Yoon Suk-yeol was elected as South Korean president last week following his anti-feminist campaign and stern views on North Korea.
The newest South Korean president begins his five-year long term in May, after narrowly beating his competing candidate by 0.79% of votes. The former chief prosecutor has no experience in elected office or a past in foreign policy. However, Yoon’s stance on feminism and South Korea’s unpredictable neighbour has brought him to notoriety.
In the lead up to his surprise win, Yoon used his campaign to fuel the fire of growing anti-feminist movements in South Korea. He blames feminism for the country’s low birth rate. These movements are in response to equally flourishing women’s rights across the country. His win shows how easily progress can be taken away from those who have dedicated their livelihoods to chasing it.
His new policies include the role of women in the community, particularly motherhood and wedlock. His ideas include the abolishment of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family; champions of women’s rights who provide support and funding for various women’s programs. These include survivors of sex crimes, migrant women and so on.
Yoon is determined to replace the ministry with a new institution that prioritises children and family, which leaves female minority groups wondering where they can turn to seek support.
However, following Yoon’s win, he denied any sort of anti-feminist campaigning, stating that,
“I have never tried to divide genders. I’ve been misunderstood and attacked throughout the race; what reason do I have to divide men and women?”
Relationship with North Korea
Yoon has been quick to criticize previous SK president Moon Jae-in, who went to great lengths to keep the peace with Kim Jong Un. This involved not speaking on the evident human rights abuse in North Korea as well as restraining anti-Kim messages from activists.
In response to Moon’s leniency to Kim’s unpredictable nuclear stance, Yoon is promising to take the opposite approach and will no longer walk on eggshells around the supreme leader.
“The case of Ukraine shows that you cannot protect national security and peace with paper and ink.”
However, Yoon has expressed his desire to meet with Kim and mutually discuss the two countries’ relationship but will not go easy if (or when) challenged.
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