Seoul: South Korea on Monday got its first female President - Park Geun-hye.
With the swearing-in, Park Geun-hye has returned to the presidential mansion where she grew up with her dictator father.
Park, who took the oath of office in front of tens of thousands of people, vowed a tough stance on national security.
The 61-year-old had defeated Moon Jae-in in December's General Elections to grab the top post.
In her inauguration speech, Park said she would "not tolerate any action that threatens the lives of our people and the security of our nation".
"North Korea's recent nuclear test is a challenge to the survival and future of the Korean people, and there should be no mistake that the biggest victim will be none other than North Korea itself."
She further called on North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions, adding that South Korea could not "afford to remain where we are" in a challenging security environment.
A trust-building process was needed, she emphasised.
"Trust can be built through dialogue and by honouring promises that have already been made. It is my hope that North Korea will abide by international norms and make the right choice so that the trust-building process on the Korean Peninsula can move forward," she said.
As far as economy is concerned, Park promised more focus on a "creative economy" founded in "economic democratisation".
"By rooting out various unfair practices and rectifying the misguided habits of the past... we will provide active support to ensure that everyone can live up to their fullest potential," she added.
"I will endeavour to shed popular distrust of government and strive to elevate the capital of trust," she promised.
Park's last stint in the Blue House was bookended by tragedy: At 22, she cut short her studies in Paris to return to Seoul and act as president Park Chung-hee's first lady after an assassin targeting her father instead killed her mother; she left five years later after her father was shot and killed by his spy chief during a drinking party.
(With Agency inputs)
First Published: Monday, February 25, 2013, 09:35