Chung-in Moon, a well-known scholar who served as an adviser to two South Korean presidents spanning 1998 until 2008, has published a new book on the Sunshine Policy. “The Sunshine Policy: In Defense of Engagement as a Path to Peace in Korea“.
During the above-mentioned decade, the South Korean administration tried to thaw relations with Pyongyang, build trust, and create conditions for gradual change in the North Korea’s political and economic systems that might lead to coexistence and eventually to peaceful unification.
But to say the least, the policy depended on more reciprocity from the North and more strategic patience from the United States than could realistically be expected — not to mention more support from the South Korean public, which proceeded to award the presidency to a hard-liner, Lee Myung-bak, in 2008.
The scholar blames U.S. President George W. Bush for disrupting those efforts before they had a chance to build on what he claims were initial successes.
Nevertheless, Chung-in Moon’s book outlines the logic of the “sunshine policy” and a call for its revival, since every other option — military pressure, containment, and waiting for the regime in Pyongyang to collapse — has failed.