NIAS Global Politics Report

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NIAS Global Politics Report
South Korea Elections 2024: An interview with Dr Sandip Mishra and Dr Vyjayanti Raghavan

  By young scholars of NIAS Course on Global Politics: Contemporary World Order and Theories. Compiled by Sayeka Ghosh.

Dr Sandip Kumar Mishra is an Associate Professor, Centre for East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Prior to this, he was Assistant Professor of Korean Studies at the University of Delhi from February 2004-2016. He worked as Lecturer of Political Science and International Relations at the J.V. College, Baraut for around one year before joining  University of Delhi. 

Dr Vyjayanti Raghavan is Professor at the Centre for Korean Studies, School of Language, Literature & Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. She has a Master’s degree in Korean History from Seoul National University and a PhD from the Department of Disarmament, School of International Studies, JNU. 

On 10 April 2024, South Korea held its legislative elections. With 175 seats to the 108 of the ruling People Power Party (PPP), the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) won a majority of the 300 seats in the National Assembly. Two experts on South Korea were interviewed by young scholars and the excerpt is given below:

Sayeka Ghosh: According to the National Election Commission 67 per cent voters turned up to cast their ballots, which is the highest turnout for a parliamentary election in South Korea, so what do you make of the people of South Korea being so engaging?

Dr Sandip Kumar Mishra: The 67 per cent voter turnout observed in the recent election can indeed be considered high. If my recollection serves me correctly, it is likely the highest turnout since 1992, though the increase from previous elections may not represent a substantial jump, perhaps only a two to three per cent increase. Nonetheless, this high level of participation suggests that the electorate was eager to express their opinions, whether in favour of or against the candidate, Yoon Seok-youl. One factor that contributes to the substantial voter turnout is the pronounced ideological divide between the Democratic Party and the Conservative Party in South Korea. Historically, this divide has been quite pronounced, and it appears to have intensified further in recent years, or perhaps even the past decade. Supporters of both the People Power Party (PPP) and the Democratic Party tend to be highly engaged and unwavering in their allegiances.

Moreover, regional differences play a significant role in shaping voting patterns. For instance, the Busan and Daegu regions tend to be strongholds for the PPP, while the Jeolla-namdo and Jeolla-bukdo provinces exhibit overwhelming support for the Democratic Party, with approximately 70 to 75 per cent of the vote typically going to that party in those regions. Chungcheong is considered a mixed region, while Gangwon-do generally leans towards the PPP. In light of these factors, South Koreans tend to participate actively in political contests and exercise their right to vote, reflecting the high level of engagement and polarization within the electorate.

Vaneeta: How will the next three years of Yoon’s administration differ from the previous two, given that the Democratic Party remains the majority?

Dr Vyjayanti Raghavan: Over the past two years, President Yoon’s administration has made notable strides on the international stage, particularly in fostering improved relations between South Korea and Japan. This development has garnered praise from the global community, especially given the strategic importance of cooperation among allies like South Korea, Japan, and the USA. Despite potential internal disagreements, maintaining a positive image of South Korea abroad has remained paramount. Media coverage has also reflected optimism regarding these diplomatic efforts, with many expressing hopes for progress in bridging differences between South Korea and Japan. However, domestically, concerns have emerged, particularly regarding economic performance and social issues such as gender equality. Economic dissatisfaction has grown due to rising costs and job scarcity, exacerbated by controversial remarks linking feminism to lower birth rates and economic challenges. While some segments of society may support these perspectives, it is evident that upsetting half the population could bring negative repercussions in the long term.

Looking ahead to the remaining three years of Yoon’s administration, it is anticipated that there will be a continued emphasis on infrastructure development and job creation. Additionally, tax reforms have been promised, although scepticism remains based on past experiences. Moreover, given the complex geopolitical dynamics surrounding South Korea, particularly in relation to North Korea, significant manoeuvrability in foreign policy is constrained. Recent tensions between North and South Korea have underscored the need for heightened military preparedness and a re-evaluation of bilateral relations. Overall, it is unlikely that substantial changes will occur in South Korea’s foreign policy direction soon.

Dr Sandip Kumar Mishra: While it is true that the Democratic Party had 180 seats in the National Assembly previously and now it has only 175 seats, it’s essential to consider the broader political landscape in Korea. Apart from 175 seats of the Democratic Party, Cho Guk’s Rebuilding Korea Party has 14 seats and the RKP is aligned closely with the Democratic Party’s ideological orientation. Actually combined seats of all the parties which are against PPP in the South Korea National Assembly is around 192 and this shift from 180 to 192 seats represents a significant gain for the opposition parties in the National Assembly.

It’s noteworthy that a former President of PPP left the party because of his disagreement with Yoon and formed a new party and he has also got a position in the National Assembly. There are several leaders of the PPP who are not in agreement with Yoon having got success in the recent National Assembly elections. So within the PPP, anti-Yoon faction has become stronger and more influential. Consequently, there may be increased pressure on the President’s decision-making and future policy directions.

Vaneeta: What factors might explain why recent scandals surrounding the president led to his electoral defeat, whereas Democratic Party leader Lee Jae Myung and a former justice minister faced scandals without suffering significant political consequences? Additionally, considering South Korea's prevalent cancel culture, how do you interpret the re-entry into politics of the justice minister, who resigned after a scandal? 

Dr Sandip Kumar Mishra: When Cho Kuk rose to prominence, particularly when he was nominated by the President Moon Jae-in as Justice Minister, Yoon Suk Yeol, who was Prosecutor General at that time expressed his resentment to Moon. Yoon tried to stop Cho Kuk advancement and began multiple investigations of the past wrong-doings of Cho Kuk, his wife and his daughter. It is alleged that Yoon not only initiated but also influenced investigations of the prosecutorial office as the Prosecutor General and also as the President of South Korea. However, in the eyes of the public, this targeted scrutiny of Cho Kuk appeared selective. The perception arose that when the ruling party members faced corruption charges, Yoon Suk Yeol evaded similar investigations. Such selective approach and discrepancies fuel scepticism about the Prosecutor's office and diminished the public's sensitivity toward corruption allegations against opposition figures. This perception of selective targeting by the prosecution contributes to a nuanced understanding of cancellation culture and its impact on political accountability.

Kavithasri M: In a conversation with an ICWA discussion, you said that the South Korean election will bring certain developments to the North East Asian region. After all these things happened in the election, do you think the development that you mentioned will remain the same or will happen?

Dr Sandip Kumar Mishra: Yoon Suk Yeol went above and beyond in his efforts to strengthen ties with Japan, and the Korean people as a whole did not agree with many of his policies. As a result, the outcome of the current South Korean election will undoubtedly have an impact on the regional dynamics in northeast Asia. The Korean people were not thrilled with the way he unilaterally established a fund intended to compensate victims of forced labour. Thus, it will be extremely harder in the near future for the president, Yoon Suk Yeol, to make statements with Japan without going too far. Comparably, China has been separating itself from South Korea since, at a meeting, the South Korean government attempted to speak with China, but China was not ready. As a result, a large gulf has grown between the two countries. Previously over twenty-five percent of the trade was exported; presently it is less than twenty percent. South Korea is affected by all of these implications. Foreign policy is going to be affected when he loses political strength. It is important for others to understand that, given the structure of South Korean politics, there is no direct correlation between his foreign policy decisions and domestic politics. However, there will be certain consequences in the northeast Asian region.

President Yoon Suk Yeol is tilted towards the US and wants to have non-compromising tough posture towards North Korea. The results of National Assembly elections are a reflection of popular disagreement with this posture also. However, in all probability, Yoon would stick to the current course of action. Actually, Yoon Suk Yeol himself lacks political experience as well as he has not included enough members of his own party in the administration. As a result, when considering the assessment and big picture, even conservatives are unhappy with the state of affairs. This is because the communication and moderation that are necessary in any democratic government were lacking.

D Suba Chandran: For a South Korean, how important Japan and China, or Japanese or Chinese, in deciding their vote?

Prof Vyjayanti Raghavan: Many people in the country were dissatisfied with the Yoon Suk Yeol administration's friendly stance towards Japan. There is a deeply ingrained resentment against Japan amongst the people. This rapprochement approach towards Japan by Yoon was most unexpected especially after the turn their bilateral relations had taken in the Covid period. This was largely a positive step taken in the wake of the current demanding situation. They needed to cooperate to solve the North Korean challenge, and also as allies of the U.S.

With regards to China, they have had no historical anger. The people have looked at it as a big brother. It was only their ideological disagreements that caused them to drift apart during the Cold War. Also, because of China's support of North Korea, they grew apart but had no ill emotions as such towards China. Therefore, there was a large section of people who were not happy or were disgruntled with what was happening to their economy because of its distancing from China. South Korea was caught in the crossfire between the United States and China, and the president was unable to adopt a good stance toward China or their economic policies, particularly while China openly supported North Korea. So, while South Koreans were politically dissatisfied with China's stance and its failure to rein in North Korea, it had a significant economic impact on them. South Korea was unable to recover from the COVID years and the supply chain disruptions during that period. Moreover, the tourism industry was also badly affected. China is a major contributor to this industry. South Korea still wants to have good relationships with China and does not want to do anything that would anger them. But this feeling does not extend to Japan.

Since the international community is happy about the developing good relations between South Korea and Japan, the people are quiet about the concessions offered to Japan. On the other hand, they would be happy to overlook to some extent China's shortcomings vis-à-vis North Korea and have close relations with it, largely for economic reasons.

Sayeka Ghosh: Both parties struggled to make or propose policies for the cost of living crisis. How do you think they appeal to the moderates who are influenceable specifically for policy changes and suggestions?

Dr Sandip Kumar Mishra: Regarding the challenge of addressing the cost of living crisis, it appears that neither party has been able to present a comprehensive and concrete plan thus far. While the current administration under President Yoon Seok-yeol has faced criticism for failing to stimulate economic growth, with South Korea experiencing one of the slowest growth rates in the region at less than 1 to 2 per cent since the COVID-19 pandemic, this economic stagnation cannot be solely attributed to the incumbent government.

The preceding administration of President Moon Jae-in also grappled with sluggish economic progress, even before the onset of the pandemic. Both parties must confront the risk of South Korea falling into a prolonged period of stagnation akin to Japan's "lost decade" and prioritize innovation and new approaches to revitalize the economy.

While South Korea has traditionally invested a significant portion of its GDP in research and development (R&D) across both public and private sectors, a concerning development has been President Yoon Seok-yeol's decision to reduce R&D funding. This move sparked protests, most notably at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), where a student vocally questioned the reduction in funding before being subdued by security personnel.

To appeal to moderate voters who are swayed by substantive policy proposals, both parties must seriously reevaluate their strategies and present comprehensive plans to address the cost of living crisis. This should involve a renewed commitment to fostering innovation, supporting R&D initiatives, and implementing measures to stimulate economic growth while safeguarding the welfare of citizens grappling with rising costs.

Sayeka Ghosh: Do you think the ruling party will stand by Yoon Suk Yeol or do you think they will be looking for someone else to replace him as the face of the party? / Will the president still have support from his party (the ruling party)?

Dr Sandip Kumar Mishra: This is an important question regarding the dynamics within the ruling People Power Party (PPP) and their stance towards President Yoon Suk Yeol. Recent developments suggest a growing distance between the party leadership and the President. A significant indicator of this rift is the resignation of Han Dong-hoon, a close confidant of Yoon Suk Yeol, who had served as the Justice Minister and was leading the PPP in the elections. Han’s departure from his position in the party highlights the emerging tensions. Furthermore, other PPP leaders who have not been as closely aligned with Yoon Suk Yeol are now more vocal in expressing their views, which may not necessarily align with the President’s positions. Looking ahead, if the PPP were to field a new candidate for the next Presidential election in three years, it is likely that the probable candidate would need to establish a clear distance from Yoon Suk Yeol, particularly if the incumbent President’s tenure is perceived as unsuccessful. This distancing would be a strategic move to differentiate themselves from Yoon’s legacy and appeal to a broader base of voters.

Therefore, based on the current developments within the PPP, there appears to be a growing rift and a potential shift towards distancing the party from President Yoon Suk Yeol. The level of support he will continue to receive from his party may diminish, especially since anyway the party leadership has to present a new face to the electorate in the lead-up to the next Presidential election as South Korean current constitution does not allow more than one term to a President.

Sayeka Ghosh: Will President Yoon retain veto power regarding parliamentary bills?

Dr Sandip Kumar Mishra: Regarding President Yoon’s veto power over parliamentary bills, it is important to note that overriding a Presidential veto requires a two-thirds majority vote in the National Assembly and at present the opposition parties collectively don't have two-third majority in the National Assembly. Thus, technically, President Yoon still enjoys veto power.

Nonetheless, even if the President retains the formal veto authority, the opposition Democratic Party, which currently holds a majority in the National Assembly, could potentially employ procedural tactics such as filibustering to delay or obstruct the passage of certain bills. By prolonging debate and preventing a vote, the Democratic Party could effectively hinder the legislative process, even if the president exercises their veto power.

Therefore, while President Yoon may technically retain the constitutional authority to veto bills, the opposition’s majority in the National Assembly provides them with tools to potentially counter or undermine that veto power through legislative manoeuvring and obstruction tactics, should they choose to do so.

Sayeka Ghosh: Do you think the Democratic Party of Korea (DPP) and the People Power Party (PPP) might work together to address some domestic issues like the economy, politics, and living conditions in the near future?

Dr Sandip Kumar Mishra: Based on the historical trajectory of South Korean politics over the past three decades, the prospect of the liberal Democratic Party of Korea (DPP) and the conservative People Power Party (PPP) collaborating to address domestic issues appears highly unlikely in the near future. According to observers, the political landscape in South Korea is often characterized as being divided into two distinct camps – a conservative Korea and a progressive or democratic Korea. The ideological divide between these two camps has been so profound that meaningful communication and cooperation between the two major parties have been next to impossible. This entrenched polarization has been an unfortunate hallmark of South Korean politics, leaving little room for moderates to facilitate compromise or bridge the gap between the opposing sides. While there have been efforts by certain leaders, such as Ahn Cheol-soo, to bring the parties together, these attempts have largely been unsuccessful. More recently, a joint effort by Lee Jun-seok, the former head of the PPP, and Lee Nak-yeon, a former prime minister from the Democratic Party, to establish a new centrist party collapsed within just ten days of its formation. Given this historical context and the deep-rooted divide between the DPP and the PPP, the prospects for substantive cooperation between the two parties to tackle pressing domestic issues like the economy, politics, and living conditions seem highly improbable in the foreseeable future.

Prof Vyjayanti Raghavan: The current administration under President Yoon Suk-yeol has had very limited success in passing bills compared to previous administrations. With the PPP’s reduced majority in the National Assembly, it will be extremely difficult for them to push through any significant reforms or legislation without opposition support. The ideological divide between the conservative PPP and the liberal DPP remains deeply entrenched, with little room for compromise or moderation. Efforts by centrist leaders to bridge this gap have largely failed, further entrenching the polarization. Contentious issues such as gender equality policies, support for working women and childcare and medical education reform have highlighted the stark differences between the two parties. The opposition DPP has capitalized on public discontent over these matters, making it unlikely that they will cooperate with the PPP on these sensitive topics. South Korea’s ageing population, declining birth rates, and youth unemployment concerns have added to the societal pressures. However, rather than fostering bipartisan solutions, these issues have become further politicized, with each party blaming the other for the country’s  demographic woes. While some policy proposals, like increasing medical residency slots, may have been well-intentioned, the opposition DPP has seized on these initiatives for political gain, exacerbating the gridlock rather than seeking constructive solutions.

In summary, the deep-rooted ideological divide, policy disagreements, demographic challenges, and a political landscape dominated by partisan posturing make it highly unlikely that the PPP and DPP will find common ground to address pressing domestic issues in the near future. Overcoming this entrenched polarization and fostering bipartisan cooperation remains a significant challenge for South Korean politics.

Sayeka Ghosh: I will be deviating a bit from the topic at hand. But while going through South Korea elections, the topic, I became curious about Sandeep sir’s work. So I have a question for him specifically. Sir, while researching, I came across your primary interest in North Korea. So how or why did you expand your area of interest to South Korea as well?

Dr Sandip Kumar Mishra: My initial academic interest was focused on North Korea and I wrote my MPhil dissertation on North Korean nuclear issue. However, as Indian academic institutions like Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University consider it essential to study both South and North Korea, I also studied about both the Koreas. I started my teaching at the University of Delhi in 2004 and our syllabus covered both the countries. As the sole faculty member in the Korean studies at the University of Delhi, I was responsible for teaching about the Korean peninsula; I had to teach courses on both South and North Korea. While my primary research area was North Korea, the structural requirements of the curricula and the opportunity to engage with both regions led me to expand my area of interest to include South Korea as well. Thus, it was a combination of institutional demands and the chance to explore both nations that motivated me to broaden my academic focus to encompass the entire Korean peninsula.

D Suba Chandran: Maybe we should ask the same question to Prof Jayanti also. In the 1970s, why would she want to go to South Korea, Ma’am? Why did you, of all countries, why did you want to go to South Korea?

Prof Vyjayanti Raghavan: My decision to pursue studies in South Korea in the 1970s was born out of a fortuitous sequence of events. After completing my Bachelor’s degree in Economics, I moved to Delhi to seek admission to a Master’s program. However, due to delays in the decision-making process, I found myself with a year to fill before enrolling.

It was during this intervening period that Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) launched its inaugural pre-degree diploma course in the Korean language. Despite having no prior intention of studying the language, I applied for the program primarily to secure hostel accommodation for the interim year in Delhi. My aim was to avoid returning to my hometown of Kanpur, where familial pressures for an early marriage loomed. To my surprise, upon completing the Korean language diploma, the Ministry of Education in South Korea announced scholarships for students to pursue their Master’s degrees in the country. Embracing a spirit of youthful adventure, I applied for the scholarship without giving it much thought initially. However, upon being selected, I had to deliberately contemplate whether relocating to South Korea aligned with my long-term aspirations.

Ultimately, in 1977, I decided to accept the opportunity, embarking on my journey to South Korea. There, I undertook an intensive language course before commencing my Master’s program in Korean History, with my dissertation focusing on Korean economic history to leverage my academic background in Economics. Upon returning to India, I faced difficulties securing employment, as my ad-hoc lectureship at JNU was terminated due to a lack of demand for my newly acquired expertise in Korean studies. It was not until the year 2000 that I was able

to re-enter academia. I joined as a faculty member and then pursued a PhD in International Relations at JNU, as it was the only viable option given the dearth of faculty members capable of guiding research in Korean history or Language. My doctoral dissertation consequently centred on North Korea, marrying my regional knowledge with the disciplinary framework of International Relations. This unconventional academic path, stemming from an initial foray into Korean language studies, ultimately shaped my scholarly trajectory and research specialization.

Prajwal T V: How will the recent changes in Korea’s parliament affect Korea’s relations with India, especially concerning the Indian diaspora and recent cases of racial discrimination? Are there any lessons India can learn from Korea regarding issues such as unemployment, corruption, and political division, especially Korea’s ideological division to India’s communal concerning how people see these domestic issues? Lastly, Was Lee Jae-myung’s stabbing incident a significant factor in his party’s landslide victory in the parliamentary election, similar to how sympathy gains votes in Indian politics?

Dr Sandip Kumar Mishra: Regarding Korea and India, I do not foresee a significant impact on our relationship. There exists bipartisan support in both India and South Korea, recognizing the importance of our partnership without historical baggage. Our connections, whether through Buddhism or economic complementarity, create a win-win scenario. Additionally, our shared Indo- Pacific strategy and concerns about China’s assertiveness further solidify our alignment. It was during President Moon Jae-in’s tenure, that he placed a rare emphasis on India within South Korean foreign policy, it was not prioritized as much as other regions due to the dominance of big players like North Korea. Despite Moon Jae-in’s efforts, initiatives like the New Southern Policy lacked sustained attention, as evident from the lack of a dedicated summit for the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic ties. As for racial discrimination, recent sensationalized videos do not reflect my experiences over the past two decades of visiting South Korea. While isolated incidents may occur, they do not represent the broader spectrum of interactions. South Korea’s homogeneous society sometimes leads to scepticism towards differences, compounded by language barriers and economic concerns regarding foreign labourers. However, educated individuals understand the nuances of our bilateral agreements and recognize the limited scope of labour migration from India to Korea. And regarding the January incident involving Lee Jae-Myung, while it may have influenced public perception to some extent, his political journey and reputation as a straightforward leader overshadow such events. As Yoon Seok- yul challenges him, his supporters remain steadfast, illustrating the resilience of his base.

Prof Vyjayanti Raghavan: Regarding Lee Jae-Myung, I agree with Sandip that his candidacy may not have significantly influenced the sympathetic vote. Instead, it was primarily driven by anti- incumbency sentiments towards Yoon. Voters were dissatisfied with Yoon more than they were in favour of Lee Jae-Myung. The election outcome was a result of anti-incumbency rather than explicit support for Lee Jae-Myung. As for the issue of racial discrimination, I believe that while recent videos may depict instances of discrimination, they are exaggerated and do not reflect reality. My personal experiences in Korea date back to the 1970s when the country had limited exposure to foreigners. At that time, Koreans viewed foreigners with a sense of awe and respect due to their rarity. However, they also harboured an inferiority complex, fuelled by language barriers and restricted travel outside the country. The gradual opening up of Korea in the 1980s brought about significant changes in perceptions. As the country developed rapidly, Koreans began to recognize their own achievements and capabilities, leading to a shift in their self-perception. They no longer view themselves as inferior to foreigners or other nations. Instead, they have developed a sense of confidence and superiority, realizing that Korea is no longer as underdeveloped as they once believed it to be. This newfound confidence was accompanied by changes in behaviour and attitudes towards foreigners. While discrimination may still exist, it is often rooted in societal factors such as language barriers and economic competition rather than overt prejudice. Over time, Koreans have become more open-minded and accepting of diversity.

Vaneeta: With the opposition now holding the majority, how might President Yoon's proposal to remove the gender equality ministry impact gender equality and feminism in South Korea, given the relatively limited discourse on feminism in Korean society? Furthermore, considering President Yoon's critique of feminism in relation to the declining birth rate, and its resonance with young voters, how might this shape the future of gender equality and feminist policies during his administration?

Dr Sandip Kumar Mishra: In South Korea, voting patterns have historically shown a generational divide, with majority of the older people supporting conservative party and majority of younger people leaning towards the democratic party. However, in the recent elections, there has been a noticeable shift, with a significant portion of male younger voters, particularly those in their 20s and 30s, voting for the conservative party. Democratic party still enjoys support of majority of female young voters. This trend suggests a growing anti-feminist sentiment among the males of younger generation, fuelled by the misperceptions that women's advancement are happening in South Korea at the cost of their neglect. They consider the whole process as a zero-sum game where opportunities are perceived to be taken away by women from men. 

Yoon Suk Yeol and his party capitalized this sentiment in the 2022 Presidential elections, promising to abolish the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. After coming to power, Yoon has changed the name of this ministry and made it less effective. He has not abolished it until now but he did not appoint formal head of this ministry for a long time and allegedly trying to make it irrelevant. Actually, Yoon has been responding to sentiments of young males, often derogatorily referred as "Idenam" (male in their 20s) who are opposed to feminism. These males have become strong support base of the conservative party and they represent gender divide in South Korea and shifting political allegiance of the youth in the country.

Vaneeta: How have economic policies differed under conservative and democratic administrations in South Korea, given the significant divide between the two parties?

Dr Sandip Kumar Mishra: In contrast to India, a defining aspect of South Korean politics, as highlighted in the book "Understanding Korean Politics" edited by Soong Hoom Kil and Chung-in Moon, is the narrow ideological spectrum. Korea was divided on the ideological line in which North Korea organised itself as a Marxist-Leninist country and South Korea became a liberal democracy. For the same reason in South Korea, any leader or party leaning towards left ideology is not acceptable and they are considered to be supporters of North Korea. In South Korean political discourse, identifying someone as communist (palgengi) is considered derogatory. Centrists, rightists, and liberal democrats dominated the political landscape in South Korea from the very beginning. In the post-1987 democratization era, some left-leaning parties, such as the Justice Party, have come up but they are not a powerful political force. In the recent elections for the National Assembly, the Justice Party was not able to win even a single seat. Thus, most of the South Korean parties share a liberal, democratic, and capitalist framework of organising their polity and economy. There are some minor differences in economic policies of the ruling and opposition parties, such as conservatives supporting big businesses and progressives favouring local and small-medium enterprises. However, broad economic policies of both the parties remain largely similar. Since Park Chung Hee's ascendancy in South Korean politics in 1961 and the initiation of economic planning, South Korea has maintained a consistent economic orientation.

About the Authors

Sayeka Ghosh and Prajwal T V are undergraduate students at the Department of International Relations, Peace and Public Policy, St Joseph’s University, Bengaluru. Kavithasri M and Vaneeta are postgraduate students at UMISARC; Centre for South Asian Studies, Pondicherry University, Puducherry.

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