Park's campaign may jolt Korea's male-dominated society: report
WASHINGTON (Yonhap) -- The presidential bid by Park Geun-hye, the daughter of a former Korean dictator, may herald a "pivotal moment" for the country's traditionally male-dominated society, a foreign news report said Tuesday.
Park, 60, declared her campaign in Seoul earlier in the day to become Korea's first female president.
Park, joining a primary in the conservative ruling party, has led various opinion polls for years. The presidential elections will be held in December.
The Wall Street Journal gave a relatively detailed account of the prospects for Park's bid in a story dispatched from Seoul and carried on its website.
"Her election could be a potentially pivotal moment for a society that adheres to patriarchal traditions, and where only half the women work, the same percentage as 20 years ago," it said.
The newspaper also pointed out that Park's family history might prove to be a political asset or liability.
Park's father remains a controversial figure in South Korea's history. Supporters focus on his accomplishments in the rapid transformation of a rural nation into an industrialized one. Critics pay more attention to his iron-fisted rule.
Park Chung-hee ruled from 1961 to 1979, when he was assassinated.
The Journal noted that Moon Jae-in, a potential presidential candidate from the opposition bloc, has stated his trouble in fighting against Park's dictatorship.
A U.S. news agency, the UPI, also carried an article headlined "Woman seeks S. Korean presidency."
It quoted Park as saying, "I will devote my everything to make the Republic of Korea a country in which everybody can achieve their dreams."
A British newspaper, the Guardian, cited Park's former remarks that her politics are "Korean Thatcherism," referring to former conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Park's foreign policy vision, meanwhile, is largely unknown, as she remains guarded about major pending issues.
One of her most recent public statements on her approach toward North Korea came in her contribution to Foreign Affairs, a U.S. magazine, in 2011.
In her writings, she said emphasized "trustpolitik" with Pyongyang based on an "alignment policy."
"If North Korea launches another military strike against the South, Seoul must respond immediately to ensure that Pyongyang understands the costs of provocation," she said. "Conversely, if North Korea takes steps toward genuine reconciliation, such as reaffirming its commitment to existing agreements, then the South should match its efforts."
She also supports a stronger alliance between Seoul and Washington.
A group of American academics is expected to have a chance to better understand her position on the alliance and other diplomatic issues when her top foreign policy adviser, Yun Byung-se, holds a closed-door seminar in Washington later this week, a source said.
Yun, who recently joined Park's campaign, served as national security adviser to liberal-minded President Roh Moo-hyun from 2006 to 2008.