Between politics and economics in Seoul’s North Korea policy

Gray, Kevin (2016) Between politics and economics in Seoul’s North Korea policy. North Korean Review, 12 (1). ISSN 1551-2789

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to re-examine the question of why economic integration between the two Koreas has remained so limited through moving beyond a focus on strategic-military tensions to examine the influence that South Korea’s domestic political culture plays. The paper adopts an historical sociological approach that traces the process of class formation in post-liberation South Korea and examines how the legacies of state formation and US intervention shape current contestations surrounding Seoul’s policy towards North Korea. The paper argues that anti-communism, inter-Korean tensions, and the broader context of the Cold War initially contributed towards South Korea’s national development. However, formal democratisation and the changing relationship with the US meant that such tensions became increasingly inimical to continued economic growth. The Sunshine Policy, despite its flaws, was shaped in part by the increased pressures on the profitability of South Korean capital and the need for new sources of cheap labour and opportunities for new investment. Since 2007, however, there has been a strong resurgence of anti-communist rhetoric and a growing distance between the conservatives’ hard line policies towards the North and the demands made by business for engagement.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions and public administration (Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Area, etc.) > JQ0021 Asia > JQ1499 East Asia Including China, Japan, Korea
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Depositing User: Kevin Gray
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2015 08:04
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2016 10:24
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/57053
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