Strike one for trade agreements in Northeast Asia

South Korean President Park Geun-hye walks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to hold a trilateral summit at the presidential house in Seoul, South Korea, 1 November 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

Northeast Asia is a geo-politically complicated region. The two Asian giants Japan and China have at best a difficult political relationship. South Korea has unresolved history issues with Japan. The cross-Strait relationship between Taiwan and China appears to be improving but will always have to be treated with care. Read more…

South Korea–China FTA falls short on reform

South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang shake hands ahead of their talks at the presidential office in Seoul, 31 October 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Jeffrey J. Schott and Euijin Jung, PIIE

The South Korea–China Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which entered into effect in December 2015, has proved disappointing. The pact excludes too much economic activity and does too little to propel growth in both countries. Read more…

South Korea’s dark history still unresolved

This undated photo shows the Brothers Home compound in Busan, South Korea. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein, University of Pennsylvania

Next to North Korea, most countries look like havens of human rights. Perhaps this is why South Korea’s dark history of abuses and massacres attracts relatively little interest, both internationally and within the country itself. Read more…

High stakes for presidential hopefuls in South Korean election

Lee Sung-hun, a candidate of the ruling Saenuri Party, and Woo Sang-ho, a candidate of the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea, shake hands after registering for the general elections at a district election committee office in the south eastern city of Daegu, South Korea, 24 March 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Fiona Yap, ANU

General elections are around the corner for South Korea, scheduled for 13 April 2016. The road to the polls has been rocky, beginning with the delayed approval of electoral boundaries. The redrawn electoral map was finally passed on 2 March, more than four months past the deadline.

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Where’s South Korea’s democracy headed?

South Korean President Park Geun Hye attends a New Year's press conference in Seoul on 12 January 2015. A growing rift between President Park and her ruling Saenuri Party has dominated the upcoming elections for South Korea’s National Assembly. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

On 13 April South Koreans will elect the 300 members of the country’s unicameral National Assembly. Since making the switch from military dictatorship to democracy in 1987 and announcing itself on the world stage at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, South Korea has undergone a remarkable political transformation. Read more…

Party infighting undermines Korean democracy

Election posters of 376 candidates for Seoul's constituencies in the 13 April general elections are hung on string over the Cheonggye Stream in Seoul, South Korea on 4 April 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ben Ascione, ANU

South Korea goes to the polls on 13 April. Up for grabs are the 300 seats of the unicameral National Assembly. But the election itself has been overshadowed by the declining popularity of President Park Geun-hye and intense infighting within the ruling Saenuri (New Frontier) Party between pro- and anti-Park camps. Read more…

Will low oil prices grease the engine of South Korean growth?


Author: Kim Nam-Yll, KEEI

The global energy situation is changing rapidly. The shale revolution has led to plunging oil prices that have remained around US$30 a barrel since OPEC’s failure to reach a consensus to cut oil production at its November 2014 meeting. Read more…