South Korean presidential nominee Yoon Suk-yeol announcing his candidacy, Seoul, June 2021
Pool / Reuters

In just over half a century, South Korea has undergone a dramatic transformation from a poor, authoritarian country devastated by war to an economically dynamic, culturally rich, and resilient democracy. It is a major trade hub and a technological powerhouse. And its pop culture has gone global in recent years, as the boy band BTS and the hit Netflix series Squid Game have become household names.

The country has come a long way, but it can become an even more responsible and respected member of the international community. The incumbent South Korean administration has been guided by a parochial and

Finish reading this article for free.

Enter your email and we'll send a paywall-free link directly to your inbox.

In addition to your unlocked article, you will receive our flagship weekly newsletter Foreign Affairs This Week, as well as occasional updates and offers from Foreign Affairs. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, visit our user agreement and privacy policy.


Get unlimited access to all Foreign Affairs. Subscribe now.

Are you already a subscriber? Sign in.