Washington’s painful search for a credible China policy
but failed to deliver any lasting results. As Head of the Asia Department in the Swedish Foreign Ministry I visited North Korea a number of times. In 2001 I accompanied Prime Minister Göran Persson, then-chairperson of the European Council, to Pyongyang for an EU–North Korean summit with Kim Jong-il.
South Korean President KimDae-jung’s Sunshine policy and the Clinton administration’s advanced direct talks with Pyongyang had created a conducive climate, but when President George W. Bush entered the White House in 2001, he launched a policy reversal, choosing to
Japan and South Korea working together under the umbrella of the American alliance. The smaller problem, however, was that Seoul had been through a fit of “anti-Americanism” as Beltway denizens saw it, under Presidents KimDae-jung (1998–2003) and, especially, Roh Moo-hyun (2003–8). Fortune eventually smiled in the form of President Lee Myung-bak (2008–13), a former Hyundai executive who harked back to the days of Korean–American amity when the dictators were in power (1948–87). Even better, they thought, was the subsequent election of Park Geun-hye, a daughter of one