After the heated election of 2012, it is now official that Park Geun Hye, the daughter of former President Park Chung Hee, will be serving South Korea as the first female president for the next five years. What future lies ahead for the two Koreas? What kind of policies will Park implement during her 5 years in office?
Park is distancing herself from Lee Myung Bak’s hard-line policy approach that now seems to have failed but rather presented a so-called “trustpolitick” policy in which South Korea will support with continuation of aid and contracts for North Korea which will in turn create an atmosphere of trust and peace between the two Koreas and even into the international community in the long run. Because the two Koreas are under such a tough and constrained relationship under Lee’s policy, Park will have no choice but to work hard to find a good balance between Lee and his two predecessors (Kim Dae Joong and Noh Moo Hyun) who attempted to engage with North Korea through the “sunshine policy”.
In May 2012, Rodong Sinmun, which is the official newspaper of the North Korean government, condemned Park by calling her the “Ice Princess” to criticize her dispassionate personality. North Korea still remains unenthusiastic in reconciliation with the South and even labeled Saeunri Party “traitorous” and “thrice-cursed”. Despite all the reports and North Korea’s recent launch, Park promises to keep her words to send humanitarian aid including water, food, and medicine for those in need. She showed her interest in having conditional talks with the North Korea leader, Kim Jong Un.
Interestingly enough, even after the controversial rocket launch by North Korea which has received a great international criticism, factors related to North Korea still had not been a major issue for the South Korean voters. In fact, the most important factor for the South Korean voters at poll was about the economy, showing a very similar trend of the November elections in the U.S. With the issue of the North Korea, South Korean voters preferred to avoid any radical change and preferred to have stability. I hope to see good progress and positive feedback with Park’s watchful rapprochement in dealing with North Korea.