The Impact of the U.S. Presidential Election on Korea1)
The 46th U.S. presidential election was held on November 3. Republican Party Donald Trump and Democrat Party Joe Biden were candidates on the ballots. The scuffle between the two candidates came to a head during their first TV debate. The two candidates held discussions on six topics: personal identity, the US Federal Supreme Court, the economy, COVID-19, race and violence, and electoral integrity. However, the entire 95 minutes were a series of interrupting and personal attacks. Trump tried to frame Biden as a "socialist" and "unstable candidate" and emphasize his achievements during his term. Emphasizing the failure of the COVID-19 response, Biden tried to frame Trump as "racist" and "liar." CNN described the TV debate as chaotic and experts called it vicious and ugly. The war between the two candidates grew stronger when Trump was confirmed COVID-19 positive. Stanford University said the Trump campaign resulted in more than 30,000 COVID-19 confirmed cases and more than 700 deaths. In response, spokesman Courtney Perrella stressed constitutional rights and said there was no problem with the campaign. Biden, on the other hand, criticized Perrella’s comment, calling the campaign "super propagator." Vote tallying began on the 3rd amid a battle between the two candidates. The result took time due to the U.S. electoral vote, but the result was a Biden victory.
The U.S. presidential election result will affect Korea greatly. The first impact will be in economics. Similar to Trump, Biden has stated protectionism in his pledges. Non-tariff barriers are expected to be maintained regardless of the outcome of the presidential election. Also, U.S. pressure regarding the FTA agreement is expected to continue. However, given that Biden is highly likely to return to multilateral cooperation, the loss is expected to be reduced if a prompt response such as CPTPP is taken. The second impact will be felt in politics. Biden appears relatively gentler than the current U.S. Administration. He said he would press the North Korean government to stop its human rights abuses and wishes to approach the Korea-US issue slowly through alliance and coordination. In addition, Biden claims the U.S. has been extorting Korea especially in terms of defense costs. Meanwhile, Trump continues to protest the election results. A number of Republican politicians and even his own family have started to criticize him for his attitude. Nevertheless, some people faithful to Trump have insisted on fighting to the bitter end. As a result, people are paying attention to whether his protest about the election results will lead to more lawsuits.
1) Lee Kyungmi, ''Whoever It Is, the Uncertainty in the Korean Economy Grows.'', HANKYOREH, October 27, 2020