The Sunshine Policy and South Korean illusion
February 26, 2000
Virtually, a majority of South Koreans has been suffering from the pathological illusion that delude them into believing that:
1. The South Korea, called the Republic of Korea, has been enjoying with the independent status of the sovereign state with no interference from any other countries, especially from United States of America.
2. Therefore, their government’s overall policies, political, social, economic, military and foreign policy, are programmed, implemented and executed with the sole direction toward for the interests of South Koreans.
3. In addition, the soi-disant Sunshine Policy, DJ Kim’s engagement policy vis-a-vis the North Korea, is a native product of DJ’s government independent from the U.S foreign policy against the North that panders solely in the interest of U.S. hegemony in the region.
This illusion has been constantly fed by the mandarins, scholars, and press agents into the mind of South Koreans in order to satisfy or accommodate their chauvinistic ego, and South Koreans have fallen in one-sided love with Americans believing that their friendship is binding, reciprocal, and sharing as the one between the U.S. and the Great Briton.
However, history tells quite contradictory stories beyond any reasonable doubt that the United States has never treated the South Korean government as a legitimate concerned party in dealing with the North Korea, engaged in numerous negotiations, and come to the agreements, like Agreement Framework, without the participation of South Korean government. Contrarily, the North enjoys sitting down at a negotiating table in equal footing with Americans.
For example, the South Korean government was not a signatory in the armistice agreement of the Korean War, and the Pueblo, EC-121 and Poplar Tree conflicts were directly negotiated and solved between the North and the Americans
When the North Korean submarine was found stranded off the east shore of the Korean peninsula not in the American territorial water, the negotiation to resolve this incident was held not in Panmunjum, but in New York City between the North and American diplomats, not one from the South. Surprisingly, the Americans allegedly were aware of the submarine activities along the east and south shore of the peninsular and had not allowed to share the intelligence with the South that panicked to mobilize their entire military forces to capture the infiltrators.
The 1994 nuclear agreement was signed also by these two parties excluding the South Korean government that only burdened to foot the bill and no say in the talks.
No one from the South, the government, press, or scholars, has protested the direct negotiations between the North and the Americans, kowtowing to the American pressure to stay out of the troubled water. The South, as a client state like Philippines and Turkey, has followed what the American signals to direct and play as a secondary helper in the interest of American policy that only enhances U.S. influence in the region.
The U.S. foreign policy against the North has come to buckle under the transparency that the North has joined the nuclear club of the Little Five, namely, North Korea, India, Pakistan, Israel and South Africa, and there was no choice but to negotiate with the North as the Israeli bombs forced the Arab to conference tables. The choice was not from the spirit of rapprochement in the region but a Hobson’s, when one takes a gander at several incidents mentioned above how deeply the American hatred against the North is rooted…the American ego as a world super power was humiliatingly hurt, and after the Korean War, the U.S has planned the nuclear war in the peninsula under the guise of preemption and once they have sent a squadron of B52 bombers loaded with nuclear bombs up to the DMZ to intimidate the North.
There has been gaga over the nuclear armament of the North Korea in the international community isolating the North in the pariah status.
However, it is unconscionable and hypocritical to blame the North’s nuclear strategy without raising any finger on the Israeli atomic bombs (300 to 400 bombs) and without acknowledging the fact that the North has been at the receiving end of American nuclear threats for half a century and has to develop the nuclear technology to checkmate it. On the other hand, the North has a sovereign right to defend their country to possess any form of deterrent materials to countermeasure potential threats. The North’s nuclear program, I believe, is not intended to counter South’s servant army that has no independent operational system to engage in combat without the American help, and the North Koreans know that only deterrent to the American nuclear strike is its own nuclear capability.
It should also be noted that, in case of nuclear war in the peninsula, the only concern the Americans have is how to avoid their troops and civilians casualties in the region and possible missile attack on the California from the North Korea. Early 1990s American Forces in the South had a contingency plan to evacuate their troops and civilians in case of preemptive nuclear strike against the North and recently they have supplied the gas masks to their citizens stationed in the region. The problem is the misconception among the South Koreans who perceive that they are under the American nuclear umbrella which is not designed to protect Koreans, either North or South. (American bombs are not programmed to distinguish their target based upon the specification of race, color, religion or ideology and Korean peninsular would perish in the nuclear wasteland.)
When DJ Kim deployed the engagement policy to absorb and mitigate the nuclear threat from the North, many hard-liners from the South’s right-wing blamed it as the total capitulation to the North’s intimidation without realizing that his Sunshine policy is an auxiliary mechanism to supplement and facilitate the bilateral agreement between the North and the Americans. DJ Kim is nothing but a sub-contractor to build the power plant with the high-interest loan provided by the Americans with the hope that someday he will be remunerated somehow in the form of a national hero. (The North allegedly demanded that DJ pays $400 million sub rosa to the Great Leader in return for an audience with him and I think DJ is eager to meet the Northerner for photo op during his Presidency.)
In the meantime, the South Korean wishes to join the nuclear club and develop the long-range missile technology are not plausible without the Uncle Sam’s sanction and the Americans do not want to downgrade their raison detre in the region by destroying their nuclear monopoly. (I have no faintest idea why the South wants to possess the nuke bombs when no Korea Air Force general has the operational authority to order his single F-16 fighter in the air without the explicit nod from the U.S. command. Do they want it for the war museum?)
I have the feeling that the Koreans love to kill their fellow countrymen and plunge their land into a Hiroshima…the South appears to be swimming into the uncharted swamp of destructive and rampant commercialism, material consumption and political infighting…the North suffers from famine, poverty and autocracy…Would the Korean people ever produce a national hero, like Ho Chi Minh, to lead the whole nation for the good of all Koreans, South, North, or Whatever?