In March 2022, South Koreans chose Yoon Suk-yeol as new president with a slim margin of 0.7% of the votes. It was their worst decision ever made.
Within one year, Yoon has destroyed the economy, paralysed foreign trade, demolished public welfare system and threatened public safety.
However, the worst thing he has done through his pathologic diplomacy with Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister of Japan and Joe Biden, President of the United States was the creation of grave danger of the shooting third world war, let alone total destruction of Korea as a sovereign nation.
It is obviously difficult to understand how come such a thing could happen. But, to understand Yoon’s stupid and destructive diplomacy, we have to know who and what he is. Then, we can discuss his diplomacy.
In this paper I am asking the following questions:
- Who and what is Yoon Suk-yeol?
- What has happened at the Yoon-Kishida summit?
- What has happened at the Yoon-Biden summit?
- What is the impact of Yoon’s diplomacy on regional and global security?
Who and What Is Yoon Suk-yeol?
Before we introduce Yoon Suk-yeol, we should know the unique political situation in South Korea. Many think that there is only one South Korea, but there are, de facto, two groups making up South Korea.
The first group is the closely knit pro-Japan conservative group led by the descendent of colonial collaborators who betrayed the Korean people during the 35-year Japanese colonial rule in Korea.
This group is identified as the pro-Japan traitors (PJT) and it has ruled South Korea for 60 years through police, military and prosecutor dictatorship regimes supported by Washington and Tokyo.
The traitors have formed a closely integrated corrupted community and oppressed the people, violated human rights, abused power and enriched themselves through the embezzlement of tax payers’ money.
The second group consists of the rest of South Koreans who represent perhaps 80% of the South Korean population and they have been the victims of the traitors’ corruption and their abuse of power.
But, they fought back and punished all the six presidents representing the interests of the PJT. They were kicked out of their presidential office by impeachment, assassination or imprisonment.
Yoon Suk-yeol has been prosecutor all his adult life and, as the leader of the PJT, he has distinguished himself as the champion of the game of arresting and eliminating leaders and leaders to be of the opposition forces.
Yoon is not trained for political leadership. He is illiterate in politics, economics, national security or diplomacy.
To make the matter worse, according to the expert of political leaders psychology, Kim Tae Hyung, Yoon is psychopathic and socio-pathetic. He dislikes the people; he is afraid of the people. He is not interested in promoting well being of the people. He does not care about his approval rate which remains at the critical of 30%.
The worst aspect of Yoon’s personality is his cowardice and toadyism. He worships the strong and he is cruel with the weak. He worships Japan and the U.S. because they are strong. He looks down on Koreans, because he thinks that they are weak.
In fact, the PJT led by Yoon, who are the elite group of South Korean society regard the rest of South Koreans as “pigs & dogs”.
Yoon’s diplomacy with Kishida and Biden reflects his perverse perception of ROK’s relations with Japan and the U.S. For him, Korea must side with Japan and the U.S. for they are strong and they can protect his government, his family and the PJT from South Koreans who are his enemies and North Koreans who are the most-anti-PJT.
Many may ask how come South Koreans voted for him and made him president. I have to write a book to explain why. But I may say that he was elected due to money, fear and ignorance.
Many voted for him, because they are paid to do so. Many selected him due to fear of losing illegal and immoral wealth which may be difficult to keep, if Lee Jae-myung is chosen. Lee represented the pro-People Democratic Party (DPK).
Many picked him, because they were made ignorant about Yoon’s lack of qualification of Yoon Suk-yeol as president due to the pro-Yoon propaganda put up by the PJT media, especially the Chosun-Ibo, Joong-ang Ilbo and Donga-Ilbo (Cho-Joong-Dong).
By the way, the Cho-Joong-Dong has played a crucial role for the defence of PJT’s dictatorship, the demonization of North Korea, the corruption of the PJT community and the vulnerability of the democracy in Korea.
As long as Cho-Jung-Dong flourish, it will be always difficult to have pro-People democracy and peaceful reunification of Korea.
What Happened at the Yoon-Kishida Summit?
The Korea-Japan dispute is a century-old dispute between two views of Japanese colonialism.
On the one hand, there are those who argue that the Korea’s annexation to Japan of 1910 was legal and beneficial to Korea which was inferior, too backward and incapable of modernizing Korea without Japan’s intervention. Therefore, there is no need for Japan to apologise for its wrong doings against Korea and Korean people.
This is the position taken by Japan and pro-Japan conservative groups in South Korea represented by the pro-Japan civic movement called, the “New Right Movement” and the conservative government of Yoon Suk-yeol representing the People Power Party (PPP).
On the other hand, the rest of the South Korean population have an opposite view of Japanese colonialism. For them, the Korea’s annexation was illegal and Korea could modernize by itself in time.
The intensity of the Japan-Korea dispute has been growing ever since 1945. Under the pro-Japan conservative government which has ruled South Korea for 60 years since 1948, the Japan-Korea relations have been rather peaceful.
But, under the nationalist democratic government which has governed South Korea for 15 years, the bilateral relations have been less peaceful.
Now, the peaceful and cooperative Japan-Korea relations have strategic importance for the American global hegemony, because the combined military forces of ROK and Japan are of vital importance in Biden’s plan to destroy China.
Therefore, Biden would have put pressure on Yoon, as the condition for being invited as state visitor, to accept Japans view of Japanese colonialism. And, Yoon has accepted Biden’s demand, because he has the same view of Japanese colonialism.
If Kishida and Yoon have the same view of Japanese colonialism and if they cooperate for the global hegemony of Washington, it would be one of Biden’s successful diplomatic accomplishments, which will give an edge in the coming presidential election.
But, Yoon is surely aware of the violent reaction of the majority of the South Korean population who have nationalistic views of Japanese colonialism. This does not seem to bother him much, because he thinks that he can silence the dissidents with prosecutors’ force.
The results of Yoon’s summit with Kishida have turned out to be what was expected. It made it clear that the Japanese colonialism was beneficial to the inferior Koreans. Yoon gave away everything which is dear to Koreans.
Yoon knows well that South Koreans will fight back. But, he does not care, because he thinks that he will be protected by Kishida and Biden, because he is riding on the wagon of China killing.
Yoon’s Gift to Kishida
The following is the list of what Japan wanted and what Yoon gave:
- The justification of Japanese colonialism in Korea
- The compensation payment for the labour slavery
- The Global Security of Military Information Agreement
- Comfort women
- Trade sanction
- Dokto/Takeshima Island
- Fukushima Sea Foods
Yoon met with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan on 16 March 2023. (Licensed under CC BY 4.0)
Justification of Japanese Colonialism in Korea
Japan has been arguing that its colonialism in Korea was beneficial to Korea, because without Japanese colonialism, Korea could never modernize itself and develop its economy.
On August 15, 2022, at the annual commemoration day of Korea’s liberation from Japan, Yoon Suk-yeol justified, in his speech, Japan’s claim. This can be interpreted by Japan that Korea would welcome Japanese colonialism 2.0.
Compensation payment for labour slavery
During the 35-year of Japanese illegal occupation of Japan in Korea, Japan committed countless war crimes against humanity. One of these crimes was the conscription of almost one million Korean workers forced to work in Japanese mines and factories under sub-human living conditions.
The negotiation between the former slave masters (Japanese corporations) and the former slaves (Korean workers) for Japan’s sincere apology and compensation has lasted for decades.
At last, in 2018, the Supreme Court of Korea ordered two Japanese corporations- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the Nippon Steel- to pay the compensations to the victims of the labour slavery.
It was reported that these corporations were ready to pay the compensation, but the Japanese government told them not to do so.
You may not believe this. Since Japan refuses to pay the compensation to the victims, the Yoon’s government has decided to force the Korean corporation to pay the compensation. Then, Korea will ask the Japanese corporation to pay later. This is a ridiculous idea; the Japanese corporation will never pay.
Thus, the Korean corporations which have nothing to do with the labour slavery have to pay the victims of slavery imposed by Japanese corporations.
Moreover, Yoon violated the Korean constitution by disobeying the ruling of the country’s Supreme Court. This can be a reason for impeachment.
What is more shocking is this. A ranking Japanese cabinet minister says that the conscription of Korean workers never took place.
Yoon did not protest against such irresponsible declaration of a Japanese cabinet minister.
General Security of Military Information Agreement
Then, there was the issue of General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA). It is an agreement on the exchange of security related information. Under the agreement, partner countries must share security-related information after proper analysis of information.
During the Korea-Japan trade war of 2019, under the government of Moon Jse-in, Korea withdrew from the agreement, but, the agreement was restored informally.
But, this time, Yoon agreed formalized GSMIA and Korea must provide Japan with information on North Korean military activities which may be a threat to Japan and South Korea.
The agreement is a lopsided agreement, which is more beneficial to Japan.
What worries Koreans is that this agreement is likely lead to Japan-Korea military alliance which will allow the return of the Japanese military to the Korea soil. This will be never accepted by Koreans.
Comfort Women (aka, “Japanese Military Sex Slaves”)
Yoon went to Japan hoping that Japan would show remorse and apologise for raping more than 250,000 Korean girls during several years by Japanese soldiers. True, in the past, handful Japanese political leaders showed remorse: Kono (1993), Murayama (1995), Obuchi-Kim joint declaration (1998), Koizumi (20005).
But in 2015, Shinzo Abe denied all these manifestation of apology or remorse.
Fumio Kishida, current prime minister of Japan, was asked if he would apologise for the sex slavery. He answer was that he would follow the position taken by his predecessors, but he did not say which predecessor. The predecessor was most likely Shinzo Abe. But Yoon did not protest.
So, the negotiation on the apology for sex slavery ended up with total victory of Japan. It is reported that even before the summit, Yoon sent someone to Kishida begging him to say a simple word of regret for the crime against the poor comfort girls. Kishida ignored such humiliating request.
In practical terms, Kishida was saying that the sex slavery never happened. Yoon did not protest.
In 2019, Japan reacted violently against the Korean Supreme Court’s ruling ordering Japanese corporations who practiced labour slavery to pay the victims of labour slavery. And Japan imposed trade sanctions by restricting the exports to Korea of vital chemical product needed for the production of chips, smart phone and TVs.
Yoon announced before the summit that Japan would remove the trade sanction. But Japan said that it would consider the matter Yoon did not protest.
There was the question of Dokto/Takeshima Island. The legal status of the Island has been the thorny issue ever since WWII. There are ample proofs that Tokto is a Korean territory. But Japan has been arguing that it is its territory usually before major elections.
For Koreans, Tokto Island is sacred. If Japan insists that it is its territory, Koreans are ready to go to war against Japan.
Thus, Tokto Island is a very delicate issue for Japan and Korea. In the past, when Japan mentions at bilateral meetings, Korean delegate reacted very strongly.
The Japanese media, including NHK reported that the issue of Dokto was discussed, but Yoon did not protest. The presidential office of Korea denies such discussion having taken place.
But, Koreans are nervous about the hidden agreement which might have been produced. When Japan put the Tokto issue on the table, the Korea delegation usually leave the meeting room. But Yoon was drinking whisky smiling with Kishida.
Japan went much further. Japan completely ignored the pride of Koreans by putting, in the school history text book, the statement that Dokto is a Japanese territory few days after the Yoon-Kishida summit. This episode is serious enough to impeach Yoon.
Fukushima Sea Foods
Japanese sources reported that Japan asked Yoon to remove the imports restriction of Fukushima’s contaminated (radioactive) marine products to Korea. Yoon is reported to have promised to consider the possibility.
In all the seven issues, Korea has gained nothing and gave everything to Japan. The summit was major victory to Japan and miserable defeat of Korea.
Kishida’s Gift to Yoo
Kishida gave nothing beneficial to Korea. What Kishida gave was the bilateral military alliance between Japan and Korea, although it was not declared.
It is by no means a gift beneficial to Korea. On the contrary, it means the possibility of forcing ROK armed forces to join the Japan-North Korea war and Sino-American war involving Taiwan.
It is not a gift given to Korea; it is a curse to Korea. Thus, Yoon got nothing form his summit with Kishida, but he gave everything to justify the Japanese colonialism and allowing Japan to consider re-colonizing Korea and Asia.
The Yoon-Kishida summit was the preparation session for the Yoon-Biden session. The outcome of this session was the undeclared Japan-ROK military alliance on the one hand, and, on the other, the integration of ROK into the Indo-Pacific Strategy of Tokyo-Washington.
This means, in more practical terms, the integration of ROK strategic high technology including chips, batteries, electric cars, and AI into the American value chain on the one hand and, on the other, the integration of ROK military forces in the U.S.-led military coalition deployed in the coming Sino-American war involving Taiwan.
In return, Yoon has asked Biden to protect his government and his family against angry South Korean people and the threat of North Korea.
The results of the Yoon-Biden summit may be measured in terms of Yoon’s gifts given to Biden on the one hand and, on the other, Biden’s gift given to Yoon.
US Secretary of State Blinken and Vice President Harris host a state dinner for Yoon, April 2023. (Licensed under the Public Domain)
Yoon’s Gift to Biden
The following is the list of Yoon’s gift to Biden:
- Anti-Russia Behaviour
- Anti China Statement
- ROK Companies’ Investments in the U.S.
- ROK Integration into Japan-U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS)
- Japan-Korea-U.S. Military Alliance (JKUS)
Prior to Yoon’s departure, the U.S. CIA spied on the conversation among high-ranking presidential advisors of Yoon talking about the shipment of 330,000 155mm artillery munitions to Germany which will be eventually shipped to Ukraine leading to the prolongation of the war imposing heavy burden on Russia.
Vladimir Putin is quite upset, and he may take measure which will create several punitive measures taken by Russia including the violence against more than 100,000 Koreans living in Russia, expulsion of Korean firms, trade sanction against South Korea and even military threat by sending up-to date military arms to North Korea.
This decision of Yoon may please Biden, but it may cost a lot to ROK.
Before he left for Washington, Yoon made two statements about Taiwan during the interview with the Reuters. These statements have greatly angered China.
Yoon said :”The issue of Taiwan is a global problem.” This statement implies that Yoon does not recognize the One-China policy, which the whole world including the U.S. recognizes.
He also made this statement:” The Status quo of Taiwan should not be changed by force.” This implies that China should not attack Taiwan, which is, in fact, the fixe aircraft carrier at the front door of China threatening China.
This surely pleased Biden, because China has one more enemy and the U.S. has one more anti-China friend. But, the cost which must be borne by ROK is terribly high. ROK has never had made deficit for decades. Now it has huge trade deficit mounting tens of billions of U.S. dollars due to undeclared Chinese trade sanctions against ROK.
Korean Companies’ Investments in the U.S.
Biden has adopted policies designed to promote strategic foreign investments in the territory of the U.S. These policies consist in preventing the inflow of these investments to China on the one hand, and on the other, encouraging or forcing the flow of these investments into the U.S.
Already, Korean firms have invested or will invest USD 100 billion including Hyundai’s investments in electric cars and Samsungs investments in semiconductors. American firms’ investments in Korea are no more than a few billions of USD invested by Netflix.
Despite such huge investments by Korean firms, to the dismay of Koreans, no Korean firms are qualified for tax incentives provided by virtue of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) or the CHIP & Science Act (CSA). Thus, as far as the strategic technology investments are concerned, the U.S. is a big winner and ROK is a poor loser.
Moreover, to the disappointment of Koreans, Washington forces the Koreans firms not to export semiconductors to China, while the American firms can. For instance, China forbids the U.S. firm, Micron Technology Inc. to sell their semiconductors in China, thus leading to the supply gap. Washington forbids Korean firms to fill the gap.
Here is what the Washington Declaration said about IAR and CSA:
“The two presidents committed to continue close consultation with a view to assuring these Acts (IRA and CSA) encouraging mutual beneficial corporate investments in the United States by creating predictable conditions for business activities.” (Washington Declaration)
The most amazing part of this bizarre statement is the fact that “mutual beneficial investments” are limited to the U.S., ROK is not mentioned. But, stupid Yoon signed it. Angry Koreans are asking if Yoon is really the president of South Korea.
ROK Integration into Japan-U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS)
Yoon and Biden signed a new international framework that strengthens U.S.-ROK development cooperation and “beyond.” I presume that the “beyond” means ROK’s eventual participation in Washington’s self-proclaimed mission of destroying China.
What Biden has in mind is to bring ROK into a trilateral military alliance among Japan, Korea and the U.S. (JKUS).
The JKUS can be established through the bilateral military alliance between Japan and ROK. The military ROK-U.S. relation is not military alliance, but military partnership. On the other hand, Japan-U.S. military relation is alliance. Therefore, in this way, the JKUS military alliance becomes possible.
Japan-Korea-U.S. Military Alliance (JKUS)
Although it is not included in the Washington Declaration (WD), the joining of ROK in the JKUS was Biden’s most rewarding fruit of the Yoon-Biden summit.
Biden knows that Quad or AUKUS forces are not strong enough for the destruction of China. ROK is 6th world military power so that the access to ROK forces is a valuable acquisition for Biden.
As for Japan, JKUS allows Japan to land on the Korean soil in case of conflict with North Korea and the imperialist Japanese conservatives may attempt to re-conquer Korea and realize its dream for the restoration of its second East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.
Thus, Kishida and Biden have well defined reasons for having the JKUS. But, it is tough to guess why Yoon wants to join the alliance.
Yoon should know that ROKs joining the trilateral alliance means Harakiri death of the unification of the Korea race, total destruction of its economy and, most likely the end of Korea as a nation.
Then, why? My answer is: “Because, the U.S. is God ” Yoon thinks that Whatever Washington does is good.
Biden’s Gift to Yoon
As we saw, Yoon has given a lot of goodies to Biden. These goodies are terribly expensive; indeed, it can destroy Korea as a nation. So, Biden should have given Yoon a nice and expensive gift which was asked by Yoon.
The gift asked by Yoon was JKUS which would protect his government, his family and his friends of pro-Japan corrupted conservatives from South Koreans and North Koreans.
Yoon has many reasons to be afraid of South Koreans. Since he became president, he applied the worst form of neo-liberalism giving billions of dollars worth of tax credits and grants to big corporations, deeply cutting budget for people’s welfare, killing 158 children in Itaewon, violating freedom of press, arresting innocent people and, above all, allowing his wife’s interference in governmental actions under the influence of “mudang” (fortune teller).
Imagine this. Now, people call Mrs. Yoon as president and Yoon as the president’s husband.
South Koreans have had enough with Yoon, his wife and his government. Several millions of South Koreans have been going down to the streets and shout “Impeach Traitor Yoon!” “Put Lee Gun-hee to prison!” Lee Gun-hee is Yoon’s wife.
Under such circumstance, it is normal that he is seeking the political and even physical protection from the angry South Korean people. But, I am not sure how Kishida or Biden can protect Yoon.
However, the worst enemy for Yoon is North Korea. It is possible that the world thinks that all South Koreas are afraid of North Korea. On the country, most of South Koreans do not consider North Koreans as their enemies, because they are their brothers and sisters.
As pointed out above Yoon is the leader of the corrupted pro-Japan traitors, while North Korea’s society is composed of the descendents of patriots who fought against the Japanese rulers.
Koreans in the North and the South think that the unification of Koreas is difficult to realize due to the objection by the PJT, who were supposed to be punished after the Pacific War, but they were not punished due to the American military government in Korea (1945-1948).
If Koreas are unified, the PJT led by Yoon will be first target of punishment. This is why Yoon is afraid of North Korea. This is why he asks the protection by Japan and the U.S. by joining the JKUS.
In order to protect himself and his government, Yoon even thought of developing nuclear arms in South Korea, but South Korea has signed the NPT. Since South Korea cannot develop its own nuclear arms, Yoon asked strengthened American nuclear umbrella.
Biden offered two things: the deployment of strategic assets to the Korean peninsula such as nuclear submarines in case of North Korean nuclear attack and the creation of the Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG).
The NCG means that Seoul may be consulted for Washington’s nuclear programs. Korea being only a mere consultant will have no significant input to Washington’s nuclear war plan.
The deployment of the strategic assets will be done, if and when North Korea attacks South Korea with nuclear weapons. But, this has no practical value, because North Korea will not attack South Korea with nuclear weapons, unless provoked. Besides, if North Korea attacks, the half of South Korea will be destroyed before the arrival of the strategic assets.
Therefore, the best way of protecting Yoon’s government is to co-exist with North Korea through the peace process.
Indeed, in the Washington Declaration, Yoon and Biden point out the importance of the peace process, although they continued their demonization of North Korea. Every knows that what Yoon and Biden want is the regime change of North Korea.
To sum up, Yoon’s diplomacy with Kishida and Biden has ended up by giving everything and getting nothing. Yoon has given absolution to Japan for its crimes against Korea. Yoon did even worse. He admitted that Koreans are inferior to the Japanese so that Japan’s re-colonization of Korea is justified.
Yoon made Korean diplomacy dependent on Washington and accepted to become eventual proxy worrier for the power and the glory of Uncle Sam.
Yoon’s diplomacy has accelerated the destruction of the Korea economy by inviting angry reaction of China and Russia on the on hand and, on the other, by inducing foreign investments to leave Korea due to the uncertainty and the instability of investment market created by Yoon’s dismal diplomacy.
Moreover, Yoon’s diplomacy has made the security of ROK more vulnerable and the integration of ROK’s into the Eurasian economy has become more difficult.
The Impact of Yoon’s Diplomacy
Yoon and his misguided advisors may think that the reward for Yoon’s diplomacy is the Japan-Korea-US (JKUS) military alliance.
Is the JKUS really a reward? If it is, whose reward is it? Surely, it is a big gains for the U.S. because it can send the mighty Korean army to the Sino-China war.
It is strategic reward for Kishida, because the JKUS allows the Japanese army to land on the Korean peninsula and even contemplate the re-colonization of Korea with the help of pro-Japan Koreans.
Now as for Korea, the JKUS is not a reward, on the contrary, it is a curse. It can induce Washington to launch shooting a Sino-American war with proxy soldiers from Japan and Korea.
The Korean War 2.0 and the Sino-American war could potentially lead to a third world war and the utter destruction of Korea.
Yoon’s pathologic diplomacy can even lead to the end of the world. Therefore, he must be removed from his presidential office and his irresponsible advisors should be severely punished.
Fortunately, the candle-light demonstration is getting strength and it is hoped that Yoon and his government will be taken down soon.
Dr. Joseph H. Chung is economic professor at Quebec University in Montreal (UQAM), member of the Research Center of Integration and Globalization (CEIM-UQAM) He is Research Associate at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).
Republished by The 21st Century
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 21cir.com