Situation in South Korea strained


The impeachment of President Park Geun-hye is nearer than ever.


Relations between Park Geun-hye and the parliament, where the majority of seats are occupied by forces in opposition to the president, have worsened following the decision to host the US missile defense system in the country. The question of impeachment was raised earlier when this decision was made but, despite the mass protests of South Korean citizens against the president, the soil for impeachment was not well prepared.

After the interference in state affairs by the close friend of Park Geun-hye, Choi Sung Sil (the daughter of a religious cult leader) was exposed, the mass protests escalated into thousands. The president has replaced several of her advisers and ministers, hoping to shift the responsibility onto them and save her reputation. But this has not happened.

The opposition’s demands

At the moment, the situation facing Park Geun-hye seems very serious. She is almost ready to opt for any concessions, including ministerial cabinet replacement. The opposition was offered to hold talks, but the parties rejected this opportunity.

The leader of the Democratic Party, the leading opposition force in South Korea, declared that the conditions for overcoming the political impasse can only be: firstly, the resignation of the newly appointed prime minister, and secondly, the departure of Park Geun-hye herself from the ruling Saenuri Party and possibly the voluntary resignation of the president.

Chu Mi-ae, a leading member of the Minjoo Party of Korea (MPK) said: “A meeting for the sake of meeting does not make sense.”

Neighbors’ reactions

Japan has reacted sharply to the political crisis in South Korea. The country will probably have to not only postpone tripartite talks between Japan, China,  and South Korea, which are going to be held in Tokyo in December, but also change their agenda.

Moreover, the political instability in Seoul could adversely affect the renewed talks over intelligence sharing with Tokyo. Similar negotiations are underway between the Defense Ministry of South Korea and its Chinese counterparts.

Since Japan allowed this to happen, relations between the countries have worsened. The latest round of discussions on controversial issues related to the Second World War speaks to this difficult situation in South-Korean-Japanese relations.