Feed aggregator

Making Kimbab rice rolls

Koreabridge - 8 hours 35 min ago
Making Kimbab rice rolls

Kimbab Rice Rolls

 

Kimbab consists of seaweed laver sheets and rice. For the most basic kimbab, you’ll need ‘kimbab’ kim and steamed rice.

It’s a convenient meal that can stay fresh all day, making it perfect for lunch at the office or a meal at the top of a mountain.

The most difficult part of making kimbab is rolling, but once you get that down, it’ll be easy to make whatever you want.

Ingredients

The following are needed for the most basic kimbab:

  • Kimbab ‘Kim’
  • Short-grain white rice (can substitute brown rice… 4:1 white:brown rice is a good ratio to maintain stickiness needed to keep the roll intact)
  • Sesame oil
  • Salt for seasoning (use Bamboo Salt (Jug-yeom 죽염) as a healthy alternative)

These are filler ingredients for the traditional Korean ‘street’ kimbab:

  • Crab meat
  • Ham
  • eggs
  • carrots
  • cucumber
  • Danmuji (단무지) Pickled Korean radish
  • Oo-eong-jo-rim (우엉조림) Seasoned Burdock root

 

Directions

Rice

The first step is cooking rice. If you have a rice cooker, just follow the directions. If you are cooking on the stovetop, follow a 4:3 water-to-rice ratio. So, if you have 1½ cups rice, use 2 cups water.

Rinse and strain the rice well to remove any dirt or pesticides. In a cooking pot, add the rice and water and let it soak for 30 minutes. Now turn on the heat and cover the pot. Once it starts boiling, turn down the heat to low and continue to cook for about 15~20 minutes. Once it’s cooked, mix the rice to prevent it from caking together.

If you are using brown rice, add up to a quarter brown rice to white rice (ex. ½ cup brown rice and 1-½ cup white rice). Brown rice, while healthier due to being a lower glycemic option, doesn’t stick together.

 

Once the rice is cooked, move a few scoops to a mixing bowl. Add a dash of salt and a few drops of sesame oil. Mix well and cover until you are ready to make rolls.

Mixed Rice

 

Egg Omelet Strips

Beat a two or three eggs and heat a frying pan. Add some oil once the pan is hot and pour the eggs into the pan. With a cooking spatula, work the egg, moving the top runny part to the pan surface. Roll the pan so eggs spread over the whole surface. Once the egg is just a little runny, lift one end and start to roll and fold the egg until you have one wide strip. Press the omelet down and flip so both sides are slightly brown. Move to a plate to cool.

Once the omelet is cool, cut it into thin strips about ¼-to-½ inch wide.

 

Filler ingredient preparation’

All of the other ingredients should be cut into thin strips.

Rolling the Kimbab

If you have a bamboo or wood kimbab roller, set that on your counter. Take a sheet of kim and lay it on the counter (or wooden roller, if you have it).

Take a rice spatula and dip it in water. Now take a scoop of rice and place it on the sheet of kim on the side closest to you. Spread the rice out evenly, but leave the top quarter empty. This is done so the roll with stay together.

Lay out the other ingredients, placing just a strip or two of each on the bottom (again, side closest to you). Now lift the bottom end and start to roll it up, pressing down and squeezing the roll until you reach the top (this will be the ‘seam’ side of the roll).

Move the roll seam-side down to a plate and repeat the rolling for however many rolls you want to make.

Cutting the Rolls

Once you are finished rolling, take a cooking brush and dip it lightly in sesame oil. Brush the tops of all the rolls. This will give the rolls a nice sheen and also serves to improve the flavor and texture of the rolls.

Keeping the rolls seam-side down, move one roll to a cutting board. Hold the roll just before each cut and make ½-inch cuts.

And now you have Korean kimbab, ready to pack or serve.

Be sure to keep the rolls covered so the rice doesn’t dry out and become hard.

You can try any combination of filler ingredients. It’s even possible to replace the rice with noodles to make ‘kim-guksu’ for an unique, unusual meal.

Let us know if you tried making kimbab and how it turned out. If you have any questions, post them below.

 

 

Yorihey.com

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Sexual Healing: Teacher gets Tested

Koreabridge - Thu, 2016-07-21 09:47
Sexual Healing: Teacher gets Tested Free and Anonymous rapid HIV/ AIDS and STI Testing in Seoul

I belong to several KakaoTalk group chats and groups on Facebook for Expats and specifically Expat Women in Korea.  Recently the topic of some gentlemen within the foreigner community being less than faithful to their counterparts has left me feeling a whole bunch of emotions.  As someone who has recently dated a big ol’ phoney-bologne, I feel a sad sense of kinship with these women.  I usually feel like ignorance is bliss.  I would rather be ignorant to the truth and happy that someone wants to parade me around and ask me about my passions, my interests, and quite simply my day.  When reading about others who are experiencing things like pregnancy and STI scares, it hit me that if I were in those shoes I wouldn’t just want to know, I would need to know.

Photographer: Adriana Velasquez

When I was growing up in Canada we had regular sexual education classes.  It always struck me as strange when the teacher would rhyme off how often you needed a Pap Smear and how often to be checked for Sexually Transmitted Infections.  They’d always add “more often if you engage in risky sexual behaviour”.  Isn’t all sexual behaviour “risky”?  I mean, even if you are in a committed relationship now, nearly everyone has baggage.  It’s important to look out for your physical (and mental) health as well as that of your partner’s.

Photographer: Imani Clovis

Last Sunday I went to the KHAP – the Korea Federation for HIV/ AIDS Prevention for their Free and Anonymous HIV/AIDS & STI screening.  This is available to all foreigners living and working in Korea regardless of visa status.  They offer a variety of languages as well.  The website is available in English, Chinese, Mongolian, Vietnamese, Thai, Tagalog, Indonesian, and Korean, and it states that services are available in English, Hindi, Urdu, and Korean.  While they offer screenings without a reservation from time to time in Itaewon, I went ahead and booked my appointment here.  I loved that it was available online (who has time for potentially uncomfortable phone calls, really?) and within a few days I had a confirmation e-mail.  I booked nearly 2 weeks ahead of time, so if you’re worried and on a time crunch I would suggest you call to ensure you get an appointment.

My confirmation e-mail:

Dear –

Greetings from Korea Federation for HIV/AIDS Prevention(KHAP).
This is a KHAP Seoul center.

Thanks for your reservation.  It is available HIV rapid or STD testing or both.
Your appointment is at 11:40am (It is Free and Anonymous; your number is *******-06) /Please don’t be late. 

(STD test available : HIV, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Urethritis)

The test result of HIV rapid is within 20minutes, and STDs takes 3~4days later.When you need to cancel your appointment, please call or email us. 

When you arrive at KHAP, please tell us your number and/or nickname. Other forms and identificationa are not necessary.

The test requires about for 30 minutes. Appointments are rigid, so please be on time.
If you have trouble finding us at the test day, call us at 02-927-4322.

Thank you for your cooperation.

You may have noticed that there’s no mention of infections such as chlamydia,herpes, hepatitis, or the other slew of potential things one might contract.  There is a clinic in Itaewon which offers a variety of different packages (some inclusive of pap smears and blood drawing).  The cost is high in comparison to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), but isn’t your health and your peace of mind worth it?

Photographer: Dan Watson

I found the KHAP incredibly easy to find.  I walked out of Gireum Station (Exit 7) and walked straight.  I crossed a bridge, passed a gas station, and was there.  I had hoped to buy some water along the way as it’s typically tough to find a big enough vein with me.  I donated blood regularly in Canada and always came out black and blue on both sides.  Drink water before you go!  Upon arrival, you’ll be presented with a paper cup and a plastic sample vial.  I immediately started guzzling cup after cup of water (they’ve got a cute little corner with information, free condoms, and some candy surrounding the water cooler) and almost thought I’d be faced with performance anxiety.  My veins, on the other hand, played their regular hide-and-seek game.

Isn’t all sexual behaviour “risky”? I mean, even if you are in a committed relationship now, nearly everyone has baggage. It’s important to look out for your physical (and mental) health as well as that of your partner’s.

After the urine sample I was directed to a small room with a doctor and someone whom I believe to be a nurse or a technician (sorry guys – I have no medical background and totally let a stranger in a lab coat draw my blood).  The rapid-HIV test was administered by pricking my finger and drawing blood.  The results were provided within 15 minutes.  Less than one full vial of blood was taken for the remaining tests.  I was shown and talked through the new gloves and new syringes which were being opened in front of me.  We had a rough start finding a vein, but after a couple of tries it was pretty quick and easy.  After I was told that I tested negative for HIV, I was given a small piece of paper with my sample number, my alias (you use an alias when booking your appointment to remain anonymous), and that I would be able to call and receive my results over the phone after July 20th.  You’ll be pleased to hear that when I called yesterday I was informed that I tested negative for everything that was tested and that “everything’s good”.

If you visit the KHAP and can afford to donate I would really encourage you to do so.  This is an invaluable service for all foreigners in Korea, and I’m sure not everyone can afford this type of medical care.  Let’s look out for one-another and keep services like these alive in a country where sex is both taboo and in your face (more on that as this “Sexual Healing” series continues).

Photographer: Kristopher Roller

If you or someone you know has been tested at another facility while living abroad, please be sure to mention it in the comments section!  I can’t stress how easy it was to have this screening done and how professional my experience was getting tested for HIV & STIs in Korea.

 


Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Pokémon Takes Over Korea As Gamers Travel Hours To Play New Pokémon Go App

Koreabridge - Tue, 2016-07-19 04:22
Pokémon Takes Over Korea As Gamers Travel Hours To Play New Pokémon Go

For Pokémon fans in South Korea, the success of the new Pokémon Go app has been bittersweet as the game has not yet been officially released in the ROK. However, people from across the country are already traveling to Sokcho, the first area where the game works due to a mapping oddity, to play the game & prepare for a time when it will be available across the country. Korea FM host Chance Dorland spoke with ‘Pokémon Go Korea‘ Facebook group creator & Gangnam Gamers player Wilfred Lee & EXBC live streamer Esco to hear how they & others have traveled hours to play Pokémon Go & what the experience has shown them about the game & dedication of South Korean fans.

Rate & Review this podcast at bit.ly/KFMReview

Subscribe to Korea FM Talk Radio & News Podcasts via:

                  

Like us on Facebook  

 Interview answers, both in written & audio form, have been edited for length & clarity.

If audio player does not load, listen to this episode by clicking here.

Listen to Korea FM Talk Radio & News Podcasts online via:
Overcast – http://bit.ly/KFMovercast
Stitcher – http://bit.ly/KFMstitcher
audioBoom – http://bit.ly/KFMaudioBoom
Player FM – http://bit.ly/KFMplayerfm
Tunein – http://bit.ly/KFMtunein
Acast – http://bit.ly/KFMacast
RSS – http://bit.ly/KFMrss
iTunes – http://apple.co/1O91B39

The post Pokémon Takes Over Korea As Gamers Travel Hours To Play New Pokémon Go App appeared first on Korea FM.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

***MISSING PERSON*** LyLii Tinem Huynh: Last Seen on Haeundae Beach

Koreabridge - Sat, 2016-07-16 09:24


 

***MISSING PERSON***

Our dear friend LyLii Tinem Huynh has not been seen since Thursday July 14th, at approximately 600 am. She was last seen on Haeundae Beach near tower 7 with 2 others. The 2 people she was with went swimming and when they came out Lylii was no longer on the beach. Her clothes and tablet however were still there.
The police and French embassy are investigating and going over cctv footage.
We ask that anyone who has ANY information about her whereabouts or who may have seen her on the morning of Thursday July 14th contact us immediately.
Her family has been contacted and are making their way to Korea.

Matt: 010 3263 9463 english
Mattb2015 kakao english
Yuni: 010 8579 6838 korean
Or message Laura on facebook.

***please tag share and repost this as much as possible, i am sure someone saw something***

***실종자를 찾습니다***
저의 친구 LyLii이 7월 14일 오전 약 6시 경 이후로 실종 되었습니다.

해운대 해변 타워7 근처에서 다른 2명과 함께 마지막으로 목격 되었습니다. 
함께있던 2명은 수영을 갔고, 돌아 왔을 때는 해변에서 Lylii를 찾을 수 없었습니다. 그녀의 옷가지와 타블렛은 그 자리에 있었습니다.

경찰과 프랑스 대사관이 현재 조사중이고, cctv 흔적을 찾고 있습니다. 
그녀가 어디있는지 어떤 정보라도 아시는 분 혹은 7/14일 오전 그녀를 목격한 분이 계시다면 저희에게 바로 연락을 부탁 드립니다. 
현재 소식을 들은 가족들이 한국으로 오는 중 입니다.

Yuni : 010 8579 6838 (한국인 제보 연락처)
혹은 페이스북 메세지 부탁 드립니다.

**부디 많은 태그 및 공유 부탁 드리며, 목격자가 있을거라 믿습니다**

 

 

 

 

저의 친구 LyLii이 7월 14일 오전 약 6시 경 이후로 실종 되었습니다.

해운대 해변 타워7 근처에서 다른 2명과 함께 마지막으로 목격 되었습니다. 
함께있던 2명은 수영을 갔고, 돌아 왔을 때는 해변에서 Lylii를 찾을 수 없었습니다. 그녀의 옷가지와 타블렛은 그 자리에 있었습니다.

경찰과 프랑스 대사관이 현재 조사중이고, cctv 흔적을 찾고 있습니다. 
그녀가 어디있는지 어떤 정보라도 아시는 분 혹은 7/14일 오전 그녀를 목격한 분이 계시다면 저희에게 바로 연락을 부탁 드립니다. 
현재 소식을 들은 가족들이 한국으로 오는 중 입니다.

Yuni : 010 8579 6838 (한국인 제보 연락처)
혹은 페이스북 메세지 부탁 드립니다.

**부디 많은 태그 및 공유 부탁 드리며, 목격자가 있을거라 믿습니다**

 

 

 

 

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Korean Summer Poems for Rainy Season

Koreabridge - Sat, 2016-07-16 01:58
Korean Summer Poems for Rainy Season With rainy season upon us these days I've been spending my leisure time back here in Thunder Bay Canada reading and drinking tea. Lapsang Souchong with milk is usually my rainy day tea, most especially when it's a bit on the cool side out.  
I have recently started a new venture doing tea ceremonies here in Thunder Bay a few times each month in various locations around town. Mostly outdoors in summer in local park where you can drop by and see and even sample some tea if you like. Details for which can be found at my Where Wisk Way Blog or better still on my FaceBook group page Travelling TeaTime also to be found in the sidebar on this page.  
Pondering the various parks in town and talking with my friends about their favorite park places and experiences I'm reminded of this poem below about this poem below written about a peach orchard high up in the mountains that a Korean poet had discovered :  
Only white gull and IKnow about the thirty-six peaks of Mount Chung-Ryang.White gull will never tell anyoneBut I am suspicious of you, peach blossom.
You might fall into the streamAnd, floating by, tell the fishermen about our secret place.--Yi Hwang  

Upon my moving back to Canada I had come across a Tea Ceremony water container online. I was window shopping :-) It reminded me of the poem below
When a shadow appeared on the water,I looked up to see a monk crossing the bridge.Stay, I said, so I could askWhere he was going.
But, pointing at white clouds, he moved on,Answering without words. --Anonymous
(Both the above from Sunset in a Spider Web Sijo Poetry of Ancient Korea Virginia Olsen Baron, Minja Park Kim)
Here are two poems for a rainy day : 
Rainstorm at a Mountain Temple
The gale howling in the valleystears out the trees by their roots.The downpour washes over every peak,loosening rocks to tumble down the slopes.The boom of a temple bellopens the air, in waves.-- Cho Eun 1900-196?
It is Raining
It is raining, incessantly fallinglike tears streaming over sorrow,Thinking you will be comingsoaked in the rain,I push my window openand hold a potted plant in my arms.
It is raining, incessantly fallingwhile I am expecting you.I imagine seeing yousmiling in the misty woods before I am sent to sleepby the sound of rain dripping from the eaves. --Yi U-Chul 1923-1984
(Both of the above taken from Modern Korean Verse in Sijo Form by Jaihiun Kim)
Well now I'm off to sip more tea and read away until I drift off recalling the rain dripping from the eaves of the garage I'd seen earlier today.... Best wishes and until next time, stay youthfully minded : for that is where inspiration often comes.



About the Author

Matthew William Thivierge has abandoned his PhD studies in Shakespeare and is now currently almost half-way through becoming a tea-master (Japanese,Korean & Chinese tea ceremony). He is a part time Ninjologist with some Jagaek studies (Korean 'ninja') and on occasion views the carrying on of pirates from his balcony mounted telescope.

Blogs
About Tea Busan  *   Mr.T's Chanoyu てさん 茶の湯   *  East Sea Scrolls  *  East Orient Steampunk Society

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Viral Busan Trash Photo Sign Of South Korea’s Trash Disposal Problems

Koreabridge - Tue, 2016-07-12 07:38
Viral Busan Trash Photo Sign Of South Korea’s Trash Disposal Problems

Viral images of a trash covered beachfront park in Busan demonstrate South Korea’s ongoing problems surrounding litter & trash disposal in public areas. Korea FM’s Chance Dorland spoke with Busan Haps web editor-in-chief Jeff Liebsch & longtime Busan resident John Bocskay about the recent 4 day holiday that left the city’s Subyun Park covered in trash.

Rate & Review this podcast at bit.ly/KFMReview

Subscribe to Korea FM Talk Radio & News Podcasts via:

                  

Like us on Facebook  

 Interview answers, both in written & audio form, have been edited for length & clarity.

If audio player does not load, listen to this episode by clicking here.

Listen to Korea FM Talk Radio & News Podcasts online via:
Overcast – http://bit.ly/KFMovercast
Stitcher – http://bit.ly/KFMstitcher
audioBoom – http://bit.ly/KFMaudioBoom
Player FM – http://bit.ly/KFMplayerfm
Tunein – http://bit.ly/KFMtunein
Acast – http://bit.ly/KFMacast
RSS – http://bit.ly/KFMrss
iTunes – http://apple.co/1O91B39

The post Viral Busan Trash Photo Sign Of South Korea’s Trash Disposal Problems appeared first on Korea FM.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Dear Korea #145: Keep On Keepin' On

Koreabridge - Mon, 2016-07-11 15:01
Dear Korea #145: Keep On Keepin' On

 

Anyone who has any sort of presence on the internet is probably well aware of all of the drama that’s been going on in the states. Needless to say, it’s been having a bit of an impact on my desire to move back. This goes double when taking people like my significant other (as well as other friends) into consideration.

Please do keep in mind that I’m not trying to say that South Korea is better or worse than the United States in any way. No country is without its flaws, and the country I’m living in now is not exempt from that. I am well aware of some of the very serious issues that occur here, and am only speaking from my personal experiences with each strip I have drawn and will draw. All that being said, despite the problems that still plague citizens and expats alike, there’s a certain comfort that comes with knowing that the likelihood of anyone getting shot by the police is highly unlikely here.

I would probably include a personal story or some sort of anecdote, but I’ve honestly been pretty stumped on what to say as of late. All I can really say is that it’s been a rough few weeks in a very rough year.

Jen Lee's Dear Korea

This is Jen Lee. She likes to draw.
She also likes green tea.

Got any questions, comments, or maybe even some delicious cookies you want to send through the internet? Feel free to contact us at dearkoreacomic at gmail dot com.

You can also leave comments on the comic’s Facebook Page!

 

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

What a Trumpish GOP would Mean for Asia

Koreabridge - Mon, 2016-07-11 07:10
What a Trumpish GOP would Mean for Asia

 

 

 

 

This a re-print of an op-ed I just published with the Lowy Institute.

I’ve argued elsewhere that I don’t think a President Trump would pull the US out of Asia. That would requiring battling a deep Washington consensus of government officials, think-tankers, military, and the rest who strongly support a continued American presence out here. Trump is too lazy and too ill-informed to try that. So don’t worry about that. Nor will Trump win. So don’t freak out yet. 

But I do think Trump has changed the GOP a lot, and that he will have successors. Trump just proved that the median GOP voter doesn’t give a damn about Reaganism. Republican voters are now lower middle class and downscale (whites), and they are not anti-statists who want tax cuts for the rich. Nor are they neocons (it’s their kids that fight the wars), nor are they social conservatives, as their rates of divorce, single parenthood, and substance abuse make clear. What they do want though is a dramatic reduction of immigration in order that the United States remain majority white longer.

In short, Trump has just showed the potential for the US to have a European-style nationalist-rightist party, complete with a whiff of fascism in Trump’s authoritarian posturing.

So my prediction is that: 1) Trump will lose, but 2) post-Trumpers will pop-up and try to use his message to win GOP primaries. This will ignite a serious civil war inside the GOP between the establishment – who are mostly Reaganites like Paul Ryan but who have weak roots among actual GOP voters, as Trump just illustrated – and white nationalist post-Trumpers who actually speak to issues the GOP base cares about. It’s not clear to me who will win, but the post-Trumpers have the votes and the passion.

The full essay follows the jump.

 

 

The US Republican Party will gather from July 18 to 21 to formally nominate Donald Trump as its presidential candidate. This may be contested – the ‘Never Trump’ movement is searching for a way to open the convention – but regardless, Trump has already altered the Grand Old Party (GOP) dramatically. The convention may be contested, and Trump will likely lose in November. But ‘Trumpism’ – white nationalism, America First, overt hostility to Islam and the growing diversity of the United States, border control, and foreign policy disinterest – will survive. And if it feeds through into policy, it will impact America in Asia.

Fossilized Reaganism

Trump himself is a terrible messenger for his ideas – buffoonish, undisciplined, fraudulent – but the ideas themselves clearly resonate. Almost out of nowhere, Trump managed to defeat nearly twenty other rivals. Those rivals spoke the well-established Reaganite language of the modern GOP. They promised the usual mix of libertarian economics, foreign policy hawkishness, and social conservatism in a Christian idiom.

This was an exciting and relevant package in the late 1970s. The economic doldrums of that decade inspired supply-side economics, and the Reagan-era economic boom suggests that tax rates were probably too high. Détente with communism never sat as well with Americans as it did with the allies. And the social tumult of the 1960s and 70s had inspired a Christian-moralist backlash. Reagan fused these three agendas as none of his successors ever would.

In the years since though, that Reaganite package has lost much of its appeal. Decades of tax cuts have left the US with a huge debt and deficit, and most Republican voters today, downscale whites, do not wish to see the welfare state, funded by those taxes, reduced. Neoconservative belligerence shattered on the rocks of Iraq and the intractable war on terrorism. And resistance to social change simply no longer motivates Americans that much; most have come to accept a great deal more sexual and gender freedom, such as divorce and gay marriage.

With astonishing speed, Trump demonstrated just how ossified this 40-year old message is. He won the GOP primary with no almost staff, money, intellectual or organizational preparation, or campaign strategy. He clearly ‘wings it’ through most of his speeches. He alienated most of the GOP establishment. He fought with its premier media organ, Fox. And he still won handily, with over 14 million votes and roughly 45% of the GOP primary vote.

Trump’s Inevitable Successors

 

Trump’s ‘revolution’ is to show that Republican candidates can dispense with the Reganite superstructure and win with direct appeals to the Republican id, particularly the ‘angry white men’ who are the core of the GOP voter base. As David Frum put it, “Trump is running not to be president of all Americans, but to be the clan leader of white Americans.” For decades Republicans have danced around the mobilization of white identity politics. Trump, with his characteristic bull-in-a-china-shop, win-at-all-costs approach, he has thrown out that pretense and appealed openly to white Christian racial/cultural loyalties.

That this worked so well, so fast, and for such an obviously unqualified candidate, means it will almost certainly be picked-up by a post-Trump generation – slicker, better organized, and disciplined enough to properly exploit the opening Trump has created. Think of Trump as the National Front’s first leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen – the frightening, undisciplined buffoon who gets the nationalist ball rolling – and his successors as daughter Marine, sharper, smarter, less overtly scary.

Trump shown a new method to win the GOP primary. We should expect successors. In the years before the next presidential primary, a civil war will be fought in the GOP between an establishment desperate not to appear racist, clinging to a fossilized Reaganism that no one in American really wants, and an insurgent, Trumpish white resentment that would remake the GOP as a European-style nationalist-rightist party. It is not clear who will win.

What Will a Trumpist GOP Mean for America in Asia?

 

The Reaganite GOP has traditionally appealed to Asian elites. Republican belief in free trade allowed export-oriented economies around the region to trade freely, even as Asian mercantilist strategies blunted US imports. Republican hawkishness and obsession with credibility served American allies’ security. Despite reasonable concerns that America’s Asia allies cheap-ride on US guarantees, that debate almost never arises in the GOP. Instead, anxiety runs the other way: GOP elites constantly worry that American allies doubt US commitment, therefore arguing that America must give the allies more attention, resources, and so on. Finally, GOP hawks strongly support American global preponderance. The GOP supports the maintenance or expansion of US bases around the world and a forward US military presence that is frequently interventionist. If the GOP controlled the White House today, the US would be far more heavily involved in Ukraine, the South China Sea, and Syria. All this takes the pressure off US allies to respond to Putin, China, ISIS, and so on.

Trump, for all his foolishness, raises the obvious question of whether all this forward engagement is actually good for the United States. With the exception of free trade, it is not immediately clear that it is. Almost thirty years of US intervention in the Persian Gulf has probably worsened American security in the Middle East. Taking the lead in Ukraine would once again let Europe off the hook regarding its own security. If the Americans were not around to bail-out European security, would the Brexit debate have focused on so narrowly on parochial issues like the National Health Service and housing? In Asia, wealthy American allies can clearly spend a good deal more on defense – and should with China and North Korea in their neighborhood. Nor is it immediately clear that Trump’s support for Japanese and South Korean nuclearization is a bad thing – both are liberal democracies mature enough for nuclear command-and-control, and allied to the US. A lot of Americans, including Trump voters, would like to see a less expensive, less interventionist US foreign policy, with the dividends of that caution brought home.

Specific policies from a Trumpish GOP might include:

– A substantial immigration reduction: If there is one thing that the white working class across the West – which is fueling Brexit, Trump, Marine Le Pen, and others – want, it is reduced non-white immigration. This would effect southeast Asia more than northeast Asia.

– The end of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and new FTAs: Free trade is an easy target for nationalists. Trade with Asia has a racial edge to it as well.

– Expanded Asian defense spending: Post-Trumpers will likely be far more serious about burden-sharing division than any US administration since Nixon.

The Pivot and Its Problems

I have long argued (short version, long version) that the US pivot’s achilles’ heel is public opinion. A commitment to Asia interests American elites but does not really grip the US median voter. Americans do not know or care that much about Asia – it’s far away, the languages are very hard (no Spanglish?), the religious beliefs are even more foreign than Islam (which is at least monotheistic), the food is a challenge, we don’t learn about it in school, there aren’t many Asian-Americans (-5%), and so on. Even at this late date, more Americans study Latin than Chinese.

As post-Trump candidates pick-up his threads, expect his America First-ism, focus on allied free-riding, and hostility to trade deals, to push the GOP away from its previous Reaganite internationalism. This year’s primary revealed the Reaganite GOP establishment as the emperor with no clothes; neither Democratic nor Republican voters actually want what the GOP in Washington is selling. Trump (of all people!) just proved that, and that is a titanic shift in American politics. When the GOP establishment eventually reflects its voters’ actual preferences, the GOP of recent decades, which Asian elites know, will fade.


Filed under: Asia, Domestic Politics, Lowy Institute, Republican Party, Trump, United States

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University
robertkelly260@hotmail.com

 

About Me

About this Blog

C.V.

Publications

Terms and Abbreviations

What I am Reading Now

Subscribe 

 

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Why Don’t the Pros Come to Korea?

Koreabridge - Sun, 2016-07-10 12:39
Why Don’t the Pros Come to Korea?

For years I have been following so many pro photographers and I was always bummed when they would do “Asian Tours” and skip completely over Korea. While Seoul may not be as popular as the so-called “world-renowned” locations like Beijing or Tokyo, it is not to say that it should be passed over.

Currently, the food scene is picking up. Over the past year or so, great chefs like Anthony Bourdain and Jamie Oliver have visited and were impressed with the warmth of the people and the food. However, it seems that only local Korean photographers and the expats are the ones taking the memorable and striking images in Korea.

What about that TV Show in Korea?

Off hand, I can think only the show on Arirang called “In Frame” that brings great Magnum photographers like David Alan Harvey to Korea. There have been other photographers which I will mention a bit later. However, I feel that the TV show is totally different than professionals setting out on their own to photograph personal projects.

So this begs the question “Why are so many photographers passing over South Korea?”

This is a question that pops into my head whenever I hear that one of my favourite photographers is heading to Asia. As I heard that Justin Mott, a great photographer based out of Bangkok, Thailand was loving Japan I wondered if I should be that fan that writes “When are you coming to Korea?” As if that would make any difference. However, it did get me thinking.

 

What Do You Know?

For the most part, I think it has a lot to do with how we look at different countries. For years people have had a love affair with the futuristic almost anime style backdrops that Tokyo provides. Then you get a taste of the famous temples and shrines of Kyoto. We are so familiar with the Great wall and Forbidden City that tourists flock to every year.

However, when you mention places like Gyeongbukgung and Bulguksa, many people draw a blank. They probably know Seoul from the ’88 Olympics or possibly even from the Korean War and the TV sitcom like M*A*S*H but probably not much more.

Check These Guys Out

Images are what creates wonder in the minds of travellers and artists alike. While I feel that Korea is an untapped resource for photographers, I also feel that the ones who are taking photos of this country deserve more recognition. I am taking myself out of this discussion and directing you toward great photographers like Sungjin Kim, John Steele, Robert KohlerDouglas MacDonald, Leigh MacArthur and Roy Cruz. Not to mention my good friend Pete DeMarco who recently left Korea.

With so many awesome photographers already here, you would think that it would entice some of the bigger names in the industry to come around and check the place out. A few have come, but I heard very little about it. I know that Matt Granger came for a workshop in Seoul a few years ago and Elia Locardi did a quick tour. Trey Ratcliff has not been here in over a decade. There maybe others that I am missing and if I am, let me know. It is really hard to find pro photographers excited to come to Korea despite all that it has to offer.

I feel that the answer is the fact that South Korea itself has a bit of an image problem. It affects the way travellers and photographers look at the country. Many people do not really know much about the countries they visit aside from what the see on facebook feeds and in travel magazines. Word of mouth is equally as important. If no one is saying much or what is being said is slightly strange. Not too many pros are going to come just on a whim.

Creating Interest or just Meh…

So while Korea has all of the ingredients to make a great destination in Asia, it lacks the pull that places like Tokyo, Beijing, Bangkok or Singapore have. Perhaps, this could be also to do with the wealth of English teachers passing through the country every year. The feeling that I got when I talked to many of the younger teachers in my Masters of Education classes was a feeling of “been there done that” which I would imagine came from a frustrating experience at a language school and using Korea as a jumping off point for other destinations.

With that sort of “meh” attitude towards the country, it is no wonder that many of the pros skip over Korea. Their jobs depend on getting people excited about their photographs of “exotic” locations. If the photos that you take are getting “meh… I taught English there in 2010” or something like that, then it is not going to be high or your list of places to return.

What Sells Photos?

While there are lots of reasons why photographers skip over Korea, I am lumping it into how the photo industry really works. Pro photographers need the popularity of their photos to keep them relevant and keep their viewers interested. If the audience is either largely uninterested in your destination then it is sort of a flop and not worth investing the time and money into heading there.

Unless they are like the Magnum photographers who are no doubt paid to come here, South Korea is a hard sell. This is why I have so much respect for the photographers here in Korea who are taking images that rival the pros. It is my feeling that Korea is a bit of a diamond in the rough. The photographers that I mentioned before are taking amazing images and that is not always an easy task.

The final point here is if this article strikes a chord with you, share your thoughts below. If you have found other pro photographers who have come here, send me their links. Let me know what you think! Why are so many pro photographers skipping over Korea?

 

The post Why Don’t the Pros Come to Korea? appeared first on The Sajin.


 

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

The Best Korean Souvenirs & Gifts

Koreabridge - Sat, 2016-07-09 08:37
My Account Messages My Posts My Votes Log out MODERATION QUEUE 0 posts

What’s the best part of any vacation? Buying fun souvenirs for your friends back home to show them you appreciate them while making them jealous of your awesome trip at the same time, of course! (We’re half kidding.)

The next time you’re in Korea, you have some big decisions to make: Korea is full of super fun, one-of-a-kind souvenirs for you to choose from. Your days of picking up shot glasses in an airport are over! Read on for our favorite Korean souvenirs, and be sure to let us know if we forgot anything in the comments below!

 

Korean Souvenirs #1: Buchae (부채)

Photo credit: http://www.wikipedia.com

Summer is finally here, and it’s going to be scorchingly hot in most of the Northern hemisphere for at least another couple months. If you’re on the hunt for some cool Korean souvenirs over the next couple of weeks, consider the buchae, a fun, foldable Korean fan. They’re inexpensive, easy to find, and your friends will thank you for getting them something practical instead of a trinket that will gather dust in the back of their closet for the next few years. Pick up one for yourself as well to make exploring Korea more enjoyable this summer!

 

Korean Souvenirs #2: K-Pop Merchandise

Photo credit: http://gcastd.org

If you’re searching for souvenirs for friends that have been swept up in the K-Pop phenomenon, you won’t have to look far! K-Pop posters, t-shirts, and other merchandise are available pretty much everywhere in Korea due to K-Pop’s rise in popularity over the last few years across the globe. You can also pick up some of your favorite K-Pop CD’s to give your friends a taste of Korean popular culture. Who knows – maybe it will make them want to join you on your next trip to Korea!

 

Korean Souvenirs #3: Fun Socks

Photo credit: http://teachingtravel.com

Alright, hear us out – socks? Yes! Korea has taken fun and adorable sucks to a whole new level, which makes them the perfect souvenir for you to pick up for your friends back home. Not to mention that they’re inexpensive, easy to find, and will take up no space in your suit case – could they be any more perfect?! In Korean culture, it is polite to remove your shoes before entering somebody’s home, so Korean designers have extra motivation to design show-stopping socks because they’ll be seen on a regular basis. Take advantage of this trend and pick up some cute socks for you and your friends the next time you’re out and about in Korea!

 

Korean Souvenirs #4: Phone Cases

Photo credit: http://dhgate.com

If you’d like to go the practical route the next time you’re picking up souvenirs in Korea, you should consider picking up one of the cute Korean phone cases that are for sale at most souvenir shops. These cases often depict Korean art, Korean cartoons, and K-Pop stars. Your friends will thank you for being thoughtful AND for helping them protect their new iPhone from cracking when they inevitably drop it – everybody wins!

 

Korean Souvenirs #5: Korean cosmetics

Photo credit: http://gardenofshadowstore.blogspot.com

The Korean cosmetics industry has BOOMED over the past couple of years, and fun new cosmetics shops have been opening up left and right throughout Korea. Picking up a brand new BB cream or eyeshadow palette for your friends back home is the perfect way to say you care! Korean face masks are also super popular and inexpensive souvenirs – they’re made from all-natural ingredients and have been the talk of the industry because they leave skin feeling soft and taut for days on end after only one application.  Be sure to pick up something for yourself, too – you deserve to be looking your best!

 

Korean Souvenirs #6: Soju

Photo credit: http://www.theguardian.com

Soju is a quintessential Korean alcohol made from rice. There’s a reason it’s as popular as it is – soju has a clean, crisp flavor that means it pairs well with a wide variety of dishes. It’s also relatively inexpensive and available at most Korean supermarkets, so you won’t have a difficult time tracking it down! Soju is loved by pretty much everybody, so it’s a safe choice for a souvenir that your friends and family will be thanking you for. Just make sure the bottle doesn’t break in your suitcase!

 

Korean Souvenirs #7: Korean tea

Photo credit: http://www.madeinkorea.com

If you’re looking for a souvenir for your underage friends, look no further than the tea aisle in any Korean supermarket. Tea is a big part of day to day life in Korea, so there’s a wide variety of interesting flavors (and beautiful boxes!). Tea is also way easier to transport than other beverages – you can just throw the box in your suitcase and forget about it without worrying about leakage. If you really want to go above and beyond, consider picking up a tea-set for friends – maybe they’ll host a tea part in your honor as a ‘thank you’!

 

Korean Souvenirs #8: Electronics

Photo credit: http://www.tribute.com.pk

Korea is always on the forefront of awesome new electronics. If you can imagine it, they’ve probably already invented it! If you’re considering picking up electronics as souvenirs on your way out of Korea, you’ll be happy to know that Korea is full of inexpensive, high quality electronics like phones and MP3 players. You can also try your luck at bargaining – in many of the larger electronic stores in Korean cities, proprietors are open to bartering and will give you the best price they can. Electronics that won’t break the bank? Sign me up!

 

Korean Souvenirs #9: Korean snacks

Photo credit: http://koreabridge.net

There’s nothing in the world quite like Korean snacks – from dried squid to fried kimchi, there really is something for everybody! Bring a little taste of Korea back to your loved ones as an inexpensive, thoughtful gift – just make sure you don’t bring anything TOO addicting (we’re looking at you, pepero) or their gratitude will turn to sadness when they can’t find Korean snacks in your home country!

 

What is your favorite souvenir to surprise your friends and family with when you return home from vacation? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!

 

Learn to read Korean and be having simple conversations, taking taxis and ordering in Korean within a week with our FREE Hangeul Hacks series: http://www.90DayKorean.com/learn

Korean lessons   *  Korean Phrases    *    Korean Vocabulary *   Learn Korean   *    Learn Korean alphabet   *   Learn Korean fast   *  Motivation    *   Study Korean  

 

Please share, help Korean spread! 

 

 

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Marmot’s Hole Podcast: “Creative Korea” Faces Uphill Battle After New National Slogan Announcement

Koreabridge - Fri, 2016-07-08 08:55
Marmot’s Hole Podcast: “Creative Korea” Faces Uphill Battle

Marmot’s Hole blogger & tourism magazine editor Robert Koehler joins Korea FM host Chance Dorland to discuss South Korea’s new national slogan, “Creative Korea.”

While the government spent $3 million dollars to select the new branding campaign, the very quick revelation that “Creative France” is already in use, and doubts by commentators and industry professionals as to whether “creative” is the best term to describe the ROK and its future after the Park administration, the new campaign has experienced condemnation since the moment it was announced.

Rate & Review this podcast at bit.ly/KFMReview

Subscribe to Korea FM Talk Radio & News Podcasts via:

                  

Like us on Facebook  

 Interview answers, both in written & audio form, have been edited for length & clarity.

If audio player does not load, listen to this episode by clicking here.

Listen to Korea FM Talk Radio & News Podcasts online via:
Overcast – http://bit.ly/KFMovercast
Stitcher – http://bit.ly/KFMstitcher
audioBoom – http://bit.ly/KFMaudioBoom
Player FM – http://bit.ly/KFMplayerfm
Tunein – http://bit.ly/KFMtunein
Acast – http://bit.ly/KFMacast
RSS – http://bit.ly/KFMrss
iTunes – http://apple.co/1O91B39

The post Marmot’s Hole Podcast: “Creative Korea” Faces Uphill Battle After New National Slogan Announcement appeared first on Korea FM.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Like the Cat That Got the Cream

Koreabridge - Wed, 2016-06-29 04:35
Like the Cat That Got the Cream

“Where have you been?” everyone keeps asking. Last week, before I could fully wake up enough to call my mother for her birthday, a message came through from her that she was in the hospital again and would have to turn her phone off. Some more translation and other kinds of work has come through, and there is even more silhouetted on the horizon. I’m writing. I’m still trying to get my insane potter in hand — even if I sit perfectly still working for six hours, he still looks disappointed in me when I say I really — I mean it this time — have to go now. But he’s teaching me a lot, about onggi and the history of Korean pottery, traditional glazes, which I started this week, Lee Kang-hyo, who reminds me of Jackson Pollock. He’s always digging up documentaries with English subtitles for me to watch and scribbling down terms in Korean. He asked me last week if what he does is called “pottery” in English.

Last night, we got a phone call at an uncharacteristically late hour, which could change a lot of things. I put the macchinetta on before B’d even hung up, because I could tell we’d be up late talking. B’s going down to Busan to handle some stuff this weekend, and we will know more once he returns, probably with his brother in tow, possibly (but improbably) also with his mother. For now, I’ve got to prepare the house a little, find and buy a good yo (Korean floor mattress). B’s worried but somehow also excited about a little fantasy he’s dreamed up about his brother helping me with some work. He’s calling himself our “angel investor” for a business that doesn’t even exist. He’s weighing in either hand the pros and cons of two different very good new jobs he’s got to choose between. One of them, in combination with whatever happens this weekend, could mean life will be propelled forward a bit more quickly than we expected in the next few months.

Vague, I know, but it’s easier not to explain it all until I know exactly what I’m explaining.

In the meantime, I’m swallowing books whole. It’s some kind of residual summer reading instinct that still kicks in. I’ve made a Bible of Tartine Bread, by Chad Robertson, which has completely rid me, in a matter of months, of poor bread-making practices I’ve been struggling to work out for decades. Highly recommend it. In a more leisurely realm, Mary McCarthy’s The Company She Keeps is keeping me on my toes with turns of phrase and simply stated observations that contain entire worlds in half sentences.

Food-wise, Korea’s run out of domestic cream and butter, causing crises in franchise bakeries across the country. Cows don’t like hot, humid weather for milk production, and, with the combined influence of new cooking shows that promote Western-style dishes, which include more dairy, domestic production can’t keep up. I was lucky enough to get my hands on two whole pints of cream this week, and I’ve been scheming about how to best put them to use. I still have some recipes from weeks ago I haven’t posted yet, as well, so I’ll try to get some of that done this week.

I had expected to be making an announcement this week, but with the current family crisis and an inflow of more freelance work than I expected to have, that’s been delayed. Hopefully soon. Right now, we don’t know what to expect, and it may end up being best for me to pursue more higher paying work for a while. Also, I seem to have overcome a months’ long writer’s block, and I’ve got to take advantage of that while I can. I’ll be back on form soon. In the meantime, I wish you all cool summer nights, an umbrella always on hand for the summer rains and the good luck to find cream when you need it. Summer’s not the same without it.

The post Like the Cat That Got the Cream appeared first on Follow the River North.

Follow the River North
Followtherivernorth.com

Freelance writer and editor. American in Seoul. I write about Korean food. I blog about all food. Last year I wrote a monthly column about traveling to different places around the country to explore Korean ingredients and cuisine. This ignited my interest in local foods and cooking, which I blog about regularly now. I also blog restaurant and cafe recommendations, recipes and some background and history about Korean food.

Categories
Books & Stuff    Cafés & Shops     Korean Food & Ingredients      Personal     Recipes       Restaurants & Bars

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Creatively Creating Cinemagraphs

Koreabridge - Wed, 2016-06-29 02:04
Creatively Creating Cinemagraphs

With the recent launch of my Cinemagraph Pro Tutorial course, I pushed myself think of new ways to make cinemagraphs that stood out. I love taking landscapes and turing them into cinemagraphs. I think that is what sort of put me on the map with regards to this new form of expression. However, that may not appeal to everyone and thus, I had to really get to work and try and find new cinemagraphs to make in order to really get the word out.

The Ramyeon Cinemagraph

This one really took some time. I am not a food photographer but I do love and have to take food shots from time to time. This one I used a similar technique to that of the Death Wish Coffee project that I did a little while ago. However, I really wanted to focus on the steam and that proved to be a bit of a challenge. Not only did it not steam up enough, the noodles cooled too fast. I ended up using a kettle of hot water to heat things up. However, in the end I got the shot and the loop that I wanted.

Use Adobe Spark

I always loved the style and look of those instagram-like ads. The ones that combined a beautiful font and a creative photo. I could do the photo part, but I could never get the font or the design just right. Now that adobe spark has arrived, I can make cinemagraphs that have this look and feel. In a later tutorial, I will show you how to add this to your cinemagraphs.

The Cafe Cinemagraph

Finally, I had a blast creating this one. I had first seen this kind of cinemagraph used for some awesome travel stuff and I wanted to give a subtle hint about my courses. So I went to a local coffee shop here in Ulsan and got to work. Again, it was a challenge working in such an open environment. However, I just plugged away and made a few cool cinemagraphs. Here I am just using the subtle motion of the book to draw attention into the cinemagraph.

 

If you would like to learn how to make cinemagraphs like this then head on over to my tutorials page and sign up for the cinamagraph pro tutorial now.

The Complete CInemagraph Pro Tutorial

The post Creatively Creating Cinemagraphs appeared first on The Sajin.


 

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Top 15 Things to Buy in Bangkok, Thailand.

Koreabridge - Tue, 2016-06-28 08:20
Top 15 Things to Buy in Bangkok, Thailand.

Nothing is ever more fun than buying things that you can get only in that country when travelling. Thailand is no exception when it comes to buying high quality products at cheap prices. Besides the cheap summery shirts and fisherman pants, here is the ultimate list of things (goods & food) you must get in Bangkok.

GOODS1. Fruit Soap

You can find all kinds of fruit soaps at Chatuchak Market (a weekend market in Bangkok) with Mango soap being one of the most popular ones. They only cost around $1 each!

2. Inhaler (Ya Dom in Thai)

Thai people are known for their frequent use of nasal inhaler which is also best for those who have rhinitis. The two most famous brands are Poy Sian and Peppermint field.

3. Thai Silk

Thailand is renowned for beautiful silks and fabrics. Make sure you drop by the famous Jim Thompson house for their high quality silk products. High recommended as souvenirs such as table runners and pouches that come in bright colors and patterns for family and friends.

4. NaRaYa Bag

NaRaYa is a famous local brand that offers high quality fabric hand-made bags and pouches. They come in all kinds of colors and designs and their most flagship design is the silk bag with a big ribbon attached in the middle. You can find NaRaYa stores in Bangkok’s major shopping malls.

5. Spa & aroma products

You can’t leave all kinds of spa products & oranaments when you think of what to buy in Thailand. Karmakamet is famous for its high quality aroma and body products. It’s not cheap but the quality is guaranteed. Bath & Bloom is another shop where you can get aromatic bath & spa products. One of the highly recommended scent is the unique Thai Jasmine which will relieve your knots and stress.

6. Takabb Anti Cough Pill

It’s a nation-widely known remedy for coughing. It’s rumored to have the worst taste but the strongest effect that immediately makes you stop from coughing. The package design itself isn’t at its best with some kind of red earthworms all over the place but you might want to buy one to try out.

7. Coconut oil

In the “motherland” of oil, coconut oil is used everywhere from facial mositurizing, hair enrichment to hand & foot care. Not only that, some even drop coconut oil in their morning tea or coffee for better taste. There are several Thai brands that you can look out for such as Agrilife and Thaipure.

8. Snake Brand Prickly Heat Powder

Because of the tropical climate, Snake Brand Prickly Heat Powder is a must-item for the locals. Apply some on your body after shower and enjoy the cooling effect.

9. Mosquito Repellent

One might always be wary of the mosquitoes when you visit tropical countries, and Thailand is no exception when you think of insects and mosquito bites. And because of the naturally exposed environment, Thailand is known for offering various options in terms of mosquito repellent. It will come in handy when you visit other tropical regions. You can easily find various brands in local drugstores or supermarkets.

10. Tiger Balm

It’s the ultimate solution to all the pains on your body. It’s said to provide instant relief.

FOOD11. Fruit Snacks

You can’t leave out fruit snacks when you visit Bangkok. Kunna is one of the highly acclaimed brand for its different kinds of fruit snacks. Available in major stores and markets, try the original and yet exotic fruit snacks!

12. Coffee

Add drip coffee to your shopping list in Bangkok. DoiTung and Doi Chang are two of the famous local brands that offer premium coffee at yes affordable price.

13. Chewy Milk Candy

Yes the chewy milk candy that comes in all kinds of flavors from corn, watermelon, strawberry, chocolate and apple. Pick a type according to your taste.

14. Mama Instant Noodle

If you’re an instant noodle lover, Tom Yum flavored noodles from Mama are a must buy. Packaged in small plastic bags, they are light enough to fit your suitcase.

15. Crispy Seaweed

Often called the snack king of Thailand, Tao Kae Noi‘s crispy seaweed is eaten like potato chips in Thailand. This snack also comes in various flavors from curry crab, coconut to grilled squid.

Aren’t you excited just by looking at all the food and things that you can buy in Bangkok?


Trazy.com
a service for travelers to easily share and discover the latest hip & hot travel spots from all over the world. 
We are currently focusing on Korea as our destination and plan to expand to other countries gradually. 

!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

The Comfort Women Deal Six Months On – Where’s the Korean Backlash?

Koreabridge - Mon, 2016-06-27 23:54
The Comfort Women Deal Six Months On – Where’s the Korean Backlash?

The following is an op-ed I published in last week’s Newsweek Japan, where I write once a month. My editor asked me to write about how the comfort women deal of last year is getting on, and I have to say that I am surprised just how little we even hear about it anymore. For an issue that the Korean media often treated as central to South Korean identity, it seems to have inexplicably dropped out of the newspapers (which, I strongly suspect, displays how much the Korean government ‘directs’ the media here.)

So the main argument I make advances the one I made a few months ago: that if the Korean left does not fight back against the deal, then the deal achieves a level of national consensus it did not have initially when it was clinched in secret by a conservative government. And now that the left has surprisingly taken the majority in the parliament, this is the first and most important acid test for the deal. If the left doesn’t use its newfound power to go after the deal, then they are tacitly approving it.

Of course, no one in Korea will proactively say that they support the deal, but not acting is a way acting too. If the left, which has done so much to create this issue, does not re-politicize it, then that basically mean a broad, however unspoken, left-right consensus has emerged to take the deal and let the issue slowly disappear. The activist groups and leftist intellectuals, many of whom seem to have built their careers around the comfort women, will never give up. But without political representation, they are just one more voice in South Korea’s cacophonous civil society.

I have to say that I am really surprised that events are running this way. Just about every Korean I know gets really indignant and emotional at the mention of this issue. Yet the political class has dropped like a hot potato. So all these years of sturm und drang are over, just like that? Really? Still not sure why this has happened – American pressure? it was all just an act? everyone is truly terrified of NK and wants Japanese solidarity?

The full essay follows the jump.

 

In December 2015, the administrations of Korean President Park Geun-Hye and Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo surprised almost everyone by “finally and irreversibly” settling the comfort women issue that had long-plagued Japan-Korea relations. Tokyo is to pay ¥1 billion to several Korean women coerced or lured into sexual slavery during the Japanese colonial period (long maintained by Korea as coordinated and sanctioned by official channels), and in return the South Korean government is to drop the issue and not pursue future claims. Though many interpreted the deal as a new beginning, virtually no part of it has moved forward. Park has seemingly stalled, and Abe has not pressed. A new left-wing majority entered the Korean legislature this past spring, leaving many to questioning whether the deal will survive, given the left’s history of comfort women advocacy. So far, though, it remains.

North Korea – the Real Reason for the Deal

North Korea is a central reason. Its aggressive behavior this year drowned out any controversy over the deal and illustrates the geopolitical pressures behind the deal. The two Koreas are experiencing levels of hostility not seen since a North Korean submarine sank the South Korean corvette Cheonan in early 2010. In the months since the comfort women deal was signed, Pyongyang has conducted its fourth nuclear test, launched several missiles, shuttered the Kaesong Industrial Complex, and organized a much-hyped Workers’ Party Congress, the first in 36 years. Both Japan and Korea have shown newfound pragmatism regarding their shared security threat, and have seemingly put ancillary issues, such as the comfort women deal, on the backburner.

This apparent reprioritization can been seen in the behavior of the Park Administration, which has mothballed two committees explicitly designed to explore the comfort women issue in depth. Established in 2013 and 2015 respectively, each task force was to produce a white paper that was to guide policy discussion regarding the comfort women. Their reports, due last December, were unexpectedly shelved. Both committees remain in hiatus.

Still Not Popular Though

Nevertheless, key provisions of the deal have yet to materialize, perhaps in response to the deal’s unpopularity in Korea. No mechanism has yet been set up for the Japanese government to deposit the promised ¥1 billion to the surviving comfort women themselves. A statue of a comfort woman in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul, possibly a harassment violation of the Vienna Convention on diplomacy, was also to be moved as part of the deal (and in fact, Tokyo may choose not to deposit any money if that statute remains).

The victory of the left in this spring’s parliamentary elections opens the possibility that the issue will be revisited. The left historically oscillates from skepticism to unabashed hostility towards Japan, with some going as far to argue that Tokyo, not Pyongyang, is South Korea’s greatest enemy. The comfort women issue has long been a rallying cry for both real and imagined hardships endured by Koreans during the Japanese colonization period of 1910 to 1945.

The main opposition Minjoo Party, along with the left-of-center Kookmin Party, could certainly push through legislation amending, obstructing, or even dismantling the deal itself. It remains, after all, unpopular among the Korean electorate. President Park’s approval ratings are low, and a looming presidential election next year suggests the time is ripe for political opportunism.

Silence Indicates Approval?

The National Assembly has yet to do much of anything since the April 13th elections. Members have been squabbling over speaker and committee positions, missing their June 7th deadline. This fails to explain however why members of the left have not utilized unofficial channels to voice their discontent.

Silence on the issue can be telling. No elected opposition members have spoken out since the election. The most influential person, other than President Park, to comment on the comfort women deal is the Minjoo Party’s interim chairman Kim Chong In. He has in fact come out in favor of it, expressing a desire to close the book on a decades-long issue that has handicapped relations between the two countries.

The comfort women deal remains in flux. Park no longer enjoys a majority in the legislature and will struggle to pass anything. That calls into question whether or not she can establish the necessary mechanisms for Tokyo to deposit the promised funds, move the statue, or even fend off possible amendments or impediments to the deal itself. However, the left’s silence on the issue signals a tacit acceptance that moving on is perhaps the best decision for both countries. If the left does not move on the issue by the end of the year, that will imply a national consensus, however grudging, to respect the deal.


Filed under: Comfort Women, Domestic Politics, Japan, Korea (South)

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University
robertkelly260@hotmail.com

 

About Me

About this Blog

C.V.

Publications

Terms and Abbreviations

What I am Reading Now

Subscribe 

 

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Dear Korea #144: Hold the Door

Koreabridge - Mon, 2016-06-27 15:01
Dear Korea #144: Hold the Door

 

It’s been a busy and weird few weeks, but here’s a new comic! The concept for this one was given to me by the one and only Roboseyo. I honestly don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier. Even after almost six years, those doors that don’t open still don’t make much sense to me.

Speaking of really cool blog people, I was recently featured in a podcast! The really nice guys over at Café Seoul invited me to talk on their entertaining show when I went up to Seoul for the event I was advertising last time at High Street Market (thank you to everyone that came, btw). If you want to give it a listen, click here.

See you next time!

Jen Lee's Dear Korea

This is Jen Lee. She likes to draw.
She also likes green tea.

Got any questions, comments, or maybe even some delicious cookies you want to send through the internet? Feel free to contact us at dearkoreacomic at gmail dot com.

You can also leave comments on the comic’s Facebook Page!

 

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Live Podcast Recording At Seoul Book & Culture Club

Koreabridge - Tue, 2016-06-21 13:29
Live Podcast Recording At Seoul Book & Culture Club

Barry Welsh’s Seoul Book & Culture Club recently hosted a live podcast recording featuring KoreaFM.net podcast hosts. Marmot’s Hole blogger Robert Koehler, Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog writer Colin Marshall, notorious Facebook group Only in Korea creator Travis Hull & Korea FM founder Chance Dorland took the stage at the Seoul Global Cultural Center in Myeong-dong to discuss recent issues they’ve covered on Korea FM podcast episodes & answer questions from the audience. The entire event was recorded & can now be streamed or downloaded in audio podcast form.

Rate & Review this podcast at bit.ly/KFMReview

Subscribe to Korea FM Talk Radio & News Podcasts via:

                  

Like us on Facebook  

 Interview answers, both in written & audio form, have been edited for length & clarity.

If audio player does not load, listen to this episode by clicking here.

Listen to Korea FM Talk Radio & News Podcasts online via:
Overcast – http://bit.ly/KFMovercast
Stitcher – http://bit.ly/KFMstitcher
audioBoom – http://bit.ly/KFMaudioBoom
Player FM – http://bit.ly/KFMplayerfm
Tunein – http://bit.ly/KFMtunein
Acast – http://bit.ly/KFMacast
RSS – http://bit.ly/KFMrss
iTunes – http://apple.co/1O91B39

The post Live Podcast Recording At Seoul Book & Culture Club appeared first on Korea FM.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

“The Curious Love-Hate Relationship between China and North Korea”

Koreabridge - Sat, 2016-06-18 05:54
“The Curious Love-Hate Relationship between China and North Korea”

 

 

The following is a re-up of my monthly post for the Lowy Interpreter for June. The original is here.

The fissure between North Korea and China is widely noted, and Kim Jong Il supposedly told Madeleine Albright when she visited Pyongyang in 2000 that he’d rather have a deal with the US than with China.

That’s somewhat understandable actually. The US is too far away, both geographically and culturally to really dominate North Korea if the two managed to strike a deal. But dealing with China – right next door, bullying, opportunistic – must be tough. There’s nothing Beijing would like more than for North Korea to be like East Germany: a completely dependent, completely controlled satellite. So the North Korean nuclear program is a great idea: even as North Korea becomes an economic semi-colony of China, the nukes can prevent the loss of political sovereignty.

The full essay follows the jump.

 

 

During the much-anticipated 7th North Korean Workers’ Party Congress last month, the first such gathering in thirty-six years, over one hundred foreign journalists were invited to Pyongyang to cover the event. Not surprisingly, they were treated with contempt: relentless surveillance, absolute restrictions on movement, and tightly-controlled access to the North Korean people themselves. Some insight did permeate through, however, namely dissatisfaction with China. That North Koreans were allowed to share their animosity towards Beijing suggests official approval of such feelings.

Though counterintuitive, experts have for some time been aware of the toxic relationship between the two countries, particularly in the years since Kim Jong Un assumed power in 2011. The very real understanding that the North would be crippled without Chinese political and economic maneuvering has grown increasingly troublesome for Pyongyang elites. The late Kim Jong Il himself supposedly divulged such reservations to former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during her visit to Pyongyang in 1999.

Not as Close as ‘Lips and Teeth’ Anymore

Cynically marketed by both as a blood alliance between two communist states, Chinese assistance to North Korea is instead almost entirely geopolitical in design and objective. Aid is funneled into sectors where China’s own needs lie: resource extraction and infrastructure development. The bilateral relationship, described by Mao Zedong himself to be as close as “lips and teeth,” is now dominated by the North’s heavy reliance on China. A Chinese aid cut-off would threaten internal Northern stability and severe its primary pipeline to the global economy. This leverage has grown as North Korea has fallen under ever-greater sanction.

Ensuring the continuation of the status quo on the Korean Peninsula ‘buffers’ China against South Korea and Japan, and their American ally. This is widely known. But there is a less often discussed an economic benefit too – Beijing’s creeping economic colonization of the North. There is virtually no competition for the Chinese, as multilateral sanctions have placed the cost of doing business with the Kim regime out of reach for most. And the bigger the benefit to China, the more likely Beijing will support development. Three high-speed railroads are under construction which would link northeast China to North Korean cities, providing valuable trade and economic avenues for an area that has lagged behind the rest of China (the border city of Dandong processes 80% of trade between the two countries and would be hub for the new rail lines). In order to pay for this, North Korea allegedly offered China exclusive development rights to seven major mines (Jang Song Thaek, Kim Jong Un’s uncle and leading diplomat to Beijing, was supposedly executed in 2013 for these kinds of one-sided deals). Special economic zones (SEZ) and deep-water ports are no exception: they are built by the Chinese for the Chinese.

To be sure, China’s conduct with the North does not deviate far from its modus operandi in other developing countries. Whereas the Soviet Union leveraged its military to bring vassal states in line, China uses its massive economy to influence decision makers from Pyongyang to Phnom Penh. Nearly 80% of all firms in China are state-owned enterprises, and the banking sector is dominated by Beijing bureaucrats. This gives the state remarkable control in funneling money to states which support its geopolitical goals, or punish states which do not.

Pyongyang decision makers are well aware of this dynamic, a key reason why they have not (and will not) abandon their nuclear weapons. The bomb protects the regime’s political sovereignty, even as economic control is slowly lost to asymmetric economic dependence on China. Indeed, the recently-announced Five Year Plan, the first in decades, may indicate that Pyongyang wants to lighten that dependence by finally igniting some domestic GDP growth. And there have been rumors for years that North Korea seeks an accommodation with America in order to check the erosion of its sovereignty to China.

A North Korean Accommodation with the United States?? Desirable, but Unlikely

During the Cold War, North Korea guarded its sovereignty despite weakness by pendeling back and forth between China and the USSR. The USSR’s collapse left it with China alone as a patron, which obviously dramatically improved Chinese leverage. Conversely, the late 1990s famine showed what happens when North Korea lacks a sponsor and goes it alone. Better than choosing between China and famine would be a return to the good old days of two, competing patrons. And, curiously enough, the US is not a bad choice for Pyongyang:

First, North Korea is far less likely to be dominated economically by the US than China. The US does not have the leverage over North Korean enterprises the Chinese do. The Obama Administration cannot guarantee Amtrak railroads in the North, nor can it claim ownership over mines and ports. Assistance to the North would likely come in the form of cash or raw materials, allowing Pyongyang decision makers to apply it as they see fit. Any kind of entrepreneurial incursions into the country would be initiated by non-state actors, affording Pyongyang a level of control it no longer has with Chinese investors.

Secondly, political domination is also less likely, as the US and North Korea do not have the same historical and cultural legacy which China and Korea share. America is both geographically and culturally far removed from East Asia, and so far less likely to dominate it or bully Pyongyang, which behavior would also its domestic liberal ideology of self-determination. A North Korea no longer threatening the US would cease to interest policy-makers or the public much. Post-accommodation, most Americans just would not care enough about Korea to meddle as China does now. China is the opposite. It has a long history of intervention in Korea; it is right next door, creating obvious interests in how North Korea is governed; and its cynical, bullying domestic government style is apparent in its foreign policy. Its inclination is treat North Korea as a satellite.

Nevertheless, this is unlikely. US-North Korean relations are unlikely to improve so long as North Korea retains nuclear weapons. But that puts Pyongyang in a catch-22: keep the weapons and be stuck with creeping Chinese economic domination, or surrender them and hope for a US deal. Both are unpalatably risky, which I believe is the reason for the new Five Year Plan announced at last month’s Workers’ Party Congress. If North Korea can actually function economically on its own, then its need for China, or a US deal, would recede.


Filed under: Alliances, China, Hegemony, Korea (North)

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University
robertkelly260@hotmail.com

 

About Me

About this Blog

C.V.

Publications

Terms and Abbreviations

What I am Reading Now

Subscribe 

 

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Pages

Subscribe to Worldbridges.net aggregator