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Liberal claims victory in South Korea presidential election

Liberal claims victory in South Korea presidential election

South Korean presidential candidate Moon Jae-in, front left, of the Democratic Party takes pictures with a supporter after voting for a presidential election at a junior high school in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, May 9, .

A win for Mr Moon could see a change in the country's outlook towards its maligned communist neighbour North Korea and also its relationship with the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea.

New South Korean President Moon Jae-in said as he took office today that he was open to visiting rival North Korea under the right conditions to talk about Pyongyang's aggressive pursuit of nuclear-tipped missiles.

Moon's immediate tasks are to navigate the country through rising tensions over North Korea's nuclear program, a China angered by Seoul's decision to expand missile defenses, and the risk of a rift with the USA over how to contain Pyongyang.

His administration also needs to figure out how to ease tensions with China stemming from the deployment of a United States anti-missile defence system in the South Korea to guard against the threat of a North Korean missile strike.

"I will also go to Beijing and Tokyo and even Pyongyang in the right circumstances". Moon's likeness also flew on a dragon and rode a horse as SBS showed vote counts.

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He said Tuesday, "We believe Japan-South Korea cooperation on issues such as North Korean problem is indispensable for the peace and stability in our region".

Initially close relations between the two under former President Park Geun-hye rapidly deteriorated because of China's anger at Seoul's deployment of a sophisticated USA missile-defense system meant to counter North Korean threats.

The first major positions he was expected to fill included the prime minister, the head of the National Intelligence Service, chief of staff, and chief bodyguard, a parliament official said.

The graft scandal plunged the country into political turmoil and bitter division, but Moon promised healing, telling the crowd: "I will be president for all South Koreans".

That's a joint industrial facility where tens of thousands of North and South Koreans work together, just north of the demilitarized zone that separates the two countries. "We must put the days of fierce competition behind and hold hands marching forward".

Taking up his role as the new commander in chief, Moon received a call from Army Gen. He then left with his wife, Kim Jeong-sook, for a national cemetery in Seoul.

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Moon says that the security benefits of THAAD, or Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, would be curtailed by worsened relations with China, whose help Washington and Seoul are trying to enlist to pressure Pyongyang into giving up its nuclear ambitions.

Moon, whose campaign promises include a "National Interest First" policy, has struck a chord with people who want the country to stand up to powerful allies and neighbors. "Moon supports a version of the "sunshine policy" towards the North Korean dictator, and has criticized President Donald J. Trump's attempt to stick the USA ally with a bill for the THAAD missile system deployment", said Ariel Cohen, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

Mr Moon will begin his single five-year term immediately without the normal transition period because of Park's impeachment.

Data from an exit poll conducted by South Korea's top three television networks showed that, while Moon won the majority of votes cast by those under the age of 50, conservative rival Hong Joon-pyo found strong support among voters in their 60s and 70s.

Hong, an outspoken former provincial governor who pitched himself as a "strongman", described the election as a war between ideologies and questioned Moon's patriotism. She has been indicted on bribery, extortion and other corruption allegations that could theoretically send her to jail for life.

After entering Seoul's' Kyung Hee University in 1972, Moon joined a pro-democracy movement to topple the dictatorship of Park Chung-hee, who ruled South Korea for 18 years until his 1979 assassination.

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He said he was "mildly nauseous" at the thought of having swayed the election but also said he would do the same again. Without such action, the legitimacy of the 2016 election and the legitimacy of this President will remain a question.

The hasty election comes after Park Geun-hye, the country's first female president, was impeached in a corruption scandal that allegedly connected her to business giants Samsung and the Lotte Group.


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