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Moon will take office at a time of heightened tensions with North Korea.Of course, most Korean liberals recognize that North Korea is not East Germany, which never threatened West Germany or the United States with nuclear weapons. But Moon and his supporters nonetheless find it regrettable that conservative South Korean presidents since Lee Myung-bak did not maintain the Sunshine Policy, as Kohl had done with Ostpolitik. If they had, North Korea might have become more dependent on South Korea than on China, in which case U.S. and South Korean leaders would not have to plead constantly with China to rein in the North Korean regime.Moon has acknowledged that strong sanctions will be necessary to bring North Korea to the negotiating table. So his government will have no fundamental disagreement with the U.S., especially now that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that the U.S. is not seeking regime change in North Korea.After all, it was during the liberal Roh presidency that South Korea concluded the South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, allowed for U.S. troops to be redeployed within its borders, and dispatched its own troops to fight alongside the U.S. in Iraq.
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