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Regional Peace Building: The Korean Peninsula and North-east Asia

10 June 2010, Centre for Asian Pacific Studies, Lingnan University

How Should The Two Koreas Handle Each Other?
Aidan Foster-Carter
Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology & Modern Korea, Leeds University, UK

This paper will attempt to survey and draw lessons from the now almost four decades-old, if fitful and fraught, history of negotiations between the two Korean states. In particular, it will compare the decade of the ‘sunshine’ policy (1998-2007) with both the antecedent quarter-century (1971-97) and the subsequent first two years of the Lee Myung-bak administration, with its self-conscious turn away from the sunshine approach. With no a priori axe to grind, the aim will be to ask whether Seoul can ever devise a policy approach towards Pyongyang which is holistic, long-term, consistent over time, and reciprocal; or if not, what are the ineluctable trade-offs, priorities, conditionalities, choices and other problems.

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