WASHINGTON (Yonhap News) ― U.S. President Barack Obama will dispatch a delegation, led by his national security adviser Tom Donilon, to the upcoming inauguration ceremony of South Korean President-elect Park Geun-hye, the White House announced Friday.
“President Barack Obama today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to Seoul, Korea to attend the Inauguration of Her Excellency Park Geun-hye, President-elect of the Republic of Korea on Feb. 25, 2013,” it said in a brief press release.
It added Donilon will lead a team that will include Daniel Russel, senior advisor for Asian affairs at the National Security Council, Sung Kim, U.S. ambassador to South Korea, and Gen. James Thurman, commander of the U.S. Forces Korea.
In his statement submitted for the Congressional Record, meanwhile, Rep. Eni Faleomavaega, a Democrat from American Samoa, noted the historic significance of Park’s presidency.
“Madame Park will become the first freely elected woman leader among the nations of Northeast Asia and the first woman president of the Republic of Korea,” he said, using the formal name of South Korea.
“In the traditional Land of the Morning Calm where the slogan ‘men first, women behind’ was the watchword only a generation ago, Park Geun-hye’s election is historic,” he added.
The congressman expressed hope for Park’s initiative in easing military tensions on the peninsula despite Pyongyang’s nuclear test and other signs of provocative acts.
He cited Park’s meeting in 2002 with then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang.
Park is a daughter of South Korea’s late president Park Chung-hee and her mother was killed by a man believed to be a North Korean agent in 1974.