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This Week in South Korea: Polls, Live Fire and Sanctions

South Korea heads to the polls to elect a new president next week. If the opposition wins, as forecast, it is likely to mean a major change in relations with North Korea. What will this mean for South Koreans and for regional relations at this critical time?

The election is occurring against the background of provocative action by the North Korean regime, including accelerated missile testing and the largest ever live fire display. However, Dr Choi Kang, vice president of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, says North Korea’s strategic imperative to maintain economic relations with China is likely to calm the situation before long.

Dr Choi spoke with Claudia Russo of the AIIA National Office during the recent Korea-Oceania Next Generation Policy Expert Forum. They discussed the potential impact of South Korea’s presidential poll on policy towards North Korea, the Trump administration’s actions in the region, recent Chinese sanctions against South Korean business, and the difficulties emerging in the China-North Korea relationship.

Dr Choi Kang is the vice president for research and a principle fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. Previously, he was the dean of planning and assessment at the Korean National Diplomatic Academy and a South Korean delegate to the Four-Party Talks.

Interviewed by AIIA National Office intern Claudia RussoEditing by Amelia Tan.

Published May 1, 2017