In a move that appeared to signal the South Korean leader has not lost sight of the importance of national defense amid an unprecedented level of inter-Korea engagement, Moon stressed the importance of national security but also "defense reform," Yonhap reported Friday.
"We must build the foundation of peace on the Korean Peninsula with security of ironclad strength," Moon said. "Peace is something we must build and protect. Our path to peace will not be stopped if we have a strong military and strong defense power."
Moon made a similar statement on "peace through force" at the U.S.-South Korea summit in May. Seoul's defense ministry had said in August the pursuit of denuclearization and a "peaceful settlement on the Korean Peninsula" would take place through peace through force while increasing the defense budget by 8.2 percent in the next fiscal year.
On Friday Moon said a "strong military comes from the infinite trust of the people...We now ask for a military that is for the people, by the people."
A source at the presidential Blue House who spoke anonymously to Yonhap said Moon's visit to Geoje Island, where the launching ceremony was held, was planned ahead of time and has "nothing to do with the inter-Korea summit" to be held next week.
Moon is to fly to Pyongyang on Tuesday, according to Money Today.
He is to stay in North Korea for three days during the summit with Kim and will travel along Korea's western coast, the Blue House said Friday.