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Trump’s Korea visit should be golden opportunity

Posted November. 06, 2017 07:59,   

Updated November. 06, 2017 08:20


U.S. President Donald Trump will begin his two-day visit to South Korea on Tuesday. The summit between the United States and South Korea is the third since President Moon took office, but it is the first summit held in Seoul. In a speech at the Yokota Air Base, west of Tokyo, President Trump said that “no one, no dictator, no regime and no nation should underestimate American resolve,” making a veiled reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. South Korea is currently facing many difficulties in foreign relations. The ROK-U.S. alliance lies at the very center of solving the conundrums. This is the reality we should be aware of.

Even before Trump’s visit to Japan, U.S. officials have repeatedly said that a peace settlement in North Korea is an important part of talks with South Korea, China and Japan. The ultimate goal of Trump’s Asia tour is the denuclearization of North Korea. In the meantime, a so-called “Three No agreement” reached between the two leaders of South Korea and China, which means South Korea would not deploy additional THAAD defense system, participate in the U.S. missile defense system, and pursue a trilateral military alliance among South Korea, Japan and United States, sparked the controversy over sovereignty, raising concerns of the administration and the public in the United States. It is especially concerning that this development may cause a crack in the ROK-U.S. alliance. We should bear in mind that strengthening the alliance is a higher goal than promoting cooperation with China.

In this regard, it is viewed as not being strategic that President Moon reportedly said that it is not desirable for the Korea-Japan-U.S. cooperation to develop into a trilateral military alliance in a recent interview with Singapore’s media. Given national interest, South Korea cannot afford to give up or grow away from either the United States or China. The geopolitical situation, where Seoul is not able to fully meet the demands of Washington, is understandable. However, the ROK-U.S. alliance should not be shaken and should be managed well to maintain a rock-solid cooperation in addressing North Korea issues.

President Trump habitually makes extreme and unpredictable statements. But as a successful businessman in real estate business, he is also good at diplomatic deals. On this visit to South Korea, he will strongly raise trade issues, most notably the revision of the ROK-U.S Free Trade Agreement. In preparation for a one-on-one meeting with Trump, President Moon needs to analyze what he will give and what he will get. Moon should be well poised with best possible plans so that Trump’s visit does not make matters worse.

It is a crucial time for the two leaders to resolve the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. Still, some 220 anti-American groups that led the candlelight vigils to impeach Moon’s predecessor, are preparing to stage anti-Trump protests in front of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae and the National Assembly, during the U.S. president’s visit to Seoul. We should keep courtesy to the leader from our best ally. “The No Trump Joint Action,” which is leading the anti-Trump protest, is an organization that has set a fire to a model of “DOTARD” President Trump in front of Yongsan Garrison, the headquarters for U.S. military forces stationed in South Korea, opposing the THAAD deployment in South Korea.

Law enforcement should be prepared, from beginning to end, to prevent any unexpected accidents or negative influences on the bilateral relationship. The government should persuade representatives of these groups to refrain from violent and aggressive actions. If necessary, President Moon or Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon should directly deliver a message to them.