“They’ve been fighting for 20 years. But in less than a year, (this government) created a third-party reimbursement plan which includes a lot of distorted facts. I fear that this issue will come up again. And in fact, Japan is also worried about that,” said Professor of History and Politics at Sejong University Yuji Hosaka.
But the political novice has surprised his detractors on other fronts. In December, he successfully quelled widespread trucker strikes by taking a hardline stance to crack down on illegal labour unions while refusing any concessions.
President Yoon also took a decisive stance to side with the United States amid its growing rivalry with China for supremacy in the region. Last month he went on a state visit to Washington, where he received a red-carpet treatment from US President Joe Biden.
STANCE ON NORTH KOREA
He has also been acting tough with North Korea, which has carried out an unprecedented number of missile tests since last year.
However, when Mr Yoon won the presidential race with the narrowest margin in history a year ago, he vowed to unite a deeply divided nation. Many in South Korea would argue that it has yet to happen.
“For any government, the number one priority is to push for the reunions of separated families. But because North Korea refuses to have any dialogue, no matter how much effort our government makes, I think it will be difficult to hold reunions for separated families,” said Dr Oh Gyeong-seob, research fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification.
“South and North Korea relations are in a very frustrating situation right now.”