With latest nuclear test, Kim Jong Eun signals a familiar, familial policy
In power for barely more than a year, North Korean leader Kim Jong Eun has adhered overwhelmingly to the policies of his father, using a familiar mix of internal repression and nuclear showmanship while all but dashing hopes he would emerge as a Deng Xiaoping-style reformer.
Although analysts caution that Kim can still change course, the apparent status quo on policy carries dark implications, extending — perhaps for a generation to come — a government that relishes isolation, threatens its neighbors, values weapons over food for its people and keeps roughly one in every 120 of its citizens in gulags.
Tuesday’s underground nuclear detonation, coupled with a recent long-range rocket launch and a string of fierce rhetoric toward the United States, represents a clear borrowing from the playbook of Kim Jong Il. And analysts say that the young Kim, believed to be 30, has good reason to embrace with his father’s cold-blooded strategies.
Hit Kim Jong Eun where it hurts: His wallet [OPINION]
Sung-Yoon Lee is an assistant professor of Korean studies at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Joshua Stanton blogs at One Free Korea.
North Korea’s nuclear test Tuesday has the makings of an epochal event — unless Washington and Seoul shape up and deal Kim Jong Eun’s regime a substantial, although nonmilitary, blow.
Pyongyang’s blast, two months after its first successful intercontinental ballistic missile test in five tries since 1998, and the regime’s demonstrated progress in long-range missile technology are propelling the totalitarian nation toward bona fide nuclear capability. With that comes the capability to provoke its neighbors with impunity and to extort funds, fuel, political legitimacy and even concessions in U.S. and South Korean military forces and readiness. Another nuclear test, especially of a uranium bomb, would mark a turning point.
Incoming South Korean President Steps Up Criticism of North Korea
New York Times
In her harshest criticism yet of North Korea, the incoming president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, warned on Wednesday that the North’s pursuit of nuclear weapons will bring its government “self-destruction.”
New York’s Korean Community Unfazed by North Korea’s Nuclear Test
While Korean media in New York City was abuzz with the news that North Korea had conducted its third nuclear test, the radioactive blast left members of the city’s Korean community decidedly nonplussed.
Although New York’s biggest dailies were still fixated on the Pope’s recently-announced abdication, the Korea Times and Korean Daily News, two largest Korean-language newspapers in New York, splashed news of the test on their front pages. Myungsuk Lee, publisher of the Korean American Times, told Politicker the local Korean community was worried, but have also grown somewhat desensitized to North Korea’s nuclear threats. For Korean-Americans, who virtually all emigrated from South Korea, northern leader Kim Jong-un’s nuclear test–the first under his new reign–did not come as a surprise, he said, but rather as a somewhat routine development.
“We feel agitated, but it’s not that serious,” Mr. Lee explained. “North Korea is isolated and this is just a way for them to show their military strength. This made headlines in every daily newspaper in the Korean language, radio, television, which means that’s the biggest news of today. But it tends to be like this, it’s been like this several time before. Koreans take it for granted.”
Obama Mentions N. Korea Issue in State of Union Address
U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday commented on North Korean issues in his first State of the Union address for his second term.
Obama condemned the North’s third nuclear test, saying the North’s provocation would only further deepen its isolation from the international community.
Korean American voter drive aims to engage young and old
Southern California Public Radio
In the November presidential election, Asian American voters turned out in record numbers. But local elections don’t generate the same level of enthusiasm – especially among people who have to schedule voting around their work hours.
In Los Angeles’ Koreatown, a new campaign by local organizations aims to encourage more voter turnout in the upcoming municipal election. The strategy: deploy second-generation teens to reach out to their parents and other working-age elders.
“We are emphasizing the increased voter turnout of adults, parent age, ages 30 to 55, because in general they are very interested in the issues…education, jobs, the economy,” said Yongho Kim of the Korean Resource Center, one group organizing the voter drive. “But because they work long hours and they are sometimes afraid of English, they have a lower turnout than Korean American seniors.”
King County lawyer spends year in South Korea to help democratize its justice system
When Steven Kim returned to his job with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office last month, he had to remember how to speak English.
The senior deputy prosecuting attorney had spent the past year in South Korea, helping westernize its jury system at the request of the country’s government.
“Whether people like me or dislike me in Korea for what I said about the judicial system, if, in any way, it moves them one step closer to a democratic system, I was willing to do it,” Kim said.
Check out KoreAm‘s March 2012 profile of Steven Kim.
Americans visit South Korea, artily attired
Los Angeles Times
The South Korean people have had the chance to see exhibitions of some well-known American artists — Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, among others — in recent years, but until “Art Across America” came to Seoul, they hadn’t seen a comprehensive exhibition showing the history of American art.
The exhibition, 168 artworks including portraits, landscape paintings, decorative artifacts and Native American art, opened earlier this month at the National Museum of Korea in the heart of the country’s capital, Seoul.
It is a collaboration among the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Korean museum, which will send a collection of Korean art from the Chosun period to the three museums next year.
Expat Teachers Find New Life in South Korean Business
Wall Street Journal
Just over a year ago, Tiffany Needham and Erik Moynihan were an expat couple trying to steer their way into jobs that were more interesting and creative than what they had been doing in South Korea – teaching English.
Then it seems, everything started to happen at once.
Today, they’re running a clothing store in Seoul’s hippest neighborhood, a microbrewery in the neighborhood where all the expats hang out and they’re in the middle of hosting a 20-episode TV series on Arirang about the expat life that’s called “Semipermanent.”
Roy Choi’s Chego! Coming to Chinatown
Los Angeles Downtown News
Roy Choi, who started the Los Angeles food truck craze with his Kogi Korean BBQ Truck, is rolling into a new home in Chinatown.
Choi is relocating Chego!, his first sit-down restaurant, to Chinatown’s Far East Plaza, at 727 N. Broadway, said George Yu, executive director of the Chinatown Business Improvement District.
Chego! closed its doors at its previous location in Culver City about three months ago for “renovations.” Since then Choi has been serving the restaurant’s menu of Asian fusion meals in a bowl out of the Chego Truck. There is no opening date yet for the new Chinatown location.
Restaurant Review: Hanjan
Time Out New York
The cult of Korean food has been steadily building steam over the past few years. Unleashed from K-town confines by second-generation supertoques, Roy Choi out west and David Chang in New York, you can now find it all over the culinary map—a foie-topped bibimbap at M. Wells Dinette in Queens, or a version of the country’s fried chicken drenched in Frank’s Red Hot at Talde in Brooklyn. Even T.G.I. Friday’s has its own Korean-Mex tacos.
Seoul-born Hooni Kim grew up with the food that has inspired so much of this cultural tweaking. At Danji—the jam-packed midtown spot he opened in 2011—he’s been doing some of the same, serving bulgogi sliders, kimchi paella and honeyed hot wings to a boisterous young crowd.
His new restaurant, Hanjan, looks much like its Hell’s Kitchen precursor, with Edison bulbs, communal seating, and a menu split down the middle into “modern” and “traditional” halves. Beyond the cosmetic parallels, though, lies a more soulful endeavor, an update on the old traveler’s taverns—joomaks, they’re called—popular across South Korea in the 1960s and ’70s.
Korean Hyun-Jin Ryu adjusting to new life with Dodgers
Hyun-Jin Ryu’s new teammates with the Los Angeles Dodgers know little about the Korean import’s pitching skills. What they’re learning quickly is he’s got a lively sense of humor.
Ryu spent 20 minutes Tuesday chatting with members of the news media – about 20 from Korean outlets, plus a handful of Dodgers beat writers – and displayed an easy smile and a relaxed nature.
The left-hander, who signed a six-year, $36 million contract after the Dodgers posted a $25.7 million fee for the right to negotiate with him, had a 98-52 record with a 2.80 ERA in seven seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization, which uses the DH.
Early arrival Choo working on new position
As he prepares to play center field for the Reds this season, Shin-Soo Choo can remember the days when the position wasn’t so new, but being a Major Leaguer was.
“When I played center field in Seattle, I was a rookie. I was so nervous,” Choo said on Tuesday. “And now I’m very comfortable at the Major League level. It will be a lot different.”
It was in 2005 when Choo debuted in the Majors with the Mariners. He’s only played center field 10 times since — the last being one game in ’09 for the Indians. He’s been primarily a right fielder for Cleveland since he was traded there in ’06.
John Huh’s Favorite Food
PGATour via YouTube