Moon Jae-in

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Moon Jae-in
문재인
Moon Jae-in 2017.jpg
12th President of South Korea
Assumed office
10 May 2017
Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn
Yoo Il-ho (Acting)
Lee Nak-yeon
Preceded by Hwang Kyo-ahn (Acting)
Leader of the Democratic Party
In office
9 February 2015 – 27 January 2016
Preceded by Ahn Cheol-soo
Kim Han-gil
Succeeded by Kim Chong-in
Member of the National Assembly
for Sasang(Busan)
In office
30 May 2012 – 29 May 2016
Preceded by Chang Je-won
Succeeded by Chang Je-won
Chief Presidential Secretary
In office
12 March 2007 – 24 February 2008
President Roh Moo-hyun
Preceded by Lee Byung-wan
Succeeded by Yu Woo-ik
Personal details
Born (1953-01-24) 24 January 1953 (age 64)
Geoje, South Korea
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Kim Jung-sook
Children 2
Residence Blue House
Alma mater Kyung Hee University (LLB)
Signature
Website Official website
Military service
Allegiance  South Korea
Service/branch  Republic of Korea Army
Years of service 1975–1977
Rank ROK Army Byeongjang.png Sergeant (Korean: Byeongjang)
Moon Jae-in
Hangul
Hanja
Revised Romanization Mun Jaein
McCune–Reischauer Mun Chaein
IPA mun.dʑɛ̝.in

Moon Jae-in (Hangul문재인; Hanja文在寅; Korean pronunciation: [mun.dʑɛ̝.in]; born 24 January 1953) is a South Korean politician and the current President of South Korea.[1][2][3][4][5] Moon was elected after the impeachment of his predecessor, Park Geun-hye in the 2017 South Korean presidential election.

A former student activist, human rights lawyer, and chief presidential secretary to then-President Roh Moo-hyun,[6] Moon once served as leader of Minjoo Party of Korea (2015–2016) and a member of the 19th National Assembly (2012–2016). He was also a candidate of the former Democratic United Party in the 2012 presidential election in which he lost narrowly to Park Geun-hye.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Geoje, South Korea, Moon Jae-in was the first son among five children of father Moon Yong-hyung and mother Kang Han-ok.[citation needed] His parents were refugees from South Hamgyeong Province (currently in North Korea) who fled their native city of Hungnam during the Hungnam evacuation.[7]

His family eventually settled in Busan and Moon attended Kyungnam High School.[7][8] He enrolled in Kyunghee University where he majored in law.[9] He was arrested, convicted, and imprisoned and expelled from the university after he organized a student protest against the Yushin Constitution.[7][10][11] Later, he was conscripted into the military and assigned to the South Korean special forces, where he participated in "Operation Paul Bunyan" during the Axe murder incident.[12][13]

After his discharge, he passed the Bar Exam and was admitted to the Judicial Research and Training Institute. He graduated second in his class but was not admitted to become a judge or government prosecutor due to his history of activism against the Yushin dictatorship under Park Chung-hee's rule as a student.[14] Moon chose to become a lawyer instead.

Early career[edit]

Human rights attorney[edit]

After becoming a lawyer, he partnered and worked with future President Roh Moo-hyun in the 1980s.[15] Along with Roh, he took cases involving human rights and civil rights issues defending labor rights activists and students persecuted for opposing Korea's then military dictatorship.[16] They remained friends up until Roh's suicide in 2009.

He was a member of Minbyun and the Chairman of Human Rights at Busan Bar,[citation needed] as well as a founding member of the progressive South Korean newspaper, The Hankyoreh, in 1988.[17][18]

Roh Moo-hyun administration[edit]

Due to Roh's insistence, Moon became Roh's campaign manager during his presidential bid.[19] After Roh's victory, Moon became Roh's chief presidential secretary and close aide holding various roles in a presidential administration. Moon held roles as Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs, Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Society, Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs, and Chief Presidential Secretary (equivalent to Chief-of-Staff) from 2003-2008.

Moon was also the chairperson of the Promotion of the 2nd North-South Korea Summit.

When prosecutors began investigating Roh's corruption charges that led to impeachment proceedings, Moon was the legal counsel to Roh. After Roh committed suicide, Moon was in charge of the funeral and handling his private affairs. Moon revealed that his favorite nickname was "Roh Moo-hyun's shadow" indicating his close relationship to the former president and law colleague. His exposure to the public as a poised and trustworthy aide impressed the public and many liberals in Korea found Moon to be an attractive candidate against the conservative Saenuri Party candidate Park Geun-hye.[citation needed]

Political career before the presidency (2012–2017)[edit]

Entrance to politics[edit]

Despite his earlier indifference, he began to get involved in politics. He published a memoir called Moon Jae-in: The Destiny which became a bestseller.[20] His popularity had been rising steady against the likely opponent in the presidential race, Park Geun-hye. For instance, in a February 2012 poll, Moon managed to gain parity with Park in popularity.[21]

Moon managed to capitalize on the conservatives' decline in popularity amid a series of corruption scandals. As one pundit said, "Moon had managed to portray himself as a moderate and rational leader who has the backing of the younger generation".[22]

2012 general election[edit]

In 2012, Moon entered a bid for a seat in the National Assembly in the 20th legislative election. Moon won a seat in the Sasang District of Busan on 11 April 2012 as a member of the Democratic United Party with 55% of the vote.[9]

2012 presidential campaign[edit]

On September 16, 2012, Moon received the presidential nomination for the Democratic United Party.

He ran for the 2012 presidential election as the Democratic United Party's candidate in a three-way race against Park Geun-hye, the incumbent ruling party’s candidate and daughter of the late president Park Chung-hee,[23] as well as independent software mogul Ahn Cheol-soo. Ahn dropped out of the race and endorsed Moon after polls showed a most likely definitive loss for both candidates were there to be a three-way race against Park. Moon went to lose the election.

Leader of the Democratic Party[edit]

Moon Jae-in and Leader of the then-Saenuri Party Kim Moo-sung (centre) at the Buddha's Birthday ceremony in May 2015

Moon was elected as the leader of New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) on February 2, 2015. Prior to his election, Moon and NPAD party leader and 2012 presidential candidate rival Ahn Cheol-soo had many public disputes over the direction of the party.

Moon's official role led Ahn Cheol-soo to quit and form the centrist People's Party. Ahn's departure and Moon's new tenure as party leader led to the newly renaming the liberal, NPAD Party as the new Democratic Party.

During his leadership, Moon scouted several politically prominent people, including police studies/criminology expert Pyo Chang-won, political critic Lee Chul-hee, and former president Park's secretary Cho Ung-chun to prepare for upcoming 2016 legislative elections. After his recruitment, Moon resigned his position for another scouted advisor/former Park advisor Kim Chong-in.[24]

2017 presidential election[edit]

Primary and general election[edit]

Moon was considered the frontrunner to win Korea's 2017 presidential election, which would be the 19th term of the country's presidency, following the Impeachment of Park Geun-hye.

He won the Democratic Party's nomination against fellow party members Ahn Hee-jung, Lee Jae-myung, and Choi Sung with 57% of the votes.

The general election originally had 15 announced candidates. Moon faced four other major party nominees during the election, including 2012 presidential rival and past party colleague Ahn Cheol-soo of the People's Party and Hong Jun-pyo of the Liberty Korea Party. He was elected the 19th President of South Korea in Korea's 19th presidential election by a large plurality over two other major opponents, conservative Hong Joon-pyo and centrist Ahn Cheol-soo.

Inauguration of Moon Jae-in, May 10, 2017.

On May 10, 2017, Moon ended his campaign by winning 41.1% votes (with 13,423,800 votes) to win the plurality of votes.[25] As Moon was elected at a special election, he did not have the 60 days of transitional period of previous administrations, but was instead inaugurated the day after the election.

Campaign positions on domestic policy[edit]

National security[edit]

Moon came out in favor of repealing Korea's national security laws, which have been alleged by the Korean liberals to be a tool of the historically right-wing establishment of South Korea to restrict and oppress left-wing voices in Korean politics. He also promised to abolish the domestic wing of NIS (National Intelligence Service) in order to maintain their political neutrality, transferring domestic affairs to the police force.[citation needed]

Economic policy[edit]

Moon's campaign promise in 2017 included intentions to put a 10 trillion won ($8.9 billion) fiscal stimulus to support job creation, start-ups, and small to mid-sized companies. His announced goal is to create 810,000 public sector jobs through raising taxes on the wealthy.[26]

Moon's policy against corporate corruption, specifically in regards to Korean conglomerates in chaebols is to give "minority shareholders more power in electing board members" of the companies.[26]

Transparency[edit]

Moon also promised transparency on his presidency, moving the president residence from palatial and isolated Blue House to an existing government complex in downtown Seoul.[27]

Social issues[edit]

In a televised presidential debate, Moon said he opposes homosexuality, in response to conservative candidate Hong Jun-pyo's remarks that gay soldiers were a source of weakness in the South Korean military. Moon's remark prompted immediate criticism during the debate from Sim Sang-jung, the sole presidential candidate to support LGBT rights and a member of the leftist Justice Party.[28] The conservative remark also prompted outrage from gay rights activists, considering Moon's representation as the leading liberal candidate and former human rights lawyer. Some of Moon's supporters dismissed the comments as a necessity to win, as South Korea tend to be conservative in social issues.[29] Moon later clarified his comments suggesting he still believes there should be no discrimination based on sexual orientation while oppose Same-sex marriage.[30]

Campaign positions on foreign policy[edit]

Moon has favored a peaceful reunification between the two Koreas. He was both widely criticized and widely praised for his comments stating that his first visit if elected president would be to visit North Korea, a visit that would be not unlike Roh Moo-hyun's visit to the country in 2007. Similarly, Moon's foreign policy towards North Korea is considered to closely align with the Sunshine Policy embraced by former liberal presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun.[18]

His 2017 presidential campaign has supported re-opening of the Kaesong Industrial Park.[31]

Moon's relatively liberal stance in foreign policy is reflected in his writing in a book: “I’m pro-U.S., but now South Korea should adopt diplomacy in which it can discuss a U.S. request and say no to the Americans.”[32] He opposes a re-balance of the security alliance with the United States, but has also stated that he would like South Korea "to be able to take the lead on matters on the Korean Peninsula."[18] At the same time, Moon has stated that he considers America as a "friend" for its role in helping South Korea avoid communism while helping its economic growth.[33]

Presidency[edit]

Moon Jae-in's Presidential Job Approval rating
President Donald J. Trump welcomes President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea on Friday, June 30, 2017, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C.

Moon was sworn into office immediately after official votes were counted on May 10, replacing Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn. There was no transition period between the election and inauguration, unlike other presidential elections due to the nature of an election following a presidential impeachment.[34] He will serve out the typical single five-year term with his presidential term concluding in 2022.[35]

Domestic Policy[edit]

Education[edit]

Moon's predecessor and daughter of Park Chung-hee, Park Geun-hye, originally planned to mandate usage of state-issued history textbooks in 2018. Moon reversed these plans in May 2017 in one of his first major acts as president. Critics of Park's original plan saw this as a way for Park to mitigate some representations of her father's oppressive policies under a dictatorial rule, only highlighting the positive accomplishments of the past. Park had stated she wanted to replace the "left-leaning" books with those created from the government that would instill greater patriotism.[36] Although the Park government had switched its official position on requiring the textbooks and allowed schools to choose the state-issued version from the backlash, Moon's action scrapped the program altogether. Schools will continue to choose privately published, government-approved textbooks written under educational guidelines instead.[37]

Animal Rights/Adoption of "First Dog"[edit]

Moon had promised during his campaign to adopt a dog from an animal sanctuary. This was considered relevant to South Korean politics as the country allows for consumption of dog meat. His administration adopted Tory, a four year old black mongrel who was saved from a dog meat farm, from an animal rights group. The move was considered to send "a strong message against the [dog meat] trade."[38]

Energy[edit]

Moon's administration has focused on increasing South Korea's consumption of natural gas, away from nuclear and coal as sources of energy. These plans include delaying construction on nuclear reactors as well as re-opening dialogue around a natural gas pipeline that would come from Russia and pass through North Korea.[39]

Foreign Policy[edit]

International relations[edit]

Moon visited the United States to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in June 2017, discussing U.S.-Korea trade relations as well as North Korea's missile programs.[40] Moon revealed in a joint news conference that President Trump accepted an invitation to visit South Korea.[41]

North Korea[edit]

Moon highlighted the importance of the process leading to unification with international companionship and Cooperation and a long-term project rather than detailed plans. Moon also agreed with sanctions to North Korea, but also he believes that it is crucial to establish a peace treaty with North Korea to end the Korean War officially in exchange for denuclearization.[42]

Moon opposed the full deployment of THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) systems during his presidential campaign and called for more peace talks engaging with North Korea.

As of late July, following North Korea's latest missile launch and increasingly aggressive actions, Moon asked the U.S. permission to build up its domestic defense systems and temporarily set up a full THAAD system.[43]

Electoral history[edit]

Election Year Position Party Affiliation Votes Percentage of votes Results
19th General Election 2012 National Assembly Member (Busan, Sasang District) Democratic United Party 65,336 55.05% Won
18th Presidential Election 2012 President Democratic United Party 14,692,632 48.02% Lost (2nd)
19th Presidential Election 2017 President Democratic Party of Korea 13,423,800 41.08% Won

Personal life[edit]

Family[edit]

Moon married Kim Jung-sook, a vocalist from the same university he attended. He and Kim both individually revealed in separate Korean talk shows that they both met each other when Moon was a student activist protesting the Yushin Constitution.[44]

Religion[edit]

Moon is currently the second Roman Catholic leader after the late former President Kim Dae-jung (Roh Moo-hyun is a lapsed Catholic).[45] His baptismal (or Christian) name is "Timothy".[46]

Nickname[edit]

Moon is nicknamed the "Dark King" (Hangul명왕; Hanja冥王; RRMyeong-wang), after the character Silvers Rayleigh from the Japanese manga series One Piece.[47]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "South Korea's Moon Jae-in sworn in vowing to address North". BBC News. 2017-05-10. Retrieved 2017-05-13. 
  2. ^ CNN, K. J. Kwon, Pamela Boykoff and James Griffiths. "South Korea election: Moon Jae-in declared winner". CNN. Retrieved 2017-05-13. 
  3. ^ "Moon Jae-in: South Korean liberal claims presidency". BBC News. 2017-05-09. Retrieved 2017-05-13. 
  4. ^ "Moon Jae-in Elected as 19th President...Promises to Undertake Reform and National Reconciliation". Retrieved 2017-05-13. 
  5. ^ "Moon Jae-in Sworn in as 19th S. Korean President". KBS World Radio. 
  6. ^ "Moon Jae-in: Who is South Korea's new president?". BBC News. 2017-05-09. Retrieved 2017-05-13. 
  7. ^ a b c Jung Min-ho (9 May 2017). "Moon Jae-in: Son of war refugees rises to power [PHOTOS]". Korea Times. Retrieved 10 May 2017. 
  8. ^ Ahn Hong-wuk (10 January 2017). "[2017 Presidential Dreams] ⑤ Moon Jae-in, Former Leader of the Minjoo Party of Korea, "Aren't There Too Many Moon Supporters to Speak of a Pro-Moon Hegemony?". The Kyunghyang Shinmun. Retrieved 17 May 2017. 
  9. ^ a b "문재인 : 네이버 통합검색". search.naver.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-04-28. 
  10. ^ Jung Min-ho (9 May 2017). "Moon Jae-in: Son of war refugees rises to power". The Korea Times. Retrieved 17 May 2017. 
  11. ^ Park Hong-du (17 September 2012). "Moon Jae-in, the Presidential Candidate of the Democratic United Party". The Kyunghyang Shinmun. Retrieved 17 May 2017. 
  12. ^ Campbell, Charlie (May 4, 2017), "The Negotiator: Moon Jae-in", Time Magazine (published May 15, 2017): 43, retrieved May 11, 2017 
  13. ^ McCurry, Justin (2017-05-09). "Who is Moon Jae-in, South Korea's new president?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-07-04. 
  14. ^ "대선주자 인물탐구 민주통합당 문재인". 경남신문. 2012-08-13. 
  15. ^ "문재인 "고 노무현 대통령과 첫 만남에 의기투합, 소탈한 모습에...."". TV Report (in Korean). Seoul. 2012-01-10. Retrieved 2017-05-10. 
  16. ^ Sang-hun, Choe (2016-12-09). "After Park, Who? A Guide to Those Who Would Lead South Korea". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-07-04. 
  17. ^ Naver Profile on Moon Jae-in
  18. ^ a b c "South Korea's likely next president warns the U.S. not to meddle in its democracy". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-02. 
  19. ^ UnMyeong (destiny). Seoul: Moon Jae In. 2011. pp. 196~205. ISBN 978-89-7777-188-8. 
  20. ^ Evan Ramstad Wall Street Journal, Moon Jae-in Steps Back Into the Spotlight, July 21, 2011
  21. ^ Presidential poll: Moon Jae-in neck-and-neck with Park Geun-hye Andy Jackson Feb 18, 2012
  22. ^ Moon rises in open South Korea presidential race Reuters
  23. ^ "Dictator's daughter elected South Korea's first female president". National Post. Associated Press. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  24. ^ "조응천, 박근혜 정권 '핵심'에서 문재인 영입 20호로". The Hankyoreh (in Korean). 2016-02-02. 
  25. ^ Kwon, K. J. (2017-05-10). "South Korea election: Moon Jae-in declared winner". CNN. Retrieved 2017-05-10. 
  26. ^ a b Mullany, Gerry (2017-05-08). "South Korea's Presidential Election: A Look at the Pivotal Issues". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-08. 
  27. ^ "문재인 "검찰·국정원·청와대 대개혁해야"". KBS. Naver. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  28. ^ "[JTBC 대선토론] 문재인 "동성애 합법화 반대"…심상정 "유감스럽다"". Naver. Hankyung. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  29. ^ News, ABC. "S.Korea presidential hopeful criticized for anti-gay comment". ABC News. Retrieved 2017-04-27. 
  30. ^ "What Moon Jae-in's victory means for South Korea". South China Morning Post. South China Morning Post. Retrieved 9 May 2017. 
  31. ^ Sang-hun, Choe (2017-05-09). "South Korea Elects Moon Jae-in, Who Backs Talks With North, as President". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-11. 
  32. ^ Shimbun, The Yomiuri. "Who is Moon Jae In? / Moon's reunification dream raises alarm". The Japan News. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  33. ^ Choe, Sang-hun (2017-03-10). "Ouster of South Korean President Could Return Liberals to Power". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  34. ^ "Liberal Moon Jae-in is winner in South Korea's presidential election". Los Angeles Times. 2017-05-09. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-05-09. 
  35. ^ "S. Korea's Moon begins term as president after landslide election win confirmed – France 24". France 24. 2017-05-10. Retrieved 2017-05-10. 
  36. ^ Sang-hun, Choe (2017-05-12). "South Korea's New Leader Abolishes State-Issued History Textbooks". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-13. 
  37. ^ "Moon Jae-in orders scrapping of state textbooks". The Korea Herald. 2017-05-12. Retrieved 2017-05-13. 
  38. ^ "South Korea president adopts meat farm rescue dog". BBC News. 2017-07-27. Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  39. ^ Adams, Rod. "Moon Jae-in Making Friends By Importing More Gas". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-07-30. 
  40. ^ Wang, Jacob Pramuk, Christine (2017-06-30). "Trump, South Korea's Moon speak about North Korea". Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  41. ^ "President Moon says President Trump accepted his invitation to visit South Korea". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  42. ^ Frank, Ruediger. "President Moon's North Korea Strategy". the diplomat.comc. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  43. ^ Phippen, J. Weston. "South Korea Asks to Increase Its Firepower". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-07-30. 
  44. ^ 사진까지!, 김정숙 여사, 문재인 대통령과 러브스토리 공개 풋풋한 ‘리즈시절’ (2017-05-10). "김정숙 여사, 문재인 대통령과 러브스토리 공개 풋풋한 '리즈시절' 사진까지!". 서울경제 (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-05-13. 
  45. ^ "South Koreans vote for a new president". Mail Online. Retrieved 2017-05-09. 
  46. ^ Korean Wiki Profile Of Moon Jae-in
  47. ^ "문재인 "내가 대세 맞더라…통합 대통령될 것" 강한 자신감". 

External links[edit]

National Assembly of South Korea
Preceded by
Chang Je-won
Member of the National Assembly
from Sasang District

2012–2016
Succeeded by
Chang Je-won
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ahn Cheol-soo
Kim Han-gil
Leader of the Democratic Party
2015–2016
Succeeded by
Kim Chong-in
Political offices
Preceded by
Lee Byung-wan
Chief Presidential Secretary
2007–2008
Succeeded by
Yu Woo-ik
Preceded by
Hwang Kyo-ahn
Acting
President of South Korea
2017–present
Incumbent