Corea del Sur

Corea del Sur ha conseguido controlar la pandemia de coronavirus en un tiempo récord de solo una semana gracias al diagnóstico masivo de su población. Parte de la estrategia ha consistido en distribuir una aplicación para móviles en la que, aportando los datos personales (domicilio, edad, sexo y teléfono o correo electrónico de contacto), se gestionaba la información sobre la enfermedad.

En caso de que el diagnóstico fuese positivo, al usuario se le ofrecía una cita para realizar el test. La prueba se llevaba a cabo en un punto de encuentro al que el usuario se desplazaba en coche, y donde los sanitarios hacían el test sin necesidad de salir del vehículo, de forma rápida y bastante segura.…  Seguir leyendo »

Workers from a building where 46 people were confirmed to have the coronavirus wait in line for testing at a temporary facility in Seoul on Monday. (Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images)

Some commentators are arguing that China’s coronavirus response attests to the superiority of its authoritarian brand of governance and crisis management. In reality, it turns out that democracies are better suited to protect public health — at least, when they take advantage of their inherent strengths. One country is showing how it’s done: South Korea.

“The advantages of the Chinese system have once again been demonstrated,” the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship paper said in a recent commentary — one that was approvingly quoted in the Wall Street Journal: “China’s battle against the epidemic showed that the CPC, as China’s ruling party, is by far the political party with the strongest governance capability in human history.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Lil Nas X, top center, performs with the K-pop group BTS at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in January. (Kevork Djansezian/AFP/Getty Images)

The world is experiencing a “Korean Wave” — a global pop culture boom that has seen South Korean music, cinema, television and other products find an enormous market worldwide. Earlier this month, Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” became the first non-English language film to win a best picture Oscar (a decision President Trump objected to at a rally on Thursday). And on Friday, K-pop sensation BTS released its highly anticipated new album — one that is expected to quickly top the Billboard charts.

This is not a new trend. The world has been gobbling up Korean pop culture for years — and not just music or movies.…  Seguir leyendo »

El director de "Parasite", Bong Joon Ho, reacciona a obtener el premio Óscar a Mejor Película. (Chris Pizzello)

Parasite (Parásitos), del director Bong Joon-ho, es una obra maestra que arroja luz sobre la desigualdad y la pobreza en Corea del Sur. El 9 de febrero se convirtió en un fenómeno al ganar el premio a mejor película en la 92.ª edición de los Óscar. Sin embargo, la película estuvo a punto de no ver la luz del día.

En 2015, el gobierno de la expresidenta Park Geun-hye incluyó en su lista negra a Bong, al actor Song Kang-ho y a la productora Miky Lee junto con más de 9,000 artistas, quienes en su opinión eran demasiado liberales y críticos con el gobierno.…  Seguir leyendo »

To many South Koreans, “Parasite’s” historic win at the Oscars on Sunday wasn’t just about a movie winning at an awards ceremony. It was about the entire country gaining global prominence.

The film’s acclaimed director, Bong Joon-ho, expressed it best in his acceptance speech for best original screenplay: “We never write to represent our country, but this is very personal to South Korea.” This was the first time a South Korean film had won an Academy Award, let alone four.

In Korea, the response in the media was largely euphoric. Every major news outlet headlined “Parasite’s” Oscars victory, praising how Bong is now a “mainstream director in Hollywood” and how Korean cinema is “finally standing at the top of the world.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Bong Joon-ho, right, reacts as presenter Jane Fonda hands him an Oscar for best picture for "Parasite" on Sunday. At left are actors Song Kang-ho and Cho Yeo-jeong. (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite,” a gritty masterpiece that shines an unsparing light South Korea’s inequality and poverty, made waves Sunday by winning Best Picture at the 92nd Academy Awards. Yet the movie almost failed to see the light of the day.

In 2015, President Park Geun-hye’s administration blacklisted Bong, actor Song Kang-ho and producer Miky Lee along with more than 9,000 other artists, who in its view were too liberal and critical of the government. Just as “Parasite” tells an important story of the contradictions of capitalism, its making teaches an important lesson about how a free society is essential for the arts.…  Seguir leyendo »

El retrato de la estrella de K-pop, Goo Hara, rodeada de flores un homenaje en un hospital de Seúl el 25 de noviembre de 2019. (strella de K-pop, Goo Hara, rodeada de flores un homenaje en un hospital de Seúl el 25 de noviembre de 2019. Foto de STR/Dong-A Ilbo/AFP vía Getty Images)

En Corea del Sur, la muerte de la estrella del K-pop Goo Hara está reabasteciendo la ira contra los delitos sexuales contra las mujeres, y la percepción generalizada de que las fuerzas del orden público no han logrado abordar el problema de manera efectiva.

El domingo Goo, de 28 años, exmiembro del grupo femenino Kara, fue encontrada muerta en su casa de Seúl. La policía aún no ha comentado sobre la causa de la muerte, pero se informó que Goo había sido hospitalizada a principios de este año por un supuesto intento de suicidio, en medio de un escándalo que desató un torrente de abusos.…  Seguir leyendo »

According to a congressional aide and an administration official, the Trump administration has requested an approximate 400% increase in the amount South Korea contributes to the maintenance of United States forces in Korea — the «Special Measures Agreement,» CNN reported on Thursday. (Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has refused to confirm this figure, simply saying, «we have asked for a significant increase in the cost-sharing for our deployed troops.») After last year’s talks ended with a one-year agreement, rather than the longer agreements successfully negotiated nine times starting in 1991, it was expected that the talks would be difficult — but this increase is not the start of a serious negotiation.…  Seguir leyendo »

For several months, Japan and South Korea, America’s main allies in East Asia, have been going at each other. Japan stripped South Korea of trading privileges; then South Korea removed Japan from a list of favored trade partners. In late August, Seoul announced that it would cancel an agreement with Tokyo over the sharing of sensitive military intelligence, including about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. The tiff, some observers argue, marks a low in relations since the two countries normalized ties in 1965 after decades of friction over conflicting interpretations of Japan’s record during its occupation of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945 — forced labor, territorial claims, sexual slavery.…  Seguir leyendo »

Where the Cold War Never Ended

In a rational world, South Korea and Japan ought to be the best of friends. Their cultures and languages are closely linked. Their economies are deeply entangled. And as the only liberal democracies in East Asia (along with Taiwan), they have to contend with the threat of North Korean belligerence and Chinese domination.

But the world is not so rational, and so the two American allies have recently become engaged in a flaming economic row, ostensibly sparked by historical wrongs. Late last year, the South Korean Supreme Court ruled that Japanese companies should compensate Koreans who were forced to work in Japanese factories and mines during World War II.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Friday, Japan announced that it was revoking South Korea’s trusted status, which means that South Korean firms will have a far harder time importing goods with potential military uses. In particular, this is likely to affect the export of key chemicals to South Korea. This, in turn, has huge potential consequences for South Korea’s electronics industry, which relies on these chemicals to produce semiconductors and flat-panel screens. As the Nikkei Asian Review reports, Japan’s actions are leading to a widespread boycott of Japanese goods in South Korea. South Korea has also revoked Japan’s trusted status in retaliation.

This is just one especially clear example of a broader phenomenon that we describe in our new article for International Security, Weaponized Interdependence: How Global Economic Networks Shape State Coercion.…  Seguir leyendo »

On July 1, Japan placed export restrictions on three chemicals critical to South Korea’s tech industry. Exporters must apply for a license each time they make a shipment, which can take up to 90 days. The Japanese government is also considering removing South Korea from its “white list” of trustworthy countries that receive preferential trade treatment.

The issue, the Japanese government claims, is that South Korea failed to control hydrogen fluoride — which can be used in weapons development — from being shipped to North Korea. South Korea has denied the accusation.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in called this a “grave challenge,” and promised to wean South Korea’s high-tech sector off its dependence on Japanese supplies.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tensions are flaring up again between South Korea and Japan. Earlier this month, Japan restricted exports of three chemicals vital to South Korea’s electronics industry, citing national security concerns. Seoul called the move “economic retaliation” and filed a complaint with the WTO. Tokyo has also threatened to remove South Korea from its “white list” of trustworthy countries for trade in sensitive materials by July 24.

To outside observers, the trade spat may seem sudden. However, the relationship has been deteriorating since last fall, when long-existing disagreements over Japan’s history with the Korean Peninsula were reignited.

South Korean court rulings precipitated the current spat.…  Seguir leyendo »

C’est une première : la Commission européenne a enclenché le 17 décembre 2018 la procédure de règlement des différends prévue au chapitre Commerce et développement durable (CDD) de l’Accord de libre-échange (ALE) entre l’Union européenne (UE) et la Corée du Sud, un chapitre dont la fonction est notamment d’assurer la protection des droits des travailleurs. Bruxelles reproche en effet à Séoul de ne pas respecter ses engagements en la matière, et la procédure permettra de faire le point sur cette question de droit. Surtout, le traitement de ce contentieux permettra de juger de l’efficacité des mécanismes prévus au sein des chapitres CDD pour protéger les travailleurs, et ce à la veille de possibles négociations entre l’UE-27 et le Royaume-Uni sur le futur de leurs relations commerciales.…  Seguir leyendo »

Anti-immigration activists protested in Seoul on Saturday against a group of asylum-seekers from Yemen.CreditEd Jones/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Hundreds of desperate Yemenis fleeing civil war — more than 550 — arrived on the South Korean island of Jeju and applied for asylum between January and May. In response, more than half a million South Koreans have petitioned President Moon Jae-in to turn away all refugees. Online platforms have become grounds for refugee-bashing. An actual anti-refugee demonstration took place on Saturday in downtown Seoul.

South Korea has long been intolerant of outsiders, but the outrage triggered by this small number of Yemenis arriving on our shores shows how deep xenophobia runs here. For all of South Korea’s success as a democracy and as a thriving economy, compassion and humanitarian instincts are in short supply.…  Seguir leyendo »

South Korean football fans react as they watch on a large screen the 2018 World Cup football match between South Korea and Sweden at Gwanghwamun square in Seoul on June 18, 2018. (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP) (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

The World Cup, in South Korea, is usually a huge deal—but not this year. The South Korean media has barely covered it, and conversations rarely turn to it. Part of the reason is that the 2018 Korean squad is pretty bad. A dedicated Korea fan could find some solace in the fact that the Taegeuk Warriors—so named after the Korean word for the red and blue yin-yang symbol in the middle of the South Korean flag—have qualified for ten World Cups in all and the past nine in a row, a record for an Asian country. Our ebullient striker Son Heung-min can be a joy to watch—if only there were a few more world-class talents around him.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea embracing North Korea’s Kim Jong-un on Saturday, in a handout picture provided by the Presidential Blue House.CreditSouth Korea Presidential Blue House, via Reuters

On Saturday evening in Seoul, images of President Moon Jae-in of South Korea embracing North Korea’s Kim Jong-un lit up tens of millions of smartphones. The Presidential Blue House announced that Mr. Moon had just met with Mr. Kim on the northern side of the border — their second encounter in a month. At a press briefing Sunday morning, Mr. Moon explained that Pyongyang had made the request, via the inter-Korean hotline, to speak “informally.”

It was a bold recovery for Mr. Moon, who had been perceived as a tragic middleman since President Trump canceled a planned summit with North Korea last week.…  Seguir leyendo »

What’s the significance of the 7th China-Japan-South Korea Trilateral Summit?

The main purpose of the meeting was simply to showcase good vibes among the three leaders. Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul are trying to overcome contemporary disputes and historical grievances so that they can promote regional trade and investment and coordinate their policies, particularly on North Korea. There were three broad priorities: improve diplomatic relations, manage the Korean peninsula crisis and make progress on cooperation mechanisms, as the joint statement emphasizes.

China and Japan also held bilateral meetings in which they signed ten agreements, including a long-delayed one to set up a maritime and aerial communication mechanism that may help manage military encounters, particularly in the East China Sea.…  Seguir leyendo »

Kim in Pyongyang, February 2018. KCNA / REUTERS

North Korea has all but completed its quest for nuclear weapons. It has demonstrated its ability to produce boosted-fission bombs and may be able to make fusion ones, as well. It can likely miniaturize them to fit atop a missile. And it will soon be able to deliver this payload to the continental United States. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, has declared his country’s nuclear deterrent complete and, despite his willingness to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump, is unlikely to give it up. Yet Washington continues to demand that Pyongyang relinquish the nuclear weapons it already has, and the Trump administration has pledged that the North Korean regime will never acquire a nuclear missile that can hit the United States.…  Seguir leyendo »

A U.S. soldier capturing North Korean prisoners of war in 1953.CreditUniversal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images

No, the Korean War still is not over. While an armistice in 1953 ended active fighting, it was never followed by a peace treaty. This is why during their recent meeting, Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, in addition to jointly calling for the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula, also pledged to formally conclude the war.

Much ambiguity remains about what exactly it would take to accomplish what Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon vowed to do, and many analysts have expressed skepticism about this diplomatic overture, pointing to a number of other supposed breakthroughs in the past that petered out.…  Seguir leyendo »