ROK presidential candidate Moon Jae-in pulls ahead in polls as election nears

World Today

South Korean presidential candidate Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party raises his hands during an election campaign in Gwangju, South Korea, Sunday, May 7, 2017. South Korea’s presidential election is scheduled for May 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Democratic Party presidential candidate Moon Jae-in is pulling ahead in the polls as South Korea’s May 9 election draws close.

The former civil rights lawyer, who completed his national service in the elite Special Forces, is widely viewed as a moderate willing to pursue diplomatic engagement with the DPRK aimed at halting Pyongyang’s nuclear missile program.

CGTN’s Jack Barton has this report from the campaign trail in South Korea.

ROK elections

Democratic Party presidential candidate Moon Jae-in is pulling ahead in the polls as South Korea's May 9 election draws close.

These days Moon Jae-in is often greeted more like a South Korean pop idol than a 64-year-old former human rights lawyer who is now running for president.

Moon has experience– he was a former presidential Chief of Staff who later ran against, and narrowly lost to, former president Park Geun-hye in 2012.

Moon says he will strive to make South Korea a prosperous, mature democracy that respects human rights and seeks peace on the peninsula.

“I’ll make sure to stop any provocation from North Korea with an overwhelming defense. I want to lead the peace order in Northeast Asia. We are the owners of the Korean peninsula problem; we have to lead. I’ll make peace on the Korean peninsula for strong security,” Moon Jae-in said.

It’s a message, and an image, that resonates strongly with many young people here.

“Even the another candidates for president have good pledges, but they don’t have personality. But Moon Jae-in keeps his promises and he has a personality and that’s why I support Moon Jae-in,” Jin Yoo-ra said.

Moon wants to generate jobs through massive state funded infrastructure projects, while his main rival Ahn Cheol-soo wants to stimulate small to medium businesses.

Moon also likes to compare his own modest background to that of his billionaire rival.

“Last year we had a difficult period. I think he is the candidate who is thinking most about common people that’s why I support him,” Kim Sang-min said.

It does worry some that Moon has not mentioned where he’s going to get the money to pay for all his promises.