[News Focus] Moon’s nuclear-free policy lauded but face technical hurdles

Moon Jae-in highlights cooperation, national security

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Published : 2017-05-10 16:21
Updated : 2017-05-10 18:33

President Moon Jae-in began his term on Wednesday, naming key aides and emphasizing national unity and transparency in government affairs.

In his inauguration speech at the National Assembly, Moon stressed cooperation with allies in resolving national security issues.

“May 10, 2017 will be recorded in history as the day true integration of the people began,” he said after taking an oath at the National Assembly at noon.

President Moon Jae-in (Yonhap)

He also touched on the issue of the president’s office holding too much authority, saying the culture of an authoritarian presidency will be addressed. Throughout his campaign, Moon stressed his plans to begin “the era of a Gwanghwamun presidency,” as part of which the presidential office would be moved from Cheong Wa Dae to the government complex in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul.

“The power of the president will be divided as much as possible. Organs of power will be made completely independent from politics.”

Moon’s first order of business as president was to make nominations for key government posts and to name presidential aides. Moon nominated South Jeolla Province Gov. Lee Nak-yon for the post of prime minister and Suh Hoon for the head of the National Intelligence Service.

Moon said that Lee’s nomination is the first step in his plans to establish a government that reaches across social divides. Lee hails from South Jeolla Province and Moon’s hometown is in South Gyeongsang Province.

The prime minister‘s post requires the National Assembly’s confirmation hearing and approval by a majority of lawmakers, while the appointment of the NIS job involves only the hearing, but no endorsement.

For his chief of staff, he named Im Jong-seok, and Ju Young-hoon as his chief of security.

Aside from filling key posts, Moon’s first action as president was to order the establishment of a presidential committee on job creation. The committee, which will oversee Moon’s plans to create 810,000 public sector jobs, will be chaired by the president.

President Moon Jae-in waves at people after his inauguration speech. (Yonhap)

Regarding national security issues, Moon took a harder tone, emphasizing defense capabilities and the Korea-US alliance.

Saying that he would quickly address the national security crisis, Moon said that he would work closely with concerned nations including China, Japan and the US. On the issue of visiting North Korea, Moon toned down his position, saying that he would do so if “(necessary) conditions are met.”

Moon found himself in hot water earlier this year after commenting that he would visit Pyongyang if elected president.

“I will do everything in my power to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula. The Korea-US alliance will be made stronger,” Moon said, adding that he would “fly to Washington immediately,” if necessary. He went on to say that he would re-engage China and the US to resolve issues surrounding the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system.

Moon also said that national security is rooted in strong defense capabilities and that his administration would seek to boost the country’s “self-reliant defense capabilities.” He added that he would lay the foundation for the denuclearization of North Korea.

Ahead of his inauguration, Moon met with the opposition leaders, reiterating the importance of cooperation and integration.

“(I) will meet with the opposition party’s leader and the chief of the policy committee for discussion, to communicate and cooperate (with the opposition),” Moon said in a meeting with Rep. Chung Woo-taik, the floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party.

Similar messages were repeated in meetings with People’s Party chief Rep. Park Jie-won, and Rep. Joo Ho-young, floor leader and acting chief of the Bareun Party.

In a meeting with Rep. Roh Hoe-chan, floor leader of the left-wing Justice Party, Moon stressed his intention to include opposition parties in matters of national security.

“Particularly in matters regarding national security, inter-Korean relations and the Korea-US alliance, I will share information with opposition parties,” Moon said, adding that he promises to cooperate across party borders on related issues.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)