President Moon Jae-in renewed his resolve to pursue sanctions and dialogue to tackle North Korea’s nuclear program during a meeting with President Barack Obama on July 3, saying now is the “last chance” for the regime to return to the negotiating table.
During 40-minute talks, Moon shared the results of his recent summit with incumbent US leader Donald Trump and requested Obama’s advice on ways to advance the relationship. The former president stressed bipartisan US support for the alliance and wished Moon success in his nascent leadership, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
“President Trump and I agreed to continue to apply sanctions and pressure and dialogue in parallel to resolve the North’s nuclear and missile issues,” Moon was quoted as saying by his press secretary Yoon Young-chan.
“Obama said Moon would no doubt meet the people’s expectations in line with many South Koreans’ hope for his success, quoting former President Abraham Lincoln whom he said he respects the most that with the people’s support you can do anything.”
Obama arrived in Seoul on July 2 along with his wife Michelle and daughters, Sasha and Malia, in his first visit since his term came to an end in January.
The meeting came at a delicate time, a day after Moon returned from Washington. At a joint news conference, Trump openly criticized Obama’s “strategic patience” policy on North Korea as “failed” and a bilateral free trade pact signed during his term as “not exactly a great deal.”
Obama is enjoying his postretirement life, nonetheless, basking in one of the highest ratings for any former US leader.
Earlier on July 3, he took part in an international conference hosted by the Chosun Ilbo daily and met with former President Lee Myung-bak, which he called a chance to “catch up with my old friend.”
At the conference, Obama called for the world to continue to warn the North against its nuclear development or “face the consequences.”
“Together, the nations of the world must continue to send a clear message that security and prosperity will not come from the pursuit of new weapons,” he said.
“The international order depends upon the enforcement of clear rules and norms. So long as North Korea chooses to remain outside of that order, they must face the consequences.”
The staunch Democrat also took a veiled swipe at Trump, defending the Paris climate accord, from which the hawkish Republican leader has exited, and globalization and the liberal global order in stark contrast to Trump’s “America First” and “peace through strength” doctrine.
“In Paris, we came together around the most ambitious agreement in history to fight climate change -- an agreement that, even with the temporary absence of American leadership, will still give our children a fighting chance,” Obama said.
“Democracy is hard. Progress does not move in a straight line. Its gains are often fragile.
“But the future does not favor the strongman. I believe deeply that the liberal international order; order based not just on military power or national affiliations, but on principles -- the rule of law, human rights and individual freedoms -- is the only choice.”
By Shin Hyon-hee/The Korea Herald (email@example.com