September 19, 2022 12:30
President Yoon Suk-yeol told the New York Times on Sunday that his predecessor Moon Jae-in was like a "student obsessed with only one friend in his classroom: North Korea."
The U.S. daily quoted Yoon as describing Moon's rapprochement efforts and inter-Korean summits as a "political show."
Instead, Yoon vowed to seek the answer "in strengthening the extended deterrence based on a strong South Korea-U.S. alliance." That includes "a package of all possible means and methods," such as use of the U.S. nuclear umbrella.
Yoon offered to strike a "grand bargain" with his country's old enemy Japan if trilateral security cooperation with Washington and Tokyo is necessary to maintain peace in Northeast Asia.
He also slammed Moon's China policy as "too ambiguous." "I will pursue predictability, and South Korea will take a more clear position with respect to U.S.-China relations," he added. The daily pointed out that Yoon resumed joint military drills with the U.S. and joined the Washington-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework aimed at containing China.
He also agreed to attend preliminary talks for a semiconductor alliance with the U.S., Japan and Taiwan. "Despite fears that doing so could anger China, Mr. Yoon said that it was 'necessary' for the four nations to cooperate more closely," the paper added.
Regarding the deployment of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery from the U.S. here, which China claims is a threat to its security, Yoon said that it was "vital to South Korea's defense against the North," adding, 'It is a matter of sovereignty and security, which is not subject to any compromise."
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