Tuesday's HOT MIC
After months of political turmoil due to the impeachment proceedings against former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, the nation went to the polls and elected Moon Jae-in to a five year term.
The former human rights lawyer is considered a liberal and is expected to take a more conciliatory approach to relations with North Korea.
Um...good luck with that.
Although domestic issues dominated the campaign, foreign affairs were much higher up the agenda than usual, in large part because of Trump’s election in the United States and the stance he has taken on North and South Korea.
Trump has called for “maximum pressure” on North Korea to make Kim Jong Un’s regime give up its nuclear and missile programs, and he has threatened to use military force, an approach that could push North Korea to unleash artillery fire on Seoul.
Meanwhile, Moon has said that he is open to going to Pyongyang to meet Kim if it would help resolve the nuclear problem and that he wants to return to the “sunshine policy” of previous liberal presidents. This began in 1997 — well before North Korea had proved any nuclear capability — and involved economic engagement with the North to reduce the gaps between the two Koreas.
Moon served as chief of staff to Roh Moon-hyun, a liberal president who governed between 2003 and 2008 and who inherited the sunshine policy of liberal predecessor Kim Dae-jung. During this period, South Korea began tours to the North Korean mountain resort of Kumgangsan and opened the industrial park at Kaesong, where North Koreans worked in factories owned by South Korean companies.
In an interview with The Washington Post before his election, Moon played down his differences with Trump, saying he believed the American was “more reasonable than he is generally perceived.”
Moon has promised to review the decision to install the THAAD missile system, which will please China and the North. But overall, relations with the US will not change much.