nsucurrent.com May 23, 2018

Trump invites new South Korean leader to US

15 May 2017, 09:45 | Ricardo Garza

Tuesday-the day he was elected-Moon announced that "under the right conditions" he could open discussions with Pyongyang, a stance some believe could put the US ally at odds with the Trump administration as it considers military intervention in the region.

Moon, a left-leaning former human rights lawyer, was elected on Tuesday after a corruption scandal felled his predecessor, against the backdrop of high tensions with nuclear-armed North Korea. -South Korea relationship, such as the Gwangju Uprisings, would color his view of the history of this alliance, which has had its fair share of ups and downs, he added that "South Korea was able to build its national security thanks to the U.S". If needed I will fly to Washington immediately. I will also go to Beijing and Tokyo.

He said that he would even be willing to visit Pyongyang under the right circumstances. Moon won a May 9 election triggered by the impeachment of Park Geun-hye. Despite improved relations, the policy failed to derail North Korea's nuclear weapons program, as the North conducted its first nuclear test in 2006.

The Roh Moo-hyun administration, in which Moon Jae-in served as chief of staff, pursued greater autonomy while maintaining the U.S. -ROK alliance, sought greater balance in South Korea's position between China and the United States, and emphasized inter-Korean and regional security cooperation by fostering regional economic and political integration.

In addition, Trump wants to renegotiate the US-South Korea trade accord.

Moon was an adviser to the liberal administrations that embraced the policy of engagement and cooperation with North Korea.

But the USA has refused the back down, insisting it will use "all the means at our disposal" to denuclearise the Korean peninsula.

Trump floated the idea that South Korea should pay the US $1 billion for the THAAD deployment, consistent with his campaign trail pronouncements about South Korea, and other USA allies, free-riding on USA defense.

"It is not desirable for the [interim] South Korean government to deploy THAAD hastily at this politically sensitive time, with the presidential election approaching, and without going through the democratic process, an environmental assessment or a public hearing", Moon said before the election. But clearly, US-South Korea relations are in for a rough patch at a unsafe moment in time.

The two presidents agreed to stay in close contact and to meet at an early date.

The South is also embroiled in a dispute with China over a controversial U.S. missile defence system, which Beijing sees as a threat.

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