Korea Passing

Korea Passing (코리아 패싱) is a neologism for the phenomenon of the Republic of Korea being alienated from the international community in the course of discussions on North Korea in 2017.[1]

The origin and using of Korea PassingEdit

In 2017 discussion for presidential candidate, Yoo Seung-min, the Bareun Party candidate, mentioned the 'Korea passing'. Yoo argued Korea is isolated at diplomatic relation between global society.[2] The term derives from Bill Clinton visiting only China without visiting Japan in 1998, which the Japanese media called the 'Japan passing', signifying "Japan's alienation from the global society." In early 2017, 'Korea passing' emerged as a diplomatic keyword in relation to the situation facing South Korea.[3][1]


Originally, 'passing' is Japlish, and the correct English expression is a 'cold-shoulder'. Also, some point out that it is more of a 'Konglish' that each country's government will not use. However, major U.S. media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Fox News, mentioned Korea passing as a new term related to the situation in South Korea.[4][5]


United StatesEdit

South Korea-U.S. Friction on North Korea and THAADEdit

Park Geun-hye was impeached in March 2017, and there was a high probability that Moon Jae-in, who is more friendly to North Korea, would win the upcoming election. The Trump administration was concerned that the incoming South Korean government would be passive in imposing strong sanctions on North Korea.[6][7]

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula escalated when North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test in September 2017 after firing several ballistic missiles in April 2017. In response, the Trump administration has stepped up sanctions and pressure on North Korea. Moon Jae-in administration, who took office at the same time, ensured the safety of the North Korean regime.[7][8]

Also, the administration formulated a policy that resume Kaesong Industrial Complex and Mount Kumgang tour for consolidating an economic cooperation with North Korea. Therefore, conflicts between Korea and the United States have emerged in earnest in this regard.[8]

Donald Trump got in touch with Shinzo Abe right after North Korea fired ballastic missile, but did not reach ojt to Moon Jae-in. In this point, controversy was flared up more about Korea passing.[9][10] On the one hand, Moon Jae-in posed a question about transparency in deployment of the THAAD in Korean territory. And the conflict over the THAAD deployment deepened as the U.S. Department of Defense refuted the question.[11]

U.S. side reactionEdit

The New York Times stirred up the controversy by claiming that South Korea will be 'odd man out' due to differences in North Korea policy at the Korea-U.S. and Japan summit on September 21, 2017. Then Donald Trump visited South Korea on November 7, and conducted a press conference with Moon Jae-in. Donald Trump made a comment "Korea is very important countries,", "there will be no exclude," and denied the 'Korea passing'. However, conservative opposition parties insisted Trump's comment is typical diplomatic rhetoric, and the controversy about 'Korea passing' will continue because there was no agreement.[12]

Right after the US-South Korea summit, Donald Trump appreciated Moon Jae-in's cooperation to resolute North Korea problem and spoke there were several progress. But, the Wall Street Journal pointed out Moon jae-in's policy of Kaesong Industrial Complex, THAAD problem with China and they said, Moon Jae-in is 'unreliable friend' It was suggesting that US society was still negatively they rated the Moon Jae-in administration.[13]

Controversy between South Korea and the U.S. during the North Korea-U.S. summit.Edit

On May 19, 2018, Donald Trump called to Moon Jae-in when right before Moon Jae-in visited US and asked why there is difference Moon Jae-in's pledge and North Korea's stance about denuclearization. And, Donald Trump has expressed discomfort.[14]

Trump also kept a stiff look on his face during the May 22 summit between South Korea and the U.S. In addition, Trump unilaterally had most press conference peremptorily and scaled back existing an exclusive interview. Trump was questioned a total of 28 questions, Moon Jae-in had only two opportunity to reply.

Trump refused the interpreter to Moon Jae-in's last reply unilaterally, he said " I'm sure that's what I've heard before, so I don't have to listen to an interpreter.".[15]

On May 24, Trump announced the cancellation of the 2018 North Korea-U.S. Summit, which was scheduled for June, without notice to the Republic of Korea. Blue House belatedly received the news of the cancellation through Twitter.[16]

Related to this, controversy over 'Korea passing' has resurfaced. Hong Jun-pyo, who was delegatee of Liberty Korea Party, made mention of 'Korea passing', and contended Moon Jae-in administration is excluded from North Korea-U.S. summit negotiation. Then, he added the success of negotiation is up to U.S. and China.[17][18]

On June 30, 2019, when 2019 Koreas–United States DMZ Summit was held, Trump didn't want Moon to join him according to John Bolton's book.[19]


China To abandon the debate of the Republic of Korea after the inauguration of the Moon Jae-in administration also flared up.[20]

Conflict between South Korea and China over the THAAD deploymentEdit

Moon Jae-in Sade to determine the additional deployment is president, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi 'This decision is sprinkled with cold water on relations between the two countries.' protest. In addition, China, Xi Jinping said 'Moon Jae-in deceived us.' and sad as he complained.[20][21] On October 31, 2017, South Korea and China released a joint document containing 'results of consultation between the two countries on improving relations' to normalize their relations.[21] In the process, China touted that South Korea promised not to do three things: deploy additional THAAD, participate in the U.S. missile defense system, and cooperate with South Korea, the U.S., and Japan.[22][21] This led to a controversy over Korea's diplomatic humiliation. China did not express its regret over the THAAD retaliation or prevent a recurrence, and stressed that exchanges between South Korea and China can be normalized as soon as possible by keeping the "Not-doing 3 Things" promise, leaving the possibility that the issue could spark in the future.[23]

North KoreaEdit

North Korean policy changed after the launch of the government's Moon Jae-in. The South Korean government has continually proposed military talks, Red Cross talks and requests for the North to participate in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, but North Korea has been unresponsive for some time, causing controversy.[9]

But North Korea's participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics has been sputtering after its top leader Kim Jong-un signaled his intention to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in his New Year's message for 2018. Since then, there has been a flurry of inter-Korean relations, even after the successful inter-Korean summit in April 2018, but the dispute over the Korea Passing has flared up again due to conflicts over denuclearization and the North's unilateral disregard for the South Korean side.[24]

North Korea unilaterally called off scheduled high-level talks between South Korea and the United States, denouncing the joint South Korea-U.S. exercise "Max Thunder" in a strong tone and condemning the defection of Thae Yong-ho, a former British construction worker in North Korea's state, as "human scum."[25]

In June 2020, North Korea blew up an inter-Korean joint liaison office.[26]


In Japan, it has been recognized that ignore politely is the best way to deal with Moon Jae-in's administration.[27] And in defense white paper, Defense of japan 2019, Japan gave South Korea cold shoulder as security partner by lowering South Korea's standing.[28][29] Since 2018, the legal foundation of the friendly and cooperative relationship between two countries had overthrown. The legal foundation is "Agreement on the Settlement of Problems concerning Property and Claims and on Economic Co-operation between Japan and the Republic of Korea". Under this severe situation surrounding the relationship caused by the South Korea side, the government of Japan is waiting for South Korea to resolve this internationally illegal situation.[30]

On the South Korea side, controversy erupted over Korea Passing when it was failed to arrange a summit meeting with Japan during the period of 2019 G20 Osaka summit.[31][32] A former Korean minister of foreign affairs, Gong Ro-myung, criticized the Korean government for acting like amateurs, leading Korea-Japan relations to deteriorate catastrophically and hit rock bottom politically and economically.[33]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Lyons, John. "In the North Korea Standoff, South Koreans Say, 'What About Us?'". WSJ. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  2. ^ "코리아 패싱 검색어 1위 왜?" ['Korea Passing' has been searched most. Why?]. 매일경제-Everyday Economics (in Korean). Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  3. ^ Fifield, Anna; Taylor, Adam (2017-11-03). "As Japan buddies up to Trump, South Korea frets it's being disrespected". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  4. ^ "[뉴스와 콩글리시] '운전자론' 무색하게 한 '코리아 패싱'" [[News and Konglish] Korea passing deprived the'Driver theory']. www.dt.co.kr (in Korean). Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  5. ^ "논란 된 '코리아 패싱' 콩글리시?···정부 "미국도 안 쓰는 용어"" [Is 'Korean Passing' Konglish? Government says 'The term isn't spoken by English.']. news.naver.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  6. ^ "트럼프의 대북 정책이 확정됐다" [Trump's North Korea policy has been cinfirmed]. 허프포스트코리아 [Huffingtonpost Korea] (in Korean). 2017-04-27. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  7. ^ a b "Exclusive: Trump administration weighing broad sanctions on North Korea - U.S. official". Reuters. 2017-03-21. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  8. ^ a b "[단독]"트럼프, 문재인 정부 대북지원에 불만… 한미FTA 폐기에 영향"" [[Exclusive] Trumph complains that Moon Jae-in doesn't do proper action to North Korea]. www.donga.com (in Korean). 2017-09-29. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  9. ^ a b "끝내 대답없는 북한… '코리아 패싱' 위기 앞에 선 문재인 정부" [North Korea doesn't answer... Moon Jae-in government's 'Korea Passing' crisis]. 한국일보 (in Korean). 2017-08-01. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  10. ^ "트럼프·아베, 文에 '지금이 그럴 때냐' 몰아붙여" [Trumph and Abe...'This is not the right time to do...."]. www.munhwa.com. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  11. ^ 수정 2017.06.23 11:31, 입력 2017 06 23 04:32 (2017-06-23). "[단독] 미 국방부, 문 대통령의 사드 주장을 반박" [U.S. Department of Defense refuted Moon's opinion]. 중앙일보 [Chung-ang Daily] (in Korean). Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  12. ^ Sang-Hun, Choe (2017-09-20). "South Korea's Leader Will Be Odd Man Out in Meeting With Trump and Shinzo Abe". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  13. ^ The Editorial Board. "South Korea's Bow to Beijing". WSJ. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  14. ^ "문 대통령에 전화한 트럼프, 왜 당신과 북 얘기 다른가 물어" [Trump asked Moon why they has different stance about North Korea]. 중앙일보 [Chung-ang Daily] (in Korean). 2018-05-21. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  15. ^ "Remarks by President Trump and President Moon of the Republic of Korea Before Bilateral Meeting". The White House. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  16. ^ "靑, 트럼프 미북정상회담 중단선언에 "상황 파악중"" [Blue house grasping of the situation about Trump's cessation daclarartion of U.S.-North Korea summit]. news.chosun.com (in Korean). 2018-05-24. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  17. ^ 사무처장, 이태경 헨리조지포럼 (2018-05-28). "트럼프의 마음을 돌린 문재인과 김정은" [Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un moved Trump's mind]. www.pressian.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  18. ^ "'한반도 운전자론' 힘 받았다…靑, 남북미 연쇄회동 대비" ['Korean peninsula theory' received strength, Blue House prepare the summit]. SBS NEWS (in Korean). 2018-05-01. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  19. ^ Sarah Kim (June 22, 2020). "Trump didn't want Moon in DMZ, writes Bolton". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  20. ^ a b "끝내 대답없는 북한… '코리아 패싱' 위기 앞에 선 문재인 정부" [There was no reply from North Korea... Moon Jae-in administration is in 'Korea passing' crisis]. 한국일보 [Hangook Daily] (in Korean). 2017-08-01. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  21. ^ a b c "한국, 사드 추가배치 포기하고 중국과 교류 정상화" [Korea renounced on the additional THAAD deployment, noamlization of exchange with China]. monthly.chosun.com (in Korean). 2017-11-01. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  22. ^ "3不은 對中 굴욕외교인가 체면 세워주기인가" [Is '3 ban' ploicy indignity or keeping China's face?]. news.kmib.co.kr (in Korean). 2017-11-03. Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  23. ^ "한중 '해빙'…'3불 약속' 불씨 남겨" [South Korea and China overcame the chill through a '3 ban' policy]. www.ichannela.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  24. ^ "문전박대 당한 南…'코리아패싱' 또다시 시작됐나" [Does 'Korea passing' started again?]. news.chosun.com (in Korean). 2018-05-22. Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  25. ^ 손병산. "고위급회담 취소…'맥스 선더'와 "인간쓰레기"" [The summit is canceled, "Max Thunder" and "Human Trash"]. MBC NEWS (in Korean). Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  26. ^ Choe Sang-Hun (June 16, 2020). "North Korea's Wrecking of Liaison Office a 'Death Knell' for Ties With the South". The New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  27. ^ Jiji Press (June 6, 2019). "Quote of the day: Polite ignorance could be the best way to deal with the administration of South Korean President Moon Jae-in". Japan Today. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  28. ^ "Defence of Japan 2019". MOD, Japan. 2019. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
  29. ^ Kyodo (August 10, 2019). "Japan to give South Korea cold shoulder as security partner in new defense white paper". The Japan Times. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  30. ^ "Failure of the Republic of Korea to comply with obligations regarding arbitration under the Agreement on the Settlement of Problems concerning Property and Claims and on Economic Co-operation between Japan and the Republic of Korea (Statement by Foreign Minister Taro Kono)" (Press release). MOFA, Japan. July 19, 2019. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  31. ^ NEWSIS (June 19, 2019). "손학규 "국제사회에서 韓 제대로 역할하는지 의문"" [Sohn Hak-kyu "It is questionable whether Korea plays a proper role in the international community."]. newsis (in Korean). Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  32. ^ "G20 한일정상회담 불발…靑 "日, 준비 안돼"" [G20 South Korea-Japan summit is canceled, Blue House "Japan is not ready yet"]. 연합뉴스TV [Yeon-hap News TV] (in Korean). June 25, 2019. Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  33. ^ "Korean gov't acted like amateurs, had it coming with Japan". Korea JoongAng Daily. August 15, 2019. Retrieved August 29, 2020.