• Thu
  • Oct 23, 2014
  • Updated: 11:40pm

Park Geun-Hye

Park Geun-hye is the daughter of South Korea's former dictator, the late president Park Chung-hee. On December 19, 2012, Park - a Conservative - narrowly won the election to make history as South Korea's first female president. Born on February 2, 1952, she was the chairwoman of the conservative Grand National Party (GNP) between 2004 and 2006 and between 2011 and 2012 (the GNP changed its name to Saenuri Party in February 2012). Park has already served as South Korea's first lady, after her mother was killed in the 1970s. 

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South Korean president unimpressed by Japanese PM's attempt to speak Korean

Tokyo hailed the first meeting between Shinzo Abe and Park Geun-hye, while Seoul offered a cooler response

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 March, 2014, 5:35pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 March, 2014, 11:01am
 

Watch: Obama hosts landmark Japan, S.Korea summit

Tokyo yesterday hailed the first summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye as a chance for the leaders to build a rapport, although Seoul offered a cooler response.

The talks in The Hague were hosted by US President Barack Obama, whose administration has become increasingly frustrated by incessant sniping between its two major Asian allies at a time of increased tension in the region.

"It seemed that [Park] did not have a good impression of the prime minister, so I think she was able to get a glimpse of his real personality," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo.

It seemed that [Park] did not have a good impression of the prime minister
YOSHIHIDE SUGA

South Korean media said Park appeared unimpressed by Abe's attempts to speak Korean during a photo opportunity before the meeting, reporting that her reply was to stare ahead, "stony-faced".

Seoul's presidential office also offered a very dry assessment of the three-way summit, saying that it "provided an opportunity for the three nations to share a consensus about North Korea's nuclear threat".

The gathering, held on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in the Netherlands, was followed within hours by Pyongyang's test firing of two missiles.

Relations between Tokyo and Seoul are at their worst in years, mired in emotive disputes linked to Japan's 1910 to 1945 colonial rule, particularly Japan's use of South Korean "comfort women" as sex slaves in wartime brothels.

Although not a one-on-one encounter, the talks are a significant step forward and mark a departure from Park's oft-repeated stance that there could be no summit with Abe until Tokyo demonstrates sincere repentance for "past wrongdoings".

Despite not being known for his skill with languages, Abe gamely kicked off the greeting in Korean, saying: "President Park, it's nice to meet you".

Suga side-stepped a question about Park's apparently bloodless response, saying he did not know how she reacted immediately, "but finally they shook hands, that was good", he said.

"Japan and South Korea both value freedom and democracy and are important neighbours ... It's extremely important for both countries and for the security of East Asia as a whole that we establish a future-oriented relationship," he added.

Ties frayed in 2012 with a dispute over ownership of two sparsely inhabited islets in the Japan Sea, which Koreans call the East Sea, and went downhill with the hawkish Abe's election.

Surveys in South Korea show that the Abe even more unpopular than North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Eom Sang-yoon, an analyst at the Sejong Institute think tank in Seoul, said the meeting - under US pressure - was a step towards slightly warmer ties, but only a small one.

"Co-operation is possible between Seoul and Tokyo on North Korea, but there will be no breakthrough in their strained relations without a dramatic change in Abe's attitude," he said. "There is a long way to go before we see a bilateral summit between Park and Abe."

Narushige Michishita, associate professor at the National Graduate Institute For Policy Studies, said Park was tough on Japan "because she has to distance herself from her pro-Japanese father to avoid attacks from the opposition".

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This article is now closed to comments

jiawang@adb.org
The hatred between China/Korea and Japan will not end minus another war.
In this war, Japan must be defeated by China and Korea.
Only then will the Chinese and Korean people feel there has been justice.
But in the next war, the US will side with Japan.
lamlm38
those JPs are really sick people.. just look at their AV movies.. there is rape, public lewd acts etc.. Abe was probably having fantasies of hvg sex with the lady president
A Matsui
There nothing more disgusting than seeing an obnoxious bully and liar who for all intentions and purposes not only have criminal tendencies but is also a threat. For a lady like Park Geun-hye to be see a barbarian like Shinzo Abe the disgust and fear would be overwhelming. It is just like the Korean sex-slaves seeing the Japanese soldiers about to commit rape and murder. The worshiper of war-criminals and devils at the Yasukuni War Shrine should not be allowed into civilised company!
Jkuo@sidley.com
Think the "evil ancestry" refers to Abe's grandfather, Kishi Nobusuke 岸信介, who was a suspected war criminal but was not convicted. He was later released and became prime minister of post-war Japan.
Robert Lee
America let the **** go free, instead of executing him as he fully deserved to be.
m2leung
Any goodwill gained will be lost when the next Japanese cabinet minister denies doing any wrongs during WW2 and claim ownership over islands not belonging to Japan
mh0908
May Peace Prevail on Earth! 世界人類が平和でありますように!
jayb
"if i must choose between righteousness and peace, i choose righteousness"
Theodore Roosevelt. 26th President of the United States.
honger
Love the footage where Park looks away as Abe attempts repeatedly to make eye contact with her.
What did he expect?
Max Diethelm
Obama brokers a meeting between Park Geun-hye and Shinzo Abe knowing very well that in the eyes of Koreans, the fascist Japanese are devils. Anybody looking at the disgusting, pugnacious, uncultured Shinzo Abe will want to puke. Shinzo Abe represent what's wrong about Japanese leaders that are like their evil ancestors who were robbers, rapists, mass-****s, war-criminals and basically demonic.

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