South Korean President Moon Jae-in was yesterday sworn in and vowed to immediately tackle the difficult tasks of addressing North Korea’s advancing nuclear ambitions, and soothing tensions with the US and China.
Moon said in his first speech as president he would begin efforts to defuse security tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and negotiate with Washington and Beijing to ease a row over a US missile system being deployed in the South.
In his first key appointments, Moon named two liberal veterans with ties to the “Sunshine Policy” of engagement with North Korea from the 2000s to the posts of prime minister and spy chief.
Moon named Suh Hoon, a career spy agency official and a veteran of inter-Korea ties, as the head of the National Intelligence Service.
Veteran liberal politician Lee Nak-yon was nominated to serve as prime minister.
Moon was expected to fill the remaining Cabinet and presidential staff appointments swiftly to bring an end to a power vacuum left by the removal of former South Korean president Park Geun-hye in March in a corruption scandal.
“I will urgently try to solve the security crisis,” Moon said. “If needed, I will fly straight to Washington. I will go to Beijing and Tokyo and, if the conditions are right, to Pyongyang also.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe both congratulated Moon.
Xi said China was willing to handle disputes with South Korea “appropriately” on the basis of mutual trust and understanding.
Abe said in a statement he looked forward to working with Moon to improve relations.
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