S Korea swears in first female president

2013-02-25 08:13
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye salutes the national flag during her inauguration ceremony at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea. (Lee Jin-man, AP)

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye salutes the national flag during her inauguration ceremony at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea. (Lee Jin-man, AP)

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

kalahari.com

  • South Korea
    Accessible yet packed with information, South Korea will appeal to geography students and casual... Now R567.00
    buy now
Seoul - Park Geun-Hye was sworn in as South Korea's first female president on Monday, vowing zero tolerance with provocations from a nuclearised North Korea and a new era of economic prosperity for all.

As leader of Asia's fourth-largest economy, Park, aged 61, faces significant challenges, including the belligerent regime in the North, a slowing economy and soaring welfare costs in one of the world's most rapidly ageing societies.

Taking the oath of office in front of 70 000 people gathered in front of the National Assembly building in Seoul, Park called on North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions and rejoin the international community.

"North Korea's recent nuclear test is a challenge to the survival and future of the Korean people, and there should be no mistake that the biggest victim will be none other than North Korea itself," she said.

"I will not tolerate any action that threatens the lives of our people and the security of our nation," Park said, while promising to pursue the trust-building policy with Pyongyang that she had promised in her campaign.

"I will move forward step-by-step on the basis of credible deterrence," she added.

Focus on economy

Observers say her options will be limited by the international outcry over the North's 12 February nuclear test, which has emboldened the hawks in her ruling conservative party who oppose closer engagement.

Park took office a little more than 50 years after her father, South Korea's late military strongman and vehement anti-communist Park Chung-Hee, seized power in a coup.

He went on to rule the country with an iron fist for the next 18 years until his eventual assassination, and remains a divisive figure - credited with dragging the country out of poverty but reviled for his regime's human rights abuses.

The bulk of Park's inauguration speech focused on the economy, and included commitments to job creation, expanded welfare and "economic democratisation" at a time of growing concern with income and wealth disparity.

South Korea's extraordinary economic revival from the rubble of the 1950-53 Korean war - known as the "Miracle on the Han" - has faltered in recent years, with key export markets hit by the global downturn.

Promising "another miracle", Park said her administration would build a new "creative economy" that would move beyond the country's traditional manufacturing base.

Fair market

"At the very heart of a creative economy lie science technology and the IT industry, areas that I have earmarked as key priorities," she said.

In a clear warning to the giant, family-run conglomerates, or "chaebols", that dominate the national economy, Park promised a more level-playing field and a "fair market" where small and medium-sized businesses could flourish.

"By rooting out various unfair practices and rectifying the misguided habits of the past which have frustrated small business owners... we will provide active support to ensure that everyone can live up to their fullest potential," she said.

Chaebols such as Samsung and Hyundai were the original drivers of the nation's industrialisation and economic growth, but have been criticised as corporate bullies who muscle smaller firms out of the market and smother innovation.

As South Korea's first-ever female president, Park will lead a country that is ranked below the likes of Suriname and the United Arab Emirates in gender equality.

South Korea's journey from war-torn poverty to Asia's fourth-largest economy has done little to break the male stranglehold on political and commercial power in what in many ways remains a very conservative nation.

Monday's two-and-a-half hour inauguration ceremony included a 21-gun salute and a performance from Korean rapper Psy of his song Gangnam Style - the global hit of 2012.

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
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

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

20% off all TV Series!

Want to have a chilled day at home? Get 20% off TV series, the perfect excuse to "veg out". Shop now!

Save R700 on the Hisense LED TV Now R2499

Get the Hisense 32” HD ready LED TV for only R2499. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. 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

Your ideas may feel like a sea of thoughts swimming around every which way, and now you need to find something to contain them in...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.