The new president of the Republic of Korea - a hostage to the crisis provoked by the US?


9th of May Mun Jae-Ying, representative of the Democratic Party was elected as a new President of the Republic of Korea. He was the leader of the electoral race since the impeachment of the previous president Pak Kun Hyu in March 2017. South Korea is a presidential republic, in which the president is simultaneously the head of state, head of government, supreme commander-in-chief. There is a post of prime minister, but the prime minister is also appointed by the president. As a matter of fact, all executive power and the process of making key decisions for the country are concentrated in the hands of the president.

The reasons for the resignation of the previous president

Early presidential elections in the Republic of Korea became possible after an infamous corruption scandal involving the daughter of South Korean dictator Pak Jong-hee, President Pak Kun He (from the conservative Free Korea Party, which under different names since the 1960s was the ruling party of the country) and representatives of the largest corporations of the country controlled by dynasties of industrialists (chaebols), including Samsung and close friend of President Chkhve Sun Sil. Under the influence of the latter in 2011 economic cooperation with the DPRK was suspended and the Kaesong Technological Park, located in North Korea, but is a zone of cooperation between the two Korean states, was closed.

The government of Pak Kun Hye approved the deployment in South Korea of the US missile defense system THAAD under the pretext of defending the North Korean nuclear threat.

New President: Foreign Policy

Mun Zhu Ying took office immediately after the election. The new president is a Catholic by faith and a liberal by conviction. Like the previous leaders of South Korea, he stands for a close alliance with the United States. However, during the campaign, Mun Jae-Ying opposed the installation of THAAD systems and offered to discuss this issue with China, not wanting to spoil relations with a neighbor and economic partner. One time the arrogant behavior of the Chinese side, which tried to dictate its terms to South Korea in connection with THAAD, forced the candidate to abandon such rhetoric. However, at the time of the inauguration, he again spoke in favor of settling this issue jointly with the US and the PRC. It is not clear if the US is going to do this, if the goals of the US and China on this issue are directly opposite.

The son of an emigrant from North Korea, Moon Jae Ying, previously promised to make his first foreign visit to this country, advocating a relaxation of tensions between the two countries.

The domestic policy program

In domestic politics, the newly elected president made promises to abolish the current legislation in force in the country, limiting the activities of the left parties and punishing for sympathy for North Korea and limiting the influence on the policy of chaebols.

Moon Zhu Ying and the North Korean crisis

The April crisis in relations with North Korea, which was provoked by the United States, substantially shifted the limits of the possible for the new South Korean president, who now will have difficulty renouncing the deployment of an American missile defense system, in fact intended rather to partially contain China and Russia than the DPRK. Perhaps this was one of the tasks of this provocation. The United States was able to raise the degree of mutual tension in the relations of the two Koreas, and also demonstrate that China cannot or does not want to influence the North Korean regime at a critical moment. At the same time, attempts by the US to force South Korea to pay for the deployment of THAAD are unlikely to be perceived by the new leadership of the country with understanding.