Second Korean Summit

Kim Dae-jong met Kim Jon-il in June of 2000 in what became the first and only meeting between the leaders of that divided country. Whilst Kim Jong-il  promised a reciprocal visit to the South that meeting never took place. Kim’s successor Roh Moo-hyun is on the threshold of a second summit a little more than 5 months before he will leave office in February of 2008 by walking across the Demilitarized Zone into North Korea. Becoming the first President of South Korea to do so.

That first meeting came about because of Kim Dae-jong’s willingness to view North Korea and its leaders as something more than a pariah state. President Kim sought a new approach one he called the Sunshine Policy. He believed that it was better to engage the North Koreans in ways that would ease tensions between the two Korea’s rather than continuing with Cold War policies in place since the ending of the Second World War which had resulted in overt and covert confrontations which had gone no where in terms of policy development between the two countries. The Sunshine Policy has three tenants

# No armed provocation by the North will be tolerated.
# The South will not attempt to absorb the North in any way.
# The South actively seeks cooperation.

Dealings with North Korea are never straight forward and always difficult especially when armed engagements take place as happened in 2002 when elements from both navies became involved in a shooting incident which left 5 South Korean sailors dead. Or when the Bush administration accused the North of being part of the Axis of Evil which led the North Koreans to break-off all contact with the South. North Korea’s withdrawal Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty resulted in the emergence of the Six Party Talks consisting of North and South Korea, Russia, China, Japan and the United States. The Six Party Talks resulted in little being accomplished until the North Koreans test fired an underground nuclear device October 9, 2006. Talks resumed in December of 2006 with an agreement being reached on February 13, 2007 which on its face brought back the basic tenants of the Agreed Framework which was negotiated by the Clinton administration.

Will this summit result in any tangible agreements between the Korea’s? Interactions between the two countries have really been a one way street. Every step forward has resulted from the South’s willingness to provide North Korea with huge amounts of economic and humanitarian aide with in actual policy terms very little given back. So is the summit a waste of time?
  If one were too look at from the perspective of a Westerner you would  logically conclude that this summit will only result in the South providing further aide to the North getting nothing in return. Yet a Korean would tell just the opposite stating that they are one people and one nation and that it is their obligation to help their fellow countrymen as well as to further ease tensions between the two adversaries.


  1. They’re starving in North Korea.  Further aid is necessary on that basis alone.

    We’ve seen what happens when nations don’t enter into dialogue.  I’d much rather take a far longer period of time and promote dialogue than turn to warfare.

    I’d like to share one of my favorite sites –it’s from South Korea – I visit it daily and it is so beautiful to me.  It’s called ordinary mind.

    I wish peace for the Korean people and hope one day their country can be united again.

  2. Giving more aid to the people of North Korea.  Wouldn’t that be helping Kim Jong-Il?  The aid would just allow him to spend more on parades for himself.

    I feel for the people, but the best thing that could happen for the future of the North Koreas would be to get rid of Kim Jong-il.

  3. just wanted to get a conversation started.

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