A look at key policies of SKorea's president-elect

AP News
Posted: Dec 19, 2012 9:56 AM

A brief look at key policies of South Korea's president-elect Park Geun-hye.


SECURITY AND FOREIGN POLICY: Park says she's open to dialogue with North Korea's leadership but says large-scale aid depends on whether Pyongyang pushes ahead with dismantling its nuclear arms program. She says dialogue between the Koreas should resume in order to resolve a nuclear stalemate and to build trust needed to restore civilian exchanges.

Park promises to toughen South Korea's military to deter North Korean provocations and calls for dealing with Pyongyang in close cooperation with Seoul's U.S. ally. She demands that Pyongyang apologize for its artillery attack on a South Korean island and the alleged sinking of a South Korean warship in 2010, attacks that left 50 South Koreans dead. Pyongyang denies attacking the ship and blames the South Korean military's live-fire drills as a trigger for its artillery attack.

Park has expressed hope for jointly developing natural resources in North Korea and setting up liaison offices in both Pyongyang and Seoul for dialogue. Park says humanitarian aid for North Korea should continue regardless of political situations.


ECONOMIC AND WELFARE POLICY: Park has called for reforming South Korea's powerful family-run "chaebol" conglomerates but to a degree that regulations do not discourage them from investments. She says her government will toughen penalties for corporate crimes and prohibit new "cross-holding" practices that allow a handful of people to control all subsidiaries under a single conglomerate.

Park says she will nearly triple government spending aimed at supporting small and mid-size companies and promises to increase the country's budget on research and development to 5 percent of the entire GDP by the end of her single, five-year tenure.

Park promises to increase the nation's middle class to 70 percent of the entire population and create massive funds to help more than 3 million South Koreans unable to pay off their debts. Park says she will halve college tuition fees through financial support for students and make sure that a family's third child can go to college without paying tuition, part of her solution to a low birthrate haunting the country's future.

Park also says her government will provide each person aged 65 or above with a monthly pension of about $180 and provide 50,000 new jobs for retired people while making medical care free for some of the most serious illnesses such as cancer.


POLITICAL REFORMS: Park says she will allow special prosecutors to operate independently throughout her tenure to crack down on political corruption. She also calls for laws that force corrupt politicians to pay 30 times the amount they illegally acquired and ban them from being elected for two decades.

She also says she will push for laws aimed at compensating victims under past military governments, including the one led by her father, slain dictator Park Chung-hee.

Park opposes the abolishment of capital punishment, saying it helps prevent serious crimes such as sexual assault and murder. No death penalties have been carried out in South Korea since 1998 when liberal President Kim Dae-jung took office.