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South Korea’s Likely Next President Moon Jae In Asks U.S. To Respect Its Democracy

by Ella / May 03, 2017 07:01 AM EDT
South Korea’s Likely Next President Moon Jae In Asks U.S. To Respect Its Democracy

South Korea's Democratic Party candidate and likely next president Moon Jae In sat down with The Washington Post for an interview. The first question was about the U.S. government's move to expedite the deployment of THAAD amidst the presidential elections, which will be held on May 9. When asked if he viewed this as some sort of interference, Moon Jae In responded in a diplomatic way.

"I don't believe the U.S. has the intention, but I do have reservations. It is not desirable for the South Korean government to deploy THAAD hastily at this politically sensitive time with the presidential election, without going through the democratic process, an environmental assessment or a public hearing." Moon Jae In said.

Moon pledged to review his predecessor Park Geun Hye's decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, an antimissile system designed to shoot down North Korean missiles. But the U.S. government has taken it upon themselves to get the system up and running as quickly as possible, making it operational on Monday. The move sparked public outcry, making it difficult for Moon Jae In to reverse it.

South Korean citizens fear it might make them more of a target instead of protecting them. Moon Jae In advised that this move by the U.S. could start Anti-American protests and jeopardize the countries' alliance. Moon's party says they are 'furious' after the swift installation of THAAD but U.S. Forces Korea claim that the deployment was part of the plans to make the system operational as soon as possible.

"If South Korea can have more time to process this matter democratically, the U.S. will gain a higher level of trust from South Koreans and therefore the alliance between the two nations will become even stronger," Moon said further.

Moon has stipulated that he wants South Korea, not the U.S. to take operational control of the military alliance in the event of a war. When asked if he would like to readjust the security alliance with the U.S., he gave a firm 'no.'

"I believe the alliance between the two nations is the most important foundation for our diplomacy and national security. South Korea was able to build its national security thanks to the U.S. and the two nations will work together on the North Korean nuclear issue." Moon continued, "I do not see it as desirable for South Korea to take the back seat and watch discussions between the U.S. and China."

However, Moon Jae in followed up that he will not pursue open talks with North Korea without "fully consulting" with the U.S. first. While Moon has distinctly different ideas from that of the Trump administration when it comes to dealing with North Korea, analysts don't think that this will cause a strain on the two countries' relationship.

Kang Won-taek, a professor at Seoul National University had this to say: "For the last decades, through two conservative presidents, South Korea had a more friendly relationship with the U.S.," he added, "Moon Jae In's position is clearly different from those conservatives presidents, but generally speaking, I don't think relations between the two countries will change that much. After all, we have a common enemy."

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