President Moon Jae-in said that the United States Forces are needed to stay in Korea even after the unification of the Korean peninsula to speak nothing of the need their presence after the declaration of the end of the Korean War and conclusion of a peace treaty. This was reported by Korean-language daily newspaper, Seoul Shinmun, this morning.
President Moon also proposed that the U.S. should open its liaison office (a defeactor U.S. Embassy) in Pyongyang in a corresponding action to North Korea’s initital action of denuclearization.
President Moon made the statement at an interview with the U.S. Fox News in New York on Sept. 25, 2018 (local time). Moon told Fox News, “Stationing of the U.S. Forces in Korea was decided upon solely based on the Alliance of the Republic of Korea and the United States and therefore that it has nothing to do with the Peace Treaty of the Korean Peninsula and even after the conclusion of the Peace Treaty and further after the conclusion of the peace treaty and achievement of the reunification of the Korean peninsula the U.S. Forces are needed to stay on the Korean peninsula for the sake of the peace and stability of the Northeast Asian Region.”
This is the first time President Moon has stressed the importance of continued presence of the U.S. Armed Forces on the Korean peninsula with such a strong tone of speech. The statement of President Moon clearly puts a clear period to any question raised by the conservative opposition camp in South Korea that the Declaration of the End of the Korean War might usher in a dissolution of the United Nations Forces in Korea and withdrawal of the U.S. Forces from Korea. Moon literally nipped the bud to any worry of such an eventuality.
Meanwhile, English-language Joong-ang Ilbo reported this morning (in regard to the topic) that President Moon Jae-in stated Tuesday that the U.S. has nothing to lose from its denuclearization talks with North Korea, as it could resume sanctions or reverse a declaration ending the Korean War if Pyongyang reneges on its pledge to denuclearize. Excerpts from the Joongand report follow:
Moon stressed that U.S. concessions to North Korea could be reversed if Pyongyang was caught cheating on its denuclearization pledge during an interview with Fox News during his five-day visit to New York for the UN General Assembly.
“One thing stands clear,” the president said. “South Korea and the U.S. have nothing to lose from denuclearization talks [with the North]. Measures that the North is required to take are abandon already-made nuclear stockpiles; dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear facility; and close down nuclear testing and missile testing sites.”
These steps were equivalent to “irreversible measures,” and the North’s demands of the United States could easily be reversed if Pyongyang doesn’t follow through with its denuclearization promises, Moon argued.
Joint South-U.S. military drills that have been suspended in response to the North’s initial denuclearization steps could simply be resumed should Pyongyang not live up to the conditions, Moon said. If the two Koreas agree to officially end the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in an armistice, not a treaty, this could also be “revoked,” since it is a “political statement,” Moon emphasized.
“Even if sanctions were eased, we could simply strengthen them if the North tricks us,” he told Fox News. “For these reasons, I say that the United States has nothing to lose if President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un [of North Korea] continue dialogue based on a level of trust after singing on to a broad promise for denuclearization.”
Moon’s remarks appeared aimed at placating North Korea hawks in the United States, who harbor suspicions that Washington might have been manipulated by false denuclearization promises from Pyongyang.
Many worry that President Trump gave away too much to Kim by meeting him in first place on June 12 in Singapore before the young North Korean leader took concrete denuclearization measures.
President Moon also elaborated on the “corresponding measures” demanded by Pyongyang of Washington as part of the denuclearization process, and said such measures are not limited to sanctions relief.
“Corresponding measures do not mean they are entirely about sanctions relief. It could be an-end-of-war declaration or providing humanitarian aid or doing a non-political exchange, such as an art performance exchange,” he said.
Moon said that setting up a U.S. liaison office in Pyongyang could also serve as a corresponding measure. He said such a communication office would be needed by Washington, as long-term inspections of the North’s nuclear facilities by U.S. experts would be required to verify the denuclearization procedures.
Moon also proposed an exchange of economic observers by both sides as a possible corresponding measure.
In another address delivered Tuesday before U.S. foreign policy and North Korea experts at an event co-hosted by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations, Moon said that an end to the Korean War should be declared to move toward a “peace regime” in the region and “accelerate the North’s denuclearization.”
Moon also dismissed concerns that an end to the war could change the status of U.S. troops in South Korea and the UN Command.
“An end-of-war declaration is a political statement en route to signing a peace treaty. Until the peace treaty is signed, an armistice will be maintained,” he stressed.
Moon stressed that the issue of U.S. troops in the South had to do with the U.S.-Korea alliance, not ending the war or signing a peace treaty.
“North Korean leader Kim also agrees with this concept [of the U.S. forces in South Korea],” he said.
Moon also conveyed to the audience some of what the North Korean leader said to him during Moon’s three-day stay in Pyongyang last week.
Moon quoted Kim as saying that he was “very well aware of international community’s suspicions that North Korea was only doing a trick or simply buying time in spite of the many steps for denuclearization that it has taken so far.”
Kim told Moon that his regime had nothing to gain from deception or delays to denuclearization, and said that his country would not be able to “withstand retaliation” from the United States if it went back on its denuclearization promise.
“Please have trust in our sincerity this time,” said Kim, according to Moon.