In the last of our three-part series,… on
the president′s performance so far… and what′s ahead in her third year in office,…
today we′re going to focus on foreign policy. Korea is enjoying improved ties with China…
but has made little progress on inter-Korean relations.
Arirang′s foreign affairs correspondent Hwang Sung-hee reports.
A stronger alliance with the United States and a budding relationship with China are
two of President Park Geun-hye′s most notable diplomatic achievements.
The signing of a free trade agreement deepened Seoul′s economic cooperation with Beijing
and the two neighbors have opened up military channels.
But experts say South Korea may find itself in a difficult position between the two great
powers. “I would say, right now, the missile defense
issue and the question of THAAD deployment in South Korea is one place where you can
watch this tension really bubbling right up to the surface.”
Despite President Park′s pledge to improve inter-Korean ties, tensions remain high.
Some blame her lack of flexibility for fizzled momentum, like last year′s reunions for
war-separated families and a surprise visit to the South by a high-level North Korean
delegation. Even the unification minister recently admitted
that the Park administration′s signature “trustpolitik” which focuses on building trust
with the North through dialogue and cooperation failed to make any significant progress.
But there are doubts that a fresh approach will be any better, as long as Pyongyang maintains
its belligerence. “She can try some things to elicit that reciprocity
from the North, but until they have a more cooperative attitude, it′s very difficult
to achieve a positive outcome.” Another task is getting Japan to fully acknowledge
its wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women. With relations with Tokyo at their worst,
experts say Seoul should seek practical cooperation in areas like security and the economy.
“Since foreign affairs is an area that requires policies with long-term perspectives, experts
say it′s too early to judge whether the Park administration′s diplomacy has been
a success or a failure. Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.”