The historical summit between the South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made way for a new direction in world politics. The real motive for the sudden turnaround by the most unpredictable tyrant remains to be seen. Meanwhile, it is crucial that the South take a careful approach to its Northern counterpart in a bid to seize its chance at restoring peace on the Korean Peninsula. On the other hand, it is too early to celebrate the reconciliation yet until complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of denuclearization in the North is completed.
First, North Korea has betrayed our trust numerous times. The North has shown no interest so far in faithful dialogue. Many times, the North has abandoned agreements made with the South and the U.S. They instead look for ways to divide the two. Even the North tried once again to make an excuse about the Max Thunder Exercise between Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF)-United States Air Force (USAF) on May 16.
Also, Kim Jong-un’s sudden shift in stance is especially questionable. The different attitude of Kim cannot be explained without the strong sanctions against the North led by strong-willed leader Donald Trump. Kim’s quick turnaround is unlikely to clear the forceful sanctions rather than denuclearization.
Once his weaponry comes close to completion, Kim Jong-un will desire a huge reward for denuclearization of the North. If Kim demands something the South cannot accept, such as the withdrawal of the United States Forces Korea (USFK) for the security of his regime. Then, the problems will strike again.
President Moon has a firm belief in dialogue as the only solution to denuclearize North Korea. At first, he seemed to be powerless in front of the wrangling two strong men, Trump and Kim Jong-un. However, to everyone’s surprise, Moon’s strategy worked big time, becoming the first driver ever to steer the peninsula to peace.
Nevertheless, it is not too safe to readily believe the North’s intentions. The South should keep the Korea-U.S. alliance for the possibility of another counterattack while becoming the peace bridge among the North and the U.S. Keeping this in mind will lead the way to a satisfactory outcome, genuine peace with successful denuclearization.
By Ha Jun-seok
Business Administration, Sogang University