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With Its COVID-19 Outbreak Contained, South Korea Braces for the Global Fallout

May 4, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Pedestrians wearing face masks cross an intersection in Seoul, South Korea, on April 23, 2020. In the first quarter of 2020, South Korea's economy saw its worst performance in more than a decade as COVID-19 spread across the country.

Pedestrians wearing face masks cross an intersection in Seoul, South Korea, on April 23, 2020. In the first quarter of 2020, South Korea's economy saw its worst performance in more than a decade as COVID-19 spread across the country.

(JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images)

As his country's COVID-19 outbreak wanes, South Korean President Moon Jae In is emerging from the battle stronger than ever, though the economic challenges ahead will impede his ability to translate that success into progress on his ambitious reform agenda. In early March, South Korea's epidemic was the worst outside of China, but it has since been far surpassed by COVID-19 outbreaks elsewhere. On April 30, new domestic spread in the country hit the milestone of dropping to zero after topping 10,000 cases overall. Despite its relatively quick recovery from the virus itself, however, South Korea's economic outlook will remain grim even after the rest of the world -- and in particular, its top trade partners in North America and Europe -- join it on the other side of COVID-19. In the meantime, the need to shore up growth amid a deepening global recession will delay Moon's promised progress on economic inequality...

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