Shin’s Reflections on Korea

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Shin’s Reflections on Korea

A monthly series of essays by Gi-Wook Shin about contemporary issues in Korea, published by Sindonga (New East Asia), Korea’s oldest monthly magazine.

Gi-Wook Shin
Gi-Wook Shin is the director of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and the William J. Perry Professor of Contemporary Korea in the Sociology Department and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. He is the author/editor of 25 books, including South Korea's Democracy in Crisis and Ethnic Nationalism in KoreaExplore more of his analysis of the future of Korean democracy.

Walking a Tightrope

President Yoon Suk-yeol sits at a lunch table at the G20 Summit in Nusa Dua, Indonesia
President Yoon Suk-yeol of South Korea is seen ahead of a working lunch at the G20 Summit on November 15, 2022 in Nusa Dua, Indonesia. Leon Neal/ Getty Images

As U.S.-China tensions escalate, Korea must chart a new path, establishing a framework to address foreign policy issues in a non-ideological, non-partisan manner that garners broad public support. Continue reading > 

Why Korea’s Future Depends on its Universities

A university building lobby with people sitting and talking.

For Korea to leap into the future, its universities need to be revitalized. As it pursues educational reforms, the Yoon administration must remember that the country’s future depends on its universities. Continue reading > 

The Path Ahead for Yoon

 South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol waves a national flag during the celebration of the 77th National Liberation Day at Presidential House on August 15, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol waves a national flag during the celebration of the 77th National Liberation Day at Presidential House on August 15, 2022 in Seoul. Ahn Young-Joon - Pool/ Getty Images

Amidst a global crisis of leadership, President Yoon could learn from his mistakes and elevate Korea as a staunch defender of democracy. The choice is his to make. Continue reading >

Will Hallyu Swell to a Tidal Wave? Korea's Future as a Cultural Superpower

Members of K-pop band BTS speak at a press briefing at the White House.
(L-R) V, Jungkook, Jimin, RM, Jin, J-Hope and Suga of K-pop group BTS speak at the daily press briefing at the White House on May 31, 2022. BTS met with U.S. President Joe Biden to discuss Asian inclusion and representation, and to discuss the recent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. Kevin Dietsch/ Getty Images

The Korean Wave, which has unique characteristics and continues to evolve in intriguing directions, could become a first mover on the global cultural scene. Continue reading >

Beyond Representation: How Diversity Can Unleash Korea’s Innovation

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol speaks on the government supplementary budget at the National Assembly on May 16, 2022 in Seoul.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol speaks on the government supplementary budget at the National Assembly on May 16, 2022 in Seoul. Jeon Heon-Kyun/ Getty Images

A social and corporate culture that values and enforces conformity surely cannot be a wellspring of creativity and innovation. Korean society must find a new source of vitality. Enhancing diversity to stimulate innovation and change could be the answer. Continue reading >

In the Wake of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, Korea Should Join Its Peers in Defending the Liberal International Order

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the South Korean parliament via video link.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the South Korean parliament via video link at the National Assembly on April 11, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea. Chung Sung-Jun/ Getty Images

If the international order undergoes a fundamental realignment as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there will be significant ramifications for South Korea. To successfully chart a safe course for South Korea in its foreign relations, the Yoon Suk-Yeol government must be highly attuned to the twists and turns of today’s geopolitical undercurrents. Continue reading >

In Troubled Waters: South Korea’s Democracy in Crisis

Yoon Suk-yeol speaks during a press conference
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol speaks during a press conference on March 20, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea. Yoon announced his decision to move the presidential office to the defense ministry compound in Seoul’s central district of Yongsan immediately after his inauguration on May 10. Jung Yeon-Je/ Getty Images

This essay seeks not only to evaluate the decline of South Korea’s democracy over the past 10 years from a comparative perspective but also to provide an outside view of the historic tasks facing the Yoon administration as it prepares to set sail. Continue reading >

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