TITLE

SUNSHINE OVER A BARREN SOIL: THE DOMESTIC POLITICS OF ENGAGEMENT IDENTITY FORMATION IN SOUTH KOREA

AUTHOR(S)
Jong Kun Choi
PUB. DATE
December 2010
SOURCE
Asian Perspective;2010, Vol. 34 Issue 4, p115
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
South Korea's "Sunshine" engagement policy during the Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo Hyun administrations (1998-2007) invited heated debates over the policy's ability to induce formidable changes within Pyongyang in terms of nuclear-weapons development and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. Critics argued that Seoul's engagement policy would incubate Pyongyang's nuclear program, not hamper it. The policy also created coordination problems in the ROK-U.S. alliance and domestic political cleavages in South Korea. This article assesses the rationale behind South Korea's engagement policy, and argues that it initiated a politics of identity reformulation between Sunshine proponents and opponents. The two liberal administrations' Sunshine policy also contributed to changes in the South's role identity vis-a-vis North Korea by resetting the concept of national interest, the identity of North Korea, and alternative means to move away from a containment strategy. The article thus contends that the unit-level change in the state's role identity must go through a political struggle against the established security identity of a state. Reconciliation through engagement in a protracted conflictual relationship has to successfully win out over the old idea of containment.
ACCESSION #
71092959

 

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