Seoul: South Korean President-elect Park Geun-Hye made it clear on Thursday that she would make no concessions on national security while pursuing greater engagement with a "belligerent" North Korea.
In her first policy address since her historic election yesterday as the country's first woman president, Park stressed the "grave" security threat posed by the North as underscored by last week's rocket launch.
"The launch of North Korea's long-range missile symbolically showed how grave the security situation facing us is. I will keep the promise I made to you to open a new era on the Korean peninsula, based on strong security and trust-based diplomacy," Park said.
She also promised to work for regional stability in Northeast Asia where South Korea, China and Japan are engaged in a series of bitter territorial disputes.
During her campaign, Park had distanced herself from the hardline policy of outgoing President Lee Myung-Bak who suspended humanitarian aid to the North.
Park had promised a dual policy of greater engagement and "robust deterrence", and had not ruled out a summit with the North's young leader Kim Jong-Un, who came to power a year ago.
Analysts say she will be restricted by hawks in her ruling conservative New Frontier Party, as well as an international community intent on punishing the North for what it saw as a disguised ballistic missile test.
Park also said in an aside clearly aimed at Japan that trust and stability had to be based on "a correct historical perception".
Seoul and Tokyo are embroiled in a sovereignty row over a tiny group of South Korea-controlled islands in the Sea of Japan. Japan is mired in a separate but similar dispute with China. There are also concerns in South Korea about rising nationalism in Japan under incoming Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Park is the daughter of the former military ruler Park Chung-Hee, a deeply divisive figure in modern Korean history. Her election victory over liberal rival Moon Jae-In, by a margin of 51.6 per cent to 48.0 per cent, reflected the polarised nature of the electorate.


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