To the editor: The impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye has prompted widespread concern, but her country is not paralyzed. (“After the impeachment, uncertainty reigns in South Korea,” Dec. 9)
While South Korea’s version of the global populist wave has come swiftly and forcefully, the political process post-impeachment is now in the hands of the tested (the 2004 example of President Roh Moo-hyun) and well-respected Constitutional Court. The National Assembly is functioning, passing the 2017 budget on time on Dec. 3. Amid the tumult, South Korea’s defense minister signed a key military intelligence sharing agreement with Japan on Nov. 23.
In view of North Korea’s reckless nuclear weapons program, the U.S. government has assured Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn that it remains a “steadfast ally,” as did Donald Trump shortly after the U.S. election. South Korea can rely on the security benefit of this strong alliance as it works out its domestic political challenges with what is sure to be its characteristic noisiness and resilience.
Thomas J. Byrne, New York
The writer is president of the Korea Society.