South Korea

On Russia’s Foreign Minister’s Visit to Seoul


On March 23 – 25, 2021, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, visited South Korea. This was Lavrov’s first visit to Seoul since 2013, when he accompanied President Vladimir Putin. And before that, Lavrov had visited Seoul in 2009, after a trip to North Korea. This year’s event, devoted to the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relationship between Russia and South…

On the Death of South Korea’s First Female Tank Driver


On March 3, 2021, transgender girl Byun Hee-soo was found dead in her home. Why does much of South Korea and the rest of the world talk about this? Byun’s case received widespread media attention at home and abroad because Staff Sgt. Byun Hee-soo, 22, was the first South Korean soldier to undergo sex reassignment surgery while on active duty (in late 2019…

Will South Korea become a QUAD+ Member?


The US government is seeking to include Korea in an expanded version of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD), a strategic forum created in 2007 to contain China. The Quad is made up of Australia, India, Japan and the United States, but the US wants to expand it by inviting South Korea, New Zealand and Vietnam. This project is known as QUAD Plus. So far the QUAD…

How Much will South Korea Pay for American Troops under Biden?


We can recall how one of the long-standing problems in the relations between Seoul and Washington under Trump was the question of how much the Republic of Korea would pay for American troops to be deployed on its territory. It is worth reiterating that by the autumn Korea was ready to pay 13% more than what had been set, while…

The Lead-up to the Local By-elections in the Republic of Korea


On April 7, 2021 the South Korean ruling regime’s strength will be seriously put to the test. Unplanned elections will be held for the mayors of Seoul and Busan, the country’s capital and its second-largest city, which is a seaport in its southern part. In both cases, the elections were triggered by scandals related to the fact that the leaders…

Yet Another Failure of Seoul


In July 2020, the Republic of Korea made an ambitious attempt to put its man — Yoo Myung-hee, director of the Trade Policy Department of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Energy — in charge of the World Trade Organization. Speaking at a general meeting of the WTO, Yoo Myung-hee said almost immediately that the organization should become “the supreme court of international trade,” and the reasons…

On South Korea’s Prosecutor General’s Retirement


The last text the author wrote about Yoon Seok-yeol ended in his conditional victory: on Christmas Eve his main opponent, Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae, retired, whereas he himself remained as Prosecutor General, and the attempt to dismiss him failed. However, on March 4, 2021, Yoon himself resigned in protest of the processes taking place in law…

Miracles of Sloppiness, or Another Ode to “Locked Borders”


On the morning of February 16, 2021, a “suspicious man” was detained near a military checkpoint on the eastern segment of the inter-Korean border. According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces of Korea, the intruder was detected by a video surveillance camera. He was moving south near a military checkpoint located…

China and South Korea: an Anniversary is Approaching, but Problems Persist


In 2022, diplomatic relations between the PRC and Republic of Korea will turn 30 years old, and Seoul is actively trying to raise relations between the two countries up to a respectable level. This is not easily done, since the confrontation between the United States and China is leaving its mark, and the scale of bilateral…

The War for Kimchi, Episode X+1.


While periodically noting the pearls of South Korean nationalism, the author cannot help but bring up the analogy of the Russian-Ukrainian borscht dispute over Korean kimchi cabbage, which Seoul actively promotes as a national treasure and symbol.  The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a United Nations body, officially recognized an industry standard for kimchi…

Has South Korea been Passing Military Technology to Islamic Terrorists?


Some time ago, the author had a discussion with a famous political scientist from the ROK who was keen on proving the following hypothesis. The DPRK government was capable of passing on military secrets, even those required to make a nuclear bomb, to international terrorist networks, and even if the leadership chose not to do…

Defense and Military Industry Development in South Korea


In February 2021, the Defense Industry Promotion Act came into force in the ROK, requiring the government to prioritize domestic manufacturing. South Korea has allocated 176.6 billion won ($159 million) to support the defense industry, a sharp jump from 93.8 billion won in 2020. The government will spend 49.6 billion won to support defense exports, up from 43 billion…

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