The conflicting opinions on the future of US forces in South Korea after the probable peace agreement between North and South Korea have emerged in Seoul. President Moon Jae-in, who recently set with Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader in a historic summit, has clarified that presence of US forces have nothing to do with the peace treaty.
According to Seoul based Korea Times, President Moon Jae-in, has warned his special advisor on security and unification Moon Chung-in over his claims that US would have to withdraw its troops from South Korea if a peace treaty was signed.
Moon Chung-in, security and reunification advisor to the President Moon Jae-in, has recently written an op-ed article published in US based Foreign Affairs, on Monday. He said, “What will happen to U.S. forces in South Korea if a peace treaty is signed? It will be difficult to justify their continuing presence in South Korea after its adoption. But there will be a strong conservative opposition to the reduction and withdrawal of U.S. forces, posing a major political dilemma for Moon (Jae-in).”
The article triggered a huge backlash from conservative politicians in Seoul who, in return, urged President Moon Jae-in to sack his advisor immediately.
An official associated with President House known as Blue House or Cheong Wa Dae, said, “We don’t want unnecessary confusion to be created.” He indicated the need for Seoul to take a cautious stance at a critical moment when the outcome of the inter-Korean summit should lead to the successful outcome of the Trump-Kim summit for complete denuclearization of the peninsula.
Korea Times reports that after Kim Jong-un expressed his intention to discard his nuclear weapons, conservative politicians in Seoul and some Korean affairs experts abroad voiced the opinion that the North Korean leader may want the withdrawal of the US forces in return.
The South Korean official said that Washington has not made any comment about the US Forces Korea (USFK). He added the leaders of the two Koreas also did not talk about this issue during their summit.
He further said, “We believe the USFK are needed (even after a peace treaty is signed) as a mediator in the military configuration of regional powers including China and Japan.” The official said that President’s office is not considering stripping Moon Chung-in of his special advisor status.
Korea Times reports that his is not the first time the presidential office has given warning to Moon Chung-in, Presidential advisor on security and reunification, for expressing his opinion different from the Moon Jae-in government.
Prior to the summit between US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Moon Chung-in, while speaking in a seminar in Washington said that the joint military drills may be scaled down and the frequency of the dispatch of US strategic assets to the peninsula may be reduced if North Korea stops its nuclear and missile programs.
Moon Chang-in was told to refrain from making such comments, which it viewed would not help improve Seoul-Washington relations.