SEOUL, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- A South Korean frontrunner in recent presidential polls pledged dialogue with Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the resetting of relations with unrepentant Japan and robust alliance with the United States.

Moon Jae-in, former chairman of the main opposition Minjoo Party, held a press conference with foreign correspondents in Seoul on Thursday, explaining about his potential campaign pledges in an upcoming presidential election as early as mid-2017.

As President Park Geun-hye was impeached last week with an overwhelming support in the National Assembly, South Koreans started to look for their next leader in early presidential election that is forecast here to be held in mid-2017.

The permanent removal of Park from office requires approval from the two-thirds of the nine-judge constitutional court that has up to 180 days to deliberate it.

The court is estimated to reach a final conclusion on the impeachment between February and March next year. A presidential election must be held within 60 days, forecast between April and May, if President Park is permanently removed.


"I'm willing to have summit talks with North Korean (DPRK) leader Kim Jong Un," said Moon who set preconditions that the DPRK's complete dismantlement of nuclear programs and the Korean Peninsula's denuclearization, the goals which he said can never be given up, are put on the summit talks table.

Moon said that DPRK policies in the past 10 years or so under the administrations of President Park Geun-hye and her predecessor Lee Myung-bak "completely failed" and resulted in the worst-ever "breakdown" in inter-Korean relations.

The two governments, he said, "did nothing" in preventing the DPRK's advancement in nuclear capability by adhering to sanctions and pressure alone that he claimed have proven unsuccessful.

He added that sanctions and pressure are aimed at persuading Pyongyang to return to a dialogue table, proposing a two-track approach of both dialogue and sanctions to solve the DPRK's nuclear issue.

Lee also offered a gradual two-step approach: freezing the DPRK's nuclear program first by declaring and verifying no more nuclear test and advancement in nuclear capability, and then completely denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Moon is a long friend and former chief of staff to late President Roh Moo-hyun who had inherited a "sunshine policy" of his predecessor Kim Dae-jung. Roh and Kim pursued rapprochement policies with their northern neighbor by expanding economic and cultural exchanges between the rival Koreas.

Inter-Korean ties got frozen since conservative governments emerged in the South Korean side, entailing the so-called "strategic patience" which many said has allowed the DPRK time to develop nuclear and missile programs.


Moon, the runner-up to President Park in the 2012 presidential election, said he would reset his country's relations with Japan unrepentant for his past brutalities before and during the World War II. The Korean Peninsula was colonized by the Imperial Japan between 1910 and 1945.

He denounced the signing in November of the pact to share military intelligence between South Korea and Japan for the absence of open discussion in the parliament and with people.

The military accord, Moon said, was signed with Japan, which has ambition to be militarized and continues territorial disputes with South Korea over Dokdo islets, called Takeshima in Japan.

Moon also condemned the "final and irreversible" agreement last December with Japan on the victims of "comfort women," a euphemism for Korean women forced into sexual slavery for the Imperial Japan's army-run brothels before and during the devastating war.

"We don't need money," Moon said, referring to 1 billion yen (8.5 million U.S. dollars) Japan promised to provide for the South Korean victims in return for the agreement. He said it is difficult to acknowledge the legitimacy of the agreement, which lacks legal responsibility and sincere apology.

South Korea and Japan have shown different explanations about the agreement, in which Seoul claimed Japan's legal responsibility and formal apology are included. Japan has maintained an ambiguous stance, still denying the forceful recruitment of "comfort women" by the Japanese government.

Asked about U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, Moon forecast that there would be no big change in the U.S. policy toward South Korea, saying there had been no great change in it though the Republic and Democratic parties rotated presidencies.

Moon said he would inherit the South Korea-U.S. alliance from previous governments and solidify it further.