New South Korean Prez: 'I Will Go to Pyongyang'

Moon says he'll go anywhere for peace
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 10, 2017 12:25 AM CDT
S. Korea's New Leader Willing to Visit Pyongyang
South Korea's President Moon Jae-in, center, writes in a visitor's book at the National Cemetery in Seoul, South Korea Wednesday, May 10, 2017.   (Kim Hong-ji)

New South Korean President Moon Jae-in says he is open to visiting rival North Korea under the right conditions to talk about Pyongyang's aggressive pursuit of an expanded nuclear weapons and missiles program. The newly elected Moon, speaking during his oath of office as the country's first liberal leader in a decade, also said he'll "sincerely negotiate" with the United States, Seoul's top ally, and China, South Korea's top trading partner, over the contentious deployment of an advanced US missile-defense system in southern South Korea, the AP reports. The system has angered Beijing, which says its powerful radars allow Washington to spy on its own military operations.

In a speech hours after being declared the winner of Tuesday's election, Moon—whose softer stance on North Korea could create friction with Washington—pledged to work for peace. "I am willing to go anywhere for the peace of the Korean Peninsula—if needed, I will fly immediately to Washington. I will go to Beijing and I will go to Tokyo. If the conditions shape up, I will go to Pyongyang," Moon said. Moon, whose victory capped one of the most turbulent political stretches in the nation's recent history, assumed presidential duties early in the morning after the National Election Commission finished counting and declared him winner of the special election necessitated by the ousting of conservative Park Geun-hye. (More Moon Jae-in stories.)

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