New president-elect in Seoul, seeks a revived ‘sunshine policy’ with the belligerent North

2017-05-09_1416 Moon Jae-in Reuters
Moon Jae-in, the President-elect of South Korea. Photo: Reuters

With such unbalanced crackpots leading the charge on all sides, it will truly be a miracle if nuclear warfare is averted. From CNBC

“A win for left-leaning Moon Jae-in, the favorite in the race, may cause turbulence in Seoul’s relationship with Washington. Moon supports a version of the ‘sunshine policy’ towards the North Korean dictator, and has criticized President Donald J. Trump’s attempt to stick the U.S. ally with a bill for the THAAD missile system deployment,” said Ariel Cohen, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

Bringing back the sunshine policy, which aimed for a more engaged approach with Pyongyang, would mark a sharp departure from current policy under U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korea’s previous president, Park Geun-hye.

“I am expecting things to be bumpier and more tension-filled in U.S.-ROK relations compared to the relatively easy road we have had during the past nine years of conservative Korean rule. But it should be manageable if the U.S. can avoid shooting itself in the foot,” said Scott Snyder, director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The big test for Moon will be the current U.S. deployment of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system in South Korea which he has criticized in the past. While the deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system is to protect South Korea from a North Korean missile attack, people in South Korea have been protesting. The fear among some South Koreans is that THAAD is instigating or encouraging North Korea to organize a strike.

However, any shift away from THAAD could upset Washington, which has been putting concerted effort into bringing more troops and personnel in and around the Korean peninsula.

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