South Korea: Rivalry between camps is intensifying

  In South Korea’s political arena, “settling accounts after autumn” has become the norm. On January 2 this year, South Korea’s “Hankyoreh” published an editorial saying that it hoped that the phenomenon of “camp confrontation” that caused pain to civilians and vulnerable groups could be eased this year, but what happened next turned this call into a dead letter. On the same day, South Korean President Yin Xiyue held a New Year’s “greeting meeting” at the Blue House as usual, but the largest opposition party, the Common Democratic Party, collectively “broke the appointment” and no one attended. Then, dramatic scenes appeared one after another: On January 9, Lee Jae-myung, the leader of the Democratic Party, who had competed with Yoon Seo-yue for the presidency, was summoned by the prosecution as a suspect. Li Zaiming said that this is an investigation of the nature of political revenge and a judicial coup. On February 1, the Democratic Party of Korea also retaliated in its own way, and formally promoted the special investigation of the “suspected stock price manipulation case” of the president’s wife Kim Gun-hee. This move is clearly in response to the procuratorate’s continued pressure on the opposition party. Behind this “reward, retaliation” once again showed the world the status quo of South Korea’s political arena – the camp opposition between the ruling party and the opposition party has “deepened into the bone marrow.”
  Game of Thrones
  In South Korea, the confrontation between camps is actually a confrontation between the two major factions of “conservatives” and “progressives”. “Settle accounts after autumn” is just a common drama between the two parties. In fact, the confrontation between the two parties has a long history, dating back to Kim Dae-jung’s administration. At that time, South Korea was hit hard by the Asian financial turmoil, and a series of problems brought about by the economic crisis left South Korea in a relatively confused stage of development. Many officials had serious differences of opinion in terms of adjusting the political and economic structure and the direction of inter-Korean relations. There are two camps, progressive and conservative. The “conservatives” take the South Korea-US alliance as the basis of their diplomatic and national defense strategy, and regard North Korea as the enemy and the greatest threat, while the “progressives” advocate an “independent foreign and national defense” policy and implement a soft “sunshine policy” towards North Korea. The two factions are in power Philosophy is very different.
  South Korea’s current President Yoon Seok-yue, former Presidents Park Geun-hye and Lee Myung-bak are all representatives of the right-wing “conservatives”; “represent. When it comes to South Korean politics, the most well-known one is the “Cheong Wa Dae Curse”. However, behind the curse, there is actually a “Game of Thrones”. The two parties take power alternately, and I will appear on the stage after you sing. This is the inevitable trend brought about by factional struggles, and it will also affect South Korea The political process has significant and lasting influence.
  The South Korean media “Financial News” once published an article entitled “Shameful Divisive Politics”, saying that all previous South Korean presidents have failed to achieve political unity. In 2003, Roh Moo-hyun publicly stated for the first time in his inaugural speech that he hoped to see a political culture in which problems are solved through dialogue and compromise; The most tragic event in South Korea’s modern political history occurred—Roh Moo-hyun committed suicide after being investigated by the prosecution; Park Geun-hye did not mention “unity” at all in her inaugural speech in 2013, and even omitted her statement of co-governance with the opposition party; Although Moon Jae-in emphasized national unity when he took office in 2017, he also admitted before leaving office that South Korean politics had failed to move toward unity.
  A full 20 years have passed, and the confrontation between the South Korean camp has continued to this day. In March last year, South Korea’s presidential election entered a fierce stage, and the competition between the candidates of the two major parties, Yin Xiyue and Li Zaiming, also ushered in an unprecedented battle of abuse. Li Zaiming’s corruption scandal, pornographic news, Mrs. Yin Xiyue’s political interference incident, under the “smearing” of each other, the intensity of the competition between the two parties can be seen. Although in the end, the National Power Party (conservative) Yin Xiyue won the general election with a narrow margin, but the Common Democratic Party (progressive) retained the majority of seats in Congress, and the two sides were regarded as a “tie”.
  According to Korean media reports, the Common Democratic Party holds 169 of the 299 congressional seats. This caused Yin Xiyue and his ruling party camp to worry about it. Soon after he came to power, he launched a crazy “political revenge” against the opposition party: first, he carried out a political liquidation against former President Moon Jae-in, who was also a progressive, in July last year. Li Zaiming was prosecuted in September for allegedly violating the Public Office Election Law. In October last year, due to political suppression, Yoon Seok-yue’s policy speech was collectively boycotted by the opposition parties. Not only were they absent collectively, but they also held demonstrations outside the Capitol, which is very rare in Korean political history. Li Zaiming even said directly: “I hope that the president and the ruling party will stop endlessly oppressing the opposition party. This will only force them to rise up and resist.” Now, just after the New Year, the two parties have launched a new round of political competition
  . In an atmosphere of mutual intransigence, South Korea’s current ruling party and opposition parties have created several “firsts” in South Korea’s constitutional history, including the leader of the largest opposition party being summoned by the prosecution while in office, and the first time the president delivered a policy in the absence of the opposition party Speech etc. Some observers in South Korea believe that the confrontation between the political camps in South Korea is becoming more and more intense.
  Divided South Korea
  Looking at the Korean political arena over the years, it has been evolving in the creation of hatred and revenge. One is in power but not in power, and the other is in the opposition but waiting for an opportunity to turn the tables. Political division and various constraints make Korean society show signs of being divided.
  Last year, the American think tank Pew Research Center conducted a survey on 19 countries including South Korea, the United States, and Japan. South Koreans and Americans were most likely to see strong partisan conflict in their countries, the findings showed. Ninety percent of adults in South Korea say there are serious conflicts between those who support different political parties, with about 49 percent saying those conflicts are very serious. In contrast, only 88 percent of adults in the U.S. support serious conflicts between people of different political parties, with 41 percent of them saying these conflicts are very serious. This shows to a certain extent that South Korea’s political territory is already very divided, and the degree of antagonism even exceeds that of the United States.
  To make matters worse, the fierce conflicts and political divisions caused by opposing camps have extended from the political circle to the civil society. There seems to be an invisible wall between conservatives, progressives, and ordinary people. This wall has eventually evolved into social risks, dominating the daily life of ordinary Koreans. Some analysts believe that people of all ages, regions, and classes in South Korea are further divided, and the media is also divided, forming a circle of vested interests between conservatives and progressives, causing opposition among Korean folk sentiments, family members blaming each other, and former old people. Friends turn against each other and become enemies.
  On January 3 this year, according to a special New Year’s poll conducted by Korea’s Chosun Ilbo, more than 40% of South Koreans said they would not eat or drink with people with different political leanings, and about half of young people in their 20s said it was difficult to disagree with support Party people get married. In addition to polls, such scenes often appear in South Korea: every weekend, supporters of the progressive camp and the conservative camp gather in Gwanghwamun Square and near the Yongsan Presidential Palace to hold rallies and confrontations. They shouted “Arrest Li Zaiming”. This phenomenon sounds very magical, but it is very real in South Korea.
  At the beginning of the new year, the “Hankyoreh” published an article saying that the intensification of confrontation in South Korea’s political circles has brought great pain to the people. For example, the article said that subcontracted laborers in South Korea’s shipbuilding industry demanded the recovery of cut wages, but the government, ruling party and companies filed lawsuits against them for damages. Minorities and citizens went on hunger strike to demand the enactment of the “No Discrimination Law”, and the disabled chanted “Budget for the Rights of the Disabled” on the subway. For these, the government has not responded. South Korean commentators said that in order to attract voters, “empty checks” were written indiscriminately in elections and failure to fulfill promises after election abounds. Therefore, as long as South Korea’s political status quo does not change, there will be no solution to population issues, national development and the future. Difficulties, fragmentation will continue.

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