After the major crises of 2016, the year 2017 on the Korean peninsula was characterised by an attempt to restore stability, both at the domestic and the international level. The social and political crisis that involved President Park Geun-hye in South Korea, which left the country without a clear political leadership for five months, came to an end with confirmation of the impeachment by the Constitutional Court and the following election of Moon Jae-in to the presidency. The new president committed his administration to reverse the policies of the previous administration, focusing on democracy, transparency, social justice, zero tolerance against corruption, and a more conciliatory approach towards Pyongyang. In North Korea, Kim Jong Un, after the final consolidation of his position and political line, continued to enhance the nuclear and missile programmes. Over the course of 2017, the regime achieved impressive results in both fields and, by the end of the year, proclaimed the final completion of the state nuclear and missile programme. The repeated missile launches had extensive consequences on inter-Korean and international relations. Moon Jae-in’s initiatives, aimed at improving inter-Korean cooperation and dialogue, were frustrated by the repeated provocations from North Korea. As a consequence, Moon reshaped his approach as a dual-track policy of seeking denuclearisation through sanctions while calling for dialogue. The other election that highly influenced the developments on the peninsula was that of Donald Trump in the United States. After his first months in office, during which Trump apparently relied on China to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, the new American president adopted a very confrontational approach based on maximum pressure as well as dangerous rhetoric, which included the possibility of a military conflict with North Korea. This approach exacerbated tension in the region and alienated South Korea’s support to his strategy. Trump’s protectionist positions on the KORUS free trade agreement and his unclear support of the US commitment in the East Asian region started also to create frictions in the alliance with South Korea.

Korean Peninsula 2017: Searching for new balances

Marco Milani
2018

Abstract

After the major crises of 2016, the year 2017 on the Korean peninsula was characterised by an attempt to restore stability, both at the domestic and the international level. The social and political crisis that involved President Park Geun-hye in South Korea, which left the country without a clear political leadership for five months, came to an end with confirmation of the impeachment by the Constitutional Court and the following election of Moon Jae-in to the presidency. The new president committed his administration to reverse the policies of the previous administration, focusing on democracy, transparency, social justice, zero tolerance against corruption, and a more conciliatory approach towards Pyongyang. In North Korea, Kim Jong Un, after the final consolidation of his position and political line, continued to enhance the nuclear and missile programmes. Over the course of 2017, the regime achieved impressive results in both fields and, by the end of the year, proclaimed the final completion of the state nuclear and missile programme. The repeated missile launches had extensive consequences on inter-Korean and international relations. Moon Jae-in’s initiatives, aimed at improving inter-Korean cooperation and dialogue, were frustrated by the repeated provocations from North Korea. As a consequence, Moon reshaped his approach as a dual-track policy of seeking denuclearisation through sanctions while calling for dialogue. The other election that highly influenced the developments on the peninsula was that of Donald Trump in the United States. After his first months in office, during which Trump apparently relied on China to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, the new American president adopted a very confrontational approach based on maximum pressure as well as dangerous rhetoric, which included the possibility of a military conflict with North Korea. This approach exacerbated tension in the region and alienated South Korea’s support to his strategy. Trump’s protectionist positions on the KORUS free trade agreement and his unclear support of the US commitment in the East Asian region started also to create frictions in the alliance with South Korea.
Marco Milani
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/776396
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