World News Brief, Friday December 21

South Korea'a first woman president makes national security a top priority; China needs pro-growth policies and faster reforms, says think tank; Pakistan passes anti-terrorism communications bill; new rebel alliance formed in Central African Republic

Top of the Agenda: South Korea's President-Elect Cites Security 

The day after her election as South Korea's first woman president, Park Geun-hye pledged to make national security a top priority (Yonhap). Park said North Korea's successful rocket launch underscored the "grave" security reality on the divided Korean Peninsula. As part of her campaign, Park had promised to redistribute wealth, reform big conglomerates and seek greater engagement with North Korea.


"The Saenuri Party has historically been firmly behind the chaebol [conglomerates], so Ms Park's tack to the centre had alarmed the party's core supporters. But the strategy first proved successful in elections for the National Assembly last April, and then again today. Her instincts will now be to tack back to the right," writes the Economist.

"Ms Park might have good intentions to improve equality at home, and do something towards reducing the influence of the chaebol. But it is still the chaebol and the state of the global economy on which South Korea depends that will determine the country's path," writes the Financial Times.

"Opinion polls suggest that Ms Park's support in this election came from those in their 50s and 60s. Ironic, say Ms Park's critics, that it is precisely the generation who suffered under her father's repressive rule who seem most firmly in favour of electing her. And there is little doubt that her legacy has cost her votes, as well as boosted them," writes Lucy Williamson for the BBC.



China Needs Reforms, Think Tank Says

A senior economist at China's State Council think tank said on Thursday that the country needs pro-growth policies and faster reforms (Reuters) to boost domestic demand in the face of global economic uncertainty in the upcoming year. China is on course to achieve 7.7 percent growth in 2012.

This CFR Backgrounder explains the Chinese Communist Party and some of its reformists.


Pakistan passes anti-terrorism communications bill

New rebel alliance formed in Central African Republic

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