Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

South Korea’s New President-Elect Wants to Beef Up Privatization and U.S. Militarization in the Pacific

A winner has emerged in what has been dubbed South Korea’s “unlikable election.” Winner and opposition candidate Yoon Suk-yeol has made inflammatory remarks about Chinese residents and women and loves U.S. imperialism.

Sam Carliner

March 10, 2022
Facebook Twitter Share

Right-winger Yoon Suk-yeol has emerged as the winner of South Korea’s presidential election after a neck-and-neck race. Korean media dubbed this race the “unlikeable election” due to both candidates’ unpopularity, since both were embroiled in corruption scandals and supportive of a larger U.S. military presence in the Pacific.

This election came amid an economic crisis for South Korea, which has been hit especially hard by supply chain disruptions due to its economy’s reliance on exports. South Korea is also in a precarious geopolitical situation. As competition between the United States and China has been increasing, South Korean capitalists have been forced to pursue an unsustainable balancing act between relations with the United States, which is South Korea’s largest military partner, and China, which is South Korea’s largest trading partner. This is the context of the recent political shake-up in which a conservative populist eked out a victory over the traditional neoliberal candidate.

Yoon, of the conservative and misleadingly named People’s Power Party, has been referred to as “Korea’s Trump,” a nickname that comes from his inflammatory comments about immigrants and his opposition to gender equality. On International Women’s Day, Yoon disavowed “feminism” to signal to his base of anti-women voters that they would not have to question his commitment to rolling back women’s rights. He has promised to abolish the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, which provides support to sexual assault survivors and single mothers. Along with fueling reactionary anti-women sentiments in South Korea, which have been on the rise, Yoon has also fueled rising anti-China sentiments, discussing Chinese residents as a burden on South Korea’s healthcare system.

This rhetoric is particularly dangerous in the context of U.S. imperialism’s growing focus on containing China. As part of his closer alignment with U.S. interests, Yoon has signaled that he will take a more aggressive stance on North Korea, which is more or less an ally of China and has long been a target of U.S. imperialism. Yoon has said that South Korea’s current government is too ambiguous on where it stands and has made clear that as president, he intends to bring South Korea closer into U.S. imperialism’s orbit by working more closely with the Quad and AUKUS alliances, which exist as part of U.S. imperialism’s focus on encircling China. As the governments of Japan, Australia, and now possibly South Korea work to expand U.S. military control of the Pacific, the threat of a military conflict between the United States and China increases.

Along with putting South Korea’s working class in danger by helping to expand U.S. imperialism’s presence in the Pacific, Yoon also threatens workers with policies that will give more control of the economy to the private sector. He wants to deregulate South Korea’s virtual asset industry and to allow the private sector, not the government, to lead “job creation.” Amidst a housing crisis in South Korea, Yoon also plans to deregulate the housing market and let it be guided by “market principles.”

Yoon is a danger for South Korea’s working class, particularly immigrant workers and women. As he positions himself to get closer with the U.S. military, one of the most anti-worker institutions in the world, it is essential that the U.S. working class grow its international solidarity with workers in East Asia whose lives are threatened by their national bourgeoisie and a growing competition between the United States and China over control of the Pacific.

Facebook Twitter Share

Sam Carliner

Sam Carliner is a socialist with a background in journalism. He mainly writes for Left Voice about US imperialism. He also tweets about imperialism as @saminthecan.


Students in Sydney on March 25, 2022, during a protest highlighting inadequate progress to address climate change.

Australia’s Election and the Tasks for the Left: Interview with an Australian Socialist

Following Australia’s election which demonstrated a rejection of Scott Morrison’s anti-climate and anti-worker policies, we spoke with Red Flag writer Jerome Small for a socialist perspective on the political moment in Australia.

Left Voice

May 31, 2022

Japanese Residents Demand a Ban on U.S. Military Noise Pollution

A group of plaintiffs in the Japanese city of Iwakuni is ready to launch a lawsuit to ban flights from a local U.S. military base.

Sam Carliner

May 9, 2022
Trade unions protest during a nationwide strike demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his cabinet, blaming them for creating the country's worst economic crisis in decades, in front of the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on April 28, 2022

Millions in Sri Lanka Hold General Strike amid Historic Economic Crisis

Millions of workers in Sri Lanka held a general strike on Thursday that crippled the island nation. They should extend it indefinitely, ensuring that the working class doesn’t pay a cent for the country’s economic crisis.

Sou Mi

April 29, 2022

Protests Reach Fever Pitch in Sri Lanka Amid Historic Economic Crisis

In Sri Lanka, the government has imposed a state of emergency to control protests and mass anger over a deepening economic crisis that has led to debilitating shortages of food, fuel, and basic goods.

Sou Mi

April 2, 2022


Over 50 Migrants Found Dead in Texas. Biden Has Blood on His Hands.

The Biden Administration has maintained virtually all of Trump’s draconian and murderous immigration policies. Dozens have died in a trailer in Texas as a result.

Robert Belano

June 29, 2022

Feminists and Socialists across the World Mobilize in Solidarity with the Fight for Abortion Rights in the U.S.

Feminist and socialist organizations in France and Argentina staged protests over the weekend in solidarity with demonstrations in the United States against the overturn of Roe v. Wade and the attacks on bodily autonomy by the Right.

Left Voice

June 29, 2022

Teachers in NYC Pay Out of Pocket for Abortion. Healthcare Must be Accessible to All

The following is a speech by a public school teacher in NYC against the overturn of Roe v. Wade and in favor of abortion rights for all.


June 28, 2022

Thousands Protest against G7 Summit in Germany

The leaders of the seven most powerful imperialist countries are meeting in the Alps. These seven men stand for environmental destruction and militarism like no one else. That’s why protests were guaranteed.

Nathaniel Flakin

June 28, 2022