South Korea’s Constitutional Court upheld President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment on 10 March 2016 after months of peaceful candlelight rallies by millions of people. She faces prosecutorial investigation on bribery, extortion and abuse of power, and the trials of her and others involved in the corruption scandal including Samsung’s leader, Jay Y. Lee, will create new political dynamics in the country. A new presidential election is expected to take place on 9 May. The dramatic political development in the country comes at a time of heightened regional tension over South Korea’s deployment of a controversial US missile defense system, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD). What led to her downfall? What does her impeachment mean for South Korea’s democracy? What changes are expected for the political landscape in the country as well the inter-Korean relations? Will the new government switch from Park administration’s hardline policy toward North Korea to a conciliatory engagement policy? How will the new government resolve the issue of the THAAD missile defense system amid the increasing tensions between the US and China? Dr. You addresses these questions with his expertise on Korean politics.
Jong-sung You is senior lecturer in the Department of Political and Social Change in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at the ANU. He has MPA and PhD in public policy from Harvard University and BA from Seoul National University. His research focuses on Korean politics and comparative political economy. Before pursuing an academic career, he worked for democratization and social justice in South Korea. His publications include Democracy, Inequality, and Corruption: Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines Compared (Cambridge University Press) and articles in the American Sociological Review, Political Psychology, Journal of East Asian Studies, and Asian Perspective. He has written many scholarly articles, including “freedom of expression in Korea” and “regulatory capture in the Sewol ferry tragedy,” as well as commentaries and columns on Korean politics. He is currently teaching a course on Korean security (INTR2020).