Using a synthesized model with system- and individual-level variables, this article explains how policy makers in the Park Geun-hye administration produced a series of abrupt foreign policy decisions on the issues of comfort women, the Kaesong Industrial Complex, and THAAD deployment. The article finds that President Park and her aides were confronted with external challenges that encompassed increased DPRK’s provocations, China’s lukewarm responses to those provocative actions, and US pressure to strengthen the US-ROK-Japan security triangle. In responding to such challenges, the ROK’s decision makers abruptly made foreign policy decisions which had many negative consequences due to the lack of institutionalized discussions among policy makers, their insensitivity to public opinion, and the influence of a secret advisory group led by Choi Soon-sil.
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