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South Korea Elects Conservative Anti-North Hawk As President

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Mar 13, 2022 - 02:30 AM

Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com,

On Thursday, South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk Yeol vowed to take a firmer stance on North Korea and rebuild Seoul’s military alliance with Washington

South Koreans went to the polls and elected Yoon on Wednesday, and he will take office in May. During his campaign, Yoon accused outgoing President Moon Jae-in, a strong proponent of peaceful reunification with North Korea, of being "submissive" to Pyongyang and Beijing.

Newly elected president Yoon Suk-yeol. Xinhua/Alamy

As the US has become more focused on countering China, Washington is looking to Seoul to help. Yoon is expected to take a harder line on China and signaled that he was ready to be involved in the US’s efforts to strengthen alliances in the region as part of its strategy against Beijing.

“I’ll rebuild the South Korea-US alliance. I’ll [make] it a strategic comprehensive alliance while sharing key values like liberal democracy, a market economy, and human rights,” Yoon said at a press conference.

“I’ll establish a strong military capacity to completely deter any provocation,” Yoon said. “I’ll firmly deal with illicit, unreasonable behavior by North Korea in a principled manner, though I’ll always leave open the door for South-North talks.”

The Associated Press described of this particularly "bitter" election contest:

Yoon, who ran on the ticket of the main opposition People Power Party, previously served as Moon’s prosecutor general. But he left the Moon government and joined the opposition last year after high-profile infighting over his investigations of some of Moon’s allies.

Wednesday’s election was largely a two-way showdown between Yoon and liberal governing party candidate Lee Jae-myung. The two spent months slamming, mocking and demonizing each other in one of the most bitter political campaigns in recent memory, aggravating the country’s already severe domestic division.

So far, the Biden administration hasn’t done much to try to engage with North Korea. Biden officials say they’re ready for dialogue with Pyongyang but have made no offers for sanctions relief to get the North Koreans to come to the table and are now ramping up sanctions in response to recent missile tests.

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