South Korea’s New President Park Geun-hye: Heralding Hope Amidst Tough Realities

South Korea’s new President Park Geun-hye took the oath of office as South Korea’s first female president, the first Korean president to have previously lived in the Blue House, and the first Korean president to have visited North Korea prior to her term in office.

In her inauguration address, Park vowed to “open a new era of hope” in the face of a global economic crisis and North Korea’s nuclear threat.  She pledged a “creative economy” based on scientific and IT innovation, a “new paradigm of tailored welfare” and a merit-based society that enforces social justice through effective rule of law, a Korean cultural renaissance, and step-by-step efforts to build trust-based diplomacy with North Korea and with South Korea’s other partners.

Despite her vision to spread “hope” and “happiness” for South Koreans, Park comes to office facing security challenges she herself qualified as “grave” the day following her election. And though she campaigned as a “prepared female president,” there is growing public concern that her leadership is lacking.

Her transition committee has faced a bumpy ride as a result of criticisms that its processes and decisions have lacked transparency, its failed nomination of Park’s first choice to be prime minister over questions of personal ethics, an initial cabinet slate that has been criticized for prizing loyalty over inclusiveness, and a government reorganization plan that has yet to pass South Korea’s National Assembly.

Abstracted from: South Korea’s New President Park Geun-hye: Heralding Hope Amidst Tough Realities, Council on Foreign Relations. Read the complete Article.



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