S. Korea snubs Japan’s protest over Dokdo
South Korea has rejected a protest by Japan over Seoul’s annual defense report that reaffirms its bid to protect the easternmost islets of Dokdo, a senior official said Monday.
Japan recently sent the South Korean government an official letter protesting the defense white paper that made clear Seoul’s sovereignty over Dokdo, which Tokyo has also claimed as its own.
In a rebuttal letter to Japan, South Korea reiterated that, “Dokdo is an integral part of Korean territory historically, geographically, and under international law,” the foreign ministry official said on the condition of anonymity.
Drones for South Korea [EDITORIAL]
New York Times
Less than a month after North Korea’s latest missile test, the Obama administration has offered to sell South Korea advanced spy drones so it can keep a closer eye on its northern adversary. The decision raises some concerns, and Congress would be wise to ask a lot of questions before going along, including whether the deal is part of a comprehensive strategy or just a way to penalize North Korea.
The proposed $1.2 billion sale of four Global Hawks made by Northrop Grumman was first requested by South Korea several years ago. The drones, remotely piloted aircraft with enhanced surveillance technology, would expand South Korea’s intelligence-gathering capabilities when it takes over wartime control of its troops from the United States in 2015, as previously agreed. The United States has held wartime command since the Korean War; the Seoul government regained peacetime control of its military in 1994.
2013: Asia’s Time?
The most consequential developments will take place in China. Xi Jinping will assume the presidency in March. But as the Communist Party’s leader, he is already the most powerful person in the country. How will he lead? The early signs are promising. After his election, Xi’s first official visit outside Beijing took him to Shenzhen. It was a carefully considered choice. Shenzhen is a “special economic zone” – a poster child for China’s economic reforms. While there, Xi made a point of laying a wreath at a bronze statue of Deng Xiaoping, the architect of China’s fiscal reforms in the 1980s. The symbolism was clear: it is time once again for a bend in the road.
Yahoo exits S. Korea, halts service
U.S. Internet company Yahoo Inc. on Monday halted its South Korean service, pulling out of one of the world’s most wired countries after 15 years.
Yahoo will halt all products, services and content of Yahoo Korea starting Dec. 31 in addition to ending customer support in Korea on the same day, the company wrote on its Korean Web site.
In October, Yahoo announced a plan to pull out of South Korea as chief executive officer Marissa Mayer focuses more on stronger markets.
State Senate chooses Donna Kim as new president
The state Senate has reorganized behind Sen. Donna Mercado Kim as the new Senate president.
Kim (D, Kalihi Valley-Moanalua-Halawa) succeeds Shan Tsutsui, who accepted the post as lieutenant governor on Thursday.
“We are solidified in dealing with the pressing issues facing our state,” Kim said in a statement. “The Senate continues to be organized in a cooperative and focused manner. I’m humbled to receive the confidence and support of my colleagues.”
Person of the Year: Chubby You-Know-Who
Wall Street Journal
On New Year’s Eve 2011, Park Jae-sang probably shared a bottle—or seven—of soju with friends while celebrating his 35th birthday (he was born on Dec. 31, 1977).
This year, he’ll be one of the headline acts performing in New York’s Times Square.
What a year it’s been for Mr. Park, aka Psy, the undisputed person of the year in a poll of the staff of The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones in Seoul.
Year in Ideas: What a Korean rapper taught us about pop culture today
National Post (Canada)
The video for Gangnam Style, the unlikely hit from South Korean rapper/fancy dresser Psy, has been viewed on YouTube more than one billion times since June. Of these, half a billion involved people watching it so they could memorize the moves for their own Gangnam Style parody and a quarter billion that involved curious watchers who, at the end of four minutes and 13 seconds, were left baffled as to how that song became the most-watched internet video of all time. (These are estimates only.)
But aside from the fact that people still seem to get a kick out of bow ties, the Gangnam phenomenon says something about how we experience culture in an internet world. Just don’t expect Psy to be a big deal in 2013, too.
Korea Counts Down Not Just To New Year, But to New Girls’ Album
Wall Street Journal
There have been so many countdowns in South Korea over the past couple months that hardly a day went by without the “D-some number” in the corner of a TV screen. There was the annual countdown to the college entrance exam in November, then came the one for the presidential election, the end of civilization under the Mayan calendar and the end of 2012.
But anyone recently looking at South Korean entertainment news – online, on the air or in print – knows that one countdown has been dominating the scene for the few weeks: the one for the new album from Girls’ Generation.
Seoul searching: on the trail of the K-pop phenomenon
The Guardian (U.K.)
The K-pop phenomenon, spearheaded by that song, has put South Korea’s capital, Seoul, in the spotlight. We visit Gangnam to find out what all the fuss is about
The Color of K-Pop: HyunA, Yo Seob and K-Pop All-Stars Unite for Charity Singles
The holiday season in the K-pop world signifies the coming of the SBS Gayo Daejun — the end-of-year broadcast special in South Korea where celebrities come together for special performances and collaborations.
2012 marks a particularly special year as members from some of K-pop’s biggest groups will create four super idol groups, record a new single, and perform it together at SBS Gayo Daejeon. All the better, all the proceeds will go to children of low-income families through the charity Dream Orchestra.
Nebraska OL Choi draws inspiration from Hines Ward
Athens Banner-Herald (Ga.)
There would typically be no reason for a starting offensive lineman for Nebraska to feel a connection to a player who finished his college career at Georgia 15 years ago.
Seung Hoon Choi was born in Seoul, South Korea, like former Bulldogs star Hines Ward. Choi didn’t know about Ward, the now retired Super Bowl MVP receiver, until Choi began playing football as a sophomore at Christian High School in Lincoln.
“I followed him,” said Choi, a senior who started all 13 games at left guard this year. “He’s a big-timer in Seoul. I followed him quite a bit. I heard he was thinking about going to Nebraska, too.”
Young Male Skater Hopes to Follow in Kim Yu-na’s Tracks
Olympic champion Kim Yu-na’s rise to the pinnacle of world figure skating has spawned a generation of talented young skaters with stars in their eyes.
Kim Hae-jin and Park So-youn have both started making it onto the podium at international competitions as they aspire to become the next Kim Yu-na.
And now the country has a promising young male skater in the form of 16-year-old Kim Jin-seo, who won a bronze medal at the International Skating Union-sanctioned Junior Grand Prix in Austria in September.
Kwon Receives All-County and All-State Honors
Scout.com (subscription req’d)
Andy Kwon, a senior offensive lineman at North Gwinnett High School (GA), wraps up his high school career on Saturday as an All-State selection in Columbus. Kwon discusses his accomplishments and his commitment to Georgia Southern.
Singer Lee So-eun Passes U.S. Bar Exam
Singer Lee So-eun recently passed the U.S. bar exam, offering an alternative role model for Korean youngsters who regard becoming a celebrity as the be-all and end-all of existence.
For Lee, going to law school was not an escape from a flagging musical career. She has released four albums since debuting in 1998, when she was just in high school. Lee spent her childhood in the U.S. and had difficulty adjusting to school back to Korea. Then she happened to hear about an audition on education broadcaster EBS and entered it. She made it to the finals with a piece she composed by herself.
Korean-American novelist uses Macalester as backdrop for ‘The Collective’
Minnesota Public Radio
The Korean-American novelist Don Lee’s latest book “The Collective” uses Macalester College in St. Paul as a launching point for a tale about the Asian-American experience. Lee said of his four books so far, “The Collective” is his most personal.
“The Collective” begins with the suicide of Joshua Yoon, a young writer on the verge of making it big. The news leaves his once-close group of college friends reeling.