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New S. Korean president recycles old ideas on N. Korean issue: expert

South Korea recently elected its new President Yoon Suk-yeol. The new South Korean head of state came into office after a 26-year long career as a prosecutor. According to James Edward Hoare, a British expert on South Korean politics, “Mr Yeol has no real political background, he is learning the process as he goes along”.

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The expert went on to say that the new South Korean president has got a big “learning curve”. “He has already had certain problems. His first choice for deputy prime minister and education minister resigned before he got into the job over corruption charges basically. So I suspect South Korean Politics will follow their usual lines,” Mr Hoare said referring to South Korea’s long struggle with corruption.

’Recycling old proposals’

TVP’s guest also spoke about the new president’s stance on North Korea saying that instead of coming up with a new approach Mr Suk-yeol is “Recycling old proposals”. He stated that the South Korean head of state is offering similar proposals to that of Lee Myung-Bak
a former conservative South Korean president.

According to Mr Hoare, the newly-elected South Korean leader’s proposal toward North Korea foresees his country helping their communist neighbour economically, in exchange for the denuclearisation of Kim Jong-un’s Korea.

“I think the North Korean response is not going to be very positive to such proposals,” the British expert said.

A president of the people?

The former British diplomat also touched on the appearances the newly elected South Korean president wants to put forward. He will be presenting himself as a sympathetic leader, present in the lives of his people. Ready to tackle the most pressing problems in South Korean society.

“I think he is a part of the ‘I’m a popular leader’ rather than overconcentrating on the north or on some other issue that is not quite so important to the people,” Mr Hoare said.

At the end of the interview, the expert made the remark that South Korea is a country of “money politics”, meaning that money is one of the biggest driving factors in the country’s politics. “No (South Korean) president has come out of office a poor man,” he stated.

TVP’s guest was former British diplomat James Edward Hoare, current Associate Fellow in the Asia-Pacific Programme at the Chatham House think tank.


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