|South Korean President Moon Jae-in|
By Lee Chi-dong
SEOUL, June 8 (Yonhap) -- One month into office, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has wasted no time in tackling diplomatic and security challenges from the controversial U.S. missile defense deployment to a row with Japan over a sex slavery settlement.
His hope to reset ties with North Korea faces a major test as Pyongyang has continued to be provocative with more frequent missile firings than before his inauguration.
"The Moon Jae-in administration was launched under the worst-ever external circumstances in the history (of South Korea)," said Yun Duk-min, former chancellor of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy.
He cited the North's growing threats, a new alliance approach by the Donald Trump administration advocating "America-first" policy, and a hegemonic rivalry between China and Japan in Northeast Asia
As soon as he was inaugurated, Moon promptly began to fill the country's summit diplomacy vacuum created by the political trouble of his ousted predecessor Park Geun-hye.
Moon had phone conversations with foreign leaders, including Trump, China's Xi Jinping, Japan's Shinzo Abe and Russia's Vladimir Putin.
Moon then sent high-profile special envoys to Washington, Beijing, Tokyo and Moscow as one of his first diplomatic steps.
"He deserves credit for endeavoring to recover such (presidential) diplomatic routes through the swift dispatch of the special envoys," Yun said.
Moon is scheduled to meet bilaterally with Trump in Washington at the end of this month, a notably early first summit between the allies under a new South Korean president.
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