Head for the Middle Ground as North Reaches Out

Park Seong Guk  |  2012-11-14 17:30
Kim Jong Eun, striving for long-term systemic stability, is sure to keep working diplomatically on not only China but also the U.S. and South Korea.

That was the view of Professor Hwang Ji Hwan of the University of Seoul, speaking at today’s ‘New Leadership in the U.S and China, and the Korean Peninsula,’ held by the Institute for National Security Strategy at the Seoul Plaza Hotel.

Prof. Hwang explained, “If he wants long term systemic strength, Kim Jong Eun must go beyond the existing system his father Kim Jong Il made. He must move on to forge new achievements and build them up. The most important thing is the economic situation.”

“To overcome economic difficulties, he will have to try and get to the U.S., China and South Korea," he went on to predict. "Jang Sung Taek’s visit to China this past August was the first step down that road. When the South Korean and U.S. presidential elections are over, there will be more new movement.”

“Kim Jong Eun is currently employing ‘strategic patience’. For the time being, they are having an active internal debate over national strategy for the Kim Jong Eun era,” he added.

Therefore, he went on, “This is sure to be a golden opportunity for South Korea to turn the situation around in dealing with North Korea. South Korea must be wise in this, directing Kim Jong Eun's national strategy and the North Korean nuclear issues in a direction that they want.”

He predicted, “Having experienced the pros and cons of the Kim Dae Jung-Roh Moo Hyun administration engagement policy and Lee Myung Bak principle-based policy, the next South Korean administration will take the middle road between the two no matter what the party is.”

However, he noted, “Whatever the policy is, it will only be effective if it can be maintained. The next administration, rather than rejecting the Lee Myung Bak administration’s policy towards North Korea, must ponder ‘embracing’ an extension of the ‘principles.”
 
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