BINUS International Office

The History and Politics of Indonesia and South Korea: A Comparative Perspective

On January 26th 2022, Binus International Office invited Anggia Utami Dewi, a doctoral student from Seoul National University, to talk about The Similar History & Politics of Indonesia & South Korea.

In this webinar, she shared ideas and perspectives on history and politics between South Korea and Indonesia, comparing the development in its historical and political view, and the development approach that we can learn from. Anggia Utami Dewi mentioned that there are two main questions that she will be covering with her presentation; “How similar are the historical and political backgrounds of the two countries?” and “What made the paths different?”

There were some events that she highlighted during the beginning of the session, which pointed out the similarity points between Indonesia and South Korea. There was Japanese colonialism in 1945: consolidation, economic miracle, memory of authoritarian regime, crisis and democratization. The session continued with her explanation about the brief historical timeline. She explained about what happened both in South Korea and Indonesia in a comparative way, emphasizing the similarities between the two respecting countries.

“The tragedy that occured to Indonesia in 1998, more popularly known as the 1998 Movement or Kerusuhan Mei 1998, is similar to what had happened to the Gwangju Uprising. The Indonesian university students were inspired by what happened in Korea in the late 1980s. They were trying to democratize the country, to release them from the authoritarianism that has been continued after the assasination of Park Chunghee, the previous authoritarianism leader. Chun Doohwan later succeeded Park Chunghee’s position. It is really interesting that the Indonesian case, student movement or activist movement were inspired by the tragedy in Korea.” explained Anggia Utami Dewi about one of the similarities between Indonesia and South Korea.

Another similarity that is quite interesting is the family background of both of their first female presidents. “South Korea’s president Park Geun Hye was the daughter of Korea’s first president, Park Chung Hee, and at the same time, Indonesia’s president Megawati is also the daughter of Indonesia’s first president, Soekarno” she mentioned.

She also disclosed that there were 5 development approaches that South Korea uses, which are Developmental State, Root of Confucianism, Education as Core, “Ppali Ppali Culture”, and Investment in R&D. She explained how these approaches has shaped South Korea into what they are today.