The past that keeps throttling South Korea's future

Since May 2017, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has tried to create a more competitive model for Asia's No. 4 economy. At every turn, though, the past keeps getting in the way.

Seoul's brawl with arch-rival Japan is a prime example of how old baggage stymies progress. North Korea's tired antics, meantime, have taken Mr Moon's eye off the prize he promised voters: faster growth and higher incomes. Yet, nothing haunts South Korea's tomorrow more than a corporate system stuck in yesteryear. Look no further than the latest plot twist in the Samsung drama.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2019, with the headline 'The past that keeps throttling South Korea's future'. Print Edition | Subscribe