Choi Sun-sil Incident: Unprecedented, Yet Unfinished National Headline
Choi Sun-sil Incident: Unprecedented, Yet Unfinished National Headline
  • Reporter Gwak Jun-ho
  • 승인 2016.12.07 10:56
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Triggered by exclusive news of JTBC on Oct. 24, the Choi Sun-sil Incident as a whole has put a majority of South Korean citizens into consternation. The revelation of the catastrophic fact that the South Korean government has been run by a single mid-aged woman during the last four years has generated speculation among other countries regarding their diplomatic relations with South Korea.
While the Choi Sun-sil Incident was getting the spotlight in South Korea, the USA was busy with her own presidential election. The American government has not said much about the matter. Alicia Edwards, the spokesperson of the State Department, made a short remark on Oct. 30 that America is aware of the incident and that it is a domestic problem that the South Korean government has to solve. Fortunately, Donald Trump had a positive conversation with President Park Geun-hye, during which he said the USA and South Korea will maintain alliance as before. However, there are interpretations among diplomatic experts that the positive conversation between President Park and President-elect Trump was just a convenient tool for President-elect Trump to solidify his support. The Washington Post reported on Oct. 29 “South Korea’s presidency ‘on the brink of collapse’ as scandal grows.” An expert majoring in diplomatic relations between the USA and South Korea who requested anonymity said, “The approval rate of the South Korean President is an important indicator used by the American government to estimate the functioning of the South Korean government.” Considering how the approval rate of President Park to 4-5% recently, there are interpretations that the disclosure of problematic South Korean government will affect THAAD deployment and General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) between South Korea and Japan.
As there is normally an uneasy atmosphere between Japan and South Korea, Japan was not hesitant to criticize the failure of the South Korean government. They even made remarks on the impeachment of President Park. The Japan Times on Oct. 26 reported that sharing speech documents with non-governmental persons was an indisputable violation of President Records Management Law and the responsibility due to that was inevitable. This is much to be empathized by domestic presses. However, because the South Korean President is protected from criminal prosecutions on foreign exchange and domestic crisis, it seems difficult to punish other than the acquaintances of President Park. Currently, President Park has kept silent for four days despite the fact that she was called to accept prosecution investigation by Nov. 29.
Chinese press teams are also restraining from directly criticizing the South Korean government. They merely quote domestic news media. However, the Choi Sun-sil Incident still seems to be a controversial topic in the Chinese media. Global Times, an English-language Chinese news organization, published an article on Oct. 27 which dealt with the incident in-depth. The article not only mentioned the current progress of criminal prosecution but also public sentiments in South Korea, including statements requesting for impeachment of President Park by various universities. Considering how the article quoted comments criticizing President Park, the Choi sun-sil Incident surely seems to be a hot topic among the Chinese public.