While Antony Blinken, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for secretary of state, said he would review policies towards North Korea, South Korean President Moon Jae-in nominated former national security adviser Chung Eui-yong as foreign minister who will be tasked with convincing the incoming U.S. administration to build on the accomplishments made by its predecessor and North Korea.
“The U.S. and North Korea that spanned three years from 2018,” said a source from the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae. “Chung will explain the process and meaning of the 2018 joint statement of the United States and North Korea in Singapore and our approaches to the North, right after the Biden administration takes office.”
President Moon, who emphasized in his New Year’s press conference on Monday the importance of starting again from the joint declaration to build on the progress made by the Trump administration, chose Chung to make the case to Washington.
Chung’s U.S. counterpart, Blinken, however, made it clear that the first thing he would do, if confirmed, is to review Washington’s approaches and policies towards North Korea in his Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday. He also said he would find the most effective option that can bring Pyongyang to the negotiating table. Such remarks show that he would steer away from the Trump administration’s top-down approach and impose stricter sanctions on North Korea, raising concerns about possible conflicts between the United States and South Korea as they deal with North Korea.
“South Korea’s president on Wednesday nominated a former national security adviser who was partly blamed for a failed summit between North Korea and the United States in 2019 as the country’s next foreign minister,” reported Reuters. “But Chung was accused of misleading both sides about the potential for agreement after their second summit in 2019 in Vietnam failed to produce a deal.”
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