Category Archives: South Korea

To Dream of Pigs: Travels in South and North Korea

[hang1column element=”div” width=”122″][/hang1column] [Book Review] Suggested by a reader and a personal favorite, the, somewhat-dated, book is an often funny, always vivid portrayal of a British writer’s adventures in South and North Korea. Anyone looking for a new place to visit in the South is especially urged to read the book’s section on Ulleungdo (Ulleung Island), one of the South’s more unique destinations. As one of the few Korea travelogues that includes travel in North Korea, that section is also particularly interesting.
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Korea and Her Neighbours: A Narrative of Travel, with an Account of the Recent Vicissitudes and Present Position of the Country

[hang1column element=”div” width=”122″][/hang1column] [Book Review] Though rare, this is one of the best travel narratives on Korea, both for the picture it paints of the country at a rough time in Korea’s history and for propelling the reader back into a very different, Euro-centric cultural milieu. The personal account of an upperclass British woman journeying through turn-of-the-19th-century Korea, the book details her meetings with the King and Queen, as well as her travels throughout the country. A perfect companion even for a trip in current Korea. The author, Isabella L. Bird, also wrote several other travel books about her time in Tibet, China, North America, and Persia. Click the link for more info from Amazon.
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June’s Local SK Elections – Influenced by the North?

Hmm, combine this story about Twitter and similar Internet services influencing the results of Wednesday’s (2 June) election in South Korea with this one on North Korean hackers stealing the IDs of South Korean citizens in order to make postings on South Korean websites and you can make a very interesting case about North Korea attempting to use modern information warfare techniques to influence popular opinion and elections in the South. My question – why isn’t the South, or even the U.S., trying to do something similar?
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Time for a New Tool

Every time North Korea pops into the headlines, whether for testing nukes, starving its people, or killing South Korean sailors, the media is filled with articles demanding something be done, this time … and then, further along in the story, lamenting the lack of decent policy options. After dismissing the old standbys  – diplomatic remonstrations, tighter economic sanctions, and, for those trying to be particularly tough (while hiding safely inside a beltway think tank), military strikes, most articles settle for the now common refrain, If only China would

If only China would what? Step up and handle a problem South Korea, Japan and the U.S. have been complaining about for decades? People have been expounding that nonsense since the Clinton administration. How’s it worked so far? Still holding your breath, thinking this time it’s going to be different?

No, instead of begging China for help, it’s time for some fresh ideas. Having written a fair amount on the North, here are my two cents.

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Motorcycle Ambulances

It seems the good people at Seoul city hall have finally discovered there is a bit of a traffic problem. A problem, wonder of wonders, that makes it difficult for ambulances to get to people quickly. So, starting in April, the city is conducting a 6-month experiment [opens in new window, in Korean] using specially-equipped motorcycles driven by emergency first responders to reach people (e.g. heart attack victims) in need of a fast response. If you see one, let me know. Or better yet, take a pic and post it somewhere so I can link to it.
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  • Chronicler of Islamic State 'killing machine' goes public https://t.co/BtwUPTxkXn - posted on 08/12/2017

  • #NorthKorea joins US in increasing focus on coal; NK remains nominally in support of Paris climate accord. https://t.co/IJeABeMGzy - posted on 05/12/2017

  • Interesting use of data and visualization tools by the AP: The message in Pyongyang's propaganda https://t.co/qYy9JUUqrt - posted on 04/12/2017

  • 'Despite committing 100s of 1000s of men from the Iraqi army, special forces, and militias to fight ISIS offline, t… https://t.co/241O1VxAHZ - posted on 25/11/2017

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