Youngsu Won

The historic candlelight movement of 2016-17 that brought down the corrupt government of president Park Geunhye finally turned South Korea from one of the most reactionary anti-communist regime into a normal democracy. However, the recent debate over Yemenis refugees has revealed the naked face of deep-seated racism of many Koreans, writes Youngsu Won.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and United States President Donald Trump met at a historic summit in Singapore on June 12 that concluded with a joint statement. Those who want peace and denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula have welcomed the success of the summit. Though the end of the war has not been declared, a decisive step towards complete denuclearisation and an end to mutual hostilities has been taken.

The intra-Korea summit on April 27 may well be recorded as historic, writes Youngsu Won from Seoul, but questions remain about how stable any peace that emerges will be.

The Panmunjeom Declaration signed by Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in clearly signifies Korea’s transition to peaceful coexistence. This development is welcomed by all except for anti-communist hysterical lunatics, nationally and internationally.

This winter has been extremely cold in South Korea, with temperatures regularly reaching well below -10°C — perhaps another sign of climate change.

Will a verbal war between a senile dotard and a little rocket man result in an actual war? Probably not, but at the moment, the risk is unprecedented.

The reason it remains unlikely is simply because the consequences of any actions are so catastrophic. Right now, this is the only deterrent to war.

Moon Jae-in, of the liberal Democratic Party, won South Korea’s May 9 presidential election with 41% of the vote, easily defeating his arch-conservative opponent Hong Jun-pyo, who won about 24%.

The elections took place after the impeachment of conservative president Park Geun-hye for her involvement in a huge corruption scandal. Park, from Hong’s right-wing Saenuri Party (renamed Liberty Korea Party in a bid to rebrand), was forced out by the huge “Candlelight Revolution”. Millions of Koreans mobilised in an ongoing series of candlelight protests to demand her impeachment.

The elections also took place in a context of the threat of war in the Korean Peninsula with US President Donald Trump’s administration ratcheting up tensions with North Korea.

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