APLN Vice Chair Chung-in Moon spoke at a Brussels Press Club event co-hosted with the Korean Cultural Center: ‘Between Alliance and Strategic Partner: US-China rivalry and South Korea’s strategic choice’. Watch his interview with the EU Reporter below:
Europe has recently brought its relationship with the Indo-Pacific to the fore presenting an EU Indo-Pacific strategy, at the same time tensions between Europe and the United States developed over the AUKUS pact, when Australia snubbed France in favour of a US, UK and Australia deal to provide nuclear-powered submarines, has put the region in the spotlight and raised fears of an arms race and a Cold War like situation developing vis-a-vis China.
EU Reporter spoke to Chung-in Moon about the risks in the region. Dr Moon is the Chair of the prestigious Sejong Institute and vice chair of the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament. Moon has raised concern about a nuclear domino effect in the region, following a rocky recent years: “It’s like a roller coaster, sometimes relations are good, then they turn bad. In 2017 we saw crisis and escalation, then we had a sudden breakthrough, and two summits between the leaders of North and South Korea, and South Korea was able to mediate between Pyongyang and Washington. Therefore, I would say that the year 2018 was the year of hope and peace. Then 2019, President Trump, who had the summit meeting with his counterpart Chairman Kim Jong Un in Hanoi in February 2018, where the meeting went badly, leading to a situation of stalemate. I would say that the current state on the Korean peninsula is a period of stalemate and quasi crisis.”
There has been great concern at the DPRK’s nuclear testing and the firing of 15 ballistic missiles, including Hwasung-15, an intercontinental ballistic missile.
While South Korea (ROK) has been prudent preferring to settle disputes through diplomacy, there is growing public support in favour of independent nuclear weapons. This is also the case in Japan where nuclear for non-civil purposes has long been a taboo, politicians and opinion leaders are increasingly considering this as a possible option.
Asked what the EU could do to be of help, Dr Moon said that the EU could play a very important role in resolving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. The EU could improve its diplomatic relations with North Korea and persuade North Korea to engage in dialogue and negotiation at the same time. Moon says that the EU could also play a very important role in mitigating the rising tension between Beijing and Washington: “If there is a new Cold War between the United States and China, it will have catastrophic outcomes. Instead of taking sides, it is very important for the EU to play the role of preventing any major confrontation between the two big powers.
“Finally, I’ve been emphasizing that we have a lot to learn from Europe, European experience. Europe has been very, very successful in promoting multilateral security cooperation efforts. countries in our part of the world want to learn from Europe, on how to build security, how to build peace and how to strengthen confidence building measures.”
Dr Moon was speaking at a Brussels Press Club event co-hosted with the Korean Cultural Center: ‘Between Alliance and Strategic Partner: US-China rivalry and South Korea’s strategic choice’.