KCNA | Reuters
People participate in a Pyongyang city mass rally held at Kim Il Sung Square on August 9, 2017, to fully support the statement of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) government.
The news indicates South Korean President Moon Jae-In isn’t backing down from direct engagement with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un even as other major players in the long-simmering crisis push for a tougher approach.
President Donald Trump announced fresh sanctions against the rogue state on Thursday amid a swap of insults between the two leaders — Kim referred to the Republican’s U.N. speech as “the most ferocious declaration of a war in history.”
Even China, which has long been reluctant to pressure the North, upped its stance on Thursday by ordering domestic banks to halt business dealings with the pariah nation, according to a Reuters report.
Forging ahead with a softer stance on Kim despite the North’s recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests “has put South Korea at odds with its U.S. and Japanese counterparts,” political consultancy Stratfor said in a recent note.
Earlier this month, Trump claimed on Twitter that Moon was “appeasing” Pyongyang, while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged Moon to reconsider his strategy during a telephone call last week. Japanese chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga has also warned against any actions that would undermine pressure on the North.
Moon’s conciliatory stance will certainly complicate efforts by the U.S. and Japan to isolate Kim, warned Stephen Nagy, associate professor at Tokyo- based International Christian University.
To South Korea’s defense, its latest aid disbursement was relatively small compared with earlier packages.