10 May 2018
South Korean President Moon Jae In will mark his first year in office on Thursday (May 10) in a “humble, honest” manner without any special events, according to his office.
This low-key approach is in stark contrast to the euphoria still running high in the country, as city governments and major companies rush to unveil plans for inter-Korea projects and exchanges aligned with the historic meeting between Mr Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un two weeks ago.
It also belies the fact that Mr Moon remains the country’s most popular president – even after a year in office.
Mr Shawn Ho from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies noted that Mr Moon is “very good at building relationships with people”. His experience working as chief of staff to the late progressive president Roh Moo Hyun has also “helped him understand how to deal with North Korea and not repeat some mistakes of the past”, added Mr Ho.
Hailed as a “masterful dealmaker” by CNN, Mr Moon is also lauded by experts for expanding South Korea’s diplomatic ties beyond the major powers in the region to South-east Asia. This has paved the way for a South Korean investment boom in countries like Vietnam and Indonesia, as companies hurt by China’s economic boycott last year over a diplomatic row were forced to widen their options.
Mr Ho, for one, voiced hopes that Mr Moon could pay more attention to South-east Asia if the North Korea nuclear issue can be settled. “A good start would be for him to visit all South-east Asian countries within the next year and push diplomatic ties to the next level,” he said.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 10/05/2018