Moon Jae-in, a left-leaning liberal who favours engagement with North Korea, looks set to win South Korea’s presidential election, raising hopes of a potential rapprochement with Pyongyang as per the latest exit polls

After the historic presidential election of France which elected Emmanuel Macron, the South Korean elections equally as significant in a region facing a mounting nuclear crisis. The 64-year-old former human rights lawyer and liberalist Moon Jae-in won 41.4% of the vote, according to an exit poll cited by the Yonhap news agency, placing him comfortably ahead of his nearest rivals, the centrist software entrepreneur Ahn Cheol-soo and the conservative hardliner Hong Joon-pyo. The South Koreans must be hoping for a clean break from corruption scandals.

Moon’s election might lead to a needed cleanup of South Korea’s political system which critics say is overly influenced by its hulking conglomerates known as chaebols. If he wins, Moon has vowed to vacate the palatial Blue House and work from central government offices. But Moon’s victory would also be viewed in two other Asian capitals — Beijing and Pyongyang — as evidence that their hard-line policies toward South Korea have succeeded.

Moon has also called for a more conciliatory approach to North Korea, after weeks of tensions over the regime’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programmes. And Moon has pledged that he’d soften South Korea’s tough stance towards North Korea and seek closer ties with China, which is now, after the United States, South Korea’s biggest trading partner.

The liberalist seems to be having too many changes in terms of international policies and alliances and warmer relations with North Korea can mean a victory for Kim Jong Un. The South Korean election results will definitely decide the fate of the nuclear crisis and international policies.