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'S. Korea should take the lead on matters in Korean Peninsula,' says Moon

'S. Korea should take the lead on matters in Korean Peninsula,' says Moon

Posted May. 04, 2017 07:17,   

Updated May. 04, 2017 07:33


“I think I am on the same page as President Donald Trump. President Trump judged the Obama administration’s policy of strategic patience as a failure with regard to North Korea.”

According to the transcript of an interview with the Washington Post, which was published on Tuesday (local time), South Korean presidential candidate Moon Jae-in said, “Trump talks about strenuous pressure, sanctions and even the possibility of a pre-emptive strike, but I believe his ultimate goal is to bring North Korea back to negotiations for the abolition of its nuclear program. I believe President Trump is more reasonable than he is generally perceived. I am for that kind of pragmatic approach to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.”

When asked about his previous remarks that he would go to Pyongyang before he would go to Washington, Moon responded, “If I become the president, I believe I will meet with President Trump first to discuss the issue in depth and reach an agreement with him.” He then added, “I will meet Kim Jong Un when preconditions of resolving the nuclear issue are assured.”

In response to a question whether he wants to rebalance the alliance between South Korea and the U.S., Moon said, “No.” “I believe the alliance between the two nations is the most important foundation for our diplomacy and national security," he said. "However, I believe South Korea taking the initiative would eventually strengthen our bilateral alliance with the U.S.”

For a question about Moon’s view of the U.S.’ deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system ahead of schedule as the Americans interfering with the election, Moon said, “I don’t believe the U.S. has the intention, but I do have reservations. It is not desirable for the South Korean government to deploy THAAD hastily at this politically sensitive time with the presidential election. One of the biggest problems with this THAAD deployment decision was that it lacked democratic procedure.”

Sung-Jin Park psjin@donga.com