Bureau Chief Malaysia and Brunei, Kuala Lumpur
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Dec 19, 2012

Loved and loathed, Park takes South Korea’s presidency

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s first woman president, Park Geun-hye, will have her job cut out when she takes office in February with the economy slowing, her father’s autocratic rule still an issue for many and North Korea as unpredictable as ever.

Park, 60, won Wednesday’s hotly contested election comfortably. She replaces fellow conservative Lee Myung-bak after his mandatory single, five-year term ended.

Dec 19, 2012

Park to become South Korea’s first woman leader

SEOUL, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Park Geun-hye will make an
emotional return to South Korea’s presidential mansion in
February as South Korea’s first female leader, more than three
decades after she left it following the assassination of her

Park scored a decisive victory in Wednesday’s vote, ensuring
that South Korea’s conservatives, who pushed through a free
trade agreement with the United States, hold on to the powerful
presidency for a second consecutive time after the end of
incumbent Lee Myung-bak’s mandatory single term in office.

Dec 14, 2012

Korean American tourist detained in North Korea

SEOUL (Reuters) – A Korean-American tourist who visited North Korea last month for what was to have been a five-day trip has been detained by police in the reclusive state, associates of his family and activists in Seoul said.

Kenneth Bae, 44, was in a group of five tourists who visited the northeast city of Rajin, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said, citing a report by the Kookmin Ilbo newspaper. Bae entered North Korea on November 3 for a five-day visit.

Dec 13, 2012

For North Korea, next step is a nuclear test

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea rattled the world on Wednesday by putting a satellite into orbit using the kind of technology that appears to demonstrate it can develop a missile capable of hitting the United States.

Its next step will likely be a nuclear test, which would be the third conducted by the reclusive and unpredictable state. Its 2009 test came on May 25, a month after a rocket launch.

Dec 7, 2012

North Korean leader cracking down on dissent, South says

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea’s new young leader is using an imminent rocket launch to bolster his prestige internally and crack down on dissent amid signs the transition of power is not going as smoothly as planned, a top South Korean official said on Friday.

The isolated North is to launch a rocket carrying what it says is a satellite between December 10-22 in a move that has been condemned by the United States, South Korea and Japan as they believe it is designed to test technology for a long-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

Dec 1, 2012

N.Korea plans new rocket launch as leader asserts power

SEOUL, Dec 1 (Reuters) – North Korea is to carry out its
second rocket launch of 2012 as its youthful leader Kim Jong-un
flexes his muscles a year after his father’s death, in a move
that will likely heighten diplomatic tensions and draw criticism
from Washington.

North Korea’s state news agency announced the decision to
launch another space satellite on Saturday, just a day after Kim
met a senior delegation from China’s Communist Party in the
North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

Nov 25, 2012

“Shadow of Roh” neck and neck with dictator’s daughter before South Korea polls

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s December presidential election looks set to turn into a referendum on two of the country’s most polarizing leaders as the daughter of military dictator Park Chung-hee faces off against a former aide to ex-President Roh Moo-hyun.

Park’s authoritarian rule propelled South Korea from poverty to the cusp of developed-nation status and ended when he was assassinated in 1979. The left-wing Roh’s single five-year term closed in chaos as economic reforms failed and a policy of engagement with North Korea was wrecked as Pyongyang pushed ahead with a nuclear weapons program.

Nov 19, 2012

South Korean opposition far apart on presidential deal

SEOUL (Reuters) – With a week until a deadline to finalize nominations for South Korea’s December 19 presidential election, neither of two main opposition challengers appears willing to step aside, which will likely mean the conservatives retain the country’s most powerful office.

Moon Jae-in, who has been nominated by the main left-of-centre opposition party, has held talks with independent Ahn Cheol-soo over a joint platform that could lead to a single candidate, but the talks have been bedeviled by infighting and leaks, with neither side appearing willing to give way.

Nov 13, 2012

Secrecy cloaks South Korea’s civil nuclear program

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s government should resume publishing polls on nuclear safety after a loss of public confidence in the sector in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster, an opposition South Korean lawmaker said on Tuesday.

The call came as South Korea, whose public is traditionally seen as pro-nuclear, investigated fake safety documents for parts used in nuclear plants led to two of the country’s 23 reactors being shut down last week and has raised the prospect of power shortages in the harsh Korean winter.

Oct 28, 2012

South Korea pension fund needs more contributions, new investments

SEOUL (Reuters) – The first payouts from South Korea’s state pension fund only started in 2008, but faced with the fastest ageing population among developed nations and one of the lowest birthrates, the country needs to deal with a looming funding crunch.

The world’s third-largest state fund by assets is generating more than $2 billion a month in new net funding as contributions outpace payments, but by 2034 that will end as South Koreans retire and the working age population falls.

    • About David

      "I am currently Reuters Malaysia Bureau Chief and have been here since August 2008, tracking Malaysia from the return of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to parliament and the government choosing a new Prime Minister Najib Razak. Prior to Malaysia, I worked as Bureau Chief in Hungary for four years in a tumultuous time that saw mass riots, a record budget deficit and shock election results. I have worked mainly on emerging market economies covering debt restructurings from countries as diverse as Argentina, Russia, Serbia and Iraq."
      Joined Reuters:
      20 odd years ago
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