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Get Real: We’re Not Going to ‘Totally Destroy’ North Korea. We’re Going to Manage It

Sun, 2017-09-24 06:52
Get Real: We’re Not Going to ‘Totally Destroy’ North Korea. We’re Goin

This is a local re-post of an essay I published earlier this month at The National Interest.

President Trump’s outlandish UN speech was yet another national embarrassment, and his threat to ‘totally destroy’ another country verges on a war crime. And it’s not in our interest to do that anyway, so let’s start thinking practically about how we’re going to manage this mess.

My TNI essay below argues that we need to try to manage North Korea, rather than seek some final solution, because North Korea is persistent whether we like it or not, and because it is a nuclear weapons state whether we like it or not. That sucks. But I don’t see what other choice we have. Bombing North Korea is a terrible idea for reasons I’ve been saying all year on this website. Talking to North Korea and getting a real deal that they’ll stick to, like JCPOA, would great. But they flim-flam us so much, and so many hawks in the US and South Korea are unwilling to negotiate seriously with the North (remember that Congressional Republicans helped undercut the Agreed Framework; it wasn’t just Nork cheating which undid it), that I doubt talks will go anywhere. So we’re left muddling through. Did I say already that this sucks?

So what does ‘management’ mean? Recognizing that we can’t sole every problem as we want and that bad stuff we just have to live with, like NK nuclear weapons. They are lots of smaller things we can do – sanctions, going after NK money in Chinese banks, missile defense, pruning NK’s diplomatic/money-raising global network, continuing to bang away on China to take this more seriously, and so on. So please, can President Trump and Nicki Haley stop talking like Dr. Strangelove so that the rest of us can get back to the problem of what we can realistically do about North Korea?

The full essay follows the jump:

 

 

As this summer’s North Korea war crisis winds down, the only serious option for dealing with a nuclear missilized North Korea is re-emerging: adaptation. As Richard Hass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, put it: “Not every problem can be solved. Some can only be managed…It remains to be seen what can be done vis-à-vis North Korea. Managing such challenges may not be satisfying, but often it is the most that can be hoped for.” This is almost certainly correct.

Numerous treatments have established that the military options against North Korea are terrible. (Here is mine.) Steve Bannon openly admitted this on his way out of the White House: “There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.” That 10 million number is exaggerated, but the basic problem Bannon taps – Seoul’s tremendous vulnerability, and the strict limitation that puts on kinetic choices – is well established. It is almost certainly the reason the US and South Korea have never yet struck North Korea despite decades of retaliation-worthy provocations. Decentralizing South Korea is a long overdue idea to loosen this constraint, but in the short- and medium-term, military options are, in fact, ‘off the table,’ no matter what Donald Trump says.

Talks would be an ideal choice – if anyone really thought at this point that North Korea would negotiate in good faith or could be trusted to follow through. Sure, we should always try. We have nothing to lose if we enter negotiations with the appropriate doubts. But if any observers are harboring notions of a big break-through or a grand bargain – such as the recent Sino-Russian ‘dual freeze’ proposal to halt North Korean nuclear development in exchange for a US-South Korean military exercise halt – they are not paying attention. North Korea’s record of flim-flamming agreements is so entrenched, that the only way to re-start negotiations would be small, undramatic steps, such as those proposed by South Korean Presidents Park Geun-Hye and Moon Jae-In. And naturally Pyongyang as summarily dismissed those.

There is simply not enough strategic trust – not by a long shot actually – for a big package deal, and indeed, the US and South Korea rejected the dual freeze proposal almost immediately. Lest one think this stems from unremitting US hostility, consider the Iran nuclear deal, which even the Trump administration is grudgingly cleaving too. The US will talk to North Korea – indeed the dual freeze might actually be worth considering if we thought Pyongyang would hold to it. The problem is that no one trusts the North to take talks seriously anymore, not even the Chinese.

Hence we are back to where we started: defense, deterrence, alliances, missile defense, sanctions, cajoling China over sanction enforcement, pruning North Korea’s diplomatic relationships, chasing Northern money out of banks in Asia, hauling Pyongyang before the UN Security Council to keep up the global pressure, and all the rest. One must not call this ‘strategic patience’ – perhaps we can call it ‘management,’ per Haas, or ‘maximum pressure,’ per the Trump administration. But in the end, it is more or less strategic patience yet again. And in fact, strategic patience was just an Obama administration pseudo-neologism for what we have been doing with North Korea for decades. All these actions are depressingly familiar, but there are really no good alternatives. War is much too risky, talks a likely charade.

North Korea is maddeningly persistent. From the outside, it always appears on the verge of collapse, especially since the end of the Cold War. In the 1990s, it suffered the kind of serious shocks – the death of its founder (in 1994), the withdrawal of Soviet aid, a massive famine – which brought down fellow communist states in that era. Yet North Korea persisted. It has survived yet another dynastic transition (in 2011) and punishing sanctions isolation, while astonishly developing a serious nuclear and missile arsenal.

This is not a state on cusp of implosion, and it would help the practicality of our policy proposals if we could accept that. For example, it should be pretty obvious at this point that North Korea is not going to disarm its nuclear weapons, no matter how much the US and South Korea insist on it. The concessions Pyongyang would demand for such disarmament – a retrenchment of the US from the peninsula, or permanent South Korean subsidization of the North, e.g. – would be so large, that Washington and Seoul would never accept. Instead, we need to ask how are going to manage this new, truculent nuclear power.

So muddling along is our future with North Korea, no matter how much we dislike that. The more we focus on small and medium-sized steps rather than ideal, but extremely unlikely, North Korean nuclear disbarment, the more progress we will make. The Iran nuclear deal is instructive here. There too we confronted a (almost) nuclear rogue state. We tried sanctions, deals, sabotage, missile defense, enhancing the defense of regional allies, and so on. Those worked reasonably well in slowing the nuclear march. Next, we clenched a concluding deal, which was surely not ideal. Conservatives worry about the return of resources to Iran, possible future nuclearization, and the regime’s continuance. But we did get a fair amount. North Korea may not come to the table as Iran did, but in the same that way are managing, rather solving, the Iran problem, that too should be our template in Korea.


Filed under: Diplomacy, Korea (North), Nuclear Weapons, The National Interest, Trump, United States

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University

@Robert_E_Kelly

 

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Yeouido is a large island in the Han River in Seoul

Sat, 2017-09-23 16:30
Yeouido is a large island in the Han River in Seoul

 

Yeouido is a large island in the Han River in Seoul, South Korea, which contains five parks. Visit in April to see the Cherry Blossom Festival held in the streets of Yeouido. 

Otherwise, my favorite park would probably be Yeouido Park (여의도공원) because it’s so large and I love seeing the contrast of the public park in Seoul’s main finance and investment banking district. The area is home to some of Seoul and South Korea’s tallest skyscrapers, including the International Finance Center Seoul, the Federation of Korea Industries building, and the iconic 63 Building.

I also highly recommend going to the restaurant, Hadongkwan (하동관), which is nearby at 영등포구 은행로 3 (여의도점) – but it’s a chain restaurant and you can find it in other parts of the city too. They serve a really beef bone soup called Gomtang (곰탕).

Address: 120, Yeouigongwon-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 영등포구 여의공원로 120 (여의도동)

Directions: Walk from Yeouido or Yeouinaru subway station. Just follow the signs!

 


















 

Yeouido is a large island in the Han River in Seoul, South Korea, which contains five parks. Visit in April to see the Cherry Blossom Festival held in the streets of Yeouido. 

Otherwise, my favorite park would probably be Yeouido Park (여의도공원) because it’s so large and I love seeing the contrast of the public park in Seoul’s main finance and investment banking district. The area is home to some of Seoul and South Korea’s tallest skyscrapers, including the International Finance Center Seoul, the Federation of Korea Industries building, and the iconic 63 Building.

I also highly recommend going to the restaurant, Hadongkwan (하동관), which is nearby at 영등포구 은행로 3 (여의도점) – but it’s a chain restaurant and you can find it in other parts of the city too. They serve a really beef bone soup called Gomtang (곰탕).

Address: 120, Yeouigongwon-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 영등포구 여의공원로 120 (여의도동)

Directions: Walk from Yeouido or Yeouinaru subway station. Just follow the signs!

About 

Hi, I'm Stacy. I'm from Portland, Oregon, USA, and am currently living in Busan, South Korea. Check me out on: Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Lastfm, and Flickr.

 

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The Wide Gap between South Korean and American Media Coverage of North Korea

Fri, 2017-09-15 21:10
The Wide Gap between South Korean and American Media Coverage of North

 

 

This is a re-post of an essay I wrote earlier this month for the Lowy Institute.

Every time there is a war crisis around North Korea, I notice the wildly different coverage between US and South Korea media, with the former being too alarmist and the later 

being almost too sanguine. My Korean cable packages includes CNN and Fox, so I can quickly parallel the coverage, and the difference is extraordinary. Fox is freaking out over impending nuclear wear, while YTN is talking about so celebrity with a drinking problem before getting to North Korea. The contrast really is that extreme.

Western pundits particularly tend to get carried away every time we have a North Korean war-scare. All sorts of irresponsible rhetoric gets thrown around about how we should invade or pre-emptively attack North Korea (we shouldn’t). In fact, so often do I read these sorts of op-eds when North Korea re-surfaces in the Western media, that I now call this the Kelly Rule, only half in jest. Just look at some of the frightening examples in that link.

The short version of these war-scares is that no, North Korea is not going to nuke the US out of the blue, so stop freaking out about and stop listening to Fox pundits scaring the hell out of you. The real threat is that North Korea the gangster state will use the nukes to shake down South Korea and Japan. Coercive nuclear bullying – not war – is the real threat. But that’s not as exciting as dramatic red arrows flying across the screen or ‘fire and fury,’ so let’s all get carried away over a war that’s not going to happen.

 

 

This summer’s war-scare over North Korean missiles is now spilling into the autumn as we debate the whether the North really has a fusion weapon. The outcome, however, of all the rhetoric is not really in doubt. I do not know one person in the Korea analyst community who thought that war was likely. Nor do I know anyone serious who advocated airstrikes or other kinetic options. Even hawks on North Korea know that bombing North Korea is hugely risky, for reasons elaborated every time one of these crises strikes. Donald Trump and Fox News may have said dangerous, or just plain bizarre, stuff, and neocons like John Bolton can always be relied on to threat-inflate. But no Korea analysts of any stature argued for war.

Indeed, so ritualized are North Korea war-scares that the interesting parts are not the rehearsed statements and events themselves, but how people react to them. One regularity I have increasingly noticed is the tendency of outside analysts, especially in the West, to, for lack of a better word, freak out over North Korea. As I said on Twitter a few weeks ago about an analyst advocating a preemptive nuclear strike on North Korea (yes, really – follow the link): “North Korea has this effect. People kinda lose their minds and say gonzo stuff they wouldn’t say about other foreign policy problems.” Here are a few more chestnuts: North Korea’s missiles are apparently “franken-missiles” or “game-changers,” because they look like other missiles, or something. National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster seems to believe North Korea is undeterrable, despite seventy years of successful peninsular deterrence. Not to be outdone, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats has repeatedly said North Korea is an “existential” threat to the US, even though bringing down the American state (not just killing people) would require dozens of nuclear strikes. President Trump of course threatened “fire and fury” like some Old Testament prophet. And when in doubt, you can just turn on Fox for your run-of-the-mill ‘the-North-Koreans-are-insane-and-believe-in-unicorns’ flim-flam. For a nice run-down of just how alarmist and irresponsible western, especially American, media coverage is, try this. In my own TV experience, I am constantly asked in these crises if war is about to break out. I often have the impression the hosts or producers are slightly disappointed I am not more alarmist.

The contrast with Japanese, but especially South Korean, news is striking. As I pointed out a few times during this summer’s hype, South Koreans were barely paying attention. The South Korean president and then foreign minister both went on vacation (yes, really) in early August, at the peak of the Kim Jong Un-Donald Trump war of words. The big political issues here this summer have been the prosecution of the Samsung dauphin and the continuing drama around impeached former president Park Geun Hye. South Koreans were obviously paying attention. But there were no runs on the supermarket; no one is building bomb shelters; civil defense (unfortunately) is still treated as an afterthought; my students still have not the slightest idea what to do if Busan is nuked and continued to be amazed that I give them advice (‘go uphill to escape ambient radiation’), and so on. But at least American ‘preppers’ are getting ready for a North Korean nuclear strike on the US.

This contrast cries out for a graduate student in media studies and political science to address, especially as this is such a durable phenomenon. These sorts of scares happen every few years, and the contrast between CNN – with its virtual maps with dramatic red arrows – and the South Korean media yakking about some celebrity pregnancy is startling. Here are two hypotheses (more substantive than the tritest possible explanation: that scare-mongering to fill air-time drives up rating):

1. South Koreans are much more cognizant of the North Korea threat, so it is never new news.

North Korea abuts South Korea and has provoked it relentlessly since the 1960s. So dangerous is the North, that South Korea retains conscription. It is the dominant issue of South Korean national security strategy, and it constantly overwhelms and blows off course South Korean presidencies who seek to ‘normalize’ South Korea by de-linking it from the mad uncle in the attic. This current president – Moon Jae In – sought to emphasize the domestic issues, such as corruption and social welfare which elected him. Instead, North Korea has consumed his first four months in office.

By contrast, Americans seem to ‘re-discover’ the North Korean threat whenever it pops up. US attention toward Asia is mixed at best. Elites care, but I doubt most regular Americans care much about the ‘pivot to Asia’ or North Korea, especially compared to the war on terror and the ‘clash of civilizations’ cultural anxieties it activates.

The upshot is that whenever North Korean bad behavior spikes enough to make it into international news, the Americans suddenly pay attention. But in the interim, the South Koreans have also been paying attention. So they appear sanguine when western journalists suddenly show up at those peaks.

2. Americans are Curiously Alarmist about their Thick Security

This is a point Stephen Walt has helpfully made again and again at his Foreign Policy blog. America is remarkably safe. Ensconced between two oceans and two weak neighbors and far from the tightly-packed Eurasian cauldron of competition, the United States is one of the most secure great powers in history. Yet we are prone to extraordinary outbursts of national security panic, most recently on display after 9/11. In response to approximately three thousand fatalities, the US has killed orders of magnitude more people than that in so many wars in the Middle East, that analysts now use terms like ‘forever war’ to describe our engagement there. Neoconservatism as a foreign policy posture is based on the notion that American security is constantly threatened, even in weak, far-away places like Yemen or Venezuela.

North Korea activates these impulses more than most rogues. America depicts North Korea in outlandish terms – video games and movies repeatedly depict North Korea invading the United States, acquiring super-weapons, or otherwise as crazy. In my media experience, this has sunk in. I am regularly asked if the Kims are crazy, insane, war-mongers, and so on. They are not. They are just gangsters, not suicidal ideologues.

My own sense is that # 2 is probably more causal. We are prone to threat-inflation, and North Korea is so easy to caricature.


Filed under: Korea (North), Korea (South), Lowy Institute, Media, United States

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University

@Robert_E_Kelly

 

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Learning to Live with a Nuclear N Korea: Awful, but Better than the Alternatives

Fri, 2017-09-01 23:24
Learning to Live with a Nuclear N Korea: Awful, but Better than the Al


We live Pakistani nuclear missiles; we can live with North Korean ones too.

This is a re-post of an essay I wrote for the New York Daily News a few weeks ago, at the peak of the summer war-scare.

I argue that we can in fact live with a nuclear missilized North Korea. Yes, that sucks. But all this irresponsible talk that we can’t adapt, that nuclear North Korea is an undeterrable, existential threat is just threat-inflating baloney. We’ve learned to live with nuclear missiles in the hands a Muslim state with a serious jihadi problem. Would America prefer this not to be the case? Yes. But is living with a nuclear Pakistan a better choice than bombing it or sending in US special forces to destroy their nukes? Absolutely. Or we would have done it already.

It’s not clear to me why this is so hard for people to absorb. What is it about North Korea that makes people lose their mind and say bonkers s*** about risking a huge regional war?

The full essay follows the jump.

 

 

As the current war-scare with North Korea heats up, it is worth observing that the United States has learned to live with other countries’ nuclear weapons and missiles without a war. As loathsome as North Korea’s domestic politics are, it is not at all clear that North Korea intends to use its nuclear weapons offensively against the United States or American allies in the northeast Asia. As former National Security Advisor Susan Rice put it recently, the United States can “tolerate” a nuclear North Korea.

Language is important here. “Tolerate” does not mean endorse or approve. No one wants North Korea to have nuclear weapons, not even the Chinese, who often abet North Korean bad behavior. But we have little choice. This is teeth-grinding, grudging tolerance, because the other options are so poor. And it does not preclude us from taking actions to defend ourselves and otherwise pressure North Korea.

For convenience, those options might be arrayed along a typical, left-center-right spectrum. Doves on the left would seek engagement and dialogue with the North. They argue that the US and South Korea have demonized North Korea over the years so much, that the North is understandably hostile. George W. Bush famously placed North Korea on an ‘axis of evil’ and said he ‘loathed’ Kim Jong Il, the father of current leader Kim Jong Un. North Korea itself routinely claims that the US pursues a ‘hostile policy’ toward it, and that it needs nuclear weapons as the ultimate guarantee against American-led regime change. The Kims have been quite explicit that they do not wish to meet the fate of Saddam Hussein or Muammar Kaddifi. The South Korean left has sought a dovish engagement policy for years, peaking in the so-called ‘Sunshine Policy’ from 1998-2008. The most prominent figure of such thinking is the current liberal South Korean president, Moon Jae In.

Hawks on the right would argue that military action must be contemplated, because North Korea is the most dangerous state in history to possess nuclear weapons. These critics would suggest that engagement is a ruse, that North Korea cheated on the ‘Sunshine Policy,’ and that Pyongyang’s brutal, gangsterish dictatorship cannot be trusted to have the world’s most powerful weapons. Indeed the ruling Kim family may not even be rational. They may use these weapons offensively against the United States, or to coerce Korean unification on Northern terms. The most prominent figure making such arguments in the United States today is probably John Bolton.

Centrists – the position taken here – would argue that engagement with North Korea has traditionally failed, and that military action is too risky. Doves have indeed struggled to show results from engagement or negotiation. Talks with North Korea often seem to drag on forever, with constant trickery and backsliding on the North Korean side. The last serious US-North Korean deal, struck in 2012, began to unravel within weeks because of North Korean noncompliance. Talks in the Bush years also seemed to go nowhere. On the South Korean side, the Sunshine Policy, despite great commitment from Seoul, yielded little, and Moon’s recent, renewed effort at outreach has been batted away by Pyongyang.

Trying to talk to North Korea is always a good idea. As Winston Churchill said, ‘jaw jaw is better than war war.’ But we must go in with deep skepticism. We must not allow talks to become an end in themselves, a play for time by North Korea to continue developing its weapons. Nor must talks degenerate into subsidies to a dictatorship as an effort to ‘buy’ good behavior from North Korea. This is ultimately what undid the Sunshine Policy. So in this current crisis, we should support Secretary of State Tillerson’s efforts. He said to Pyongyang just a few days ago, ‘we are not your enemy,’ in an effort to draw out the North. But after decades of effort, our expectations of engagement should be low.

Hawks have similarly struggled to find an answer to the North Korean conundrum. Force is an attractive option for a superpower. The US has the world’s best military, and it is tempting to use that powerful leverage, as President Trump seems to be hinting. We do this frequently in the Middle East, where we have used invasion, special forces, and drones to pursue our opponents. But that is feasible there, because the US is relatively secure from counter-strikes, other than limited terrorist action. In the Korean case, North Korea has significant capabilities to do great damage to our allies in the region, South Korea and Japan, and perhaps now to the US homeland itself via its emergent intercontinental ballistic missiles. South Korea is especially vulnerable. Its capital, Seoul, lies just twenty miles from the demilitarized zone border. Some twenty million people live in Seoul and its nearby cities. Were the North Koreans to retaliate against an American airstrike, they could do great damage to Seoul, potentially killing tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands if they used nuclear weapons. As North Korea’s missile tests have accelerated, Pyongyang can now range Japan’s cities too, plus, perhaps, American cities. All this means that North Korea could respond devastatingly to an American airstrike.

This knowledge has stayed the hand of American and South Korean planners for decades. North Korea has provoked the US and South Korea plenty. There have been repeated North Korean provocations which could reasonably have warranted South Korean and/or American counterstrikes. In 1968, 1969, 1976, 1987, and 2010 occurred the worst North Korean provocations of the decades-long Korean division. Despite casualties and heated debate in South Korean and American media over the need to ‘finally’ punish North Korea, no action was taken. This was not from reticence – the US has been more than willing to pursue an aggressive drone war in the Middle East – but rather from the exposure of millions of innocent South Koreans and Japanese to North Korean retaliation.

Kinetic options have other downsides the Trump administration would be wise to contemplate before it unleashes the bombers. North Korea has been tunneling since the 1960s to prepare for just such an American air campaign. The US punishingly bombed North Korea during the Korean War, 1950-1953. Over a million died. North Korean planners learned that lesson and have been digging ever since. This means that any airstrike on North Korea would not look like what we have become accustomed to in the Middle East. There could be no limited cruise missile or drone strike which could be wrapped up in a day. Instead, North Korea’s decades-old hardening would require an extensive air campaign, involving hundreds, perhaps thousands, of air sorties, pursuing dozens of targets. We would call it a ‘surgical strike’ before global public opinion, but in practice it would be a war.

Once the bombs started to fall, the North Koreans would move everything underground, requiring yet more airstrikes. They would also use human shields, with grandmothers and infants placed around any targets which could not be moved below ground. Pictures of dead innocents would immediately be broadcast globally.

Finally, the North Koreans have a defensive alliance with China. China would not support North Korean aggression against the South or US, but it would, technically, be required to help North Korea if it were attacked. And an American air campaign would look so much like a war – no matter what we call it – that North Korea would almost certainly call on its ally for help. We do not actually know the redlines of that alliance. Perhaps China would abandon North Korea. But China intervened in 1950 to bail out North Korea as it began to lose the Korean War, and its strategists still refer to North Korea today as a ‘buffer’ between China and the robust democracies of South Korea, Japan, and America. Were China to enter the war on Pyongyang’s side, that could be disastrous. Americans and Chinese shooting at each other could easily spiral into a major regional, or even global, conflict sucking in Russia, whose Siberian backyard extends all the way to east Asia, and Japan as well.

These combined risks are so high that centrists reject the use of force as too risky, at the same time they grasp the general futility of negotiating with North Korea. The answer then is an unsatisfying ‘more of the same.’ For 64 years, deterrence and defense have worked on the peninsula. For all the tension, cable news hysteria, and North Korean provocation, the Korean War has not returned. Deterrence has been stable, however morally unsatisfying we find that, because it allows vicious North Korea to hang on.

North Korean nuclearization does not fundamentally change this. The United States already lives in a permanent nuclear deterrence relationship with Russia and China, and we have for decades. We have adapted ourselves, however grudgingly, to those countries’ nuclear missilization. The Cuban Missile Crisis is remembered as an American victory over the Soviet Union, but within a decade the Soviets had the ability to strike the US homeland without Cuba. We have lived with that, plus later Chinese and Pakistani nuclearization. This was unwanted, but, as with North Korea, the alternatives, particularly the military ones, were simply too risky. We learned to tolerate, just as Rice suggests we now do with North Korea.

This is depressing, but nonetheless the likely outcome of the current crisis. Trump may bluster and threaten, but I have little doubt his national security staff has warned him of the great risks of a strike. Nor should we think that North Korea intends to use these weapons to offensively strike the US. The American retaliation for an out-of-the-blue Northern strike would be devastating. North Korea as a functioning state would be utterly destroyed, and its elite killed. And that elite is not suicidal ideologues. They are not ISIS or Osama bin Laden. If they wanted to go down in a blaze of anti-American glory, they could have done so at any time of the last few decades. They wish to survive.

Sticking to the deterrence posture we have pursued since 1953 is not passivity in the face of threat. We can, and likely will, put resources into missile defense. If the North insists on missilization, then we should respond in kind with a ‘roof.’ And we can continue to pursue ever-tightening sanctions, which even China recently supported, to constrict North Korea’s pipeline to the global economy. North Korea’s gangster elite enjoys a life of privilege which requires that pipeline, as do its nuclear and missile programs. Going after their money and access will hurt.

If this feels unsatisfying or disappointing, it is. There is no silver bullet regarding North Korea. Were there, we would have used it long ago. North Korean nuclear missiles are a fact we can either adapt to, or risk a major war over. The US has, despite all our power, not risked that war to date, and I imagine Donald Trump will not in the end either.


Filed under: Asia, Defense, Engagement, Foreign Policy, Korea (South), Media, Missiles/Missile Defense, United States

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University

@Robert_E_Kelly

 

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Poetry Plus+45 @ Vinyl Underground

Thu, 2017-08-31 09:43

From: https://www.facebook.com/events/1283304158465841/

 

POETRY PLUS+45 is back and ready! Are you ready to possibly laugh, cry, think, cheer, dance, applaud, and be part of this gathering of creatives and folx from all walks from Busan, Daegu, Jinju, and Ulsan? I am. Let's do this. We've got music, poetry, dance, stories, and a whole lotta love to share. 

All are welcome. FREE admission. We will be collecting optional donations and selling raffle tickets to benefit a grassroots community school, Batibot Early Learning Center, in Manila.

Doors open at 7:00pm
Music begins at 7:30pm
Show begins promptly at 8:00pm

To get there: In Kyungsung (subway stop 212). Go up exit 3 and keep walking straight. Starbucks is on your right. Turn right at the first street and walk 2.5 blocks. On your right, a sign with the Warhol banana, head down the stairs and glide right in.

Poetry Plus 45 features the talents of

Aiden Hobbs 
Allison Barratt and Michael Grady Wheeler directed by Patrick Sanders
Amber Corrine
Carlos Williams
Cecile Hwang aka "Lady ZooKweenie"
Chris Dunkin
Cindi L'Abbe
Dorian Cliffe 
Farnaz Pirasteh
Grace LaFace
Hyun Sook Kim and Ryan Estrada
Jack Joseph
Kenneth May and Mike Ventola
Kobus Kotze and Marike Kotze
Marcia Benedicta Peschke

doing words, music, live painting, or some permutation of it all!

Opening the show's music set and recording live is Busan's own Skinship!

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Korean Baseball 101: Way Beyond the Bat Flips

Wed, 2017-08-30 00:39

Baseball in South Korea is more than a game. It’s akin to a religion. American missionaries first brought the sport to the peninsula in 1905, and the country absolutely loved it. Today, the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) features 10 teams and a unique sporting culture all its own. The city of Busan and its hometown Lotte Giants have a particularly passionate fan base. From the hitters’ flashy bat flips, to the team’s famous “cheermaster” and its unlikely American super fan, consider this is your crash course on the joyful madness that is Lotte Giants fandom.

This Great Big Story was inspired by Genesis.

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Korean Baseball 101: Way Beyond the Bat Flips
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Bombing North Korea would be a War of Choice

Fri, 2017-08-25 19:00
Bombing North Korea would be a War of Choice


This essay is a re-post of a piece I wrote earlier this month for The National Interest. It is an extension of the arguments a made earlier in the month, that North Korea is not in fact an existential threat to the United States. And that wonderfully scary photo is courtesy, naturally, of the Chosun Ilbo.

In brief, my argument is that the US has the ability to survive a North Korean nuclear attack, and therefore, we do not need to threat-inflate North Korea into some state-breaking threat to the United States. It is not. North Korea is dangerous enough without scaring the crap out of people unnecessarily. Killing a lot of Americans is not the same thing as bringing down the Constitution, and too many Trump officials are eliding that critical distinction. Strategic bombing has yet to bring down a country, and there is no reason to think the US is different. We do not need to bomb North Korea because it is on the cusp of destroying the American way of life. It could not do that even if it wanted to, which it does not. So an air campaign would still be a war of choice, no matter how much fire-breathing rhetoric you hear from Trump, Dan Coats, or Bolton.

The full essay follows the jump.

 

 

In my time with The National Interest, no column I have written received so much criticism as my claim last week that North Korean nuclear weapons do not represent an existential threat to the United States. Perhaps due to the current, ‘Summer of 1914’ atmosphere, critics found it ‘strangelovian’ or insouciant about the use of nuclear weapons. I appreciate the TNI editors allowing me an opportunity to address these concerns.

Normative vs Empirical Analysis

A basic distinction in social analysis is between normative or moral concern, and empirical explanation. Soberly discussing potential US survivability was too dispassionate for some readers. Perhaps nuclear weapons discourse should be morally rejected as too awful to contemplate. This is an old concern in strategic studies, often called ‘thinking the unthinkable.’ Perhaps analytically discussing nuclear weapons helps ‘normalize’ them; perhaps thinking about nuclear war strategy, survivability, state resilience, and so on makes the appalling less appalling.

There is no easy answer to this, but it seems to me that not discussing how the US might respond to a nuclear attack is irresponsible as national policy. Nuclear weapons exist. That genie will never be returned to its bottle, no matter how much we wish it so. Similarly, North Korea is a nuclear missile power, and we are unlikely to roll that back either. These are empirical facts, and no amount of normative revulsion over nuclear weapons’ awfulness will undo them.

I find nuclear weapons as appalling as anyone, pray they will never be used, and fear deeply that the world’s most dangerous state, North Korea, now has them. But revulsion alone is not enough. We must also think soberly about how we will respond in a worst-case scenario.

Worst-Case Scenario Planning

If we accept the empirical reality of the Northern program, and the policy requirement to deliberate its possible use against the United States, then we return to my original essay. There I presented a worst-case scenario: multiple North Korean nuclear strikes against the United States. Worst-case thinking is unnerving but ultimately part of responsible policy planning in order to grasp a problem’s maximal contours. If one lives in an earthquake or tornado zone, one hopes for the best, but plans for the worst. The logic is the same here, if not more accentuated with nuclear weapons. We all, obviously, hope that North Korea never launches against the United States. Indeed, this is extremely unlikely, unless the United States attacks North Korea first, because the North Koreans are not suicidal, and they know that American retaliation would destroy them.

Nonetheless, when planning we should at least consider the worst-case scenario in passing. Specifically, is the current, worst-case talk correct that nuclear missilized North Korea is now an ‘existential’ threat (see below) to America? Were North Korea to launch against the United States, could it do enough damage to actually bring down the American order – the state, the Constitution, the American way of life? It is obvious that many Americans would die, the economic and ecological consequences would be disastrous, a sharp, brutal turn in US foreign policy would follow, and so on. I contest none of that in the original essay. Rather I express skepticism that the United States could not absorb at least some North Korean nuclear strikes without political implosion as well. The humanitarian catastrophe would, of course, be tremendous. Rather, I am asking if the US government would collapse as well, which the ‘existential threat’ language suggests.

In the essay I speculate that it would require dozens of strikes on American cities to actually pitch the United States into political collapse. Cooler-headed respondents suggested a lower threshold, or that even a few strikes would catalyze a military takeover. Perhaps. But the experience of states under strategic bombing in the twentieth century suggest far greater social and political resilience than that. The US launched massive air campaigns against Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, communist North Korea, and communist North Vietnam, including nuclear weapons against Japan. Cities were razed; millions killed; millions more wounded. But none of the regimes collapsed or were overthrown, nor did those societies meltdown into some kind of Mad Max/Lord of the Flies dystopic anarchy. The Nazi and Imperial governments survived to surrender in good order, while the North Korean and (North) Vietnamese governments are still with us today.

In fact, the social resilience of the populations under these punishing campaigns astonished US planners and is a reason why the US no longer contemplates such large-scale civilian bombing. It does not seem to work. Perhaps the US is different. Perhaps it is politically more vulnerable. But I suspect not, as I argue in the original essay. The US has major advantages those countries did not have: it is geographically and demographically very large, with multiple, federal layers of government, wealthy, and has deep political stability. By way of example, if multiple cities in the American west – those closest to North Korea – were struck, why should that lead to social collapse in Alabama or Maine or Pennsylvania? Fear, alarm, and martial law would likely ensue – but why collapse? Would city, county, and state governments all over America simply cease to function if Washington, D.C. were struck? Perhaps, but that is not intuitively obvious, even if it is deeply disturbing to contemplate.

I see no reason why saying this is somehow inappropriate; indeed, it strikes me as a good thing that the US has these depths of resilience. (Why would we not want that?) To see cases where North Korean nuclear weapons really are an existential, constitutional, or state-breaking threat, consider South Korea or Japan. Both are geographically and demographically much smaller and denser than the US, with highly centralized governments. That makes them extremely vulnerable to just a few strikes on their biggest cities.

All this suggest that, even in a worst-case scenario, the United States – its government, constitution, and way of life – could in fact ‘ride out’ a North Korean nuclear strike, despite the awful human toll. This is an important, if macabre, point to make, and one that is being inappropriately elided in the current atmosphere of paranoia.

Not an Existential Threat

North Korea is a great enough danger without unnecessary threat-inflation from US officials regarding Northern missiles. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats has repeatedly said North Korea’s nuclear weapons are an “existential” threat to the United States. National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster suggested that North Korea is undeterrable, and that Donald Trump believes a North Korean nuclear missile – not its actual use, but simply its existence – is “intolerable.” John Bolton, naturally, agrees; even the potential of a North Korean nuclear missile warrants a military strike.

Coats’ assessment is almost certainly inaccurate given the four strategic bombing cases discussed above, while the Trump White House and Bolton would have us fight just over the potential of a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The US has lived with Soviet/Russian and Chinese nuclear ICBMs for years. Pakistan too has nuclear weapons. Most Korea analysts agree that the Kim elite of North Korea is rational. They are not suicidal ideologues like Osama bin Laden or ISIS. They firstly want to survive – whatever their other goals might be – which means they are highly unlikely to simply launch at the US out of the blue.

Hence we do not need to preventively bomb North Korea – with the huge risk of regional or even global conflict that entails – just because they have nuclear weapons. Pyongyang will not launch against the US, unless we attack them first, and the US would, even in that extremely unlikely, worst-case scenario, survive. If we knew the North was about to attack, we should indeed preemptively strike. But that is almost impossible to know, especially with a state as opaque as North Korea, so any US attack would be globally viewed as unnecessarily preventive, not legitimately preemptive.

As this essay has tried to argue, there is no clear-cut case for that, which is perhaps the root of all the administration threat-inflation. President Trump would have to sell to the US public why the US cannot adjust to Northern nuclear weapons as we did to Soviet/Russian, Chinese, and Pakistani nukes. Indeed, the preventive attack case is much stronger for more vulnerable South Korea and Japan, but they have made their peace living next to nuclear North Korea. President Trump might consider that harrbefore we do something rash. US officials should be more honest about all this in the current febrile atmosphere. We are not on the cusp of World War III, the apocalypse, or any of that cable news hysteria unless the Trump administration chooses to attack. And such an attack is not ‘existentially’ necessary. Let’s at least be honest about th


Filed under: Alliances, Defense, Korea (North), Missiles/Missile Defense, Nuclear Weapons, The National Interest, United States

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University

@Robert_E_Kelly

 

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The 4 Best Korean Dramas for Learning Korean

Tue, 2017-08-22 00:00
The 4 Best Korean Dramas for Learning Korean

If you’re in the process of learning Korean, you’re probably aware that there are seemingly infinite methods of learning. You can work through Korean textbooks, listen to audio clips of conversation, or work through challenges like our own 90 Minute Challenge to learn Hangul, the Korean alphabet. You can mix and match these different activities to come up with a learning method that works best for you, but the most important thing is that you’re consistent and motivated to stay engaged with the learning process.

What better way is there to keep your motivation for learning Korean high than to have fun while you’re learning? Grab your popcorn, because Korean dramas are about to make learning way more entertaining!

Korean dramas are some of the most entertaining shows on television — whether you’re after tragedy, heartbreak, comedy, or all of the above, the Korean dramas on this list will deliver. However, not all Korean dramas are created equal if you’re in the beginning stages of learning Korean. Some are ideal for learning Korean conversational skills, and some use more complicated dialogue that can be tricky to parse for beginners.

Read on for a list of the best Korean dramas to get you started with learning the Korean language. Be sure to let us know which is your favorite in the comments below! Also check out our useful Korean drama phrases to help with your study.

*Ready to learn Korean yet? Click here to learn about our 90 Day Korean learning program! 연애시대 (Alone in Love)

Photo credit: http://hancinema.net

Alone in Love is a great Korean drama to dive into if you’re just getting started with learning Korean. It’s very approachable as far as Korean dramas go — the story follows a married couple that splits up after the death of their baby, and what their lives look like after they begin dating other people. It’s heart wrenching, it’s (relatively) realistic, and you’ll get emotionally invested very quickly!

The dialogue in this drama is straightforward and easy to follow, which makes it great for learning Korean. The conversations can be a little harder to follow when emotions run high between the main characters and they begin speaking quickly, but the majority of the conversations are realistic day-to-day Korean conversations and are full of vocabulary words that will serve you well.

식객 (Gourmet)

Photo credit: http://dramafever.com

If you’re already a fan of Korean food (and really, who isn’t? Korea has tons of delicious dishes!), you are going to love Gourmet, a Korean drama that follows sibling rivalry between two sons fighting to inherit their father’s restaurant.

Of course, this drama has all of the elements that make Korean dramas so great — there’s rivalry, there’s heartbreak, and there are definitely moments that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. What this drama has that others don’t have, however, is a focus on traditional Korean cooking.

Not only will you get to learn the meaning and history of a variety of Korean dishes as you’re watching this drama (as well as how to make the dishes), but you’ll also pick up useful vocabulary words that you’ll use in future conversations at restaurants and about Korean food.

Get your Korean food fix and your Korean entertainment fix at the same time — check out Gourmet today!

커피 프린스 1호점 (Coffee Prince)

Photo credit: http://dramafever.com

Coffee Prince was one of the Korean dramas that was so popular that it raised awareness for how wonderful Korean dramas are to viewers outside of Korea. Once you start watching, you’ll see why it helped spread the word about Korean dramas — it’s addicting, and it’s very hard to stop once you get started!

This drama follows the off-beat romance between a clumsy tomboy, Go Eun-Chan, (who is actually mistaken for a boy!) and a well-off gentleman who isn’t interested in the women he has been set up with by his family.

These two hit it off and form an unlikely friendship, and viewers are left wondering when it will progress to be more and what that could even look like, considering Choi Han-Gyul, the male protagonist, thinks that Go Eun-Chan is a boy. Will he ever learn her true identity? Will his trust be shattered, or will they fall in love? Start watching to find out!

Part of what makes Coffee Prince so great to follow when you’re learning Korean is how easy it is to get invested in the characters and the story. Even if you miss some of the more difficult conversational elements the first time watching, you’ll be hooked and you’ll feel as if you need to keep watching to find out what happens to the main characters.

Turn on Coffee Prince the next time you sit down to study Korean and you’ll quickly see why we consider it one of the best Korean dramas!

별에서 온 그대 (My Love from Another Star)

Photo credit: http://dramafever.com

If you’re a fan of television shows and movies that have fantastical elements, you’re in for a treat! My Love from Another Star is not your typical Korean drama. This drama follows a superhuman alien that landed on planet Earth hundreds of years ago. Think of it as Doctor Who meets Twilight… kind of? You’ll understand when you check it out for yourself!

This alien, Do Min-joon, has had several superhuman gifts bestowed upon him — he has out of this world good looks, he has super speed, and he can hear even the faintest of sounds, which makes spying on conversations very easy.

As you can imagine, he becomes disillusioned with humans very quickly as a result of all of the hatred and malice he picks up on through listening and paying attention. Imagine his surprise when he falls in love with human woman!

This drama really does have something for every viewer — whether you’re a fan of alien story lines, true love, or period pieces, you’ll enjoy watching My Love From Another Star.

It’s also great for viewers who are just beginning to pick up Korean, because the dialogue is all written in a very deliberate way. Being an alien, Do Min-joon uses formal Korean dialogue for most of the show, but the script writers do a great job of having him transition slowly to more casual dialogue as he becomes comfortable around other characters.

 

Do you have a favorite Korean drama that has helped you learn the language? Let us know in the comments below so we can add it to our list!

 

Photo Credit: http://bigstock.com

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  

 

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LTW: The Barking War

Sun, 2017-08-13 05:09
LTW: The Barking War Good morning,
A series of bellicose rhetoric exchange between North Korea and Donald Trump keeps raising tension in Korean Peninsula. North Korean Foreign Minister threw the first punch on Aug 7, declaring his country will “teach the U.S. a severe lesson with its nuclear strategic force.” Trump countered on Aug 8, saying “North Korea best not make any more threats to the U.S. They will be met with fire and fury the world has never seen.” The commander of North Korean Army responded on Aug 10, threatening they can fire four Hwasung-12 ICBMs over Japan to lfall 30km (19 miles) away from Guam with the final order from Kim Jung-un. Donald Trump then tweeted on Aug 11 that U.S. military plans are “locked and loaded” and ready to go “should North Korea act unwisely.” Gen.Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff met with President Moon Jae-in Seoul on Aug 14.
 

While the rest of the world is watching Korean Peninsula in worries, South Koreans are not really feeling the tension. South Koreans have lived under Kim family’s verbal threats since Korean War ended in 1953. If South Koreans cannot sleep because of Kim Jung-un’s recent bad words from his mouth, neither can Japanese because of earthquakes. My wife can be more concerned about possible Louis Vuitton store pullout from Lotte Department Store than possible North Korean ICBMs flying over Japan to Guam. The recent exchange of menacing words between Kim Jung-un and Donald Trump fits below scenes to many South Koreans.

Regards,
H.S.


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No, North Korea’s Nuclear Missiles are Not an ‘Existential’ Threat to the US

Sat, 2017-08-12 23:45
No, NK's Nuclear Missiles are Not an ‘Existential’ Threat to the US


This is a re-post of an article I just wrote for The National Interest. It is a response to the increasing hawk threat inflation – presumably to justify possible airstrikes –  that even one North Korean nuclear weapon is intolerable, or that even one North Korean nuclear strike on America would bring down the country, or that the NK nuclear program is an ‘existential’ threat to the US.

None of that is true. Is it bad that NK has nukes and missiles? Of course. Would it be a humanitarian catastrophe if NK nuked one or several American cities? Obviously. Would that bring down the American state, the US Constitution, and the American way of life? No, it would not. Is it creepy and strangelovian to talk like this? Yes. But NK nukes are here to stay; we need to adapt to this reality. We need to start thinking soberly about these sorts of frightening questions, especially if we are contemplating the use of force against North Korea, with its huge attendant risks.

The below essay argues that the US has some resilience against even the disasters which would follow a North Korean nuclear attack on the homeland. Many people would die but that is not the same is bringing down the whole country. Killing people is not the same as breaking the state, and way too many hawkish threat-inflators, like President Trump or John Bolton, are eliding this point. In the four US strategic bombing campaigns of the 20th century – against Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, North Korea, and North Vietnam – none of them lead to governmental breakdown and domestic anarchy. We are not on the cusp of Lord of the Flies or Mad Max, and we should be honest about that, even as we try to contain the NK nuclear program. To do otherwise just scares the hell out of the country even more than it is now. Even in the worst case scenario, which this essay presents, NK almost certainly does not have the ability to destroy America, even if it can kill many Americans. That is a distinction, however macabre it may seem to point it out.

The full essay follows the jump:

 

 

Late last month, the American Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats called North Korea’s nuclear weapons program a “potential existential threat to the United States.” Coats hedges a bit by throwing in the modifier “potentially,” but he has spoken this way before. Unless he has spectacular secret information, this is woefully inaccurate. North Korea is a growing threat to the United States with its nuclear missile program, and it is indeed an existential threat to South Korea and Japan. But its threat to the US is actually not existential – as, for example, Russian and Chinese arsenals are – and is unlikely to become so.

Language is important here. North Korea is a indeed a threat to the US, but it is a greater threat to US regional allies, and its proven ability to strike the US with a nuclear warhead is still hotly disputed. Ranging the US with a missile is not the same as hitting the US with a reentry-survivable nuclear warhead that could evade US missile defense. Nor, even, does one or two or a dozen North Korean nuclear strikes on the US mainland constitute an “existential” threat.

Such a scenario would, of course, be terrible, but for North Korea to actually threaten the existence of the United States would take dozens of nuclear strikes across almost all of America’s major cities. The humanitarian costs of even one nuclear detonation would be enormous, of course, and the national psychological shock would be akin to nothing in US history, bar perhaps the Civil War. But this is not the same thing as actually hitting the United States hard enough that its society begins to fragment and its government collapse. DNI Coats does not use those terms, but presumably that is what an “existential” threat is. Large numbers of civilian casualties, even in the millions, and the loss of several American cities is not existential. Horrible, yes. A dramatic reorientation of American life, absolutely. But not the end of America.

In fact, the United States is actually well postured to survive – or ‘ride out,’ in nuclear war parlance – a nuclear strike. The US is a large country, with a widely dispersed population. According to the Census Bureau in 2015, it has only ten cities whose populations exceed one million people. And twenty percent of its population lives in rural areas, distant from any realistic North Korean target. That is sixty million people. Residents of large cities like New York and Los Angeles are threatened, but much of the US population is not. It is important to be honest about this.

American governmental federalism is another benefit. Even if Washington, D.C. and other large US metropolitan centers were devastated, the US has multiple levels of government which would continue to operate. States, counties, and cities would continue to function, uphold law and order, and provide points from which to rebuild damaged national structures. By way of example, the collapse of government in New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 did not lead to cascading collapse across Louisiana or the Gulf Coast. Even Imperial Japan in 1945, after months of punishing US bombing, managed to ride out the nuclear detonations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki without a national breakdown.

Nuclear strikes in America will not necessarily lead to apocalyptic outcomes, and we should be cautious about using Coats’ frightening language. Highly centralized states are at greater risk than America. Where one national capital represents the national center gravity – as with Seoul in South Korea, or Paris in France – the risk of a nuclear ‘decapitation strike’ to throw the country into chaos is real. Hence North Korea’s greater threat to highly centralized, and more proximate, Japan and South Korea. But America’s thick decentralization makes it more resilient.

Finally, long-term US political stability suggests socio-political resilience. Assuming again that North Korea strikes Washington and America’s other large cities, it is not obvious that the US would then fall into some manner of political anarchy or revolution. The US is a wealthy, stable state with the world’s longest running constitution (230 years). Its population has never had any meaningful political traditions besides liberal democracy. There are no serious revolutionaries waiting for social chaos to strike, like in czarist Russia or Weimar Germany.

Indeed, Coats himself likely knows all this, which is why he appended “potentially” to his comments. By calling the North Korean nuclear missile threat “existential,” he is probably trying to capture and focus attention, both in the US and, especially, China. But adding “potentially” allows him to pull back so that he does not appear too alarmist and incur the jeering of the analyst community over something that is really not true. This political and somewhat contradictory phrasing leaves Coats’ actual beliefs rather unclear.

His exaggeration is understandable, however, due to China. In fact, I imagine much of the overheated rhetoric coming from the Trump administration about North Korea is intended to pressure China to finally do something on the issue, rather than accurately portray the threat from Pyongyang. But this is risky threat-inflation. Scare-mongering contributes to the growing drumbeat for airstrikes against North Korea which could ignite a disastrous regional conflict, even though North Korea almost certainly does not intend to offensively strike the United States with its nuclear weapons.


Filed under: Korea (North), Nuclear Weapons, Strategy, The National Interest, United States

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University

@Robert_E_Kelly

 

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Nights Out Up North – Where to Go in the PNU Area in Busan

Thu, 2017-08-10 01:33
Nights Out Up North – Where to Go in the PNU Area in Busan Read more a

Originally appeared in HAPS, Aug. 9, 2017. Click here for the original story.

Do you have any suggested places for fun nights out, in the PNU area or throughout Busan that you would like me to check out? Leave a comment.

This article took a lot longer than I expected it would. I am not entirely sure why. I didn’t have much trouble getting comments from sources, especially Liam Cullivan, who is a wealth of great information and conversation if you’re curious about Busan’s expat history at least since the mid-1990s. Super fun.  I think it was just a lull in my desire to write. That happens to a lot of people. I don’t know if it’s ever happened much to Stephen King. That guy seems to churn out book after book, even when he got run over by a van almost 20 years ago. But, I get those times where I just don’t feel like it. A good trick to get the juices pumping again is to suck it up, buckle down, some other cliche phrase or two and then follow the sage advice of the Nike “swoosh” and Shia LeBeouf.

“DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK, BECAUSE THEY NEVER REALLY LEFT.”

That’s from Liam Cullivan, owner of Basement, in the Pusan National University downtown area on a Facebook post announcing a new venture: pizza at an adjacent establishment dubbed “Cullivano’s.” While meant to be tongue-in-cheek, this long-established member of the Busan bar community hammers home the point that, despite the popularity of other downtown destinations in Busan like Gwangalli, the Kyungsung University area and tourism-heavy Haeundae, PNU too has remained a popular spot for both foreigners and locals looking to have a fun night out further north.

Local history wonks will also note the Pusan National University area is also where expats found their first Busan nights about two decades ago.

“The English teacher population exploded with the introduction of EPIK (English Program in Korea) in 1995,” says Cullivan, who has operated Basement since 2002, and previously managed a bar in Masan.

As new metro lines and additional stops on existing ones made it easier to commute across this vast city, and as more Korean business owners sought to appeal to expats, other locations besides PNU began to flourish. Cullivan specifically cites the Thursday Party chain, which started in Busan but now has more than 20 locations throughout Korea.

“It was hard to find any western style bars,” Cullivan notes of years past. “So, people flocked to havens where they could speak English and be understood.”

In Busan, that haven was the PNU area. “This is what the old timers gush about,” he says.

But, like everything in life, change was inevitable. “Frankly, Korean bar culture and English abilities have changed,” Cullivan says. Despite the shift in customer base, Basement has remained.

But, while many expats moved on from PNU, Cullivan says “we still had a huge student population at our doorstep. We became more of a student bar.”

In its current incarnation, Cullivan notes that, while expats have started to return to PNU, “it’s not who you think. PNU (the university) has really upped their game in attracting students from around the world, especially from Europe and the former Soviet republics.”

Still, some “old timers” find themselves in PNU “for mostly music events,” Cullivan says. “But, in general, the expat crowd in PNU is much younger and frankly everything in PNU is a little bit cheaper because of the college students.”

Cullivan also notes a couple new bars, like Galmegi Brewing Company, have found a place in PNU. “So, yes, the big wave of teachers who arrived a decade or more ago did move on to other areas, but we haven’t been lonely in PNU,” he says. “The students and punks stayed and now I think some of the expats outside of the ‘hood are starting to realize what a cool little place PNU is.”

To see for yourself, here’s a shortlist of destinations to try on your own PNU night out:

Someday

416-1, Jangjeong-dong, Geumjeong-gu, Open daily 6pm-5am, 010-5557-4626 , Facebook

What began in 2011 as a single-story dive in an old industrial storefront has turned into a two-story must-visit destination. The freshly-renovated Someday offers a cool and laid back venue for live music, or simply a place to sip a variety of adult beverages. These range from assorted cocktails to a wide selection of beers, from OB for the skinflint, to Goose Island for those who want a little craft in their draft.

“The old Someday was kind of just a local bar in PNU,” says Donghyuk Heo, one of three partners responsible for the renovations. “Now, we hope many people will come to know about it and enjoy it.”

Heo says Someday is a place for everyone, Korean or foreign, a neighborhood spot for those with a liberal mindset. “I can’t explain it well, even if I explain it in Korean,” he laughs. “But, it has something different, an atmosphere you can only feel here. I suggest you come here and feel it for yourself.”

Galmegi Brewing Company

Pusandaehak-ro58, Jangjeong-dong, Geumjeong-gu – Monday-Thursday, 6pm-midnight; Friday and Saturday, 6pm-1am, Sunday 6-11pm – 010-3782-6116 – Facebook

Galmegi Brewing Company ushered Busan into Korea’s burgeoning craft beer movement back in 2014 when it opened its Gwangan brewery (they first began serving contract-brewed suds the previous year at a location closer to Gwangalli Beach). Its PNU location is Galmegi’s fifth (following the popular brand’s other locations in Gwangan, Haeundae, Seomyeon and Nampo) to open and sixth overall (a location near the Kyungsung University/Pukyong National University subway station opened in July).

PNU Galmegi owner Andrew Bencivenga prides himself on adding his own signature to the location, including a playlist that lends itself more to a chill night chatting with friends than competing with the sound system. There’s a full slate of familiar bar food favorites as well as special menu items like handmade sausages and location-specific pizzas. Those seeking a liquid diet can choose from a number of bottles and drafts that cannot be found at any other location, from throughout Korea and around the world. And, if beer is not your thing, Galmegi PNU has several bourbons and tequilas to whet your whistle with, as well.

Red Bottle

Jangjeon-dong 417-2, 2nd floor, Geumjeong-gu, Monday-Saturday 7pm-4am, Sunday 6pm-1am, 010-6213-2198, Facebook

The bartenders at Red Bottle, opened in 2010, pride themselves on their cocktail skills, something owner Nanhee Lee says has created a loyal following at her relaxed second-floor establishment.

“We’ve made a unique atmosphere in front of Pusan National University,” she says of Red Bottle. “I want to have even more live events for indie bands. I am trying to make this a place for exchanges between Korean people and foreign people.” Live music is also a regular facet at Red Bottle.

Crossroads

389-51 Jangjeon 1dong, Geumjeong-gu, Daily 7pm – 3am, 051-515-1181, Facebook

Owner Juhee Kim points to consistency for this 20-year-old PNU landmark’s staying power. Folks can enjoy music from the 1970s to today at Crossroads, which offers both local and imported beers, as well as over 30 cocktail choices, with prices that haven’t changed in many years.

“It’s cheap and it’s for everyone who loves music and enjoys drinking,” Kim says. “Anyone can be friends with anyone and can enjoy it comfortably. That’s what’s attractive about Crossroads.”

Basement

418-32 Jangjeon 3dong, Geumjeong-gu, Daily 7pm – 4am, 010-3221-2500, Facebook

One of PNU’s mainstay establishments. They recently began to offer pizza by the slice next door under the moniker “Cullivano’s,” a nod to owner Liam Cullivan. Cheap drinks and cocktails, with a number of Korean and international indie acts passing through for raucous concerts.


JPDdoesROK is a former news editor/writer in New Jersey, USA, who served a one-year tour of duty in Dadaepo/Jangnim, Saha-gu, Busan from February 2013 to February 2014. He is now a teacher in Gimhae.

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The Korean In-Laws in Australia!

Thu, 2017-08-03 09:29
The Korean In-Laws in Australia!
So, my Korean in-laws finally stepped-out of Korea.  For the first time in their lives they made it to another country.  And I missed it!

I was actually really gutted.  I had longed planned a big cycle touring trip of Australasia; firstly cycling from Darwin to Melbourne in Australia and then cycling all around New Zealand over a period of about 3 months or so.

Unfortunately, this coincided with their trip to see my wife, which occurred fairly last-minute due to my wife having a short gap between jobs.  Seeing as my wife had some time-off they jumped at the chance to come visit.

I had always looked-forward to observing how my in-laws would react in a Western English-speaking country that was well outside of their comfort zone.  My in-laws are both from Suncheon, a smallish city in Jeollanamdo, quite possibly the most rural province in Korea and quite far from the international hubs of Seoul and Busan.

In Korea, I was the stumbling, bumbling fool, who got around with limited Korean and was ignorant of a wide variety of cultural practices and things going on around me. Now it was their turn.

I wasn't just interested in a bit of schadenfreude, however (although it would have been wonderful), I was actually really curious to see how they'd react to it all.  Fortunately, my wife kept me up to date with what was going on.

As I suspected, my mother in-law appeared to be quite fascinated with everything and open-minded, especially with regard to food.  My father in-law, not so much.

The first thing they did after leaving the airport in Melbourne was go to the nearest Korean restaurant, even before going home to freshen up.  My wife told me that in the week her father was there, he ate pork belly every single day (this is the cut used in samgyeopsal in Korea), and in the whole time he was there ate nothing but Korean food except on two occasions; once eating a warm jam doughnut at Victoria Market, and one time eating fish and chips while on the Great Ocean Road.  Apparently, the fish and chips made him literally sick later on that evening.  He was also quite pleased that he could buy an ample amount of soju to wash down the copious amount of pork belly he was consuming.

Surprisingly, perhaps, they commented that my wife should not come back to Korea, and that they really liked Australia.  Maybe some of this is to do with how successful my wife has been (after a tough 2 years) in Melbourne.  They beamed with pride about how my wife works as a surgery room nurse in the most prestigious public hospital in Melbourne, The Alfred.  One of their few requests for places to visit was the hospital itself, and they made sure all their friends back home knew about this.

Among the things that impressed my father in-law about Australia was the sheer scale of the place and the abundance of open land.  On their trip along the Great Ocean Road, my wife said he gazed in fascination out of the window for most of the journey, even when there was little to see.  To be fair Australia's wide expanses of flat, baron land must be quite a difference to the lifetime of forested mountains he must have been used to, with cities and buildings squeezed into the flat spaces in between (he should cycle through the centre of the country for a real shock).

Of course, the thing that gave him the most joy was the cost of pork belly, which was quite a bit less expensive than Korea.  Apparently, the jam doughnut in Victoria Market was the only distraction from him salivating over the cheap choice cuts of pork belly at the butchers there.

My mother in-law was taken aback by the number of men she saw pushing prams and carrying babies.  She thought this was a great thing, and something she never really saw in Korea.  She was also very happy with how politely she was treated by the young men she came into contact with generally.  She was less impressed with the women, however, who she perceived as being a little more cold, self-entitled, and uptight than she expected.

Another thing that caught her eye was just how individual people were in their sense of style.  Melbourne is perhaps an especially noticeable place for things like this, with St Kilda where I live being a particularly eccentric place.  She was intrigued about how people mostly didn't give a damn about what they were wearing or how they were acting.

My mother in-law stayed on for 2 weeks longer than my father in-law, who had work commitments after one week.  She was able to go on an extra trip over to the Grampians, a range of unique-looking mountains a couple of hours North-West of Melbourne.  Unfortunately for her, this coach trip was also frequented by a large number of Indians, who were apparently smelling strongly of curry and body odour (I promise you these are her and my wife's words, not mine).  Knowing that my wife and my mother in-law are a pair of bloodhounds when it comes to their sense of smell (they have both put me to the sword at times for "Western smell"), and rather intolerant of unwelcome odours, this put a smile on my face while I was cycling through New Zealand.  Apparently they moved seats several times to escape the worst of the stench, but to no avail.  They were also highly critical of the punctuality of a pair of young German girls who were always late, and the last ones to get on the bus at the end of each stop.

Apart from the odd bit of culture shock, like this, however, I was pleasantly surprised about how well they adjusted to such a brave new world.  Amazingly, they encouraged my wife not to even visit them in Korea, but just to wait until they visited her in Australia, or even meet up somewhere else in the world.  My mother in-law, especially, has always wanted to go to Germany, a place where she dreamed of working as a nurse once (perhaps this is where my wife got her ambitions from).

Funnily enough, though, she doesn't have much interest in visiting England, and my hometown in particular.  Curiously, this has a lot to do with my mother, who she feels slightly uncomfortable intruding upon, and is convinced that her daughter is not a good daughter in-law as well.  Despite numerous attempts to allay her fears on this subject, she is convinced that because my wife did not cook for her and clean the house when we were there (and knowing her character generally), my mother must think ill of her for bringing such a rotten daughter in-law into the world.  The truth being to the contrary, that my mother thinks my wife is lovely, and surely wouldn't harbour such thoughts against her mothering skills, and would certainly be delighted to be a host if my mother in-law ever chose to visit.

The only problem for my wife is that her brother misses out.  He, like many thirty-something Koreans, is tied to a job with a scant amount of holiday time, if any at all, so visiting Australia, or indeed almost anywhere overseas except China and Japan is extremely difficult.  I think he really misses his sister.

It seems though, as if both my in-laws have caught the travel bug now, they are keen to visit again and to as many countries as possible.  With this in mind then, I am sure I will get my wish, and see them out of their comfort zone for myself in the near future.

Note:  This is a delayed post, as I forgot about it completely.

Smudgem.blogspot.com

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Korea 1967

Sun, 2017-07-30 10:28
Korea 1967



 


When stationed in Korea 1967, I took up photography as a hobby.  Below are some of  the photographs.  You can find the entire set at Korea1967.blogspot.kr
Please feel free to inform friends and family of the people depicted that they can be download from here.

- Mark Presco
Korea1967.blogspot.kr

    
                                     
 

 

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North Korean Nukes are almost Certainly for Deterrence and Defense

Sat, 2017-07-29 19:10
North Korean Nukes are almost Certainly for Deterrence and Defense


This is a local re-post of an essay I wrote for The National Interest this week.

I feel like a broken record. I keep saying this – they’re not going to use them offensively, we don’t need to airstrike (at least not yet), we have learned to live with Russian, Chinese, and Pakistani nuclear missilization, the North Korean leadership is rational enough to know that using these things against a democracy would bring extraordinary retaliation. So yes, it really, really sucks that North Korea has these weapons, but we can adapt, as we have to other countries’ nuclear missilization. We don’t HAVE to start a potentially huge regional war over them right now. If we must, we always can. But let’s not get carried away that North Korea is going to nuke the US out of the blue, so we should airstrike them right now. That is HIGHLY unlikely.

But journalists keep asking me if we’re going to/should bomb North Korea, and US officials keep saying stuff like this. So here we go again:

 

 

Since the launch of a North Korean medium- to long-range intercontinental missile this month, there has been much anxiety about North Korea’s ability to strike US cities. It seems likely that North Korea can strike Anchorage at least, Alaska’s largest city. Some analysts have suggested North Korea already has the capability to strike the east coast of the United States. Skepticism may be warranted. North Korea may have trouble with missile re-entry, guidance, warhead miniaturization, and other technical issues. But nonetheless, it appears quite likely that if Pyongyang does not yet have the ability to strike the lower forty-eight American states, it will soon. Last month, I suggested the US is on countdown of sorts. North Korea is rushing toward a nuclear ICBM, and the Americans will soon be forced to adapt to it, or fight. It appears that decision fork is coming sooner than many expected.

Striking North Korea would be incredibly risky, and the United States has learned to live with other states’ nuclear missilization. Russia, China, and Pakistan are nuclear powers whom the US would almost certainly prefer did not have these weapons. Yet the US has adjusted. Each of those three, including Pakistan, has treated its weapons reasonably carefully. There has not been the much-feared accidental launch or hand-off to terrorist groups. All appear to consider their nuclear weapons as defensive for deterrence purposes. Indeed, the offensive potential of nuclear weapons is curiously constrained. They would so devastate an enemy that conquering that enemy would be pointless – who wants to take-over an irradiated wasteland? Plus, nuclear use would likely bring nuclear retaliation on the attacker, in which case any war benefit would be lost to the huge costs of nuclear destruction in the homeland.

This logic would seem to apply to North Korea as well. In the most extreme possible scenario, where North Korea used nuclear weapons against the South to facilitate a successful invasion of it, the devastation in the South would be so awful, that one wonders why North Korea would want to invade at all. Due to the peninsula’s mountainous terrain, only a few areas of South Korea are easily habitable for large numbers of people. Something like 75% of the population lives on 30% of the landmass. Those small areas – basically the South biggest cities – would be targets of Northern nuclear weapons in any such war. If North Korea were to win that conflict, it would then inherit those irradiated, blasted population zones, plus all those scarcely usable mountains. What would be the point of winning then? Of fighting at all?

Similarly, North Korean nuclear use against the South – or Japan or the US – would bring devastating American nuclear retaliation against the North. South Korea and Japan are treaty allies of the US for decades. These relationships are about as robust as any in the US alliance network. Countless secretaries of state and defense have pledged to protect Seoul and Tokyo. So American nuclear retaliation would almost certainly follow any Northern offensive nuclear strike. North Korea would inherit an apocalyptic wasteland in the South, while absorbing punishing nuclear retaliation at home – so punishing in fact, the regime itself might collapse under the weight of the social chaos unleashed by American nuclear strikes.

And if that were not bad enough, one could easily see China attacking North Korea if it were to offensively use nuclear weapons. China may maddeningly tolerate North Korea’s nuclearization, but it is hard to imagine Beijing tolerating a North Korea using those weapons offensively. Beijing might well then be the next target. It is easy to foresee the US and China working together to destroy North Korea if it aggressively used nuclear weapons.

Some fear North Korea might ‘hand off’ a weapon to rogue groups, but no states have yet done that. Other suggest nuclear weapons might be a method to bully South Korea into subservience or permanent subsidization. But so long as South Korea remains allied to the United States, it is not clear why North Korean nuclear blackmail would succeed. North Korean nuclear weapons level the nuclear playing field in the peninsula rather than shift it against South Korea.

In short, North Korea’s possible use of its nuclear arsenal is highly constrained. It fits the profile of other state’s nuclear weapons – great as an ultimate guarantee of national defense and sovereignty, great for national prestige, hugely risky for offense. It is not clear that North Korea can escape the same problem of practical use which so many other nuclear powers have tried to figure out. There is simply no way to use these weapons for gain that would not immediately provoke massive counter-costs.

Yet we seem to have a hard time transferring this logic to North Korea. Americans are deeply worried about war with North Korea, and our pop culture routinely portrays Pyongyang as aggressive toward the United States. Yet North Korea’s decrepit, neofeudal, gangster state probably could not even absorb a South Korean population twice its size and long accustomed to democracy and freedom, even if it could win a war.

So yes, North Korea’s nuclear weapons are unsettling, even frightening. But nuclear weapons have not been used for offense to date (barring WWII), and there is little to suggest North Korea can escape the same ‘unusability’ trap other nuclear powers find themselves in. These weapons are almost certainly for defense and deterrence, so we should respond in kind with missile defense. That, not airstrikes and a consequent huge risk of Asian regional war, is the way forward.


Filed under: Defense, Korea (North), Korea (South), Missiles/Missile Defense, Nuclear Weapons, The National Interest, United States

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University

@Robert_E_Kelly

 

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10 Best Water Sports & Activities to Try in Jeju Island This Summer

Fri, 2017-07-21 03:00
10 Best Water Sports & Activities to Try in Jeju Island This Summer

 

Known for vivid emerald waters and white sandy beaches, your summer trip to Korea’s most popular holiday destination, Jeju Island, wouldn’t be complete without trying one of the exciting water sports and water-based activities on the island.

Here are some of the coolest water sports and activities in Jeju Island you’ll definitely want to be on the lookout for. 

1. Scuba Diving

Jeju Island offers incredible diving sites with a spectacular underwater seascape, particularly the east coast of Jeju Island.For first-timers: Here’s a great diving program for those who don’t have a diving certification, which is guided by an experienced instructor and offered in English for foreigners.

For experienced divers with a license: ‘Fun Diving in Jeju Island‘ offers 3 different courses to choose from according to the diver’s level of experience and license.

Want to have a one-of-a-kind scuba diving experience? Sign up for ‘Aquarium Scuba Diving‘ which offers participants a unique chance to dive into a huge fish tank at AquaPlanet Jeju, one of the largest aquariums in Asia (bigger than Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan!).

2. Underwater Sea Walk

Imagine walking through the ocean ground and feeding the fish underwater. For this awesome sea walk experience, there’s nothing more complex than walking around the seabed in a bathing suit with a cute helmet on.

3. Snorkeling

If you want to be classic, go on a snorkeling adventure. Jeju Ocean Park is one of the top ‘snorkeling’ hotspots on the island. Don’t worry if you can’t swim. You will be educated with the safety precautions and professional safety guards will be present at all times.

4. Paddleboarding

Stand up and paddle into the sunset while enjoying the beautiful view of Udo Island and Seongsan Ilchungbong Peak on a paddle board! If you have never tried paddleboarding before, your stay in Jeju Island is the perfect time to try it!

5. Kiteboarding (Kitesurfing)

Go up higher with kiteboarding, or kitesurfing, in Jeju Island! This thrilling water-surface sport is absolutely a blast! 

6. Kayaking

Sit back and chill out in your kayak while taking in the stunning natural scenery. Some of the best spots to go kayaking in Jeju Island are Woljeongri BeachYongyeon Pond and Hado BeachSEE MORE: Kayak Fishing in Northeastern Jeju Island

7. Sailing on a Glass Yacht

Enjoy a luxurious ride with Chagwido Glass Yacht, which will take you on a tour around Chagwido Island, a tiny beautiful island located on the west coast of Jeju Island. You can sit in stylish comfort while watching the sunset and enjoy swimming, fishing and snorkeling on this modern and classy glass yacht during the tour!SEE MORE: Grande Bleu Yacht Tour

8. Seogwipo Submarine Experience

Go on an underwater expedition with Seogwipo Submarine! Passengers can look out the sea through the windows of the submarine and discover the incredible nature and diverse marine life of Jeju Island during the one-and-a-half-hour ride.

9. Deep Sea Fishing

Looking for a one-of-a-kind experience in Jeju Island? Then go on a fishing trip! There are excellent fishing destinations near Seongsan Ilchulbong, a famous tuff cone formed by volcanic eruption, and Chagwido Island, the largest uninhabited island 2km off the west coast of Jeju Island. Visitors at all ages and levels can try their hands at fishing so bring your friends and family on this exciting fishing trip!

10. Seogwipo Ferry Cruise

Seogwipo Ferry Cruise is the most popular sightseeing cruise in Jeju Island that cruises along the south coast of Jeju Island. During the ride, you will be able to take in the wonderful sights of the island such as the famous Jeongbang Falls. Make sure to take advantage of discount tickets to Seogwipo Ferry Cruise before you visit!

Are you traveling to Jeju Island? Check out more of our guides and tips:

Discover more awesome things to do in Jeju Island at Korea’s #1 Travel Shop, Trazy.com!

  

 

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. 

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The Korea Queer Cultural Festival: My first Pride Experience

Tue, 2017-07-18 02:30
The Korea Queer Cultural Festival: My first Pride Experience

 

July 15, 2017

The Korea Queer Cultural Festival (퀴어문화축제) was my first Pride experience. I support the LGBTQ community everywhere in the world –especially in a country where many people aren’t openly gay as they fear the reactions from their community. I saw and met so many incredible loving, courageous people in Seoul! 

Celebrating love and diversity was more blissful and liberating than anything I had imagined. There was some on-and-off rain and hateful protestors. I am thankful for the 85,000 supporters and 6,000 police officers in attendance (numbers from Korea Herald). 

The lawn of Seoul Plaza was bursting with a variety of gender and sexual minorities all day. Then, participants marched 4 kilometers with nine decorated trucks in the parade. What an amazing day. Discrimination out. Hate out. 



















 

July 15, 2017

The Korea Queer Cultural Festival (퀴어문화축제) was my first Pride experience. I support the LGBTQ community everywhere in the world –especially in a country where many people aren’t openly gay as they fear the reactions from their community. I saw and met so many incredible loving, courageous people in Seoul! 

Celebrating love and diversity was more blissful and liberating than anything I had imagined. There was some on-and-off rain and hateful protestors. I am thankful for the 85,000 supporters and 6,000 police officers in attendance (numbers from Korea Herald). 

The lawn of Seoul Plaza was bursting with a variety of gender and sexual minorities all day. Then, participants marched 4 kilometers with nine decorated trucks in the parade. What an amazing day. Discrimination out. Hate out. 

About 

Hi, I'm Stacy. I'm from Portland, Oregon, USA, and am currently living in Busan, South Korea. Check me out on: Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Lastfm, and Flickr.

 

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Korean Women Do It Again!

Mon, 2017-07-17 09:59
Korean Women Do It Again!

Good morning,
Rfreshing news came to Koreans under stress from THADD dilemma with Chinese Xi Jinping and ICBM fire works by Northern brother Kim Jong-Un. The 72nd U.S. Women's Open Championship held in N.J. on July 16 turned into a Korea Women's Open, with rookie SungHyun Park winning the title and $900K while 7 other Korean women ranking in top 10. It was Park's first LPGA win also.She was a star in Korean LPGA until last year with 7 tour wins in 2016. The club owner Donald Trump was at site to give thumbs-up to the players, becoming the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Open. This is the 9th U.S. Open victory by Koreans since Seri Pak's first in 1998. Koreans girls worked together to capture 9 wins from 19 tournaments so far this season.


The saga of Korean women in LPGA started with Seri Pak's dramatic U.S. Open win in 1998. In the playoff against Jenny Chuasiriporn(U.S.A), Pak's ball from 18th tee flew to land on a rough just a few inches away from a lake. As both were equal after 17th hole, everyone thought championship would go to Chuasiriporn with Pak's ball practically inside hazard zone. Pak then took off her shoes and socks, went into the water and made a nice trouble shot to tie her opponent. Both went into sudden death play off, and Pak won in the first hole with a birdie. The picture of Seri Pak in the lake making an unbelievable comeback from tough situation was a huge encouragement for Koreans who were then suffering from economic meltdown under Asian Crisis, and is regarded as one of the best photo shots in Korean sports history. This was also the beginning of poor Korean men getting compared and judged, unfortunately.


Regards,
H.S.
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Trick Eye Museum Guide: Seoul’s Best 3D Museum in Hongdae

Mon, 2017-07-17 02:00
Trick Eye Museum Guide: Seoul’s Best 3D Museum in Hongdae Snap a selfie at Trick Eye Museum, the best 3D museum in Hongdae, Seoul!

Located at the popular district of HongdaeTrick Eye Museum is one of the most popular and unique attractions in Seoul where you can freely touch, take photos and interact with 3D artworks.

For those who are planning a visit to Trick Eye Museum during your trip to Seoul, you may want to visit Love Museum and Ice Museum as well since they are located inside the same building as Trick Eye Museum.

If you want to know what each museum offers, here’s your guide!

1. Trick Eye Museum

Inside Trick Eye Museum, you can find plenty of funny, creative and realistic 3D paintings and installations, which are 2D artworks that are made to look like 3D using an optical illusion.
Not only these paintings come alive right before your eyes, you can actually step inside them and take a pose and snap one-of-a-kind photos, which will definitely get you a ton of likes on your Instagram!Moreover, with Trick Eye Museum’s new Augmented Reality (AR) feature, some of the paintings come alive so much more! You can try this feature by downloading Trick Eye app and point your smartphone camera at a painting when you are at the AR Museum in Trick Eye Museum.Plus, you can also experience Virtual Reality (VR) at Trick Eye Museum’s VR Zone!

Click here for directions or Trick Eye Museum Discount Tickets.2. Love Museum

Love Museum is another unique attraction in Seoul dedicated to adults only and it is especially popular among couples looking for a unique dating spot!

It offers 3D art and paintings just like Trick Eye Museum, but it gives you a whole new experience as the museum features erotic and sexual themes.As you explore, you can take photos and interact with sexy and erotic, but humorous, paintings and sculptures (some of them are very explicit!).

Those who want to visit Trick Eye Museum and Love Museum in one day can get discount combo tickets here.

3. Ice Museum

If you are visiting with kids, you can opt for Ice Museum, which offers stunning ice sculptures on display all year round (best place to escape the heat during the summer!).

There’s also a gigantic ice slide for you and your little ones slip down, so don’t forget to try it!Now, if you want to see what it’s like to visit these unique museums in Seoul, check out the video taken by Trazy Crew’s dearest friend, Charly!

Looking for more fun things to do in Hongdae? Check out more:

For all the latest and trendiest things to do in Korea, check out Trazy.comKorea’s #1 Travel Shop, today!

 

 

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. 

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There will be No US Airstrike on N Korea; SK will Veto it

Sat, 2017-07-15 04:16
There will be No US Airstrike on N Korea; SK will Veto it


This is a local re-post of a piece I just wrote for the Lowy Institute. Mostly I wrote this as a response to all the cable news chatter we’ve been hearing all year about how the US should consider air-striking North Korea. I have been saying for awhile that we won’t do it and that US policy-makers should  stop bluffing something they’re never going to do.

There are lots of reasons why bombing North Korea is a terrible idea. But there’s one obvious reason we won’t do it, and that’s because South Korea will never approve. South Korea would bear the brunt of any Nork retaliation, and we can’t very very jeopardize hundreds of thousands of people without asking them first. And Moon Jae-In, the president of South Korea will never agree. He is well-established dove on North Korea supportive of engagement for 20 years now. He’s extremely unlikely to suddenly embrace a course he’s fought against almost his entire career, and certainly not for a belligerent, posturing buffoon like Donald Trump. So let’s all come back to reality and start thinking about what will work – missile defense, China, sanctions, perhaps negotiation. But bombing is ‘off the table’ for at least 5 years (the duration of Moon’s presidential term). That’s an easy prediction.

The full essay follows the jump.

 

 

Last week’s test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by North Korea raises the time-honored question of East Asian international relations: what to do with a neo-feudal, cold war-relic wildly out of touch with the modernizing ethos of the fast developers of this region? North Korea is a bizarre anomaly; Victor Cha has referred to it, correctly, as “the impossible state.” It is surrounded by business-like states with little interest in ideology, focused mostly on rapid development and economics, and concerned with traditional ‘national interest’ issues like territorial disputes, trade deals, and shifts in the balance of power. North Korea, by contrast, is a bizarre, and frightening, mish-mash of gangsterism, feudalism, and sun-king ideology.

It is grossly out of place in its modernizing region, and this wide variation from anything surrounding it, indeed from anything in the world, is much of the reason why we find it so hard to live with an emerging North Korean nuclear missile. Whenever I speak on North Korea to laymen, the adjective I hear most often in the Q&A is ‘weird.’ When cable news pundits discuss North Korea and possibility of bombing it, this too is the implicit reasoning: North Korea as a grotesque, un-understandable, terrifying place who simply cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons. Hence the growing debate over force.

Bombing Won’t Happen – because South Korea has a Veto

I have written about this elsewhere, but it is worth reiterating why a strike will not happen given all the cable news talk about how this ICBM launch is a game-changer.

The most important reason is not strategic but political. Any kinetic action by the United States against the North would risk substantial Northern retaliation. US allies in the region, South Korea and Japan, would likely be the targets of that. Yes, North Korea might launch against Alaska too now that they can range it with a missile. But Pyongyang could strike with far greater force and flexibility in the region. Its many missile tests into the Sea of Japan over the last year almost certainly intend to signal Japan that it too is in the firing line. But of course, it is South Korea which is most vulnerable.

Therefore, any US strike against the North would require, both politically and morally, the assent of the Japanese and especially South Korean governments. Politically, a strike without their assent would almost certainly terminate the alliance(s) immediately. South Korean and Japanese populations and cities would likely face devastating retaliation after a US strike. If they did not have the right to consent to the risk of that strike before running it, why would they stay in alliance with the US? Morally, because it would astonishingly callous for a democracy to risk hundreds of thousands of lives without even soliciting those people beforehand for their assent.

In short, even Donald Trump, for all his bluster, is not going to attack North Korea without South Korean and Japanese approval. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a conservative and a hawk on North Korea, might assent. But the new South Korean president, Moon Jae-In, is a liberal and a dove on North Korea. He wants outreach and engagement. He will never assent, and his five-year term has just begun. In short, there will be no US strike against North Korea in the next five years, because the South Koreans will not agree and the US is unwilling to abolish its alliance position in Northeast Asia.

There are other reasons, including the possibility of Chinese involvement spiraling into a Sino-US shooting war and North Korean use of human shields around bombing locations. But the South Korea veto alone is sufficient to stop this, and it is in place for at least the next five years.

 

We Learned to Live with Russian, Chinese, and Pakistani Nukes

If kinetic options are not, in fact, ‘on the table,’ what other choices do we have as the ‘impossible state’ progresses toward a nuclear missile that can strike the lower forty-eight states of the United States? In brief, adaption. The United States and the West learned to live with the nuclear missiles of unfriendly regimes in the past. Despite the hysteria of the Cuban Missile Crisis, we did adjust to the Soviet ability to strike the US homeland less than a decade later. When China developed that capability in the next decade, the United States did not provoke a repeat of Cuba. By then, US policy-makers had accepted that some level of nuclear proliferation was likely and that the costs – the constant risk of major war if Cuban-style crises were repeated – of trying to prevent others from nuclearizing were enormous.

Pakistan too developed nuclear weapons and despite all the regular panic about a South Asian nuclear war, it has not happened in the twenty years since India and Pakistan crossed that threshold. Nor has Pakistan handed off nuclear weapons to salafi terrorists, lost a nuclear weapon, accidentally launched a nuclear missile, suffered an Islamist nuclear coup, and so on. So we have adjusted to at least three non- or partially democratic states with nuclear weapons. This suggests we can learn to live with a North Korean nuclear missile too.

None of this is preferred of course; better none of these states had nuclear missiles. But Northern nuclearization is simply a reality at this point, as it is for these other states. North Korea has these weapons and the only option to compel rapid de-nuclearization – the use of force – is fraught with dangers and politically impossible anyway, because South Korea, the North’s most obvious counter-strike target, will never agree.

China, Sanctions, and Missile Defense

So what to do?

In the long run, if North Korea changes, it will likely be due to the slow leakage of foreign ways, particularly South Korean media, into the country. That should entail generational change and undercut the ‘weirdness’ that so much of the world finds so frightening. And in the short-term, there are no good options. The real debate, then, concerns medium-term approaches, specifically the debate between engagement and a tougher line. Assuming engagement does not work, as it has not in the past, the usual options re-assert themselves:

Sanctions: Sanctions are often unfairly condemned for not stopping the nuclear and missile programs, but that is not an appropriate counterfactual. The better question to ask is, where would these programs be without the sanctions effort? Also, sanctions and sanctions-relief give us a bargaining chip if the regime ever chooses to negotiate, just as they were in the Iranian denuclearization negotiations.

China: Whatever else we may say about Trump, his instincts on China and North Korea are correct. He did the right thing by trying to engage China on Pyongyang. China’s economic leverage over North Korea is enormous. The North’s trade and banking operations – licit and illicit – go through China. If China were to genuinely close the pipeline into North Korea, to strictly enforce the sanctions, North Korea would almost certainly enter a major economic crisis. We have little choice but to keep working with Beijing, as every president since the 1990s has realized.

Missile Defense: Sanctions and the China route have indeed been disappointing. We have little choice but to keep trying them, however we should consider what measures we the democracies can take unilaterally. The most obvious is missile defense. There is much complaining in South Korea and Japan that missile defense is too expensive. The time for this whining is over. North Korea is not going to stop building missiles; China is highly unlikely to coerce North Korea into that; and the US is even less likely to bomb North Korean missiles.

A ‘roof’ of layered missile defense, beginning with Patriot missile batteries around major sites and moving upward with Aegis cruisers and THAAD, is now an obvious choice. As defensive systems, they importantly signal no offensive intention. We can continue to look for smarter sanctions, Chinese assistance here and there, negotiations, and so on. But if there is any one thing last week’s emergence of North Korea as long-range missile power should tell us, it is that we need to ability to block those missiles. This is the future of deterrence, and perhaps conflict, with North Korea.


Filed under: Korea (North), Lowy Institute, Missiles/Missile Defense, Moon Jae In, Nuclear Weapons, United States

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University

@Robert_E_Kelly

 

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Seoraksan National Park Hiking: Best Trails & Attractions

Fri, 2017-07-14 10:03
Seoraksan National Park Hiking: Best Trails & Attractions

SEORAKSAN NATIONAL PARK HIKING: BEST TRAILS & ATTRACTIONSJuly 14, 2017Gangwon Province & Seoraksan National ParkTravel Crazy South KoreaTravel+Crazy: Korea Leave a commentEnjoy hiking in Seoraksan National Park, the best mountain in Korea!

Seoraksan National Park, also referred to as Seoraksan or Mount Sorak, offers stunning landscapes and gorgeous trails all year round, making it one of the best hiking destinations in Korea.

Located in Gangwondo Province in the eastern part of Korea, you can reach Seoraksan within 3 hours by car, which is close enough to make a day trip or weekend getaway from Seoul.

If you want to step back to nature and enjoy a hike or short walk, then Seoraksan National Park is a must-visit for you!

Hiking in Seoraksan National Park

You can visit and hike in Seoraksan National Park at almost any time of the year, but the landscape is particularly beautiful during winter.

In winter, you can enjoy hiking through the icy waterfalls, snow-capped mountains and trees, which is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience Seoraksan National Park has to offer.

If you don’t want to miss out on its winter splendor, make sure to plan ahead to make the most of your visit!

 Seoraksan National Park in Winter Tips for One-Day Hikers

1. Take a tour – In order to go to Seoraksan National Park, you must travel out of Seoul which can be very tricky. If you want to take the hassle out of organizing your trip, taking a tour is highly recommended.

Find the best Seoraksan National Park Tours here.

2. Pick up a free map from the National Park Visitor Centre  Know where you are going! But don’t worry about getting lost as all the signs showing you distances and directions are written in Korean and English.
3. Know your hiking ability – There are plenty of walks for all levels of hikers in the park, but make sure to hike according to your level.
4. Prepare hiking gear – Bring your own hiking gear. If you don’t have any, shoes, hats and hiking poles are readily available at the park. But do take note that they are for Korean sizes.

Top 5 Attractions in Seoraksan National Park1. Ulsanbawi Rock

One of the must-sees in Seoraksan National Park is Ulsanbawi Rock, a unique rock formation composed of six granite peaks, at an 876m high peak.

In order to reach Ulsanbawi, you will have to climb over 800 steps, which are relatively steep.

However, it is definitely worth the hike to the top as you can enjoy the panoramic views of Daecheongbong, Sokcho and the East Sea.

2. Gwongeumseong Fortress

For those who opt for an easy hike but wish to see on a mountaintop, going up to the Gwongeumseong Fortress is highly recommended.

Though you only can see some remains of this ancient fortress today, this is a great site where you can admire the breathtaking scenery of Seoraksan and its surrounding areas.

3. Seoraksan Cable Car

Seoraksan Cable Car is another popular attraction at Seoraksan National Park, which offers the fascinating views of the park during the ride!

Seoraksan Cable Car Info
| Operation Hours: 9:00am~18:00pm (departs every 10~15 minutes)
| Round-trip Ticket Price: Adult (14 yrs~): 10,000 KRW, Child (3~13 yrs): 6,000 KRW. Children under 36 months old are free.

|NOTE: Tickets can only be purchased onsite and they are given out on a first come first serve basis. The cable car may not operate on days with bad weather, and the waiting line can be long during the weekends.

4. Sinheungsa Temple

Sinheungsa Temple, built in the 7th century, is a head temple of the 1,200-year-old Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism,where you can admire the beautiful traditional Korean architecture and wall paintings.

The temple is only a 10-minute walk away from the entrance to Sogongwon Park, so make sure you drop by during your visit!

5. Bronze Buddha Statue

Near the Sinheungsa Temple stands a 14.6m-high (48ft) seated bronze Buddha statue called the Bronze Jwabul Statue.

The statue was built as a symbol of hope for the reunification of North and South Korea so it is also known to as the Great Unification Buddha or “Tongil Daebul”.

Seoraksan National Park Map with 5 Best Hiking Trails

Whether you are a beginner or an expert, Seoraksan National Park has a variety of trails to suit all levels of hikers.

Here we’ve picked five most popular trails in the park according to their levels of difficulty.

Check out our Seoraksan National Park Hiking Map below to find the hiking trail perfect for you!

Click to enlarge Seoraksan National Park Map

| NOTE: In this map, all the featured trails starts from Sogongwon Park, the entrance of Seoraksan National Park.

Sogongwon Park (Entrance)
1. Gwongeumseong Fortress CourseA Family-friendly Trail

Hiking with the entire family? This is the perfect trail for you!

This trail requires only a little bit of walking and includes a fun, exciting cable car ride to the top of Gwongeumseong Fortress where you will only have to take a short 10-minute walk before you witness the magnificent mountain landscapes.

Gwongeumseong Fortress Seoraksan Cable Car

| Route: Sogongwon Park (Entrance) ~ Gwongeumseong Fortress
| Level: Very Easy
| Distance/Duration: 3km round-trip (2.4km by cable car + 0.6km on foot); 40 minutes without waiting time

2. Biseondae Rock CourseA Brisk and Easy Trail

This trail is fairly easy but has stone steps with a slight incline along the way.

The trail offers glimpses of three great attractions in Seoraksan National Park, and they are Sinheungsa Temple, Bronze Jwabul Statue and Biseondae Rock, a flat-topped rock with letters written by ancient poets.

Singheungsa Temple
Bronze Buddha Statue
Biseondae Rock

| Route: Sogongwon Park (Entrance) ~ Biseondae Rock
| Level: Easy~Moderate
| Distance/Duration: 6km round-trip; 2.5 hours

3. Heundeulbawi Rock CourseA Breathtaking Fall Foliage Trail

Take this hiking trail if you want to capture Seoraksan’s absolutely gorgeous fall foliage in autumn!

Known as one of the best fall foliage destinations in Korea, Seoraksan National Park offers colorful leaves, which you can usually enjoy from mid-October until early November.

On this trail, you will see Shinheungsa Temple, Bronze Jwabul Statue and make a final stop at Heundeulbawi Rock, a famous spherical rock located on top of a larger rock, which you can try and push it for fun.

Spectacular fall foliage in Seoraksan National Park
Heundeulbawi Rock

| Route: Sogongwon Park (Entrance) ~ Heundeulbawi Rock
| Level: Easy~Intermediate
| Distance/Duration: 5.6km round-trip; 2 hours

4. Biryong Waterfall & Towangseong Falls Observatory CourseThe Best Waterfall Trail

This is a scenic trail that will take you to the beautiful water falls in Seoraksan National Park.

On this trail, you will see Yukdam Falls, a water fall made up of six small waterfalls and a deep pond, Biryong Waterfall, a waterfall which looks like dragons flying up towards the sky, and Towangseong Falls, a huge, three-tiered waterfall known as one of Asia’s tallest waterfalls and an observatory.

Take note that you will have to cross a 400m-long section of steep wooden steps, which stretches from Biryong Falls to Towangseong Falls Observatory.

Biryong WaterfallTowangseong Falls

| Route: Sogongwon Park (Entrance) ~ Towangseong Falls Observatory
| Level: Moderate~Intermediate
| Distance/Duration: 5.6km round-trip; 3 hours

5. Ulsanbawi Rock CourseA Challenging Yet Stunning Trail

While this is one of the most difficult hiking courses, it is also one of the best trails Seoraksan has to offer, rewarding hikers with magnificent views of the Seoraksan panorama with dramatic peaks and the East Sea.

Take note that the slope gets relatively steep and severe from Heundeulbawi Rock to Ulsanbawi Rock, and hikers must climb a steep steel staircase of over 800 steps to reach the top of Ulsanbawi Rock.

A staircase to the top of Ulsanbawi RockPanoramic view from the top of Ulsanbawi Rock

| Route: Sogongwon Park (Entrance) ~ Ulsanbawi Rock
| Level: Easy~Advanced
| Distance/Duration: 7.2km round-trip; 4 hours

Visiting Seoraksan National Park for the first time? Check out our travel guide:

For those who want to visit Seoraksan National Park and other nearby attractions in Gangwondo Province in one day, make sure to check out more of our Seoraksan Tours on Trazy.comKorea’s #1 Travel Shop!

Photo Credits
Ilweranta Biryong Waterfal via photopin (license)
Ilweranta Sinheungsa in Seoraksan National Park via photopin (license)
Ilweranta Bronze Buddha of Sinheungsa (Buddhist Temple) near the main entrance to Seoraksan National Park via photopin(license)
Ilweranta Sinheungsa in Seoraksan National Park via photopin (license)
Ilweranta Bridge via photopin (license)
Ilweranta Sinheungsa in Seoraksan National Park via photopin (license)
Fabian Matthias Hutter Seorak Mountain via photopin (license)
BaboMike Seorak Buddha via photopin (license)
BaboMike Seorak Snow Temple via photopin (license)
ejorpin Seoraksan National Park via photopin (license)
donuzz korea-seoul-sokcho-44 via photopin (license)
HopeLand 넙뜩이들 설악산 나들이 via photopin (license)
HopeLand 넙뜩이들 설악산 나들이 via photopin (license)
ejorpin Seoraksan National Park via photopin (license)
rbitting _MG_2583.jpg via photopin (license)
randomwire Don’t Look Down via photopin (license)
jbeaulieu Co-Sokcho-Seoraksan-Montagne (13) via photopin (license)
Seoraksan Cable Car Official Website

 

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