Moon takes weeklong vacation

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Moon takes weeklong vacation

President Moon Jae-in embarked on a seven-day vacation on Sunday at a time of heightened tension with North Korea, sparked by its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch two days earlier.

Moon and the first lady, Kim Jung-sook, left for Pyeongchang, Gangwon, the host city for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games, on Sunday for their first summer vacation since taking office.

After their visit to the county, they plan to spend a few days in Jinhae in South Gyeongsang, visiting military resort facilities.

In a departure from the past, the Blue House made public beforehand the president’s choice of venue for the vacation, whereas former presidential offices were tightlipped about destinations for security reasons and only revealed them afterwards.

A presidential official, who asked not to be named, said Moon chose Pyeongchang to draw people’s attention to the city as it will host the Olympic Games in less than 200 days.

“Moon feels sorry that there hasn’t been much talk about the city,” the official said.

Also differing from the past, the Blue House did not disclose the list of books that Moon took to read during the one-week break. “President Moon is really planning to take a full rest this time,” noted the senior aid.

Moon’s predecessor, Park Geun-hye, who now stands trial on corruption charges, took her first summer trip to Jeodo Island in South Gyeongsang, where she used to go as a child with her father, Park Chung Hee, the military strongman and former president.

She chose to stay at the Blue House for her second summer vacation, given the somber public mood after the sinking of the Sewol ferry three months earlier, which left 304 passengers dead, mostly high students on a school field trip.

She also chose to stay at the presidential office in 2015 because of the outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

While away on vacation, Moon will be updated on North Korea. He returns on Saturday.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]

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