South Korea: Park Geun-hye sworn in as first female president


South Korean President-elect Park Geun-Hye, of the ruling Saenuri Party, waves to supporters after she is declared the winner of the presidential elections on Dec. 19, 2012 in Seoul, South Korea. Park, daughter of former president Park Chung-Hee, becomes the first female president of South Korea.


Lee Young-Ho-pool

As she was sworn in as South Korea's first female president Monday, Park Geun-hye delivered a strong message to her country's neighbor to the north.

According to the Guardian, Park called on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program, and said she would not tolerate any "provocations."

Park takes office during a time of high tensions on the Korean peninsula. Ties between the north and the south have been worsening rapidly; North Korea conducted its third nuclear test this month.

"North Korea's recent nuclear test is a challenge to the survival and future of the Korean people, and there should be no mistake that the biggest victim will be none other than North Korea itself," Park said, according to CNN. "I urge North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions without delay and embark on the path to peace and shared development."

Park succeeds President Lee Myung-bak, of the same conservative Saenuri party. Under Lee, relations with North Korea chilled considerably. However, Park's tactic of "trustpolitik," which CNN described as a "policy based on deterrence combined with cautious approaches to North Korea," is a much softer approach than Lee's.

"In order to transform the Korean Peninsula from a zone of conflict into a zone of trust, South Korea has to adopt a policy of 'trustpolitik,' establishing mutually binding expectations based on global norms," Park wrote in Foreign Affairs in 2011, before her election.