Rep. Moon Jae-in, a leading presidential contender of the main opposition party, declared his bid Sunday to run in the upcoming presidential election, saying he would put top priority on tackling inequality.
“I will be the president of our country where ordinary people are owners rather than a minority of people with vested interests,” the lawmaker said as he officially announced his presidential ambitions.
The 59-year-old lawmaker underscored in his speech that he will induce a greater participation from ordinary citizens for political matters and shaping government policies.
Moon pointed out that “co-prosperity and peace” will be his two key election promises.
“The country I dream of is one where people achieve greater growth through trust and cooperation, rather than excessive competition and apathy that leads to a vicious and polarised world,” he said.
“My dream is making a country that realises peace and co-prosperity based on trust and cooperation with North Korea as well.”
Moon said he will promote small-and medium-sized businesses, while preventing the indiscriminate expansion of conglomerates, which he believes is a legacy of authoritarian governments.
“I will support small-and medium-sized enterprises so that they become responsible for the country’s majority of jobs,” he said.
“Above all, we should end the legacy of development dictatorship.”
The lawyer-turned politician said that he will seek wage-led growth, as opposed to debt-driven growth
that the current Lee Myung-bak and past conservative governments have pursued.
He argued that the “growth first and distribution later” policy that the Lee administration believed to produce a trickledown effect has failed as it only worsened the divide between the haves and have-nots and hampered the nation’s growth potential.
Moon also emphasized that he will promote green growth and stop the construction of additional nuclear power plants.
“We will reduce our dependence on nuclear power stations as new and renewable energy sources will replace them.”
Moon also said he will uphold the spirit of the engagement policy with North Korea by late Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, for whom he had long served as a mentor and chief of staff.
Moon also promised that he will expand the Gaeseong Industrial Complex, a joint venture between the two Koreas, and create a large international tourist zone that would include Mt. Geumgang in the North and Mt. Seorak and PyeongChang in the South.
He also vowed to create a peaceful economic zone near military borders with North Korea, including the Northern Limit Line, a maritime border that has been a constant source of military tension.
Moon jumped into politics during Roh’s presidential campaign and held key presidential posts during the late President’s five-year term, which ended in early 2008.
The partnership between Moon and Roh started in the early 1980s when they worked as civil rights lawyers in the southern port city of Busan.
Moon is currently the chair of a foundation dedicated to Roh, who committed suicide in 2009 amid prosecutors’ investigation into allegations that his family members gained illicit funds.
Opinion polls show both Moon and doctor-turned-IT mogul Ahn Cheol-soo are trailing the ruling party’s leading candidate Park Geun-hye, who is expected to announce her presidential bid soon. -By Lee Tae-hoon