In a move to ease the ongoing tension in the Korean peninsula, the South Korean President reiterated he’s willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un even as he condemned the North’s first intercontinental ballistic missile test-launch this week as a “reckless” move that incurred punishment by the international community.
But it’s unclear that North Korea would accept any of Moon’s overtures as South Korea is working with the United States and others to get the country punished for its ICBM launch Tuesday. It’s not the first time Moon has talked about a summit with Kim, but repeating that idea two days after the North’s most successful missile test to date clearly indicates he prefers dialogue to applying more pressure or sanctions on the North.
Speaking in Berlin ahead of G20 talks in Hamburg, Moon said the reunification of East and West Germany gave him hope that peace could be achieved on the Korean Peninsula.
Moon’s defense of diplomacy echoed former President Roh Moo-hyun’s “sunshine policy” towards Pyongyang, and his predecessor Kim Dae-jung’s “Berlin Doctrine,” outlined in the German capital 17 years ago.
President Donald Trump said Thursday he’s considering unspecified “pretty severe things” in response to the North’s ICBM launch. While a pre-emptive military strike may be among Trump’s potential options, analysts say it’s one of the unlikeliest because the North Korean retaliation would cause massive casualties in South Korea, particularly in Seoul, which is within easy range of North Korea’s artillery.