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International Journal of Korean History > Volume 17(1); 2012 > Article
International Journal of Korean History 2012;17(1): 171-205.
The Development of the Discussions on Unification during the Early Post-Cold War Era : Competition and Coexistence between the Government and Nongovernment Sector
Ji-hyung Kim
Full-time Lecturer, Department of History Educatin, Seowon University
김지형
서원대학교 역사교육과 전임강사
ABSTRACT
This study analyzes the discussions pertaining to unification and the characteristics of the unification movement during the Roh Tae Woo regime, in power during the early post-Cold War era. More to the point, this article examines the competition and coexistence that existed between the government and nongovernment sector with regards to this issue. Amidst the onset of the post-Cold War Era, the Roh Tae Woo (No T΄aeu) government undertook an active engagement policy towards North Korea that can be characterized by the establishment of the Nordpolitik policy and the July 7th Declaration (Special Declaration for National Self-Esteem, Unification, and Prosperity). The advent of a wide range of North-South Korean talks, including high-level ones, paved the way for the two Koreas to establish a new milestone in their relationship in the form of the adoption of the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement, an agreement that highlighted the uniqueness of the inter-Korean relationship. The North’s attitude during the process that led up to the establishment of the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement can be regarded as one based on the posture of defensive coexistence. This came as part of their attempts to overcome the post-Cold War crisis marked by the collapse of the socialist bloc. On the other hand, South Korea played an active leadership role and served as the driving force behind this process. All of this led to the development of a new international paradigm known as the simultaneous ascension of North-South Korea to the UN taking root on the Korean peninsula. However, internal and external factors associated with the erosion of the inter-Korean relationship, in the form of intentional attempts by the hard-line faction within the government to derail the inter-Korean relationship as well as the nuclear standoff between the United States and North Korea, were also clearly exposed during this process. Here, special attention should be drawn to the fact that the intentional stress placed on the inter-Korean relationship by those who adopted a hard-line towards the North was closely related to the presidential election strategy endorsed by conservative political forces. This period also saw an explosive growth in nongovernment sector led discussions regarding unification and related unification movements, as well as in inter-Korean exchange campaigns within all classes of society. A series of events, including the campaign for the holding of inter-Korean student talks and for the joint organization of the Olympics, had the effect of making exchanges with the North a key issue within society. At the same time, this growing interest in North Korea resulted in the emergence of the phenomenon known as the “Movement to Develop a Proper Understanding of North Korea.” Doubts started to be raised about the logic of the conservative power, which during the Cold War Era had propped up the authoritative dictatorship in the name of anticommunism. There was also an exponential growth in intellectual curiosity regarding North Korea, curiosity that was rooted in the notion of silsa kusi (實事求是, silsa gusi, seeking truth from facts). Nongovernment sector-based unification movements eventually splintered into those that were friendly towards North Korea and those that were critical of it. The emergence of the Pan-Korean Alliance for Reunification(PKAR), which adopted tripartite cooperation (two Koreas and the international community), and of the search for a new unification structure that respected the values of various unification movements in Korea, was in fact the result of conflicting understandings of North Korea that existed within the various unification movements. As such, the discussions over unification carried out by the various nongovernment unification groups, which began to exhibit a multilayered structure, became an internal competition of sorts. During this process, the government, which intended to curb discussions on unification within the nongovernment sector based on the principle of ‘single-window’ negotiations with the North, maintained strained relations with nongovernment unification groups. Thus, the discussions on unification between the government and nongovernment sector during the post-Cold War era entered a new era in which both sides found themselves having to compete in an attempt to influence the other amidst an environment in which they were increasingly conscious of each other.
Keywords: post-Cold War, discussions on unification, inter-Korean relationship, Nordpolitik, July 7th Declaration, Inter-Korean Basic Agreement, North-South Koreas’ simultaneous joining of the UN, manipulation of presidential directives, Movement to develop a Proper Understanding of North Korea, visits to North Korea, principle of a ‘single-window, ’ emergence of the Pan-Korean Alliance for Reunification (PKAR), new unification structure

국문초록
탈냉전 초기, 즉 노태우 정권기의 통일논의와 통일운동의 특징을 정부와 민간의 공존과 경쟁이라는 관점에서 분석하였다. 노정권은 탈냉전을 맞이하여 북방정책과 7.7 선언 등을 내세우며 적극적인 대북 접근전략을 구사해나갔다. 남북고위급회담을 비롯한 각종 남북대화가 전개되는 가운데 남북기본합의서를 채택함으로써 남북관계의 새로운 이정표가 마련되었다. 남북 기본합의서를 통해 남북관계의 특수성이 확인되었으며, 이 과정에서 남측의 적극적인 리더십이 동력으로 작용한 반면 북측은 사회주의권 해체를 동반한 탈냉전이라는 위기 타개의 일환으로 방어적 공존을 추구한 것으로 볼 수 있다. 그 결과 남북 유엔 동시가입이라는 한반도문제의 새로운 국제적 패러다임이 펼쳐졌다. 그러나 핵문제를 둘러싼 북미간의 마찰과 함께 정부의 대북 강경파에 의한 고의적인 남북관계 파탄 시도가 확인됨으로써 남북관계 단절의 내외적 요인이 뚜렷이 드러났다. 특히 대북 강경파들의 인위적인 남북관계 경색화는 보수정치세력의 대통령선거전략과 밀접한 연관성을 반영한다는 점에서 주목된다. 이 시기는 민간 통일논의 및 운동이 폭발적으로 나타났으며 각계각층의 남북교류 운동이 분출하였다. 남북학생회담운동, 남북공동올림픽 개최 주장을 비롯하여 일련의 방북사건이 벌어짐으로써 사회적 주요 이슈를 형성하였다. 동시 에 북한에 대한 관심이 증폭됨으로써 북한바로알기운동이라는 현상이 나타났다. 냉전시기 반공을 빌미로 권위주의적 독재를 유지하던 보수권력의 논거가 의심받기 시작하였으며 북한에 대한 실사구시적 지적 호기심이 비등해져갔다. 민간 통일운동세력은 좀더 북한 친화적인 조직과 일정한 비판을 전제한 조직으로 분화되어 나갔다. 남, 북, 해외의 3자 공조를 내세운 범민련과 국내의 다양한 통일운동의 가치를 존중한 새통체의 출현은 사실 통일운동세력 내부의 북한 이해를 둘러싼 인식의 차이가 반영된 대립적 구조물이었다. 이같은 현상에 따라 민간 통일운동세력의 통일논의는 중층적 구도를 보이며 내부로부터 경합을 펼치기 시작하였다. 이 과정에서 정부는 민간 통일운동세력과의 긴장관계를 지속하였으며 ‘창구 단일화’ 원칙 하에서 민간 통일논의를 제어하고자 하였다. 따라서 탈냉전기 정부와 민간의 통일논의는 서로 의식하는 가운데 영향을 주고받으며 상호 경쟁하지 않을 수 없는 새로운 시대에 진입한 것으로 이해된다.
주제어: 탈냉전, 통일논의, 남북관계, 북방정책, 7·7선언, 남북기본합의서, 유엔 동시가입, 훈령조작, 북한바로알기운동, 방북, 창구 단일화, 범민련, 새통체
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