The Straits Times
Published on Jan 28, 2013

Suu Kyi to meet South Korea's first female leader Park Geun Hye


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Both women lost their fathers to gunshots. Both also overcame that tragedy and rose to political prominence in countries where men dominate decision-making, buoyed in part by the legacies of their fathers.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader whose 2010 release from house arrest signaled the beginning of Myanmar's transition from decades of military rule, is scheduled to meet tomorrow in Seoul with Park Geun Hye, who takes office next month as South Korea's first female president.

The meeting between two of the most prominent women in Asia spotlights a tragic coincidence in their family history: Suu Kyi's father, General Aung San, was killed by assassins in 1947 while Park's, President Park Chung Hee, was assassinated by his intelligence chief in 1979.

Both women have benefited from their late fathers' reputations. Even as she has blazed her own political trail, the 67-year-old Suu Kyi represents to many of the voters who sent her to parliament last year a link with her father, a legendary independence hero. Park, who is 60, enjoys strong support among older South Koreans with memories of the rapid economic growth during her father's rule.