On Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, Park Geun-hye was elected South Korea’s new president, making her the first woman to hold the title. It’s a victory some say signals the beginning of a new era for the tension-riddled region. Lyle Goldstein, International Relations program visiting faculty and associate professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute of the U.S. Naval War College, comments on what Park’s election means for the future of South Korea and the country’s relationship with the United States and China.
Park Geun-hye’s election will come as a major relief to many strategists in Washington, given her pro-American credentials. Her opponent was inclined to fully reinstate the “sunshine policy” of a decade ago, a disposition that would have no doubt entailed a more discriminating look at the newly invigorated U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance. Irrespective of which candidate came to occupy the Blue House, South Koreans seemed to be looking for more sunshine and less inter-Korean tension. (more…)