South Korean President Moon Jae-in told Minister of Foreign Affairs Chung Eui-yong on Monday that the ROK-U.S. alliance needs to be strengthened for the peace process on the Korean Peninsula. The president added that it requires close communication and cooperation with the U.S. administration led by President Joe Biden. President Moon also asked Chung to make efforts to closely cooperate with neighboring countries and protect national interests.
“I’d like to emphasize once again that this is the last opportunity for us to make efforts for a successful peace process on the Korean Peninsula,” President Moon said to Minister Chung during a closed conversation following the appointment ceremony of Chung at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae. “It is true that not much time is left for us but I’d like to request not to hurry for visible outcomes,” Moon said. “A calm and orderly approach is needed.”
Despite the importance of resolving North Korea’s nuclear issues and restoring inter-Korean relations, President Moon who has only about a year left in office was concerned that forced efforts to restored relations with the North without close coordination with the Biden administration may cause tensions in the ROK-U.S. alliance. In particular, his emphasis on “close cooperation with neighboring countries for the success of the peace process” is interpreted as his wish to improve South Korea-Japan relations to restore inter-Korean relations given that the Biden administration focuses on the trilateral cooperation among South Korean, the U.S., and Japan and better relations between South Korea and Japan to resolve North Korea’s nuclear issues.