South Koreans will cast their ballots for president on March 9. What do the elections mean for the country, its domestic challenges, and foreign policy outlook?
This is the country’s second Covid-era election following the legislative election in April 2020. South Korea is considered as one of the success stories of third wave democratization in the late 20th Century.
South Korean democracy, however, has experienced polarization, regressive populism, and other practices that negatively impacted democracies around the world. It continues to grapple with gender inequality, corruption, and youth unemployment. The country also faces mounting foreign policy challenges as it manages relationships with North Korea, China, United States, and Japan.
Erin Aeran Chung is the Charles D. Miller Associate Professor of East Asian Politics in the Department of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. Professor Chung specializes in East Asian political economy, international migration, civil society, and comparative racial politics.
She is the author of Immigrant Incorporation in East Asian Democracies, which received the 2021 ASA Asia and Asian America Section Transnational Asia Book Award. Professor Chung is also co-P.I. for the “Critical Responses to Anti-Asian Violence (CRAAV) Initiative: Building Anti-Racist Solidarities” at Johns Hopkins.