Vietnam catches the Korean wave

Members of South Korean K-pop band Tara perform during a concert held at Hanoi's My Dinh stadium on 29 November 2012. Seventeen South Korean pop bands performed at the concert held to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between South Korea and Vietnam. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Pham Quang Minh, VNU, Hanoi

An endless line of water that starts from a shallow stream, grows into a big river, and then flows into the ocean. That’s how Vietnam’s former deputy prime minister, Vu Khoan, described the progress made by Vietnam and South Korea in 2012, as they celebrated the 20th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations. Read more…

Korean reunification still on the agenda in 2015

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Author: Jong-sung You, ANU

Disasters and political scandals dominated South Korean politics in 2014. And hopes for progress on North–South relations on the Korean peninsula were left unfulfilled.

At the beginning of 2014 — in Dresden, Germany — President Park Geun-hye had unveiled her government’s vision for Korean reunification. Read more…

Democracy is the biggest challenge for South Korea in 2015

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Author: Kim Keeseok, Kangwon National University

It is not hard to list the domestic and international challenges for South Korea for 2015. There are many.

At the end of 2014, South Korea faces economic slowdown, an ageing population, worsening socio-economic inequality, rising youth unemployment, mounting household debt and a real-estate market slump. Read more…

Seoul searching for a China–Japan diplomatic balance

South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Chinese President Xi Jinping smile at a business forum in Seoul. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Sarah Teo, RSIS

Are South Korea’s relations with China and Japan warming?

During the ASEAN Plus Three Summit in Myanmar in November, South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye proposed a trilateral summit with China and Japan.  Read more…

Tough times ahead for China–Japan–South Korea joint FTA

Chinese, Japanese and South Korean officials attend the Fifth Round of China-Japan-Korea FTA Negotiations in Beijing, China, 1 September 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Jing Li, CASS

The fifth round of the China–Japan–South Korea Free Trade Agreement (CJK FTA) negotiations concluded in Beijing on 5 September. The three countries hope the negotiations will finish in 2015, but this partly depends on the progress of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. Read more…

South Koreans defend their rights in cyberspace

A woman uses a smartphone before the city skyline in Seoul at dusk on 21 March 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Eun Jeong Soh, ANU

Over 3 million South Koreans have downloaded a Germany-based smartphone messenger app, Telegram, while 400,000 users of Kakao Talk — the nation’s most widely used messenger app — terminated their account, in protest against government attempts to crackdown on dissenters. Read more…

Remembrance, reconciliation and the East Asian memory wars

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Author: Tessa Morris-Suzuki, ANU

‘The past’, as William Faulkner once wrote, ‘is not dead, it isn’t even past’. Nowhere is this more true than in today’s East Asia. The recent ‘memory wars’ between the countries of the region — particularly (though not exclusively) between Japan and its neighbours China and Korea — are eloquent testimony to the power of the past to haunt the present and influence the course of domestic and international politics. Read more…