Aid to the “Enemy”: Linking Development and Peacebuilding on the Korean Peninsula
Date: 3:30pm PDT April 29
Presentation by Scholar in Residence, Pil Ho Kim
Aid activities in North Korea cannot be fully detached from the context of the Korean conflict. Especially, the challenges facing South Korea in providing aid to the North vary with the causes of the Korean conflict and changes in the relationship between the two parties. When the humanitarian crisis in North Korea gained the attention of the international community in the mid-1990s, many South Koreans reached out to the North with a sense of responsibility to care for fellow Koreans and the expectation that this would be a step forward to reconciliation and reunification. Unfortunately however, the Korean conflict, once seemingly on the way to resolution, appears to have reverted to a point before the end of the Cold War. In particular, Pyongyang’s nuclear ambition drew emotional responses such as ‘we provided rice and it became nuclear bombs coming back at us’ in South Korean society. We look at the challenges and opportunities of South Korean aid to North Korea, and consider a peacebuilding approach that can help navigate through the current impasse.