2018: The Future of the Korean Peninsula
The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 16 | Issue 23 | Number 3 | Dec 01, 2018
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus
South Korea’s Candlelight Revolution and the Future of the Korean Peninsula
The year 2018 has witnessed extraordinary changes in the Korean peninsula.1 So many, in fact, that the initial amazement may have worn off a little, and discontent with the pace of change may have set in. But even a brief recapitulation of major occurrences will remind us what an amazing year it has been.
The year began with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s New Year Address in which he promised DPRK participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games and proposed a new beginning in inter-Korean relations. North Korean athletes and artists did come to the Games, along with a high-level official delegation that met with President Moon Jae-in and other important South Korean officials. But a truly historic breakthrough occurred at the April 27 meeting of the two leaders in Panmunjom, producing the Panmunjom Declaration, which promised a drastic improvement in North-South relations and full denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The meeting, though filled with dramatic moments, was more business-like than the two previous inter-Korean summits (of 2000 and 2007), yet the informal and businesslike atmosphere, with live television coverage of much of the event, had an even greater impact on popular consciousness in South Korea and abroad. This was presumably the case in North Korea too, though without live coverage there, viewers received only an ample broadcast of taped scenes. ....