Experts on Tuesday called for the Moon Jae-in government to formulate a more practical foreign and unification policy in order to boost its voice on North Korea issues amid a drawn-out nuclear deadlock.
Dozens of former policymakers and leading scholars gathered to navigate the new administration’s North Korea and unification policy at a symposium hosted by the Peace Foundation in Seoul.
Cho Han-bum, a senior analyst at the state-run Korea Institute for National Unification, stressed the need for Seoul to craft its own engagement policy that could also embrace that of Washington and Beijing.
“The interest of the US and China toward the Korean Peninsula is different from South Korea’s. We aim to achieve peace, beyond the denuclearization -- South Korea needs to take the lead in carrying out engagement policy toward North Korea,” he said.
At home, the government should help foster public consensus on unification with a “realistic perception” focusing on managing cross-border relations, Cho said.
“We need to actualize our view on unification. … At this point North Korea is a subject for management, not negotiations, and public consensus is key because of management costs.”
Nam Ki-jeong, a professor at Seoul National University, said the priority should now be on setting a concrete policy roadmap under the shared objective of peaceful unification.
“If you try to resolve the ultimate goal of unification in the short term, you would have to employ violent means. It should be a long-term process if you seek to achieve a high-level political goal in a peaceful manner,” he said.
“More efforts are needed to neutralize the increasingly tense US-China relationship, for which we should better manage and strengthen the alliance with the US while at the same time working to develop the China ties."
By Jung Min-kyung (firstname.lastname@example.org)