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Moon Jae-in calls for unity, vows THAAD talks with US, China

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Published : 2017-05-10 13:45
Updated : 2017-05-10 15:55

South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in vowed to unite a divided nation and become a president for everyone as he took his oath of office Wednesday.

“I will become a president who communicates with people at all times. I will yield the president’s imperial power to people as much as possible,” he said in his inauguration speech. 

President Moon Jae-in takes the oath of office during his inauguration ceremony at the National Assembly in Seoul on May 10, 2017. (Yonhap)

The oath-taking ceremony was held noon at the National Assembly in Seoul. Moon’s presidency began with the National Election Commission’s official declaration at 8 a.m. that he had won Tuesday’s by-election. It ended the monthslong leadership vacuum and political upheaval in South Korea, following the impeachment of conservative President Park Geun-hye.

In his speech, Moon sought cooperation with opposition parties to heal the political divide and push his agenda, adding that there was no victor or loser in this election.

“We should leave behind the heated competition, hold hands and move forward,” he said. “I will appoint personnel from all regions based on their abilities, regardless of whether they support me.”

On the diplomatic and security front, the liberal president said he would be willing to fly to Pyongyang under the right circumstances.

“If necessary, I will fly to Washington. I will go to Beijing and Tokyo and Pyongyang, under the right circumstances,” he said, signaling at his softer approach toward North Korea.

Moon also said that he would sincerely negotiate with the United States and China over the controversial deployment of a US-led anti-missile system here.

During his campaign, the liberal politician had said the deployment of THAAD, which has sparked backlash from China, must go through parliamentary ratification.

By Ock Hyun-ju (laeticia.ock@heradcorp.com)