Jefferson Morley | February 28, 2019
Democrats Abandon South Korea’s President in Favor of Hawks
As Democrats in Washington reflexively “get tough” on North Korea, they kick away a chance a for peace on the Korean peninsula. Eager to criticize President Trump, they overlook the reality that denuclearization and ending the Korean war are popular ideas in South Korea.
As Ploughshares director Joe Cirincione explains, Trump’s diplomacy is is worth supporting.
History is being made by the Koreas. Seoul wants to fundamentally change its relationship to Pyongyang. And Trump, like it or not, is facilitating their reconciliation by pursuing an agreement to finally end the Korean War and limit the North’s nuclear arsenal.
Now the talks have broken down, perhaps because of disagreements on the U.S. side, where Trump’s hawkish advisers oppose his dovish approach.
You wouldn’t know it from hawkish U.S. news coverage but South Korean president Moon Jae-In has been trying to coax the United States into a step-by-step negotiation where the United States will relax its aggressive military posture on the peninsula in exchange for inspections and dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear complex.
The collapse of the Trump-Kim summit in Vietnam is a setback for South Korean President Moon Jae-in, whose desire for closer relations between the Koreas hinges on a nuclear breakthrough between the U.S. and North Korea. Moon had planned to announce new proposals for inter-Korean engagement, possibly including economic cooperation, in a ceremony Friday marking the 100th anniversary of a 1919 uprising by Koreans against Japanese colonial rule. Moon has been held back in his drive for inter-Korean engagement
Moon’s problem is that Washington–even liberal Democrats–doesn’t want peace as much as South Koreans.
Moon has been held back in his drive for inter-Korean engagement by tough U.S.-led sanctions against North Korea which prohibit many kinds of economic ties.
And Democrats’ support for Washington’ hawks just makes his position harder.