The Korea Herald


President Moon Jae-in's inaugural address

By Won Ho-jung

Published : May 10, 2017 - 20:24

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The following is an unofficial translation of President Moon Jae-in's inaugural address made on May 10, 2017.

President Moon Jae-in (Yonhap) President Moon Jae-in (Yonhap)

I am deeply grateful to all of you, the people, for your great choice. As the 19th President of the Republic of Korea, I take the first step today toward a new Republic of Korea. I sense a heavy responsibility endowed by the people. My heart is full of passion for building a country that we have never had. And my head is full of a blueprint to open a new world of unity and coexistence.

The new Republic of Korea that we are trying to build is a country which our predecessors consistently pursued despite a lot of frustrations and defeats. It is also a country in which our youth have wanted to achieve so much through sacrifices and dedication. In order to make that Republic of Korea, I declare before history and the people that I will fulfill my responsibilities and calling as the 19th President of the Republic of Korea with a fearful but humble heart. The greatness of the Republic of Korea is the greatness of the people. And in this presidential election, our people have made history again.

You chose a new president with even support from across the nation. From today, I will become a president of all people. Each person who did not support me will still be my people and I will serve them as such. I dare to promise: Today, May 10, 2017, will be recorded in history as the date of the beginning of genuine national integration. In recent tough times, the people asked whether this is a country. President Moon Jae-in will start anew from this very question. From today, I will be a president who makes this nation worthy of being called a nation. I will boldly break away from the erroneous practices of the old era. I will be among the first to change.

First of all, I will end the authoritarian culture of the presidency. As soon as preparations are done, I will come out of Cheong Wa Dae and begin the era of the Gwanghwamun presidency. I will hold head-to-head discussions with my staff. I will be a president who communicates with the people frequently. I will directly brief the press on major issues. On the way home, I will meet and converse with citizens in the markets. At times, I will hold large debates in Gwanghwamun Square.

I will disperse the president's imperial powers as much as possible. Law enforcement authorities will become fully independent from politics. I will establish systems to put all power organizations in check so that no such body can exercise infinite powers. I will work in a humble manner. I will be a president who shares his viewpoints with the people. I will solve the security crisis promptly.

I will go anywhere for the peace of the Korean Peninsula. If necessary, I will fly straight to Washington. I will go to Beijing and Tokyo and under the right circumstances go to Pyongyang as well. I will do whatever I can to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula. I will further strengthen the ROK-U.S. alliance. Meanwhile, I will negotiate earnestly with the U.S. and China to solve the THAAD problem. Strong security depends on robust defense capabilities. I will try hard to strengthen our independent defense power. I will also lay the foundation for the resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue. I will provide a turning point to lower tensions on the peninsula by firmly establishing a Northeast Asia peace regime.

I would like to express my gratitude and deep consolation to the other presidential candidates. There are no winners or losers in this election. We are companions to lead the new Republic of Korea together. Now we have to move forward hand in hand, leaving behind the moments of intense competition. We have undergone unprecedented political upheavals over the past several months.

Politics was confused, but the people were great. In spite of the impeachment and arrest of an incumbent president, the people helped open a new era for the Republic of Korea.

Our people were not disheartened but rather turned it into an opportunity to open the new world we see today. I will also change the politics of division and conflict. The conflict between conservatives and liberals should end. I will talk directly with you. Opposition parties are my companions in the administration of state affairs. I will regularly talk and frequently meet with them.

I will appoint figures selected evenly from across the country.

Ability and suitability will be the broad principles of my personnel appointments. Regardless of whether they supported me in the election, I will plead with all who are competent to work with me. We are facing tough economic conditions at home and abroad. The people's livelihoods are in a difficult state. As promised during the election process, I will prioritize job creation. At the same time, I will take the lead in chaebol reform. Under the Moon Jae-in government, the term "politics-business collusion" will disappear completely. I will resolve the conflicts between regions, classes and generations, and seek ways to resolve the problems facing irregular workers.

I will create a world without discrimination. I repeat. In the government of Moon Jae-in and the Democratic Party, opportunity will be equal. The process will be fair. The result will be righteous.

This presidential election was triggered by the impeachment of the preceding president. The history of troubled presidents continues to repeat itself. With this election, this unfortunate history must come to an end. I will become a role model president for the Republic of Korea. I will do my best to become a successful president in the eyes of the people and history. By doing so, I will repay your support and backing. I will be a clean president. I will be a president who takes office empty-handed and leaves the same way. I will be a president who will someday return to my hometown, become an ordinary citizen and share warmth with my neighbors. I will be remembered as the pride of the people.

I will be an honest president who keeps his promises. I will closely follow up on the promises I made during the election process. I believe true political development is possible only when the president sets an example for politics of trust. I will not make loud promises to do what is impossible. I will tell you when I have done something wrong. I will not cover up unfavorable public opinion with falsehood. I will be a fair president. I will create a world without privileges and fouls. I will create a world that benefits those who act with common sense. I will not turn away from the pain of my neighbors. I will always pay extra attention to ensure that not a single member of the nation is alienated.

I will be a president who wipes away the tears of the people. I will be a president who communicates. I will build the strongest nation by being a low and humble man of power. I will not become a dominant and reigning president but a president who converses and communicates with the people. I will be a president of the Gwanghwamun era and stay close to the people. I will be remembered as a warm president and a friend-like president.

The Republic of Korea makes a new start today on May 10, 2017.

You are witnessing the start of a great history to make this nation worthy of a nation. Come along on this road. I will dedicate my body and life to serve you. (Yonhap)