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Impact of the Great Scandal in South Korea

March 13, 2017
Plain English Version

Ousted South Korea's former President Park Geun-hye arrives at her home. Photo credit: AP

The highest court in South Korea found President Park Geun-hye guilty of crimes. She was the first woman president of the country. She is the first president forced out of power. She had to leave the office.

The charge against her was that she traded favors for money. She helped a friend, and she helped the Samsung company. Criminal charges against her for corruption may also take place.

Charges against her friend and the president of Samsung are underway.

The charges brought huge crowds to the street. Most people in the crowds were against her. People had tired of a corrupt system. Business and government did not work together to help the people. They worked together to benefit politicians,  companies and their families.

The removal comes at a time of crisis on the Korean peninsula. North Korea is testing missiles that can carry nuclear warheads. Ms. Park took a strong stance against North Korea. She agreed to allow the U.S. to add more firepower to South Korea’s defense system.

Currently, there is a caretaker government in place. The future of politics in the region is on the table. Elections will be in two months.

Korean Peninsula.

The liberal candidate is Moon Jae-in. He is likely to become president. He favors a softer approach to North Korea. He stresses the need to “embrace and be united with” the North Korean people.

Kim Jong-un is the leader of North Korea. Moon knows that Kim is a dictator. Still, Moon’s Liberal party believes in the “sunshine policy.” Other Liberals in the past have tried to talk to the North Korean leaders. Conservatives took a harder line.

It is hard to know how Moon’s leadership will affect America. Moon wants to work with North Korea to restart a factory staffed by both countries. He may want to delay the new U.S. missiles.

Moon talks about reforming the ‘chaebol’ system. Chaebols are huge companies like Samsung. The companies include monopoly businesses built by family members. They helped South Korea develop. Some believe the companies may have gotten too big and powerful. It is not clear if Moon has the support to break them up.

The economy, corruption, and North Korea are the big issues ahead for South Korea. And for America as well.

Source: The New York Times March 12, 2017

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