The Straits Times
Published on Sep 24, 2012

S. Korean dictator's daughter apologises for abuses


SEOUL (AFP) - The ruling party candidate in South Korea's presidential election offered her "sincere apologies" on Monday to victims of the repressive rule of her late father, military strongman Park Chung Hee.

"I believe that it is an unchanging value of democracy that ends cannot justify the means in politics," Ms Park Geun Hye said in a 10-minute speech to reporters broadcast live from her conservative New Frontier Party headquarters.

Ms Park's campaign to become South Korea's first woman president has been plagued by repeated demands to clarify her stance on the excesses of her father's 18-year rule - a deeply divisive and emotive topic for many Koreans.

Her previously ambiguous responses have eaten away at the 60-year-old's significant opinion poll lead over her two left-leaning rivals in the Dec 19 ballot, Mr Moon Jae In and Mr Ahn Cheol Soo.