Korean Peninsula: Positive interaction is critical

                                        From: People's Daily Online Updated: 2014-01-23 10:03
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                                        There were new uncertainties in the domestic affairs of both the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and South Korea in 2013, which may have a negative impact on foreign polices and bilateral relations.

                                        Public support for South Korean President Park Geun-hye dipped from 70 percent at the beginning of taking office to 40 percent at the end of 2013. Failure to achieve the goal of economic reform is the direct cause of the drop in her approval ratings. In addition, questions about the presidential electoral process and the ongoing struggle between the ruling and opposition parties also have lowered Park's support rate.

                                        Analysts believe South Korea will further tighten its policy toward the DPRK so as to transfer pressure off the ruling party.

                                        At the same time, positive interaction between the DPRK and South Korea remains. In terms of Park's performance evaluation in 2013, relations with the DPRK rated relatively high. In the face of an extremely difficult situation, Park has not given up on the "trust process" based on dialogue, an approach that is considered by the public both to adhere to the right principles and to help in stabilizing the situation.

                                        Furthermore, Park visited Pyongyang before she came to power and was able to reach a consensus with former DPRK leader Kim Jong Il. From her experiences and beliefs, we can expect that she will continue to seek openings in north-south relations in her future policies.

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