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A Study of the "Trust Building Process on the Korean Peninsula" Proposed by the Park Geun-hye Government

Cheong Seong-Chang 1

1(재) 세종재단

Accredited

ABSTRACT

An analysis of the plot for the "trust building process on the Korean Peninsula," as proposed by the new South Korean government led by President Park Geun-hye, has indicated that her government is attempting to improve inter-Korean relations and attain North Korea's denuclearization through bilateral talks between the two Koreas, plus international cooperation. This approach could be more reciprocal and practical than the idea put forward by the Lee Myung-bak government, which calls for the North's denuclearization and opening-up in exchange for South Korea's role in helping the North increase its per capita income to US$3,000, an idea that made the North's abandonment of its nuclear capability and nuclear weapons development program a prerequisite to the development of closer inter-Korean ties. Undoubtedly, the process for trust building on the Korean Peninsula is a more flexible idea than that for "the North's denuclearization, opening-up and $3,000 for the North's per capita income." But it might be less generous than the North Korea policies pursued by the South Korean governments led by President Kim Dae-jung and President Roh Moo-hyun, which attempted to engage the North, based on their self-confidence, and develop a closer inter-Korean relationship, because it follows common sense and international norms in relations between the two Koreas. The government authorities of the two Koreas need to meet and converse frequently, and abide by their agreements in earnest, among other things, to promote mutual trust. The Park Geun-hye government needs to change its posture toward the North in a way that promotes cooperation with the North in another round of talks between the prime ministers of the two Koreas whose meeting may follow the attainment of normal operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex and the resumption of meetings of members of the same Korean families who are divided by the border. It is desirable for the premier-level inter-Korean talks, if any, to review the ways for implementing the Oct. 4, 2007 declaration made jointly by the two Koreas, in consideration of a change in their environments, and institute an inter-Korean joint commission for economic cooperation. In case the premier-level inter-Korean talks succeed in activating cooperation between government authorities of the two Koreas, the two Koreas need to hold their third summit and make an attempt to adopt a new basic agreement between them, or a new declaration of their leaders, which covers all issues mentioned in the declarations by their leaders on June 15, 2000 and Oct. 4, 2007. There might be environments in North Korea conducive to its denuclearization and improvement of its human rights situation, if and when talks between government authorities of the two Koreas succeed in building their mutual trust ― even in the political, military arenas.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.