The United States should work hard to make sure there is no daylight with South Korea over how to deal with the North as the Asian ally is expected to elect a liberal leader seeking a softer approach to Pyongyang, a U.S. expert said Monday.
Sue Mi Terry, a former senior U.S. intelligence official with expertise on Korea issues, made the point during a Council on Foreign Relations discussion, noting that the top candidates for South Korea's president are liberal politicians, including former presidential candidate Moon Jae-in.
"While we deal with these various options (on North Korea), what we have to think about is how are we going to get South Korea, a very different Blue House that's going to pursue a different North Korea policy, on board because obviously we have to coordinate with South Korea. Is South Korea going to be OK with our various proposals?" Terry said.
The remark reflects concerns in the United States about potential strains in the Korea-U.S. relations as liberals are expected to take power in South Korea and seek a softer approach to a nuclear-armed North Korea and closer ties with China amid tensions over the U.S. deployment of the THAAD missile defense system in the South.
Terry noted that Moon once said he would reconsider the THAAD deployment, and that he plans to reopen a joint industrial complex in the North Korean city of Kaesong that was shut down last year after Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test.
"It's so important when we're talking about North Korea policy that there is no daylight between our allies and us. This is what North Korea loves to do brilliantly. Divide and conquer," she said. (Yonhap)