Moon Jae-in the next South Korean president
iberal candidate Moon Jae-in has claimed victory in South Korea’s presidential election.
Mr Moon favours greater dialogue with North Korea, in a change to current South Korean policy.
“I will be president for all South Koreans,” he told cheering supporters in Gwanghwamun Square in the capital Seoul.
The early election was called after a corruption scandal led to the impeachment of the former president.
Official results have yet to be released.
An exit poll conducted jointly by three network TV stations had put him on course to get 41.4% of the vote, with his nearest challenger, conservative Hong Joon-Pyo, on 23.3%.
A Moon Jae-in presidency would represent a real shift in attitude towards North Korea. His policy is to increase contact with North Korea, in contrast to the tighter sanctions of the last ten years. He is unhappy about the deployment of a US anti-missile system on South Korean soil.
When Mr Moon was last in government, in the early 2000s, South Korea had a “Sunshine Policy” which meant co-operation with North Korea, a policy which was abandoned as North Korea tested nuclear weapons.
As policy in South Korea looks like shifting, many sceptics remain who think that no amount of talking to Kim Jong-un will persuade him to renounce either his despotic power or his nuclear ambitions.
For the last eight years, Seoul and Washington have been in lock-step over North Korea, with ever tighter sanctions and isolation. That is not Mr Moon’s way. Is it Donald Trump’s?