In a matter of hours from now, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States of America.
He has a far-reaching set of plans for his first one hundred days, but must also grapple with narrow Democratic majorities in Congress and an unsettled country as he seeks to roll back some of his Republican predecessor's policies and curb the pandemic.
Of course, for those of us on the Korean peninsula, the Biden administration's Korean peninsula especially North Korea policy remains a key interest.
Against this backdrop, South Korean President Moon Jae-in today nominated his former national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong as the country's next foreign minister.
Remember Chung played a bridging role in an unprecedented summit between North Korea and the U.S. in 2018.
Let's go in-depth in Reading Between North Korean Lines with Dr. Go Myong-hyun.
Midway into the show, we'll connect with Dr. Stephen Noerper, Senior Director of the Korea Society for his thoughts, as well.
Dr. Go, great to see you this week.
First thing first. President Moon's nomination of the 74-year-old ex-diplomat, ex-politician, ex-NSC director five months after he retired as his top security adviser.
Your thoughts? How do you see this being received by the incoming Biden administration as well as the Kim Jong-un leadership in the North?
Chung had sought to mediate between Pyeongyang and Washington but some Korean peninsula observers were critical of him saying he misled both sides about the potential for agreement after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump failed to reach a deal at their second summit in Hanoi in 2019. Would you agree with this?
At the New Year's press conference earlier this week, President Moon suggested North Korea, U.S. dialogue could pick up pace if restarted from the point of the Singapore declaration, building on the progress Donald Trump made with Kim Jong-un.
How realistic is this?
President Moon also said he'd be willing to talk with Pyeongyang about the South Korea, U.S. joint drills, a point of contention between the two Koreas that recently resurfaced when Kim Jong-un reportedly complained about them at North Korea's January 2021 Party Congress. Do you expect Seoul and Washington to use this card to negotiate with Pyeongyang?
Let's now turn for some more perspective. We have Dr. Stephen Noerper joining us live from New York. Stephen, thanks for joining us tonight.
First of all, I'd like to ask you how you expect the Biden administration will take its North Korea policy based on the President-elect's national security and foreign policy team picks.
Do you think they will be compatible with President Moon's national security team here and his new foreign minister pick Chung Eui-yong in not only bilateral affairs but also and particularly in dealing with North Korea?
Biden's pick for Secretary of State Tony Blinken said the Biden administration plans to review its entire North Korean policy and approach and expressed consideration of humanitarian assistance to the North. What is your interpretation of this?
Could this be the olive branch that the U.S. is offering before applying pressure on North Korea to come to the negotiating table?
Dr. Stephen Noerper, Senior Director of the Korea Society and adjunct professor at Columbia University thank you for speaking with us tonight. We appreciate it, Stephen.
Obviously, all things considered, North Korea and Korean peninsula issues cannot be at the top of the new president's agenda. Do we expect North Korea to make a move so as to make sure it's not kept on the back burner?
As North Korea watches Donald Trump, the only U.S. president ever to meet, to have had a personal relationship with a North Korean leader leave the White House and Joe Biden get sworn into office later tonight, what's going through the mind of Kim Jong-un and his foreign policy aides?
Dr. Go Myong-hyun, our very own senior North Korea analyst, many thanks for your insights and expertise, as always. We appreciate it.