Inequality in US-ROK ties makes Washington key to peninsula issue
THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA and the Republic of Korea stopped all forms of hostile military operations against each other in the air, and on the sea and the land from Nov 1, as required by the Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula that they adopted during the inter-Korean summit in April. Beijing Youth Daily comments:
In a policy speech to the ROK National Assembly on Oct 31, ROK President Moon Jae-in called for the opportunity for the peninsula’s peace and prosperity to be cherished and he urged the ROK parliament to support pro-peace efforts.
Although it is good to see the peninsula situation is progressing toward peace, there is still considerable internal resistance in the ROK and the United States to engagement with the DPRK.
In the ROK, some opposition parties have never stopped hindering parliament from endorsing the consensuses reached by between Moon and Kim during their meetings in Panmunjom in April and Pyongyang in September. This is an obstacle that it is not easy for Moon to get around.
In the US, although Washington is happy to see the easing of peninsula tensions, it does not want to be just a supporting player to the two
Koreas on the Korean Peninsula issues, through which it seeks to influence the region for its own ends. So the US has never given up its high-pressure posture and original hard-line policies toward the DPRK.
In other words, even though the US and the ROK are allies, there are big differences in their attitudes toward the DPRK, because of their different objectives.
There have even been reports that the White House is worried or even angry with Moon’s optimism and proactive moves. No wonder, Steve Biegun, US special envoy for the DPRK issue, called for a US-ROK joint working group to be established during his visit to Seoul from Oct 28-30 in a bid to hold Moon in play and set the clock for the two sides on the DPRK issue.
The unequal nature of the ROK-US relationship means that Washington is the key variable that will decide the future of the Korean Peninsula.