Seoul, South Korea ( Associated Press) — During his election campaign, South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk Yeol had harsh words for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying he would teach his rival some manners and use his provocative missiles. The tests will be strictly dealt with. Strengthened alliance with the United States.
But when he takes office on Tuesday for a single five-year term, the conservative Yoon will now have to face an increasingly belligerent Kim, who openly threatens to use nuclear bombs and allegedly It is preparing for its first nuclear test explosion since 2017. Build weapons that specifically target South Korea.
North Korea has a history of trying to oust new governments to take advantage of future talks in Seoul and Washington. But if Kim orders a nuclear test, Yoon will have very limited options for dealing with Kim at the start of his presidency.
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There are doubts among experts whether Yun, despite his rhetoric, can achieve anything meaningfully different from outgoing President Moon Jae-in, while North Korea continues to reject talks, and with limited resources and economic difficulties. Despite this, it focuses on expanding its nuclear and missile programs.
“North Korea has taken the initiative. Regardless of whether conservatives or liberals are in power in South Korea, North Korea is pushing ahead (missile tests) under its weapons development timetable before it tries to balance the latter,” said Seoul’s Eva Womans. One Professor Park Won Gon said. university. “North Korea will continue its provocation for now, but there is no way to stop it.”
Moon champions engaging North Korea and once ceased to arrange the now-stalled nuclear diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington. Even when North Korea urged Moon not to interfere and insult its dealings with Washington, Moon worked to improve relations and shied away from hitting back at the North.
Yoon described Moon’s appeasement policy as “subordinate” and accused him of undermining South Korea’s seven-decade military alliance with the United States. To neutralize North Korea’s nuclear threats, Yoon said he would seek a stronger US security commitment and enhance South Korea’s own missile attack capabilities, although he is open to talks with the North.
During a rally before the March 9 election, when he slammed Moon for failing to strongly criticize Kim’s repeated missile tests, Yoon said that if elected, “I (Kim) I will teach him some manners and bring him to his full senses.”
Yoon has faced criticism that some of his policies are unrealistic and largely reappraise previous policies that failed to persuade North Korea to denuclearize.
For example, Yoon said he would push for economic cooperation projects linked to progress in nuclear disarmament steps by the North. Two previous South Korean conservative presidents offered similar proposals from 2008 to 2017, but North Korea rejected the proposal.
Yoon said he wants to establish a tripartite dialogue channel between Seoul, Pyongyang and Washington, but experts see little chance that North Korea, which in 2020 added an uninhabited South Korean-built liaison office to its territory Was destroyed, will now accept that idea.
“The US-South Korea alliance may flourish, but North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile program will escalate and this could increase tensions on the Korean peninsula to a maximum level. It is difficult to expect any meaningful progress in inter-Korean relations, Professor Yang Moo Jin of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul said.
Nam Sung-wook, a professor at Korea University in South Korea, said that the policy of linking incentives to nuclear disarmament “has reached its limits and will ultimately never appeal to North Korea” because Pyongyang is too prone to abandon a nuclear program. Not likely who has reached such strength.
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During his confirmation hearing last Monday, Park Jin, Yun-kyon’s nominee for foreign minister, told lawmakers that North Korea “has no intention of voluntarily denuclearising.” He said the best option to stop North Korea’s provocation would be to use a combination of pressure and dialogue to persuade Pyongyang to choose the path of denuclearization.
After test-launching a dozen missiles potentially capable of reaching the US mainland, South Korea or Japan this year, Kim recently said his nuclear weapons war could be done if his country’s interests were threatened. Their primary mission will not be limited to stopping. Park, the professor, called Kim’s comments “alarming” because he suggests North Korea could also use its nuclear weapons in a casual border conflict or if it misconstrues Seoul’s military moves.
Recent satellite photos show North Korea is restoring a previously closed nuclear test facility in preparation for a possible seventh nuclear explosion. Experts say that is related to pressure from North Korea to put on strategic short-range missiles targeting South Korea, citing recent tests of such weapons by North Korea. Nam said the nuclear test would make it extremely difficult for the Yun government to try to resume talks with North Korea.
Kim seems to be trying to use his weapons tests to force the West to acknowledge his country as a nuclear power so that he can negotiate sanctions relief and security concessions from a position of strength. Could try Experts say Kim has been able to advance his weapons programs because the UN Security Council cannot impose new sanctions, while its veto-holding members are divided. The US is involved in a confrontation with Russia over the invasion of Ukraine and with China over their strategic rivalry.
Professor Lim Eul-chul of Kyungnam University’s Institute said that Yoon’s potential over-reliance on the US coalition could cause Seoul to voice its concerns in international efforts to downplay the North Korean nuclear issue, while Pyongyang has a serious relationship with Seoul. Gives little reason to engage in negotiations. Far Eastern Studies in Seoul. He said Seoul would need to make room for nuclear diplomacy and entice Pyongyang to negotiate with a flexible carrots-and-sticks approach.
How to foster a South Korea-US alliance to better deal with North Korea’s nuclear progress will likely be top of the agenda when Yoon meets with President Joe Biden in Seoul on May 21.
Yoon has promised to seek a tougher US extended deterrence in the context of Washington’s ability to use military and nuclear forces to deter attacks on its allies. But some experts question whether such a security commitment could effectively protect South Korea from North Korean aggression because the decision to use US nuclear weapons rests with the US president.
“Historically, it is true that extended resistance has never been enforced. In some sense, it is like a gentlemen’s agreement,” said Professor Park. “Even in the event of war on the Korean peninsula, that even if we succeed in institutionalizing it to the maximum level, it does not guarantee automatic US participation”.