North Korea to suspend missile and nuclear tests: Ghosts of the Sunshine Policy
Chika Mori and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, announced a major U-turn by stating all missile and nuclear tests will be suspended. Kim once more is on the front foot after appearing to be aggressive last year. Hence, from the point of view of political elites in Pyongyang, the timing of the announcement shows it is a North Korean initiative and nothing to do with pressure being put on by America or South Korea.
After all, the announcement by Kim takes much away from the proposed meetings with the leaders of America and South Korea. In other words, no plea-bargaining and “no surrender” will be issued to the people of North Korea. It matters not what the truth is because the timing of Kim’s announcement shows the decision was decided in Pyongyang and not in Seoul or Washington.
Reuters reports, “North Korea also said it would engage in talks with the international community, paving the way for the summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in planned for next week and a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in late May or early June.”
The role of Moon in South Korea is of great importance because he took a moderate approach, rather than “hot head” statements made by America and North Korea respectively. Equally important, unlike Japan the leader of South Korea believed in an inclusive approach. Hence, Moon went the extra mile towards placating North Korea and then gaining the confidence of the leader of this nation. Therefore, while North Korea will laud itself, it is clear that its neighbor helped enormously.
It remains to be seen how events will turn out between America and North Korea because the leaders of both nations are extremely volatile and vociferous at times. Despite this, compared with late 2017, then current positive statements bode well for a possible breakthrough despite hopes being dashed in the past.
Overall, the Olympic honeymoon between South Korea and North Korea seems to be continuing. Indeed, a telephone hotline between Kim and Moon is known to exist. Therefore, the ghosts of the Sunshine Policy of Kim Dae-jung seem to be gaining traction in South Korea even if certain areas differ.
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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