The New York Times analyzed the Moon Jae-in administration’s successful handling of COVID-19 as reason behind the ruling party’s landslide victory in the recent general elections in South Korea. “The prospects for Mr. Moon’s party did not look good until less than two months ago. He and his party’s approval ratings had been slumping over a decaying job market… and scandals involving Mr. Moon’s closest allies. They were criticized for underestimating the threat of coronavirus,” said the NYT, adding that his popularity “rebounded at just the right time” with foreign leaders asking South Korea for supplies of test kits.
“It’s time to learn out lesson and just get the job done,” said The Washington Post, stressing that a careful preparation would obviate the need to postpone the presidential election in November or adopt a mail-in voting system.
“The ruling Democratic Party of Korea pledged to overcome COVID-19 as their election slogan, and the Unified Future Party vowed to render judgment to the current administration, but the public grew more favorable towards the ruling party,” said the foreign version of China’s state-issued People’s Daily. “The election results will add momentum to judicial reforms, the Korean administration’s pending legislative agenda.”
Japanese media outlets predicted that the win of the ruling party in Korea will make it difficult to improve the bilateral relations between Tokyo and Seoul. “The landslide win by Korea’s ruling party, which has been rather strict on historical issues involving Japan, means Mr. Moon’s diplomacy might grow more hawkish towards Japan,” the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun predicted.