Yoon Suk-yeol

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Yoon Suk-yeol

윤석열
Born18 December 1960
Seoul, Republic of Korea
NationalityKorean
Political orientationAnti-communism
Anti-feminism
Right-libertarianism
Political partyPeople Power Party


Yoon Suk-yeol (born 18 December 1960) is a Korean politician and the current president of south Korea since May 2022. He ran as part of the far-right People Power Party and campaigned of abolishing the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. He also praises Milton Friedman and has suppressed workers' strikes.[1] Since he came into office, there have been numerous protests among south Koreans calling for the end of Korea-U.S. joint military exercises and calling for Yoon to resign.[2][3]

Yoon has expressed typical anti-communist rhetoric, making statements such as "the forces of communist totalitarianism have always disguised themselves as democracy activists, human rights advocates or progressive activists while engaging in despicable and unethical tactics and false propaganda" and "the forces of communist totalitarianism — both true believers and opportunistic followers — are carrying out psychological warfare designed to disrupt our free society through fabricated narratives, propaganda and demagoguery, and they’ll never stop doing so."[4]

Yoon sings one of his favorite songs, "American Pie" at U.S. president Joe Biden's request, at a White House state dinner in 2023.[5]

In 2023, Yoon appointed Kim Young-ho as minister of south Korea's Ministry of Unification. Kim Young-ho has argued for the overthrow of DPRK and that south Korea should arm itself with its own nuclear weapons as well as redeploy US tactical nuclear weapons in Korea. While the Yoon administration's official position is supposedly against a strategy of "unification through absorption" of DPRK as well as against the redeployment of nuclear weapons, the appointment demonstrates the Yoon administration's aims to increase the weaponization of the Ministry of Unification rather than use it as an apparatus of north-south reconciliation.[6]

Under Yoon's administration, the Ministry of Education proposed to remove discussion of the Jeju massacre out of school history books.[7]

The Yoon administration has targeted leaders of progressive groups and labor movements with multiple police raids, accusing them of having links to DPRK. For example, on January 18, 2023, investigators from south Korea's National Intelligence Service and National Police Agency forcibly entered and conducted a raid at the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. Four people were the prime targets of the raid. These include a senior KCTU leader, one official each from its affiliates, the Korean Health and Medical Workers’ Union and the Korean Metal Workers’ Union, and a union organizer and anti-war activist from Jeju Island.[8]

In 2022, Yoon accused media outlets of spreading fake news about him and threatened to sue them after a controversial recording of him cursing after meeting Joe Biden went viral. Although not completely clear in the audio, Yoon's apparent statement was "if those bastards in Congress don't pass this, Biden's going to be so embarrassed," apparently referring to $6 billion in funding Biden had pledged for the Global Fund. Yoon denies this interpretation of his statement, claiming he was talking about south Korea's National Assembly.[9][10]

Family[edit | edit source]

Members of Yoon's family have been subject to controversy over allegations of white-collar crimes. In 2023, Yoon's mother-in-law, Choi Eun-sun, was sentenced to one year in prison for forging loan documents. In 2021, she was also sentenced to three years in prison for the separate crime of illegally receiving government subsidies for a nursing home, but her conviction was overturned on appeal in December 2022.[11][12] Yoon's wife, Kim Geon-hee, a former art curator, has been accused of plagiarizing her doctoral dissertation.[13]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Otis Grotewohl (2023-01-18). "Defend North Korea against U.S., South Korean provocations — WW Commentary" Workers World. Archived from the original on 2023-01-18. Retrieved 2023-01-23.
  2. Jeongmin Kim. “What to Make of the Large-Scale Protests against Yoon Suk-Yeol in Seoul.” KOREA PRO. October 24, 2022. Archived 2023-01-09.
  3. Frank Smith. “‘South Korean Unionists Protest US-South Korea War Games.’” PressTV News. August 13, 2022. Archived 2022-08-28.
  4. Kim Mi-na, Son Hyun-soo, Kang Jae-gu. “The Origins of Yoon’s Anti-Communist Politics.” Hankyoreh. August 31,2023. Archived 2023-09-01.
  5. Han-joo, Kim. "Yoon thinks his 'American Pie' rendition at White House state dinner was quite good." Yonhap News Agency. May 3, 2023. Archived 2023-05-22.
  6. Shin Hyeong-cheol. “Yoon Seats N. Korea Hawk at Helm of Unification Ministry.” Hankyoreh, June 30, 2023. Archived 2023-09-01.
  7. “Yoon Administration Takes Jeju Massacre out of History Textbooks.” The Blue Roof. December 26, 2022. Archived 2023-09-01.
  8. “Outrage Mounts after Korean Confederation of Trade Unions Is Raided by Intelligence and Police.” Peoples Dispatch. January 18, 2023. Archived 2023-09-01.
  9. Yim Hyun-su. "Clear violation of press freedom in Korea over Yoon hot-mic dispute." The Korea Herald. October 5, 2022. Archived 2023-09-01.
  10. “South Korea’s Yoon Scapegoats Media after U.S. Hot-Mic Slur.” Nikkei Asia. September 29, 2022. Archived 2023-06-19.
  11. “Yoon Suk-Yeol’s Mother-In-Law Sentenced to Prison.” The Blue Roof. August 7, 2023.
  12. Kim Gi-seong. “Yoon Suk-Yeol’s Mother-In-Law Handed 1-Year Sentence for Forging Financial Documents.” Hankyoreh. Jul.24, 2023.
  13. Boram, Park. "University launches probe into plagiarism allegations on first lady's master's thesis." Yonhap News Agency. January 3, 2023.