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Diplomatic handshakes as new political era starts in South Korea

20 December 2012

   It was a day for diplomacy and promises as South Korea’s President-elect Park Geun-hye met with the ambassadors of China, Japan, the United States, and Russia.   The first woman believed to have ruled in the peninsula since the ninth century has promised to strengthen the alliance with the United States and wants to boost economic ties with China, a traditional ally of North Korea. Park has also promised to build relations with Pyongyang.   “North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket has shown how serious the reality is. I think people are calling on me to overcome this crisis wisely. I will keep my promise to the people, that I will open the Korean peninsula’s new era through strong security and diplomacy, based on trust,” she said.   Relations remain strained between Seoul and Tokyo, and with increased worries about Japanese nationalism, it is believed Park may enhance ties with other countries as Chi Won-bin, political science and diplomacy professor at Sungkyunkwan University pointed out.   “While the Lee Myung-bak administration has over-emphasised alliance with the United States, it has neglected relationship with China and North Korea, I think President-elect Park Geun-hye will adopt more positive policies on diplomacy and security issues toward China and North Korea.”   Park, a leading member of the ruling conservative party will follow in her late father’s footsteps who was considered a dictator and whose grave she visited before turning her attention to diplomacy.