A Conversation with Writer and Journalist Donald Kirk on his book, Korea Betrayed: Kim Dae Jung and Sunshine

January 5, 2010 • 7:00 – 8:30 pm EST

Korea Platform Event

This is the Korea Platform Event for Donald Kirk's latest book Korea Betrayed: Kim Dae Jung and Sunshine.

Donald Kirk
Korea Correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor

Mr. Kirk discussed his latest book:

Korea Betrayed: Kim Dae Jung and Sunshine

“The late Kim Dae Jung--the remarkable political dissident who rose to be President of South Korea and to win the Nobel Prize for Peace--is revered internationally, but his reputation in his native South Korea is much more controversial and contested. In this critical biography, Donald Kirk--a journalistic eminence who has been covering Korea for more than 30 years--helps us understand why this could be so. In his fascinating book, Kirk not only traces Kim Dae Jung's great political rise, but also details the moral and financial corruption that came to engulf, and permanently tarnish, the ‘DJ’ Presidency.  Korea Betrayed will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of every student of modern Korea. Kirk's account of the failure of DJ's ‘Sunshine Policy’ toward North Korea, furthermore, should be ‘must reading’ for all American policymakers before they prepare to deal with Pyongyang.”

                                                                                    --Nicholas Eberstadt, Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy, The American Enterprise Institute

For the first time, using original sources and his own reporting going back to 1972 when he met Kim Dae Jung at his home in Seoul, Donald Kirk explores the great untold story of modern Korean history. This book recounts the rise of Kim Dae Jung from an oppressed region of Korea, beginning with his schooldays, his activities in the Korean War and his entry into politics. The book addresses his populist politics, his ascent to the national stage and his encounters first with the dictators who tried to take his life and then had him tried and sentenced to death for the Kwangju revolt. The book outlines DJ’s life in exile in the United States, his great return to Korea and his entry into presidential politics climaxed by his election in 1997 at the height of economic crisis. Focusing on DJ’s Sunshine policy, his summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Il and his drive for the Nobel, the book tells the story of payments that brought about the summit and the prize as well as the corruption that ensnared his sons and top aides.

Don Kirk was Seoul correspondent for the International Herald Tribune from 1997-2003, also filing for The New York Times and CBS, covering nuclear and economic crises. In addition, he has written articles for such diverse magazines as Institutional Investor, The New Leader, National Review, The Nation, Soldier of Fortune, Kyoto Journal and Hemispheres and commentaries for The Wall Street Journal Asia, Los Angeles Times, South China Morning Post and Newsday.  He is currently Korea Correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor

Victor Cha
Senior Vice President for Asia and Korea Chair