新闻中心

Moon's peace drive buffeted by NK offensive

By Kang Seung-woo

North Korea's decision to sever all official communication channels with South Korea is further weighing on President Moon Jae-in, who was already frustrated by Pyongyang's lack of response to his inter-Korean peace initiative.

President Moon Jae-in speaks during a meeting with his senior secretaries at Cheong Wa Dae, Monday. / Yonhap
President Moon Jae-in speaks during a meeting with his senior secretaries at Cheong Wa Dae, Monday. / Yonhap
Experts advise Seoul to take a "timeout" from repeatedly offering something to engage the Kim Jong-un regime, while bracing for any possible fallout from increasing tension on the Korean Peninsula.

On Tuesday, the North cut off all cross-border communication lines, including the hotline between Moon and Kim, due to its apparent anger over the South's "failure" to prevent North Korean defectors and activists from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border tethered to balloons. In addition, the North said "the work toward the South should thoroughly turn into the one against an enemy."

At the start of the year, the Moon administration emphasized the importance of inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation. In March, the President offered cross-border healthcare cooperation and made another proposal last month to deal with inter-Korean projects that could be carried out separately from the North's denuclearization negotiations with the United States.

In addition, the ruling Democratic Party of Korea's landslide victory in the general election in April fueled expectations that his North Korea policy would gain momentum. Also, the unification ministry said the South's own economic sanctions on the North have virtually lost their effect as it allowed the construction of a railway line from the coastal city of Gangneung to the border town of Jeji ― a project agreed upon during the 2018 inter-Korean summit ― to begin the same month.

Such continuous extension of olive branches was made amid a deadlock in Pyongyang-Washington talks on denuclearization, as Moon believed inter-Korean projects could, if carried out well, facilitate the talks.

Even when Kim Yo-jong, the North Korea leader's sister and first vice department director of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party, complained of the leaflet campaign last week, the government said it would legislate a ban on this to keep agreements alive.

Legal complaint against leaflet-sending defector groups still in process Legal complaint against leaflet-sending defector groups still in process 2020-06-11 14:24  |  North Korea Unification ministry to file legal complaint against leaflet-sending defector groups 2020-06-10 16:44  |  Politics Main opposition party presses for realignment of Seoul's N. Korea policy 2020-06-10 16:43  |  Politics S. Korea vows to fully implement inter-Korean military deal despite NK threats 2020-06-10 16:46  |  Politics However, along with the severed communication lines, the North warned of additional steps such as withdrawing from the suspended Gaeseong Industrial Complex and shutting down the joint liaison office there, further throwing cold water on Moon's inter-Korean initiatives, which the North is unlikely to respond to anytime soon.

"The North Korean denuclearization issue and Moon's Korean Peninsula peace process could be in jeopardy as the North is expected to take further steps as it has promised," said Park Won-gon, a professor of international politics at Handong Global University.

Members of the ruling party are making suggestions that the government should make an "attractive" offer to the North for inter-Korean reconciliation.

However, Park said the government needs to develop a crisis management plan.

"As the North's is highly anticipated to take military provocative actions, we need to maintain a strong alliance with the United States. Also, rather than constantly offering things to the North, a wait-and-see attitude can also be a policy option to take," he said.

Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha Womans University, said, "Engagement won't change the relationship with North Korea overnight, so it's unfair to say such efforts have failed. But it also doesn't make sense to get frustrated and blame sanctions, the United States or the U.N. Command, when the fundamental problem is the Kim regime's lack of reciprocity."

He added, "Seoul should not give in to coercion or give away taxpayer money as a sign of goodwill, but rather test various initiatives to see where Pyongyang is willing to engage in reciprocal cooperation."

The U.S. is also unlikely to actively work on the denuclearization talks for the time being, with the country entering a presidential election period and still coping with the COVID-19 crisis.

Regarding the North's cutting of communication channels with the South, a spokesman at the U.S. State Department told Yonhap News Agency, Tuesday, "The United States has always supported progress in inter-Korean relations, and we are disappointed in the DPRK's recent actions."

"We urge the DPRK to return to diplomacy and cooperation. We remain in close coordination with our ally, the Republic of Korea, on efforts to engage the DPRK."


上一篇:Sarah Jessica Parker has endorsed Cynthia Nixon's run for New York governor 下一篇:15至18款东南DX7专用手机车载导航支架无线充电改装配件汽车用品

Copyright © 2024 苹果推脚本模式 版权所有   网站地图