Seoul, South Korea. The man set to be South Korea’s next President has his own ideas about how to run and defend South Korea, and they do not include the United States telling Korea how to run their country.
The people of South Korea are on the brink of electing a new president with distinctly different ideas from the Trump administration on how to handle North Korea, complicating efforts to punish Kim Jong Un’s regime from the American worldview.
Barring a major upset, Moon will become South Korea’s president Tuesday, replacing Park Geun-hye, who was arrested in March and is now on trial for bribery. Because Park was arrested while in office, Moon will immediately become president if elected, without the usual transition period.
Moon fears that the United States government has been acting to box him in on a controversial American missile defense system and circumvent South Korea’s democratic process. “I don’t believe the US has the intention to influence our election but I do have some reservations,” Moon said to reporters
Potential President Moon plans to review the Park government’s decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, antimissile system, the US military has acted swiftly to park in his country with no national agreement.This has sparked widespread criticism here that America is trying to make it difficult, if not impossible, for Moon to reverse it.
Missile components for THAAD were taken onto the site in the middle of the night last week, triggering protests, and the system became operational Monday. It is designed to shoot down North Korean missiles but many in South Korea fear it will make them more of a target. It has already caused South Korea to lose billions of dollars in Chinese tourist dollars, now going elsewhere after the decision.
In a move that shocked South Koreans, President Trump last week and said he would make Seoul pay $1 billion for the missile system, despite an agreement that South Korea provides the land and the US supplies and operates the system.