When 'Sunshine' Ruled on the Korean Peninsula | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


When 'Sunshine' Ruled on the Korean Peninsula

Before South Korea’s conservative presidents severed ties with North Korea from 2008, their liberal predecessors Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun promoted peaceful engagement and rapprochement, an approach called the “sunshine policy.”

The name stemmed from an ancient Greek fable where the wind and the sun competed to remove a man’s cloak. No matter how strongly the wind blew, the man only wrapped his cloak more tightly to keep warm. But when the sun shone, the warmth made him take his cloak off. The wind symbolized unsuccessful coercive policies toward North Korea and the sun stood for an approach able to persuade North Korea to take off its anachronistic and uncomfortable cloak, changing at last.

During the Sunshine years, not only more and more business people from the South came to the North. NGOs, artists, religious groups, and tourists also crossed the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Close to two million South Koreans visited scenic Mount Kumgang. More than 20,000 South Koreans also met there with their Northern family members. An old North Korean told me he was never as happy in his life as when he met his Southern family, torn apart during the Korean War, at Mount Kumgang.

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