Many South Koreans want an improved North-South relationship. But if Moon improves that relationship without denuclearization progress, it could cause a rift with Washington
Imagine you are the president of South Korea. Your country relies on its alliance with the United States as a deterrent against a nuclear-armed North Korea. Donald Trump criticizes your country over trade, spent the better part of a year threatening military strikes against North Korea, and reportedly even drafted a tweet ordering the withdrawal of the family members of US military stationed in South Korea, which would have been interpreted as a prelude to war.
What would you do? You’d rush to ease tensions with North Korea as fast as you could, while trying to mediate between the US and North Korea. And that’s exactly what the world witnessed this week in the third summit this year between the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. Mission accomplished – for the moment.