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(LEAD) Ruling party calls for early summit between Moon, Biden

All News 14:58 November 09, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with comments from opposition party, expert from para 6)

SEOUL, Nov. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's ruling Democratic Party stressed the need Monday for early talks between President Moon Jae-in and his incoming U.S. counterpart Joe Biden.

"It's necessary to hold a South Korea-U.S. summit at an early date following President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration," the party's floor leader Rep. Kim Tae-nyeon said during a meeting of the top party council.

He added, "It's important for (South Korea) to have close diplomatic communications (with the U.S.) so that the South Korean government's position can be sufficiently reflected in the process of the new American administration's review of Korean Peninsula and North Korea policies."

In that regard, he said, the coming 100 days are crucial, as South Korea would be able to expand its mediator or facilitator role in the region and secure more room in terms of inter-Korean relations, a task dependent on its "strategy and efforts."

He said his party, which holds a majority of seats at the 300-member National Assembly, will fully support efforts for progress in the Korea peace process via "multi-sided" lawmakers-level diplomacy.

Rep. Kim Tae-nyeon, floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party, speaks during a top party council meeting on Nov. 9, 2020. (Yonhap)

Opposition parties, however, argued that the upcoming power transition of the U.S. should serve as an opportunity to course correct Seoul's current conciliatory stance towards North Korea.

"The faulty North Korea policies and misjudgment of both South Korea and the U.S. over the past several years resulted in increased threats from North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles," Kim Chong-in, the interim leader of the main opposition People Power Party (PPP), said during a party meeting.

Kim added, "I look forward to the return to the principled North Korea policy that includes the discarding of North Korean nuclear (arsenal) and the (full) reinstatement of South Korea-U.S. military exercises."

Rep. Park Jin, a four-term PPP lawmaker well versed in diplomatic issues, also said the "submissive" conciliatory North Korea policy of the Moon administration should also change fundamentally in the upcoming Biden era.

Kim Chong-in, the leader of the main opposition People Power Party, speaks during a party meeting at the National Assembly on Nov. 9, 2020. (Yonhap)

Kim Joon-hyung, head of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, meanwhile, argued that the incoming Biden administration is unlikely to return to former Democratic President Barack Obama's unsuccessful "strategic patience" policy toward the North.

"(The Obama administration) strategically left North Korea unattended because it was not a nuclear-armed state then," Kim said in during a lecture at the National Assembly in Seoul.

Kim added, "It's hard to accept (strategic patience) as a (viable) policy now that North Korea is building its nuclear military strength every day."

He also stated that Biden's Democratic Party is inclined to a "bottom-up" approach to North Korea, while Pyongyang tends to be averse to such methodology, as it has traditionally emphasized international nuclear inspections and verification ahead of anything else.


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