Korean Appeasement

The South Korean government apparently is resisting appeasement in the face of terrorism:

AP– Beheading stirs debate in South Korea

The beheading of a South Korean hostage set off demands, including from the president’s own party, for the country to stop sending troops to Iraq.

The stunned nation awoke Wednesday to television images of a blindfolded Kim Sun-il kneeling in an orange jumpsuit before his masked captors and news that he was later decapitated.

President Roh Moo-hyun denounced the killing and stood by his government’s plan to send 3,000 additional troops to Iraq beginning in August. But the slaying underlined divisions on the domestic front.

“This incident was shocking and tragic, but it mustn’t shake our decision and principle to send troops to Iraq,” the country’s biggest newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, said in an editorial. “In times like this, the president and the government must focus and not allow the deployment issue to once again divide the public.”

Sadly, not so much the U.S. government:

CSM — Negotiation or appeasement?

As South Korea collectively mourns the beheading of one of its citizens in Iraq, its nuclear neighbor to the north will have to consider a fresh offer from the United States.

At six-nation talks in Beijing, the US proposed giving North Korea energy aid and a security guarantee in exchange for ending its nuclear program, reports the Associated Press.


The Christian Science Monitor reports that “the White House initiative seems to suggest a tactically kinder and gentler approach to the hard-core Stalinist regime,” which “came about partly from a sense among US officials that Washington was wrongly being framed as the hostile or intractable actor in the talks.”

The New York Times reported Tuesday that President Bush authorized US negotiators to offer North Korea the “new but highly conditional set of incentives.” The Times points out that this process would be similar to what Libya committed to in December 2003, and “the first significant, detailed overture to North Korea since Mr. Bush took office three years ago.”

It worked so well when the Clinton Administration tried this a decade ago.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. cathy says:

    They ought to send a thousand more troops just because a So. Korean was beheaded. Show these fanatics that their tactics aren’t going to work. The more people they chop up, the more troops the government of that country will send. Do the opposite of what they demand.

  2. DC Loser says:

    Okay, so how many heads will it take to bring the entire ROK Army over to Iraq?

  3. DC Loser says:

    So after all the blustering and name calling, what’s the significant difference between this and the 94 Agreed Framework? Not much! So much for this new foreign policy against the Axis of Evil.