May 10, 2022 11:30
Around 41,000 people assembled for President Yoon Suk-yeol's inauguration ceremony at 11 a.m. Tuesday in front of the National Assembly. They included outgoing president Moon Jae-in, former first lady Kim Jung-sook and Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan.
Yoon's presidential tenure already started when he was briefed about military readiness in Yongsan, Seoul at midnight on Tuesday.
In the morning he left his home in Seocho-dong with first lady Kim Keon-hee and stopped by the Seoul National Cemetery before heading to the National Assembly.
The couple then walked 180 m from the entrance to the stage and shook hands with citizens.
The only former president in attendance is Park Geun-hye, who was recently sprung from jail, but her predecessor Lee Myung-bak is still in prison for corruption. Lee's wife Kim Yun-ok, Chun Doo-hwan's widow Lee Soon-ja and Roh Tae-woo's oldest daughter Noh So-young are also attending, but Roh's widow is not because she is too frail.
In his inauguration speech, Yoon stressed "freedom" to rebuild the country. "It is our generation's calling to build a nation that espouses liberal democracy and ensures a thriving market economy, a nation that fulfills its responsibility as a trusted member of the international community, and a nation that truly belongs to the people," he said. "We, as global citizens, must take a stand against any attempt to take our freedom away, abuse human rights or destroy peace."
But he faces a tough road ahead amid the worst economic crisis in decades exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic as well as an opposition super-majority in the National Assembly.
After the hourlong inauguration ceremony, the new president and first lady bid farewell to Moon and his wife and move to the new presidential office in Yongsan.
On Monday, Yoon met foreign dignitaries who came to attend his inauguration, including former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, the U.K.'s Minister of State for Asia and the Middle East Amanda Milling, and Sodiq Safoyev, a deputy chair of the Senate of Uzbekistan. Milling presented Yoon with a copy of "The Churchill Factor" by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Yoon is scheduled to meet other foreign dignitaries and guests this afternoon including Douglas Emhoff, the husband of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and others.
The day ends with a banquet at Hotel Shilla in downtown Seoul instead of Cheong Wa Dae, which has been opened to the public and will turn into a park.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com