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Park engages in flurry of diplomacy on first day in office
SEOUL, Feb. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new President Park Geun-hye engaged in a flurry of diplomacy on her first day in office Monday, holding one-on-one meetings with high-level foreign guests, such as Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso.

   Yingluck congratulated Park on taking office as South Korea's first female president, saying she hopes Park will be successful as a woman leader like herself. Park expressed gratitude for the words before their meeting went behind closed doors.

   The talks came as South Korean companies have been vying for a massive river re-engineering project that Thailand has been working on after it was hit by severe floods in 2011. It was unclear whether the issue was raised during the meeting.

   Park later met with Aso, a former prime minister considered the No. 2 in Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. They exchanged pleasantries, with Aso offering congratulations and Park expressing thanks.

   The meeting came as tensions flared anew between Seoul and its former colonial ruler Japan over Dokdo, a group of islets in the East Sea.

   On Friday, Japan's Shimane Prefecture held its annual "Takeshima Day" event, Japan's name for the islets, aimed at bolstering its claims over Dokdo. This year's event was larger in scale as a central government official attended the event, along with 21 lawmakers.

   Seoul filed a strong protest, calling Japan's claims "unjustifiable."

   Later in the day, Park was also to meet one-on-one with Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, Russia's Far East Development Minister Viktor Ishayev, and Singaporean Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

   jschang@yna.co.kr
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