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Foreign Policy Analysis
President Moon Jae-in’s key foreign policy agenda

President Moon Jae-in’s key foreign policy agenda

After months of political turmoil, anger and
uncertainty caused by the previous administration, the people of South Korea elected a new president
to get the nation back on track. This week, we delve deeper into Moon Jae-in’s
vision for the next five years. For this first installment, our Kim Hyesung
turns the spotlight to President Moon’s foreign policies. North Korea’s growing nuclear threat, the
deployment of THAAD missile defense system, plus new leadership under Donald Trump in
the U.S. Numerous security and foreign policy issues
have piled up amid political turmoil in Korea and changes around the world. And on inauguration day, President Moon Jae-in
showed his determination to use alll means possible to achieve his number-one foreign
policy goal — building lasting peace on the Korean peninsula. May 10. 2017
– “I will fly immediately to Washington, I will
go to Beijing and I will go to Tokyo. If the conditions are right, I will go to
Pyongyang.” . . During the presidential campaign, Moon vowed
to create a strong and peaceful South Korea by beefing up its military capabilities, reopening
the Kaesong Industrial Complex jointly operated with North Korea and restarting the six-party
talks. As a former Chief of Staff under the late
President Roh Moo-hyun, Moon’s foreign affairs’ advisors include former diplomats and government
officials from both the liberal Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations. Some expect him to pursue “sunshine policy
2.0.” or “moonshine policy” and re-engage with North Korea through dialogue and cooperation. But experts say Moon’s approach towards the
North will likely be constrained and more pragmatic, one that is not at odds with the
U.S. or the international community. “The situation on the Korean peninsula has
changed dramatically compared to the 2000s. North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests
and has made great improvements in its missile technology. The international community and the Korean
public are not in favor of sudden engagement with North Korea like re-opening the Kaesong
Industrial complex. The U.S. is pursuing a maximum pressure policy. That’s why President Moon Jae-in said he will
visit Pyongyang only under the right conditions, which would mean a pledge from Pyongyang to
denuclearize or a freeze in its nuclear ambitions of some sort, instead of taking a unilateral
approach.” Experts believe President Moon will meet President
Trump at the earliest time possible and build a personal relationship and mutual trust after
a leadership vacuum in Korea, during which China and Japan have already coordinated their
approaches to issues affecting Northeast Asia. “The deployment of THAAD is an issue of our
sovereignty. We will review the THAAD deployment in Korea
through a democratic due process. Then, we will negotiate the terms of the THAAD
agreement with the U.S., but we don’t think going back and forth hastily, talking about
who pays the deployment cost with our key ally, the U.S., right now is a wise approach.” And of course, it’s crucial to discuss THAAD
with China, which perceives it as a threat to its national security, putting a strain
on bilateral ties. “Given that the 19th National Congress of
the Communist Party will take place this fall, President Xi will try to be tough and strong
on national security issues, so discussing THAAD with Beijing won’t be easy. So showing Korea’s sincerity with China is
important. The Moon Administration is set to send two
special envoys to China, one specially focused on THAAD. This is encouraging, reopening up dialogue
with China at a new starting point. ” President Moon has also discussed security
issues and contentious historic issues with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, like renegotiating
the 2015 agreement on Japan’s past wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women. The Moon Administration ends a decade long
conservative rule in Korea, but Korea’s key allies remain the same, and its foreign policy
is unlikely to change dramatically. But with an emphasis on assertiveness and
cooperation with existing key allies, neighbors and emerging countries, experts say the Moon
administration is likely to take a more active role in solving North Korean and regional
issues to achieve peace on the Korean peninsula. Kim Hyesung, Arirang News.

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