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No more from Special Advisor Moon Jung-in

Posted September. 29, 2017 07:56,   

Updated September. 29, 2017 08:51

한국어

Honorary professor Moon Jung-in at Yonsei University, also President Moon Jae-in’s special policy advisor for unification, foreign affairs and security, has made a disputable remark again. “Many people say that war is not an option even if it breaks the Korea-U.S. alliance,” said Moon Jung-in during a debate on Wednesday. He also expressed his agreement to a statement by Sohn Hak-kyu, a senior advisor for the People’s Party who said, “In reality, it is necessary to recognize North Korea as a nuclear nation.” Moon also said, “It is unrealistic to claim that engaging in a dialogue with the North is not possible unless it gives up its nuclear weapons.”

The presidential special advisor’s remarks are rather risky. It seems that he perceives the resolute response of the United States as the cause for the war crisis in the Korean Peninsula in a situation where North Korea’s reckless nuclear missile threats are intensifying. Moon seemingly identifies the hostile powers that mess with the peace of the Korean Peninsula as the United States rather than North Korea. To Moon, the United States’ military operation to fly its B-1B bombers and fighters north of the Northern Limit Line (NLL) is an excessive confrontation. “It is very concerning that B-1B flew across Korea without ample discussion with the South Korean government,” he said.

“Establishing an alliance is to prevent wars, and nobody is willing to consent to an alliance becoming a mechanism of war,” he also said. It may sound obvious that we cannot get entangled into a war that we do not want because of alliance, but it makes us doubt whether this really came from an international politics scholar. The premise to an alliance is wrong to begin with. Alliance is not just to prevent wars, but also to protect one’s nation from potential wars in the future. Holding alliance sacred is inappropriate for sure but considering it a sin is very dangerous.

This goes the same for the presidential advisor’s statement that South Korea needs to have an inter-Korea dialogue even without the North’s denuclearization. If North Korea is recognized as a nuclear nation and establishes diplomatic ties with the United States, it would lead to the withdrawal of U.S. Armed Forces in South Korea and South Korea will become hostage to North Korea’s nuclear weapons without any reliable ally. Losing the upper hand in the South Korea – U.S. relationship may come as a bit embarrassing. However, a scholar, who knows the reality of international politics that is governed by power, should know better.

“Special advisor is commissioned by the government and does not receive any salary,” Moon Jung-in recently said. “I want to be seen as an honorary professor at Yonsei University rather than a special advisor.” Nevertheless, no one will take his remarks as a personal opinion of a scholar. Defense Minister Song Young-moo received a “stern warning” from the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae for criticizing Moon Jung-in’s “academic view.” It certainly seems difficult to ignore Moon’s remarks within the government.

When opposition lawmakers pointed out discord among the government’s diplomatic and security teams, President Moon Jae-in refuted by saying, “Same opinions within the government is not necessary. Different opinions between the U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Secretary of Defense are seen as strategic, but why is it seen as disharmony in Korea?” We have to ask whether the South Korean government has assigned roles strategically to Moon Jung-in, who takes a quite different stance from the government. It is now time to take the special advisory position away from Moon, whose teetering academic opinions are given power. People do not want to hear “Special Advisor Moon” any more.