The pro-U.S. foreign policy of South Korean President Park Geun Hye is at risk now that she appears to be on her way out over a growing corruption scandal.
Park, whose approval ratings are an abysmal 4%, faces possible impeachment by South Korea’s legislature — if she doesn’t resign first — and massive street protests over the power she is accused of granting to a controversial personal friend, Choi Soon-sil. Prosecutors allege that Choi, the daughter of a deceased cult leader who mentored Park, used her relationship with Park to extort $68 million in corporate donations to foundations Choi controlled, and invested the money.
Such voices have already spoken out. Chung-in Moon, a foreign affairs adviser to South Korea’s opposition, in September called for suspending joint military exercises with the United States and for encouraging dialogue with the North. Such a move by South Korea would be seen as a step toward rejecting the U.S. security umbrella in the region that has existed since the 1950s, said Yun Sun, an analyst at the Stimson Center, a Washington think tank.
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