Agility and assertiveness are what Moon Jae-in has prescribed for South Korea's in terms of national defense, foreign relations, and acheiving a peaceful and denuclearized Korean peninsula.
"Who as president would speak his mind to the U.S., China, Japan and even North Korea?"
- , -
"Who will take the leading role in issues regarding the Korean peninsula, instead of leaving it to the U.S. and China?"
First, in the face of continuous nuclear provocations from Pyongyang, Moon pledged to beef up military capabilities in the South, including the early development of the homegrown Korea Air and Missile Defense system and a Kill Chain system.
"'Responsible defense' is set to become one of Moon's core policies. It means we will take responsibility for our own national security by developing necessary defense systems in a way that strengthens our capability and also increases trust from the public through transparency. Only then can we stand firm against Pyongyang and also develop our mutual alliance with the U.S."
And as a part of a more long-term approach to denuclearizing the North, Moon believes that the keyword is dialogue.
He has mentioned restarting the Six-Party Talks, and on the condition of resolving the nuclear issue, even a sit down with Kim Jong-un.
As part of conducting his North Korea policy, Moon has said he wants to meet U.S. President Trump to enhance their cooperation on regional security and on the ending of Pyongyang's nuclear program.
However, when it comes to any military decision, Moon has indicated that Seoul should be the one to call the shots.
"Any military action taken on the Korean peninsula should be closely coordinated between Seoul and Washington as well as the countries involved. No action that South Korea disapproves of should be taken."
That's part of the rationale behind Moon's pledge to review the agreement reached by the previous administration and the U.S. to deploy the THAAD missile defense system on South Korean soil. Moon had been among those who criticised the decision, saying it lacked public support and due process.
"If South Korea reaches a decision following a democratic procedure with a proper public consensus, we believe the U.S. will support it. This would improve the way Koreans see America, further building trust in the strategic alliance and bilateral relations."
Strengthening ties with key regional partners is also on Moon's agenda, especially when it comes to working past contentious points with Beijing and Tokyo.
"Moon is aware that Seoul's actions on North Korea -- whether they're stronger sanctions or meaningful dialogue, they can't be done without China's cooperation. And he knows that the current icy relations cannot go on. As for Japan, Moon will actively keep up coopertion as 'friendly nations' and also seek to take their bilateral relations to the next level by renegotiating the landmark agreement on Japan's wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women."
Above all, Moon's ultimate goal is to work toward regional peace and stability.
He believes the first step will be an economic partnership between Seoul and Pyongyang, followed by social and legal cooperation.
"Moon's core policy, his vision for the Korean peninsula is creating a single market between the South and the North through interdependency and a win-win relationship -- which could then gain traction as a continental economy. This economic approach could ultimately lead to peace on the Korean peninsula -- and in the East Asian region as a whole."
Dubbed "the negotiator" by Time Magazine last week, Moon is expected to take a pragmatic approach to foreign policy and national security, keeping the door open for dialogue and cooperation.
Oh Soo-young, Arirang News.