Tag Archives: politics

Stephen Kim Leak Trial Less Than Speedy

The U.S. government’s case against Korean American Stephen J. Kim continues to drag on in the courts, tapping his family’s financial resources and testing their resolve.

Kim, 43, recently told the JoongAng Daily that the case has been a financial and emotional drain on him and his family.

The U.S. government claims he divulged classified information to a journalist in 2009 when Kim was serving as a senior adviser to the U.S. State Department on arms control. He was indicted last August on charges of disclosing classified national defense information.

Kim said the whole ordeal has been crushing. “The legal process is protracting without progress,” Kim said as he left a courtroom in Washington on Tuesday. “My life and the career that I have built have stopped too.”

Kim was in court for his fifth appearance since the indictment but the main legal proceedings are not expected to start any time soon.

Abbe Lowell, the main lawyer for Kim, said the case is likely to take a long time to resolve. And until the case is settled, Kim said, “I can’t go beyond 25 miles out of Washington, can’t travel and can’t go meet people close to me,” Kim said.

Kim said his family in Korea has nearly gone bankrupt to help pay his legal expenses – he said his parents in Korea sold out their house – and he is only making ends meet by living with the help of acquaintances.

According to those with knowledge of the case, Kim may have to pay around $1.5 million to the lawyers until the case is closed. His acquaintances have set up a website in an effort to raise defense funds for Kim.

Kim emigrated to the United States when he was 8 years old and earned degrees from Georgetown and Harvard and a doctorate from Yale, according to the New York Times.

Thursday's Link Attack: Anthony Kim, North Korea, Margaret Cho

Anthony Kim happy to be contending

Golf beat writer Bob Harig talks to Southern California native Anthony Kim about what he’s done to turn his game around following a surprising 5th-place finish at last week’s British Open.

Once considered among the best of a group of up-and-coming young American players, Kim, 26, has clearly not been the same since undergoing thumb surgery last year following a tie for seventh at the Quail Hollow Championship.

“I’ve found my game, it’s just I haven’t brought it to the tournaments,” Kim said Sunday. “I’m excited that this is the tournament I brought it to. Obviously other tournaments are very important, but to play well at major championships is what I work for. So to be able to put up some good rounds, probably my best rounds I’ve played all year, at the British, is pretty rewarding.”

Why Mayor Kang should run for Congress
Orange County Register

After tearing apart the campaign prospects of [Irvine, Calif.] Mayor Sukhee Kang last week, I thought I would address some of the reasons that might motivate the mayor and perhaps others to support his bid for Congress.

Congress pays better. This might sound like a bad reason to run for Congress. But for Mayor Kang, who treats the part-time job he has now as a full-time gig, he might feel more appreciated collecting a six-figure pay check from the federal government.

Sung Kim vows efforts for denuclearization of N. Korea
Yonhap News

The nominee to become the new U.S. ambassador to South Korea said Thursday that he will play a bridging role between the allies in resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis and preventing the communist nation’s provocations.

Park scores second in consecutive friendly in US
Korea Times

Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung netted his second goal in a consecutive pre-season friendly match in the United States, Thursday.

The first Korean English Premier Leaguer notched the team’s fifth goal in its 7-0 triumph against the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field.

Margaret Cho Talks Latest Album ‘Cho Dependent’ And Its Serious Indie Cred (VIDEO)
The Huffington Post

Cho enlisted many top talents from the world of indie music, including Andrew Bird, Jon Brion, Ani DiFranco, Ben Lee and Tegan and Sara to write and perform with her on the album. “Cho Dependent” was nominated for a 2010 Grammy as Best Comedy Album. The result was a very unique sound — Cho may be the only musician who cites both David Bowie and “Weird Al” Yankovic among her primary influences.

APA Spotlight: Tammy Chu, Co-Founder Adoptee Solidarity Korea

Tammy Chu was born in Seoul, Korea and adopted to the U.S. She studied Cinema and Photography at Ithaca College. Her award-winning first short documentary, Searching for Go-Hyang, was broadcast on PBS, EBS (Korea), and screened at film festivals internationally.

Tammy has been living in Korea for several years and is a co-founding member of Adoptee Solidarity Korea, an adoptee activist organization based in Seoul.

Half-Korean Pro Basketball Brothers Get Korean Citizenship
Korea Herald

Two half-Korean basketball players playing in Korea’s top division basketball league have acquired Korean citizenship, the Justice Ministry announced on Thursday.

Moon Tae-young and his elder brother Tae-jong, who were born to an American father and a Korean mother, received dual citizenship status in accordance with the revised immigration law, the ministry said.

Kenneth Choi Talks ‘Captain America’ On The Red Carpet

Monday's Link Attack: Anthony Kim, North Korea, Korean Sex Scandal

What they said: Anthony Kim

Here’s a Q&A with pro golfer Anthony Kim, who finished tied for 5th place at the British Open yesterday.

Q. Are you just frustrated or angry or what’s the emotion that is kind of prevalent?

ANTHONY KIM: I wouldn’t say angry. I’m in a pretty good spot in my life I’d say. I would just say I’m frustrated, extremely frustrated with how I was playing and the work I felt like I was putting in. I felt like I wasn’t getting anything out of it. So to put myself in contention on Saturday is a very nice feeling.

North Korea Starving, But Elite Open Luxury Restaurant
ABC News

Earlier this week, “The Restaurant at Hana” opened its doors in the North Korea capital. Restaurants come and go with little fanfare in most world capitals, but it get noticed when one opens in the so-called Hermit Kingdom where famine is threatening to return to the country.

Life of horror in gulags of North Korea
New Zealand Herald

“A day before the executions, prison guards would put huge banners to tell everyone what was going to happen, and on the day everyone would be ordered to attend,” the diminutive 50-year-old explains.

“They would take the prisoner to a stake, tie them up and blindfold them. The firing squad would let off 30 or 40 shots until the prisoner’s body had turned to honeycomb. Every time the bullets hit, the stake would crack backwards.”

Who Killed Kim Sah Nae?
The New Yorker

For years, I pondered the strange fate of Kim Sah Nae, a North Korean diplomat killed mysteriously in her home in Islamabad, Pakistan, more than a decade ago. The facts seemed to have been lifted from a spy movie, with hints of espionage, nuclear secrets, and assassination. Officially, Kim died in an accident, when a neighbor’s cook was loading a shotgun, and it went off. I always figured she’d been murdered. Back then, I even toyed with the idea of writing a screenplay, with Gong Li, I imagined, in the starring role.

Debbie Lee’s Poutine Truck Hits the Streets
L.A. Weekly

Chef Debbie Lee must like running the Ahn-Joo food truck because she’s launching another truck, only this one is Canadian not Korean. Along with partner James MacKinnon, the Food Network regular will debut The Poutine Truck (@thepoutinetruck) this weekend at the Little Tokyo Design Festival.

Korean DJ is Seoul’s master of Western rock
Los Angeles Times

For years, Kang [Hyung-Min] approached foreigners to plumb their musical knowledge. Now the student knows more than his teachers, and he’s sought out by expatriates here for the breadth, style and playfulness of his musical acumen.

Kang spins it all: indie, country, punk. But his specialty is the British sound of the 1980s: the likes of Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, the Cure and the Smiths.

Former G.I., South Korean girl he befriended, reunite after nearly four decades
The News Journal (Wilmington, Del.)

Insooni, the famous biracial singer from Korea reunited with a former U.S. soldier she met in 1972.

Lewis was a 19-year-old GI when he saw 15-year-old Insoon, the daughter of a Korean mom and an American soldier who was black. Insoon was kicked out of school for being a mixed-race child. Lewis is now 58 and Insooni is 54.

“She was always sitting outside by herself,” Lewis said. “So a few of the soldiers bought her clothes and helped her as much as we could.”

But Insooni only remembers Lewis, whom she considers a big brother.

“I never forgot his eyes,” Insooni said.

Consulting firm offers tips on U.S. university admission
The Korea Herald

As more South Korean students try to get into top American colleges, they have started to turn to admission consulting companies which provide application assistance and help design extracurricular activities.

A team of experts from Manhattan Global Prep, a New York-based college admission consulting firm, offered advice to Korean students in its seminar last Saturday in Seoul on what students should know about the U.S. college admission process and what the company can offer.

The consulting fee ranges from $10,000 to $40,000, depending on a student’s grades, but guarantees acceptance to at least one school for each applicant and pledges a full refund if he or she is not accepted.

Yuliana Kim-Grant’s new novel, ‘A Shred of Hope,’ released
Korean Beacon

Korean American author Yuliana Kim-Grant‘s new release, A Shred of Hope, starts with the sudden death of an interracial couple—the main character, Jane Park, is Korean American, and her husband is African American. The tragic story unfolds and ensues as we gradually learn about Jane’s broken relationship with her parents. Jane’s Korean parents, who had rejected the idea of their daughter marrying an African American man, had cut ties with her after the couple’s wedding—a wedding they did not even attend. But when the couple one day falls victim to a psychopathic gunman in the subway, the parents must go through a grieving process that is marked not only with loss, but also the guilt and regret over a relationship that can no longer be healed.

Sex scandal rumors fly at Korean Assembly
Korea Herald via AsiaOne

The National Assembly was recently shaken by a series of sex scandals, most of them involving members of the Grand National Party.

Earlier this month, a major daily newspaper reported that a married ruling party lawmaker sexually harassed a drunken woman in a taxi and handed over money to the driver who threatened to upload the recorded file on the Internet.

Assemblyman Warren Furutani To Run For L.A. City Council

A just-vacated seat on the Los Angeles City Council is up for grabs and California State Assemblyman Warren Furutani wasted little time in expressing his desire to occupy it.

“I was born in San Pedro and have lived in the 15th Council District for almost 20 years,” said Furutani, in a release. “I’m an L.A. guy and I’m very excited at the opportunity to work closely with the community on important issues like job creation, gang prevention, education, transportation, air quality and improving the great neighborhoods of San Pedro, Watts, Wilmington, Harbor City and the Harbor Gateway.”

Furutani is angling for the seat left vacant by Janice Hahn, who was elected to Congress in a special election yesterday.

If elected, Furutani would be the first Japanese American to serve on the L.A. City Council, and only the second Asian American after Michael Woo, who served on the council from 1985 to 1993.

Born in San Pedro, Furutani is fourth-generation Japanese American. His grandfather was a mechanic on Terminal Island in San Pedro who repaired tuna boat motors. During World War II, his grandparents and father were forced to leave their home in 48-hours and were sent to an internment camp in Rohror, Arkansas. His parents met in camp and later married. After the war, they returned to San Pedro to start their family.

Korean American Recommended For Federal Judgeship in Illinois

A Korean American lawyer from Chicago has been recommended to be a federal judge in Illinois, according to the Korea Herald.

John Z. Lee, 44, was recommended for one of three vacant slots in Chicago federal court by Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin. If selected for nomination by President Obama, Lee would then need full Senate confirmation.

Born in Germany, Lee was raised in Chicago and finished his degree at Harvard Law School. Graduating cum laude in 1992, he studied close to the same time as U.S. President Barack Obama, who graduated in 1991.

In addition, Lee previously served as a trial attorney for the Department of Justice and is currently a partner at commercial law firm Freeborn & Peters.

The candidate is also working for two non-profit organizations, namely Asian Human Services of Chicago and CARPLS (Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services).

If Lee is confirmed, he will be just the third Korean American federal judge. Herbert Choy of Hawaii was the first in 1971 followed by Lucy Koh, who was confirmed by the Senate in June 2010.

July Issue: Arrest of U.S. Journalists Was Planned Spy Operation

Photo credit: Mark Edward Harris

When journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling were arrested by North Korean authorities for illegally entering the isolated country in March 2009, many wondered who betrayed them and how had they been caught so easily.

A recent report from the Chosun Ilbo revealed that it was a carefully orchestrated operation masterminded by North Korea’s State Security Department deputy chief Ryu Kyong.

Using a well-established network of China-based operatives, Ryu obtained intelligence that Ling and Lee, journalists working for Current TV, were doing a story on North Korean refugees and planned to make a trip to the China-North Korea border.

Ryu then instructed his spies to bribe a Korean-Chinese guide to lead the two women into a trap on the banks of the Tumen River, where they were caught by North Korean guards. The Chosun Ilbo reported that Ryu was then “hailed as a national hero” for prompting former President Bill Clinton to make a face-losing diplomatic trip to secure the release of Ling and Lee.

The celebration apparently didn’t last long, however, as Ryu was reportedly executed earlier this year in what is being deemed by North Korea experts as a Pyongyang power struggle. Some have speculated that Ryu was getting too powerful, while others suspected him of being a double agent for South Korea, according to the Chosun Ilbo.

This article appeared in the July 2011 issue of KoreAm.

Thursday's Link Attack: Winter Olympics, Ken Jeong, Korean Suicide

Persistence Pays Off as South Korean Town Wins Olympic Bid
The New York Times

If the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics were a coming-out party for a young democracy that was building a fast-growing economy from the ashes of the Korean War and through earlier military dictatorships, then holding the Winter Olympics, South Koreans say, will give a lift to their country’s “national prestige,” as all national dailies editorialized Thursday.

‘Hangover 2′ Star Ken Jeong to Receive Just For Laughs Honors
The Hollywood Reporter

Bridesmaids director Paul Feig is to receive the comedy director of the year award at the upcoming Just For Laughs festival, while The Hangover 2 star Ken Jeong will pick up the breakout comedy star of the year trophy at the Montreal yukfest.

Dia Frampton and Miranda Lambert May Record Together

“Once Dia figures out what her plan is, you’ll probably see her and Miranda write together,” Shelton revealed. So even though Frampton, who shook the rafters with her reimagining of Kanye West’s ‘Heartless,’ did not have ‘The Voice’ crown placed atop her head, her future is still limitless. Shelton even said that his wife was rooting for Frampton just as hard as he was.

Stressed and Depressed, Koreans Avoid Therapy
New York Times

It can sometimes feel as if South Korea, overworked, overstressed and ever anxious, is on the verge of a national nervous breakdown, with a rising divorce rate, students who feel suffocated by academic pressures, a suicide rate among the highest in the world and a macho corporate culture that still encourages blackout drinking sessions after work.

More than 30 South Koreans kill themselves every day, and the suicides of entertainers, politicians, athletes and business leaders have become almost commonplace. The recent suicides of four students and a professor at Korea’s leading university shocked the nation, and in recent weeks a TV baseball announcer, two professional soccer players, a university president and the former lead singer in a popular boy band killed themselves.

Pakistan’s nuclear-bomb maker says North Korea paid bribes for know-how
Washington Post

The founder of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb program asserts that the government of North Korea bribed top military officials in Islamabad to obtain access to sensitive nuclear technology in the late 1990s.

North Korea steps forward as new cyberwar villian
IT World

In March North Korea — whose impression of a cartoonishly extreme Evil Empire has set the standard for smothering repression, campily ridiculous Fearless Leaders and quiet dignity among the starving masses – launched a DDOS attack that knocked down a handful of South Korean web sites, according to an investigation conducted by security software vendor McAfee.

Except for the home page of the U.S. Forces Korea – which is primarily a PR site used by the U.S. Eighth Army to distribute information to civilians, not for actual military communications – all the 14 sites hit were South Korean companies with no particular political significance, despite indications North Korea is training a coterie of cyberwarriors at foreign colleges.

The tipoff that the attack wasn’t just part of an extortion attempt or bit of ordinary vandalism was that it was far too meta to be the work of casual or commercial hackers, according to a report from McAfee, which assembled its information with the help of the U.S. and South Korean governments.

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Irvine Mayor To Run For Congress


Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang announced Wednesday he intends to become just the second Korean American to hold a seat in Congress, according to the Voice of OC.

Kang, a Democrat, will likely be running against Republican incumbent John Campbell in the 2012 election. The California Citizens Redistricting Commission is still drawing the boundaries of the new district that will include at least parts of Irvine.

Kang was elected mayor of Irvine in 2008, making him the first Korean-American mayor of a city with a population more than 100,000. He was reelected last year in a landslide vote.

The Orange County Register said the race for congressman for the redrawn district will likely be the “most competitive race in years” in the Republican-dominated coastal Orange County area.

The first-generation Korean immigrant might benefit from Irvine’s burgeoning population of Asian-Americans, who make up about 40 percent of city residents.

But given the demographics of the area, incumbent Campbell would be a tough opponent to beat, The Voice of OC reported.

Campbell was first elected in 2005, and last year while hardly campaigning, he trounced Irvine Councilwoman Beth Krom, a Democrat.

Kang said he would run on fairly commonplace issues: the economy, public education, Medicare and military veterans issues.

“It’s not going to be an easy election,” Kang told the OC Register. “But when I first ran for City Council seven years ago, nobody believed I was going to win.”

Jay Kim is the only Korean American to have held a seat in Congress, serving from 1993 to 1999 for District 41 in San Bernadino County, California.