Millennium Post

Cracks in allies

Cracks in allies
For nearly seven decades, the United States and South Korea have been considered one of the best allies. Their soldiers served together in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, besides the Korean Peninsula. Also, the economy of South Korea flourished under the patronage of USA. But, with North Korea carrying out a series of provocative missile and nuclear tests, USA appears to be hardening its stance. When the new South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, was pulling up his socks to hold talks with the North, US President Trump declared on a social networking platform: "Talking is not the answer!" He even threatened to withdraw the United States from a five-year-old free trade agreement with South Korea over what he considers as its unfair protectionist policies. And on Sunday, when North Korea detonated its most powerful nuclear bomb, Trump blasted: "South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!" As Trump's harsh tone gave the message to the Korean officials that their countries' 67-year-old military alliance faces an ever-more-dangerous regime in Pyongyang, Moon also said that they will never tolerate another catastrophic war on their land. "We will not give up our goal of working together with allies to seek a peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula," he said. Moon also supported Trump's push for tougher sanctions against N Korea and the two leaders also agreed to lift the weight limit on South Korean conventional warheads, Park Soo-hyun. Incidentally, removing the 500-kilogram restriction, part of a treaty with the United States aimed at preventing a regional arms race, could give the South greater power to strike the North in the event of a military conflict. However, South Korea is still sceptical to enter a head-on collision with the North. When Trump threatened North Korea with "fire and fury," Moon advocated for a peaceful solution. "South Koreans, not Americans, would bear the brunt of a war," Moon said. Trump, however, is not the first American leader to be doubtful about a progressive South Korean President's approach to the North. Now, the White House feared that liberal South Korean Presidents' preference for dialogue and openness were helping North Korea buy time and secure funds for its nuclear weapons program. The latest nuclear test is a wake-up call for South Korea as Kim Jong-un does not appear to be giving up his habit of displaying dominance through nuclear weapons. Once North Korea acquires nuclear-tipped ICBMs, no one can stop them from driving a wedge between Washington and Seoul by offering to freeze its nuclear program in return for the withdrawal of American troops from the South. If the situation remains the same, it would boost the morale of North Korea to attack the South and use its nuclear arsenal to deter the US from intervening. Will the US President or his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in take the guarantee that some 50 million of the South won't become hostage to the North Korean nukes?

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