South Korea’s new president Moon Jae-in pledged to unify the nation after nine years of conservative rule that culminated in the country’s biggest street protests since the 1980s and the impeachment of his predecessor. “This is really a victory for the people who did their utmost to make a country for justice, unity, principles and common sense,” Moon told supporters in Seoul. “I’ll become the president for everyone. A president who serves even those who didn’t support me.” The final tally showed Moon received 41.08 percent of votes, while conservative Hong Joon-pyo got 24.03 percent. Centrist Ahn Cheol-soo came third with 21.41 percent.
The left-leaning Moon spoke with the chairman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, Yonhap News reported, adding he has ordered the military to maintain a high state of readiness. Tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program — with U.S. President Donald Trump saying military action is possible against the regime — will be an immediate test for Moon, who favors talks with Pyongyang.
The son of North Korean refugees, Moon criticized the early installation of a U.S. missile shield on South Korean soil and has said he’d meet with Kim Jong Un under the right circumstances.