S. Korea president-elect Park focuses on security

20 December 2012

The relationship with North Korea dominated the first major speech by South Korea’s president-elect Park Geun-hye.

The conservative won Wednesday’s election and will become South Korea’s first female leader when she takes office in February.

She will also follow in her father’s footsteps, whose grave she visited before turning her attention to Pyongyang.

Speaking about worries of a regional conflict because of North Korea’s missile launch, Park called the launch a symbol of how serious security issues have become for Seoul.

Park also said aid to the North and talks between the two countries would only resume if Pyongyang abandoned its nuclear programme.

Relations remain strained between Seoul and Tokyo, and with increased worries about Japanese nationalism since the election of Shinzo Abe as Japan’s next prime minister, it is speculated that Park may enhance ties with other countries.

“While (current) President Lee Myung-bak and his administration have overemphasised the alliance with the US, they have neglected China and North Korea,” said Political Science and Diplomacy professor at Sungkyunkwan University Chi Won-bin.

“I think president-elect Park Geun-hye will adopt more positive policies on diplomacy and security issues toward China and North Korea,” he added.

However, there may still be some way to go in winning over people who consider her late father a dictator.

Park’s pledge to share the country’s wealth more fairly could be a step in the right direction.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes