Moon Jae-in who won primaries in Democratic United Party this year is a long term human rights activist who played a major role in South Korean system transformation. He joined forces with the late president Roo Moo Hyun starting Busan Law Firm as human rights attorney. He had been Roh's best friend and political ally ever since.
Moon Jae-in was born on 24th January 1953 in Geoje and graduated from Kyung Hee University.
In 1988 he founded opposition newspaper The Hankyoreh which supported student protests. He also was human rights attorney at Pusan Bar and was actively involved in developing human rights awareness in South Korea ever since.
Despite being the chief of stuff for president Roh Moon was indifferent to politics ever up till this year when he decided to become a candidate in the presidential elections.
Moon was one of the architects of the Sunshine Policy which led to regular meetings between the leaders and increasing of economic aid for the North. Kim Dae-jung administration, which started it, helped as well to start family meetups between those who have been separated by the DMZ after Korean War in 1953.
During Roh presidency the idea of economic aid shaped itself into creation of the Kyeongsang Industrial Park. Approximately 15 South Korean companies employ there more than 40 000 workers from North Korea with perspective to employ 26 000 as soon as possible. Everything is supported from Seoul, facilities, constructions, energy and transportation system together with money to pay for wages. By 2012 the Complex was said to employ approximately 725 000 North Korean citizens and generate more than $500 million of income for North Korean Economy. However after sinking of Cheonan Lee Myung-bak's administration toughened it's course towards North Korea and decided to be based on the moment and adequate reaction, not on any program or ideology. This led to putting embargo on any trade with North Korea.
Critics of Sunshine Policy say that in this case Seoul will be often simply blackmailed by North Korea whenever it wants more of aid. Moon's main oponent, conservative leader Park Geun-hye accuses Moon of not having clear vision of securing Northern Line Limit. But this maritime border between two countries had never actually been exactly drawn, and had been disputed ever since Korean War.
Moon is also a strong advocate against South Korean regionalism which leads to unequal chances of people coming from different provinces or cities.
More about Moon Jae-in:
My recent exploratory study shows that the era of conservatives in Korea has come to an end. But it does not mean that Moon stands chances alone either. He is backed by an independent candidate Ahn Cheol-soo who already once was a kingmaker during mayoral elections in Seoul.
The then Grand National Party (now the Saenuri Party) candidate Na Kyung-won who was supported by Park was beaten by independent Park Won-soon who took advantage of Ahn’s support.
Moon and Ahn decided for unified candidacy this time and it may make a difference.
In the first free elections of 1987, the two leading opposition figures, Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung (both of whom later became presidents), were unable to overcome their differences and split the vote allowing ex-regime nominee Roh Tae-woo to win.
Park Kwang-on, a spokesman for the Moon camp, said that they agreed to pick a single candidate before the registration and will hold talks to make it happen. Let's see, who runs for a president and who becomes the Prime Minister.
Soon a story of Ahn Cheol-soo, a rising star of independent politics in South Korea. Also more about political plans of Moon Jae-in. Stay tuned.