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Moon Jae-in administration's post-election N. Korea policy Updated: 2020-04-20 20:45:31 KST

The 2020 parliamentary elections are now done and over which means the Moon Jae-in administration has passed its midway mark.
With a landslide victory for President Moon and his ruling party coalition, it's time for the administration to speed up various policies on its agenda to completed in the remaining two years.
One of this administration's key policy pillars have been the Korean Peninsula Peace Process which have been at a standstill ever since the North Korea, U.S. summit in Hanoi ended without much outcome and more recently due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Inter-Korean relations post-election victory: It's the topic of our New In-depth tonight with Go Myong-hyun, Research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies to my left and to my right, Bernhard Seliger, resident representative at Hanns Seidel Foundation.

Thank you, gentlemen, for joining us.

Slowly yet firmly, the Moon Jae-in administration appears to be picking up speed in pushing forward with various inter-Korean projects.
First and foremost, this past weekend, Seoul's presidential Blue House announced that President Moon held a phone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump during which they reaffirmed their stance to provide COVID-19 related humanitarian assistance to North Korea.
Are we witnessing President Moon laying the groundwork for public health cooperation with North Korea?

During the latest Supreme People's Assembly, we saw North Korea increase its budget on public health. It's also speeding up construction of Pyongyang General Hospital.
It appears as though the Kim Jong-un regime is definitely much more focused now on public health than before.

The National Unification Advisory Council held a roundtable yesterday. Listen in.

The National Unification Advisory Council Roundtable
"The most important decision made by North Korea during its latest ruling party politburo is placing utmost priority on creating a national emergency quarantine system. In other words, North Korea's top priority has shift to public health. Its change in policy is that the regime seeks to protect the lives and security of the people. There will be a way for inter-Korea relations if we find a revolutionary idea in public health and medical cooperation. We can find and shift to a new agenda for cooperation."

Do you believe this is because the coronavirus is rampant, contrary to what the regime claims, in North Korea?

What are some of the most plausible and most effective inter-Korean projects that the two Koreas can engage in at this point in the area of public health?

Then came news yesterday that South Korea plans to exempt a railway construction project from preliminary feasibility study to jump-start the long-stalled reconnection project of inter-Korea railways.
What does this mean? What are you reading into this?

President Moon's special adviser for security and Korean reunification Moon Chung-in said yesterday that he expects North Korea to respond to South Korea's offer for cross-border cooperation in May or June. What are your thoughts?

Then, came reports today that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently underwent heart surgery and continues to recuperate from the procedure at a villa outside of Pyongyang.
CNN briefly reported that the 36 year old had been critical condition which the South Korean government said there have been no particular signs from the North to indicate he was gravely ill.
What are your thoughts?

Giving these speculation more weight is the fact that he was absent when Pyeongyang fired multiple short-range missiles last week and did not take part in low-key commemorations for Kim Il-sung's anniversary, a national holiday known as the Day of the Sun, on 15 April.

How do you believe the North Korean leader's health will affect inter-Korean relations?

As the Moon administration makes a turn around the midway mark, how do you believe the Moon administration will steer its North Korea policy?

Go Myong-hyun, Research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies to my left and to my right, Bernhard Seliger, resident representative at Hanns Seidel Foundation.
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