The Straits Times
Published on Dec 20, 2012

Park talks tough after Korea poll win


SEOUL (REUTERS) - South Korea's President-elect, Park Geun Hye, used her first major speech on Thursday to warn of the risks posed by a hostile North Korea and also fired a political shot across the bows of Japan's incoming Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Speaking after a visit to the country's national cemetery, which included a poignant homage at the graves of her assassinated father and mother, South Korea's first female leader pledged to spread wealth more evenly.

Ms Park has said she will hold talks with North Korea and resume aid to the isolated and belligerent country, but only if it abandons its nuclear weapons programme. The impoverished North launched a rocket last week that critics said was a test for technology that could be used for a long-range missile that could one day carry a nuclear warhead.

"North Korea's long-range missile launch showed how grave the security reality is that we are faced with," Ms Park told a news conference a day after her convincing election win.