North Korea top task for new South head

2013-02-21 13:00
Park Geun-Hye

Park Geun-Hye ( Kim Hong-Ji)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Seoul - Park Geun-Hye will be sworn in as South Korea's first female president next week - a historic landmark clouded by North Korea's recent nuclear test and threats emanating from Pyongyang.

The daughter of the late dictator and vehement anti-communist Park Chung-Hee, Park campaigned on a policy of cautious engagement with Pyongyang in contrast to her hawkish predecessor, Lee Myung-Bak.

But her plans are likely to be shelved, at least for the short term, after the 12 February nuclear test angered the public in the South and emboldened hawks in Park's ruling conservative party.

The UN Security Council is still debating how to respond, but is almost certain to toughen sanctions on Pyongyang - a move that could trigger a sharp response from the North and possibly even another nuclear test.

Kim Jang-Soo, a former defence minister who has been appointed Park's national security adviser, signalled on the same day as the test that the new administration's policy could "not be the same as before".

Park strongly condemned the test and warned the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un that it would bring about its own collapse with its complete isolation from the international community.

Park's first challenge will be hardliners in her own party who are staunchly opposed to engaging Pyongyang and some of whom have even begun calling in public for South Korea to build its own nuclear deterrent.

"We urgently need to solve the unbalanced nuclear capability between the two Koreas and may need nuclear arms ourselves for minimum self-defence," said Won Yoo-Chul, a senior member of Park's New Frontier Party.

A survey by Gallup Korea published on Wednesday showed more than 60% of South Koreans support the idea of Seoul having its own nuclear weapons capability.

At the same time, Park's efforts to mollify her party hawks are being undermined by the increasingly bellicose statements coming from the North.

On Tuesday, the North Korean envoy at the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva warned that South Korea faced "final destruction" if Seoul and its allies pushed for tougher UN resolutions over the North's nuclear programme.

Sanctions

Kim Yong-Hyun, a professor of North Korea studies at Dongguk University, said Park's hands would be tied after she took office.

"The UN Security Council will surely impose more sanctions that will be supported by Seoul," Kim said.

"In that climate, I see little possibility for substantial cross-border talks for six months at least."

Park had promised a package of substantial welfare programmes aimed at the South's rapidly growing elderly population, but the North's test has already resulted in a shift in spending priorities.

"We are now faced with an unexpected need to increase the defence budget," Park said on Monday.

The North has traditionally sought to test the mettle of the South's new leaders as they take office, sometimes with a view to forcing Seoul -and the US - into negotiations.

Despite the difficult environment, Moon Chung-In, a politics professor at Yonsei University, said Park needed to move swiftly and "proactively" to position South Korea as the chief international mediator with the North.

"That way Park will enjoy more diplomatic leverage with China and the US than before... so she needs to take a more open and proactive stance," Moon said.

Contracts frozen

Inter-Korean contacts have been effectively frozen since Seoul accused Pyongyang of torpedoing one of its warships in March 2010, and halted almost all trade and aid to the impoverished North.

The North denied involvement, but went on to shell an island on the South Korean side of their disputed maritime border in November 2010, leaving four South Koreans dead and sparking brief fears of a full-scale conflict.

Paik Hak-Soon, a North Korean analyst at the Sejong Institute think tank, said the hard-line stance of Park's predecessor, president Lee, had failed to produce any results and should be discarded.

"If Park takes a confrontational stance, she will end up repeating the same mistake as Lee, who not only failed to curb the North's nuclear ambitions, but also saw inter-Korea relations worsen," Paik said.

"She needs to act as soon as possible to restart a dialogue, though it won't be politically easy," he said.

- SAPA
Read more on:    un  |  kim jong-un  |  park geun-hye  |  park chung-hee  |  south korea  |  north korea  |  north korea nuclear programme
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
5 crucial questions to ask before you take that job 2014-10-30 08:00

You choose your employer just as much as they choose you. Here are 5 of the most important things you should find out about a company before you sign up.

/News
 

10 facts about swimming you didn't know

This will make you want to jump right into the pool.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Snors with a cause - creating awareness of male health
Inspiring: Rock climbing with just one leg
Watch! Skateboarders racing cyclists
Exciting new zipline for Cape Town!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

TV Series – 2 for R299

Loads of hot titles to choose from. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be doing the work and playing the game, but your innovative mind is on a far away planet planning the next big thing....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.