South Korea’s impeachment heralds major test for US alliance
SEOUL, South Korea – The ouster of South Korea’s president ushers in an era of uncertainty for its longstanding alliance with the United States at a critical time as the threat from North Korea is growing.
Tens of thousands of South Koreans waved flags and pumped candles in the air Saturday as they celebrated the constitutional court’s historic decision to impeach President Park Geun-hye.
Amid the chants and banners with slogans against Park were calls for the removal of an advanced U.S. anti-missile battery known as THAAD, less than a week after the military began shipping launchers and other parts to the divided peninsula.
“Park go to jail; THAAD go back to the U.S.,” one woman said as she addressed the crowd packed into the Seoul square that has been ground zero for anti-Park protesters. A musical group performed a catchy anti-THAAD song and dance.
THAAD opposition is the clearest sign that the road ahead may be rocky for U.S.-South Korean relations. But South Korea’s shift in power also raises the possibility of differences over ways to deal with an increasingly menacing North and economic powerhouse China.
The frontrunner in the campaign for elections to replace Park, which must be held within 60 days, is Moon Jae-in, who favors engagement with North Korea over military threats and has said the decision to deploy THAAD should be reviewed.
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