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Peace on a Knife's Edge: The Inside Story of Roh Moo-hyun's North Korea Policy
Book

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Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, distributed by Brookings Institution Press, page(s): 355

December 2017

Book cover of "Peace on a Knife's Edge" showing South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun alongside George W. Bush and Kim Jong-il

Lee Jong-Seok served as vice-secretary of South Korea’s National Security Council and as its unification minister under the Roh Moo-Hyun administration (2003–08). After Roh’s tragic death in 2009, Lee resolved to present a record of the so-called participatory government’s achievements and failures in the realm of unification, foreign affairs, and national security.

Peace on a Knife’s Edge is the translation of Lee’s 2014 account of Roh’s efforts to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula in the face of opposition at home from conservative forces and abroad from the Bush administration’s hard stances of “tailored containment” and its declaration of the North as part of the “axis of evil.” Lee’s narrative will give American readers rare insights into critical moments of Roh’s incumbency, including the tumultuous Six-Party Talks; the delicate process of negotiating the relocation and reduction of United States Forces Korea; Roh’s pursuit of South Korea’s “autonomous defense”; conflicts with Japan over history issues; and the North’s first nuclear weapons test.

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