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Tackling the nuclear problem

Dec 13,2017
Victor Cha, the Korea chair at the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and former White House National Security Council official, was nominated as the U.S. ambassador to South Korea. If he passes congressional confirmation, he would be filling the top envoy position at the U.S. embassy that has been vacant for nearly a year. The position of U.S. envoy in Seoul is critical at a time when the two allies must keep close communication to deal with increasing nuclear threats from North Korea.

Cha is well versed in North Korean affairs. He was the director for Asian affairs at the NSC in the George W. Bush administration. He would make the best candidate to represent Washington in the Korean Peninsula at a time when the North Korean regime is close to perfecting technologies for making intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of striking the U.S. mainland.

He would be the second U.S. envoy of Korean descent in Seoul. Although he represents U.S. interests, he would have a connection to Korea and help smooth out any differences between the two nations to better address the North Korean issue.

Cha champions a hawkish approach to North Korea. He believes strong actions like a secondary boycott and China suspending oil supplies to North Korea can help solve the nuclear conundrum. Therefore, we cannot rule out the possibility that he may collide with the Moon Jae-in administration, which favors a diplomatic solution over a hard-line approach.

But Cha is also known to be reasonable. In other words, he can reach an agreement if he remains in close communication with the liberal Seoul government. The Moon Jae-in administration must do all it can to help him settle in his new office as soon as possible as part of its efforts to strengthen bilateral ties with Washington.

JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 12, Page 38