South Korea's New President Gives Trump Opportunity to Keep Campaign Promises
May 15, 2017, 09:41
As for relations between China and the Republic of Korea, it has been deteriorating mainly because of the United States deployment of the THAAD system.
South Korea's first liberal leader in a decade, Moon also said he'll "sincerely negotiate" with the United States, Seoul's top ally, and China, South Korea's top trading partner, over the contentious deployment of an advanced USA missile-defense system in southern South Korea. Critically, Moon has signaled that he is not looking to "go rogue", leaving the Trump administration and its own version of "Strategic Patience" (dubbed "maximum and pressure and engagement") in the dust: "I do not mean that South Korea will approach or unilaterally open talks with North Korea without fully consulting the USA beforehand".
SEOUL-South Korea's Moon Jae-in opened his presidency by declaring his willingness to go to North Korea when conditions are right, in keeping with a campaign promise to seek dialogue with his country's nuclear-armed neighbor.
He had always been the frontrunner of the 2017 campaign, even before Park Guen-hye's impeachment pushed the election date up by seven months.
South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in has been sworn in, vowing to address the economy and relations with the North in his first speech as president.
In addition, Trump wants to renegotiate the US-South Korea trade accord.
"If needed I will fly to Washington immediately", he said.
Moon faces a divided parliament in which his Democratic Party lacks a majority. Many analysts say Moon likely won't pursue drastic rapprochement policies because North Korea's nuclear program has progressed significantly since he was in the Roh government a decade ago. First of all, I think we need to wait and see whether President Moon will have enough courage to discontinue the deployment of the THAAD in South Korea.
He won 41.1% of the vote in Tuesday's election, ahead of Hong Joon-Pyo of the Liberty Korea party, on 24%, and centrist Ahn Cheol-Soo on 21.4%.
Moon's election could add volatility to relations with Washington, given his questioning of the deployment of the US military's Terminal High Altitude Area Defenses (THAAD) anti-missile system, but is not expected to significantly change the alliance, a USA official said.
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