Yoon Chang-jung. Photo via Naver
South Korean President Park Geun-hye fired her spokesman on Thursday amid allegations of sexual assault of a young woman in Washington, D.C., earlier this week, according to her office.
Yoon Chang-jung allegedly “grabbed [the victim's] buttocks without her permission” at a D.C. hotel on Tuesday night., a two-page Washington D.C. Police Department report described. The victim is only identified as a female intern who was assigned to assist Yoon during his stay in Washington.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye today wrapped up her first U.S. visit with a stop in Los Angeles, where Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa hosted a garden luncheon in her honor at his mansion in Hancock Park, just a stone’s throw away from the nation’s largest Koreatown.
After meeting privately with Villaraigosa and California Governor Jerry Brown, South Korea’s first female president emerged from the residence, pausing briefly to listen to an all-female mariachi band before greeting various dignitaries among the 120 guests invited to the exclusive luncheon.
Villaraigosa is no stranger to South Korea, having visited the country three times. During his visits he would often be introduced as the “mayor of the seventh largest Korean city,” he noted.
“Los Angeles is unthinkable without its Korean American community,” he added.
Park, speaking through an interpreter, acknowledged the fact that Los Angeles boasts the greatest number of ethnic Koreans outside the peninsula. “The same applies for California, as well. So, for us Koreans, L.A. as well as California have a special place in our hearts,” she said. Continue Reading »
The Japanese government reversed course from earlier suggestions that it could revise or even repudiate the two formal apologies made by the country’s leaders from two decades ago.
Fumio Kishida, Japan’s foreign minister, told reporters on Tuesday that the country’s conservative prime minister Abe Shinzo will abide by the views expressed in the 1995 apology by a Socialist prime minister, Tomiichi Murayama.
Following Kishida’s comments, the chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said in a separate press conference that the Abe government also won’t revise the 1993 apology, when then-prime minister Morihiro Hosokawa recognized the Japanese imperial army’s responsibility in coercing women of its colonized nations into sexual slavery during World War II.
“The Japanese government has accepted the facts of history in a spirit of humility, expressed once again our feelings of deep remorse and our heartfelt apology,” Kishida said. “Prime Minister Abe shares that view.”
Japan issued formal apologies in 1993 and 1995 to the victims of its oppression during the war, many of whom were South Korean “comfort women.” Continue Reading »
Asian-American leaders meet with Obama
Top Asian-American leaders met Wednesday with President Barack Obama and senior staff in a meeting that participants called a “meaningful” discussion on immigration, health care and civil rights.
The sit-down with Obama on Wednesday – which came amid Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month – was the first time that the president met with top officials from the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community, participants said.
“The meeting was very productive,” said Deepa Iyer, chairwoman of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and the executive director of the South Asian Americans Leading Together. “I think it really speaks to a recognition of the growing power of our community in the country … we’ve been able to galvanize a strong political base.”
Park’s progress: A first meeting with the American president sparkles
UNTIL she came to Washington, DC, to meet Barack Obama on May 7th and to address both houses of Congress the following day, South Korea’s new leader, Park Geun-hye, had not had an auspicious start to her presidency. Thanks to misguided choices for key posts, it seemed to take her an age to form an administration. Meanwhile, North Korean provocations cranked up regional tensions.
After testing a nuclear device shortly before Ms Park’s February inauguration, the North continued by threatening war and, last month, by denying South Korean managers entry to the Kaesong industrial complex. This last surviving instance of North-South co-operation now stands empty. South Korean shares have signally failed to take part in this year’s Asia-wide rally. Ms Park brought with her to America many titans of corporate South Korea partly to reassure foreign investors.
In Washington, however, it was all smiles and warm glances. Mr Obama was visibly taken by Ms Park’s “focus and discipline and straightforwardness”. Perhaps partly because of this rapport between the two leaders, things went better than Ms Park’s advisers dared hope.
Korean Newspapers Mixed on Park’s U.S. Trip
Wall Street Journal
All the major South Korean newspapers on Thursday picked President Park Geun-hye addressing Congress for their front-page photos. Despite generally positive notes on her U.S. trip, not all of them were happy with her diplomacy.
Hankyoreh, a left-of-center newspaper, was skeptical of the summit, saying that it “didn’t reach a level to produce a solution for the recent crisis in Korean peninsula.” It said top leaders sent out a clear message that they “will firmly react to North Korea’s provocation yet door is still open for conversation.” The paper also said top leaders failed to work out an active message to solve the crisis.
Korean-American students respond to tensions
Huntington News (Northeastern Univ.)
In response to intensified threats from North Korea against South Korea and the United States, Korean-American students at Northeastern are feeling wary but largely nonplussed.
“The US media makes it sound much more severe than it is,” Katherine Yom, a freshman international business major, said. “If you look at South Korean media, they’re really not concerned about it.”
Yom, a performance coordinator for Northeastern’s Korean American Student Association (KASA), said tensions between the North and South have become a way of life for Koreans and their families overseas.
“It’s something that’s been going on for years,” she said. “They’ve always threatened the South, especially when there’s a new president.”
Rancho Cucamonga man found guilty of murdering mother, faces insanity phase in trial
The Inland Daily Bulletin (Calif.)
After deliberating for a day and a half, a jury panel found Luke Kang guilty of fatally beating his mother with a golf club last year.
Jurors announced they’d reached a verdict Wednesday afternoon in West Valley Superior Courthouse. Kang was convicted of willful, deliberate and premeditated murder in the first degree and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury.
They also found the allegation that Kang, 28, used a deadly weapon when he attacked his mother on Feb. 22, 2012, at their home in the 11500 block of Stoneridge Drive in Rancho Cucamonga to be true. Because Kang previously pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, the same jury panel will have “to determine whether the defendant was or was not legally insane at the time of the crime,” Judge Colin J. Bilash said.
Jurors will come back for the second portion of the trial – the sanity phase – on Wednesday. Testimony in that phase is expected to last three to four days, Bilash said.
Why are there so few Asian Americans in LA politics?
Southern California Public Radio
When L.A. voters go to the polls later this month, they could be making history. That’s because, if he’s elected, candidate John Choi could be the first Asian-American elected to the city council in 20 years. But even then, he’d only be the second ever to hold a seat on the council.
In a city where 1 in 8 people are Asian-American, why is it hard for them to have a permanent place at LA’s political table?
“Our communities are very geographically dispersed,” says An Le, director of community engagement at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. “We don’t make up enough of a voting bloc in one council district to have one dominant Asian-American candidate that can win a race in the city.”
Do Endorsements for John Choi and Mitch O’Farrell Reveal Answers for Tri-Hipster Area Voters?
Is L.A. City Council District 13 candidate John Choi a pawn of downtown City Hall interests? Does rival Mitch O’Farrell really have the support of CD 13′s community activists? Will residents be screwed no matter who gets elected?
All important questions as the contentious CD 13 race heads into the final stretch, and endorsements from Choi’s and O’Farrell’s rivals may provide some revealing answers… For months now, many CD 13 community activists have been saying that O’Farrell and Choi are two totally different candidates.
In their eyes, O’Farrell, a longtime field deputy for Councilman Eric Garcetti, knows CD 13 inside and out and will better look after the interests of regular folks. They say Choi, who’s supported by the Democratic party machine in Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor honcho and kingmaker Maria Elena Durazo, will be more concerned about pleasing downtown power players.
Obituary: Heeyul “Helen” Cho Lee
Heeyul ‘Helen’ Cho Lee died unexpectedly of sepsis beginning from a pacemaker implant surgery site Saturday, May 4, 2013. She was 81.
Beloved wife of Kee Hyung Lee of Moorestown, she is survived by stepchildren, Choony Mu and Jacqueline de la Houssaye; two beloved grandchildren, Maxine and Madeleine; and many nieces and nephews.
Helen graduated from Ewha Woman’s University Medical College in Seoul, Korea and received her M.D. degree in 1957. Helen practiced medicine in various locations until 1977 when she began her private practice in general medicine in Burlington for over 30 years.
Heeyul had a keen sense of humor and enjoyed joking with her friends.
Lee Hyori Declares Everyone ‘Miss Korea’ in First Single in 3 Years
This year marks a decade in the K-pop industry for Lee Hyori. Despite spending the last three years on hiatus, the K-diva is back with the lovely new single “Miss Korea,” a pre-release before unveiling her fifth album on May 21.
“Miss Korea” is an understated, jazzy ditty. While many K-pop fans remember Lee Hyori rocking fierce hip-hop and dance sounds in singles like “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “Get Ya,” the song is a nice way to remind fans of the singer’s talent first and foremost. Plus, this is likely to be enjoyed by both older and younger generations with its classic, acoustic production.
Psy’s ‘Gentleman’ tops 300 mln YouTube hits
The video for South Korean rapper Psy’s new single “Gentleman” has been viewed more than 300 million times since it was posted on YouTube last month, the global video-sharing Web site said Thursday.
The video, released on April 13, recorded 300.256 million hits as of 11:10 a.m. Thursday. The milestone was reached 26 days after its release and 17 days after the new video broke the 200 million mark on April 22.
YG Entertainment Teases ‘Who’s Next?’ as Mysterious ’2NE1 Loves’ Videos Surface
Some mysterious online media has left K-pop fans both scratching their heads and wagging their tongues with anticipation.
Major K-pop label YG Entertainment (home to popular acts PSY, BIGBANG, 2NE1, Lee Hi and more) revealed a graphic with almost all their artist names, a May 28 date and the question ‘WHO’S NEXT?’ (See the full graphic here). An updated graphic soon followed with almost all the names faded except for 2NE1, CL, Taeyang, Kang Seung Yoon and “YG NEW ARTIST.” Online K-pop fans–aka “netizens”–have many theories for “who’s next.”
One thought is that new material is coming from one of the current artists on YG’s roster. Fans may hear the first music from Kang Seung Yoon, who signed on to be a trainee with the company after appearing on singing competition “Superstar K” in 2011. It may also refer to 2NE1’s delayed album (that was originally schedule for April). New music from BIGBANG member Taeyang is said to be coming early this year as well.
South Korea’s No. 1 national treasure reopens after five years
After a massive, five-year restoration project involving 35,000 workers, scientists, historians and artisans, Sungnyemun, Korea’s top-ranked national treasure, finally reopened to the public this week.
Commonly known as Namdaemun or the Great South Gate, Sungnyemun is considered the most important historical and cultural treasure in South Korea for its 600-year-old history as well as its symbolic role as protector of the king and capital, which was why it was given the official title of the number one national treasure by the government’s Cultural Heritage Administration.
Following a Buddhist ritual known as cheondo, meant to rid the building of bad luck, the May 4 celebration was marked by a military band parade, music, dancing, prayer ceremonies and free admission to all four royal palaces in Seoul.
Kakao Moves Beyond Chat Rooms
Wall Street Journal
Kakao Corp., the company behind the smartphone chat app popular in Asia, has launched a new app in a bid to expand its mobile revenue.
Since it introduced Kakao Talk in 2010, the South Korean company has diversified into mobile games and commerce. Its new offering, called Kakao Page, works like an e-reader. Within the app, users can store video clips, pictures, comics, and reading material featuring professionals from various fields, ranging from song writers to hair stylists. Download fees vary depending on the content. The app, launched about a month ago, is available on the Google Play store but is only offered in Korean.
Obama Backs Policy of South Korea’s President on North
New York Times
President Obama offered an endorsement Tuesday of South Korea’s new president, Park Geun-hye, and her blueprint for defusing tensions with North Korea, but warned that the first move was up to the erratic, often belligerent young leader in Pyongyang, Kim Jong-un.
In a news conference after an Oval Office meeting, Mr. Obama said Ms. Park’s policy, which mixes deterrence with an openness to engagement, is “very compatible with my approach.”
But after weeks of warlike statements from Mr. Kim, which subsided only in recent days, Mr. Obama emphasized that the “burden is on Pyongyang to take meaningful steps to abide by its commitments and obligations, particularly the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
South Korean president reassures U.S. lawmakers on North Korea
South Korean President Park Geun-hye assured U.S. lawmakers Wednesday that the strength of their alliance and the steps her country has taken will effectively deter provocations from North Korea.
“The Korean government is reacting resolutely but calmly. We are maintaining the highest level of readiness,” Park told told a joint meeting of Congress. She added: “Korea’s economic fundamentals are strong. Its government is equal to the task. And it is backed by the might of our alliance. So long as this continues, you may rest assured no North Korean provocation can succeed.”
Park is on her first overseas trip as president. On Tuesday she met with President Obama at the White House. The two leaders pledged a united front against North Korean aggression in a news conference after their discussions.
Taking on Sen. Chuck Schumer, House member says immigration bill’s family visa changes would hurt Asian-Americans
New York Daily News
The most junior member of New York’s delegation is taking on the state’s most powerful lawmaker on the racial impact of an immigration bill.
Freshman Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) wrote Sen. Chuck Schumer on Tuesday, arguing that an immigration overhaul he helped author “contains a number of provisions that are disadvantageous to the Asian American community and detrimental” to the nation.
Meng praised parts of the bill, which is set for a committee vote Thursday, but blasted a change to a program that lets people sponsor their family members for visas.
How Asian Americans became a key White House constituency
The growing influence of Asian Americans in U.S. politics will be on full display Wednesday, as President Obama meets with half a dozen lAsian American leaders this afternoon, and Vice President Biden addresses the Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies gala tonight.
How did Asian Americans get to be such a key political constituency? Both their votes and their donations have made a difference, especially in Obama’s reelection bid.
Asians are quickly becoming a core Democratic group: Exit polling showed Obama and Biden won 73 percent of the Asian vote in 2012, up 11 points from 2008. This represents one of the biggest changes for any group in 2012, at a time when most voting groups shifted away from Obama in 2012. While Hispanics have captured the public’s attention as one of the nation’s most important voting blocs because of their larger numbers, Asian Americans are growing even faster as a share of the electorate.
Most Asian-Americans live in mixed neighborhoods, but exceptions abound, experts say
Medill Reports Chicago (Northwestern Univ. School of Journalism)
Asian-Americans are not only the best educated and fastest growing racial group in this country, they are also more likely than any other race or ethnicity to live in racially diverse neighborhoods, according to a recent Pew study.
Language skills and education levels are factors that affect Asian-American’s ability and desire to live in racially mixed neighborhoods, local experts say.
Of the nearly 17 million Asian-Americans living in this country, according to U.S. census data, the study found that only 11 percent live in an area that is predominantly Asian-American.
“If you look at Chicago, I think that’s generally true because Asian-American communities tend to be more dispersed throughout the city,” said Mark Chiang, associate professor of English and Asian-American studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Twitter diplomacy for Dennis Rodman
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is tapping his friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to ask for the release of a Korean-American man sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in the North.
“I’m calling on the Supreme Leader of North Korea or as I call him ‘Kim’, to do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose,” Rodman said on Twitter. He later called the tweet a direct response to a Seattle Times editorial that dared him to ask Kim for the release if the two are really buddies.
Rodman visited North Korea in February and sat next to Kim as they watched an exhibition basketball game. His trip came at a time of high tension between Pyongyang and Washington and was not endorsed by the U.S. State Department.
Am I racist?
According to an online test developed by Harvard psychologists, I have a moderate preference toward white people.
I — a liberal white male who deeply cares about racial equity — was quicker to assign positive words (e.g., joy, love, peace) to faces of white people and negative words (e.g., awful, failure, hurt) to faces of African Americans. I feel shock, shame, and disgust. The fact that 27 percent of the 732,881 people who took the test had the same result, while another 27 percent had a “strong preference” toward white people, provides some consolation but not much.
Seoul Tackles Rising Refugee Inflow
Wall Street Journal
The 25-year-old man arrived in South Korea in October 2011 after he fled Iran for what he identified as religious reasons. He was from a conservative Muslim family but said he found Christianity in Iran’s underground church movement. After receiving threats over his secret worship from members of his community, including his father and cousins, he fled abroad.
The man entered South Korea on a forged passport, a fact that immigration authorities say he admitted to in March this year when submitting his application for asylum. His representatives say South Korea was meant to be a stop on the way to Canada, where he planned to apply for refugee status. But after arriving in South Korea, the broker he had paid to take him to Canada disappeared, according to his lawyers.
After hearing from relatives about a summons from a court in Iran to appear on charges of apostasy, his lawyers say the man immediately filed an application for refugee status at an immigration center in Seoul.
Rookies poised for big K stats
Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers
Age: 26; MLB career starts: 7; Player Rater SP ranking: 36th
Stuff: Many scouting reports during the winter, at the time the Dodgers signed Ryu to a six-year, $36 million contract after paying a $25.7 million posting fee, had the left-hander’s stuff ranging as high as that of a No. 3 or 4 starter to as low as that of a situational reliever. Ryu’s changeup is the key to his sticking in the rotation: It’s his best pitch, he uses it often against righties (30 percent usage) and opponents overall have batted .222 against it. Meanwhile, his delivery is deceptive enough to completely fluster lefties — hence the “reliever” chatter — as they’re batting just .176/.243/.294 against him.
Adjustment period? Hitters might begin to catch up with Ryu the more times they see him; the San Francisco Giants, who on Sunday became the first team to face him for the second time during the regular season, enjoyed more success against him (4 runs, 8 hits, only 2 K’s) in meeting No. 2. Two years ago, “60 Feet 6 Inches” examined pitchers’ prospects for success during their proverbial “second trip around the league,” and the telling tale was that strikeout artists tended to fare better than finesse types during that phase. Ryu’s current 251-K pace might paint such a strikeout-artist picture, but if he’s not a traditional flamethrower — his average fastball velocity thus far is 90.0 mph — is he subject to that? I wonder.
Korean American artist sculpts dual identity
Golden Gate Express (SF State Univ.)
A young man in clay-smudged jeans sits on a stool, steps on a pedal and molds a heap of clay with quiet finesse. The wheel spins the now curvy tower of clay like the gears turning in his head. He asks, “What would you like me to make?”
The tower is cut with a wire and reassembled into the lid, bowl and spout of a teapot. The rest is manipulated into a tall vase.
This is 27-year-old studio art major Nick Oh’s nature as an artist — calm, skilled and prolific. Although he’s described by classmates as mysterious and keeping to himself, his art speaks volumes.
Oh’s most ambitious piece, the slightly larger than life-size figure of himself — sitting cross-legged nude and eating American items (a football and McDonalds cup) out of Chinese take-out boxes — features about 300 racial slurs and jokes painted on the bare “skin” fired with a clear glaze.