South Korea. After months of political turmoil and
massive street protests, the Constitutional Court in March
decided to dismiss President Park Geun Hye. In connection
with the decision, Park lost its prosecution immunity and
was arrested the same month on suspicion of bribery and
abuse of power. The background was the revelation that big
companies paid high sums to Park's close friend Choi Soon
Sil's foundations in exchange for political support from the
president. From the foundations, Choi learns to have raised
the equivalent of hundreds of millions of SEK to finance,
among other things, his daughter's career as a competition
rider. According to
Countryaah.com, Park had committed the
crimes under the influence of Choi and his father, a
quasi-religious leader and former friend of Park's murdered
father, dictator Park Chung Hee. The largest contributor to
the foundations was the electronics giant Samsung.
In the spring, the US and South Korea began the
deployment of the US robotic defense system THAAD in South
Korea. The installation aroused strong reactions in both
China and North Korea. In China, the advanced defense system
was seen as a threat to the country as its powerful radar
could be used to monitor Chinese territory.
In the May presidential election, Liberal candidate Moon
Jae In won by 41% of the vote. The main opponent, the
conservative Hong Jun Pyo, got 24%.
In June, Choi Soon Sil was sentenced to three years in
prison for using her relationship with the president to
pressure a prestigious university to adopt her daughter.
Several judgments awaited Choi, who was also charged with
extortion, abuse of power and fraud by corporate giants.
Tensions between South and North Korea increased after
North Korea fired a second intercontinental robot in just a
few weeks. In response to the launches, South Korea's
defense ministry announced that the country had developed a
new ballistic robot with the capacity to achieve "any
target". Furthermore, the US and South Korea conducted a
joint precision exercise with robots. In addition, South
Korea's President Moon Jae In said that the deployment of
THAAD would be resumed quickly after it was halted in June
for a climate review. The decision was criticized by China
at the same time as North Korea threatened South Korea with
a "miserable fate" if the deployment continued.
In the wake of the big corruption scandal, in August,
Samsung chief Lee Jae Yong was sentenced to five years in
prison for bribery.
In response to North Korea's sixth nuclear test, in
September, South Korea conducted an exercise with ballistic
missile test shots at targets in the East China Sea. The
Ministry of Defense announced that the country's defense
would be strengthened by four more units of the THAAD
missile defense, while considering "all sorts of military
opportunities" to meet the threat from North Korea.