Has Moon Jae-in’s North Korea Peace Process Failed?
Since the current South Korean President Moon Jae-in took office in May 2017, he has strived to engage in talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to deescalate the tensions on the Korean Peninsula, which were intensified during nine years of conservative governments before Moon gained power.
Even though Moon reached his hands out to Pyongyang immediately upon his inauguration in May 2017, Pyongyang conducted its sixth nuclear test in September 2017, leading then-U.S. President Donald Trump to warn about unleashing “fire and fury” against North Korea if it conducts another nuclear or missile test. Trump and Kim exchanged harsh words against each other, increasing tensions on the Korean Peninsula even more. Two months after the nuclear test, North Korea tested its Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), bringing much more anger from Washington and Seoul.
Still, Moon vowed to build peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula with a policy centered on dialogue, which is the classical approach of progressive governments on North Korea issues. He utilized the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games as an opportunity to entice Pyongyang to agree to dialogue. When Kim accepted Moon’s offer to participate in the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Moon’s blueprint to denuclearize North Korea and construct lasting peace on the peninsula was activated.
Two months after the PyeongChang Olympics closed, Moon and Kim held a historical inter-Korean summit meeting in the inter-Korean House of Freedom in Panmunjom. Moon’s approval ratings reached above 80 percent at that time, demonstrating how strongly South Koreans wished to see peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula.
What North Korea Thinks About the Russia-Ukraine War
Introduction: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has raised many new security concerns not only for Europe, but also for the rest of the world. In Northeast Asia, Russia’s proximity and strategic […]
Yoon’s Plan to Ditch Strategic Ambiguity Will Test US-ROK Alliance, DPRK Policy
Introduction: While Yoon has questioned the Moon administration’s policy of strategic ambiguity with regard to the U.S.-China rivalry, the new South Korean President will likely find it difficult to abandon […]
What to Make of Kim Yo Jong’s Verbal Attack of South Korea’s Defense Minister
Introduction: Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and a leading voice on inter-Korean relations, said on Sunday that “South Korea may face […]
South Korea’s Relations With China and the US Under President-elect Yoon
Introduction: The presidential election in South Korea was a close call. President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol from the People Power Party won the election with a margin of 0.8 percentage points over […]
South Korea’s Foreign Policy in Changing Times: Reversing Course?
Abstract: The tragedy currently unfolding in Ukraine may be a symptom of new dynamics in global geopolitics. The changing balance of power epitomized by the rise of China and the […]
What to Expect From Yoon Suk-yeol’s Policy on North Korea
Introduction: The election of Yoon Suk-yeol, the candidate of the conservative People Power Party, in South Korea’s presidential election on March 9 was an explicit signal for countries involved in […]