South Korean President Moon Jae-in must keep up a delicate balancing act between two unpredictable leaders: the one with nukes in the North, and the one in Washington who leads his country’s closest ally.
But Moon – newer in office even than President Donald Trump – appears to be managing that feat. This week he’s ushered in the first positive news related to North Korea in years, responding to an overture from Kim Jong Un and, on Wednesday, very diplomatically giving much of the credit to Trump.
“I give President Trump huge credit for bringing about the inter-Korean talks, and I’d like to thank him for that,” Moon said at a news conference in Seoul.
Moon’s remark came in response to a question about Trump’s Saturday tweet that the talks were taking place because he was “firm, strong and willing to commit our total ‘might’ against the North.”
Trump has been calling for “maximum pressure” on North Korea and has sometimes suggested military action might be needed.
Moon said that the fact North Korea returned to talks – albeit about the Olympics, not about its nuclear program – could be the result of American-led sanctions and pressure.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Anna Fifield