In a column in the Dong-A Ilbo, Jung-Ang University professor Kim Tae-hyeon writes that foreign policy has been worryingly absent from the Korean presidential campaign. The candidates have been largely silent on foreign policy issues such as North Korea, relations with the United States and China, the Jeju naval base, etc., largely—as he sees it—because politically, there’s nothing to gain (and in fact, something to lose) by discussing foreign policy, and because foreign policy debates could cause unnecessary diplomatic problems.
Kim’s sentiments were reflected in this morning’s Dong-A editorial calling for the candidates to put forth their foreign policy ideas. In particular, the Dong-A wants to see “creative policies that will substantively transform North Korea,” and warns that while all three candidates are promising to lead North Korea policy in a different direction from LMB, the primary cause of the current impasse with Pyongyang is not LMB’s policies, but North Korean aggression. IMHO, the Dong-A is dead-on about the cause of the miserable state of inter-Korean relations, but if they want “creative policies that will substantively transform North Korea,” it’s going to be a long wait.