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Posted : 2013-06-23 19:04
Updated : 2013-06-23 19:04

Park outdoes predecessors in preparations

By Kim Tae-gyu

Presidents have their own styles in dealing with state affairs and overseas trips ― different heads of state show different philosophies and principles.

President Park Geun-hye apparently ensures every contingency is prepared for in advance as seen by her visit to China slated for later this week.

She did not have any local business to attend to since last Friday to prepare for her second overseas trip.

Her aides said Sunday that she is arranging everything in advance for the China visit, which is significant at a time when North Korea continues its nuclear threats while attempting to solicit talks.

Pyongyang, which does not hesitate to show animosity to its neighboring countries, is an exceptionally good listener to Beijing, its only benefactor that supplies food and fuel to the impoverished state.

Things were almost the same for her first trip to the United States in May as she used days beforehand to prepare for the six-day itinerary, which included a summit with U.S. President Barack Obama and a joint address to Congress.

“She dislikes ill-prepared events no matter what they are,” a Cheong Wa Dae official said.

Also of note is that she has not visited Japan unlike her predecessors, who tended to meet Japanese political leaders on their way back home after their first visits to the U.S. as heads of state.

In that sense, she is not a mirror image to her immediate predecessor ― former President Lee Myung-bak who cared much about quantity.

Lee left the country 49 times to visit 84 countries during his five-year term ― a record by a big margin.

His mileage of 758,478 kilometers is equal to 22 times the earth’s diameter. Lee visited the U.S. nine times and China and Japan seven times each.

Meanwhile, the late former President Roh Moo-hyun, who preceded Lee, was not particular about formalities.

For example, he visited the U.S. three times but never had a state visit unlike most Korean leaders. A state visit is the highest form of diplomatic contact marked by various ceremonies and formal protocol.

Park’s first visit to the U.S. was an official visit but she is widely expected to cross the Pacific on a state visit later.


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