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3. President Park Geun-hye Engages in Active Summit Diplomacy

2015-12-28

3. President Park Geun-hye Engages in Active Summit Diplomacy
Resolving the long-standing conflict surrounding Japan’s wartime sexual slavery is regarded to be the most noteworthy of President Park Geun-hye’s summit diplomacy efforts this year. The move has opened a road for advanced South Korea-Japan ties by resolving an issue that had long been a significant stumbling block to bilateral relations.

On November second, Park and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held their first summit, where the two leaders agreed in principle to work toward improving bilateral ties.

Based on that agreement, the foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan met in Seoul on December 28. In that meeting, Japan acknowledged responsibility for its wartime sexual enslavement and issued an apology.

Park’s visit to China where she attended China’ s Victory Day events marking the end of World War II also drew great attention.

Standing next to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Park watched the Victory Day events in Tiananmen Square on September third. Back in 1954, then North Korean leader Kim Il-sung stood beside Mao Zedong to watch the events. During this year’s celebration, North Korea’s secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, Choe Ryong-hae, sat in the corner.

Park was the first South Korean president and the head of an ally of the U.S. to watch the military parade. Her attendance sparked concerns about the possible effects on the South Korea-U.S. alliance.

Park addressed such concerns when she and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed to further solidify their countries’ alliance and released a joint statement on North Korea’s nuclear issue. The agreements were reached during a summit in Washington on October 16. It marked the first time that South Korean and U.S. leaders have issued a joint statement specifically on the North's nuclear development.

In the statement, Park and Obama shared the view that addressing the North’s nuclear ambitions is an urgent task and reaffirmed that they would deal with the matter with strong determination.

Earlier in March, Park traveled to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. In April, she visited Colombia, Peru, Chile and Brazil.

In September, she attended the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit and the UN General Assembly. In November, she attended the G20 summit in Turkey and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in the Philippines. In that same month, she also took part in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Plus Three Summit, the East Asia Summit and the South Korea-ASEAN summit in Malaysia.

Between the end of November and early December, Park visited France to attend a UN climate change conference called the Conference of the Parties. She then visited the Czech Republic.

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