S. Korea's next leader faces 'urgent consultations' with U.S. on N. Korea: source

November 2, 2012 10:36 am 

By Lee Chi-dong

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 — The winner of South Korea's presidential elections in December is expected to push for "early consultations" with the U.S. administration, either Democratic or Republican, on ways to deal with North Korea, an informed source here said Thursday.

"It's important (for the two sides) to have close consultations at an early date, in January or February, on North Korea," the source said on the condition of anonymity. "It is urgent to draw up a new game plan as North Korea seeks denuclearization talks only with the U.S."

The source cited the possibility of a mismatch between the allies in their approach toward North Korea.

If re-elected, President Barack Obama is expected to continue a policy of so-called strategic patience with Pyongyang, with his second term likely to remain tied up with other pending issues at home and in the Middle East, according to the source.

Many expect the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, if he takes office, to get tough on North Korea.

On the other hand, all three main presidential candidates in South Korea — Park Geun-hye from the conservative ruling party and Moon Jae-in and Ahn Chul-soo, both from the liberal bloc — have strongly indicated efforts to engage the communist nation, a more flexible policy than that of the Lee Myung-bak administration.

The source emphasized that should Seoul's new government make a quick and proper game plan based on close partnerships with the U.S. it will be able to take the initiative in handling the North Korea issue.(PNA/Yonhap)

FFC/JNC

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