Sunshine Policy

Term Paper, 2013

15 Pages, Grade: 3,0


Table of Content

3. Introduction

4. South Koreas foreign policy to North Korea since
4.1. The Sunshine Policy
4.2. June 15 Joint Declaration (2000) & October 4 Declaration (2007)
4.3 Lee Myung-bak foreign policy

5. Major Statistics of the time around the Sunshine Policy
5.1. Inter-Korean Dialogue
5.2 Economic trade and cooperation
5.3. Exchanges in the private sector and humanitarian aid

6. Criticism of the Sunshine Policy

7. Conclusion

8. Resources

Sunshine Policy

3. Introduction

On October 13, 2000 it was announced that this year´s Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Kim Dae-jung, President of South Korea. The committee lauded him for his efforts over the decades “for democracy and human rights in South Korea and East Asia in general.” But stressed the presidents work “for peace and reconciliation with North Korea in particular,” praising his Sunshine Policy of engagement with North Korea for reducing tension between South Korea and North Korea and creating hope that the Cold War in Korea too soon come to an end.1 The hope that the Cold War in Korea soon would be finished was not fulfilled, even today the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea and as synonym used in this paper and South Korea (synonym used for Republic of Korea) are still in a Cold War. Nevertheless the Sunshine Policy, which was the foreign policy towards North Korea between 1998 until 2008, helped to achieve things which long time were thought not possible.

This paper shall show the achievements of the Sunshine Policy with the help of the official statistics from the website of the Ministry of Unification, South Korea. Therefore the paper presents major statistics of inter-Korean relations, like inter-Korean talks, tourism, humanitarian aid and private exchange. The paper will compare the numbers of the Sunshine Policy (therefore between 1998 and 2008) and the numbers before (was not always possible) and the numbers after the Sunshine Policy. As the political reasons for the numbers can be quite complex, the paper not always will go in detail why the numbers changed so significant. More important it is the aim of this paper that there was differences in the outcome of the difference foreign policy to North Korea and that the Sunshine Policy was superior in these outcomes and therefore gained achievements in this area. Anyway there must have been reasons, why the policy to North Korea was changed, therefore the paper also tries very briefly to mention the critic on the Sunshine Policy.

First the paper explain the content of the Sunshine Policy and their most important Declaration, the June 15 Joint Declaration from 2000, then very briefly the foreign policy by the Lee Myung- bak government. In the next chapter the achievements of the Sunshine policy will be proved with statistical data of the Ministry of Unification, South Korea. In the last chapter there will be mentioned some reasons why the Sunshine Policy was not continued. But as mentioned, first, the paper explains what the Sunshine Policy actually meant.

4. South Koreas foreign policy to North Korea since 1998

For the avoidance of a misunderstanding, there were already notable efforts by previous administrations to have improving Inter-Korean relations. Especially in the two previous presidential governments from Roh Tae-woo and Kim Young-sam. Kim Dae-jung could build up on their policies and on his work when he was in opposition the years before he became President.2

4.1. The Sunshine Policy

The Sunshine Policy was a foreign policy towards North Korea, introduced by President Kim Dae-jung under the government of the Millennium Democratic Party. It started 1998 and ended 2008. After Kim Dae-jung the next president Roh Moo-hyun, since 2003 continued the Sunshine Policy. The objective of the Sunshine Policy was “peace and improvement of inter-Korean relations through reconciliation and cooperation.” Which meant to postpone unification at that moment and seek first peace and realize coexistence and coprosperity between the two Koreas. To make this objective applicable the South Korean government had established three principles to its North Korea policy. Firstly, “it will not tolerate any armed provocation that will destroy peace.” Secondly, “it will not attempt to seek unification by absorbing North Korea nor harm North Korea.” Thirdly, “it will actively promote reconciliation and cooperation between the two Koreas.”3

The Ministry of Unification furthermore implemented keynotes for the Sunshine policy, as follows:

- “Concurrently promote security with reconciliation and cooperation.
- Realize first peaceful coexistence and peaceful exchanges between the two Koreas.
- Foster an environment ripe for changes in North Korea through reconciliation and cooperation.
- Strive for a mutually benefitting relationship.
- Secure international cooperation while maintaining the principle of resolving the Korean situation by the two parties concerned, South and North Korea.
- Promote the North Korea policy with the support and consensus of the people.”4

Another important change into foreign policy towards North Korea was the principle of “flexible dualism”. These new terms of engagement can be summarized as in the following: “(1) Easy tasks first, and difficult tasks later. (2) Economy first, politics later. (3) Nongovernmental organizations first, government later. (4) Give first, take later. The core of this principle is the separation of politics and economy.5 As a result military provocations from North Korea (which interestingly not stopped despite the later mentioned Declarations) or even the second nuclear crisis in October 2002 stopped not inter-Korean talks and especially not economic assistance. Furthermore it was expected economic cooperation would help reduce tensions and stabilize peace and security on the Korean Peninsula.6

In the ten years of the Sunshine Policy many talks between South Korea and North Korea were hold, but two summits were especially important, these two will be shortly presented in the next chapter.

4.2. June 15 Joint Declaration (2000) & October 4 Declaration (2007)

The June 15 South-North Declaration was the most important declaration under Kim Dae-jung, it was agreed and signed by the two Korean leaders Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-il and the first time in 55 years of division that a framework for future relations was provided. The declaration contains the majors tasks of the South Korean governments Sunshine Policy, because of the importance of this declaration, a summary of it will be follow:7


1 Levin (2002), p. 5

2 Levin (2002), p. 12-13

3 Direct quotes from Sunshine Policy for Peace & Cooperation (2002), p. 13

4 Direct quote from Sunshine Policy for Peace & Cooperation (2002), p. 15

5 Moon, Steinberg (1999), p. 39

6 Hong (2008), p. 3

7 Sunshine Policy for Peace & Cooperation (2002), p. 20-21

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Sunshine Policy
University of Vienna
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Robin Roelecke (Author), 2013, Sunshine Policy, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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