Moon’s presidency one year later: Is he a pragmatic leader?

Thursday marked the anniversary since South Korean President Moon Jae-in was sworn into office. This comes after a sudden about-face from North Korea on its nuclear weapons and missile program, which could stop tensions about the nuclear crisis it had created and stage a reconciliation with the South.


Throughout the crisis, Japanese experts and diplomats have been concerned that the liberal South Korean leader could prioritize relations with Pyongyang over the interests of long time allies. The two allies being Japan and the United States of America.


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They also are worried Moon could raise diplomatic tension with Japan over sensitive issues in the past to take support of voters, as has happened many times by several of his predecessors. Two notable Japan-based experts now say Moon is a more practical leader than originally believed.


He is likely to persist in his efforts to try to oversee a positive increase in Japan-South Korea relationships as he understands its importance. Although lingering historical issues will remain headaches for the two countries.


A year later, it has become clear that the administration is pragmatic. Apparently, they prioritize past issues over disputes. Experts also pointed out that Moon now boasts strong support among voters.


A recent poll conducted by Gallup Korea showed Moon’s approval rating hitting 83%. It increased 10% from a rating of 73% in the last week of April.


This popularity will make it easier for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to talk with Moon over historical issues. Including the so-called comfort women who were forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels during WWII.


Tokyo managed to clinch a deal in 2015 over the issue with Seoul when the power base of ex South Korean President Park Geun-hye was substantially more stable.


Reference: One year into Moon’s presidency, Japanese experts now view him as a pragmatic leader


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