President Park Geun-hye was sworn into office on Monday pledging to stimulate the country's flagging economy and warning North Korea that it will end up the "biggest victim" of its nuclear ambitions.
"I will do my utmost to build a Republic of Korea that is prosperous and where happiness is felt by all the people," Park told a huge crowd in front of the National Assembly. "As president... I will live up to the will of the people by achieving economic rejuvenation, the happiness of the people, and the flourishing of our culture."
She said the president is responsible for government but the public decides on the fate of the nation and called on citizens to join hands to pursue "communal interests." Park vowed to create a government that is free of corruption in order to win public trust.
She also promised to put the priority on protecting South Korea from the North Korean nuclear threat. "I will not accept any action that threatens the lives and safety of the people," Park said. "North Korea's recent nuclear test is a challenge to the survival and future of the Korean people, and there should be no mistake that the biggest victim will be none other than North Korea itself."
But Park she also left open the possibility of dialogue with the North. Trust can be built through dialogue, she said, urging North Korea to "abide by international norms and make the right choice."