May 28, 2023

Time Is Now For Park To Follow In Ireland’s Footsteps

Regardless of ideological differences, the time is now for Koreans both North and South to start a new dialogue.

Park Geun-hye will next month be sworn in as South Korea’s new President and will inherit one of the best performing economies in Asia and a country that is now culturally punching above its weight. While she inherits some very positive aspects of her country’s affairs from her predecessor, she also take on his debts. And after five years of Lee Myung-bak, the biggest debt for Park's administration will be North Korea.

Since 1997, South Korea has straddled between a more favorable attitude toward North Korea (with its Sunshine policy) to more recently adopting what can only be called a deep-freeze policy (there being no interaction unless Pyongyang made the changes that Seoul felt were necessary). This column does not aim to fight the battle of supporting Kim Dae-Jung’s approach over Lee Myung-Bak’s, but instead aims to highlight that while relations between the two Korea’s are at the moment hostile, there is a way for the new President to move this issue forward should she wish to do so.