South Korea’s ‘Sunshine Policy’ Advocates See Vindication in Summit

Engagement with North Korea is finally making process

It’s been about 20 years since former South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung introduced the diplomacy-focused “Sunshine policy” toward North Korea. The policy was scrapped in recent years, only to be revived by President Moon over the past year.

It’s now bearing fruit, and those who began the advocacy for diplomacy those years ago, who faced years of dismissal from hawks, are now seeing vindication. Diplomacy is triumphant on the Korean Peninsula, with a Trump-Kim summit just days away, and a peace treaty to end the Korean War looking very likely.

Kim Dae-Jung won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 for the first inter-Korean summit. President Moon has had two summits in the past couple of months. Capping that off with a peace treaty would be a major accomplishment.

This would also be a big boost to the Sunshine policy’s general theme, that progress is more readily made through diplomatic engagement than blustering and threats. Progress is North Korea will make it difficult to argue that engagement couldn’t work elsewhere.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.