The South Korean Constitutional Court on Friday upheld the parliament's decision to impeach Park Geun-hye, making her the first democratically elected president in the country to be deposed. Park may also face criminal charges.
A few months back, when Park's close friend Choi Soon-sil was first exposed of wrongdoing, few people thought Park would be impeached. But as her misdeeds including her involvement in Choi's illegal profiteering and graft by herself were disclosed one by one, the true life of Park startled South Korea and the entire world.
The impeachment of Park has no direct connection with its diplomatic policies. However, if the leader of the opposition party is elected president later, South Korea may have a chance to shift diplomatic policies.
During the first half of Park's presidency, China-South Korea relations changed for the better, as Seoul maintained a balance between Beijing and Washington.
Despite South Korea being an ally of the US, its trade volume with China reached more than double that with the US.
There is a strong pro-US political faction in South Korea. Whenever South Korea's relations with North Korea become strained, they would try their best to push the country back to its old route of aligning with the US.
The leader of South Korea's biggest opposition party has been leading a popular poll as a presidential contender. He holds a negative attitude toward THAAD
. South Korea may change its diplomacy if he wins the election, though the scale of change is still hard to predict.
South Korea appears to have completely overthrown Park, however, Park's policies, especially her signature work to deploy THAAD in South Korea, are still being 100 percent implemented by the caretaker government.
If Park is only a "princess" lacking the ability of judgment and easily being manipulated, then her presidential decisions should be thoroughly re-examined; if she was truly strategically visionary for the country, then her relationship with Choi would not be so scandalous.
We have to say that South Korean society's attitude toward Park is full of contradictions.
Attacking Park and in the meantime upholding her policy is not a reasonable behavior.
Park's decision to accept THAAD has pushed her country closer to the US, which is a serious geopolitical mistake.
It turned South Korea from as a country benefiting from its proximity to two big countries into a pawn of the US in Asia, making it a miniature Japan instead of an independent country. If South Korea doesn't correct its path, Park's legacy would still be in control of the country, as if she remains in the presidential hall.