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As Everyone Was Watching France a China-Friendly Pragmatist Won in South Korea

Things just got very inconvenient for US sabre rattling in the Far East

South Koreans are voting today in their presidential election. The polls will close in a few hours and doubtlessly Moon Jae-in, who led the polls for months now, will be proclaimed the winner. Moon competes against twelve other candidates but South Korea presidential elections are decided in a single round.

The son of North Korean refugees who settled in the South, Moon wants to attempt another round of "Sunshine policy" towards North Korea which was pursued between 1998 and 2008. Indeed he already worked on the policy between 2003 and 2008 when he was the presidential aide and then chief of staff of the then president Roh Moo-hyun.

He has also said he wants to reconsider the US deployment of THAAD anti-missile system on the Korean peninsula. This prompted Pentagon to rush the deployment and finish installing it just days before elections, among widespread protests, to try and box Moon in. 

Being a politician Moon may yet go back on THAAD but if so it won't be a popular choice. Just 34% South Koreans want it, with 51% opposed. Opposition is even greater on the left where Moon draws his support from. 

In the run up to today's elections Moon got an unlikely boost from the delusional Trump who suggested South Koreans – who don't want THAAD in the first place – should pay the US for it.

Nonetheless, aside from wanting to restore normal relations and trade with North Korea, Moon wants to have the same with China. If so, actually reconsidering THAAD would go a long way, since Beijing has been furious with Seoul for allowing it. In fact, because of THAAD Beijing has subjected South Korea to a series of undeclared economic sanctions.

In short, Moon talks the talk, and today he'll become the leader of South Korea. If he also has a spine this is bad news indeed for the Empire:

When it comes to the presidential election in South Korea on Tuesday, the general expectation is that the conservative forces who have ruled the country most of the time may be facing a rout. Ironically, both the main contenders are politicians from the progressive left. The likely winner could be Moon Jae In of the Democratic Party. It is a historic moment for the progressives in South Korean politics.

The progressives are not particularly enamoured of the ROK’s alliance with the United States and they root for constructive engagement with North Korea. They are lukewarm about the deployment of the US’ ABM system in South Korea and they would foster friendly ties with China. Moon’s victory will almost certainly slam the door shut on any military option against North Korea for the Trump administration. Curiously, Trump’s dependence on China may only increase.

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