Post-Election Political and Security Dynamics on the Korean Peninsula
Dr Tat Yan Kong, Reader, School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS); Co-Director, London Asia Pacific Centre for Social Science
Mark Tokola, Vice President, Korea Economic Institute
Dr Hazel Smith, Professorial Research Associate, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
Chair: Dr John Nilsson Wright, Senior Research Fellow, Asia Programme, Chatham House
Following the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye, South Korea underwent a snap election on 9 May. This came at a time of great volatility and strategic uncertainty on the Korean peninsula: North Korea has been actively testing and developing its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities, the US has been increasing its military presence in the region raising the possibility of preemptive military action, China has unusually warned North Korea of the risk of tougher bilateral economic pressures on Pyongyang, and UN sanctions on North Korea are under review.
Our panel will offer an early analysis of election results in South Korea, assess the winning candidate Moon Jae-in’s campaign and what this will mean for South Korea going forward. Moon Jae-in, from the left-leaning Democratic party, supports renewed discussions with North Korea, reform of the Chaebol conglomerates and the strengthening of diplomatic ties within the region. What does Moon’s Presidency mean for relations on the peninsula? What are the immediate risks facing the region that this new leadership must address? And, how will this affect South Korea’s relations with the US, China, Russia and Japan?