By Hye Won Yoon
The Wind and the Sun are debating who is the stronger. Suddenly, they see a traveller pass by and decide to find the answer to the debate; whoever takes off the traveller’s cloak first is the winner. Who wins? Like in the fable world, the sun, in the real world, can be a winner in denuking North Korea.
The sunshine policy started at a civil level. On June 17, 1998, Chung Ju Yung, the deceased founder of Hyundai, South Korean conglomerate, drove 500 heads of cattle across the border to North Korea. The cattles given to North Korea were not only the source of food but also the source of farming. Instead of passing the cattles to the North Korean government, which would have made the North Korean government lose its face, Chung Ju Yung gave the cattles to the citizens who were suffering from food shortages. Chung Ju Yung was the first sun to shine in the Northern part of the Korean peninsula.
The engagement policy to keep peace between the two countries sparked a light to thaw the frozen relationship between the Koreas for 53 years after Korean civil war. The humanitarian aid was brought forth by the two governments’ agreement and permission. This galvanized Seoul and Pyongyang to sit at table to discuss ways to denuclearize North Korea, giving birth to the sunshine policy. The sun that shone on the Korean Peninsula for 10 years from President Kim to President Roh Moo Hyun garnered President Kim the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000.
However, the policy that successfully persuaded North Korea to give up being a reclusive country only eager to develop nuclear weapon to protect the government ended as Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye governments took over. The repeal of the sunshine policy paved the way to a storm wind policy on the part of North Korea: It reignited its furnace to become a nuclear power. While communications between two Koreas completely cut off, Pyongyang made debut on the stage of nuclear powers this year.
Although incumbent South Korea President Moon Jae In is trying to draw the dark cloud open to bring back the sunshine, some people insist that economic sanctions should be put against North Korea. However, they are missing one important point: the sanction is victimizing innocent citizens. On February 18, 2018, Iranian plane crashed, killing 66 people on board. Like North Korea, Iran has faced international sanctions since 1995. The cut off of goods forced Aseman Airlines to use substandard Russian planes and to patch up older jets far past their normal years of service, which were bought on the black market. Any policy should not sacrifice innocent citizen under the pretext of expediency.
Who wins? The wind only makes the traveller more closely wrap his cloak.
- Eliot, Charles William, and Joseph Jacobs. “The Wind and the Sun.” Æsop’s Fables, Retold by Joseph Jacobs. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909–14., 27 Mar. 2001. Web. 06 Mar. 2018.
- Frank, Ruediger, 38 North, and Andray Abrahamian. “The Long and Winding Road: South Korea’s “Nordpolitik” (Part I).” 38 North. The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), 23 Feb. 2017. Web. 08 Mar. 2018.
- Min, Jesse. “The Sunshine Policy of South Korea.” The Sunshine Policy of South Korea. Jesse Min, 13 Mar. 2017. Web. 06 Mar. 2018.
- Strom, Stephanie. “In Drive for Unity, Hyundai Founder Takes Cattle to North Korea.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 June 1998. Web. 08 Mar. 2018.
- Times, The New York. “66 Feared Dead After Iran Plane Crash.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 18 Feb. 2018. Web. 08 Mar. 2018.