Konstantin Asmolov

South Korea’s new Anti-Corruption Law

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April 29, 2021, The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea has passed the Conflict of Interest Prevention Act, which aims to prohibit government employees and elected officials from using insider information for personal benefit. This law complements the so-called Kim Young-ran Anti-Bribery Act, adopted in 2016. Over the past eight years, there have been…

Joe Biden’s “New” North Korean Policy

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At the end of April 2021, the US administration finally unleashed the new concept of policy toward North Korea that the expert community had long awaited. The waiting period was, of course, accompanied by occasional statements by press secretary Jen Psaki that the process was underway, as well as analytical reports and statements by experts who wanted to steer…

Kim Il Sung’s Memoirs Published in South Korea: What Could it Mean?

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On April 21, 2021, “With the Century” hit the bookstores in Seoul. This is Kim Il Sung’s memoirs, written at the end of his life, covering the period from 1912 to 1945 (before the liberation of Korea). They describe the childhood of the North Korean leader and his actions in resisting the Japanese colonial regime.  It was published by Minjeok…

The Unexpected Ruling of the Seoul Court

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The issue of the lawsuits that South Korea is bringing against Japan has a long history.  When Japan and the ROK established diplomatic relations in 1965, Tokyo paid substantial compensation and provided interest-free loans to Seoul, which were not a determining but important part of the “miracle at Hangangan”. Although these sums were sent to the Korean government rather than…

Seven Years since the Sewol Ferry Disaster

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April 16, 2021 marks seven years the Sewol ferry disaster, which killed more than 300 people, mostly high school students. This makes us look at how work is progressing during the reign of Moon Jae-in to identify and ultimately punish the perpetrators of this tragedy. From the author’s point of view, the Sewol problem – from the standpoint of establishing justice – consists…

Continuing the Story of the Hijacked Tanker and Frozen Funds

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In early 2021, we wrote about the Iranian seizure of a South Korean tanker and how this precedent actually demonstrates a number of unresolved problems, most notably the problem of Iranian assets in South Korean banks intended to pay for Iranian crude oil imports and frozen because of US sanctions. Recall:  Iran has repeatedly urged…

News about Radioactive Water: it Looks Like it is being Released into the Ocean.

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At one time the author wrote about the fate of the radioactive water accumulated at Fukushima-1 and that sooner or later the Japanese government would decide to drain it. Finally, it happened. On April 13, 2021, the Japanese government decided to allow a significant amount of water from the damaged nuclear power…

Two Parallel Visits, or “We’ll Dance with Both of You”

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Two important visits took place on April 2-3, 2021, the combination of which perfectly illustrated the difficult situation in which Seoul finds itself amid the standoff between Beijing and Washington. On the one hand, the US is South Korea’s main military and political ally, and the policy of rebuilding alliances that the new President Biden has addressed is trying to further strengthen…

Is the DPRK Facing a New “Arduous March”?

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In mid-April 2021, not only anti-Pyongyang propaganda, but also the relatively neutral media were seriously concerned about the collapse of the DPRK’s economic system and imminent famine. The formal basis for this was the following statement by Kim Jong-un: “I have decided that all Party organizations, beginning with the Central Committee…

Will Conservatives Succeed or Fail After April Elections?

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On 8 April, Moon Jae-in said the ruling party’s defeat was a “rebuke from the people” and pledged to discharge his duties “with an even greater sense of responsibility, focusing on meeting the desperate demands of the people”. As presidential spokesman Kang Min-seok said, “The president has pledged to spare no effort to realize the people’s desperate demands…

The Future of Korea’s Domestic Policy Following the April 2021 Elections

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On April 7, early elections were held in the Republic of Korea for the heads of four administrative units, including the mayors of the country’s two largest cities: Seoul and Busan, as well as 17 deputies of local legislative assemblies. According to the results of the vote count, the opposition Power of the People party bypassed the ruling…

Mayoral Elections is Seoul and Busan

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On April 7, 2021, early elections were held for the heads of four administrative units, including the mayors of the country’s two largest cities of Seoul and Busan, as well as 17 deputies of local legislative assemblies in the Republic of Korea. Their result is an indicator of public sentiment before the presidential elections of next year, since almost 10 million people out of 52…


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