Speaking Thursday at the 2020 International Symposium on Sustainable Peace on the Korean Peninsula was Professor Moon Chung-in, special advisor to President Moon on foreign affairs and national security.
He said President Moon’s top priority in dealing with the Biden Administration is to strengthen the ROK-U.S. alliance even giving it more weight than ties with neighboring China.
“We’ll be in a very difficult position, because the U.S. is our ally, the old ally, in a sense, and you know China is strategic cooperative partner. Therefore we need both… but obviously we should give more attention to the alliance rather than strategic partner.”
The second priority, according to Professor Moon, is the denuclearization of the Peninsula, which led to a vigorous debate among the panelists.
“In the short to medium term, North Korea is not going to give up its nuclear weapons. We have tried for thirty years now roughly to try to get the North Koreans to give up their nuclear weapons in some way shape or form. They haven’t done it.”
He said the first thing to come should be a peace declaration ending the Korean War and denuclearization is not among the top priorities.
But another panelist emphasized denuclearization as part of the peace process itself.
“I think it is critically important to our alliance relations and to our national security, America’s national security that we not give up the objective that we hope to achieve which is a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.”
In another session of the symposium, another renowned expert, Joseph Yun, former Special Representative on North Korea, said convential approaches prioritized denuclearization over peace, but some are now going towards peace based on deterrence and arms control.
The experts agreed, however, that other key players like China will be important in achieving sustainable peace on the Peninsula as well as in the region.
Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News.