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Korean Presidential Frontrunner: We’ll Review THAAD, and Work with China

March 17, 2017 (EIRNS)—The frontrunner in the May 9 Presidential election in South Korea, Moon Jae-in, would likely "do a review of the validity of the decision" regarding deployment of U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles, said Choi Jong Kun, a professor at Yongsei University and an adviser to Moon on foreign policy. In an interview with Reuters, Choi said, "While doing it he will consult with the United States, as well as China," Choi said.

"At the end of the day, if the reality unfolds in a way that South Korea’s national security and the economy were damaged because of the THAAD, not because of the North Korea issue, then it’s not really a rational situation, is it?... We had a strategic partnership with Beijing, until this THAAD issue. Our relationship had been pretty okay and pretty good."

Moon, while not declaring firmly for or against THAAD, has insisted that the decision should not have been taken during the political crisis, but should be left to the next government. Reuters reports that Moon has said that he would visit Pyongyang before making a trip to the United States. He believes that there should be efforts to achieve economic reunification before negotiating political and military reunification.

Kim Ki-Jung, another foreign policy adviser to Moon and professor at Yonsei University, told Reuters he had tried to convince U.S. military officials and diplomats in Washington last month that the deployment of the THAAD should be left to the leader who succeeds Park. He said a Moon government would want to keep the alliance with the United States,

"as long as we admit that South Korea is not the 51st state of the United States. We are an independent country, we have our own national interest, and we should have our own foreign policy strategy."