SEOUL – South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin is likely to have a new crop of gray hairs sprouting from his scalp by the end of next month.

In his first meeting with foreign correspondents since his appointment, Park, who calls South Korea a “global pivotal state,” discussed two imminent challenges bearing down on his nation.

One is the deadline for a long-simmering Japan-Korea dispute which, if left unresolved, threatens to plunge bilateral ties into their worst-ever crisis since the opening of diplomatic relations in 1965. Park made clear that Seoul is seeking an exit.

Meanwhile, Seoul is mulling an invitation to join a US-led multinational alliance in semiconductors – Korea Inc’s leading export. However, Park said that the decision must take into account the impact joining would have on the relationship with its leading trade partner, China.