“The U.S. called North Korea as if trying to resolve issues but did not follow through with their promises. North Korea felt betrayed and thus strengthened its defensive measures, which eventually led to the country’s ownership of nuclear weapons,” Jeong Se-hyun, the Executive Vice-Chair of National Unification Advisory Council, said on radio on Tuesday. This means North Korea’s nuclear status was caused by the U.S.’s failure to keep its promises. He also added, “It doesn’t matter whether the ROK-U.S. Working Group will be broken or not,” and, “The United States Forces Korea cannot be withdrawn even if South Korea asks them to.”
This is not the first time that his comments are causing a stir. As a former minister of unification of the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations, he appeared on various TV shows and public discussions and shared his unique perspectives whenever there were any North Korean issues. While claiming to interpret North Korea’s true intentions, Jeong practically represented the country’s demands and criticized the South Korean government for failing to lead the inter-Korean relationship to please the U.S. Following his appointment in September last year as the Executive Vice-Chair of National Unification Advisory Council – the chair of which is served by South Korean President Moon Jae-in himself – he is still the same.
This time, he repeated the logic of North Korea blaming the U.S. for everything. Nothing was the North’s fault, according to him. “The hawkish or working-level officials connected to military complexes in the U.S. act as though wanting to resolve North Korea’s nuclear issues. However, they eventually prevent the resolution so that the Korean Peninsula will become the fourth or the first market for weapons,” Jeong argued. This is a conspiracy theory that the U.S. has encouraged North Korea’s nuclear possession to sell more weapons.
Jeong admires himself as a North Korea expert who “messed with North Korea for 40 years.” However, his efforts to understand North Korea expands beyond representing and siding with the country to using a ridiculous logic comparable to the North’s propaganda. Such a person is the deputy Prime Minister-level head of a constitutional body advising the president’s unification policies. Furthermore, the recent reorganization of the diplomacy and security lines means that the president is surrounded by a number of people who are more than willing to please the North. This is why North Korea looks down on the South and dares bold provocations.