This briefing comes from Korea View, a weekly newsletter published by the Korea Economic Institute. Korea View aims to cover developments that reveal trends on the Korean Peninsula but receive little attention in the United States. If you would like to sign up, please find the online form here.
Implications: The revisions to rules on who is eligible to receive face masks from South Korean nationals may reflect society’s views on who is considered part of the pan-Korean community. Most notably, the new rules no longer require recipients to be South Korean citizens. While not a conclusive signal of how the country as a whole treats nationality, it may hint at a more inclusive interpretation of what it means to be Korean.
Context: A In early March, the South Korean government banned the export of face masks as a necessary measure to ease domestic supply shortages. An exception to this restriction was made for South Korean citizens who lived overseas. According to Korea Customs Service, South Korean nationals sent more than 5.02 million masks to family members abroad between March 24 and June 19.
Korea View was edited by Yong Kwon with the help of James Constant, Sonia Kim, and Ingyeong Park.
Picture from the user Republic of Korea on Flickr