DEFENCE Minister Kim Kwan-jin’s hawkish stance against North Korea has made him No. 1 target of Pyongyang’s propaganda machine. So President Park Geun-hye’s selection of Kim as head of the National Security Office Sunday seems to show that there will be little change in her North Korea policy, characterised so far by exerting pressure and waiting for the North’s changes. The appointment will be deeply disappointing for many Koreans, who hoped that the chief executive would become more positive and flexible in dealing with the North and other regional powers, including Japan, and employ people who can lead her in that direction.

... East Asia is becoming a stage of dizzy diplomatic games.... We doubt whether Kim, a former general who has handled little but military affairs throughout his entire career, will be able to orchestrate and coordinate the highly sophisticated job of mixing hard power and soft power, or military and diplomacy. ... — (June 2)

Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2014