- Moon Jae-in, a South Korean human rights lawyer, won the liberal Democratic Party primary on April 3. Moon, 64, is the presidential candidate representing the largest party in next month’s presidential election.
Moon’s nomination sets him on course to becoming South Korea’s president after Park Geun-hye was removed from office in March over collusion allegations.
Moon lost the 2012 presidential election to Park, a conservative, by 3 percentage points. Moon has criticized Park’s hard-line policy toward North Korea and holds a different stance.
“We can’t deny that the ruler of the North Korean people is Kim Jong Un. We have no choice but to recognize Kim Jong Un as a counterpart, whether we put pressure and impose sanctions on North Korea or hold dialogue,” Moon said.
Moon, vowing to revitalize the stagnant economy, will be reviewing the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile defense system, which enraged China to enact a travel ban that is hurting South Korea’s tourism industry. In strengthening national security and ending corruption, Moon will take a tougher stance on convicted corporate criminals.
In a Gallup Korea poll released on Friday (March 31), Moon had a 40 percent backing, which is a double digit advantage over Ahn Cheol-soo of the new opposition People’s Party. The two will not face significant challenges from conservatives, who only have 14 percent combined public support, according to the poll.