Park Geun-Hye, 61, gave her inauguration speech as South Korea’s first female president on Monday.
Currently, Park is the 17th in-power female president in the world. As South Korea’s first female president, Park leads a country that is ranked below the likes of Suriname and the United Arab Emirates in gender equality.
Park said South Korea is “confronted anew with a global economic crisis and outstanding security challenges such as North Korea’s nuclear threat”.
As a leader of Asia’s fourth-largest economy, the bulk of Park’s speech focused on the economy, and included commitments to job creation, expanded welfare and “economic democratisation” at a time of growing concern with income and wealth disparity.
South Korea’s extraordinary economic revival from the rubble of the 1950-53 Korean War — known as the “Miracle on the Han” — has faltered in recent years, with key export markets hit by the global downturn.
Promising “another miracle”, Park said her administration would build a new “creative economy” that would move beyond the country’s traditional manufacturing base.
Besides, South Korea’s low birth rate means the population is increasingly skewed towards the over-60s, who fear an old-age of isolation and financial anxiety.
“No citizen should be left to fear that he or she might not be able to meet the basic requirements of life,” Park said in her speech, promising a “new paradigm of tailored welfare” for the aged and unemployed.
Park also called on the regime in Pyongyang to “abandon its nuclear ambitions”.
“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.”
“I will not tolerate any action that threatens the lives of our people and the security of our nation.”
She added that she would rebuild the trust with Pyongyang as she had promised in her campaign. “I will move forward step by step on the basis of credible deterrence.”
Park’s father Park Chung-Hee was the 3rd president of South Korea. The former Republic of Korea Army general seized power in 1961 through a military coup and got assassinated in 1979.
The inauguration ceremony lasted two and a half hour on a chilly and cloudy morning including Psy performed his global hit “Gangnam Style”.