South Korea’s likely next president asks the U.S. to respect its democracy

The Washington Post reports: South Korea is on the brink of electing a liberal president with distinctly different ideas than the Trump administration on how to deal with North Korea — potentially complicating efforts to punish Kim Jong Un’s regime.

He is also a candidate who fears that the U.S. government has been acting to box him in on a controversial American missile defense system and circumvent South Korea’s democratic process.

“I don’t believe the U.S. has the intention [to influence our election], but I do have some reservations,” Moon Jae-in told The Washington Post in an interview.

Barring a major upset, Moon will become South Korea’s president Tuesday, replacing Park ­Geun-hye, who was impeached in March and is on trial on bribery charges. Because Park was dismissed from office, Moon will immediately become president if elected, without the usual transition period.

With Moon pledging to review the Park government’s decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) antimissile system, the U.S. military has acted swiftly to get it up and running. This has sparked widespread criticism here that the United States is trying to make it difficult, if not impossible, for Moon to reverse it. [Continue reading…]

The Associated Press reports: The anger is palpable on a narrow road that cuts through a South Korean village where about 170 people live between green hills dotted with cottages and melon fields. It’s an unlikely trouble spot in the world’s last Cold War standoff.

Aging farmers in this corner of Seongju county, more than 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of the capital Seoul, spend the day sitting by the asphalt in tents or on plastic stools, watching vehicles coming and going from a former golf course where military workers are setting up an advanced U.S. missile-defense system.

“Just suddenly one day, Seongju has become the frontline,” said a tearful Park Soo-gyu, a 54-year-old strawberry farmer. “Wars today aren’t just fought with guns. Missiles will be flying and where would they aim first? Right here, where the THAAD radar is.” [Continue reading…]

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