First 100 days of the South Korean President – Moon Jae-in

The President of South Korea (ROK) Moon Jae-in officially took up his duties on May 10. In the Republic of Korea, the presidential term is five years. But already in the first 100 days, President Moon made it clear to his citizens: changes are coming. In energy, health, and foreign policy. The reaction of the South Koreans did not wait: approval ratings beat records.

Country of Records: South Korea

In November 2016, former President Pak Kin He, now in custody on charges of bribery and abuse of power, beat an anti-record popularity. The approval rating of its activities fell to a negligible 5%. And in one of the regions of the country, the indicator was fixed at 0%.

Against this background, an unconditional triumphant is the new president – a representative of the Liberal Democratic Party. His approval rating ranged from 75 to 85%. And in the age group from 30 to 40 years, the rating reached and 90% – an absolute record in the history of independent South Korea.

The country’s largest media explain the unprecedented popularity of the pendulum effect. Against the backdrop of corruption-ridden Park Geun-hye, who did not like communication with the press and listened to her sectarian girlfriend, liberal, optimistic and unconcerned, Moon Jae-in seemed to South Koreans almost ideal candidate for the post of head of state. This point of view was not shared except that one-party member’s Park Geun-hye. As he said the chairwoman of the Democratic Party Chu Mi E, the administration of the new president is “the highest and most stable level of approval” in the country’s history.

Reforms in South Korea

The previous two presidents of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Park Geun-hye and Li Myung-bak – represented the interests of the largest conservative party in the country. The liberal Moon Zhe Ying who came to replace them practically from the first day began to implement complex reforms.

Under the new president’s vision were: tax policy, education, the judicial system, the labor market, the national health system and gender policy. Moon promised to create almost a million new jobs in the public sector (of which 110,000 – in 2017), and raise the minimum wage. Already in July, the National Assembly approved a project valued at $ 9.8 billion and aimed at creating 2.5 thousand jobs. The president also turned to nuclear energy: no new nuclear reactor for nuclear power plants will be built, he said. Moon promised, “to open the door to the post-nuclear era.”

Mun Zhe Ying announced the launch next year of a massive healthcare reform, which the national media has already called “Moon Care” just like Obamacare. The opposition, meanwhile, complains that the South Korean budget may not be able to implement these reforms.

One of the high-ranking members of the now oppositional Korean Free Party (CPC) recalled that $ 156 billion would be needed to carry out reforms of Mun Zhe In, but the president “did not specify where the financial resources will come from.”

At the same time, one of the reforms proposed by the president did not require huge financial investments, but it struck heavily on the positions of the already weakened SEC. In July the structure of the special service was restructured in such a way as to minimize its influence on the domestic policy of the country. Earlier, the special service was accused of manipulating public opinion in favor of conservatives.

In addition, Moon closed the program, which in 2018 envisaged the publication of school textbooks on the history of state structures, launched by Pak Kun Hye. The South Korean media writes that thanks to this program, the ex-president could rewrite history and present his father – Pak Jung He – in a more favorable light. Park Chung-hee led the country for 16 years and is distinguished by his tough style of management and political repression.

South Korean Relations with the DPRK (North Korea)

During his election campaign, Mun Zhe Ying said he was ready to resume the dialogue with Pyongyang, and his main task was to establish peace on the Korean peninsula. Again, he turned to this task during a press conference on the first 100 days at his post.

Moon Jae-in promised that there will never be a war on the peninsula. “Dialogue must begin anew, but one can not be impatient, and it takes time and effort to overcome decades of broken ties,” the president said. According to the president, the approach to the DPRK should be more flexible, and the preconceptions in relations with Pyongyang, related to the complete curtailment of the nuclear missile program, will not work.

This approach of Moon Jae-in, whose parents fled from the DPRK to the ROK during the Korean War, is at odds with the approach of US President Donald Trump. He  promised Pyongyang to meet any provocation “with fire and fury, which the world has never seen.”

A more radical and militant approach to Pyongyang, meanwhile, is being divided by oppositionists in the Republic of Korea. However, to listen to these statements, Moon Zhe Inu was recently helped by Pyongyang himself. After the July launch of the DPRK intercontinental ballistic missile, the president announced the deployment in the near future of additional installations of the US missile defense system THAAD. But even two months ago, South Korea suspended the deployment of these systems to conduct a full-fledged environmental review, which may be delayed for at least several months.