‘Single President’ has a definite advantage
President Park's active summit
diplomacy adds to her popularity
President Park Geun-hye is clearly told apart from all her predecessors in many respects. For one thing, she does not have to amass wealth either lawfully or otherwise in sharp contrast with many of the preceding Presidents who did so and were sentenced to imprisonment and fine. Recently former Presidents Chun Doo-Hwan and Roh Tae-woo got much limelight for their reluctant return of some of their ill-gotten wealth amounting to hundreds of billions of won.
Much of the cause for the illegal amassing of wealth by people in power is attributed to their desire to bequeath their wealth to their offspring. However, in the case of President Park, she does not have such a need because she does not have a family as she has not been married.
In that status, President Park has a completely free hand to punish the erring ones and reward the well-doers.
Bold and active measures, taken by President Park so far since her inauguration in February this year, against corrupt officials and dishonest jaebeol tycoons bespeak the possibility of her fully meeting the expectations of the people. She has carried out a series of telling actions cracking down on ranking officials and jaebeol chairmen who have been the target of criticism from the people. Such actions have boosted her image among the people.
Now, she has apparently turned her attention to the promotion of international relations. Her summit meetings with President Barrack Obama of the United States, President Xi Jinping of China, President Bladmir Putin of the Russian Federation and various other Heads of State also very favorably reflect on her popularity among the people. Some people even say, “If the Constitution is changed to re-introduce the system of re-election of the President after the first term, I will vote for her again.”
Here are recent examples of her summit diplomacy, which contains to gain favorable responses from the people:
President Park Geun-hye meets with
President Bronislaw Komorowski of Poland
President Park Geun-hye expressed hopes that Korea and Poland can achieve prosperity and extend bilateral cooperation at a state banquet she hosted the Presidential Mansion of Cheong Wa Dae for Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski on Oct. 22, 2013. President Komorowski is the first European leader to pay a state visit to Korea since President Park’s inauguration this February.
“Bilateral relations between Korea and Poland have shown great development since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1989,” said President Park. She said that she highly valued the improvement of bilateral relations brought about by President Komorowski’s state visit to Korea and that she looked forward to their stronger strategic partnership.
“In the late 19th century, a delegation from Korea’s Daehan Empire (1897-1910) stayed one day in Warsaw, the Polish capital. They recorded the fact that the Polish people have a history of protecting their own national characteristics, despite annexations by their neighbors. Both countries have now achieved economic development and have established democracy, despite the hardships of history.” So said President Park, emphasizing the historic, emotional and common features between the two nations.
“Korea was first introduced to Poland when Poles were deported to Siberia by the Russian tsar,” said President Komorowski in response. “Compared to the late 19th century, when the two countries first learnt of each other, both Korea and Poland have now made remarkable progress and have developed into modern nations. Asia, as well as Europe, experienced a lot of changes. But, as our Polish ancestors said, the fact that Korea is an amazing country has never changed,” said the Polish leader in his speech. “The Polish people had a very good impression of Korea when they first learnt about the country in the late 19th century,” he added, stressing that both countries have seen each other in a friendly way ever since.
President Komorowski emphasized the common features of the two countries by saying that both Korea and Poland proved that they can change their geopolitical environment without changing their geopolitical location. “Both countries strive to achieve prosperity and stability by building friendly relations with neighboring countries,” said the Polish president, adding that he sees Korea’s efforts to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula in “a truly amazing, wonderful way.”
Emphasizing the common fact that both countries have overcome historical difficulties and were victorious with the establishment of democracy, President Komorowski said, “Such similarity in modern history will serve as a firm foundation for the development of bilateral relations and for cooperation between both countries.”
has summit meeting with the President of Indonesia
During President Park Geun-hye’s state visit to Indonesia on Oct. 19, 2013, President Park Geun-hye and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia had a Memorandum of Understanding to boost cooperation to promote creative industries. They agreed to bolster cooperation in art, crafts, music, film, performing arts and video games.
Korean Minister of Culture, Sports & Tourism Yoo Jinryong and Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Mari Elka Pangestu exchanged the MOU at the Presidential residence in Jakarta. President Park and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia were present at the MOU-signing ceremony.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said at the joint press conference that they talked about cooperation in tourism and in many creative industries. “Korean pop music and films are quite popular in Indonesia at the moment, so I hope our cooperation in these sectors can be strengthened in the future. In regard to creative industries more broadly, Indonesia has developed a huge creative market,” said the Indonesian leader.
President Park responded that Korea will bolster cooperation in films, music, games, animation and digital content development.
The MOU paves the way for more comprehensive cooperation between Korea and Indonesia across all creative industries, allowing for more exchanges of information, more joint-training sessions and more educational, research and development projects.
ASEAN+3 leaders support
President Park's Northeast Asia peace initiative
President Park Geun-hye spoke about international finance, food security, her Northeast Asia peace vision and future cooperation while exchanging opinions with leaders from China, Japan and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries at the ASEAN+3 Summit in Brunei Darussalam on Oct. 10, 2013.
President Park said that she highly valued the progress made in ASEAN+3 member-cooperation, ever since the group's establishment amid the 1997 Asian financial crisis. She mentioned the launch of the Chiang Mai Initiative, a multilateral currency swap arrangement between the ten ASEAN member countries and Korea, China and Japan, the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) and the ASEAN+3 Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) as all being "meaningful steps" toward improved ASEAN+3 cooperation.
President Park said that the launch by 2020 of the planned East Asian Community, a pan-Asia trading bloc proposed by the East Asia Vision Group (EAVG) Ⅱ at the ASEAN+3 Summit in 2012, would be a step in the right direction for ASEAN+3. She emphasized that follow-up measures to the EAVG Ⅱ report must be implemented in a prompt and timely manner. The president called for the cooperation of all ASEAN+3 leaders so that concrete action plans to realize the EAVG Ⅱ's goal could be included in the final report from next year's ASEAN+3 Summit, to be held in Myanmar.
To boost physical, institutional and people-to-people linkages within ASEAN, all key recommendations of the report, President Park expressed her interest in building an East Asia Single Window trade facilitation system. This would create communication channels between universities across the region and allow for more cooperation between the Korea-ASEAN center, the China-ASEAN center and the Japan-ASEAN center.
ASEAN+3 Summit participating leaders welcomed President Park's Northeast Asian peace initiative as she outlined her vision to boost cooperation in Northeast Asia and to contribute to regional cooperation across the broader East Asian region.
President Park holds summit with
Heads of State of Singapore, Australia, Myanmar
President Park Geun-hye held summits with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Myanmar President Thein Sein at the International Convention Center in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, on Oct. 9, 2013. The summits took place on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit (EAS) forum, the annual meeting of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ASEAN+3 meetings, which include ASEAN's three Northeast Asian partners: Korea, China and Japan.
President Park and Prime Minister Lee discussed bilateral issues including economic cooperation between the two nations and the Korea-Singapore free trade agreement. Lee said he is looking forward to his state visit to Korea, scheduled for December, and again invited Park to Singapore. Lee also hoped for further discussion on the Korea-Singapore FTA and for greater mutual cooperation in the aviation sector.
President Park suggested the two countries find a way to balance their interests, thereby maximizing the positive effects of the FTA, and that they should discuss aviation-related cooperation in a mutually beneficial manner. Park said that when Lee visits Korea in December, they should seek ways to develop mutual prosperity by tapping the strengths of each nation and should find ways to cooperate in construction, infrastructure, research and development, small- and medium-sized enterprises and when doing business in third countries.
President Park also held a summit with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and discussed ways to strengthen friendly relations with his new administration. Park said the two nations share basic values and strategic interests in global issues and hoped for closer cooperation in the economy, natural resources and education, as well as in the situation on the Korean Peninsula and on the international stage.
Abbott expressed his country's willingness to strengthen its ties with Asia through the New Colombo Plan being pursued by his administration and he hoped that the ongoing free trade agreement negotiations between Australia and Korea, the largest economic concern between the two, will be settled as soon as possible.
The two leaders also agreed to more closely cooperate on issues surrounding the Korean Peninsula. Abbott expressed his support for the South Korean government's North Korea policy including the Korean Peninsula trust-building process.
President Park hoped that the G-20 Summit, to be hosted by Australia in early 2014, will be successful and the leaders said they would cooperate further on that matter.
Park met Myanmar President Thein Sein of Myanmar. They discussed ways to further develop friendly relations between the two countries and how to expand economic cooperation, touching upon issues on the Korean Peninsula as well as regional and international cooperation.
The president acknowledged that there are many human exchanges between the two countries and hoped to expand and further develop their cooperation, considering Myanmar's high economic potential.
Thein Sein showed great interest in Korea's Saemaul Undong, also known as New Community Movement, and said that rural development is a priority for his country.
President Park expressed her gratitude for Myanmar's support of South Korea's North Korean policy and suggested that they cooperate further in encouraging North Korea to walk the path of true change and peace.
Thein Sein said that his country supports nonproliferation and that he supports South Korea's position in that matter.
President Park congratulated him on Myanmar's chairmanship of ASEAN to come in 2014 and expressed hope for more developed and greater relations between Korea and ASEAN during his country's chairmanship.
In addition, Park asked for support on a special Korea-ASEAN summit to be held in Korea in December 2014.
Then Sein invited Park to Myanmar and hoped that she could visit the country soon. Park thanked the Myanmar president and said she is willing to visit the country at a mutually suitable time.
has summit with Sultan of Brunei Darussalam
President Park Geun-hye had a bilateral summit with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam in Brunei on Oct. 9, 2013. They discussed how to boost friendship and cooperation between the two countries, the situation on the Korean Peninsula and their collaboration in both regional and international settings.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit (EAS) forum, the annual meeting of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ASEAN+3 meetings, which include ASEAN's three Northeast Asian partners: Korea, China and Japan.
During the summit at the International Convention Center in Bandar Seri Begawan, Park stressed that the volume of trade between Brunei and Korea has increased 13-fold since the beginning of diplomatic relations in 1984 and that the scope of their exchange and cooperation has widened to include construction, agriculture and fisheries.
autobiography published in Mongolia
The Mongolian version of President Park Geun-hye's autobiography was recently published in Mongolia.
President Park Geun-hye received a copy of the Mongolian version of her autobiography, "Steeled by Despair, Motivated by Hope," originally published in Korea in 2007, from former Mongolian President Natsagiin Bagabandi, who visited Korea for an international conference on Eurasian cooperation, said Cheong Wa Dae Spokesperson Kim Haing on October 21. The former Mongolian leader signed the book and wrote a handwritten message of hope in Korean to the president inside the frontispiece, the presidential spokesperson said.
The Mongolian version is a result of a joint translation project carried out by the Mongolian Association of Graduates in Korea and the Korean embassy in Mongolia. The book contains a preface written by the current Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj.
In March and May this year, three versions of President Park's autobiography were published in China, all translated by different publishing houses.
A Japanese version of her autobiography was published under the title, "Park Geun-hye-- When the roses of Sharon come into bloom" (unofficial translation), in December 2012.
emphasizes cooperation across Eurasia
President Park Geun-hye stressed the importance of Eurasia and cooperation in the region at an international conference in Seoul on Oct. 18, 2013.
“Now is the time to open a new channel to Eurasia in order to lift its cooperation potential,” said President Park at the conference.
She urged that we need to revive Eurasia, a geographic area disconnected by the Cold War, as a space for communication, openness, creation and fusion. She proposed a new vision, her “Eurasia initiative,” to make Eurasia, “one continent of creation and peace.”
To achieve this goal, she first emphasized that Eurasia needs to be reconnected as “one continent” to open a new era. “To do so, overcoming physical and systemic barriers is important,” said the president. She suggested that cooperation in logistics and energy networking should be strengthened, which would help mutual development. This, she said, in the long term would make Eurasia the trade hub of the world, allowing for more connection and cooperation both within and outside the region.
"We need to create an environment where the people of Eurasia can fully display their creativity and where new added value and new cultures are made by combining industries, technology and culture," said the president. She emphasized that Eurasia needs to be developed as, "a continent of creation where the creative economy is realized based on human creativity."
Lastly, she stressed the importance of peace as a prerequisite for maximizing the potential and cooperation of Eurasia. To make Eurasia a continent of peace, President Park said that peace on the Korean Peninsula would first be required, as the Korean Peninsula is Eurasia’s gateway to the Pacific. “It will not be easy to handle cooperative tasks, such as logistics, energy and people-to-people exchanges, without stability in inter-Korean relations and without reform and opening in North Korea,” she said. “In this regard, the South Korean government has been pushing forward its Korean Peninsula trust-building process and its vision for peace in Northeast Asia,” said the president, asking for support from countries across Eurasia.
The conference’s goals were twofold: first, to find a direction for the future development of Eurasian countries; and, second, to outline a vision for Korea’s role in such international cooperation. The keynote session was, “Changes in World Order and Cooperation in the Era of Eurasia: Implications, Visions and Strategies.” The three subsequent sessions were, “Northeast Asia’s Peace Cooperation and the Era of Eurasia,” “Cooperation in Trade and Development in the Era of Eurasia” and “Industrial Cooperation in the Era of Eurasia: Transportation, Energy and Agriculture.”
Nearly 500 people attended the conference. Participants included former Mongolian President Natsagiin Bagabandi, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Djoomart Otorbaev, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency Maria van der Hoeven, former Director-General of the World Trade Organization Supachai Panitchpakdi and John Hamre, CEO of Center for Strategic and International Studies.
She expressed her hope that the cooperative relationship between the two countries will expand and develop further, especially with the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations coming in 2014.
Park also said more Korean companies are doing business and investing in Brunei and asked for Sultan Bolkiah's support for their continued activity in the country. In addition, she asked the sultan to help Korean companies participate in Brunei's national bridge-construction project.
Park also said she welcomes the ongoing efforts to pursue the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two countries which would cover agriculture and fisheries. She hoped that it would be concluded as soon as possible.
Sultan Bolkiah acknowledged that economic cooperation between the two countries has made much progress and expressed his gratitude for Korea's purchase of Brunei's liquefied natural gas. He expressed hope that their economic cooperation will further develop in the future.
Park also thanked the current host of the ASEAN meetings, Brunei, for showing support for South Korea's policy toward North Korea. She asked that Brunei send a clear and consistent message to North Korea so that it can walk the path of true change and peace. Sultan Bolkiah said he would support Park's efforts for peace.
Park appreciated that the host Brunei has played an active role in regional stability and cooperation within ASEAN and she hoped for stronger Korea-ASEAN cooperation. She also hoped that Korea and Brunei cooperate to form a more deeply integrated ASEAN.
In addition, Park asked for the sultan's support in promoting the Korea-ASEAN Commemorative Summit in 2014, to be held in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the start of dialogue between Korea and ASEAN.
In response, Sultan Bolkiah expressed his full support for Korea's efforts and said he will try to participate in the event himself. Park invited Sultan Bolkiah to Korea and he said he is hoping to visit as soon as a mutually suitable time can be arranged.
leads consensus on trade liberalization at APEC
President Park Geun-hye finished her itinerary in Bali, Indonesia, on Oct. 8, 2013, where the two-day APEC Leaders' Meeting was held. On the first day of the APEC summit, President Park Geun-hye, speaking as the first presenter, stressed the need to strengthen the multilateral trading system, to make progress in the Doha Development Agenda negotiations at the World Trade Organization, to postpone or freeze future protectionist measures and to lift existing protectionist barriers. She encouraged the APEC leaders to reflect on these points and to include them in the final leaders' declaration.
President Park engaged in a series of meetings with other APEC leaders, including both leaders' meeting sessions, a working lunch and a dialogue session with Southeast Asian countries. During the meetings, she spoke about Korea's experiences in promoting private investment in infrastructure and Korea's contribution to economic growth in developing countries while acting as a bridge between advanced and developing economies.
In the second session of the summit meeting, "APEC's vision for the region's connectivity," APEC leaders discussed ways to enhance logistics and communication infrastructure, ways to harmonize regulations among countries and ways to increase human resource exchanges, such as tourism and education.
At the meeting, President Park emphasized that building infrastructure to physically connect neighboring countries is crucial in order to bring APEC closer together. To secure the financial resources required, active cooperation from multilateral banks, such as the World Bank, is just as important as cooperation from the governments and investment from the private sector, said the president.
She also shared with other APEC leaders Korea's experience in boosting private sector participation in infrastructure investment. In the late 1990s, Korea reshaped the public-private partnership (PPP)-related legal system, allowed the private sector to invest in various infrastructure projects and removed limits on private sector participation in infrastructure projects. Korea built a special organization at a state research body, the Korea Development Institute, to provide technological support to PPP firms. Thanks to these efforts, private sector participation in infrastructure investment has shown more than a 2.5-fold increase.
"By effectively using existing IT infrastructure, APEC member countries will be able to upgrade their connectivity without having to build new infrastructure," said President Park, stressing the use of IT.
In regard to IT use, she outlined Korea's experience in saving logistic costs by extending its intelligent public transport system backed by GPS and by implementing a satellite location-tracking service for containers as they move through the trans-Siberian railway and the global maritime shipping routes.
As a result of the discussions, APEC participating leaders pledged to realize the APEC community vision to upgrade regional connectivity by 2030. To concretely achieve this goal, they adopted the "APEC Framework on Connectivity" and the "Multi Year Plan on Infrastructure Development and Investment," both annex documents alongside the APEC Leaders' Declaration.
After the second session, during the working luncheon, "Sustainable Growth with Equity: Food and Energy Security," APEC leaders came to a consensus that the lack of food, water and energy will deepen due to the rapid increase in population, economic development, urbanization and climate change. They expressed their common understanding of the need to coordinate policies in order to attain sustainable growth.
During the lunch meeting, President Park said that all peoples need to be aware that limited food, water and energy resources are closely related, though they were regarded as separate issues in the past. "We need to find a comprehensive answer to solve food, water and energy problems by considering the impacts that each of the three has on the other," said the president.
In regard to access to resources, she pointed out that there is a big gap between social strata and geographic area. The president urged APEC members to work together to provide equal access to resources, for people of all classes, including people from vulnerable social groups or geographic areas, in order to achieve sustainable and equitable growth.
To achieve sustainable growth with limited resources, President Park said that the use of science and technology will provide the fundamental answer. She spoke about Korea's effective electricity-management system and the way in which this created a new service industry. This new industry not only made for a more efficiently-managed electricity grid, but also created more jobs as a secondary market developed for the trading of stored electricity.
To contribute to sustainable growth in the Asia-Pacific region, President Park said that Korea will hold an "appropriate technology" workshop next June, to be co-hosted by APEC. Also, Korea will host the World Energy Congress next week in Daegu, where the World Water Forum will be held in 2015.
discusses cooperation with Mexican, Peruvian leaders
President Park Geun-hye held a series of summit talks with leaders from Mexico and Peru to discuss ways to boost bilateral cooperation, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting on Oct. 7, 2013 in Bali, Indonesia.
During the summit meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, President Park expressed her sympathy for the Mexican citizens recently affected by Hurricane Manuel. She said she is aware of Mexico's heavy hurricane damage and expressed her hope of a quick recovery.
To help bring the two countries closer, President Park invited the Mexican leader to Korea and spoke on the various events that were held last year to mark the 50th anniversary of Korea-Mexico diplomatic relations.
On the same day, President Park held summit talks with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala to discuss ways to boost Korea-Peru cooperation.
President Park expressed her thanks to the Peruvian leader for his affection shown toward Korea. President Humala sent a special Peruvian envoy to President Park's inauguration in February this year and he delivered a congratulatory speech at the Korean embassy in Lima, Peru, on October 3 in honor of Korea's Gaecheonjeol or National Foundation Day.
President Park expressed her appreciation for the past 50 years of Korea-Peru diplomatic ties and said that she was pleased that bilateral relations were upgraded to become a comprehensive strategic partnership last year. She also hoped that various events and human resource exchanges designed to mark the 50th anniversary of Korea-Peru diplomatic ties could help bring the two peoples closer together. k