By Kim Young Shin
Foreign correspondents have complimented President Moon Jae-in for personally hosting his New Year’s news conference on Jan. 10.
"Compared to last year, President Moon was more actively involved in hosting the conference, and the flow was overall very good," said Al Jazeera senior producer Kim Mu-sun.
"I liked the format of the news conference this time," said Le Figaro’s Asia correspondent Sebastien Falletti. "If not often, I’d like this kind of meeting to be held several times a year."
"Compared to past administrations or just last year, the conference got better," said Andrew Salmon from Asia Times. "A presidential news conference only takes place once a year in Korea and I believe that it should be held more often."
President Moon answered questions from 22 journalists during the 89-minute news conference, five of whom were from foreign media: The Washington Post, People’s Daily, Le Figaro, NHK and the BBC.
The BBC’s Laura Bicker asked him about the practical measures his administration will take to narrow the gender gap.
"Since its inauguration, my administration has strived to break the glass ceiling through measures like appointing more women to high-ranking posts," President Moon said. "Last year, we saw improvement in the female employment rate and wider accessibility to parental leave."
"We will continue to prevent gender differences from making uncomfortable or hurting any member of society so that people, regardless of gender, can engage in economic and social activities for their happiness."
Takano Hiroshi from NHK asked President Moon for the Korean government’s stance on the Korean Supreme Court’s ruling ordering Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. to pay damages to the victims of forced labor during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
"The government should respect the judiciary and this also applies in Japan," the president said. "On the issue of substantially alleviating the victims' pain, both Korea and Japan must diligently cooperate to come up with solutions."