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South Korea's Moon torn by 'split personality' when it comes to Japan

President lacks clear principles for managing relations between Seoul and Tokyo

President Moon Jae-in's past as a student activist comes forth when he addresses sensitive issues in relations with Japan.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in has two public personas when it comes to dealing with Japan: the statesman and the activist.

In his address marking South Korea's Liberation Day on Aug. 15, which celebrates the end of Japanese colonial rule on the peninsula, Moon avoided stirring up nationalistic, anti-Japanese sentiment. One line in particular stood out. "If Japan chooses the path of dialogue and cooperation, we will gladly join hands," he said.

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