August 13, 2022

Expert roundup: What Yoon Suk-yeol’s win means for inter-Korean relations

Analysts expect Seoul to move closer to Washington and more missile tests from Pyongyang

Yoon Suk-yeol’s victory on Wednesday sets the stage for big changes to Seoul’s inter-Korean policy, experts say, as the new conservative president will usher in a more hawkish posture toward North Korea that is less prone to engagement than the Moon Jae-in government. 

On the campaign trail, Yoon’s tougher line toward Pyongyang drew international attention. He framed North Korea as the “main enemy” of the South and repeatedly endorsed preemptive strikes against DPRK targets in certain situations. He’s also firmly against an end-of-war declaration at the present time, an initiative endorsed by both Moon Jae-in and Yoon’s primary election opponent Lee Jae-myung.