How President Trump Will Affect South Korea

How President Trump Will Affect South Korea


On the morning of Wednesday 9th, my producer joked that Donald Trump could win the election. “Haha,” I said, “He won’t win. He can’t win.” How sweetly naïve I was.

Then at 2pm in Korea, that publicly racist and sexist man, Donald Trump, became the 45th President of the most powerful country in the world. Right now, I am still reeling in shock, and so is the rest of the world. Many are wondering, how will Trump’s presidency affect South Korea?

Military

Donald Trump has mentioned his dissatisfaction with the 28,000 American troops stationed in South Korea. The purpose of their presence is to prevent and deter potential North Korean attacks, however if South Korea fails to pay for this military security, Trump has threatened to withdraw this military assistance.

American soldiers leaving South Korea has been met with a mixed response. Those who do not believe they are necessary, and those with anti-American sentiment are happy with this decision. Korea currently provides $808 million for American troops, so if Trump pulls them out, some consider it a huge financial burden lifted from Korea’s economy.

Others speculate that South Korea could appear weaker, which could stir up North Korean aggression. In fact, many people are unsure how North Korea would even react to president Trump. This uncertainty only causes concern, not reassurance.

Economy

Currently, South Korea has a free trade agreement with the US meaning that exporting and importing goods between the two countries is easier and encouraged. Trump has mentioned that he would renegotiate this agreement because it has reduced job opportunities in America.

South Korea’s once booming economy has been slowing down as of late, due to the limited growth, reduced exports and aging population. Some predict that higher trade barriers would only be making Korea’s economy worse.

However, it’s not all bad news. Some speculate that a change is needed to shake up companies and could even open up opportunities for South Korean industries. With Brexit already cutting valuable Western ties, South Korea’s financial authorities aren’t too happy.

Society

While the biggest concerns are trade and security, would Trump’s reign affect the day to day lives of Korean residents? Trump has been mocked very publicly in the media, and many of his scandals have hit the headlines. Due to this, most young Koreans are not too keen on him being the leader of America.

The allure of the ‘American dream’ has been slightly tarnished. Although this may not faze some people, others may think twice before jumping on a one-way flight. Anti-Trump Korean-Americans are baffled, and maybe would be more willing to stay in Korea.

In the worst case scenario, if troops do pull out and South Korea loses all ties with the US, South Korea will be in a very unique position of not being so heavily influenced by America. Seeing as Korean youth culture and society has been becoming more westernised, this could result in an interesting cultural shift that is solely independent, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

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17 Comments

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  1. 3
    Kayley Chislett

    I am in absolute shock…maybe I too was naive but I really thought that the last few states were were all the blue votes would be! It’s a bit of a scary situation to try and imagine what if and what could happen – I really have no idea, but all of these have been going through my head too!

  2. 7
    Kate Carter Hickey

    It’s my understanding that North Korea has a huge military force. Whether they’re well-fed enough to actually do anything is another story completely. The United States Armed Forces tend to take their roles as “Police of the World” pretty seriously. I’ll be interested to see just what comes about as we approach the official changeover.

  3. 9
    Rocio Cadena

    Very interesting read. You know, none of us can predict what Trump’s presidency (UGH. It pains me to even swallow the weight that these words carry.) means for the US or on a global scale. We can sit here and speculate but none of us know. We can simply hope that half the things we promised during his inflamed campaign were empty. And until he assumes the role of president, it’s almost futile and unhealthy to think of the endless what if’s.

  4. 11
    Emre

    Two days after the election Trump has already reversed his stance about pulling out American troops. He’s a demagogue. His words during the campaign can’t be trusted. We will have to wait and see how he rules although I wished he wouldn’t be able to rule at all.

    • 12
      Nicky Kim

      That’s really interesting. Thanks for letting me know! The only thing we can do now is just watch what he will do. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if he went back and changed his stance…again…

  5. 13
    Alla Ponomareva

    Most politician’s promises during their campaigns are rarely transferred into action once they are in the office. We’ll just have to wait and see what he does and doesn’t do. Speculation is interesting, but we shouldn’t forget just to live in the moment and take each day as it comes, otherwise we’re just anxious, stressed and become worry-warts before he is even inaugurated.

    • 14
      Nicky Kim

      Yeah, that’s SO important to remember. Luckily, some people are already saying that Trump’s presidency won’t make a huge change. Hopefully I will get used to saying “president Trump” BLEAURGHHH

  6. 15
    Izzy

    As an American POC, the results of this election have wounded me deeply. I cried all day long the day of the election, waking up with a sinking feeling he would come out on top. At first, I was contemplating permanent expatriatism but having been able to reflect for the past few days, I’m more determined than ever to return to the States next summer and do my best to be part of the resistance. Totally support the #notmyamerica movement. Right now, the hatred towards all ethnicities have been increasing rampantly. Actually been reading that Koreans in the US are getting thrown racial slurs more freely. it’s so scary! Currently dating a half Korean-half American and I am Filipino so for us and our future, this is all very personal. 🙁

    • 16
      Nicky Kim

      I’m not even American (Korean-brit here) and my heart literally hurt when ‘President Trump’ was announced. I can only imagine how terrified other American female minorities are feeling. 🙁 This is a HUGE step back. I support you on your decision to stay strong and move back to the US. After all, corruption is everywhere, it’s better to fight against than run away.

  7. 17
    Jackie

    I was very surprised, too! I honestly didn’t expect it. But after awhile it made sense to me why some people would vote for him.
    In the Philippines, some people shrug him off thinking we won’t be affected. But like what you’re saying about South Korea, I know it’s also going to affect Southeast Asia..

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