The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday congratulated South Korean president-elect Park Geun-hye for her victory in the presidential election on Wednesday and expressed admiration for South Koreans’ passion for their country and democracy.
The high voter turnout showed South Koreans’ passion and concern for their country’s future, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said, adding that the behavior of the rival camps during the campaign was a good example of democracy.
“It appears that North Korea is no longer a major influence on South Korea’s elections. We also observed that the winning parties in Japan and South Korea chose to stand on the same side as the US-led democratic alliance. This reflects the mainstream view of people in East Asia on regional security,” Lin said.
The DPP would seek to strengthen its ties with Japan and South Korea after the conclusion of their elections, he added.
A 14-member DPP delegation who went to South Korea to observe the election returned to Taipei yesterday, Lin said.
The delegation, which includes DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Chun-yi (李俊毅) and lawmakers Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯), Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) and Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺), visited both campaigns, major political parties, think tanks and universities in Seoul and Gwangju, Lin said.
Former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) also congratulated Park for being South Korea’s first female president and highlighted South Korea’s efforts and achievements on transitional justice in a press release.
Park was not elected because of her charisma, but because of South Korea’s persistent efforts in transitional justice, Tsai said.
While the two countries underwent a similar process of democratization, “South Korea — unlike Taiwan — was able to face its authoritarian past through various measures, including by honoring those who perished and making them national heroes, as well as Park’s repeated apologies for what her father, Park Chung-hee, did during his 18 years of authoritarian rule,” Tsai said.
Those efforts are very different from Taiwan’s — which has only responded to the public’s craving for justice and fairness through compensation — and were eventually able to mend fences, heal wounds and unite the people, she said.
Aside from sharing similarities in democratic development, Taiwan and South Korea now face similar challenges: how to consolidate democratic values and further implement transitional justice to transform their countries, she said.
“The result of the election in South Korea suggests that it has taken a successful first step, which would be an example Taiwan should follow,” Tsai said.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) also congratulated Park on winning the election, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement issued late on Wednesday. The ministry added that Taiwan expects to continue to advance bilateral ties with South Korea in areas such as trade and culture after Park takes office.