Moon receives military briefing on North Korea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on South Korea’s presidential election (all times local):

9:20 a.m.

New South Korean President Moon Jae-in, taking up his duties as commander in chief, has been briefed by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about the military’s preparedness against North Korea.

Moon will be sworn into office at noon Wednesday but has immediately assumed his duties because of the circumstances of Tuesday’s special election.

In his phone call with Army Gen. Lee Sun-jin he said he trusts the military’s ability to protect the nation.

Moon’s Democratic Party says Lee told the president that the South’s military was closely monitoring the North and prepared to “immediately and sternly” respond to potential provocations by the North.

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8:11 a.m.

South Korea’s election body has officially declared liberal Moon Jae-in as the country’s new president a day after millions voted in an election to replace ousted former leader Park Geun-hye, who now awaits a trial over corruption charges in jail.

The National Election Commission finished counting votes earlier on Wednesday and said Moon gathered 41 percent of the votes, comfortably edging his closest rival, conservative Hong Joon-pyo, who gathered 24 percent of the votes.

South Korea may see a sharp departure from recent policy under Moon, who favors closer ties with North Korea. He says the hard line Seoul’s conservative governments took in the past decade did nothing to prevent the North’s development of nuclear-armed missiles and only reduced South Korea’s voice in international efforts to counter North Korea.

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3:30 a.m.

The White House is congratulating South Korea’s Moon Jae-in on his election as the country’s next president.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer is noting in a statement South Korea’s “peaceful, democratic transition of power” and he says the administration looks forward to working with Moon “to continue to strengthen the alliance” between the two countries.

South Korea is a key U.S. ally in its push to get North Korea to rid itself of its nuclear and ballistic weapons program.

The liberal former human rights lawyer claimed victory late Tuesday after his two closest rivals conceded. It follows months of political turmoil caused by ousted President Park Geun-hye’s corruption scandal.

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11:50 p.m.

Liberal Moon Jae-in has declared victory in South Korea’s presidential election after his two major rivals conceded defeat Tuesday.

The election sets up the country’s first liberal rule in a decade.

It follows months of political turmoil caused by ousted President Park Geun-hye’s corruption scandal.

The concessions by conservative Hong Joon-pyo and centrist Ahn Cheol-soo came after exit polls forecast that Moon would win.

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10:45 p.m.

Two major challengers for South Korean president, a conservative and a centrist, conceded defeat Tuesday, paving the way for liberal Moon Jae-in to claim victory in an election that followed months of political turmoil caused by ousted President…

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