Park Geun-hye

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Park Geun-hye

Park Geun-hye (Korean: 박근혜; Hanja: 朴槿惠; RR: Bak Geun(-)hye; IPA: [pak‿k͈ɯn.hje]; often in English /ˈpɑːrk ˌɡʊn ˈheɪ/; born 2 February 1952) is a former South Korean politician who served as President of South Korea from 2013 to 2017.


  • Historians in Japan as well as historians across the world have been calling on the Japanese leadership to come clean about what they have done in the past so we can move forward. But denial and efforts to gloss over what happened have stymied our ability to make progress. As for the comfort women, we only have 52 surviving victims. It behooves Japan to bring healing to their wounds and to bring honor to them before another comfort woman passes away.
  • Currently, North Korea is constantly upgrading and enhancing the sophistication of its nuclear weapons, and developing and honing its missile capabilities as well. These represent a threat not just to the Korean Peninsula but also to the international community. So it is extremely urgent that we achieve a denuclearization of North Korea.
  • But the joy of the longawaited liberation ended up being only half fulfilled. The tragedy of our division and the ravages of the Korean War completely swept away the livelihood of our people. What meager industrial infrastructure we had collapsed thoroughly. But we were far from daunted. Through unity of purpose and the strength of our people, our nation made great new strides forward. With no capital, no technology, no experience to speak of, we nonetheless managed to erect steal mills and shipyards on barren grounds. We defied huge odds in building the Gyeongbu Expressway, which represents the main artery of our land. Today, we have become a country producing some of the world’s finest electronic goods, automobiles, steel, ships and petrochemical products, and we stand tall as an economic powerhouse with export figures that are the sixth largest in the world.

Excerpts from inaugural address (February 25, 2013)[edit]

The full text of Park’s inaugural speech in The Korean Herald (25 February 2013)

  • As President of the Republic of Korea, I will live up to the will of the people by achieving economic rejuvenation, the happiness of the people, and the flourishing of our culture. I will do my utmost to building a Republic of Korea that is prosperous and where happiness is felt by all Koreans.
  • The Republic of Korea as we know it today has been built on the blood, toil, and sweat of the people. We have written a new history of extraordinary achievement combining industrialization and democratization based on the unwavering “can do” spirit of our people and matching resolve.
  • The Korean saga that is often referred to as the “Miracle on the Han River” was written on the heels of our citizens who worked tirelessly in the mines of Germany, in the torrid deserts of the Middle East, in factories and laboratories where the lights were never turned off, and in the freezing frontlines safeguarding our national defense. This miracle was only possible due to the outstanding caliber of our people and their unstinting devotion to both family and country.
  • Throughout the vortex of our turbulent contemporary history we always prevailed over countless hardships and adversities. Today, we are confronted anew with a global economic crisis and outstanding security challenges such as North Korea’s nuclear threat. At the same time, capitalism confronts new challenges in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. The tasks we face today are unlike any we have confronted before. And they can only be overcome by charting a new pathway by ourselves.
  • But I have faith in the Korean people. I believe in their resilience and the potential of our dynamic nation. And so I pledge to embark on the making of a “Second Miracle on the Han River” premised on a new era of hope hand-in-hand with the Korean people.
  • The new administration will usher in a new era of hope premised on a revitalizing economy, the happiness of our people, and the blossoming of our culture. To begin with, economic revitalization is going to be propelled by a creative economy and economic democratization. Across the world, we are witnessing an economic paradigm shift. A creative economy is defined by the convergence of science and technology with industry, the fusion of culture with industry, and the blossoming of creativity in the very borders that were once permeated by barriers. It is about going beyond the rudimentary expansion of existing markets, and creating new markets and new jobs by building on the bedrock of convergence.
  • A genuine era of happiness is only possible when we aren’t clouded by the uncertainties of aging and when bearing and raising children is truly considered a blessing. No citizen should be left to fear that he or she might not be able to meet the basic requirements of life.
  • The new administration will elevate the sanctity of our spiritual ethos so that they can permeate every facet of society and in so doing, enable all of our citizens to enjoy life enriched by culture. We will harness the innate value of culture in order to heal social conflicts and bridging cultural divides separating different regions, generations, and social strata.
  • Happiness can only flourish when people feel comfortable and secure. I pledge to you today that I will not tolerate any action that threatens the lives of our people and the security of our nation.

Excerpts from resignation address (November 29, 2016)[edit]

Transcript of South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s speech in Associated Press (29 November 2016)

  • As I see the nation in distress due to the latest scandal, I think it is a natural duty for me to offer apologies even a hundred times. But even then it breaks my heart to think that it would still not resolve the huge disappointment and outrage.
  • Dear nation, as I look back, the journey for the past 18 years that I have been on with the nation has been such a precious time. From the time I first entered politics in 1998 to this moment today as president, I have been making every effort for the sake of the country.
  • Not for one moment did I pursue my private gains, and I have so far lived without ever harboring the smallest selfish motive. The problems that have emerged are from projects that I thought were serving the public interest and benefiting the country. But since I failed to properly manage those around me, (everything that happened) is my large wrongdoing.
  • If the ruling and opposition parties discuss and come up with a plan to reduce the confusion in state affairs and ensure a safe transfer of governments, I will step down from the presidential position under that schedule and by processes stated in law.
  • Now, I have put everything down. I only wish that the Republic of Korea would escape the confusion and get back on track as soon as possible. I again offer apologies to the nation and urge the political circles to bring wisdom together for the hopeful future of the Republic of Korea.

Quotes about Geun-hye[edit]

External links[edit]

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