South Korea and China should maintain good relations if the two nations want to make progress in the denuclearization of North Korea, said presidential candidate, the Democratic Party torchbearer, Lee Jae-myung on Wednesday.
For South Korean politicians, penning English-language opinion pieces for news outlets abroad ahead of elections is a common thing. In that way, they share their foreign policy views and build a reputation with international audiences.
In his Foreign Affairs essay published Wednesday, Lee harshly criticized his conservative rival Yoon Suk-yeol for allegedly stoking fear in South Korea by supporting a “preemptive strike” against Pyongyang, NK News reports.
As Lee emphasized, the thorniest problem facing the Republic of Korea is Pyongyang’s nuclear strategy. The Kim Jong Un government’s recent ballistic missile launches are deeply concerning,” wrote Lee.
“However, any solution for North Korea’s denuclearization must be peaceful. Saber- rattling achieves little,” Lee added.
The politician said as well that “glibly advocating for a preemptive strike” evokes Cold War posturing and “serves only to stoke fear and division.”
Meantime, Lee’s primary opponent Yoon is representing the conservative People Power Party. He has endorsed “preemptive strikes” against North Korea if an attack against South Korea appears imminent.
The two candidates agreed on one point of view: China as a crucial piece to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula in their essays, albeit with different tones. As Lee said, Seoul needs to get along with Beijing, underlying the economic partnership with China and how the DPRK issue is becoming more “complicated” as U.S.-China rivalry is getting stronger.