Yoon Suk-yeol takes office as South Korea’s new president | Politics News

Conservative politician, who won election with a wafer-thin majority, will be sworn in at a ceremony in Seoul.

Yoon Suk-yeol will be sworn in as South Korea’s new president on Tuesday, in a ceremony overshadowed by a slew of weapons tests by its nuclear-armed neighbour.

Yoon, a conservative, takes office at a time of increasing tension on the Korean peninsula, with North Korea conducting a record 15 weapons tests since January, two of them last week.

The former prosecutor won the election in March by the slimmest of margins, promising to “sternly deal” with the threat posed by Kim Jong Un’s regime, while leaving open the door to dialogue.

Predecessor Moon Jae-in pursued a policy of engagement with the North holding a summit with Kim Jong Un in 2018 and brokering two summits between Kim and then US President Donald Trump before relations broke down in 2019.

Not much is known about Yoon’s inauguration speech.

Local reports say the 61-year-old is writing the speech himself and that it will focus on three keywords: freedom, market and fairness.

A man and his son - in a yellow traditional outfit - arrive for the inauguration ceremony in Seoul
Guests arrive ahead of the inauguration of South Korea’s new president, Yoon Suk-yeol at the National Assembly in Seoul [Anthony Wallace/AFP]

The inauguration, costing about 3.3 billion won ($2.6m), will take place on the front lawn of parliament with some 40,000 guests.

Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, Japanese foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, and Doug Emhoff, the husband of United States Vice President Kamala Harris, are also attending.

Yoon is taking office with some of the lowest approval ratings – about 41 percent, according to a recent Gallup poll – of any democratically elected South Korean president.

A plan to relocate the presidential office from the decades-old Blue House has soured the public mood with many South Koreans viewing the costly move as unnecessary.

US President Joe Biden designated Emhoff to lead an eight-member presidential delegation, the White House said in a statement last week.



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