|President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump walk to the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, D.C., Thursday local time. AP-Yonhap|
By Park Ji-won
Most political parties welcomed the outcome of President Moon Jae-in's summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in terms of reaffirming the U.S.-South Korea alliance in tackling the North Korean nuclear threat and other issues of mutual interest.
But the main opposition denounced the summit for ending without any substantial diplomatic achievements.
The ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) said the Washington summit made "great progress" in terms of reaffirming the joint goal of the North's denuclearization, promising full cooperation for Moon to become a "top negotiator" in the peace-making process.
"The two leaders reaffirmed they are in the same position over the final goal of the denuclearization of the North," DPK spokesman Lee Hae-sik said in a statement, Friday.
"We consider that Moon was able to sympathize with Trump by suggesting a comprehensive agreement and step-by-step implementation, which has merged the U.S. stance of a comprehensive and big deal and the North's approach of a step-by-step and small deal.
"The two countries shared the understanding that the so-called top-down diplomacy is essential to move forward the ongoing peace-making process on the Korean Peninsula and signaled that this strategic rapprochement will be working in the future as well."
Lee said the DPK would make efforts to help Moon hold another successful inter-Korean summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and broker a third North-U.S. summit.
Therefore, those meetings would be a cornerstone in achieving a final and verifiable denuclearization and lasting peace on the peninsula.
At the Moon-Trump summit, Moon said he would continue to boost bilateral cooperation in further advancing the denuclearization process. President Moon also suggested a third summit between Washington and Pyongyang to get nuclear diplomacy back on track.
The progressive Justice Party and the minor opposition Party for Democracy and Peace largely echoed the DPK's approach over the summit, expressing hope for peace on the peninsula. Another minor opposition Bareunmirae Party (BMP) also welcomed the outcome of the Moon-Trump summit, although the party asked the ruling DPK to suggest measures to narrow existing differences between Seoul and Washington for further development in nuclear talks.
"Seoul is now tasked with taking the right position after considering the U.S.' stance," the BMP said in a statement.
But unsurprisingly, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) lashed out at President Moon, accusing the President of representing North Korea, which it believes reduces the possibility of denuclearization.
"I am worried about the summit outcome because it showed different views over the North's denuclearization between Seoul and Washington, causing concerns over the allies' cooperation," LKP Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn said in a statement.
"It appears the North's denuclearization became more difficult. Moon said he will push for another inter-Korean summit … Moon shouldn't be representing the North's stance."
LKP floor leader Rep. Na Kyung-won also criticized Moon for failing to persuade the U.S. to back the South's "good enough deal" saying the summit was sloppy and aimed to build a groundwork for the inter-Korean summit.
"I am disappointed by the diplomacy that is aimed at engaging with the North," Na added.
Following the failure of the Hanoi summit in late February, Seoul has been pushing for a "good enough deal" as an alternative to revive momentum for talks aimed at dismantling the North's nuclear program.
The initiative underlines a "couple of stages deal," under which the U.S. and the North move on to the next stage and continue developing negotiations, as long as they reach a "good enough" agreement in the previous phase. Washington, meanwhile, wants a "big deal" that contains specific denuclearization steps.