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.
Obama offers condolences for victims of South Korea ferry disaster on visit to Seoul
Agence France-Presse in Seoul
President Barack Obama on Friday offered South Korea heartfelt condolences for its “incredible loss” as the country struggles to come to terms with the sinking of a ferry packed with schoolchildren.
Obama offered any help America could give to the US ally as he met South Korean President Park Geun-Hye on the second leg of his Asian tour.
The two leaders bowed their heads in a moment of silence, and Obama handed Park the US flag which had flown over the White House on the day the ferry sank on April 16 as a gesture of respect from the American people.
“I’m very mindful that my visit comes at a time of mourning for the people of this nation,” Obama said before talks with Park at the presidential Blue House.
“I know that President Park and the South Korean government are very focused in responding to the ferry,” he said.
“For now, I just want to express, on the part of the American people, condolences for the incredible loss that has taken place,” Obama said.
Speaking through a translator, Park thanked Obama for the moment of silence and pledged that South Korea would pull through the tragedy.
“The Korean people draw great strength from your kindness,” she said.
The confirmed death toll stood at 183 Friday, but 119 people remained unaccounted for.