Thursday, June 29, 2017

Media Appearance: "Moving from a Sunshine to Sunburn Policy on North Korea" on 38North

Newly elected South Korean president Moon Jae-in is visiting Washington D.C. for his first-ever summit meeting with Donald Trump. What better time for another round of analysis? On 38North, the blog for U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, I teamed up with Frank Aum, former Senior Advisor for the U.S. Department of Defense on North Korea, to glean what Moon's North Korea policy would be:
President Moon has emphasized that his approach to North Korea is consistent with Trump’s. A former Special Forces paratrooper whose parents fled North Korea during the Korean War, Moon is less dovish than the popular perception of him. Moon noted in recent media interviews that both he and Trump share the assessment that the previous US administration’s “strategic patience” was a failure. He also endorsed Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure and engagement,” acknowledging the need to enhance international sanctions and pressure on North Korea to coerce it back to the path of denuclearization. But Moon highlighted the second part of this strategy at the same time, arguing that both Washington and Seoul have expressed willingness to engage in dialogue with North Korea under the right conditions.
Moving from a Sunshine to Sunburn Policy on North Korea [38North]

I think Moon's approach is the correct one. Especially with the recent death of Otto Warmbier, University of Virginia student who was held in North Korea and released in a comatose state, there is a louder call for more sanctions against North Korea, or more accurately, some way to express the U.S. anger toward North Korea. Yet I would think there would be less appetite for sanctions if people thought more deeply about what it means. To give one example, it would mean we would be fine with North Korea continuing with its humanitarian crisis as long as it denuclearize, allowing thousands of North Koreans to face the same fate as Warmbier. The dual-track approach of simultaneous pressure and engagement appears to be the only possible way forward.

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