Moon Jae-in

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Moon.
Moon Jae-in
Moon Jae-in in 2017.jpg
Chairman of the Democratic Party of Korea
In office
9 February 2015 – 27 January 2016
Preceded by Ahn Cheol-soo, Kim Han-gil
Succeeded by Kim Chong-in
Member of the National Assembly
In office
30 May 2012 – 29 May 2016
Preceded by Chang Je-won
Succeeded by Chang Je-won
Constituency Sasang (Busan)
Personal details
Born (1953-01-24) 24 January 1953 (age 64)
Geoje, South Korea
Political party Democratic Party of Korea
Spouse(s) Kim Jeong-suk
Children 2
Alma mater Kyung Hee University (LL.B.)
Religion Roman Catholicism
Military service
Allegiance  South Korea
Service/branch Republic of Korea Army
Years of service 1975-1978
Rank ROK Army Byeongjang.png Byeongjang (Sergeant)
Korean name
Hangul 문재인
Revised Romanization Mun Jaein
McCune–Reischauer Mun Chaein

Moon Jae-in (Korean pronunciation: [mun.dʑɛ̝.in]; born 24 January 1953) is a South Korean politician who is currently the Minjoo Party of Korea's nominee in the 2017 presidential election.

Moon most recently served as the opposition leader of the Minjoo Party of Korea from 2015 to 2016 and a member of the 19th National Assembly. Prior, he was the Democratic United Party's candidate for the 2012 presidential election after winning a majority in the party primaries, but lost the election to Park Geun-hye. He was formerly a lawyer and chief of staff to late President Roh Moo-hyun prior to his entrance into politics.

Early life and education

Born in Geoje, South Korea, Moon Jae-in was the first son of father Moon Yong-hyung and mother Kang Han-ok among five children. His father was a peasant refugee from South Hamgyeong Province who fled his native city of Hamhung during the Hamhung Retreat. His father settled in Geoje as a laborer for the Geoje POW Camp. His family eventually settled in Busan and Moon attended Kyungnam High School.[citation needed] He enrolled in Kyunghee University where he majored in law. He was arrested and expelled from the university when he organized a student protest against the Yushin Constitution. Later, he was forcibly conscripted to the military and recruited to the Special Forces, where he participated in a military mission during the Axe murder incident. After his discharge, he passed the Bar Exam and was admitted to the Judicial Research and Training Institute.[citation needed] He graduated second in his graduating class and, despite his superb academic record, was not admitted to become a judge due to his organization of protests as a student[1] and chose to become a lawyer instead.

Early career

Human rights attorney

After becoming a lawyer, he partnered and worked with Roh Moo Hyun.[2] They remained friends up until Roh's death in 2009. Along with Roh, he took cases involving human rights and civil rights issues. He was a member of Minbyun and the Chairman of Human Rights at Busan Bar.


He was a founding member of the progressive South Korean newspaper, The Hankyoreh, in 1988.[3]

Roh Moo Hyun administration

Due to Roh's insistence, Moon became Roh's campaign manager during his presidential bid.[4] After Roh's victory, Moon became Roh's chief of staff and close aide. His roles in Roh's administration included:

  • 2003 ~ February 2004 - Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs
  • May 2004 ~ January 2005 - Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Society
  • January 2005 ~ May 2006 - Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs
  • March 2007 ~ February 2008 - Chief Secretary of the President
  • August 2007 - Chairperson of the Promotion of the 2nd North-South Korea Summit

When prosecutors began investigating Roh's corruption charges, Moon was the legal counsel to Roh. After Roh committed suicide, Moon was in charge of the funeral and handling his private affairs. His exposure to the public as a poised and trustworthy aide impressed the public and many liberals in Korea found Moon to be an attractive candidate against the conservative Saenuri Party candidate Park Geun-hye.

Political career

Entrance to politics

Despite his earlier indifference to politics, he began to get involved in the politics. He published a memoir called Moon Jae-in: The Destiny which became a bestseller.[5] His popularity had been rising steady against the likely opponent in the presidential race, Park Geun-hye. For instance, in a February 2012 poll, Moon managed to gain parity with Park in popularity.[6]

Moon managed to capitalise on the conservatives' decline in popularity amid a series of corruption scandals: as one pundit said, "Moon had managed to portray himself as a moderate and rational leader who has the backing of the younger generation".[7] In early 2012, Moon entered a bid for a seat in the National Assembly in the 19th legislative election. Moon won a seat in the Sasang District of Busan on 11 April 2012.

2012 presidential campaign

On September 16, 2012, Moon received the presidential nomination for the Democratic United Party.

He ran for the 2012 presidential election as the Democratic United Party's candidate in a three-way race against Park Geun-hye, the incumbent ruling party’s candidate and daughter of the late president Park Chung-hee,[8] as well as independent software mogul Ahn Cheol-soo. After Ahn bowed out of the race and endorsed Moon after showing the two candidates in a definitive loss were there to be a three-way race, Moon went onto lose the election.

Leader of the opposition

Moon was elected as the leader of New Politics Alliance for Democracy in February 2, 2015. After former party leader and presidential candidate rival Ahn Cheol-Soo's departure, Moon scouted several politically prominent people including former police Pyo Chang-won, political critic Lee Chul-hee and notably former president Park's secretary Cho Ung-chun to prepare for upcoming South Korean legislative election, 2016. After his recruitment, Moon resigned his position for another scouted advisor Kim Chong-in.[9]

2017 presidential campaign

Moon is currently considered the frontrunner to win Korea's next presidential election as of May 2017 following the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.

Political views

National security

Moon came out in favor of repealing Korea's national security laws, which has been accused by the Korean liberals as a tool of historically right-wing establishment of South Korea to restrict and oppress left-wing voices in Korean politics. He also promised to abolish the domestic wing of NIS (National Intelligence Service) in order to maintain their political neutrality, transferring domestic affairs to the police force.

Foreign policy

Moon has favored a peaceful reunification between the two Koreas. He was widely criticized and praised for his comments stating that his first visit if elected president would be to visit North Korea which would not be unlike Roh Moo Hyun's visit to the country in 2007. He has stated he considered himself as "America's friend" for its role in helping South Korea avoid communism while helping its economic growth.[10] At the same time, his more liberal foreign policy is reflected on record stating in a book, "“I’m pro-U.S., but now South Korea should adopt diplomacy in which it can discuss a U.S. request and say no to the Americans.”[11]

Economic policy

Moon's campaign promise in 2017 included intentions to put a 10 trillion won ($8.9 billion) fiscal stimulus to support job creation, start-ups, and small to mid-sized companies.[12]


Moon also promised transparency on his presidency, moving the president residence from palatial and isolated Blue House to Gwanghwamun in downtown Seoul.[13]

Personal life

Moon is married and has two children (a daughter and son). He is a Roman Catholic.


  1. ^ "대선주자 인물탐구 민주통합당 문재인". 경남신문. 2012-08-13. 
  2. ^"Tv report"
  3. ^ Naver Profile on Moon Jae-in
  4. ^ UnMyeong (destiny). Seoul: Moon Jae In. 2011. pp. 196~205. ISBN 978-89-7777-188-8. 
  5. ^ Evan Ramstad Wall Street Journal, Moon Jae-in Steps Back Into the Spotlight, July 21, 2011
  6. ^ Presidential poll: Moon Jae-in neck-and-neck with Park Geun-hye Andy Jackson Feb 18, 2012
  7. ^ Moon rises in open South Korea presidential race Reuters
  8. ^ Associated Press (19 December 2012). "Dictator's daughter elected South Korea's first female president". National Post. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ Sang-hun, Choe (2017-03-10). "Ouster of South Korean President Could Return Liberals to Power". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  11. ^ Shimbun, The Yomiuri. "Who is Moon Jae In? / Moon's reunification dream raises alarm". The Japan News. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  12. ^ "Korean Presidential Candidate Moon Vows 10 Trillion Won Stimulus". 2017-04-17. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  13. ^ "문재인 "검찰·국정원·청와대 대개혁해야"". KBS. Naver. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 

External links

  • (Korean) Moon Jae-in Camp
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