Four years ago on this May 10th, President Moon Jae-in took the oath of office just hours after winning the early presidential election by the widest margin of victory in South Korea’s modern history.
Among his key pledges heading into his five-year term was peace and North Korea.

President Moon’s Inauguration Speech
May 10, 2017

“I will not rest until peace is settled on the Korean Peninsula. I will fly to Washington, Beijing and Tokyo, if needed. I will also visit Pyeongyang, if conditions are met.
I will do everything in my power to bring peace to the peninsula. I will strengthen the South Korea-U.S. alliance. I will come up with a proposal to resolve North Korea’s nuclear threats and ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula through a Northeast Asia peace regime.”

Four years later, the South Korean leader’s goal for his final year in office remains establishing a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Moon’s 4 Years In Office: Address
May 10, 2021

“I will consider the remaining one year of my term as my last chance to move forward from an incomplete peace to an irreversible peace.
The time for long deliberations is also coming to an end. It is now time to take action.
The South Korea, U.S. bilateral summit slated for late May will serve as an opportunity to further strengthen our alliance. We will also closely coordinate our North Korea policy to restore inter-Korean dialogue and that between the U.S. and North Korea.”

Looking back at the past four years of President Moon’s four years in office and a look ahead of his remaining year as president. Let’s talk about with Mason Richey, associate professor of international politics at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.

Mason, good to have you in the studio today.

President Moon kicked off his presidency with engagement with North Korea and building peace on the Korean Peninsual high on his priority agenda. Four years later, with one year remaining of his term, his final-year goal remains little changed. That’s, of course, not to say we didn’t see any developments in inter-Korean as well as U.S., North Korea ties. In fact, the last four years have been full of ups and downs on that front. Your overall assessment of the Moon administration’s foreign policy, especially its North Korean policy? What were its highest and lowest moments?

In his address to the nation marking four years in office today, the president welcomed the Biden administration’s North Korea policy review which he described as “seeking gradual and practical solution through diplomacy based on the Singapore agreement.” With only a year left in his tenure, what card do you expect Moon to flash to Biden to reengage the North in dialogue during their upcoming summit?

Seoul-Tokyo relations plummeted to the lowest level in recent memory during President Moon’s 4 years in office and it still remains sour. How do you expect things to play out during the remainder of his term?

The Biden administration’s strong drive to contain perceived threat from China is reshaping regional dynamics. Caught in between the two superpowers, how do you think South Korea should what kind of diplomatic tactic is needed for S. Korea?

President Moon began the speech with South Korea’s fights against the pandemic and devoted a significant part to his plan to reach herd immunity. How do you evaluate the Moon administration’s efforts to contain Covid from the outbreak to date in comparison of other developed nations?

Pointing out heated global competition to tackle chip shortage, President Moon vowed to boost support for the semiconductor industry to help overcome global challenges and retain its crown as one of the word’s leaders in the field. In your observation, how can South Korea navigate through the geopolitical tensions stemming from chip crisis?

Mason Richey, associate professor of international politics at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies joining us tonight. Grateful for you expertise.


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