North Korea vows to end nonaggression pacts with South Korea
Los Angeles Times
North Korea has vowed to nullify nonaggression pacts with South Korea in response to the U.N. Security Council’s new tough sanctions and planned joint South Korea-U.S. military drills.
In addition to voiding the peace agreement, the Committee for Peaceful Reunification of Korea, the North’s agency in charge of dealing with cross-border affairs with the South, announced in a statement broadcast on state media Friday that it will sever a North-South hotline.
The state-run agency said North Korea “abrogates all agreements on nonaggression reached between the North and the South … [and] also notifies the South side that it will immediately cut off the North-South hotline.”
After Sanctions Vote, 2 Koreas Ratchet Up Attack Threats
New York Times
Angrily responding to the United Nations Security Council’s unanimous decision to impose tightened sanctions, North Korea said on Friday that it was nullifying all nonaggression agreements with South Korea, with one of its top generals claiming that his country had nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles ready to blast off.
Matching the harsh warning with a toughened stance, South Korea said Friday that if Pyongyang attacked the South with a nuclear weapon, the government of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would be “erased from the earth.”
Tensions on the Korean peninsula: Kim blows up again
RUMOURS of fatherhood, and the thrill of having Dennis Rodman, a 51-year-old American basketball has-been, as a new best friend, have done little to mellow Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s young leader. Once again relations between his family’s regime and the outside world have returned to the dangerous script of nuclear provocation, sanctions and threats of war.
On March 6th Kyodo, a Japanese news agency, reported that camouflage netting was being thrown over buses and trains in Pyongyang in readiness for conflict. A day earlier the regime reheated old threats, as America proposed a resolution to the UN Security Council, stiffening sanctions against North Korea for its third nuclear test on February 12th. It said it would scrap the 1953 armistice agreement with America that ended the Korean war (did it forget that it had already scrapped it, in 2009?). It cut off a hotline with American troops in South Korea. And it once again threatened nuclear attack.
Is Kim Jong Un more dangerous than his father?
North Korea’s threat to launch a preemptive nuclear strike against the United States has puzzled American officials, who see the regime ramping up its threats and rhetoric.
It’s leading to the belief that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is more unpredictable, more dangerous and harder to read than his late father, Kim Jong Il.
“The new leader is acting in ways a bit more extreme than his father, who was colder and more calculated,” a senior administration official said. “Kim Jong Il was more aware of the off-ramps to end these escalations.
O.C.’s Korean Americans react to North Korea threat
Orange County Register (Calif.)
They’ve heard North Korea’s threats before. Some local Korean Americans are concerned. Many others, however, see it more as political theater.
Orange County’s Korean American community offered mixed reactions to North Korea’s threat to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States and South Korea. Many said threats by North Korea are so common that it’s hard to take them seriously.
“They talk tough so many times. Nobody takes it literally,” said J.J. Kim, president of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce of Orange County.
U.S. ambassador hails ‘truly historic’ inauguration of President Park
The inauguration of President Park Geun-hye last week was “truly historic” for South Korea, the U.S. ambassador to Seoul said Friday, renewing his commitment to closely working with the new government.
“Last week was truly historic for Korea. President Park Geun-hye was inaugurated as South Korea’s first female president,” U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim said of his attendance at the inauguration ceremony in a blog post on the embassy’s Web site.
“President Park has long been a strong supporter of the alliance, and we very much look forward to working with her administration,” Kim said.
Is This the First Digital Image of a North Korean In-Flight Meal?
This is an airline meal. It’s not just any airline meal, however; it’s a piece of digital imaging and travel history and it was only created this morning.
David Guttenfelder, Chief Photographer in Asia for the AP, is currently in North Korea on assignment and taking advantage of the newly un-banned 3G network to share some Instagrams from daily life, like this seemingly banal image of his in-flight meal on North Korea’s state airline, Air Koryo.
Kakao chats punishable for defamatory comments
The Korea Times
Spreading unfounded rumors through free mobile chat service KakaoTalk is subject to punishment on the grounds of defamation a court ruled Thursday.
The Seoul court fined a woman 700,000-won for spreading defamatory comments through KakaoTalk.
According to records, the woman made groundless accusations and shared them through Kakao with 13 others.
In another case, a man was given a six-month suspended jail term for insulting his girlfriend. The man had claimed on Kakao that she had a miscarriage after having sex with another man.
Top Chef’s Beverly Kim returns to Kendall College to cook and teach at her alma mater
Around this time last year, Beverly Kim was something of a minor television celebrity on “Top Chef.” Several Saturdays ago, we found Kim calling out dinner orders from a cavernous and modern West Town kitchen, a space that would be the envy of every chef in town. This kitchen even has a 180-degree view of the Chicago skyline.
Kim wore a neckerchief and a tall chef’s hat, attire not seen since French restaurants in the ’80s, and hollered lingo only line cooks understood: “Pick up three amuse!”
Since January and until mid-June, this kitchen is where Kim spends her Tuesday through Saturday nights. The menu is hers; the restaurant isn’t. It’s CUL-249 at Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts, a course titled fine dining restaurant. It’s an unplanned but welcome surprise, Kim said, as she never thought she’d teach undergraduates at a cooking school in 2013, especially for a chef who was supposed to springboard from a TV show to operating her own restaurant (see: Izard, Stephanie).
PSY to Debut “Gangnam Style” Follow-Up Next Month
Stop making ‘Harlem Shake’ videos, and listen up: South Korean rapper PSY announced today that he is releasing a follow-up to his worldwide hit “Gangnam Style.”
The single is due out Apr. 13, and Psy will perform a concert dubbed “Happening” at the Seoul World Cup Stadium later that night, which will be streamed live on YouTube. PSY, whose real name is Park Jae-sang, delivered the news in Korean, English, Chinese, Thai, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Indonesian subtitles — a sign of how popular “Gangnam Style” has become worldwide.
Hank Conger’s throwing issues could be a concern for Angels
Los Angeles Times
Catcher Hank Conger has sailed two throws to third base into left field this spring. He bounced a late throw to second on Wednesday and nearly hit pitcher Jered Weaver in the head with a throw to second after the Angels pitcher finished his warm-up tosses before an inning.
Conger, a 2006 first-round pick who has spent much of the past three years at triple-A, is ready to hit in the big leagues, and his arm strength is adequate. But to nail down the job as Chris Iannetta’s backup, he’ll need to find a consistent-enough exchange and arm stroke to control a running game. He is still searching.
“On the practice field, he’s making a lot of strides, but at some point you need to bring that consistency into the game,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’re very confident he will, but he has to find it.”
Ryu piles up K’s, but Dodgers’ bats stymied
Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu — signed to a six-year contract worth $36 million over the offseason — held the Indians to two runs on three hits in three-plus innings. Ryu piled up five strikeouts, including three consecutive called strikeouts to Ryan Rohlinger, Drew Stubbs and Jason Kipnis in a swift third inning.
“Everything kind of worked for me, including control, command of the pitches,” Ryu said through an interpreter. I was able to execute pitches. Not only the fastball, but other pitches as well.”
Why South Korean Gamers Are So Pissed about SimCity
Upset about the rocky SimCity rollout? Take heart. You are not alone. Gamers in South Korea are also not happy campers. But it’s not just due to the inability to play.
Here’s what happened: When South Korean gamers couldn’t connect to servers, the official SimCity Korean Facebook page called out the country for piracy. You know, EA Korea’s paying customers. Talk about adding insult to injury!
Frankie Faison, Hoon Lee on ‘Cons’ of ‘Banshee’
AP via YouTube
US, China propose tough sanctions against North Korea for latest nuclear test
AP via Washington Post
The world moved closer to punishing North Korea for its latest nuclear test Tuesday as the United States introduced a draft resolution, backed by China, with new sanctions aimed at reining in Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and preventing their export to other countries.
In response, Pyongyang threatened to cancel the 1953 cease-fire that ended the Korean War.
The draft resolution would subject North Korea “to some of the toughest sanctions imposed by the United Nations,” U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters. She called the scope of the sanctions “exceptional.”
North Korea Threatens to Attack U.S. with ‘Lighter and Smaller Nukes’
New York Times
North Korea said on Tuesday that it would cut off a hot line with the United States military in South Korea, calling the truce that stopped the Korean War in 1953 null and void and threatening to strike the United States with “lighter and smaller nukes.”
North Korea had many times said it was nullifying the Korean War Armistice that stopped, but did not officially end, the three-year war. When it wanted to raise tensions in the past, it had also cut off, and later restored, the military hot line that the American-led United Nations Command maintained with North Korea through the truce village of Panmunjom north of the South Korean capital, Seoul, to help avoid armed conflicts on the divided peninsula.
North Korea Gets a Scolding Over Rodman Visit
Wall Street Journal
Dennis Rodman returned from North Korea this weekend with a message that leader Kim Jong Eun really wants to talk to President Barack Obama. But so far, the only communications seem to be between the White House and State Department, which offered nearly identical responses at press briefings Monday.
At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney dismissed the idea President Obama would call the North Korean leader, saying the U.S. “has direct channels of communications with the DPRK.” And he chastised North Korea for hosting the event in the first place. “Instead of spending money on celebrity sporting events to entertain the elites of that country, the North Korean regime should focus on the well-being of its own people who have been starved, imprisoned, and denied their human rights,” he said.
Seoul, Washington must take Rodman visit to Pyongyang ‘seriously’: ex-U.S. envoy
South Korea and the United States should take a recent visit by flamboyant retired NBA star Dennis Rodman to North Korea “seriously” because it appears to signal a renewed engagement with both Seoul and Washington, a former U.S. ambassador to Seoul said Tuesday.
In an interview with Yonhap News Agency in Seoul, Donald Gregg said a “call me” message from North Korea’s young leader Kim Jong-un to U.S. President Barack Obama, relayed by Rodman, is a “very powerful signal to engage with us.”
DENNIS RODMAN AND DIPLOMATIC DYSTOPIA
The New Yorker
The United States’ new top diplomat made his first official trip overseas last week, becoming the highest-profile American to visit with a young and enigmatic totalitarian dictator since the dictator was installed in power following the death of his father. After his trip, the diplomat, who, years before, had been a talented athlete, and who once wore a wedding dress to a press event promoting his autobiography, returned home and explained the nuances of the leader’s worldview to a high-ranking member of a recent Presidential Administration who now hosts a morning variety show. The diplomat brought good news: the dictator had promised peace, which in translation came out as, “I don’t want to do war. I don’t want to do war.”
James Pak pleads not guilty to Biddeford murders
WLBZ (Bangor, Maine)
A landlord charged with killing his two tenants over a parking dispute in Biddeford has pleaded not guilty.
James Pak is facing two counts of murder in the deaths of 19-year old Derrick Thompson and his girlfriend 18-year old Alivia Welch.
U.S. Soldiers in High-Speed Car Chase Admit Crimes
Two U.S. soldiers accused of firing a BB gun at pedestrians in the Itaewon bar district in Seoul and leading police on a high-speed police car chase have admitted to the crimes, police said Monday.
A third soldier is being treated for a bullet wound he sustained when a police patrolman fired three rounds from his pistol seeking to end the car chase.
Yongsan police have asked the U.S. military to hand over the bullet as evidence and also plan to subject all three to drug tests.
Caught in North Korea, Sold in China, Crabs Knit Two Economies
New York Times
At the Red Sun restaurant, a short-order joint on Crab and Beer Streets, live crabs with plump legs wriggle in a cooled tank, fresh from the North Korean coast just two and a half hours away by road.
The cook and owner, Jin Yuansheng, douses the prized crabs in boiling water and adds them to the steaming platters of sea cucumbers, shrimp and squid, also from North Korean waters, that he brings to the table.
This border town in China’s cold and poor northeast abuts North Korea along the icy Tumen River, where a bridge serves as the gateway for a lively commerce in shellfish plumbed from the Sea of Japan off North Korea. It is an exotic niche business in the more than $11 billion annual trade between North Korea and China, which is dominated by China’s purchases of cheap North Korean iron ore and coal.
From poor island boy to multi-business entrepreneur, Korean expat plans for more
It’s not every day that you get a pair of iconic, reclusive, but immaculately tailored artists peering through your windows. But when precisely that happened to Lee Ki-chul, at his London store Hurwundeki, the Korean expat-turned-entrepreneur didn’t bat an eye.
“A surprised customer came to me one day, saying that (renowned British artists) Gilbert & George were hanging onto the windowsill, glancing at the shop. They eventually came in and complimented the interior of the shop, especially the stripped walls,” says Lee, at his hair salocafe, near Bethnal Green Station in East London.
“After that day, the pair came almost every day and we all became friends. (Model) Kate Moss and (rock singer) Pete Doherty often came to the clothes shop. It received so much attention when I first opened, it was beyond anything I had ever imagined.”
A Q&A with Stoker Director Park Chan-wook
Having already made such celebrated and controversial movies as Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, Korean director Park Chan-wook just saw the release of his first Hollywood film, Stoker. The filmmaker sat down with TIME, and speaking through a translator, discussed his new movie, Oldboy, and the challenges of working in a foreign country.
Q: You’ve had other opportunities to make American films. What were your reservations about making this transition?
A: When I say that I am going to do an American film, I didn’t want to suddenly go off into a completely different world that which bears no relation to the style of filmmaking that I’m used to.
‘Gangnam Style’ remix released
Move over Harlem Shake. “Gangnam Style” is back.
Yes, just when you thought it was safe to go back on YouTube, Republic Records today released an EP remix of the viral dance hit with four tracks – a Diplo remix featuring 2 Chainz and Tyga, an Afrojack remix and two instrumentals.
South Korea Beats Taiwan But Gets Eliminated Anyway
South Korea improved to 14-5 all-time in World Baseball Classic play Tuesday, rallying for three runs in the eighth and beating host Taiwan 3-2 to move to 2-1 in the 2013 WBC.
And yet that is the end of the tournament for Korea, which was eliminated despite the victory. Taiwan, the Netherlands and Korea all went 2-1 in Pool B, while Australia went 0-3. Using the TBQ formula the WBC employs to break three-way ties—essentially distilling runs scored and runs allowed versus each other—South Korea lost out to Taiwan and the Netherlands, which advance to the second round.
Justin Chon Had To Pick Out His Prosthetic Penis
The globe’s “Gangnam Style” obsession is not over quite yet – the Internet is abuzz with rumors that Psy may be starring in a rehash of the recent 3D Bollywood film ABCD: Any Body Can Dance.
The Daily Mail reports, “a South Korean film production house is in talks with UTV Motion Pictures to buy the remake rights.”
ABCD, directed by Remo D’Souza, is a colorful, over-the-top film centered around a dance troupe and an up-coming dance battle. It isn’t new ground — just look at the Step Up series — but the film was a success in India which hopefully will translate to box-office gold on the Peninsula. Continue Reading »
What do martial-arts-comedian Jackie Chan and rapper Hyun Jin Young have in common? They’ll both be working closely with the new K-Pop group, Double JC.
Double JC, which will debut in either May or June of this year, is Chan’s new pet-project under his Korean management label, Jackie Chan Korea, AllKPop reports.
South Korea Brushes Off North’s ‘Final Destruction’ Threat
Voice of America
South Korea’s top national security official, in an exclusive VOA interview, says there is no cause for alarm amid a fresh North Korean threat to destroy the South.
National Security Adviser, Chun Yung-woo, says he is disappointed but not alarmed by a North Korean diplomat’s bombastic threat.
Chun told VOA’s Korean Service Wednesday that Pyongyang routinely resorts to “violent vocabulary and expressions” to issue threats of war and retaliation. So such rhetoric unleashed at an international conference is not surprising.
Survivors liken N.Korean prison camps to Holocaust horrors
AFP via Google News
North Korea’s prison camps are a closed-off world of death, torture and forced labour where babies are born slaves, according to two survivors who liken the horrors of the camps to a Holocaust in progress.
“People think the Holocaust is in the past, but it is still very much a reality. It is still going on in North Korea,” Shin Dong-hyuk told AFP through an interpreter on the sidelines of a human rights summit in Geneva.
Shin himself spent his first 23 years in a prison camp in the secretive country, where he says he was tortured and subjected to forced labour before making a spectacular escape seven years ago — and giving the outside world a rare first-hand account of life inside the camps.
South Korea faces quandary over potential human rights probe of North
The United Nations’ human rights chief declared recently that it was time for a “long overdue” investigation into what she called unparalleled rights abuses in North Korea. The probe, unprecedented in scope, could help establish whether the North’s leaders are committing crimes against humanity.
Navi Pillay’s January proposal has already drawn support from the United States. But the decision has proved sensitive in still-undecided South Korea, where leaders remain divided over whether to confront the North or try to somehow reduce tensions with it, even after Pyongyang last weekdetonated an underground nuclear device.
S. Korea urges Japan to drop event claiming Dokdo islets
South Korea urged Japan on Tuesday to cancel an event it plans to hold to promote Tokyo’s territorial claims to the Dokdo islets.
“The event is one that should not be held in the first place. I saw reports that a Japanese government figure will attend it. If that’s true, it is very regrettable,” Seoul’s foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young told reporters during a regular briefing.
According to Japanese media reports, Tokyo is considering sending Aiko Shimajiri, a vice-ministerial official and a member of the upper house of parliament, as well as 18 other lawmakers to attend the event set to be hosted by Shimane prefecture.
South Korean Director Park Chul-soo Dies in Car Accident
Director Park Chul-soo, the South Korean auteur known for sexually explicit films like last year’s B.E.D., died following a car accident Tuesday. He was 64.
The filmmaker was crossing a street in the city of Yongin early Tuesday morning when he was hit by a man driving under the influence, according to police.
Park’s death follows road accidents that killed two international filmmakers last year. Legendary Japanese director Koji Wakamatsu was struck by a car in October, and Greece’s Theo Angelopoulos was killed by a motorcycle nine months earlier.
WBW: Korean-American Style
It’s not a coincidence that more and more Korean-American singers are making their way onto these shows as K-pop has been recruiting internationally for years with America being a prime target. Even in the early years, there has always been a steady stream of talent from the States to Seoul. Today’s Way Back Wednesday will feature some of the most influential artists from back in the day who lived in America before making it big. Some were born in America, others only lived here for a few years, but they all helped make K-pop what it is today.
Newcomer Hyun-Jin Ryu seems all right to Dodgers
Los Angeles Times
While working with Hyun-Jin Ryu in the first week of spring training, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt was reminded of another top-heavy left-hander who used to pitch for the Dodgers: Fernando Valenzuela.
“He has a presence about him,” Honeycutt said of Ryu.
Honeycutt hasn’t seen enough of Ryu to draw any conclusions about how he’ll transition from the Korean league to the majors, but he’s certain of this: The 25-year-old’s oversized torso is bursting with self-belief.
Others see it too.
“He does seem confident,” Manager Don Mattingly said.
Eagles sign OT Ed Wang to two-year deal
The Eagles have signed offensive tackle Ed Wang to a two-year deal, the team announced on Friday.
Wang, 6’5″, 315 lbs, was the first Chinese player ever drafted in the NFL when the Buffalo Bills took him in the 5th round of the 2010 draft. Wang never started for the Bills but did play in six games.
“I’m excited to play here and be here with the tradition they have,” Wang said.
Korean Lunar New Year [SLIDESHOW]
San Francisco Chronicle
Simone Willets tosses an arrow while playing a game of tuho, with help from her classmate Adrien Stroumza (right), during a celebration of Seol Nal, the Korean Lunar New Year, at the Claire Lilienthal School in San Francisco, Calif. on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. Students in the Korean-immersion program wore traditional hanbok outfits and participated in a variety of activities to celebrate the lunar new year, which begins Sunday.