Report released on the North Korea problem and the necessity for South Korean leadership


RTR3DTHL news item Feb 13 2013cropped
South Korean soldiers stand guard outside the hall during a graduation ceremony for Taesungdong Elementary School at Taesungdong freedom village, near the border village of Panmunjom, in Paju, February 15, 2013. Six students graduated from the only school in this South Korean village sitting inside the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea where a total of 30 students study under a heavy military presence.
Photo credit: 
REUTERS/Jung Yeon-je/Pool

Shorenstein APARC released a policy report on "The North Korea Problem and the Necessity for South Korean Leadership" on March 4. The report was written by a Shorenstein APARC team led by Director Gi-Wook Shin and including Karl Eikenberry, Thomas Fingar, Daniel C. Sneider, and David Straub. It explains why, of the new governments on and around the Korean Peninsula, including both Koreas, the United States, China, Japan, and Russia, only the South Korean government of President Park Geun-hye may have an opportunity to revive North Korea diplomacy. The report supports President Park's "trustpolitik," a confidence-building approach toward improving inter-Korean relations, and argues that this could provide the basis for a resumption of the North Korean denuclearization talks in Beijing. If those Six Party Talks are resumed, the team offers recommendations as to how the prospects for their success might be enhanced.    

The report is based in part on (1) the scholars' research for a Yonhap News Agency-sponsored symposium on Northeast Asia security in Seoul in early February, when they also held meetings with then-President Lee Myung-bak and President-elect Park Geun-hye and her chief foreign policy advisers, as well as with leading South Korean progressive intellectuals; and (2) a workshop on North Korea policy at Stanford University on February 14–15, supported by the Koret Foundation of San Francisco, which included top current and former U.S., South Korean, and UN officials and leading academic experts on the Korea problem. In advance of publication, Shin and Straub briefed South Korean correspondents in Washington, D.C., and U.S. officials on the report's recommendations.