South Korea

South Korean opposition parties call for President Park’s impeachment

By Ben McGrath, 23 November 2016

Another mass protest in Seoul on Saturday involving hundreds of thousands of people has continued to put pressure on Park to resign.

One million protestors in Seoul demand Korean president resign

By Ben McGrath, 15 November 2016

The pressure on President Park to step down is growing after the South Korean capital’s largest protest in 30 years.

Mass protests call on Korean president to resign

By Ben McGrath, 7 November 2016

Park’s approval rating has fallen to 5 percent, the lowest of any South Korean president, as a result of the corruption scandal involving her personal confidante, Choi Soon-sil.

South Korea’s president in crisis over corruption scandals

By Ben McGrath, 2 November 2016

Intense conflicts in ruling circles are behind accusations that President Park Gen-hye and her confidantes were involved in illegal activity.

Workers’ strikes spreading throughout South Korea

By Ben McGrath, 29 September 2016

The South Korean working class is fighting against government-led attempts to cut wages in public and private businesses.

American B-1 bombers send menacing warning to North Korea

By our reporter, 14 September 2016

The fly-past at South Korea’s Osan Air Base was also designed to send a message to Beijing to ramp up pressure on North Korea.

South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping bankruptcy has global impact

By Ben McGrath, 9 September 2016

The company’s financial problems are a further indication of the economic instability facing the world economy.

US-South Korean war games inflame Asian tensions

By Peter Symonds, 23 August 2016

While nominally aimed against North Korea, the exercises consolidate Washington’s military alliance with Seoul as it makes preparations for conflict with China.

Massive job cuts planned in South Korean shipbuilding industry

By Ben McGrath, 22 August 2016

Workers are bearing the brunt of the industry’s financial instability, while the trade unions work to prevent a unified struggle.

Chinese-South Korean tensions rise over THAAD anti-missile deployment

By Ben McGrath, 15 August 2016

South Korea is lining up more explicitly with Washington and its war drive in the region, using North Korea’s nuclear tests as a pretext.

South Korean Democrats posture as opponents of US anti-ballistic missile system

By Ben McGrath, 8 August 2016

The MPK’s criticisms of the THAAD system are driven by concerns over possible Chinese economic retaliation and also seek to block the development of anti-war opposition.

Opposition party in South Korea hit by corruption probe

By Ben McGrath, 12 July 2016

The investigation into the People’s Party is a politically-motivated attack by President Park Geun-hye’s administration.

US and South Korea agree on THAAD anti-missile system

By Ben McGrath, 11 July 2016

The installation will likely inflame tensions while continuing to stoke an arms race in East Asia.

Korean survivors concerned about Obama’s visit to Hiroshima

By Ben McGrath, 31 May 2016

Victims of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki fear they will continue to be ignored following the US president’s trip.

South Korea’s Democrats narrowly defeat ruling conservatives in national election

By Ben McGrath, 15 April 2016

The Minjoo Party of Korea’s victory is not an endorsement of their policies but a sign of frustration with deteriorating economic conditions.

South Korea imposes extra sanctions on North Korea

By Ben McGrath, 15 March 2016

The South Korean sanctions go further than the recent UN resolution in strangling the North Korean economy and exacerbating Pyongyang’s political crisis.

US-South Korean militaries rehearse pre-emptive strikes on North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 8 March 2016

This year’s joint war games are based on a new operational plan that includes pre-emptive attacks on North Korean missile and nuclear sites and “decapitation” raids to kill its leaders.

South Korea whips up fears over North Korea’s nuclear program

By Ben McGrath, 25 February 2016

Seoul’s denunciations of Pyongyang come before massive war games with the US, designed to simulate a takeover of the entire Korean Peninsula.

US military boosts anti-missile systems in South Korea

By Peter Symonds, 16 February 2016

Far from being a defensive move, the restructuring of US forces in South Korea is bound up with more aggressive war plans, agreed last year between Washington and Seoul.

North Korea announces satellite launch

By Ben McGrath, 6 February 2016

The proposed launch has further raised tensions following Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test and will undoubtedly be exploited by the US to justify its military buildup in Asia.

South Korea joins US-Japan intelligence link

By Ben McGrath, 1 February 2016

Seoul’s decision will further integrate South Korea into Washington’s plans for an anti-ballistic missile system aimed against China.

CSIS report: A blueprint for US war with China

By Peter Symonds, 25 January 2016

The study is a master plan for an accelerating arms race in Asia in preparation for a conflict that would draw in the entire region and the world.

South Korea’s opposition splits ahead of general election

By Ben McGrath, 14 January 2016

The departure of Kim Han-gil and the creation of new opposition parties constitute attempts to head off discontent among South Korean workers.

US flies B-52 strategic bomber close to Korean border

By Peter Symonds, 11 January 2016

Washington has seized on the latest North Korean nuclear test to accelerate its military build-up in the region against China as part of the US “pivot to Asia.”

South Korean union leader charged with sedition

By Ben McGrath, 9 January 2016

Not used since 1986, the charge of sedition represents a deepening of the Park government’s suppression of political dissent.

US, South Korea discuss deploying “strategic weapons”

By Ben McGrath, 8 January 2016

The stationing of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula would be a major escalation of the US military build-up in Asia, directed primarily against China, not North Korea.

Japan and South Korea reach agreement over comfort women

By Ben McGrath, 30 December 2015

The deal will be welcomed in Washington which has been pressing its two allies to mend their rift and collaborate more closely in the US “pivot to Asia” against China.

Split looms in South Korea’s opposition party

By Ben McGrath, 21 December 2015

Ahn Cheol-soo’s departure from the NPAD indicates the party is in disarray amid falling approval ratings after years of anti-working class policies while in power.

South Korean workers and farmers denounce Park government

By Ben McGrath, 8 December 2015

Saturday’s protestors criticized laws that will increase the casualization of the workforce and demanded President Park’s resignation.

South Korean government pushes new anti-democratic laws

By Ben McGrath, 26 November 2015

Exploiting the Paris attacks, Park Geun-hye’s administration is seeking anti-terror legislation that will be used more broadly against the working class.

Large anti-government protests in South Korea

By Ben McGrath, 17 November 2015

The demonstration indicated the anger among workers and youth over new labor laws and the rewriting of school history texts.

South Korean government to revise school history texts

By Ben McGrath, 5 November 2015

The government is seeking to glorify past regimes while whipping up anti-North Korean propaganda among the country’s youth.

Leaders of Japan, China and South Korea meet in Seoul

By Ben McGrath, 2 November 2015

The lack of any reference by China to maritime disputes or Japan’s whitewashing of the crimes of its military in the 1930s and 1940s was a significant concession to Tokyo.

US, South Korean leaders hold summit

By Ben McGrath, 21 October 2015

The US is seeking to apply pressure to South Korea to pursue an agenda more in line with Washington’s “pivot to Asia” against China.

South Korean government pushes casualization of workforce

By Ben McGrath, 1 October 2015

With the aid of the trade unions, the government is proposing laws to allow companies to more easily fire workers, while slashing wages.

Hyundai autoworkers in South Korea strike for better wages

By Ben McGrath, 29 September 2015

Auto manufacturers like Hyundai and GM Korea are demanding wage cuts and speedups as well as the casualization of the workforce.

More signs of global downturn send stocks plunging again

By Andre Damon, 2 September 2015

Renewed assurances from the Federal Reserve of continued infusions of cash into the financial markets have been insufficient to calm fears of a sharp deterioration in world economic activity.

US military continues build-up in North East Asia

By Ben McGrath, 1 September 2015

The conclusion of war games saw the largest-ever joint live-fire drill between the US and South Korea.

North and South Korea agree to ease tensions following high-level talks

By Ben McGrath, 26 August 2015

With the US applying immense pressure to the North Korean regime, recent events demonstrate how a relatively minor episode can escalate rapidly into armed conflict.

Tensions remain high on Korean Peninsula

By Ben McGrath, 24 August 2015

Despite talks between North and South Korea, both sides continue to issue threats and counter-threats.

Tensions deepen on the Korean Peninsula following ultimatum by Pyongyang

By Ben McGrath, 22 August 2015

The underlying conflict between the US and China dramatically amplifies the dangers of any military clash on the Korean Peninsula.

North and South Korea exchange artillery fire across border

By Ben McGrath, 21 August 2015

The hostilities follow weeks of accusations and counter-accusations since two South Korean soldiers were maimed by landmines.

Further revelations in South Korean hacking scandal

By Ben McGrath, 25 July 2015

Suspicions that the NIS spied on political opponents continue to grow as more information comes to light.

South Korea’s intelligence agency purchased spyware from Hacking Team

By Ben McGrath, 16 July 2015

The latest revelation further underscores the anti-democratic character of the South Korean state and its spy agencies.

MERS outbreak exposes South Korean government’s lack of preparation

By Ben McGrath, 23 June 2015

The spread of the virus has been compounded by a lack of preparation and measures for dealing with the sick.

South Korean teachers union faces ban

By Ben McGrath, 4 June 2015

The anti-democratic court ruling is designed to prevent teachers and other public employees from voicing their political opinions.

US secretary of state berates North Korea

By Ben McGrath, 20 May 2015

Kerry used his trip to South Korea to deepen military ties, supposedly in order to counter the threat posed by North Korea.

South Korean unions hold one-day token strike

By Ben McGrath, 30 April 2015

Confronted by broad working class opposition to government austerity measures, the unions are confining workers to limited protests.

US, South Korea sign new nuclear pact

By Ben McGrath, 25 April 2015

The treaty is designed to ensure that South Korea does not acquire nuclear weapons and remains militarily dependent on the United States.

US defense secretary promotes “pivot” in South Korea

By Ben McGrath, 14 April 2015

Carter made clear that Washington is intent on increasing its overall military presence in the country.

South Korea joins Chinese-led investment bank

By Ben McGrath, 31 March 2015

Seoul’s decision was welcomed by China and came in defiance of US pressure.

South Korea pushes for inclusion in US anti-missile system

By Ben McGrath, 20 March 2015

Tensions between South Korea and China could rise if the US established an anti-ballistic missile battery on the Korean Peninsula.

South Korean president calls for Japanese apology

By Ben McGrath, 6 March 2015

Compared to past speeches Park Geun-hye appeared to pull her punches on the crimes of Japanese imperialism in the 1930s and 1940s.

US Ambassador to South Korea slashed in knife attack

By Ben McGrath, 6 March 2015

The South Korean media is seizing upon the attack, carried out by a nationalist with ties to the ruling conservative party, to denounce “left-wing extremism.”

US and South Korea begin joint military exercises

By Ben McGrath, 2 March 2015

In the past few years, the US has used the war games to escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Former intelligence chief in South Korea jailed

By Ben McGrath, 11 February 2015

While the NIS head has been convicted of electoral interference, the agency retains all of its police-state powers that will be used against the working class.

US rejects North Korea overtures

By Ben McGrath, 20 January 2015

North Korea has offered direct negotiations with the US, but Washington continues to whip up tensions on the Korean peninsula.

South Korea deports Korean-American woman accused of supporting the North

By Ben McGrath, 13 January 2015

President Park Geun-hye’s government has whipped up a series of “red scares.”

US, Japan, and South Korea sign intelligence sharing deal

By Ben McGrath, 31 December 2014

While the memorandum of understanding is nominally directed against North Korea, the US clearly wants an agreement that targets China as well.

South Korean court disbands opposition party

By Ben McGrath, 24 December 2014

The ruling is an attack on basic democratic rights, aimed at silencing political criticism and opposition.

South Korean fishing vessel sinks, killing dozens

By Ben McGrath, 5 December 2014

The ship’s sinking has highlighted the deplorable conditions facing migrant fishermen in South Korea.

Captain of South Korean sunken ferry faces death penalty

By Ben McGrath, 4 November 2014

The ferry tragedy is being exploited to revive the death penalty, which has not been carried out in South Korea since 1997.

Soldiers’ deaths reveal widespread abuse in South Korean military

By Ben McGrath, 6 October 2014

A series of Korean soldiers have died since April in cases that have shocked the public.

South Korea backs Washington’s war in Syria and Iraq

By Ben McGrath, 25 September 2014

The government in Seoul has not ruled out providing military assistance to the US in the Middle East.

South Korean auto unions hold token strikes

By Ben McGrath, 26 August 2014

Employees of South Korea’s two largest auto manufacturers walked off the job last Friday for four hours.

South Korean auto workers hold first strike of the year

By Ben McGrath, 19 July 2014

Renault Samsung workers held a partial strike Monday demanding increased wages and other benefits.

South Korean government voices concern over Japanese “collective self-defense”

By Ben McGrath, 12 July 2014

While the militarization of Japan is currently targeted at China, it is alarming Seoul, a key ally of the United States.

Chinese president seeks closer ties with South Korea

By Ben McGrath, 9 July 2014

The developing relationship between China and South Korea has led to questions about Seoul’s relations with Washington.

South Korean president carries out cabinet reshuffle

By Ben McGrath, 21 June 2014

As well as seeking to deflect anger over the ferry disaster, Park is seeking to consolidate her power and push forward with an austerity agenda.

Murder trial of Sewol captain begins in South Korea

By Ben McGrath, 17 June 2014

The captain of the capsized South Korean ferry is being made a scapegoat to deflect attention from the government’s responsibility for the lack of safety.

Widespread disaffection in South Korean regional elections

By Ben McGrath, 6 June 2014

Despite falling support for President Park following the Sewol ferry disaster, opposition party failed to make significant advances.

Pentagon pressures South Korea to join anti-missile system

By Ben McGrath, 2 June 2014

The incorporation of South Korea into the existing US “missile defence” with Japan would further inflame regional tensions.

Fire in South Korean nursing home kills 21

By Ben McGrath, 29 May 2014

The nursing home lacked basic fire safety measures and was badly understaffed.

South Korean opposition alliance prepares for regional elections

By Ben McGrath, 28 May 2014

The Democrat Party is using a merger with Ahn Cheol-soo’s political group to cover up its right-wing, pro-business agenda and avoid another humiliating election defeat.

South Korean opposition exploits ferry disaster

By Ben McGrath, 26 May 2014

The opposition NPAD is just as responsible as the Park administration for the undermining of safety standards that led to the sinking.

South Korean subway collision leaves 238 injured

By Ben McGrath, 5 May 2014

Less than three weeks after the sinking of the Sewol ferry, two subway trains collided in northern Seoul following a mechanical failure.

South Korean prime minister resigns over ferry disaster

By Ben McGrath, 28 April 2014

Chung’s resignation is designed to deflect popular anger away from President Park Geun-hye’s administration.

South Korean government accused of inaction after ferry disaster

By Ben McGrath, 23 April 2014

In an attempt to divert attention from the government, President Park condemned the actions of the crew as “akin to murder.”

Anger of victims’ families mounts over South Korean ferry disaster

By Ben McGrath, 21 April 2014

While the official death toll continues to climb, families of the victims are increasingly angry at the government and the ferry company.

268 still missing after South Korean ferry disaster

By Tom Eley, 19 April 2014

Hope has dimmed for finding survivors among the 268 passengers missing from Wednesday’s sinking of the South Korean ferry The Sewol.

Hundreds still missing after South Korean ferry sinks

By John Watanabe, 17 April 2014

A ferry that sank on Wednesday carrying some 470 people could turn out to be South Korea’s worst shipping accident in decades.

Obama brings South Korean president and Japanese PM together

By Ben McGrath, 2 April 2014

Obama was forced to personally intervene to bring Park and Abe together after previous efforts to pressure them to meet had failed.

Tense standoff after North Korean-South Korean artillery exchange

By Peter Symonds, 1 April 2014

The incident highlights the fragile state of relations on the Korean Peninsula, one of a string of dangerous flashpoints in Asia.

South Korean doctors walk out over medical privatization

By Ben McGrath, 20 March 2014

Medical residents and doctors struck for 24 hours over regulations introduced that allow hospitals to run profit-seeking subsidiaries.

South Korean unions hold token “people’s strike”

By Ben McGrath, 6 March 2014

The unions called the protest to contain mounting anger among workers and block an independent movement against the Park government.

GM’s job destruction and the South Korean pseudo-left

By Ben McGrath, 25 February 2014

In conditions of growing distrust and anger among workers, All Together is playing a filthy role as apologist and defender of the KCTU, KMWU and other trade unions.

GM axes more auto jobs in South Korea

By Ben McGrath, 20 February 2014

GM Korea plans to slash 1,100 jobs from its Gunsan factory, part of an overall assault on auto workers in Korea and internationally.

US-South Korean war games threaten to inflame Korean Peninsula

By Peter Symonds, 18 January 2014

South Korea warned of “merciless retaliation” in the event of a North Korean “military provocation.”

South Korean rail union sellout paves way for privatization

By Ben McGrath, 15 January 2014

The stoppage was the longest rail strike in country’s history, but the unions channeled the hostility of workers into negotiations with KORAIL and the government.

South Korean police raid unions over railway strike

By Ben McGrath, 23 December 2013

The police operation is a clear attempt by the Park administration to crush working class opposition to the attacks on jobs and living standards.

Biden in South Korea reaffirms “absolute” US commitment to “pivot to Asia”

By Peter Symonds, 7 December 2013

“America is a Pacific power, a resident Pacific power, and we are going nowhere—nowhere,” Biden declared.

Tensions escalate over Chinese air defence zone

By John Chan, 29 November 2013

Miscalculations in the current situation could quickly lead to a clash involving Chinese warplanes with those from Japan, the US or South Korea.

South Korean government demands dissolution of opposition party

By Ben McGrath, 12 November 2013

If imposed, a ban on the UPP would be the first since 1958 when US-backed dictator Rhee Syng-man outlawed the Progressive Party of his presidential challenger.

Amid government shutdown, US officials push “pivot to Asia”

By Alex Lantier, 2 October 2013

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wraps up a visit to South Korea today, as part of a US diplomatic offensive to boost military alliances across the Asia-Pacific.

South Korean government threatens to ban teachers union

By Ben McGrath, 1 October 2013

President Park’s administration has accused teachers of being involved in a conspiracy to overthrow the government.

South Korean opposition lawmaker arrested

By Ben McGrath, 9 September 2013

UPP lawmaker Lee Seok-ki has been detained as part of an anti-communist witch-hunt designed to justify police state measures against the working class.

South Korean trade unions hold partial auto strikes

By Ben McGrath, 5 September 2013

Hyundai and Kia are demanding lower wages and costs, threatening to move production overseas.

South Korean security agency arrests opposition party officials

By Ben McGrath, 30 August 2013

The raids occurred just as the agency is mired in a scandal over its interference in South Korea’s presidential election last December.

Seoul to extend US control over South Korean military

By Ben McGrath, 1 August 2013

The US is sending a message that American troops and bases will not be leaving the Korean peninsula in the foreseeable future.

South Korean president conducts “charm offensive” in China

By Ben McGrath, 3 July 2013

The South Korean and Chinese presidents discussed North Korea’s nuclear programs as well as boosting economic relations.