South Korea’s new conservative president, Park Geun-hye, has used her inaugural address to send a mixed message to Pyongyang about her approach to dealing with long-running tensions on the Korean peninsula.
She demanded that the North abandon nuclear weapons program that included a third nuclear test earlier this month. Park warned that she will not tolerate any action that threatens the lives and security of her people. But Park also promised to build trust between the two Koreas as part of what she called a “step-by-step” approach on the basis of credible deterrence. She was elected in December partly on a pledge to renew engagement with the North after the tough stance of her conservative predecessor, Lee Myung-bak.
Park is likely to focus her initial efforts on working with the international community to impose sanctions on Pyongyang for its February 12 nuclear test. The US and its allies have called for a UN Security Council resolution that would tighten penalties already faced by North Korea for conducting nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. Park also is sending a signal to Pyongyang that a path for dialogue is open, provided that it refrains from further perceived provocations.
Although the South Korea should help the North Korean people, President Park to send aid unconditionally as some former presidents did.