South Korea's first impeachment and its implications
South Korea’s current political landscape is uncertain due to the impeachment of its first female president, Park, in March, after the Constitutional court’s decision to do so due to bribery and incorrect use of power. This scandal was reported by the international press, and attracted the interest of many foreigners; at home, thousands of citizens met in the roads of Seoul to protest both for and against Park’s crimes. This has sparked several changes in the country’s political situation, as well as the lives of many South Koreans.
The weekly protests conducted by South Koreans received international praise, as no one was hurt or attacked during this process. The movement not only showed how protests could be carried out in a peaceful manner, but also put an emphasis on the importance of democracy, as well as the freedoms that its citizens could enjoy. It also inspired South Koreans to be more politically active, encouraging more to vote in the next election.
Relations with China
(Source: Korea Exposé)
Another change is the worsening cold relations between South Korea and China. Following the US’s proposal of THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense), an anti-missile system mainly used to protect South Korea and Japan from North Korea, the Chinese government has restricted the number of Chinese people travelling to South Korea. China sees THAAD as a threat, as it can be used to spy on its territories and weapons, thus causing tensions between South Korea and China. However, with the impeachment of Park and the prime minister focusing on other issues, there is no one who can make decisions regarding foreign policy for the country.
This matter is also being debated across South Korea. While many support THAAD, as they feel it will protect the country from missiles, there are some who don’t. Those against the system are worried about radiation, and a further deterioration of China-South Korea relations. Clearly, this is a topic that must involve the voice of the South Korean people; however, Trump has warned Xi Jinping that he will step in if Xi is unable to resolve the issues.
Some may see Trump’s involvement as beneficial, as the US could act as a mediator; however, Trump’s inconsistency in terms of foreign policy, as shown by his recent decision on Syria, proves to be worrisome. So, should the South Korean government go ahead and begin negotiations with China, ignoring its people’s wishes to do so until a new president is elected, and compromising how they feel about THAAD; or wait and allow for US intervention?
Daniel is a student at The King’s School Canterbury. He is the founder and the head of KSCMUN (King’s School Canterbury Model United Nations) and regularly attends conferences all over the UK. He is passionate about discussing and creating resolutions for global crises, including capacity building in failing states, the refugee crisis in countries such as Syria and the spread of the Zika virus. Daniel also spends his time working as the head of marketing and public relations for Khonaa, a registered social enterprise in Hong Kong funding the education of minority groups all over Asia. He is also part of the first swimming team at King’s Canterbury and is the swimming team captain of his house.