South Korea’s developmental experience between 19 under the Park Chung-Hee government left important legacies that are controversial to this day.
On the one hand, South Korea joined the ranks of the “Asian tigers” and became a member state of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) due to the success of Park’s government-led, strong-state industrialization strategy.
To understand the politics of South Korea, it is helpful to keep in mind the following four themes: (1) the question of unification with North Korea, (2) rapid economic development, (3) democratization, and (4) the alliance with the United States.
Since the establishment of the Republic of Korea in 1948, how South Koreans view North Korea has been a big factor in South Korean politics.
The world’s eyes have been locked on the dramatic events that have shaken politics in South Korea.
This article sheds light on the positive role of power transfers or leadership successions in the democratic consolidation process in South Korea.
In this study, we argue that democratic consolidation in South Korea is slowly taking place, and it is best measured by institutional rather than an individual president’s accomplishment.
Nevertheless, Korean new democracy is laden with many obstacles such as low institutionalization of political society, weak constiututionalism, underdevelopment of civil society, and external security vulnerability.
Overall, factors working for democratic consolidation are overwhelming the countervailing obstacles comapred to new democracies in Latin America and Eastern Europe.
South Korea is slipping and sliding across a slick patch in the history of its 30-year experiment with democracy.