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Moon hails S. Korea’s democratic ‘maturity’ in New Year’s address

President hopes for election of unity rather hostility, hatred and division

President Moon Jae-in speaks during his 2022 New Year’s address at Cheong Wa Dae on Monday. (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in speaks during his 2022 New Year’s address at Cheong Wa Dae on Monday. (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in hailed progress in South Korean democracy in a New year’s address on Monday, saying it has “matured” and been recognized by the world.

“The government, which was launched without a transition committee in the face of an impeachment of the president, unprecedented in constitutional history, straightened up the collapsed constitutional order and advanced democracy,” Moon said in a speech delivered on the main stairs of Cheong Wa Dae on Monday morning.

Moon said his administration had institutionalized reform of authority in which the principles of checks and balances work so that authority can no longer reign over the people.

“The wall of power has been lowered and the participation of the people has become more active,” the president said. “It has become a society with expanded transparency and openness and a country with improved freedom of the press and human rights.”

Citing the upcoming presidential election “that will determine the future of the country,” he hoped it would be a venue for a democratic festival that will be chosen by the people by fiercely competing for the lives of the people and the future of the country.

“I hope it will be an election of unity that contains the hope of the people rather than hostility, hatred and division,” he said.

Moon said the public was ultimately in charge of politics, and its participation had the power to develop and improve democracy.

“I hope the people will actively participate in the election and lead good politics,” he said.

Regarding peace on the Korean Peninsula, he said, “It is still incomplete peace and sometimes tension is created, but the situation on the Korean Peninsula is managed more stably than ever.

“As a divided country, there is no value more precious than peace to us who have been through war.”

”Peace is an essential premise for prosperity. But if peace is not institutionalized, it is easy to shake. I will do my best until the end,” he said, reiterating his call for the declaration of the end of the war.

“We must not forget that the current peace has been made and supported by the inter-Korean and North Korea-US dialogues led by us,” he added.

He urged the North to respond, saying, “Now is the time when the will and cooperation between the two Koreas are more important than anything else,” adding, “If we talk and cooperate again, the international community will respond.”

Moon said that he would actively implement policies to stabilize housing prices. The surge in real estate prices is considered by some to be the biggest failure of his administration. In last year‘s New Year’s address, he apologized to the people “who are discouraged due to the difficulty of housing problems.”

“We will accelerate the supply of housing for end-users while continuing the downward trend in housing prices,” he said, promising not to pass the problem on to the next government.

“We will prepare a new turning point,” he said, saying that reducing the centralization of the Seoul metropolitan area was a fundamental solution to resolve housing instability.

He vowed to spare no effort to support the Busan-Ulsan-Gyeongnam cooperation as a success model. In December, Moon to a ride on a new cross-regional railway, which runs between Ulsan and Busan.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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