The inauguration speech delivered by Park Geun-hye after being sworn in as the first female president of the Republic of Korea has sent positive signals to Northeast Asia, which is in dire need of them to ease the tension that has built up after the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea conducted a third nuclear test earlier this month.
Park has taken the helm of her country at a sensitive time, as the region is still reeling from years of tensions. How she copes with the situation on the Korean Peninsula will not only test her own political wisdom but also have an impact on regional peace and stability.
It is good to see, therefore, that Park has kept her campaign promise and vowed to pursue trust-building with the DPRK. This show of consistency alone was necessary if Park is to usher in a new beginning for interactions between the two Koreas during her five-year presidential term.
True, Park also condemned Pyongyang’s nuclear program. But her promise to also build trust with Pyongyang step-by-step gives Seoul a lot of flexibility and raises hopes that when the knee-jerk responses toward Pyongyang’s nuclear test subside, Seoul will make moves to ease tensions with its neighbor in the north.
0While it is unreasonable to expect an immediate reconciliation of the two Koreas, it is reasonable to gauge that Seoul’s new government could show a softer and less confrontational side to its neighbor.
As a close neighbor to the two Koreas, China is willing to do what it can to see the situation on the peninsula take a positive turn. It supports efforts that aim to build trust and de-escalate tensions in Northeast Asia.
In this regard, the country will continue to work with the ROK, as well as other parties concerned, to create conditions for resolving the peninsula’s nuclear issue through negotiations and dialogue.