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. Read More…..