South Korean President Park Geun-hye delivers an address to the nation in Seoul, November 2016.

President Park Geun-hye of South Korea is in the biggest fight of her political life. She is in the midst of a political scandal involving allegations of corruption and that her close personal friend and “shaman,” Choi Soon-sil, was a shadowy, Rasputin-like figure who generally functioned as the president’s puppetmaster. Park is believed to have shared classified government documents with Choi, who has no security clearance. Choi also, allegedly, used her connections and influence to shape state policy, pocket millions in corporate donations, and rig her daughter’s admission to Seoul’s prestigious Ewha Women’s University.

The Choi scandal has, at a time of economic trouble and increasing tensions with North Korea, thrown the Park administration’s handling of state affairs into question, and outraged many ordinary citizens. Over the past two weeks, massive numbers of South Koreans have hit the streets, calling for Park’s resignation and

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  • KATHARINE H.S. MOON is Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. She is author of Protesting America: Democracy and US-Korea Relations (University of California Press, 2012). DUYEON KIM is Nonresident Fellow at the Georgetown University Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and Visiting Senior Fellow at the Korean Peninsula Future Forum.
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