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U.S.-based scholars ask Moon's adviser to reinforce alliance with Washington

Politics 15:08 March 22, 2019

SEOUL, March 22 (Yonhap) -- Two United States-based Korean scholars met President Moon Jae-in's top security adviser in Seoul this week and urged him to strive to strengthen South Korea's alliance with the U.S. over North Korea policy, one of them said Friday.

Shin Gi-wook, director of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) at Stanford University, told Yonhap News that he and Andrew Kim, a former CIA official now serving as a visiting scholar at the APARC, met with Chung Eui-yong, chief of South Korea's presidential National Security Office, at Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday.

"Andrew and I told Chung the alliance between South Korea and the U.S. is more important than ever in order to maintain the momentum for the denuclearization negotiations with North Korea. We also stressed South Korea's role in persuading North Korea to denuclearize," Shin said.

These undated file photos show Chung Eui-yong (L) and Andrew Kim. (Yonhap)

Shin did not offer more details on the meeting, only saying he and Kim delivered their opinions and Chung carefully listened and explained his government's positions.

Officials at Cheong Wa Dae confirmed Chung's meeting with the two scholars but declined to comment on details.

The meeting drew attention, as the Moon administration has vowed to push to resume the Kaesong Industrial Complex and Mount Kumgang tourism projects after the U.S. and North Korea failed to narrow gaps over denuclearization at their second summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, last month.

Andrew Kim, who retired as head of the CIA's Korea Mission Center late last year, is known for his deep understanding of North Korea policy. He reportedly said there are gaps between Washington and Seoul on North Korea policy and stressed the need for a closer alliance while attending an APARC-related meeting in Seoul on Wednesday. Kim also cited North Korea's demand for removal of U.S. strategic assets from Guam and Hawaii as one of the causes for the collapse of the Hanoi summit, according to news reports.

Shin said in a recent media column that what South Korea needs to do right now is not to mediate but to persuade North Korea to completely denuclearize. Kim is also said to have made similar remarks on several occasions.

ycm@yna.co.kr
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