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A Syrian refugee family sits at the immigration office of Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Nov. 18, 2015 (Photo by Shin Jun-hee for Yonhap via AP Images).

Why South Korea’s Liberal Government Isn’t Taking In Asylum-Seekers

Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series on immigration and integration policy around the world.

Hundreds of Yemeni asylum-seekers found their way to the South Korean resort island of Jeju this summer, sparking protests in a country that does not have a long history of dealing with foreigners of different ethnicities. Over 700,000 South Koreans have since signed a petition calling on the government to limit the entry of asylum-seekers, forcing President Moon Jae-in’s administration to scramble in response to the backlash. In an interview with WPR, Darcie Draudt, a doctoral candidate in political science at Johns Hopkins University who specializes in Korean affairs, discusses the history of refugees and asylum-seekers in South Korea and explains why even a liberal government there has difficulty opening its doors to those in need. ...

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