalty live the lifestyle of kings.
 

Albert Di Salvo

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Its time the world cut aid to these countries that cont to abuse its citizens by the ruling class. The people of NK are starving while the a few people ruling the country are acting like royalty live the lifestyle of kings.

North Korea is changing. It's becoming a complete dependency of the People's Republic of China. Imo the idea of reunification of the Korean Peninsula will only happen if China consents to it. South Korea will have to accommodate China's interests if it wants any chance of reunification with the DPRK.
 

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From today's edition of The New York Times:

North Korea showed a visiting American nuclear scientist earlier this month a vast new facility it secretly and rapidly built to enrich uranium, confronting the Obama administration with the prospect that the country is preparing to expand its nuclear arsenal or build a far more powerful type of atomic bomb.

Whether the calculated revelation is a negotiating ploy by North Korea or a signal that it plans to accelerate its weapons program even as it goes through a perilous leadership change, it creates a new challenge for President Obama at a moment when his program for gradual, global nuclear disarmament appears imperiled at home and abroad. The administration hurriedly began to brief allies and lawmakers on Friday and Saturday — and braced for an international debate over the repercussions.


This latest report further underscores the importance of tightening sanctions on North Korea and avoiding backdoor efforts to sustain the regime e.g., via the UN's recent call to provide additional assistance to North Korea.
 

Albert Di Salvo

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The Norks showed the visiting American scientist the new HEU facility in order to send a threatening meassage to the Bamster.

The DPRK and PRC want Obama to return to the Six Party Talks because the Norks and the Han think they are in a superior bargaining position. They want Obama to make concessions of the sort Clinton and Bush made.

Obama has refused to return to the Talks because he knows that NK and PRC have played Clinton and Bush for fools, and now want Obama to buy the same dead horse his predecessors paid for in full.

America's position is currently weak. Never negotiate from a position of weakness. If you do, you end up getting rolled.

What will Obama do? Based on his prior pattern of behavior he will return to the Six Party Talks, and pay a third time for the same dead horse. In doing so America will be paying tribute to North Korea in order to temporarily reduce the threat from the DPRK.

That is the only realistic course of action available to a deeply divided America as it struggles to maintain it's power and influence in NE Asia.
 

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A collapse of North Korea would be a disaster don, and far worse than continuing to provide people with food. Good relations would naturally erode many of the restrictive measures you mention. The Sunshine Policy was very effective. If anything Lee Myung-Bak's stricter treatment of the North has prevented progress, though on some level it is due to changing internal dynamics in North Korea itself.
 

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The Sunshine Policy was a complete failure. The future of the Korean Peninsula will be determined in Beijing. The Sunshine Policy is irrelevant to the Chinese. There will be no reunification without accepting Chinese domination, and vassal state status. If the South Koreans are unwilling to accept Chinese suzerainty, they will be alone in the world. America needs to stay out of this.
 

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Ok, let me see if I'm following here: being nice to the bad guys doesn't work?
 

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When the bad guys are stronger than you are you have a choice to either be nice to them or avoiding them completely.

I'm suggesting that this isn't America's problem. We should avoid this entanglement completely. End the USA/ROK mutual defense treaty, withdraw USFK from the Peninsula, and bring the troops home.

America will only weaken itself by fighting battles for other people. Besides, South Korea is an unreliable ally.
 

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A collapse of North Korea would be a disaster don, and far worse than continuing to provide people with food.

Although I agree with this, I do not believe North Korea is anywhere close to collapse. Indeed, some of the pundits who have been regularly forecasting imminent regime collapse almost certainly have been going on little more than speculation given how insular North Korea is. That the country has survived major shocks including a mid-1990s famine that killed more than a million people indicates that it has some capabilities to deal with such issues, so while a collapse is possible down the road, I don't believe it is so imminent that increased pressure to deal with North Korea's nuclear program cannot be applied.
 

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The Sunshine Policy was a complete failure. The future of the Korean Peninsula will be determined in Beijing. The Sunshine Policy is irrelevant to the Chinese. There will be no reunification without accepting Chinese domination, and vassal state status. If the South Koreans are unwilling to accept Chinese suzerainty, they will be alone in the world. America needs to stay out of this.
Furthermore the US must continue to support South Korea or lose any credibility in Asia. Discontinuing support of Taiwan would produce the same result.
 

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Although I agree with this, I do not believe North Korea is anywhere close to collapse. Indeed, some of the pundits who have been regularly forecasting imminent regime collapse almost certainly have been going on little more than speculation given how insular North Korea is. That the country has survived major shocks including a mid-1990s famine that killed more than a million people indicates that it has some capabilities to deal with such issues, so while a collapse is possible down the road, I don't believe it is so imminent that increased pressure to deal with North Korea's nuclear program cannot be applied.

Except that economic weakness is occurring at the same time as greater political weakness. Kim Jong-Il's health is not good and his apparent successor is young and not very influential.
 

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Except that economic weakness is occurring at the same time as greater political weakness. Kim Jong-Il's health is not good and his apparent successor is young and not very influential.

Those are fair points.

Unfortunately, almost exactly the same kind of arguments were made during the transition to Kim Jong-il's rule. The reality is that it is uncertain as to how much control/influence Kim's successor actually has. If the prior transition is representative, and that's a risky assumption, he could have greater control/influence than those outside North Korea suspect. Of course, there may well be certain senior military leaders who have significant influence. All of that is likely playing out in shaping North Korea's recent conduct. Nevertheless, given Kim's "immortal contribution" of Songun (military-centered society), North Korea's new uranium enrichment activities might well have much more to do with locking Kim's strategic contribution in place than the transition that is underway.

Economic weakness has been a chronic issue in North Korea.

In sum, I don't believe North Korea is near a breaking point whereby even a modest tightening of sanctions would trigger the collapse of its regime.
 

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I think the only way to end poverty in North Korea is to overthrow the current government. They are the ones keeping people in this situation. North Korea is the most oppressive state in the world where the people have virtually no rights and live under communist tyranny. I feel sorry for the North Koreans. We can send aid, but it doesn't help. The problem is with the nation's leadership and style of government. To help North Koreans we must address the real problem, the North Korean government and its policies.
 

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Those are fair points.

Unfortunately, almost exactly the same kind of arguments were made during the transition to Kim Jong-il's rule. The reality is that it is uncertain as to how much control/influence Kim's successor actually has. If the prior transition is representative, and that's a risky assumption, he could have greater control/influence than those outside North Korea suspect. Of course, there may well be certain senior military leaders who have significant influence. All of that is likely playing out in shaping North Korea's recent conduct. Nevertheless, given Kim's "immortal contribution" of Songun (military-centered society), North Korea's new uranium enrichment activities might well have much more to do with locking Kim's strategic contribution in place than the transition that is underway.

Economic weakness has been a chronic issue in North Korea.

In sum, I don't believe North Korea is near a breaking point whereby even a modest tightening of sanctions would trigger the collapse of its regime.

Thing is that Kim Jong-Il was really chosen much earlier on, was the eldest son, had achieved far more during that time, and was much older when he took power. It seems likely that the succession will be much sooner for Kim Jong-Un meaning none of those things will play into the equation.
 

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Furthermore the US must continue to support South Korea or lose any credibility in Asia. Discontinuing support of Taiwan would produce the same result.

American infrastructure is crumbling and it's children are ignorant. America is past the point of needing credibility with Asians.
 

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I think the only way to end poverty in North Korea is to overthrow the current government.

Although there might be a small possibility that the North Korean regime would be overthrown, probably the only one capable of doing so would be North Korea's military. However, there seems to be little indication that the military, particularly senior military leaders who are accustomed to benefits beyond those available to the average North Korean, are any less illiberal than the current regime. North Korea's people don't have much chance to overthrow the regime. Moderation by a future leader might hold the best prospect for constructive changes.

External regime change is not very likely. North Korea's conventional arsenal and modest nuclear arsenal would make the costs of overthrowing the regime via military means prohibitive. Bad as the situation is in North Korea, I don't believe the sacrifice of Seoul and other South Korean population centers within reach of North Korea's military nor the resulting military costs (manpower, weapons, financial) would justify even a successful military outcome.
 

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Thing is that Kim Jong-Il was really chosen much earlier on, was the eldest son, had achieved far more during that time, and was much older when he took power. It seems likely that the succession will be much sooner for Kim Jong-Un meaning none of those things will play into the equation.

There will likely be a handful of senior officials who will "help" guide Kim Jong-un were he to gain power in the near-term. A transition that would be completed in the medium-term (3-5 years) is certainly feasible unless Kim Jong-un were somehow incapable of leading. I haven't seen much information that would suggest that he is incapable of leading. Given North Korea's closed society, that is a risk, but I wouldn't assume that it is the most likely or even a likely outcome. Of course, if his capabilities were short of what is required to accumulate and retain power, timing would be irrelevant. Any change in power to Kim Jong-un would be problematic.
 

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A new development. From The Korea Herald:

Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said Monday that South Korea would consider the redeployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in consultation with Washington as one of the options to deal with North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

His comment followed a report that the North showed a new uranium enrichment plant purportedly with some 2,000 centrifuges installed and running to Siegfried Hecker, a U.S. scientist who visited the communist state earlier this month.


This upcoming policy discussion between South Korea and the United States, even if it never reaches the stage where tactical nuclear weapons are redeployed to South Korea, is potentially welcome. It could provide a signal to North Korea's regime that South Korea is not so intimidated by the North's actions that it is paralyzed to take measures aimed at safeguarding its interests. It could also signal to the North Korean regime that neither that regime's aggressive acts nor worries about the possible fragility of North Korea's succession process will inhibit South Korea from carrying out policies consistent with that state's interests.
 

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American infrastructure is crumbling and it's children are ignorant. America is past the point of needing credibility with Asians.

No doubt you are not American. What you say is partially true, but hardly the rule. And no one else infrastructure has problems...yeah right. :roll:
 

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No doubt you are not American. What you say is partially true, but hardly the rule. And no one else infrastructure has problems...yeah right. :roll:

There are more versions of America than either of us can count. I belong to one version, and you belong to another. The fact that we have nothing in common does not prevent either one of us from calling himself "American."

The American public school system is in a state of slow motion collapse. Compare American students with students from around the world, and American children perform at third world levels.

Other countries also have infrastructure problems, but none are so divided that they are incapable of acting to correct their problems.

In my county in California back roads are being allowed to revert to the same condition they had in the era immediately after WWII because the money to repave them is diverted to public employee wages and benefits, etc.
 

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When the bad guys are stronger than you are you have a choice to either be nice to them or avoiding them completely.

I'm suggesting that this isn't America's problem. We should avoid this entanglement completely. End the USA/ROK mutual defense treaty, withdraw USFK from the Peninsula, and bring the troops home.

America will only weaken itself by fighting battles for other people. Besides, South Korea is an unreliable ally.

Funny. That's what folks were saying in 1938. That didn't turn out so well for us.
 

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Funny. That's what folks were saying in 1938. That didn't turn out so well for us.

That was then. This is now.

A united people can do almost anything. A divided people are well advised to be more circumspect. We live in a dishonest age, but on this subject we should not lie to ourselves. We are not the people we once were. It makes sense to avoid trouble. Besides, we can't have a small govt. if we have an empire.
 

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On the issue of North Korea's possible collapse, something I belive is quite unlikely in the near- and even medium-term, today's edition of The New York Times reported:

They [State Department cables] also show that talk of the North’s collapse may be rooted more in hope than in any real strategy: similar predictions were made in 1994 when the country’s founder, Kim Il-sung, suddenly died, leaving his son to run the most isolated country in Asia. And a Chinese expert warned, according to an American diplomat, that Washington was deceiving itself once again if it believed that “North Korea would implode after Kim Jong-il’s death.”
 

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That was then. This is now.

A united people can do almost anything. A divided people are well advised to be more circumspect. We live in a dishonest age, but on this subject we should not lie to ourselves. We are not the people we once were. It makes sense to avoid trouble. Besides, we can't have a small govt. if we have an empire.

Glad to see your pride in your country shining through.
 
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