Moon begins 5-year term as S.Korean president

Local media reports said Moon's inauguration ceremony will be held later at noon in the national assembly.

Moon Jae-in declared victory in South Korea's presidential election Tuesday after his two main rivals conceded, capping one of the most turbulent political stretches in the nation's recent history and setting up its first liberal rule in a decade.

Any tension in the relationship between Seoul and Washington would come if President Trump was determined on a hard, militaristic line against Pyongyang while President Moon favoured negotiation.

(Kim Hong-ji/Pool Photo via AP).

Moon's comfortable margin of victory belies a deep ideological and generational divide in the country of 51 million people. But Moon also hinted at balancing diplomacy between the United States and China, his country's largest trading partner.

FILE - South Korean protesters stage a rally to oppose a plan to deploy the advanced U.S. missile defense system called Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, near U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, April 29, 2017.

"I'd like to show our people that all of us are moving forward together", Moon told them, saying he would seek their opinions on matters of national security. "And when the conditions are right, I will also go to Pyongyang", Moon said during his speech. "If the conditions shape up, I will go to Pyongyang".

Liberal politician Moon Jae-in won South Korea's presidential election decisively on Tuesday, an expected victory ending almost a decade of conservative rule and bringing a more conciliatory approach toward North Korea.

The decision by Moon's predecessor, Park Geun-hye, to allow the base a state-of-the-art missile defense system known by the acronym THAAD in its territory is a major ongoing irritant. Lawmakers must approve Lee for the country's No. 2 job, which was largely a ceremonial post before Park's removal made current Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn a government caretaker.

Suh Hoon, a former official at the National Intelligence Service, was named to head the spy agency, while Joo Young-hoon, an official at the presidential security service, has been named to lead the service.

Lee's appointment as prime minister is subject to a parliamentary hearing, though it does not require approval of the parliament.

Moon has advocated dialogue with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in stark contrast to Park's approach of tough sanctions and aggressive rhetoric. Suh was instrumental in setting up two previous summits between the North and South. "We congratulate President-elect Moon Jae-in and join the people of South Korea in celebrating their peaceful, democratic transition of power".

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