Moon Jae-in’s Battle to Denuclearize North Korea

While Washington D.C. and Pyongyang are busy powering up for a standoff over nuclear tests and ballistic missiles, South Korea has shifted the playing field considerably for all sides by electing President Moon Jae-in.

The Korean peninsula was already bristling with the heady mix of tension, sanctions, nuclear testing, dictatorship, corrupt leaders, severed relations, and, most recently, a glittering parade of ballistic missiles in the North.

What will Moon bring to the table and how is he different from his disgraced predecessor? His history, his career, and his words make it clear that he plans to take a new approach with his Northern neighbors. Even without South Korea in the mix, however, the North is mired in deep entanglement with the United States and, to a certain degree, China. Tensions are high all around.

Tensions are High on the Peninsula

This past year speaks for itself. The repetitious game of mutual intimidation between North Korea and the United States culminated in Trump bragging about the size of his nuclear button on Twitter.

Kim Jong Un and his administration are on high alert over relations with U.S. President Donald J. Trump, who favors tough sanctions and a less-than-tolerant stance on Kim’s nuclear program.

We have only to look at President Trump’s constant berating of former President Obama’s administration for enacting a dialogue with Iran. The subsequent deal with Iran over their nuclear program has been one of President Trump’s favorite policies to criticize. We can gather that he’s not a fan of dialogue when it comes to wrangling an agreement with unpredictable foreign governments and their nuclear programs.

As a result of the tough political stances taken by the current administration in Washington and Kim Jong Un, there’s now a standoff between the two countries. Nothing is moving forward except, apparently, Kim’s nuclear testing program and his ballistic missile fleet.

Meanwhile, China, North Korea’s main partner in trade, has agreed to U.N. sanctions. They will ban the import of coal for the rest of 2017. More tension for North Korea.

The Economics of Change

Reuniting with the North could mean massive turmoil for the South. It’s easy to see the benefits for

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