Aquino and Park: Former presidents' children hit it off
SEOUL—In some ways, President Aquino and his South Korean counterpart President Park Geun-hye have lived parallel lives, which may have helped them bond instantly.
Both Aquino and Park are children of former presidents.
Park's father, Park Chung-hee, was president of South Korea from 1963 to 1979.
But unlike Aquino’s mother, Cory, Park Chung-hee was described as a dictator who assumed the presidency after a coup d’ etat.
Aquino, however, said Park Chung-hee was in a way different from his Filipino contemporary, former president Ferdinand Marcos, who also declared martial law and was preceded by his mother.
He pointed out that Park’s dictatorship was being credited for helping transform South Korea into an economic powerhouse.
“May substantial difference, I think. President Park Chung-hee was credited with transforming Korea… If I remember, ‘yung five-year plans nila from the ruin of the Korean War in the 50’s to become the economic juggernaut now. During the campaign, I think, she apologized for the excesses during that regime,” Aquino said.
Both fathers of Presidents Aquino and Park were assassinated; both are also single.
Aquino met Park for the second time here during his two-day state visit.
They first met at the ASEAN-Korea summit held in Brunei last week.
“To be honest with you, parang we really hit it off at least from my end, napaka-warm na tao… Alam mo para bang matagal ko ng kaibigan pero sa totoo lang, second meeting namin itong pagdalaw sa Korea; ‘yung first was during ‘yung atin ASEAN and Korean interaction (in Brunei),” Aquino told reporters of his counterpart.
Just like Aquino’s mother, Park is South Korea’s first female president, a similarity which he pointed out during the state dinner held in his honor.