How general elections will affect South Korea’s foreign policy

President Yoon Suk Yeol and his wife Kim Keon Hee disembark from the presidential jet after arriving at Paris Orly Airport, Nov. 23, 2023. Korea Times photo by Seo Jae-hoon

The opposition bloc’s landslide victory in the April 10 general elections is cornering President Yoon Suk Yeol toward changing his political philosophy and direction in managing state affairs.However, despite the pressure, government officials and experts expect little change in Seoul’s principle of aligning its diplomatic stance with the United States on major global issues and being more vocal about what Yoon calls “authoritarian forces.”Here are several reasons why Yoon will likely maintain his stance. During a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Yoon said he “humbly accepts” the public sentiment reflected in the general elections but mostly asserted he has been steering the country in the right direction, though the effect of his policies has not been sufficiently felt by the populace.Regarding Yoon’s remark, a senior official at the presidential office told The Korea Times that “there won’t be a fundamental shift in the directions of the government’s policies in a broader perspective, such as enhancing the alliance with the U.S. or strengthening coalitions with free democracy.”This stance was also seen in presidential chief of staff Lee Kwan-sup’s remarks a day after the election. At the time, Lee said all senior secretaries of the presidential office have offered to resign, except for “those who are at the Office of National Security,” which is in charge of security and foreign policies.”

The election outcome weakens Yoon’s influence on legislative initiatives which mostly affects domestic issues, but still can exert his power in terms of national security, despite facing strong protests from the National Assembly.”I don’t think there will be a shift in Yoon’s foreign policies,” Kim Joon-hyung, a lawmaker-elect from the minor liberal opposition Rebuilding Korea Party (RKP), told The Korea Times. Kim is a former chancellor of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy during the previous liberal Moon Jae-in administration.”Most diplomatic experts would agree that Yoon will stick to his current diplomatic philosophy because national security is an area where the president can fully exercise his power.”Kim emphasized that the crucial question is whether Yoon’s foreign policy will garner public support for the remainder of his presidency, because voters were sharply divided in assessing Yoon’s diplomatic policies.”While Yoon’s opponents think his diplomacy was disastrous, his supporters say one of his best achievements is putting South Korea’s 온라인카지노 diplomacy on the current course.”

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