Tag Archives: military

koreamines

U.S. Excludes Korean Peninsula From Pledge to Destroy Land Mines

by REERA YOO

The White House announced on Tuesday that it would eliminate all stockpiles of anti-personnel land mines except those in the Korean peninsula, reported Yonhap.

The State Department said that, outside of Korea, the U.S. will cease the use of all anti-personnel mines, complying with the 1999 Ottawa Convention, which bans the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of land mines.

The U.S. cited “unique circumstances” in the two Koreas and its commitment to South Korea’s defense as the main reasons why the country cannot accede to the 15-year-old global treaty.

“We will continue our diligent efforts to pursue solutions that would be compliant with and ultimately allow us to accede to the Ottawa Convention while ensuring our ability to meet our alliance commitments to the Republic of Korea,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.

According to The Wall Street Journal, millions of anti-personnel land mines remain buried under the demilitarized zone and are regularly replaced from both sides. In recent years, South Korea has periodically found land mines washed up in areas frequented by civilians after heavy rainfalls and landslides. This has caused numerous deaths and critical injuries to civilians. The latest known civilian death caused by a land mine occurred just last year when a farmer died while plowing a field in South Korea.

Although the Obama Administration said it is “deeply concerned about the humanitarian effects of anti-personnel land mines,” the U.S. is yet to sign the treaty, despite more than 160 countries already being signatories.

“As the world’s leading donor to humanitarian mine action, we have long worked to mitigate the human cost of their use,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

She added that the U.S. has provided more than $2.3 billion in aid since 1993 to more than 90 countries to help destroy conventional weapons, including land mines.

Photo via Real Clear Defense

jets

South Korea to Buy 40 F-35A Fighter Jets for $7 Billion

by REERA YOO

South Korea announced on Wednesday that it plans to buy 40 F-35A fighter jets from Lockheed Martin for about $7 billion, reported Retuers.

South Korea agreed to the purchase in March and has since been negotiating over price, technology, quality and safety as well as conducting tests on the jets. Under the purchase deal, which has yet to be signed, Lockheed Martin will transfer fighter production technologies for South Korea’s $8.2 billion KF-X program to develop its own advanced fighter jets, said South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

“We have agreed to acquire 40 jets within the total budget within the total budget and reflect all the terms negotiated during the 2013 competition,” DAPA said in a statement, adding that the new jets are expected to be delivered between 2018 and 2025.

This is the South Korea’s biggest weapons purchase to date and is designed to replace the country’s aging warplanes and to better defend itself from North Korea’s military threats. According to The New York Times, the country hopes to produce about 120 fighter jets similar to Lockheed’s F-16 Fighting Falcon for its air force, beginning 2025.

Last year, South Korea dropped an option to buy 60 of Boeing Co.’s F-15 jets at about $7 billion after deciding that the jets lacked the stealth capabilities needed to cope with North Korea’s nuclear threats.

Photo via Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Kong Silver Star

Former Navy Corpsman Awarded Silver Star for Saving Marine Under Heavy Fire

by REERA YOO

A former Navy hospital corpsman was awarded a Silver Star, the U.S. military’s third highest decoration for valor, at Camp Pendleton for saving an injured Marine during an enemy ambush in Afghanistan.

Jonathan Kong, now a pre-med student, was serving under the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment on June 13,2011 when his platoon was ambushed by the Taliban. After Kong saw a Marine get shot in the chest and fall to the ground, he boldly charged from his covered position into the kill zone, dodging a “hail of bullets,” and pulled the wounded Marine to safety, according to NBC San Diego.

“People tell me I was brave and courageous, but ultimately, I wasn’t even thinking,” Kong said.

After treating the Marine for his injuries, Kong then provided vital information about the enemy’s position, said Navy officials.

Kong Navy Corpsman(Photo via Armed Forces’ Facebook Page and Examiner)

Kong was awarded the Silver Star on Sept. 19 and was meritoriously promoted to petty officer second-class. As he was presented the prestigious medal, Kong humbly said he did not deserve it as he was simply following his instincts and called his actions “almost more stupid than it was brave.”

In addition to the Silver Star, Kong was also presented with the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Good Conduct Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. The San Jose native finished his six-year tour in the Navy in 2013 and is currently studying medicine at Stanford in hopes of becoming a doctor.

Featured photo via UT San Diego

 

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2 SKorean Soldiers Die In Anti-Captivity Training

by STEVE HAN

Two South Korean soldiers died in training Tuesday, presumably due to suffocation as they were preparing for capture by the enemy, according to military officials.

The soldiers were taking part in a training exercise in Jeungpyeong, South Korea, about 60 miles southeast of Seoul where their special forces unit is based, that was designed to teach them how to survive captivity when and if they’re held as prisoners by the enemy, said the unit’s spokesperson. The exercise reportedly required the soldiers to kneel with hoods over their heads and their hands tied behind their backs for over an hour, which the trainers later realized was going wrong. The supervisors reportedly took no action even when some of the trainees were desperately screaming for help.

Names of the two deceased soldiers were not released, but both were in their early 20s. The spokesperson added that the military is investigating the deaths, especially on whether the anti-captivity training was sufficiently supervised.

The deaths of the two soldiers come at a time when the South Korean military is already under heavy public scrutiny after the death of Private Yoon, who was bullied and fatally beaten by his own colleagues. The incident prompted the army chief of staff Kwon Oh-sung to resign as the public criticized the military officials for initially trying to cover up the abuse of the private.

About 650,000 people form the South Korean military, most of whom are conscripts, as their country has technically been at war against North Korea since 1950.

묵념하는 시민들

Female Officer’s Suicide Raises Issue of Sexual Harassment in SKorean Military

A South Korean military investigation has determined that a female officer who committed suicide last October allegedly because of repeated sexual harassment died while on active duty. She will be buried at the Daejeon National Cemetery, where military personnel are laid to rest, according to the Korea JoongAng Daily.

The 28-year-old female officer, only identified by her last name Oh, was found dead Oct. 16, 2013, inside a car in a parking lot in Hwacheon. She reportedly killed herself by burning charcoal in thevehicle.

Oh’s diary, notes and suicide letter indicated that verbal and sexual harassment from a commanding officer took its toll on her after 10 months, during which she said she was groped and verbally abused, authorities said. She wrote in her suicide note that her superior, whose last name was Noh, demanded that she spends “one night with him.”

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The note also said that, when Oh rejected Noh, he punished her by making her work overtime, touching her inappropriately and harassing her with suggestive remarks. The case helped raise the profile of the issue of sexual harassment in the South Korean military. Although Noh was indicted last November on charges of sexual harassment, the court only sentenced him to two years in prison, and four years probation—a verdict Oh’s family and many in the public considered too light.

Investigators said that at least six other female officers were also harassed by Noh last year, and three of them have pressed charges against him, the newspaper reported.

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Monday’s Link Attack: NK/SK Artillery Exchange; the Colbert Controversy and the ‘Weaponized Hashtag’; Russia Eyes Kaesong

South Korea Exchanges Artillery Fire With North Over Sea Border
Bloomberg

South Korea returned artillery fire after North Korea lobbed shells over the two countries’ western sea border, pushing tensions to their highest in months.

About 100 North Korean shells landed over the disputed sea border during planned live-fire drills, while South Korea fired back about 300 shells, the South’s Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min Seok said at a briefing. Residents on the South Korean islands of Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong were moved to shelters.

The incident yesterday came a day after North Korea said it may conduct a “new form” of nuclear test, and after South Korea President Park Geun Hye in a speech last week in Germany proposed building closer links with the North to spur reunification. North Korea fired artillery shells at Yeonpyeong in November 2010, killing two marines and prompting South Korea to return fire and mobilize fighter jets.

Kim Jong-un Makes Sister His Chief of Staff
Chosun Ilbo

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister Kim Yeo-jong has been his chief of staff since last year, a source said Sunday. The source said Kim Yeo-jong was appointed chief secretary of the Workers Party early last year.

Before Kim Yeo-jong’s promotion, the chief secretary was Kim Chang-son, who is now chief of protocol. This is the first time that a member of the Kim family has assumed the post of chief secretary.

The party secretariat is in charge of purchasing and providing daily necessities for the leader and his family and also handles the delivery of official reports from the party, the Cabinet, the powerful National Defense Commission and other key state organizations.

Corpse surfaces during “Avengers” shooting
Korea Herald

A dead body floated to the surface of the Han River under Mapo Bridge in Seoul, where the American movie crew was filming a sequel to Hollywood Blockbuster “The Avengers,” police said Sunday.

“A security member of the movie crew aboard a boat found the body floating and reported it to the police at around 2:10 p.m.,” said an officer at Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency.

A police team retrieved the badly decomposed body, which was later identified as a 21-year-old man surnamed Yoon. He was reported missing by his family on March 10, after sending a mobile text message expressing his despair.

Blocking all lanes on the bridge for nearly 12 hours from early in the morning, the American crew shot for “The Avengers: The Age of Ultron” Sunday, the first day of their two-week stint here in Korea.

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THE CAMPAIGN TO “CANCEL” COLBERT
New Yorker

On Thursday night, the official Twitter account for “The Colbert Report” committed the comedic sin of delivering a punch line without its setup. The offending tweet, “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever,” was meant to be a satirical analog to the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation, whose creation was announced earlier this week by the team’s owner, Daniel Snyder.

The joke, which originally aired on Wednesday’s episode, is not particularly complicated: Daniel Snyder created a charitable organization for the benefit of a community and used a racial epithet for that same community in the organization’s name—so here’s an absurd fictional extrapolation of Snyder’s own logic. Everyone who hates both racism and Daniel Snyder laughs.

Stephen Colbert, Racism and the Weaponized Hashtag
Wall Street Journal

Last Wednesday, Stephen Colbert — in his persona as “Stephen Colbert,” the rock-ribbed right-wing pundit of his Comedy Central show “The Colbert Report” — aired a segment satirizing the decision by Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, to set up a fig-leaf nonprofit foundation designed to “help address the challenges that plague the Native American community.” His newly launched Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation has distributed winter coats and shoes to several tribes, purchased a backhoe for Nebraska’s Omaha Tribe and claims to have over forty other projects in process to help build a brighter future for Native Americans.

For a franchise reportedly worth $1.8 billion with operating profits of over $100 million annually, handing out shoes and buying a $100,000 backhoe is a cheap price to pay to defray ongoing negative PR from the many Native Americans who have been pushing for the team to change its 77-year-old name — which many people see as a corrosive ethnic slur and a reminder of a centuries-long history of broken promises and genocide.

S. Korean game developers to go global with Google Play
Yonhap News

The mobile application market powered by U.S. Google Inc. will assist South Korean game developers in tapping deeper into overseas markets, the local unit of the Internet giant said Monday, on the back of the platform’s foray into the contents industry.

“The Google Play ecosystems in Korea rely on great Korean developers making great apps,” said Chris Yerga, who oversees the platform business, adding that 17 out of the top 20 most downloaded apps in the country were games.

The Internet giant said Google Play, its mobile application market brand that was rolled out in 2012, will provide local developers with new business opportunities as the platform is used in more than 190 countries.

US Ambassador to Korea finally asked about topics not related to North Korea
Stars And Stripes

Think answering questions about how to convince North Korea to get rid of its nuclear weapons is tough? Try talking on national television about dating your wife.

U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim recently appeared on the popular SBS program “Good Morning Korea,” where the focus was, for once, not on the latest provocation from Kim Jong Un.

During the show, Kim – the first Korean-American ambassador to Seoul – answered questions about everything from how he met his wife (they were introduced by a friend when Kim was worked at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul years ago) to which Korean foods he recommended to U.S. President Barack Obama during a visit to Seoul (bulgogi).

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Apple-Samsung row heads to court
Korea JoongAng Daily

The fiercest rivalry in the world of smartphones is heading back to court this week in the heart of the Silicon Valley, with Apple and Samsung accusing each other, once again, of ripping off designs and features.

The trial will mark the latest round in a long-running series of lawsuits between the two tech giants that underscore a much larger concern about what is allowed to be patented.

“There’s a widespread suspicion that lots of the kinds of software patents at issue are written in ways that cover more ground than what Apple or any other tech firm actually invented,’’ Notre Dame law professor Mark McKenna said. “Overly broad patents allow companies to block competition.’’

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Russia Eyes Kaesong Industrial Complex
Chosun Ilbo

North Korea and Russia will discuss the possibility of Russian companies opening factories in the joint-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex, Radio Free Asia reported Friday.

Russia’s Far East Development Minister Alexander Galushka visited the North for five days last week to explore ways of boosting business cooperation, according to the radio station. Galushka apparently discussed improving business conditions for Russian companies in North Korea, measures to protect Russian investments, and multiple-entry visas.

Other points on the agenda were development of North Korea’s Rajin-Sonbong economic zones, steps to modernize the North’s mines, power plant projects, rail lines connecting Russia and Korean Peninsula and a gas pipeline from Russia to South Korea via the North.

Small Businesses Want 2nd Industrial Park in N.Korea
Chosun Ilbo

An association of small and medium-sized businesses wants to build a second industrial park in North Korea along the lines of the joint Kaesong Industrial Complex.

The head of the Korea Federation of Small and Medium-sized Businesses, Kim Ki-mun, told a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday that his organization is looking at Haeju or Nampo in North Korea as suitable locations.

The comments have increased hopes here of a breakthrough in chilled relations with Pyongyang. Kim’s idea coincides with the North’s hopes to develop more special economic zones.

6 Stunning Celebrity Couples of Asian Men & Non-Asian Women
Speaking of China

Every week, the entertainment mags churn out list after list of swoon-worthy celebrity and Hollywood couples. But these couples are almost always white…and I can’t remember the last time, if ever, that I’ve seen a single couple of Asian men and non-Asian women on their lists.

If my Pinterest board with real-life couples of Chinese men and Western women has taught me anything, it’s that the community of Asian men and non-Asian women in love is bigger than I ever expected — with plenty of beautiful faces. So it’s no surprise that our community includes some stunning celebrities and their equally stunning partners. Don’t they deserve a little love for once?

Move over, Brangelina! Here are six dazzling couples that could turn heads on the red carpet, while showing the world how lovely it is when Asian men and non-Asian women get together.

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Tuesday's Link Attack: North Korea, Suicide, Opening Ceremony

Moving on when mom is killed at war
CNN.com

It was only natural for Kristin Choe to begin drawing. Even at age 3, she expressed herself through art.

And that’s exactly what she did in the months after her mother, Navy Lt. Florence Bacong Choe, 35, was killed by an Afghan army soldier in March 2009.

The little girl took out crayons and a sheet of paper and began coloring in some green grass. Her father, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chong “Jay” Choe, thought Kristin was drawing the family’s home. But the final sketch proved to be much more: a symbol of their new life and a little girl’s loving memory of her mom. Dad didn’t know what to make of the drawing. It left him speechless.

Yet he kept the picture as a reminder of everything that changed the moment Florence was killed. “When I think about what’s next — how do you press on? how do you live your life? — I think of Kristin first and foremost.”

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South Korea Approves Sending Medical Aid to North
New York Times

South Korea on Tuesday authorized the World Health Organization to resume distribution of Seoul-financed medical aid to North Korea, amid growing international calls for humanitarian assistance for malnourished North Korean children.

The decision “was based upon our belief that purely humanitarian support for the young and vulnerable in North Korea should continue,” a senior Unification Ministry official told reporters Tuesday during a briefing given on condition of anonymity.

Student Spotlight: Zenia Kim
StyleBistro

Zenia Kim is an M.F.A. Fashion Design student, who recently debuted her work as part of the Italian Trade Commission Collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. She also interned at Yigal Azrouel over the summer, and has spent the past few months exploring NYC and finding inspiration for her Senior Collection. Read on to hear about all of her eye-opening experiences!

Tackling South Korea’s high suicide rates
BBC News

More than 40 South Koreans a day are taking their lives and the government in Seoul has recognised it is a problem that needs tackling. But, as the BBC’s Lucy Williamson finds out, the reasons for such a high suicide rate are complicated and not easy to solve.

Senior actor found dead in apparent suicide
Korea Herald

A senior South Korean actor was found dead in his small rented room on Tuesday of an apparent suicide, police said.

Kim Choo-ryun, a 64-year-old actor who had his heyday in the 1970s, was found hanging in his studio in Gimhae, 449 kilometers southeast of Seoul, the police said.

He seemed to have killed himself the previous day after months of depression, they noted.

According to police, a suicide note found in Kim’s room, read, “I can hardly stand my loneliness and difficulties. I am sorry for my fans and family.”

11-11-11 is a popular wedding date
Bergen County Record

Krystle Patton, 27 and David Pak, 34, both of Hackensack, also picked Friday as their special day. They had been dating for several years when Pak proposed on Feb. 11, Valentine’s Day weekend. The two knew they would get married later that year.

“I had been waiting 5 1/2 years and wanted to get married in the fall, but I didn’t think we would get 11-11,” says Patton. “I know people had probably had that date booked forever, but someone just canceled and we took it.”

The couple, whose wedding will be at the Graycliff in Moonachie, found extra significance in the date. Pak is Korean, and Nov. 11 in South Korea is Pepero Day, similar to Valentine’s Day in the U.S. “It’s apparently our lucky number now,” says Patton.

Review: Momofuku Seiobo
Sydney Morning Herald

He does The Bun. Let’s get that out of the way right now. After months of claiming his famous steamed pork bun was not part of the plan at his new Momofuku Seiobo at The Star, David Chang has installed it on the $175, 15-course tasting menu. Thank the lord. It’s sweet and steamy, the pork belly in baby-bum-soft cushions of white bread, hit with hoisin sauce and cucumber, Sriracha chilli on the side. As the birthday bloke sitting next to me at the kitchen counter says: ”Ten more of those and a six-pack and I’ll die happy.”

This is the first Momofuku outside New York for Korean-American chef David Chang, recently named one of Time magazine’s 100 people who most affect our world.

Americans in Paris
The National (Dubai, U.A.E.)

Here’s a profile of the duo — Korean American Carol Lim and Chinese American Humberto Leon — behind fashion trendsetting company Opening Ceremony.

Lena Park Enjoys Belated Leap to the Big Time
Chosun Ilbo

The hit MBC TV reality show “I Am a Singer” was nothing if not transformational for Park. It has led to commercial contracts — the first since her debut — and requests to perform and appear on other TV programs. Park describes appearing on the show as a life-changing experience.

“In the past, only a few people recognized me on the street, but now everyone does,” she said. “But that has created a few problems too,” she added.

Born in Los Angeles, California in 1976, Park came to Korea to perform back in 1995 when she was studying acting at UCLA. She says her first days in Korea were tough, since she had to live by herself without knowing the language.

Rain Named Top Marksman at Boot Camp
Chosun Ilbo

Self-explanatory.

Free David Choe Print on 11/11/11 Just Do What He Asks
Giant Robot

Artist David Choe is hosting an elaborate giveaway for some very nice prints of his work. The giveaway, which coincides with Pepero Day on 11/11, will require fans to do four tasks.

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Prosecutors Probing SK Group’s Chairman
Wall Street Journal

SK Group, a South Korean conglomerate with businesses ranging from telecom to oil, said Tuesday that prosecutors visited its headquarters seeking financial documents, as part of an investigation into allegations the group’s chairman, Chey Tae-won, used company funds to cover personal investment losses.

Big Bang wins “Best Worldwide Act” at MTV’s 2011 Europe Music Awards
allkpop

Big Bang won the award for best “Worldwide Act” at the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards.

How To Get A Korean Boyfriend
YouTube

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Gay Former Army Officer To Reenlist Following Repeal

The U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was repealed effective midnight last night and Dan Choi — who was discharged from the U.S. Army after coming out on a talk show — said he would reenlist, according to Politico.

“Going back to the military will be a vindication,” Choi told Politico. [I’m] going back because I fought to go back. The seriousness of our claims was not just political theatre – it was really drawn from our lives. I sacrificed so much so I could go back.”

In October 2010, he attempted to rejoin the U.S. Army, but has gone back and forth since then. Choi has scheduled appointment with a military recruiter to talk about joining the Army Reserves later this week. Continue reading