Deja vu as softer South Korean leader could alienate ally US

Newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in right

He repeatedly pledged during his campaign that South Korea would have an independent voice in the global community.

Moon was sworn is as South Korea's new President on Wednesday after his victory in Tuesday's presidential election. What is key is that there is no quick fix to this situation, nor is there any immediate danger from North Korea if it is left alone.

Moon began his first full day in office by shaking hands and taking selfies with supporters near his private Seoul home before heading to the presidential Blue House.

The goal was to create commercial, financial and personal ties between the two Koreas, and to that end South Korea sent aid and investment to the North.

Even raising the specter of a sunshine-policy approach will complicate the global community's efforts to make North Korea give up its nuclear program, said David Straub, a former official in the State Department who worked on North Korea.

As already argued in this platform, North Korea, like Pakistan, excels in blackmailing the rest of the world; it demonstrates its nuclear and missile prowess with a conviction that the rest of the world, nervous with its destructive capabilities, will accede to its security and economic assistance.

Indeed, the Trump administration may have pushed a military confrontation with North Korea to the top of its foreign policy agenda recisely in order to pre-empt Moon Jae-in's new Sunshine policy.

Given the chaos that reigns in the Trump White House, this may not be the case. Tokyo and Seoul signed a General Security of Military Information Agreement a year ago, which must be renewed annually.


Beijing sees the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, newly installed in the South meant to guard against threats from the North, as a threat to its own military capabilities and has slapped a series of measures against South Korean businesses seen as economic retaliation.

Moon had vowed on the campaign trail to resume engagement with North Korea, a sharp change from the hard-line approach taken by South Korea's past two governments - and by the worldwide community - in response to North Korea's nuclear tests and missile launches.

A reasonable precaution, perhaps - but THAAD was originally scheduled to be installed in South Korea between August and October of this year.

"Threats from North Korea's nuclear and missile development have entered a new stage", Japan's Abe told Moon in their telephone call, according to Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda. The fate of the U.S. THAAD anti-missile system under Moon's government also remains in doubt. Which suggests that there is no clever plan, just the usual stumbling around in the dark. He, in fact, wants to revive "the sunshine policy" that Kim Dae-jung, one of his Democratic party predecessors, had enunciated on his inauguration as president in February 1998.

Could he win it?

Russian Federation is also willing to coordinate with South Korea in addressing global issues, Putin said.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency notes that the photos seem meant to flaunt North Korea's intelligence-gathering capabilities, but the accuracy of the images could not be confirmed, and North Korean media gave no indication where or how the photographs were taken.

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