President Park Geun-hye to return to work next week after vacation

GMT 23:41 2015 Saturday ,01 August

Arab Today, arab today President Park Geun-hye to return to work next week after vacation

President Park Geun-hye
Seoul - Yonhap

President Park Geun-hye is set to return to work next week after a short vacation inside Cheong Wa Dae, the presidential office and residence, an official said Friday.

It marked the second straight year that she has spent her summer vacation at the official residence, which could be causing her to stay on the job during the five-day break.

"I always think a day is too short, but this summer, time passes by even faster," Park wrote in her first Facebook post in over five months. "I have been spending time reading books and reports I haven't read." She did not elaborate.

Park is expected to unveil her thoughts on a number of issues in a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, which could set the tone for state affairs in the second half of the year.

Park could again stress the importance of pressing ahead with reform in the labor and other sectors and of reviving the country's economy, a presidential official said.

Other issues that could compete for her attention include pardons and the upcoming anniversary of the 70th anniversary of Korea's independence from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.

Park has instructed officials to review the scope and candidates for the planned pardons to mark Liberation Day, which falls on Aug. 15.

At stake is whether Park will grant special pardons to convicted business tycoons at a time when she badly needs cooperation from the business community to help revive Asia's fourth-largest economy.

Park is also expected to use the coming days to work on a speech she plans to deliver on Aug. 15. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also set to give a speech on that day to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Abe's speech will be closely watched by South Korea, China and other regional powers to see if he will reiterate his predecessors' statements on Japan's wartime aggression.

South Korea and Japan are close economic partners and key allies of the United States, though they have long been in conflict over territory and other historical disputes stemming from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

One key unresolved issue is hundreds of thousands of Korean women who were forced to provide sex to Japan's World War II soldiers.

South Korea demands Japan acknowledge state responsibility for the sex slaves, while Japan insists the issue was settled under the normalization treaty of 1965. Only 48 South Korean survivors remain.

Tensions also linger between China and Japan over territorial and other history-related issues. Japan controlled much of China in the early part of the 20th century.

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