Public Ouster in North Korea Unsettles China
New York Times
North Koreans had long known Jang Song-thaek as the No. 2 figure in their country, the revered uncle and mentor of Kim Jong-un, the paramount leader. Then on Monday state-run television showed two green-uniformed guards clutching a glum-looking Mr. Jang by the armpits and pulling him from a meeting of the ruling party after he was denounced for faction-building, womanizing, gambling and other acts as dozens of former comrades watched.
The spectacle of Mr. Jang’s humiliating dismissal and arrest was a highly unusual glimpse of a power struggle unfolding inside the nuclear-armed country. But the major impact may be outside, and nowhere is the downfall more unnerving than in China.
North Korea’s ‘reign of terror’ worries South’s leader
North Korea is engaged in a purge amounting to a “reign of terror” that has claimed the scalp of the country’s second most powerful man and risks further damaging relations with the South, President Park Geun-hye said on Tuesday.
Park took office in Seoul earlier this year as North Korea conducted its third nuclear test, enraging world public opinion, and threatened to engulf its southern neighbour and its ally, the United States, in a war. The isolated state shelled a South Korean island in 2010 and is widely believed to have sunk a South Korean naval vessel in the same year.
“North Korea is currently carrying out a reign of terror, undertaking a large-scale purge in order to strengthen Kim Jong Un’s power,” Park told a cabinet meeting, part of which was broadcast on television.
Kim Jong Un Dismisses Uncle From Defense Post On State Television
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has dismissed his uncle — who was considered the number two power in the country — from a key defense post. Jang Song Thaek was accused of a long list of criminal and counter-revolutionary acts. He was stripped of all power, and was seen on state television being forcibly removed from a party meeting.
Melissa Block talks with Korea-watcher Victor Cha, a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
NTSB to hold investigative hearing on Asiana crash
Five months into a probe into the cause of Asiana Airlines flight 214′s crash landing in San Francisco, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Monday it will hold an investigative hearing this week expected to provide the public with comprehensive information on the incident.
The two-day event beginning Tuesday will be led by NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman at the NTSB’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
“We are in a fact-gathering phase,” a senior NTSB official said in a roundtable meeting with Korean reporters here.
How U.S. Veteran Got Into Hot Water in North Korea
Wall Street Journal
In late October, 85-year-old U.S. citizen and Korean War veteran Merrill Newman boarded a Beijing-bound flight in Pyongyang. His journey didn’t go according to plan.
Mr. Newman’s second attempt, made with the blessing of North Korean authorities, went more smoothly. The Palo Alto, Calif. retiree, after spurning a ride home with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Air Force Two, landed back in California on Saturday.
And now he’s putting an end to the speculation about what got him in trouble in the first place. Put simply: Mr. Newman says he had no idea that the Korean War was still such a big deal to the North Korean regime.
THE KOREAN WAR PRISONER WHO NEVER CAME HOME
The New Yorker
Somewhere inside the walls of the Old Cemetery in the central Slovakian city of Žilina lies the grave of a United States Army corporal named John Roedel Dunn. This may seem unremarkable: more than a hundred thousand American soldiers are buried in European cemeteries, on ground considered, by convention, to be American soil. But Dunn’s plot isn’t a war grave, exactly, and the conflict that put him there was fought five thousand miles away. Corporal Dunn was the last Korean War prisoner who never came home.
The ordeal of Merrill Newman, an eighty-five-year-old American veteran who was detained while visiting North Korea in October, provided yet another reminder that the armistice agreement that stopped the fighting did not end the war. The reasons for Newman’s arrest onboard a plane leaving Pyongyang have not been made clear, but the fact that he worked during the war with a unit of anti-Communist guerrillas in the North seems to have been a factor. Before he was released from North Korea and sent home on Saturday, he was dragged before cameras to recite an awkward, forced apology, in which he confessed to “indelible offensive acts against the Korean people.”
EXCLUSIVE: Meet the Love Child Rev. Sun Myung Moon Desperately Tried to Hide
When the Washington Times threw its 20th anniversary gala in 2002, conservative luminaries lined up to pay tribute, including Ronald Reagan, who addressed the packed ballroom via video. Afterward, the paper’s enigmatic founder, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, took the podium. “Even before the term ‘family value’ became a popular phrase, every day of the week the Times was publishing articles highlighting the breakdown in values and what must be done to return to a good, moral society,” he said, through a translator. “Today, family values have become an essential piece of the social fabric in America, even becoming part of the political landscape. We can be proud of the Washington Times’ contribution that promoted and elevated family values to an essential part of society in America and the world!”
Moon, the founder of the South Korea-based Unification Church, which had hundreds of thousands of adherents at its peak, claimed to be on a divine mission to salvage humanity by rebuilding the traditional family. Before his death last year at age 92, the self-proclaimed messiah—who was known for marrying off his followers in mass weddings—presided over a multibillion-dollar business empire. And he plowed huge sums of money into politics, launching a vast network of media outlets and front groups that promoted conservative family values and left a lasting mark on the modern-day GOP.
Korean Consul General’s Open House
The Korean Consul General’s official residence in Los Angeles will open its doors to the public for the very first time.
The Korean Consulate General in Los Angeles on Monday revealed its plans to host an open house event around the 20th of this month.
The Consul General’s official residence in Los Angeles was purchased back in 1972, and has been remodeled over the past 11-months at a cost of 2.7 million dollars.
Eugene adoption executive named South Korean consul
The Register-Guard (Oregon)
When Susan Soonkeum Cox first found out that the South Korean government chose her to represent Korean interests in the Willamette Valley and Southern Oregon, she felt she had come full circle with her native country.
Cox left South Korea in 1956 and arrived in the United States as a 4-year-old orphan. She grew up about 30 miles north of Eugene in Brownsville and has worked for 30 years at Holt International Children’s Services in Eugene, helping to match foreign orphaned children — many from South Korea — with adoptive parents.
“Now, for the government of Korea to appoint me as an honorary consul, it’s very satisfying,” the 61-year-old Eugene resident said Monday.
G-Dragon’s Tour Video Sates K-Pop Fans
K-Pop lovers in the country have been waiting for December, not because it’s Christmas, but for the screening this month of the “One of a Kind 3D: G-Dragon 2013 First World Tour” at Blitzmegaplex movie theaters in Indonesia.
G-Dragon, born Kwon Ji-yong, is a South Korean singer, songwriter, dancer and fashion icon. The leader of the world-famous South Korean boy band Big Bang, G-Dragon also makes solo appearances and records his own solo albums.
The 25-year-old has released three solo albums: “Heartbreaker” (2009), “One of a Kind” (2012) and “Coup d’Etat” (2013).
Boasting a strong fan base in Asia, G-Dragon undertook an extensive tour from March to September 2013, reaching out to audiences across eight Asian countries, including Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia. His concerts in Indonesia, on June 15 and 16, were packed with hundreds of thousands of young fans.
Tap-Dancing North Korean Soldiers? Yes.
Today’s video postcard from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea features three excerpts from state television broadcast. The TV in our tourist-accessible hotel received 10 channels, only one of which was an official North Korean channel. Presumably there are other channels broadcasting a more diverse range of programming, but our state media network transmitted a nearly continuous stream of patriotic music videos. The subject matter of these dated, grainy, over-acted videos invariably involved soldiers, monuments, or crashing waves.
This video compiles three short clips. The first is a live performance of dancers in soldier attire; the second demonstrates the requisite patriotic fervor and leads into a newscast; the third goes for the heartstrings, showing a wounded soldier, supported by his regiment. And there are even helpful subtitles (in Korean) if you’d like to sing along…
Samsung’s Curved Phone Offered On Discount in Korea
Wall Street Journal
Samsung Electronics Co.005930.SE -0.96% is getting help from South Korea’s largest carrier to drum up sales of the Galaxy Round, the company’s curved-screen smartphone, amid reports of weak demand.
Samsung and SK Telecom Co.017670.SE +0.88% on Tuesday declined to comment on the Galaxy Round’s sales since its launch in October. Samsung has so far been low-key in its efforts to sell the phone and hasn’t disclosed plans to sell it overseas. In contrast, a rival model from LG Electronics Inc.066570.SE +2.27%, called G Flex, is available for pre-orders in Singapore and will go on sale in Hong Kong later this week.
SK Telecom, the only carrier selling the Galaxy Round in Korea, is offering a discount of approximately 100,000 won ($95) to 150,000 won ($142) to anyone buying the phone together with Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch, a company spokeswoman said. The Round comes with a price tag of 1,089,000 won and the Gear sells for 396,000 won without a contract.
A team of South Korean bell-makers recently repaired the Korean Friendship Bell in San Pedro, Calif., restoring the 37-year-old gift from South Korea to the United States as the symbol of strong ties between the two countries, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Led by master bell-maker Chai Dong-hey, bell manufacturer Beom Jong Sa refurbished the Korean Friendship Bell. The bell has a special place in Chai’s heart as it was his mentor who received the request from the Korean government to help cast the bell almost 40 years ago. So when the Korean government approached Chai, 51, to repair the bell that had fallen into disrepair for years, he happily accepted the offer.
“My teacher always spoke of this bell as a child he had given up for adoption,” Chai told the Los Angeles Times through a translator. “I always wanted to come here.” (more…)
After starring in the viral YouTube video, “What Kind of Asian are You?” Stella Choe has seen her acting career get a real shot in the arm. The humorous short, released last May, highlights the common racial stereotypes often directed towards Asian Americans.
The video received over 5 million views in just 10 days and even caught the attention of renowned Korean film director, J.K. Youn, who made the disaster flick Haeundae, and was cast in an upcoming Korean blockbuster. Choe also landed a Ford commercial that is being broadcast nationally.
The professional dancer-turned-actor took the time to speak with iamKoreAm.com, reflecting on the success of the YouTube video and also talking about her upcoming projects.
What were your expectations before making “What Kind of Asian are You?” and how did you react when it went viral?
One of the writers brought up the idea after we had been at a party where pretty much the same scenario happened. They developed it into the script/skit and I loved the idea of being able to turn the tables, for just once! I was excited and nervous about getting back to acting, as I hadn’t done too much in a while except for commercial work. Getting to play off of Scott Beehner, (the clueless jogger) was a blast and the shoot was so fun, and that was pretty much all I expected. When it went viral I was shocked! What a crazy ride it’s been.
What about the video do you think made it so appealing to viewers? (more…)
Korean American artist Chang-jin Lee is hosting a “comfort station” in Taipei, Taiwan to commemorate the sacrifice of East Asian women known as “comfort women,” who were forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.
The “comfort station” is part of an exhibition by Lee whose series of works recounts the experience of the comfort women.
Lee’s Taipei exhibition is displayed in a room that resembles the “comfort station,” where the women were kept during the sexual slavery almost seven decades ago. The room displays a kimono, Japan’s traditional garment, worn by a comfort woman and a tatami mat, a wash bowl and plaques with the Japanese name given to the comfort woman kept there. (more…)
The first lady of Japan continued her long-standing support of Korean culture on Saturday, participating in a kimchi-making event in Tokyo with hundreds of people from both Japan and South Korea.
Akie Abe and approximately 200 people joined the event held to celebrate the induction of Korea’s kimchi-making culture, known as “kimjang,” to the Intangible Heritage List of UNESCO, the UN’s cultural body. Abe wore an apron and made kimchi alongside Shim Jae-ryung, the wife of Lee Byung-kee, the South Korean Ambassador to Japan.