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President-elect Park Geun Hye will need to come up with a new approach toward the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and toward China. Lee Myung-bak's hard-line policy has run its course, and the new administration must reengage with the DPRK as part of a broader strategic dtente with China, whilst remaining close to the United States.
The policy of the Republic of Korea toward China during the Lee presidency has been constrained by the strategy toward the DPRK, in which the US and the ROK played "good cop" and "bad cop" respectively. In this moment of political transition across Northeast Asia, and in the US, a new and cooperative vision is needed: now is the time for trust.
Northeast Asia seems to have had enough of confrontation and friction. Throughout the region, and also in the US, new administrations have recently been chosen. Remarkably, they have all spoken in support of regional peace and cooperation, apparently moving beyond the political confrontations of 2010-2012 which proved so divisive.