South Korea

  • South Korea's population will peak this century and then begin a long decline.

    South Korea's Government Tries to Get Ahead of Demographic Challenges

    South Korea is undergoing rapid demographic ageing. Only 551,000 Koreans or 2.9 percent of the population were aged 65 or above when the Korean War broke out in 1950. However, according to the United Nations World Population Prospects (UNWPP), 6.4 million Koreans, or 12.7 percent of South Korea’s population, were aged 65 or above in 2014. By 2026 an astounding 10.7 million Koreans — 20.5 percent of the population — are expected to be aged 65 or above.

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  • South Korea's Park could face a dual threat in the next election.

    Could South Korea's Two Opposition Parties form an Alliance?

    Last year was a challenging year for South Korea’s democracy. Since the inauguration of the Park Geun-hye government in 2013, there have been a number of incidents that raise serious questions about the soundness and maturity of South Korea’s democracy. These range from the interference of the National Intelligence Services in the 2012 presidential election to the government’s harsh crackdown on an anti-government rally in November 2015.

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  • Some of the Western inequalities are creeping into South Korean culture.

    South Korea is Facing Western Socioeconomic Ills

    South Korea has been celebrated for the twin successes of its rapid economic development and democratisation. However, the political and economic progress that has taken place has increasingly come under challenge in recent years. The worsening gap between the rich and the poor, and certain undemocratic policies have been cause for growing concern among the public. Two of the most controversial issues of 2015 reflect these concerns: new labour reforms and the adoption of government-mandated history textbooks. Both of these issues brought about widespread protests.

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  • Green growth is at the top of South Korea's economic list.

    South Korea Wants It Easy to be Green

    Recent headlines on the South Korean economy announced that the country’s GDP grew faster during July–September 2015 than it had over the past five years. However, there is a more important story beyond the fluctuations in regularly reported macroeconomic data that needs telling.

    South Korea is quickly rising as a world leader in the creation, development and export of renewable energy technologies — widely viewed by analysts as strategic growth industries of the future.

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  • South Korea's growth is relying more on its export sector.

    It's not You, it's Your Economic Structure

    South Korea’s economic growth has slowed significantly since the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The five-year average GDP growth rate was 7.9 percent during 1991–95, but dropped substantially to 4.5 percent for 2001–05 and then 3.8 percent in 2006–10. This slowdown closely links to that in domestic demand. After the burst of the credit card lending boom from 1999–2002, growth in domestic demand has been close to zero and has even dropped into the negative.

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  • Korea should work towards a clear long-term view on minorities.

    South Korea's Migration Policies Are In Need Of Reform

    North and South Korea are widely regarded to be ethnically homogenous societies. But with minority populations having grown in numbers and importance in both Koreas, demographic homogeneity has become a myth.

    Yet the importance of ethnic nationalism as an underlying identity of the two states prevents a genuine transition to a multicultural society in both cases. In both Koreas, policies that disproportionately focus on reaping benefits from minorities, and a lack of public consensus on what constitutes multiculturalism, have led to human rights violations and social conflict.

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  • A widening socio-economic gap is polarizing South Korea.

    The Growing Inequality in South Korea

    The South Korean economy advertises its international prowess through the popularity of global brand name products from Samsung Galaxy phones to the Hyundai Sonata. Hidden behind these triumphant global achievements is a phenomenon of widening economic polarisation. The national economy once praised for achieving rapid growth with relative equality has now turned into the second most unequal economy among the OECD countries.

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  • South Korea's democracy faces internal and external challenges.

    South Korea's Liberal Democracy is Under Threat

    It is not hard to list the domestic and international challenges for South Korea for 2015. There are many.

    At the end of 2014, South Korea faces economic slowdown, an ageing population, worsening socio-economic inequality, rising youth unemployment, mounting household debt and a real-estate market slump. The list of diplomatic tasks includes sluggish or worsening relations with Kim Jong-un’s North Korea, soured relationships with Abe’s Japan and coping with the dilemmas of China–US dynamics.

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