Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung called on the United States to implement a “Sunshine Policy” towards China in hopes for democratizing China. Speaking on Tuesday at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, The Nobel Peace Prize recipient said that the United States should not impose military pressure on China.
“If the United States, together with Japan, puts too much military pressure on China, Chinese nationalism will explode. Consequently, military officers will come to hold dominant power, possibly leading to catastrophic results,” Kim said. “However, if the U.S. maintains armed forces which are not excessive, but enough to keep the balance against China, it will not be a big threat to China. As a result, China will be able to focus on its internal affairs.”
Kim said that China is rising as an economic superpower, as it was in the past. “If the population of China’s middle class and intellectuals keep growing and reach 200 to 300 million, their pressure on bringing about democracy will be so huge that authorities will find it hard to bring it under control,” Kim said. “What we wonder is which political direction China will take—democracy or exclusive nationalism,” Kim said. “Depending on which road China will take, the fate of humanity will be greatly impacted.”
Kim emphasized repeatedly that the Sunshine Policy is the path to follow to succesfully change commmunism. “The six-party talks, the forum to discuss the settlement of North Korean nuclear issues, is a thoughtful reflection of the Sunshine Policy,” he said. “Now it is time that democracies across the world including the U.S. proceed with wisdom in dealing with such Stalinist states as China, Vietnam and North Korea.”
He said that the sunshine policy had many positive effects in North Korea. “North Korean people were stunned to find that the food and fertilizer were sent by South Korea to help address their hunger, contrary to their belief that the nation hated North Korea and planned to invade it as a pawn of American Imperialism,” Kim said. “The hostility North Koreans had against its southern counterpart turned to friendly sentiment. Now, they envy their brethren in the South and wish to enjoy the affluent life of South Koreans. This change of sentimenet led to cultural change as well. These days, people in North Korea enjoy South Korean popular song, TV drama, and even movies. Secretly, of course.”
Kim was also optimistic of the Sunshine Policy being the solution for current tensions between Tibet and China. The Dalai Lama and Chinese government must have dialogue, Kim said. “If they do not talk, the situation will deteriorate. Chinese authorities must have wisdom in dealing with Tibet.”