S’Korea Faces Grave North Test

South Korea’s President-elect Park Geun-hye


South Korea’s President-elect Park Geun-hye spoke of a “grave” security challenge from North Korea but called for “trust-based dialogue”.

Ms Park, the ruling Saenuri Party candidate, defeated her liberal rival Moon Jae-in in Wednesday’s election.

Speaking after a visit to honour late leaders, she pledged again to “open a new era” on the Korean Peninsula.

The North has not yet commented on her victory, but earlier labelled the Saenuri Party “maniacs”.

A dispatch from state media outlet KCNA, released on Wednesday, accused the party of escalating tension on the peninsula during President Lee Myung-bak’s time in office, reports the BBC.

“All facts prove that the Saenuri Party is a group of traitors who stoop to any infamy to realise its ambition to seize power,” the story said.

The North launched a rocket that put a satellite into orbit last week, a move condemned by the international community as a banned test of missile technology.

Ms Park, daughter of former military strongman Park Chung-hee, will become South Korea’s first female president.

US President Barack Obama congratulated her, calling South Korea “a lynchpin” of security in Asia.

“Our two nations share a global partnership with deep economic, security and people-to-people ties,” Obama said in a statement.

The election race saw high turnout, with 75.8% of the electorate casting their ballots. With more than 99% of the vote counted, Ms Park had won 51.6% of the vote to Moon’s 48%.

Economic issues including welfare spending, job creation and inequality had dominated campaigning, while the national security focus fell on North Korea.