South Korean President Park, in the US to meet with Obama, has made it clear that she sees her toughness as part of a “trust politik” that would allow for renewed dialogue with the North.
North Korea is in a “provocation pause,” the Pentagon said Tuesday, but that is not stopping the United States and South Korea from displaying a united front toward the North’s belligerence and growing nuclear threat.
It just may be, however, that the goal of the tough unity – on display at the White House Tuesday as President Obama greeted South Korean President Park Geun-hye – is to pave the way to renewed dialogue between the two Koreas at some point down the road.
At a White House press conference Mr. Obama said Pyongyang had “failed again” with its recent nuclear provocations to split the US and South Korea – two countries celebrating 60 years of alliance with President Park’s visit – and that the North can no longer scare the region and the world into bowing to its demands.
“The days when North Korea could create a crisis and elicit concessions, those days are over,” Obama said.
For her part, Park set the tone for the first foreign trip of her presidency with pre-departure vows of swift and more-than-commensurate military response to any North Korean attack.
But Park, who took office in February just two weeks after the North’s third nuclear test, has also made it clear that she sees her toughness as part of a “trust politik” that would allow for renewed dialogue with the North.