August 25, 2018

Trump’s Cancellation of Pompeo Trip Dashes Hopes in South Korea

Featuring Duyeon Kim

Source: The New York Times

Journalist Choe Sang-Hun

The past few days have been a roller-coaster ride for President Moon Jae-in of South Korea.

On Thursday, the United States secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, announced that he would travel to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, this coming week, raising hopes that the trip would make progress in talks over denuclearizing the North and provide the rationale for Mr. Moon to advance inter-Korean relations.

Those hopes were quickly dashed barely a day later, however, when President Trump abruptly canceled Mr. Pompeo’s trip.

To many South Koreans, the zigzag was another sign of Washington’s poor coordination in its North Korea policy, and it left Mr. Moon with a difficult choice.

If Mr. Moon ignores Mr. Trump’s unhappiness with North Korea and pushes ahead with his plan to open South Korea’s first liaison office in the North as early as this coming week — as well as meeting North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, in Pyongyang next month — he could run the risk of creating a rift with Washington, the South’s most important ally.

Any major cooperative deal with Mr. Kim would also prompt a backlash from Mr. Moon’s conservative enemies at home, who are always eager to portray him as a dangerous progressive.

Read the full article and more in The New York Times.

  • Duyeon Kim

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Asia-Pacific Security Program

    Duyeon Kim is an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Her expertise includes the two Koreas, nuclear ...