U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is expected to use both pressure and dialogue in dealing with North Korea, while emphasizing China's role in resolving the drawn-out nuclear stalemate on the peninsula, a renowned scholar said Friday, source from Yonhap.
Trump was elected the next president of the United States in an upset victory over his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. His win has spawned anxiety among many South Korean policymakers, concerned about his controversial remarks on North Korea, burden-sharing for U.S. troop presence and possible renegotiations of a free trade deal between the two allies.
Though his position has been somewhat inconsistent, Trump has suggested the possibility of meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in contrast with the Obama administration's strategic patience policy focused on pressure and sanctions.
"My understanding is that he will likely activate sanctions and pressure, and talks and negotiations as two major pillars," Moon Chung-in, a professor of international politics at Yonsei University. said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency. "What is clear is that he will not inherit Obama's strategic patience policy.
"He, in particular, has emphasized the role of China, which makes me think that he will have lots of talks with China to resolve the North's nuclear issue," he added.
Citing Trump's remarks during the campaign that he is willing to invite the North Korean leader over and have talks over hamburgers, the professor saw it as a sign for a possible breakthrough in U.S.-North Korea relations.
"Given that Trump is a businessman, very good at make-or-break deals, it's hard to rule out that possibility," he said.
He expressed worries that Trump's demand for South Korea to pay more for the U.S. troops stationed on its soil, saying it could become a major diplomatic issue between South Korea and the U.S.
Trump has claimed that South Korea has not paid its fair share of the burden in keeping nearly 30,000 U.S. troops here to counter the threat from the North. Seoul currently pays roughly half the costs estimated at about US$900 million a year.
Taking issue with Trump's argument on the burden-sharing issue, Moon said that it might underline the need for South Korea to review its diplomatic policy heavily dependent upon the U.S.
"Trump says that South Korea should pay since the U.S. is protecting it at its own request. Such an argument cannot be acceptable here given how Korean people see this issue. Can it be acceptable that the U.S. troops turn into just mercenaries?" he asked.
"It is necessary for us to thoroughly review our alliance with the U.S. We have seen our alliance with Washington as a constant that lasts forever and an ultimate objective itself," he said. "Now it's time to review our diplomatic policy with China and Russia from a perspective of a balanced diplomacy."