Moon Makes His Case for Greater Role on North Korea Policy

By Eunjung Lim

Eunjung Lim is a lecturer of Korea Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS. Her areas of specialization are South Korean and Japanese political economy, comparative politics, and energy security policies of East Asian countries. She has been a researcher and visiting fellow at several institutes including the Center for Contemporary Korean Studies at Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies at the University of Tokyo, the Institute of Japanese Studies at Seoul National University, the Institute of Japan Studies at Kookmin University, and Institute of Energy Economics, Japan. Before joining the SAIS faculty, Eunjung Lim taught at several universities in Korea, including Yonsei University and Korea University.  She earned a B.A. from the University of Tokyo, an M.I.A. from Columbia University and a Ph.D from SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. She is fluent in Korean, Japanese and English.

At the first meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and new South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the two leaders discussed disagreements over trade, the THAAD missile defense system, and splitting the cost of basing U.S. troops in South Korea. Moon also made the case for a phased approach to bringing North Korea back to negotiations to end its nuclear weapons and missile programs. The Cipher Brief spoke to Eunjung Lim, a professor at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan, about what this new phased approach means for South Korea’s role in confronting the North Korean threat and what the disagreements over trade, THAAD, and U.S. basing costs could mean for the U.S.-South Korea relationship.

The Cipher Brief: Broadly speaking, the U.S. and South Korea have the same goal for North Korea, denuclearization, and have outlined a phased approach. Can you describe what this phased approach looks like and highlight any differences or sticking points in either the South Korean or U.S. position in pursuing this goal?

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