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.