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Dangers to avoid amid Olympic thaw

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By Stephen Costello

There are dangers to beware of as President Moon Jae-in tries to incorporate the North Korean initiative into his partly-formed structure for a new engagement, tension-reduction and development strategy.

The conservative press in South Korea is aghast at the boldness of the new group, which contrasts starkly with the outdated, subservient and counter-productive policies of Lee Myung-bak and Park Guen-hye. Moon's caution and the contradictory elements of his approach to foreign affairs have provided opportunities for criticism.

In the U.S., both the administration and the conservative mainstream on these issues are warning that the PyeongChang Olympics could drive a wedge between the allies and relieve the military pressure, diplomatic isolation and economic strangulation that constitute the only tools the Trump administration can use.

The line is that these pressures are "finally working." More than a decade of fearing diplomacy and relying instead on coercion toward North Korea has had these deep and wide impacts on journalists, policy specialists and the public in both South Korea and the U.S.

In addition, the continuing revelations of government corruption and all-out ideological warfare in the South that are now daily front-page news reveal that the previous decade included a 1950s' mind-set, and that scholars, journalists and others were blacklisted for ideological reasons.

On the other hand, modern South Korea has a strong civil society and a history of activism, and its people know far more about nasty and........

© The Korea Times