Korea Seeks to Rein in Samsung

Korea Seeks to Rein in SamsungThe case against the heir to leadership of the sprawling Samsung empire tests the will of the government of Korea’s liberal President Moon Jae-in to make good on the kind of sweeping campaign promise that every Korean president has made for the past 30 years. Can Moon, unlike his predecessors, curb the power of the…

1H2017 Review: Korea

1H2017 Review: KoreaSouth Korea’s long-running political upheaval ensured that 2017 kicked off amid controversy. The very first day of the year saw president Park Geun-hye denouncing her impeachment by the National Assembly. However, on March 10, the Constitutional Court upheld the ruling, ending a presidency mired in controversy since Park’s election in 2012. Park was then arrested…

Korea’s Samsung: Too Big to Jail

Korea’s Samsung: Too Big to JailAs Samsung's hereditary boss Jay Y. Lee, looking dapper in a coal-black business suit, entered the criminal court in Seoul on Jan. 18, any notion that he might emerge in pale green prison garb seemed far-fetched. Indeed, the Seoul South Central District Court rejected an arrest warrant. Much as critics of the power of Korean chaebol,…

Can South Korean Agriculture Survive Free Trade?

Can South Korean Agriculture Survive Free Trade?Two views exist on South Korean agriculture –a pessimistic one that argues it will collapse in the face of opening markets, and an optimistic one that argues it will become more competitive once South Korea reforms a structure in which the majority of farmers are insignificant and small. Since the agreements in the Uruguay Round…

Donald Trump Says the Korea FTA is a Disaster. Not True.

Donald Trump Says the Korea FTA is a Disaster. Not True.Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for the United States presidency, said on Aug. 8 that the four-year-old free trade agreement between South Korea and the US was a “perfect example of broken promises and that it “doubled our trade deficit with South Korea and destroyed nearly 100,000 American jobs.” That is not true. According to…

Brexit and Korea: Pandora’s Box?

Brexit and Korea: Pandora’s Box?Many who observed the Brexit decision consider Pandora’s box now to be open. Was the Brexit ballot box indeed Pandora’s box? Were the Brexit decision and the “Trump phenomenon” flares of erupting distrust and frustration with the establishment, anti-immigrant sentiments, xenophobia, animosity toward international institutions, and isolationism, as many have noted? The world has prospered…

South Korea Shipbuilding Industry Faces Crisis

South Korea Shipbuilding Industry Faces CrisisSouth Korea’s massive shipbuilding industry, the world’s leader, is facing a crisis, with the country’s three largest shipbuilding firms reporting combined losses of W6.4 trillion (US$5.5 billion) in 2015 alone in offshore plants as the shipping market has deteriorated and world oil prices have plunged, resulting in a fall in new contracts. The industry is…

South Korea and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

South Korea and the Trans-Pacific PartnershipOn Oct. 5, 12 countries, making up 40 percent of the world economy and including Japan and the United States finally agreed after years of negotiation on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the omnibus free trade bill being pushed by Washington, DC. The agreement was seven years in the making after the administration of US President Barack…

S. Korea’s Chaotic, Corrupt Defense Policy Driven by Fear

S. Korea’s Chaotic, Corrupt Defense Policy Driven by FearFollowing an eight-month investigation that ended in July, a South Korean joint task force on corruption in defense contracts reported that W980.9 billion ($867.7 million at current exchange rates) worth of defense contracts in South Korea have been affected by corruption in the last seven years. This amounts to a full 8.9 percent of this…

Crucial Nuclear Debate in S. Korea Nonexistent

Crucial Nuclear Debate in S. Korea NonexistentThe Fukushima nuclear accident, precipitated by the March 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, has had a dramatic effect globally, shattering the myth that it is the safest and cheapest source of energy. Germany, Belgium and Switzerland have decided to phase out nuclear power and France, the most nuclear-reliant country in the world, said it would…
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