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Presidential front-runner calls for national unity after Park’s ouster

Presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in called on the nation to set aside divisions and forge unity based on democratic principles Sunday in his first response to the Constitutional Court’s dismissal of President Park Geun-hye.

In a news conference, he also called on Park to accept the court’s decision to uphold her impeachment, saying the investigation into the ex-leader should proceed promptly.

“Now we should be united as one beyond wounds, divisions and discords. The Republic of Korea should go the path of unity. It should end overthrowing, exclusion, discord and social splitting,” Moon, former head of the largest Democratic Party, said at the party headquarters in Seoul.

He, however, emphasized that true national unity does not mean “covering up deep-rooted evils.”

“We need to pursue principled unity of respecting and embracing minor opinions within the boundaries of democracy while clearly removing old evils.”

Moon said the beginning point of national unity will be when all Koreans accept the outcome of democratic constitutional procedures.

“But we need tolerance too,” he said. “When the large number of people who attended the candlelight rallies provide comfort to those who opposed the impeachment and feel a sense of loss, they will feel more proud of the country and being members of it.”

He also said the prosecution has no reason to delay its investigation into Park as she was deprived of presidential immunity by the criminal prosecution.

“Some say the investigation should be delayed until after the presidential election. But given that ex-President Park is not a candidate, there is no reason to do so,” Moon said.

He said it doesn’t matter when she relocates to her private home, but that she should not delete or take national records with her when she leaves.

Questioned about his comment during a recent interview with The New York Times that South Korea should recognize the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a dialogue partner, Moon said: “South Koreans don’t agree with the North Korean regime and can never accept it. But we cannot deny the fact that the North Korean people are the object of reunification and their ruler is Kim Jong-un.

“I meant to say that whether we sanction or hold a dialogue with the North to settle its nuclear issue, we cannot but recognize Kim Jong-un as the opponent of it.”

As for South Korea’s deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, Moon reiterated his demand to toss the issue over to the next government.

He, however, said it is improper to demand presidential candidates unveil their positions in favor of or against the THAAD deployment.

“If the THAAD deployment is handed over to the next government, it will be able to discuss the matter with China in a confidant manner,” he said. “I have repeatedly said our party already has a plan ready.”

He then showed strong confidence as a presidential candidate ahead of the election expected to take place in May.

“There is no political crisis. During the two months of the election period, South Korean politics will develop to have a fairly well-ordered and new democracy, and there will be no vacuum in state management and political crisis. Korean people are great, and the ROK is strong. So I’m confident.”

He vowed efforts to muster nonpartisan cooperation until the new government is formed to prevent any hitch in the country’s security and defense posture, and to address China’s economic retaliation against the THAAD deployment. (Yonhap)


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