On first day of campaign, Moon talks jobs, jobs, jobs

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On first day of campaign, Moon talks jobs, jobs, jobs

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Moon Jae-in, the presidential candidate of the main opposition Democratic United Party, pays his tribute at a fallen soldier’s tombstone in the National Cemetery in Seoul.[NEWSIS]

Moon Jae-in, the largest opposition party’s presidential candidate, had a simple schedule on his first day of campaigning, aiming at differentiating his image from the ruling party’s political giant Park Geun-hye.

The 59-year-old former presidential chief of staff of the Roh Moo-hyun Blue House began his day by making a brief visit to the National Cemetery to pay respects to the nation’s fallen patriots. Moon then visited the Guro Digital Complex for a discussion with about 100 participants including business lobby groups, labor unions and civic groups. The topic was job creation.

“Jobs are the people’s rights and the state’s duty,” Moon said yesterday. “The outcome of growth should be jobs and the outcome of economic democratization would be stable jobs.

“We won’t see an increase in jobs with the growth-oriented method used in the past,” Moon said. “Creating jobs through economic growth is an old paradigm. Today, we must grow the economy by increasing jobs.”

Stressing that job creation is a difficult challenge that cannot be resolved by adjusting some policies, Moon urged employers, labor unions and the government to cooperate to find a solution.

“It is absolutely necessary for us to concede and compromise,” he said.

Moon presented some specific pledges to boost youth employment and help small companies. One of his ideas was that high school graduates will be given admission incentives and the offer of future scholarships if they work for small firms for two to three years first and then enter universities.

Moon said he wants to become “a job-creating president” and resolving employment issues is his top campaign pledge. In his acceptance speech on Sunday after his primary victory, Moon again stressed that a job creation revolution is the priority for Korea.

He will meet janitors of universities today to hear about the hardships of temporary workers. Later in the afternoon, he will meet with veteran economic affairs experts.

Moon is focusing on tangible pledges of employment rather than symbolic political gestures. In contrast, the Saenuri Party’s candidate Park Geun-hye made “grand national unity” the keywords of her campaign and paid symbolic visits to the graves of two late liberal presidents Roh and Kim Dae-jung. She also attempted to make peace with the victims of her father Park Chung Hee’s authoritarian rule by visiting the memorial foundation of late labor activist Chun Tae-il.

Moon’s visit to the National Cemetery yesterday was extremely simple. Only his spokeswoman and chief of staff accompanied him. Moon paid respects before the grave of the late President Kim, but did not visit other former presidents’ graves, including Park’s father.

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]
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