New South Korea president says he is willing to visit Pyongyang

South Korean President Moon Jae-in waves as he heads for the Presidential Blue House in Seoul.

Moon will be officially sworn in as South Korea's new president after the election commission finishes the vote count and declares the victor Wednesday morning.

"I will further strengthen the South Korea-U.S. alliance".

(Kim Hong-ji/Pool Photo via AP). Moon accepted Trump's invitation to visit at an 'early date.' No specific timing was set.

The right hand man to South Korea's new president is a former pro-democracy activist who spent more than three years in prison for organizing an unauthorized trip to the North.

Moon Jae-in was sworn in as the new South Korean President on Wednesday and he used his inauguration to ease geopolitical tensions on the Korean peninsula, saying he is prepared to visit North Korea and to hold discussions with Washington and Beijing.

But the official said Moon may moderate his stance on installation of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system once he is in office and is not expected to significantly alter the alliance.

Beijing says it threatens China's own security because its radar system is able to peer into the country's northeast and monitor its flights and missile launches.

Speaking at his swearing in ceremony, Moon promised to "resolve the security crisis as soon as possible". I will go anywhere for the peace of the Korean Peninsula. "And when the conditions are right, I will also go to Pyongyang", Moon said during his speech.

After winning the presidential election, Moon said: "This is the great victory for the great people who have been with me to build a just country, united country and a country where principle and common sense works". Lee Sun Jin, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, by phone shortly after being officially declared the victor and thereby taking over command of the nation's armed forces.

Taking office without the usual two-month transition, Moon initially will have to depend on Park's Cabinet ministers and aides, but he was expected to move quickly to replace them. Lawmakers must approve Lee for the country's No. 2 job, which was largely a ceremonial post before Park's removal made current Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn a government caretaker.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - Kim Jong Il's son - is closer than ever to having a credible nuclear deterrent to what it sees as an existential threat from Washington.

"The talk about a South-North summit is a little premature, but regardless of that, there's a need for a summit meeting", Suh said.

Moon must also try to mend a society badly bruised by the corruption scandal that doomed Park's administration.

  • Leroy Wright