South Korea has just elected a liberal president who favors rebuilding tattered relations with neighboring North Korea, which could signal a policy shift and mute heightened saber-rattling on the peninsula.
On the campaign trail Moon Jae-in promised to offer a more active diplomatic approach to North Korea centered around more open dialogue with Pyongyang.
Moon, a former human rights lawyer, won 41.4 percent of the vote on Tuesday.
The president-elect also said that he would not allow North Korea to advance its nuclear programme, while criticizing the last two governments for failing to stop its development, saying the hardline policy employed over the last decade has not worked.
Moon also campaigned on a National Interest First policy and wrote in a book, published in January, that South Korea should learn to say “no to America.”
Should South Korea employ a new approach with its northern neighbour, it could complicate the 2016 agreement between the US and Seoul to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system in the country.
“South Korea should be more independent from the United States because of its containment policy in North-East Asia, and also the United States wanted South Korea to be sort of a bulwark against communism, ” Simone Chun of the Korea Peace Network told RT.
“I think that perspective has to change, ” she continued.
“People are right now strongly demanding new policies and change, so there I think that the US should also take a different perspective… which means respecting sovereignty and giving more power to the new South Korean president to take the initiative.”
“South Korea can take initiative and be proactive in implementing new policy which can lead toward peace and stability in the Korean peninsula, ” added Chun.
Moon is replacing his predecessor Park Geun-hye who was impeached in March over corruption charges.