Park Geun-hye päk go͝on-hĕ [key], 1952–, South Korean political leader, president of South Korea (2013–17). The daughter of South Korean dictator Park Chung Hee, she served as his acting first lady from after her mother's assassination (1974) until he was assassinated (1979). She was first elected to the National Assembly in 1998, and was reelected four times. She also was the leader of the conservative Grand National party, later the New Frontier party (NFP; 2004–6, 2011–12). In 2002 she visited Kim Jong Il in North Korea in an attempt to improve relations between the two Koreas. In Dec., 2012, she won the presidential election to become South Korea's first woman president. Revelations in Oct., 2016, that Park's friend and spiritual adviser, Choi Soon-il, had seen secret documents and influenced government policies and also had secured foundation donations that allegedly were then embezzled created a political crisis. Park was named by prosecutors as a criminal suspect and accomplice in the affair, and was impeached by the National Assembly in Dec., 2016. Park was removed from office after the constitutional court upheld the impeachment in Mar., 2017, and was then tried and convicted (2018) of abuse of power and corruption charges and of abuse of state funds and election law violations, but in 2019 a new trial was ordered for the corruption charge.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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