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S. Korea, U.S. Japan Alliance as Tensions Rise in Inter-Korean Relations Updated: 2020-09-24 15:35:10 KST

A South Korean fisheries official who went missing this week was questioned in North Korean waters before being shot dead by troops who then doused his body in oil and set it on fire.
That's according to the South Korean government today.
The nation's top office strongly condemned Pyeongyang for its extreme violation of human rights earlier this afternoon.
North Korea's killing of a South Korean civilian comes as President Moon Jae-in less than 48 hours ago, sought international community's support for an end-of-war declaration on the Korean Peninsula in efforts to resuscitate the stalled North Korea, U.S. denuclearization talks and inter-Korean ties.
Meanwhile, local media here in South Korea reports U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Seoul early October roughly a month left until the U.S. presidential election.

Rising tensions in this part of the world. It's the topic of our News In-depth.
Live in the studio with us is Min Jeong-hun, Professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy and later in the show, Sean King, VP of Park Strategies and Northeast Asia scholar joins us from New York.

Professor Min, welcome to the show.

Let me begin by asking you about this possible visit by U.S. Secretary Mike Pompeo to South Korea in early October - October 7th is the date that's been reported by local media. We know that he's also expected to pay visit the new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in Tokyo.
Now, October 7th - that would be less than a month away from the November 3rd election.
What would possibly be Mike Pompeo's motivation behind this Seoul/Tokyo trip?

President Moon, in his address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, that was early Wednesday morning here in Korea, proposed launching a regional cooperation involving Japan, China, Mongolia and the two Koreas on infectious diseases to bring the reclusive state into the international community.
I suppose with the latest killing of a South Korean civilian by North Korean troops, it may be difficult for Seoul to lead such initiative.
But, is this kind of cooperation something Seoul and Japan could work together considering the bilateral relations have been at a low between former Prime Minister Abe and President Moon?

Let's now turn for some perspective from the U.S.
We're joined live by Sean King, VP of Park Strategies and longtime analyst of Northeast Asia.

Sean, thanks for joining us .

Let me ask you, Sean. How is this latest piece of news of - North Korean killing of a South Korean civilian and setting the body on fire - being received stateside?

Meanwhile, President Moon Jae-in took the UN stage on Tuesday to urge world leaders to declare an official end to the 70 year long conflict on the Korean Peninsula.
With none of the signatories of the Armistice Agreement, showing interest to this proposal so far and with this latest development on inter-Korean front, how feasible is an end-of-war declaration at this point?

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will likely visit South Korea next month, on October 7th, for two days on his way to Japan to meet the new prime minister.
Number one, what in your view, could be Pompeo's motivation behind the South Korea visit? Is there an "October surprise" of some sort - a surprise meeting between Trump and Kim, perhaps - in the making?

We expect Pompeo to stress trilateral alliance now more than ever. What's your forecast of bilateral relations between Seoul and Tokyo and Seoul, Washington, Tokyo relations under President Moon and Prime Minister Suga?

Professor Min, what kind of a response do we expect from North Korea regarding this latest killing at sea? How about from the international community - as rightfully pointed out by Seoul's presidential Blue House, this is a severe violation of human rights, is it not?

Will this in any shape or form impact the possibility of North Korea launching a provocation before the November 3rd presidential election in the U.S.? Will Pyeongyang's provocation work in favor or against President Trump?

Min Jeong-hun, Professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, many thanks for your insights this evening. We appreciate it.

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