South Korean President Moon Jae-in will kick off his week-long tour of Europe today, visiting France, Belgium, the Vatican and Denmark.
Relations between South Korea and the EU are extensive, largely due to their shared democratic ideals and significant trading partnership. Topping the agenda of Moon’s visit will likely be North Korea—a subject on which Europe largely shares the views of the United States, especially regarding nuclear disarmament.
However, given the Trump administration’s unwillingness to budge on sanctions, expect the South Korean President to seek more sympathy in Europe. He will also extend an invitation from Kim Jong-un to the Pope. While the EU has officially stated sanctions would remain until denuclearisation, without concessions the other way, progress may be impossible.
Unless North Korea can further demonstrate its commitment to disarmament by a formal agreement or more demolitions of nuclear sites, however, an official policy change is unlikely, as is a visit from the Pope. Instead, expect Moon’s arguments to fall on deaf ears until a second summit between Kim and Trump clears the negotiations’ muddied waters.
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Taylor provides insight into trade and technology, with a particular focus on North America and the Asia Pacific. He also serves as a copy editor on The Daily Brief.