Corea del Sur

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 »

Women's peace group rally in Imjingak peace park in Paju, near the demilitarized zone dividing the two Koreas. Photo by Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty Images.

Friday’s dramatic meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his North Korean counterpart, Chairman Kim Jong-un, represents an unambiguous historic breakthrough at least in terms of the image of bilateral reconciliation and the emotional uplift it has given to South Korea public opinion.

Whether the agreement announced at the meeting – the new Panmunjeom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula – offers, in substance, the right mix of concrete measures to propel the two Koreas and the wider international community towards a lasting peace remains an open question.

The symbolic impact of a North Korean leader setting foot for the first time on South Korean soil cannot be underestimated.…  Seguir leyendo »

Quienes lleguen a Corea del Sur, que no esperen descubrir una nación movilizada, angustiada ante una guerra inminente. En el aeropuerto de Incheon, un oficial de seguridad me hizo una sola pregunta: si había estado en contacto con algún camello. No me lo estoy inventando; parece ser que algunos viajeros que habían pasado por Oriente Próximo informaron sobre unos microbios que están propagando una gripe pulmonar por la región. Los numerosos coreanos que utilizan máscaras para protegerse de las miasmas y proteger a los demás –entre las mujeres está de moda llevarla negra– dan testimonio del temor nacional a las epidemias, y no a un ataque inminente de Corea del Norte.…  Seguir leyendo »

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walk together at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, on 27 April 27 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters

What’s happening in Korea?

The leaders of North and South Korea, Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in met in the Korean War truce village of Panmunjom today. It was the third inter-Korean summit, and the first such meeting in a decade.

The meeting was rich with symbolism. Every element, from the size of the conference table to the dinner menu, suggested deeper meaning. The pine tree Kim and Moon planted near the inter-Korean border was nourished with soil from the highest mountains in North and South Korea, Paektu and Halla, and water from the Han and Taedong rivers that run through the two Korean capital cities.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pedestrians in Seoul, South Korea, in front of a banner supporting unity between the North and South at a summit scheduled for April 27.CreditChung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

When the government of South Korea announced last week that it would begin work on a formal peace treaty with North Korea, to be discussed at a summit meeting on April 27, its so-called Sunshine Policy of engagement gave way to P.T. Barnum-style, a-sucker-born-every-minute diplomacy.

Fighting in the Korean War ended in 1953 with just an armistice, and South Korean officials are calling for a “permanent peace.” But it is not merely unrealistic to hope that Kim Jong-un, the leader of the North, will offer the South real and lasting peace; it is delusional.

If the past is any guide, the North will offer the South unenforceable verbiage.…  Seguir leyendo »

Lorsque les dirigeants des Corées du Nord et du Sud se réuniront le 27 avril, ce ne sera que le troisième sommet de ce genre depuis la fin de la guerre de Corée. Un moment rare dans notre monde polarisé. Il y a quelques mois encore, l’escalade des tensions politiques était vive et un risque d’affrontement militaire dans la péninsule coréenne existait. C’est à cette situation de crise, ponctuée de tirs de missiles, d’essais nucléaires et de discours belliqueux, que le monde et les Jeux olympiques d’hiver de Pyeongchang 2018 faisaient face à l’automne 2017. Pour expliquer le relâchement de ces tensions, il convient de considérer le rôle des Jeux olympiques.…  Seguir leyendo »

A TM-61C Matador being assembled at Osan Air Base, Pyeongtaek, South Korea, in 1958. Matadors could be armed with nuclear warheads. Credit Associated Press

As President Trump prepares for a possible meeting with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, many American are raising warnings that North Korea has walked away from previous arms agreements. But those skeptics should remember that it was the United States, in 1958, that broke the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement, when the Eisenhower administration sent the first atomic weapons into South Korea.

By the mid-1960s, the United States had more than 900 nuclear artillery shells, tactical bombs, surface-to-surface rockets and missiles, antiaircraft missiles and nuclear land mines in South Korea. Even nuclear projectiles for Davy Crockett recoilless rifles were for several years based in South Korea.…  Seguir leyendo »