South Korea and the U.S. appear to be increasingly stressing the importance of their strong military alliance.
This, despite their ups and downs over the termination of the Seoul-Tokyo GSOMIA, on top of the contentious military issues that lie ahead of them.
North Korea and China, meanwhile, have recently reaffirmed their friendship and now much attention is being drawn to whether
Kim Jong-un will visit China next month to mark the 70th anniversary of establishing ties with Beijing.
Today, we go in-depth on the current status of the South Korea-U.S. alliance and regional affairs surrounding the two Koreas with Dr. Min Jeong-hun, Professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy.
1. In contrast to its previous claims of 'disappointment' over South Korea' decision to terminate GSOMIA, the U.S. appears to be putting its focus back on the strong South Korea-U.S. alliance.
U.S. Forces Korea Commander, Gen. Robert Abrams has attended the Seoul Defense Dialogue, becoming the first USFK Commander to do so in the history of the multilateral forum, while U.S. Ambassador Harry Harris stressed that the U.S.-South Korea alliance is the "foundation for peace and prosperity" on the peninsula and throughout the region. How do you see Washington's latest stance?
2. Chinese Foreign minister Wang Yi made a visit to North Korea this week where he held talks with top North Korean diplomats. During his stay he emphasized close China-North Korea ties and their common interests. Could his visit have affected Washington's stance?
3. The South Korean government, after holding a National Security Council meeting, said it will push for an early return of remaining U.S. military bases. It cited the difficulties that local communities go through as the main reason, but why do you think the government is pushing for an early return?
4. Pending military issues lie ahead between Seoul and Washington. And this month, the 11th round of defense cost-sharing talks will officially begin. How do you expect the negotiations to play out?
5. Another hot button military issue between Seoul and Washington is the transfer of wartime operational control. The two sides are reportedly at odds over the operational authority of the UN Commander over the South Korean military after the OPCON transfer. Your thoughts?
6. Much attention was drawn to whether Chinese FM Wang Yi would sit down with Kim Jong-un but that didn't happen, at least according to North Korean media. Many believe Wang Yi's main focus was to set the stage for a possible North Korea-China summit next month to mark the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China, as well as the establishment of Pyeongyang-Beijing diplomatic ties. How do you analyze his trip to the North?
7. Amid stalled nuclear talks between North Korea and the U.S., President Trump has once again brought up North Korea's economic growth potential. How do you interpret his remarks? It's not the first time Trump brought attention to North Korea's growth potential.
8. North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho will not attend the upcoming UN General Assembly while the North has told the UN to cut international aid staff in Pyeongyang. Possible motives behind these moves?