South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in has, in the day since his inauguration, engaged in a series of conversations with leaders from around the region and the world, and today insisted that he wants to see any sanctions imposed against North Korea done only parallel to negotiations with them.
Moon, who has long advocated peaceful reunification with North Korea, has made clear he wants a return to the Sunshine Policy, and the attempt to return to the old policy of trying to improve relations, and to avoid military confrontation.
The Trump Administration has rejected diplomacy in recent months, talking up either a military solution or the imposition of new sanctions. Moon likely figures he can avoid the former by accepting the later, though even here he insisted sanctions should only be used as a way to get North Korean officials to the bargaining table.
South Korea’s recent governments have been more hostile toward North Korea, openly talking about reunification as a military goal, as opposed to a diplomatic one. With tensions soaring on the Korean Peninsula, Moon seems eager to reverse the course before it’s too late.