Special Forum

Amid increasing uncertainties in Sino-US relations and Japan-South Korea relations, the late spring of 2017 prioritized US-ROK relations. After Moon Jae-in was elected as president, Seoul-watchers followed closely his policy and personnel decisions. In particular, they focused on their implications for US-ROK relations, as Moon awaits his first summit with Donald Trump, whose policies toward both North and South Korea remain unusually unclear after five months in office. This Special Forum covers the weeks leading up to their summit, and the concerns that were raised: 1) fear in Seoul of a US preemptive attack on the North, as a dangerous move that could unleash devastation in South Korea; 2) fear in Seoul of a G2 understanding between the United States and China over North Korea, which could leave South Korea marginalized; 3) fear in Seoul of US demands inconsistent with the wishes of South Koreans as expressed in the May 9 election; 4) fear in Washington of Moon’s policies and personnel choices, which signal a change in strategy toward North Korea that is incompatible with Washington’s objectives; 5) fear in Washington of Moon’s tilt toward China, supporting its call for “dual suspensions” and other paths short of denuclearization; and 6) fear everywhere of a “train wreck” at the Trump-Moon summit, due to a sharp gap in thinking about North Korea and China.  

Read full article at www.theasanforum.org.
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