The Republic of Korea is a constitutional democracy governed by a president and a unicameral legislature. Observers considered the presidential election in 2017 and the 2020 legislative elections free and fair.
The Korean National Police Agency, under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, is responsible for internal security over land, and the Korea Coast Guard has jurisdiction over the sea. The National Intelligence Service investigates suspected criminal activity related to national security. Civilian authorities maintained effective control over security forces, and the government utilized effective mechanisms to investigate and punish abuse of power.
Significant human rights issues included credible reports of restrictions on freedom of expression, including the existence of criminal libel laws; government corruption; lack of investigation of and accountability for violence against women; and laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults in the military.
The government took steps to identify, investigate, prosecute, and punish officials for corruption and human rights abuses.