May 17, 2017 12:11
President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday had lunch with special envoys he is sending to the U.S., China, Japan, Russia, and the EU.
Moon said their dispatch marks the start of "normalization" in Korea's diplomatic activities after months where little could be done as ex-President Park Geun-hye battled impeachment.
They are Hong Seok-hyun, a former chairman of the Joong-ang Ilbo, who will go to the U.S., former prime minister Lee Hae-chan, who goes to China, Minjoo Party lawmaker Moon Hee-sang, who heads to Japan, fellow Minjoo lawmaker Song Young-gil (Russia), and Cho Yoon-je (EU and Germany), a professor at Sogang University.
"The foreign affairs and national security environment was chaotic when the new government was inaugurated, and there's been a vacuum in normal diplomacy for more than six months" Moon told the envoys. "Filling this vacuum is our most urgent task."
A presidential spokesman said, "The key message the special envoys are delivering will be…on the North Korean nuclear issue," a presidential official said. "There'll be exchanges of opinions on the quick and prompt stabilization of the peninsula."
Moon asked them to stress that the new government owes its existence to "people power" -- candlelit mass rallies calling for Park's ouster -- and that "political legitimacy and transparency are very important now."
The presidential official said that means public opinion should be reflected in handling controversial issues like the deployment of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery from the U.S. and a deal with Japan on the victims of wartime sex slavery, and the results made public.
The special envoys start leaving this week.
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