The upcoming winter Olympics in South Korea’s Pyeongchang promises to be not only a sport but also a political event. For the first time the warring South and North Korea held the opening ceremony under a common flag and even play together in a single team for women’s hockey. Although rapprochement with the “dictatorial regime” of the DPRK has many opponents in South Korea, the head of the country’s moon Jae-In promises to go down in history as the President-peacemaker. It is possible that the reconciliation with Pyongyang to him a personal matter: to the Korean war his family lived North of the 38th parallel. But this is not the only interesting fact of his biography: the South Korean President was involved in unauthorized rallies, sitting in jail for their beliefs, and met his wife “on the barricades”.
The fruits of the “revolution of candles»
In the fall of 2016 to South Korea, a wave of protests that led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-Hye. The fire of revolution, however, modestly focused in the lights of the candles that kept the protesters: the protests were as massive, so peaceful. To speak out against corruption in the government out of nearly all layers of Korean society — even the officials who had to the power a direct relationship. Only in historic rallies involved over 17 million people. No one was hurt and was not arrested.
Side-by-side with demonstrators while standing and future President moon Jae-In. He is like a member of the opposition party and a prominent fighter for human rights — this event simply could not miss. The events, later called the “revolution of candles”, in the end brought him to power: may 9, 2017, he won the early presidential elections and became the master of the Blue Palace, home of the Korean leaders.
The conservatives in the country were pretty bad, but the corruption scandal involving the Park Geun-Hye badly crippled them. Therefore, the Democratic party candidate moon Jae Tabora Inu managed to win the election with such a significant margin (he scored 41.1% of the votes). As the vote was an “emergency”, the new President took over on the next day after the announcement of the results.
Campaign of moon Jae-In was built on the opposites of everything that did not suit the Koreans in power. What little his predecessor not mired in corruption scandals. Mr. moon promised to be a “simple and humble” President. The people were not satisfied that the power abstracted from the needs of ordinary people. The opposition candidate said he would “talk with people”, and promised the onset of social justice. When Park Geun-Hye relations with the DPRK broke through the next bottom (but as it turned out, the worst was yet to come). Moon assured: he will do anything to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula.
Anyway, North Korea has not shown enthusiasm for the peace initiatives of the new head to the Blue Palace. And if not for the sudden “Christmas surprise” from Kim Jong-UN, who declared about the readiness of the DPRK to take part in the South Korean Olympics, in this direction of foreign policy, moon Jae-In would be to admit failure.
“Within six months, North Korea has been studied by moon Jae-In, — said the head of Department of Korea and Mongolia of Institute of Oriental studies, associate Professor of the Department of Oriental studies, MGIMO MFA of Russia Alexander Vorontsov. — While in Pyongyang, I asked them: why don’t you respond to benevolent initiative of South Korea? They replied that scrutinize a new President and judge the new government according to his declarations, and in specific cases. The words were good, but in fact Seoul has shown complete solidarity with the United States. “We do not see independent South Korean policy,” said Pyongyang”.
The future President of South Korea during military service. Photo: president.go.kr
The son of refugees
Is it because it was so important for moon Jae-Ins to improve relations with the DPRK that he is from the North? His parents were among the 14 thousands of Koreans deported from the territory of the DPRK on a us military ship in December 1950. The refugees arrived on the island, Cojiedo near the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula. In 1953, a few months after the end of the war, was born moon Jae-In.
When on a televised debate he was asked whether he thinks North Korea’s number one enemy, he did not agree with this statement. This prompted the conservatives to accuse the moon that he is sympathetic to Pyongyang. Not to say that they were completely wrong, but the attitude of the President to the US also has a personal imprint. In his autobiography he speaks of deep gratitude to the American officer Leonard La Rue, who gave the order to fetch from the warship, weapons and supplies so he could accommodate Korean refugees.
However, immigrants from the North was waiting for a difficult fate. The family of the future President was not spared the poverty, although, as he recalled, his parents worked almost all day. While mom and dad were gone for work, moon Jae-In was queued for cornmeal and powdered milk, which was distributed in Catholic churches on the island. Although the process itself did not cause the child’s enthusiasm, he liked to communicate with Church officials, who have always been kind to him. He later converted to Catholicism and married a Catholic.
Despite their low abundance, moon Jae Inu was able to go to a prestigious school in a nearby Kyungnam Busan. There he first learned that such inequality. The boy was shocked at how different the way of life “Golden youth” of the time from what he used to see until now. A difficult childhood largely influenced the choice of profession: moon subsequently became a lawyer and human rights activist.
But there was still troubled years of study at Seoul University. Join student life, the son of refugees has become one of the leaders of the democratization movement, participating in various demonstrations. South Korea at that time was under the rule of a military dictator, Park Chung-Hee, the father deposed in 2016, Park Geun-Hye. But the System was stronger: the moon was arrested and sent to compulsory service in the forces of special operations. Whatever it was, the army had not changed the views of a fighter for democracy: after demobilization he relapsed and was arrested again. The news about passing the exam for the license of the lawyer, the student received detention.
So moon Jae-Ins can be considered experienced protesters. Felt whether it is nostalgia, going out on a demonstration against the daughter of the dictator of the Pack in 2016? After all, one of the protests he met his future wife, Kim Jong Suk. The story of their encounter full of romance: a young man has felt the full force of tear gas and fainted. Waking up, he saw John Suk, wipe his face with a wet towel. As they say, love at first sight. Or inhalation of tear gas.
Moon Jae-Ins brought to power a wave of civic engagement. Photo: president.go.kr
Despite the fact that moon Jae-In was one of the best students of the University, between him and the post of the judges stood up in her business about participation in anti-government demonstrations. Refusing to work in a large law firm, he returned to the familiar Busan and began law practice. In his biography moon describes this period as “very happy.” It was at this time he married Kim after seven years of relationship and met the future President Roh Moo-Hyun. “Looking back, I realize that everyone, including meeting with him and the path that I chose, was my destiny,” he recalls.
When Roh Moo-Hyun entered the path of politics, he invited his team and moon Jae-In, but he never wanted to fight for power and therefore refused. And yet, Roh Moo Hyun, won the presidential elections in 2003, reiterated its proposal. Moon, at that time already a well-known lawyer for human rights, agreed and became a presidential Advisor on civil Affairs. The human rights activist had no experience in public service, and change of activity at first, when he had no taste. “I felt out of my element,” admitted later politician, adding that at that time he really missed the work of a lawyer. After serving a five-year period (during this period, the moon has held a number of positions, ending as head of the presidential administration), he felt “relief”. After civil service he planned to return to his former profession and the quiet country life.
However, his plans were never realized. On may 23, 2009 Roh Moo-Hyun took his own life, faced with allegations of corruption. “I’m going through a hard time. I complicate the lives of too many people”, — was said in the suicide note of a statesman. To announce the death of a colleague had moon Jae Inu, he was in charge of his funeral. This event deeply shocked him and forced him to return to politics.
“If I hadn’t met But maybe I would lead a more relaxed and comfortable life, but his passion has always motivated me to action. Just like his death. She made me get back on track. He said it was fate. Now he is not in her power, but I have to continue the work that he left me,” wrote moon.
While working in a team But moon Jae-In called “shadow” President. Now he had to come out of the shadows. In 2012 he first ran for the presidency, but lost to the opponent from the conservative party, Park Geun-Hye. “Revolution of candles”, however, gave him a chance to take revenge.
It is too early to take stock of the current Korean President. But his policy toward North Korea did not avoid some contradictions. Declaring peace initiatives and take Pyongyang to sit down at the negotiating table, Seoul, meanwhile, continued to conduct joint exercises with the Americans at the borders of the DPRK. Meanwhile, it was always against this were North Korean leaders. But Pyongyang continued to develop its missile and nuclear program, ignoring the Declaration of moon Jae-In. Experts say that after the Olympics the two Koreas, of course, has a chance to continue the rapprochement and even make an appointment at the highest level. But it is very small — because not everyone in South Korea share the ideals moon Jae-In.