Saturday, March 23, 2019 | ePaper

Moon shines as he drives diplomacy with Pyongyang

  • Print


AP, Seoul :
To his supporters, South Korean President Moon Jae-in is a master negotiator who's fixing decades of bad nuclear diplomacy with North Korea. To his critics, he's falling prey to the same old trap that has claimed previous South Korean presidents - but with an important difference: This time the stakes are much higher.
Whoever's right, it's hard to ignore Moon's role as the architect behind a new global push to settle the nuclear standoff with the North. The outcome of his efforts may hinge on a meeting in Singapore next month between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump, who spent months contemplating military strikes against the North before Moon steered him to the table.
Moon, a soft-spoken liberal, last month hosted Kim in a summit that saw them stride hand-in-hand across the border and pledge the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula, an ambitious declaration that was light on specifics.
Moon doesn't have the power to resolve North Korea's weapons programs on his own. But in hustling between Pyongyang and Washington to set up the Kim-Trump summit and offering to broker other meetings with Pyongyang, Moon is fulfilling his promise to push South Korea into the driver's seat in diplomacy with the North.
"South Korea has never had a leader like Moon, who actively embraced a leading role in planning and coordinating a global approach to the North," said Hong Min, a senior analyst at Seoul's Korea Institute for National Unification. "He managed to convince Washington that Pyongyang would change course after a year of brinkmanship. He convinced Pyongyang he would be able to move Washington."
Despite the dangers - a derailed Trump-Kim summit might revive the animosity that enveloped the peninsula last year - Moon's push has proven wildly popular: A Gallup Korea poll last week measured his approval rating at 83 percent, a striking number in a country deeply divided along ideological and generational lines.

More News For this Category

Cyclone Idai deaths could exceed 1,000 as need for aid grows

Cyclone Idai deaths could exceed 1,000 as need for aid grows

AP, Beira, Mozambique :Even as flood waters began to recede in parts of Mozambique on Friday, fears rose that the death toll could soar as bodies are revealed.The number

North Korea quits liaison office in setback for South after new US sanctions

North Korea quits liaison office in setback for South after new US sanctions

Reuters, Seoul : North Korea on Friday (March 22) pulled out of a liaison office with the South, in a major setback for Seoul, just hours after the United States

Prince Charles heads to Cuba amid US tensions

Prince Charles heads to Cuba amid US tensions

AFP, Havana :Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla will make the first royal visit to communist-run Cuba on Sunday at a time when ally Washington is seeking to

News In Brief

Iraqi ferry mishap death toll rises to 100AFP, BaghdadAlmost 100 people, mostly women and children, died Thursday as a ferry packed with families celebrating Kurdish New Year sank in

EU leaders offer two options for short Brexit delay

EU leaders offer two options for short Brexit delay

AFP, Brussels :European leaders and Prime Minister Theresa May agreed Thursday on a short delay to Britain's divorce from the European Union in the hope of ensuring an orderly

Syria slams Trump, vows to recover Israeli-occupied Golan

Syria slams Trump, vows to recover Israeli-occupied Golan

Reuters, Beirut :Damascus condemned on Friday U.S. President Donald Trump's statement that it was time to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, vowing Syria would recover the area

NZ bans sale of assault gun, semi-auto rifles

NZ bans sale of assault gun, semi-auto rifles

 AFP, Wellington :New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced an immediate ban on the sale of assault rifles and semi-automatics Thursday in a muscular response to the Christchurch terror attack

India drops 7 spots in list of happiest nations, still behind Pak, China

India drops 7 spots in list of happiest nations, still behind Pak, China

PTI, United Nations  :Indians are not as happy in 2019 as they were in 2018 and the country figures at 140th place, seven spots down from last year, on this

Islamic State will be wiped off map imminently, says Trump

A bullish US President Donald Trump predicted Wednesday that the Islamic State group would be wiped off the map within hours, as he unfurled printouts showing the jihadists' shrinking presence

EU chief says Brexit delay possible if MPs approve deal

EU chief says Brexit delay possible if MPs approve deal

The EU could approve Britain's request for a short delay to Brexit but only if UK MPs next week vote through the withdrawal deal they have twice rejected, European Council