From “trustpolitik” to the Dresden declaration, South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s signature North Korea initiatives face strong headwinds as the defiant neighbor ratchets up threats of another nuclear test and criticism against her administration.
While adopting a dual-track approach of reengagement and deterrence shortly after taking office, Park launched a campaign for unification as the centerpiece of her term’s second year, saying it would present a “bonanza” to all Koreans and a chance for the unified peninsula to make an economic leap forward.
She then proposed greater humanitarian aid and economic exchanges with the North to help lay the groundwork for eventual integration in a speech in the former East German city of Dresden late March.
For all her efforts, however, the peninsula appears to be confronting another flare-up in tension. Pyongyang has threatened a fourth atomic blast to beef up its deterrence, and restarted slandering its southern neighbor in breach of a February agreement.
Nonetheless, Seoul has vowed to stick to the Dresden project, which includes the establishment of inter-Korean cooperative offices, a joint agricultural complex and further economic support in line with the communist state’s denuclearization.
[The Korea Herald]