The main reason Yoon Suk-yeol became president is because the Park Geun-hye government’s position as the person in charge of inquiries into government meddling in government matters acquired widespread support, and the Moon Jae-in’s administration has followed suit. Yoon, on the other hand, has emerged as a rising star of the conservative movement, working as a prosecutor who challenges the Blue House and respects the law by protecting constitutional principles, fairness, and impartiality throughout Moon Jae-in’s administration.
Conservative groups feel that the new president can defend the Republic of Korea’s constitutional principles, as well as liberal democracy and the market economy, and so he embodies the ideals of conservatives’ long-standing vested interests. Yoon, in particular, acquired the backing and agreement of conservative citizens with the active assistance of conservative media, and the policy practice of erasing the color of progressives has also become a revolution in the ideals of freedom and democracy.
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol is a political newcomer who is battling the Moon Jae-in administration on personnel problems in order to increase his presence and influence. The failure of candidate Lee Jae-myung in this general election was due to a lack of communication between the Moon Jae-in government and the people, the failure of the state-led real estate policy, and the chaos of the epidemic policy in the field of epidemic subsidies, which was the result of a significant increase in national opinion.
As a result, national public opinion is divided between conservative and progressive ideologies, and the gender and age divides are sharp. According to the next president, Yoon’s government would encounter significant obstacles in executing its plans in the future. Likewise, the People Power Party does not have a majority in the National Assembly (the Democratic Party has 172 seats, the other opposition parties have 14 seats, and the People Power Party has 111 seats). As a result, without the collaboration of the opposition parties, the policy of the first half of the Yoon’s administration will be carried out.
There will be no easy path forward, and the incoming president’s highest purpose is to work with the congressional majority to implement the path to national unification. Yoon Suk-yeol formally assumed office as South Korea’s new president on May 10, 2022. The national presidential election turnout rate in the 20th election was 77.1 percent, with a 0.73 percent difference between the two candidates. According to the actual vote rate, candidate Yoon Suk-yeol received 37% of the vote, the narrowest margin in Korean general election history. The Yoon’s government must consider the intentions of the remaining 63 percent of voters who did not vote for it.
The next president’s major policies
The author argues that, in comparison to Moon Jae-in’s administration, Yoon’s conservative government would provide more decision-making latitude in foreign policy. “I can only conduct domestic and foreign policy based on the interests of the people and the country,” Yoon once remarked. This means that decision-making will transition from “strategically ambiguous” to “strategically clear,” South Korea’s voice will become increasingly clear, and active collaboration between South Korea, the US, and Japan will be intensified.
The reason for this is that South Koreans have begun to question the Moon Jae-in administration’s vacillating foreign policy toward North Korea, the United States, and China. Conservatives in South Korean political circles have historically depended on the US to try to restrict China and North Korea, whilst progressives have chosen an open strategy of keeping a certain distance from the US and attempting to reform North Korea through China.
Although it pursues the so-called “safe and economical China” policy, with the intensification of strategic competition between the United States and China, “free rider” and “strategic ambiguity” will no longer be reasonable South Korean foreign policies, and public opinion in South Korea should pursue “strategic clarity” through self-improvement. Yoon’s government accurately comprehended the people’s excitement and pursued a harsh stance toward China, restored relations with Japan, and reinforced its alliance strategy with the US. Yoon’s government is anticipated to embrace collaboration in US foreign policy.
South Korea is one of the world’s top 10 economies in terms of GDP. The trade volume between China and South Korea can account for up to 80% of the total trade volume in Northeast Asia, while the overall trade volume between China and South Korea accounts for 25% of South Korea’s total trade volume. The entire trade volume between China and South Korea will surpass $860 billion US dollars in 2021. South Korea is an export-oriented economy, and rivalry between Korean and Chinese products is intensifying.
In particular, in various situations where the US and China are attempting to restructure the global supply chain, Yoon’s administration will participate in the Japan-led CPTTP trade system through China-led BRI and RCEP, as well as improve relations with Japan and explore Korean economic development.
In specific, in various situations where the US and China are attempting to restructure the global supply chain, Yoon’s administration will participate in the Japan-led CPTTP trade system via China-led BRI and RCEP, as well as improve relations with Japan and start exploring the development of the Korean economy as a way out.
South Korea will not actively engage in the economic alliance that the US is attempting to use to surround China since it has a major share of economic exchanges with China, but it may actively participate in the value alliance. The administration of Yoon Suk-yeol is well aware that such a tough stance toward China is an economic policy that is not in touch with reality.
In contrast to the Moon Jae-in administration’s balanced policy of depending on the ambiguity of the US-China strategy, Yoon will exhibit a somewhat prejudiced strategic clarity toward the US. Ties with China and North Korea are likely to be altered in order to execute relations with China and North Korea based on a reciprocal approach, as well as certain foreign policy reforms.