Moon Elected in South Korea, Promising New Push for Peace With North

Says South Korea Must Learn to Say 'No' to Americans

In a move that had been widely expected by the polls, Democratic Party candidate Moon Jae-in has won the presidency of South Korea today, following a special by-election which related the impeached Park Geun-hye. Moon had previously run for president in 2012, but narrowly lost to Park, who is now facing serious charges of bribery and abuse of power.

Moon is a major departure from the recent string of hawks in the South Korean presidency, advocating peaceful reunification with North Korea and promising to visit the reclusive nation at the first opportunity after the election. He is seen as keen to return to the Sunshine Policy of the early 2000s, aimed at improving bilateral ties and trying to avoid war.

That’s not likely to sit well with the Trump Administration, which has repeatedly panned diplomacy in general as a “failed” tactic and has been talking up increasingly confrontational policies toward North Korea. Moon, however, is well aware of this, saying he thinks it is very important that South Korea should develop a less lop-sided relationship with the US ,and “learn to say no to the Americans.”

Moon is also a former human rights lawyer who seeks to outright repeal a number of South Korea’s repressive national security laws, and dramatically reform the National Intelligence Service, transforming it into an overseas-only intelligence agency, and eliminating its broad domestic spying powers.

The reforms are both a part of his general desire to turn South Korea into a more “responsible” nation in the region, and out of the practical reality that the harsh national security state has leaned heavily toward conservatives for years, and has made the election of Democrats and other opposition figures like himself all but impossible, barring surprise circumstances like an impeachment.

Moon is also pushing for the reopening to Kaesong Industrial Park, an industrial facility in which South Korean companies can employ North Korean workers. The site has been closed repeatedly in the midst of tensions, but is also seen as a key way for South Korea to foster an improved relationship with its long-time rival.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • America wont leave Korea as long as it categorizes Russia and China as the enemy. They won’t allow a re-unification to occur without US control, which the North will not agree to. They won’t even entertain an end to the Korean War, FFS.

    • John_Smith001

      Could happen, the Philipines asked the USA to leave back in the 90s and they left. Obviously the situation here is different but there is an opportunity here, for example if the President tries to get them to pay again and the SK government doesn’t lose their principles/nerve or the rest of the US government doesn’t try to undermine the President.

    • dieter heymann

      Yes. In military terms this is known as a beachhead.

  • survivor

    The military/industrial complex along with U.S. Deep State will not allow Moon to stay in office very long. Watch.

  • nhmakingwaves

    What good news! This has great potential. Even if the US admin doesn’t like it, as peace moves gain momentum, it will be harder and harder for the US to go to war with a political entity that is merging with a major US ally. One Korea!

    • Eileen Kuch

      Yes, that is great news! I couldn’t agree with you more. Moon’s election certainly has great potential .. And, as you said, even if the US admin. doesn’t like it (I’m sure it doesn’t) .. as peace moves gain momentum, it’ll be harder and harder for the US to go to war with a political entity that’s merging with a major US ally .. One Korea.

  • deganawida

    i love it

  • rosemerry

    With any luck the USA may get furious with South Korea and refuse to interfere any more by its “help” in elections, in running the country ,in ruining the environment, in keeping enmity alive-the American way could be replaced by democracy and links with the other Koreans in the DPRK. LOL

  • walt

    I don’t think the Donald has repeatedly panned negotiation as a failed tactic. Didn’t he recently say he’d meet with the loon in the North? Didn’t he say that during the campaign too?

    Maybe I’m wrong.

    • wars r u.s.

      Depending on what day you are talking about. The Donald tends to change his mind on occasion. Or should I say his swamp buddies tend to change his mind for him.

  • Steve Naidamast

    This is not good; a rational Human Being elected in South Korea…

    Drumpf must be in a state of near hysterical paranoia over this…

  • wars r u.s.

    Can we trade Trump to Korea for Moon? We’ll throw in a couple of draft(dodgers)picks and some neocons to be named later.

  • eric

    I would think this would good news for the Trump administration . If Donald Trump meant what he said when he campaigned for the presidency . No more policing the world and less interference in foreign countries affairs . Just maybe Moon and Kim can work better together if the United States stays a little further back . If South Korea or even N Korea ask for our help . We maybe can help them but lets wait until they ask . Trump might even be more respected and admired in foreign countries .

  • dieter heymann

    It is strange to think that a foreigner will say no to Trump but most of our GOP representatives and senators will not.

  • Bill Jones

    This guy should stay off small planes, not be alone in a room with a woman other than his wife and have someone else do all of his PC related dealings- wouldn’t want to find child pornography there, would we?

  • Lets hope he’s a man of his word unlike the feckless creeps who run Washington.

  • Luchorpan

    I love this guy so far.

    I wish someone could explain to me just why he isn’t “conservative” though? Just what does this scary word “conservative” even mean anymore? Apparently it means, “Someone who loves war, obeys the US, and exploits his citizenry for the advantage of foreign corporations”…