Steven Borowiec is a freelance journalist based in Seoul. His articles have appeared in the Toronto Star, the Guardian, GlobalPost, the Chicago Tribune and other outlets.
Articles written by Steven Borowiec
Park Geun-hye’s term as South Korean president begins at a time of serious tension on the Korean Peninsula, following North Korea’s nuclear test earlier this month. Despite Park’s campaign promises to mend ties with Pyongyang, which have deteriorated, North Korea’s third nuclear test, a general climate of discord and the composition of Park’s government will make an improvement in relations unlikely. more
With global temperatures on the rise, melting ice is making the Arctic more accessible, opening up shipping routes for global trade as well as areas containing sizable deposits of minerals and fossil fuels. As the five nations with Arctic coastlines address how to manage these new opportunities and the challenges they raise, South Korea is actively seeking to overcome its geography and gain a seat at the table. more
In the months leading up to South Korea’s April 11 parliamentary elections, it looked like the liberal opposition was poised for an easy victory driven by voters who were sick of corruption and income inequality and in search of something new. Instead, voters bolstered the majority of the ruling New Frontier Party, signifying a shift back to conservative tendencies in the country’s electorate. more
Historical antagonisms are again preventing Japan and South Korea from cooperating on important issues. Despite being neighbors with a range of shared economic and security interests, unsettled grievances -- in particular, the Dokdo Islands territorial dispute and the so-called comfort women of World War II -- continue to damage relations between two of Asia’s largest military and economic powers.
Kim Jong Il’s death has introduced a potent new variable into South Korean politics at a time when the South’s traditional political parties are struggling to stay relevant amid waning support. With both general and presidential elections scheduled next year, this vulnerability may tempt the North to engage in provocation, while making it difficult for the South to respond cohesively.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak arrived for a state visit to Washington in October in time to celebrate the passage by the U.S. Congress of the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement. But in South Korea, the bill continues to face opposition. In fact, due to political changes in South Korea, the friction over the FTA could be just the first sign of deteriorating relations between the two countries. more