South Korean politicians have been expressing their opinions and hopes for today’s U.S.-South Korea summit in Seoul, referring to the North Korean nuclear issue, inter-Korean relations, U.S.-South Korea relations, South Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (KORUS FTA) and dispatching the South Korean army to Afghanistan.
A top member of the ruling Grand National Party (GNP) said on Thursday that he hopes for a resolution to the North’s nuclear problems, that some substance can be added to the alliance between South Korea and the U.S., and the quick ratification of the KORUS FTA.
The Chairman of the Supreme Council of the GNP, Chung Mong Joon also claimed, “This will be the most important summit ever. It will be a significant place in which to discuss North Korea’s denuclearization and the South Korea-U.S. FTA.”
He continued, “I expect them to discuss the Grand Bargain and reconfirm the strong South Korea-U.S. system of mutual support. I hope President Obama takes away a good impression of Korea.”
On the other hand, however, among opposition parties there were concerns about issues related to the U.S., especially the possibility of sending the South Korean army back to Afghanistan.
Democratic Party Chairman Lee Kang Rae claimed in one policy conference, “I hope that this Summit will be a place of discussion, where they cover the upcoming U.S.-North Korea talks, discuss a long-range road map to solve the nuclear issue and lead North Korea into the Six-Party Talks, rather than talking about the Grand Bargain.”
He additionally emphasized, “Given Afghanistan’s situation, it (dispatching the Korean army) is very dangerous. It is not appropriate to just accept the U.S. claim that our young lives will be secure.”
The far left wing Democratic Labor Party also released a statement in which it insisted, “60 percent of the American people oppose the dispatch of additional armed forces to Afghanistan. Therefore, the Obama administration should not ask us to dispatch our army to Afghanistan under any circumstances.”