SEOUL, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in's patient personality and leadership style may make him the ideal intermediary between the United States and North Korea after the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and the March Paralympics, a South Korean author and psychiatrist told UPI.
Na Mi Lee, who knows the South Korean leader personally and published a contemporary biography of Moon in 2017, said the president's low-key approach to leadership, and his interminable patience, could lead to a political breakthrough.
"President Moon is in a unique position to be an intermediary between Kim [Jong Un] and [Donald] Trump, or between Kim and [Shinzo] Abe," said Lee, who is affiliated with Seoul National University Hospital's psychiatry department.
Lee's insight into what makes the South Korean president tick comes as international media attention focuses on a North Korea charm offensive and Kim Yo Jong, the attractive younger sister of Pyongyang's Kim Jong Un.
Kim Yo Jong met with Moon and invited him to Pyongyang after the opening ceremony. It is a major development that is raising hopes in South Korea that peace and stability might continue beyond the Winter Games.
But while the spotlight continues to stay on the successors to the North Korean Kim dynasty, South Korea's long-term efforts at engagement have gone relatively unnoticed.
Moon has been calling for formal talks with the North since July of last year, and a vision of inter-Korea peace he outlined in Berlin has received little attention.
But that may be helping Moon deflect scrutiny, Lee said.
"President Moon has the kind of personality that prefers not to make noise, or get people talking," the South Korean psychiatrist said, adding Moon is "introverted and introspective."
His approach to politics is a counterbalance to U.S President Donald Trump -- where Trump likes to exaggerate and send shock waves around the world with his tweets, Moon speaks in measured tones, and, Lee said, honors his words with action.
The South Korean president is the son of Korean War refugees who escaped the communist North during the 1950 Hungnam evacuation. In childhood, he struggled with poverty, Lee said.
Moon suffered from bowlegs because of the malnutrition, and the condition was the source of enormous physical pain during his time in South Korea's special forces, where he was forced to serve after organizing a protest against the dictatorship of South Korean President Park Chung Hee, the father of impeached President Park Geun-hye.
He allowed military supervisors to "tie up his legs" because they thought the procedure would correct his posture. It was painful and made him unable to sleep.
Moon persevered nonetheless and was recognized for excellence in service by future President Chun Doo-hwan.
"It shows he would do as he is told, that he respects the existing system" or order, Lee said, adding Moon's acts of obedience belie a conservative nature despite politically liberal leanings developed in the course of his career as a human rights attorney.
Pence and Abe were reportedly late to a dinner Moon was hosting ahead of the opening ceremony, and the two did not stand up for the unified Korea team as they entered the stadium.
Moon did not make a fuss over the apparent snub, although he could have privately disapproved of Pence and Abe's "rude" behavior, according to Lee.
He was then able to persuade the visiting leaders to understand Seoul's policies. The Washington Post later reported Pence said the United States might be ready to talk to North Korea.
"I see that as leadership," Lee said.