As Park Geun-hye took office today as the first female President of the Republic of Korea, The Elders sent their warm congratulations. They expressed support for what she has called her ‘trustpolitik’ approach to inter-Korean relations and for the resumption of dialogue between the two Koreas.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, writing on behalf of The Elders, praised President Park’s commitment to constructive engagement with North Korea. At a time of increasing tension, just after North Korea’s recent nuclear test, improving bilateral relations remains the only approach that can bring about a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.
The Elders, who visited the region in April 2011, also expressed concern about the humanitarian situation in North Korea. They would welcome the resumption of humanitarian aid from South Korea, as well as cultural exchanges, technical cooperation and other confidence-building measures.
Under President Park's leadership, a new phase of bilateral relations is possible, characterised by trust and open dialogue. As Archbishop Tutu reaffirmed in his letter, The Elders stand ready to support peace efforts in any way that the parties would find useful.