A rendering of Terminal 2 at Incheon International Airport. Image via Gensler
Incheon International Airport, one of Asia’s busiest, started construction last Thursday on a second passenger terminal, which is scheduled for completion by the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.
The new terminal, which will cost $2 billion, encompasses the third part of the airport’s three-phase construction project. It will include a passenger terminal, new railways and roads and a second traffic center by 2017, the Korea Herald reports.
The 72-gate, 7.4 million-square-foot terminal’s design was inspired by the Asian Phoenix, according to Keith Thompson of the global design firm, Gensler. The terminal will feature indoor gardens, a koi pond and natural lighting that travelers can enjoy while shopping, dining or just relaxing. These will join the various facilities already available in the airport, which include hundreds of shops, a hotel, a skating rink, a golf course and a casino. Continue Reading »
North Korea Seeks New Talks on Its Nuclear Program, China Says
North Korea is ready to return to six-party talks on its nuclear program, China said, the third time this month that Kim Jong Un’s regime has proposed new dialogue after easing off threats of atomic attacks.
The North is prepared for “talks of any form including the six-party talks and hopes to peacefully solve the nuclear problem through negotiations,” China’s Foreign Ministry said on its website, citing comments Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan made while meeting his Chinese counterpart in Beijing yesterday.
Park Calls for ‘common sense’ in relations with North Korea
South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Thursday she will stick to principles in dealing with North Korea in order to transform relations with the communist nation in a way that is in line with “common sense and international standards.”
“South-North relations are at a very important juncture right now. How we do at this point would affect not only the fate of the Korean Peninsula, but also those of Northeast Asia and the world,” Park said during a meeting with members of the National Unification Advisory Council.
“I believe we should break the vicious cycle of provocations and rewards … and lay the foundation for genuine peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula based on consistent principles and trust. For this, we have to build inter-Korean relations in which common sense and international standards work.”
Cheeseburger in Paradise Island
Serendipity is not something the visitor to North Korea is likely to encounter often. Guides, with carefully planned itineraries, usually go to great lengths to avoid accidental brushes with ordinary North Koreans, whether they be women selling clothes or maize in the local fly-by-night “frog markets”, or men drinking in local bars.
It is a shame, because such encounters help humanise a poorly understood people: for instance, on a recent visit one 23-year-old North Korean told us shyly that she was besotted with Brad Pitt, which probably went further in busting stereotypes than she could have imagined. Happily, some non-governmental organisations are managing to break through this thick veil of mistrust to foster real engagement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Singapore-based Choson Exchange, which promotes people-to-people contact between high-flying young professionals and bureaucrats of the DPRK and the outside world, is one.
South Korean Students Demand Faster Action in Election Probe
Wall Street Journal
South Korea student anger is growing over what many believe to be a slow and insufficient investigation into an allegation that the country’s top intelligence agency attempted to influence the presidential election last December.
Last Friday, Supreme Prosecutors’ Office indicted Won Sei-hoon, the former National Intelligence Service chief, on charges of violating the election law that bans a civil servant from intervening an election and the NIS law that prohibits its officials from meddling domestic politics.
According to the prosecutors, Mr. Won allegedly ordered his subordinates to launch a political offensive against opposition party candidates including Moon Jae-jin, the candidate from the main opposition United Democratic Party. Mr. Moon lost the election against Park Geun-hye by about one million votes.
Police seek arrest warrant for ex-vice justice minister over sex scandal
Police said Wednesday they have sought an arrest warrant for a former vice justice minister who is accused of receiving sexual favors from a local contractor in return for business favors.
Police have been investigating allegations that a number of high-profile figures, including Kim Hak-ui and the head of a local general hospital, received sexual services from a dozen women hired by the 52-year-old construction contractor, surnamed Yoon.
Kim allegedly used his power to influence several court cases in Yoon’s favor in return for the services.
Glendale looking to memorialize ‘comfort women’ of World War II
Los Angeles Daily News
The city of Glendale and a local organization are looking to install a memorial to “comfort women” — the thousands of Koreans and others who historians say were forced into sexual slavery to soldiers during World War II by the Japanese military.
The memorial may be somewhat controversial, however, because while the majority of mainstream historians agree with the history, a vocal minority of ultranationalists and some politicians in Japan contest details of the comfort women story, including the numbers involved, whether the practice was sanctioned by the government and even whether the women were slaves or volunteers.
Today, the design of the proposed memorial will be unveiled before Glendale’s Arts and Culture Commission, an advisory panel to the City Council, which would decide whether to approve it.
Glendale man, 81, with diabetes, dementia reported missing
Glendale News-Press (Calif.)
[Update 5:42 p.m.] Glendale police found Byung Jin Choi just before 5 p.m. in the 300 block of North Glendale Avenue after a passerby reported an elderly person with a walker who appeared to need help. Police said they took him to Glendale Adventist Hospital and have alerted his family.
“He was treated for dehydration, but otherwise seemed fine,” said Sgt. Tom Lorenz.
Will Yun Lee On The Wolverine
Will Yun Lee has played a Marvel character before – he was big bad Kirigi in Elektra – but that’s not to be confused with his character in The Wolverine. We know he’s officially billed as Kenuichio Harada, but beyond that Lee can’t say much for fear of spoilers. Still, we did get a few snippets from him on his experience of filming, including Hugh Jackman’s thing with lottery tickets…
Tell us about your character…
I play a man named Harada and he’s kind of a mysterious character, and the way the movie is structured he’s definitely involved in a lot of the relationships between Hugh and Tao and some of the different characters, but you never really know what side of the line he falls on. He’s part of some of the great action sequences you’re going to see.
As Expected, 2NE1′s CL Looks Amazing In Korean GQ and Vogue
CL’s recent solo debut may not have soared on the charts like it should have, but the trendsetting songstress proves she’s still the baddest female around when it comes to fashion and photoshoots. The 22-year-old, who’s so cool that both Rihanna and Rita Ora follow her on Instagram, is featured in this month’s issues of Korean Vogue and GQ, and as usual, she looks incredible.
Naturally, CL’s gone for an avant-garde, high fashion, you-can’t-afford-this-and-never-will kind of look for Vogue, whereas her GQ shoot is all posturing, gold grills, and bad girl swag.
You can look forward to more of CL’s untouchable style choices when she makes a K-pop comeback alongside 2NE1 early next month. Excited?
One Night Only: Chefs Chang, Choi and Puck
Wall Street Journal
Celebrity chefs David Chang, Roy Choi and Wolfgang Puck cooked and served a one-night-only seven-course meal at the Hotel Bel Air last night. The event, floated on Mr. Puck’s Twitter account a few weeks ago, sold out within about an hour at $190 a head, plus $80 for wine.
Mr. Chang, famous for his Momofuku restaurant empire, said he flew across the country with some of his staff because, “Chef asked. Wolfgang is one of the pioneers and the guy that without him, Roy and I wouldn’t really be here.” Mr. Puck said the purpose of the evening was to shake things up at his hotel restaurant and tap into the energy of the “new generation.” Just before service in the kitchen, Mr. Choi watched Mr. Puck gobble up a piece of his sous-vide-and-fried Cornish game hen. Mr. Choi gripped his head in disbelief.
Iconic Summer Dish: The Real Korean Tacos by Namu Gaji
LA’s Koji truck may have kicked off a national Korean taco craze, but San Francisco’s Namu Gaji is recognized for an original take on the idea. The Real Korean Tacos, as they’re called, use dried sheets of nori instead of tortillas as the vehicle for BBQ Kalbi short ribs and kimchee salsa. They are available at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and have also become a staple at summer fests like Outside Lands. Now that the restaurant has logged a couple of seasons in the Mission after moving from the original Richmond District spot, they’re a fixture at Dolores Park picnics and parties too.
IOC Inspectors praise Pyeongchang for 2018 Winter Games preparations
AP via Washington Post
IOC inspectors have concluded their second visit to Pyeongchang by praising organizers for making good progress on preparations for the 2018 Winter Games.
IOC coordination commission chief Gunilla Lindberg says the panel has “once again seen good progress” and “an excellent team effort” from the organizing committee, all levels of government and the Korean Olympic Committee.
The commission cited the launch of Pyeongchang’s new logo and finalization of venue plans.
The Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics Organizing Committee released the official logo of the Winter Olympics today, according to the Olympics official website.
The emblem draws from traditional Korean script, taking the first consonants of each syllable of the hosting city’s name. At first glance, the image may appear to be nothing more than a simple house and snowflake, but upon a second look, it becomes clear that the house and snowflake are stylized letters.
Incidentally, the official colors of the Olympics — black, blue, green, red, yellow, and white — are reflected in Korean tradition and ceremony, and are also incorporated into the new design. Continue Reading »
Photo via No Cut News
Who is the whitest Korean you know? Well, if you are friends with pro ice hockey player Brock Radunske, it would be him.
The Canada-born, former Edmonton Oilers NHL draft pick was recently granted Korean citizenship, according to Yonhap News.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound forward is now eligible to play in international competition for South Korea, which will host the Winter Olympics in 2018 in Pyeongchang. Continue Reading »
Clues to timing of NKorea nuclear test seen in US holidays, Kim family dates, South’s politics
AP via Washington Post
So when will it be?
North Korea vowed last month to carry out its third nuclear test but has said nothing about timing. As a result, the building suspense in Seoul has prompted many to look at the dates Pyongyang has chosen for past atomic tests, as well as rocket and missile launches.
Dates and numbers have great symbolic importance to North Korea’s government. So Pyongyang often schedules what Washington calls “provocative acts” around U.S. holidays and important South Korean political events, an effort to send none-too-subtle messages to its main enemies — Washington and Seoul. Pyongyang also uses the tests to give a nationalistic boost to its citizens, often favoring significant milestones of the state, party and ruling Kim family.
South Korean public opinion as Park Geun-hye takes office
The Peterson Institute for International Economics
The South Korean public regards “economic growth” as the top priority for the incoming Park Geun-hye government according to two recent polls. I recently received a short report from the TNS office in Seoul summarizing South Korean public opinion on a variety of issues, and comparing those views to those found five years ago as Lee Myung-bak came into office.
With regard to North-South relations, the delinkage of politics and humanitarian aid continues to have strong support in South Korea. According to a Dong-a Ilbo poll two-thirds of the public support a continuance of humanitarian aid “regardless of the political situation.”
In Propaganda Video, Only North Korea Sleeps Easy
New York Times
North Korea is not known for its subtlety, famous instead for its soaring patriotic rhetoric and threats to turn the capital of its rival, South Korea, into a “sea of fire.”
But even by those standards, the latest volley of North Korea propaganda is noteworthy. Posted recently on YouTube, a video by one of the North’s propaganda agencies shows an animated version of Manhattan in flames — part of a dream in which a young Korean man envisions a glorious future of rocket launchings and the reunification of the Korean Peninsula. The background music to the scenes of launchings and destruction: an instrumental version of “We Are the World.”
How much disparity is there among Asian Americans? Plenty
Southern California Public Radio
The details in a newly issued report on the disparities within California’s Asian American population are an eye-opening antidote to the “model minority” myth. They depict a diverse population that’s deeply divided along lines of social class, educational attainment, language and more.
Based on census and other federal data, the report from the Asian Pacific American Legal Center tracks Asians Americans in several regions including Southern California, home to the largest population of Asian Americans in the state.
A few basics: As it’s been reported lately, immigration from Asian countries to California now exceeds that from Latin America. Accordingly, the state’s general Asian and Pacific Islander population has been on the rise. Between 2000 and 2010, the Asian American population of California grew 34 percent, followed by its Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander population at 29 percent. Both surpassed the growth of the Latino population.
Asian American Women Over 65 Are More Likely to Commit Suicide Than Anyone Else, Study Finds
While talking about suicide in the United States may bring to mind high-profile cases like the tragic and untimely death of Aaron Schwartz, it turns out that the demographic most likely to end their lives is not who you might expect. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention published their findings from 2004 and 2007 that Asian American women ages 65 and older have the highest suicide rate than any other racial group at 6.5 per 100,000. Another finding from the CDC states that Asian Americans 18 years and older have the second highest percentage of individuals dealing with serious psychological disorder at 1.9%.
So what does all this mean?
Students push for Korean Studies
Yale Daily News (Yale Univ.)
A group of students has been working since September 2012 to raise awareness of the lack of a major in Korean studies at Yale — but students have undertaken similar efforts for at least the last decade.
The Council on East Asian Studies currently allows undergraduate EAS majors to concentrate in Chinese or Japanese studies but offers no concentration in Korean studies. Though former CEAS chair Mimi Yiengpruksawan told the News in 2002 that the council hoped to set up the Korean studies track by the fall of 2003, the council has struggled to establish the concentration for at least the past decade due to insufficient resources. A newly formed student group, called the Korean Studies Initiative at Yale, has gathered over 200 signatures on a petition released to students online Jan. 29 to urge the University to invest the teaching resources necessary for the program’s establishment.
Korean plastic surgeon shares his views on industry regulations
South China Morning Post
As the debate over how to regulate the beauty industry rages on in Hong Kong, a top plastic surgeon from South Korea was recently invited by Chinese University’s faculty of medicine to share his experiences on industry regulations with local doctors.
Dr Hong Joon-pio, director of the plastic surgery department at the ASAN Medical Centre in Seoul, says the cosmetic surgery industry is largely regulated by market forces in South Korea. “The way we achieve excellence is through competition and cutting-edge surgeries,” he says. “In Korea, plastic surgeons never want a monopoly. It’s never an issue. The plastic surgery market is so busy that they don’t have time for that [kind of] discussion.”
Westlake Village’s Danielle Kang better prepared for second season on LPGA Tour
Ventura County Star (Calif.)
Midway through her rookie season on the LPGA Tour, Danielle Kang had a heart-to-heart chat with her longtime swing coach Brady Riggs.
The Westlake Village resident had just missed back-to-back cuts.
“When I got on the LPGA Tour, I hyped it up in my mind so much that I was putting more pressure on myself than needed to be,” Kang said. “I was thinking too much and feeling like every shot needed to be perfect. When I was having success as an amateur golfer I just went out, got my yardage and hit my shot. So Brady told me to forget all the stuff I had been thinking about and just go back to hitting shots and having fun.”
Croatia outclass South Korea in London friendly
Reuters via Yahoo Sports
An inspired Croatia swept past South Korea 4-0 in a friendly played at Fulham’s Craven Cottage on Wednesday to help build confidence ahead of a politically-charged World Cup qualifier next month against Balkan arch-rivals Serbia.
Pyeongchang Special Olympics Signs off on a High Note
The 2013 Pyeongchang Special Olympics World Winter Games wrapped up on Tuesday after a week of inspiring competition that drew almost 200,000 spectators to venues in Pyeongchang and Gangneung from Jan. 29.
The Games featured 1,989 athletes with intellectual disabilities from 106 countries, who pushed themselves to the limit and communicated with the rest of the world through sport. Numerous celebrities also participated to support the athletes, including Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi and former NBA All-Star Yao Ming.
Sock Designer Finds Niche Market with Creative Idea
Hamstrung by the huge financial cost of setting up her own clothing brand, designer Hong Jung-mi came up with the novel idea of making fun and colorful socks and selling them in a vending machine on a busy shopping street. That soon made her name.
Hong worked at a woman’s clothing company for five years after majoring in fashion design but quit to build her own brand. After much deliberation, she chose to focus on making socks which required less of an investment. Her first move was to take a menial job running errands at a local sock-knitting factory to learn the ropes for six months.
Hong was keen to open a shop but again had to curtail her ambitions because of the expensive rent, which led her to consider launching an online store as well as a vending machine.
A foster dog’s journey from South Korea to Seattle
It’s a miracle that she’s here. Animal Rescue Korea posted a notice about her on the Web. They sent an email out to dog rescue groups in the U.S. about her plight. One responded, Mercer Island Eastside Orphans and Waifs (aka MEOW). Volunteers in Korea raised the money to put her on an a plane to Seattle, and the Mercer Island rescue picked her up on Monday night at Sea-Tac. (Here’s a Youtube video of Peach getting picked up at the airport by Kelly Starbuck, the Mercer Island rescue organizer. The video is set to Neil Diamond’s “Coming to America.”)
Eric’s Top 10 Seoul Cafe Recommendations
1.) Piano Cafe (피아노 카페)
The first place on the list that I would like to recommend is the Piano Cafe located in Hongdae, a refuge for coffee purists and music lovers. This is my favorite cafe since I ever started coming here. The piano cafe is housed on a hill in the western area of Hongdae and its elegant yet all-embracing interior is full of submissive of wood tones and bright, colorful contrasting details. This cafe brings a perfect fit for the neighborhood with it’s Hongdae-hipster vibe, but let’s not forget about the main intention of this cafe: the reason why this is my personal favorite cafe is because of, well… the piano. Visitors are welcomed to play the piano here in the cafe and show off their piano skills; but if there is no piano player, you will be left with the radio, playing quiet tunes of jazz music accustomed to the seasons of Korea. Behind all that, you get a full array of hand-dripped coffee at a reasonable price If you love the aura of a Mozart-esque atmosphere of a cafe, you will love this cafe as much as I do. If you ever do stop by this cafe, who knows, you might get the chance and see me playing the piano there.