The GNP had been modestly supportive of “engagement” theories during the high times of the unifiction, but in South Korea, the high has worn off. Park Geun-Hye, an exceedingly cunning sensor of the shifting political winds, is staking out “Sunshine Lite” as something more reciprocal than her previous statements had suggested. Here’s a rough translation of her most recent statement:
The Sunshine Policy is necessary for leading North Korea toward change and for releasing tensions between North and South. But such a one-sided and unconditional Sunshine Policy, without any balance or request that North Korea correct its bad behavior, is now the problem. To keep supporting economic cooperation with North Korea and giving aid as if nothing happened, even after North Korea’s nuclear threats like its nuclear test, is nonsense for our people and country. Furthermore, the international community cannot understand. The government should cut off all taxpayer support and stop all kinds of supporting business that provides money to North Korean until we solve the North Korean nuclear problem. We should support and follow the U.N. Security Council’s resolutions as a core concerned country. If we don’t follow U.N. resolutions, South Korea will be isolated in international society, along with North Korea.
Park also called for restoring relations with the United States and Japan, and called for an end to discussions about the transfer of wartime control (something that probably won’t get much of reception in the Pentagon). Note that this is all a dry, realist, interests-oriented analysis, which is an improvement, but is hardly the sweeping call for reunification that will capture the imaginations of young people and marginalize the radical left. Like most of what Park Geun-Hye says, the human compassion is wrung out of it. It’s sensible, but reactionary stuff.
This call, on the other hand, demonstrates at least minimal concern for the North Korean people.
Local organizations have no settled monitors to supervise aid distribution in North Korea and international groups have only 61 monitors, a lawmaker said yesterday, citing a report of the Unification Ministry.
It means that Seoul cannot be assured as to whether aid has been properly used to help people, Rep. Yun Kun-young of the main opposition Grand National Party (GNP) said.
“The engagement policy toward the North has prove to be a failure through the North Korean nuclear test conducted last Monday,” Yun said. “Therefore, the policy of providing aid to the North should be reexamined.”
Overall, I don’t see the GNP advocating a vision to save and unify Korea. A reactionary platform will mean that the GNP will be vulnerable to voter apathy, divisions, and third-party challenges.