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From handling housing crisis to North Korea: Top Priorities for S. Korean President in 2021
Updated: 2021-01-19 05:41:52 KST
President Moon Jae-in held a New Year press conference Monday with members of local and foreign press.
It was an unscripted session aimed to provide answers to the biggest questions on Moon's views, plans and priorities on major issues as the President has around 16 months left in office.
The topics were wide-ranging, from domestic welfare to North Korea policy, but we seek to delve into some of biggest questions posed at the press conference.
I'm joined by Kim Byoung-joo, Professor at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies here in Seoul.
We also have Troy Stangarone, Senior Director and Fellow at the Korea Economic Institute of America.

To both: The Moon administration's housing policies, judicial reforms, and welfare policies have been at the center of the debate in domestic politics. What will Moon have to prioritize to promote inclusiveness and consolidate justice as he pledged to do during his campaign?

Dr. Kim: Moon's number one foreign policy priority has been North Korea. While most analysts have said North Korea won't be a priority for Joe Biden, Moon said at the press conference that a new U.S. administration presents a new opportunity to revive talks with North Korea. Do you think he'll be able to leave with a North Korea legacy? How will he have to work with the Biden administration to get dialogue and denuclearization going with the North?

Dr. Stangarone: South Korea is projected to make one of the fastest economic recoveries in the world this year, and the President mentioned in his New Year speech that the country is set to rank among the world's ten largest economies. What's going to drive the recovery from the pandemic?

Dr. Stangarone: It won't be all sunshine and roses though, according to some analysts who expect Joe Biden to mostly retain Trump's trade policies though in less of a confrontational manner. What challenges will Korean companies face, or continue to face, with Joe Biden's 'Buy American' policy?

Dr. Kim: Multilateralism appears to be the keyword for the international community, as Biden takes office. In the face of various global challenges including climate change, public health, strengthening trade and cross-border ties, how do you think the country should expand its role in the world? Do you think Moon will have to be more international in his final year of presidency than he was over the past four or so years?

Dr. Kim: Korea's been caught in the middle of the U.S-China trade war, and it's been embroiled in its own diplomatic spat with Japan. What will be Moon's main areas of focus in foreign policy in this remaining 16 months?

Dr. Kim: President Moon has emphasized inclusive, income-led growth for the country, and over the course of the pandemic, his administration's worked on the Green and Digital New Deals. But many say those deals are rather shallow. How do you rate his progress? What fundamental challenges does the country face to sustainable economic growth?

That was Kim Byoung-joo, Professor at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and Troy Stangarone, Senior Director and Fellow at the Korea Economic Institute of America.
Thank you for your time.

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