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'Whoever wins in Korea's election will have a tough job,' WP says

'Whoever wins in Korea's election will have a tough job,' WP says

Posted May. 09, 2017 07:18,   

Updated May. 09, 2017 07:25


Media outlets in China, which are at loggerheads with the Korean government over the deployment of the THAAD anti-missile defense system on the Korean Peninsula, hinted some expectations that the election of Democratic Party presidential candidate Moon Jae-in could provide an opportunity to mend the sour relationship between South Korea and China, highlighting his chance to win.

The Guangming newspaper said on Sunday, “Moon is leading in the opinion polls for 18 weeks with an approval rating of around 40 percent. Moon says that South Korea should learn to say ‘no’ to the Americans, and his response to voters’ emotions is striking a chord with young voters.” It also reported that Moon is planning to reform chaebols and organizations with power, flexible dialogues with North Korea and the takeover of the wartime command control within his term. The favorable stance of the state-run Chinese media towards Moon seems to be related to his negative opinion on the deployment of THAAD and emphasis on the improvement in the inter-Korean relationships.

However, Chinese media said negatively on People’s Party candidate Ahn Cheol-soo, saying that he is unclear about his policies and his party is not as competent as other parties. Meanwhile, they described Liberty Korea Party candidate Hong Joon-pyo as a gibberish candidate who emerged as a dark horse after leaving a strong impression to voters.

Meanwhile, U.S. media outlets saw that it will be an opportunity to bring Korea’s democracy, which drove out former President Park Geun-hye through candlelit protests, to another level. Giving a higher chance for Moon who benefited from the impeachment, they said that whoever wins in the election will have a tough job due to challenges such as North Korea, corruption and job creation.

The Washington Post said on Sunday (local time) that people can now post photos online indicating for whom they voted and this may influence the vote.

CNN said on Monday, “But for many voters, relations with the North are not the main issue as they choose a successor to President Park Geun-hye, whose impeachment left voters clamoring for transparency and a clampdown on corruption,” adding, “Many voters see him as a ‘clean’ candidate.”

Foreign news outlets paid attention to 20 percent of voters who remain undecided. The Washington Post said, “Voters appear less committed to candidates than they were in the 2012 presidential election. More than one-quarter of voters said they might switch allegiance to another candidate.” The Wall Street Journal said in an opinion, “An upset is possible if center-right voters rally around a single candidate (either Hong or Ahn).” The Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency said that it is certain that Moon has the upper hand but historical presidential elections often had upsets before voting.

In-Chan Hwang hic@donga.com · Wan-Jun Yun zeitung@donga.com