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PacNet #75 – Obama Visit to Seoul: Building a Better Vision

The “Joint Vision Statement” signed during South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s visit to Washington in June 2009 has set the stage for what promises to be a highly successful visit to Seoul by President Barack Obama later this week. Rather than rest upon the laurels of this joint pledge to establish “a durable peace on the Peninsula, leading to peaceful reunification on the principles of free democracy and a market economy,” the two presidents should build upon this vision by addressing three key points that the June statement missed: the future role of the alliance post-reunification; the respective ROK and U.S. roles when it comes to both denuclearization and the broader issue of Korean Peninsula peace and stability; and the identification of mid-term goals that would (or at least should) be acceptable to Pyongyang in charting a future path.