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A Korean Deal Based on Flattering Trump as a Useful Idiot will Not Hold

Koreabridge - Fri, 2018-10-12 19:02
A Deal Based on Flattering Trump as a Useful Idiot will Not Hold


This is a local re-post of a piece I wrote for the Lowy Institute a few weeks ago.

Basically I wrote this in disgust at how Trump is falling all over himself about Kim Jong Un. I do not oppose a deal with North Korea, as my critics keep saying. Rather, I deeply distrust Trump’s motives. He isn’t doing this for peace in Korea or because he cares about the US position in Asia or the well-being of people out here. In fact, he’s not even doing it for the American national interest. He’s doing it because the leaders of North and South Korea are flattering him.

It’s appalling that Trump can’t see this. He hasn’t gotten anything serious out of North Korea, but apparently he loves Kim Jong Un, probably because Kim called him ‘Your Excellency’ in one of his letters. And Moon is playing Trump so badly – Nobel Peace Prize! – it’s embarrassing. Last year Trump was a jerk and called Moon an appeaser of NK. So this year, Moon is the tail wagging the dog. Moon has figured out that he can go around the hawkish US natsec bureaucracy, which distrusts him, and go straight to Trump. Flatter Trump enough, and he’ll agree to anything.

It’s gross, and it won’t hold anyway, because Trump is fickle and stroking his ego is not the same as building institutional support in the US for a deal.

The essay follows the jump:



In the last six months, US President Donald Trump has “fallen in love” with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He has also been persuaded that Kim respects him, likely because he called him ‘your excellency’ in his “beautiful letters.” South Korean President Moon Jae-In has claimed Trump is the “only one who can fix the Korean peninsula.” He and his foreign minister, Kang Jung-Wha, also suggested that Trump win a Nobel Prize for bringing peace to Korea.

Good grief.

None of this is true. Of course it is not. Everyone knows this, including Trump’s own staff, as the many leaks and books about this White House attest. It is painfully obvious to any serious observer that Trump no idea what he is doing on North Korea (or most policy issues). Had any other US political figure said he was ‘in love’ with the dictator of North Korea, he would have been laughed out of politics or seen as a creepy apologist for the world’s worst tyrant.

That Trump was given a pass on this remark – as he is on so many of his unhinged comment – tells you all you need to know: no one takes him seriously, he does not understand the issues, and he does not care to try. Not only is Trump frequently irresponsible and idiotic, he does not care that he is, has no interest in improving this problem, nor cares that we all know that he is unhinged. It is almost as if Trump is performing the presidency as a joke or reality TV show rather actually doing the job: who says they ‘love’ North Korea? Trump had to know that was preposterously foolish, yet he said it anyway, because he just does not care.

None of this is particularly new of course. It was obvious three years ago that Trump knew almost nothing about policy. Regarding North Korea, Trump has swung from unhinged war threats to mawkishly self-congratulatory peace-making in just a few months, because he has not even tried to grasp the issues. He just wants the attention that comes from outlandish statements – ‘fire and fury’ – and actions – the Singapore summit. His speeches and commentary on North Korea almost never reference actual issues in the negotiations – missile counts, fissile materials stockpiles, and so on. Instead, he belabors his supposedly great personal relationship with Kim.

Tellingly, Trump has never given a programmatic speech on US goals in negotiating with North Korea, or what sort of mixed deal – troop withdrawals for nuclear weapons, missile defense for missiles, sanctions relief for human rights, and so – the US might consider. The closest Trump came was his insistence early this year on complete, verifiable, irreversible disarmament (CVID) – but that was always a gimmick. No expert ever thought the North would simply unilaterally disarm because of US browbeating. Beyond all-or-nothing, silver bullet approaches like CVID or war, Trump has laid out no framework, no groundwork for a half-loaf, mixed-bag compromise, which is almost certainly what the actual negotiating outcome will be if there is one.

Trump’s gross ignorance, disdain for US allies, and love of flattery have, in turn, created a bizarre window of opportunity for the leaders of the two Koreas. Unlike Trump who cannot be bothered to read, Moon and Kim have almost certainly studied up on Trump’s character. Indeed, given Trump’s endless self-congratulation in his speeches and his obvious love of media attention, it is not hard to see that he is a deeply insecure arriviste desperate for affirmation. World leaders increasingly play on this vulnerability.

In 2017, Moon and Kim did not quite see how easy Trump would be to manipulate. Where Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe picked up rather quickly on Trump’s gullibility – giving him a ‘make alliance great again’ baseball hat and a golden golf club – Moon and Kim both treated Trump as a normal US president. Kim and Trump fell into a war of words, while Moon seemed unable to figure out how to respond to a president determined to crassly read the US alliance as a protection racket.

By 2018, the two Korean leaders came around. Moon started jetting off to Washington more often to pay court to Trump, because Trump loves to insist the foreign leaders solicit him, not vice versa. Moon’s envoys pitched the Singapore summit with Kim Jong Un directly to the president, rather than going through US national security bureaucracy which almost certainly would have tried to stop it. Then Moon and his foreign minister started floating the preposterous idea that Trump should win a Nobel. Here in South Korea, it was an open secret that the Nobel was, and still is, a gimmick to flatter Trump. That Trump could not see that suggests just how immature he is. Kim Jong Un got in the act with fawning letters this summer. One can only imagine how Trump swooned when he read being called ‘your excellency.’ Call all this the ‘Compliment Trump’ Doctrine.

The dangers here are obvious:

Trump is extraordinarily fickle. Kim and Moon better be ready to debase themselves for awhile. Will their nationalist populations tolerate that? How long can this last?

Trump abjures contract when it suits him. As a businessman, Trump was notorious for not paying his bills and violating agreements. If an inter-Korean deal becomes a liability for Trump in the future, he will dump it immediately.

Everything hinges on Trump. Moon has not won over the US national security bureaucracy regarding North Korea, instead placing all his bets on Trump. But Trump is gone in six years at most, possibly two. And indeed, after this year’s midterm elections in just six weeks, Trump’s attention to Korea will likely fade entirely. The Democrats will do well in the Congress, likely taking one or both houses, after which will come a wave of investigations and possibly an impeachment effort, depending how just how bad the rot is. Korea drop off Trump’s radar, and the South Koreans will be stuck dealing with the State and Defense Departments again, which are far more sanguine about negotiating with North Korea.

The US national security community can see Kim and, more importantly, Moon manipulating the president. This is my biggest fear. Trump is a preposterous, accidental president; playing him as a useful idiot may capture gains for Moon in the next year or so, but there will be scars left behind. The US North Korea community and South Korean left already have poor relations. The former distrusts the latter’s willingness to concede to North Korea, while the latter finds the former intrusive into Korean affairs which are not its business. The left cannot dump these US hawks though, because the US alliance is hugely popular here. And the US natsec community will remember how Moon played on Trump’s vanity to go around it. This will make it that much harder for the US alliance under liberal South Korean governments in the future. Moon’s spinning of Trump will leave a bad taste with many of South Korea’s allies who can see what he is doing and know it is manipulation of a fool. He should stop.

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



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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Complimentary Tickets to SNAP: Available to Foreign Residents in Korea

Koreabridge - Thu, 2018-10-11 09:16

[ “SNAP” on Broadway ]

Busan OneAsia Festival & Non-verbal show “SNAP”

Special Invitation Event for Foreign Residents in Korea

150 Complimentary Tickets available. 

To request tickets, send an email to theshowsnap@naver.com
with your name, nationality and contact information. 
Email rquests must be received by October 17. 
Winners of tickets will be randomly selected and will be notificed October 18. 

Date: 23th.Oct. ~ 26th.Oct. (19:30)

Venue: Busan Cinema Center (Haneulyeon Theater)

For more information on 'SNAP, Please click the link down here.


SNAP INVITATION.jpg 2018 SNAP 포스터.jpg Complimentary Tickets to SNAP: Available to Foreign Residents in Korea
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Ordering Food In A Korean Restaurant

Koreabridge - Tue, 2018-10-09 00:00
Ordering Food In A Korean Restaurant

Hurray! You have finally made it to South Korea, and are totally excited to get your trip – or new life – going. On top of all the dozens and dozens of sights to see that you have on your list, the list of foods to try is an even longer one. Your stomach will growl with hunger and desire every time you think about all the delicious Korean food that will soon feed it.

But, wait! Now you find yourself getting a little nervous. It’s your first time in the country, you hardly speak the language, and it has just crossed your mind you’re not sure of the local restaurant etiquette, either. How exactly does one order food in a Korean restaurant? And more importantly: how exactly does one do the food ordering in Korean?! Keep reading and, right here, right now, you will learn exactly how!


Can't read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!


Invaluable phrases for ordering in a Korean at a restaurant.

메뉴 좀 주세요 (menyu jom juseyo) = Please give me the menu.

메뉴판 좀 주세요 (menyuphan jom juseyo) = Please give me the menu.

Usually the menu is visible on the wall of the restaurant, or it’s waiting for you at the table already. On other occasions, the staff will bring you the menu as they begin set the table. However, if for some reason the menu isn’t there, or you want to order more, you’ll have to ask for the menu. The first asks for the menu and the second asks for the menu board, which you’ll encounter much more often. The only difference is that 메뉴판 refers to the physical menu.


저기요 (jeogiyo) / 여기요 (yeogiyo) = Hey, over there!/Hey, over here!

When you are ready to order and there is no service button at the table, you may shout for the attention of the waiter with either of these words. Don’t worry, it’s very common and not impolite. Korean restaurants can be quite loud so you’ll need to say it loudly.


주문하시겠어요 (jumunhashigesseoyo) = I will order now.

You can add this after the above phrase to express what you want to do.


주문하시겠어요? (jumunhashigesseoyo?) = May I take your order?

Not a phrase you would say, but an important phrase to know when it’s said to you.


이거 주세요 (igeo juseyo) = This, please.

You can just point at the name or the picture of the menu item you wish to order and say this phrase. The 이거 part can also easily be replaced with the name of the dish.


삼겹살 일인분 주세요 (samgyeopsal irinbun juseyo) = Please give me one serving of samgyeopsal.

닭갈비 이인분 주세요 (dakgalbi iinbun juseyo) = Please give me two servings of dakgalbi.

When ordering certain foods, you may wish to order them by servings rather than as separate dishes. These foods are typically ones that are shared amongst two or more people in one big dish at the center of the table, such as Korean BBQ or dakgalbi. 인분 (inbun) is the word for serving, and in front of the word just add the number of servings you are ordering.


이게 뭐예요? (ige mwoyeyo?) = What is this?

여기 뭐가 들어가 있어요? (yeogi mwoga deureoga isseoyo?) = What is in this?

If there is an item on the menu that looks interesting to you but you aren’t sure of what it is, you can ask these questions. The latter is especially good for bars and cafes as well since the names of the drinks don’t always tell you about the contents.


오늘 추천 메뉴는 뭐예요? (oneul chucheon menyuneun mwoyeyo?) = What is today’s recommended menu?

어떤것을 추천하세요? (eoddeongeoseul chucheonhaseyo?) = What would you recommend?

여기 뭐가 맛있어요? (yeogi mwoga masisseoyo?) = What is delicious here?

A lot of Korean restaurants specialize in just one type of dish, but there are also many restaurants all around South Korea serving local and foreign dishes. With so many items on the menu, you’ll find your head spinning. At times like these, don’t hesitate to ask the waiters for what they think the best item on the menu is! They work at the place, after all, so they probably know what’s good there. Or at least what the most popular thing is. 


이거 좀 더 주세요! (igeo jom deo juseyo!) = Please give me some more of this!

Most restaurants offer a range of side dishes to indulge in with your main meal, and it is entirely possible and free for you to request a refill of the side plates.


물 좀 주세요 (mul jom juseyo) = Please bring me some water.

Much like the menu, you’re usually brought a bottle of water as you sit down at the restaurant. However, if you run out of the water, you’ll specifically have to request more. Alternatively, at some restaurants such as fried chicken restaurants, it is expected that the patrons order beer or soft drinks off the menu. So you may have to ask for the water separately. Don’t worry though – you’ll never get charged for water at restaurants, no matter how much you drink! ^^


Invaluable phrases to indicate dietary requirements.

전 채식주의자에요 (jeon chaeshikjuijaeyo) = I’m a vegetarian

채식메뉴 있으세요? (chaeshikmenyu isseuseyo?) = Do you have a vegetarian menu?

A majority of Koreans are meat eaters and vegetarians aren’t often readily catered to. So it’s important to check with the restaurant staff before sitting down whether there are items on the menu that you can eat.


저는 돼지고기를 못 먹어요 (jeon dwaejigogireul mot meokeoyo) = I can’t eat pork

돼지고기 없는 메뉴 있으세요? (dwaejigogi eobneun menyu isseuseyo?) = Do you have any dishes without pork?

Pork also happens to be the staple meat for the daily diet of Koreans, so you will definitely want to check with the waiters about pork-free dishes to eat. Don’t worry, there’s usually other things, at least beef and chicken anyway.


What about paying?

Typically, in Korea you do not ask for the bill separately. Instead, you go directly to the counter and pay after finishing your meal on your way out.

Additionally, it is customary in Korea, especially at pubs, for one person to pay the entire bill. So if you’re not the one paying for the food, you may wish to return the favor by paying for the dessert at a nearby cafe. Don’t worry though, “going Dutch” is very common these days so the staff can split the bill for you without issue. Many places can even split bills on multiple credit cards.


제가 낼게요. (jega naelgeyo.) = I’ll pay.

내가 낼게. (naega naelge.) = I’ll pay.

This is what you’ll say if you want to treat the other person or people in your group for the meal, or even the round of beers.

Sometimes, especially when out with your non-Korean friends or peers, you will still want to pay separately or “go Dutch.” In this case, here is what you can say to the cashier:

반반해 주세요. (banbanhae juseyo.) = Please halve the bill.

계산서를 따로따로 할게요. (gyesanseoreul ddaroddaro halgeyo.) = We’ll pay separately.

계산서 나누어 줄 수 있으세요? (gyesanseo nanueo jul su isseuseyo?) = Can you split the bill?


And now you are completely ready for your first adventure of ordering in Korean in a local restaurant! Now go out and enjoy all the amazing food Korea has to offer! Need ideas for places you could try out? Check out our list of essential restaurants to try in Korea.


Photo credit: BigStockPhoto

The post Ordering Food In A Korean Restaurant appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

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LTW: Revised FTA with the U.S.

Koreabridge - Mon, 2018-10-01 13:46
LTW: Revised FTA with the U.S. Pretty hectic two months in Korean peninsula. A few hundred separated families in S.Korea and N.Korea had a three day reunion in August while South Korean president Moon Jae-in took part time job to deliver N.Korean leader Kim Jong-un's love letter to Donald Trump after his car parade with Kim in Pyongyang in mid September. In a meeting with Donald Trump in New York on Sep 24, President Moon also signed a revised Free Trade Agreement in which the U.S. will extend 20 more years to impose 25% tax on Korean trucks until 2041, virtually barring Hyundai's entry into U.S. pick-up truck market, and US car makers can double their sales in Korea from 25K to 50K a year per manufacturer. It was a revision lopsided in favor of the U.S. in general. " The new agreement includes significant improvements to reduce our trade deficit and to expand opportunities to export American products to South Korea," said Donal Trump. Moon Jae-in responded by saying "With the swift conclusion of the revision, uncertainty surrounding our FTA has been eliminated." South Koreans have been worried the unpredictable Trump may scrap the whole FTA with South Korea. The U.S. is S.Korea's 2nd largest export market with 12.5% share, followed by China's 25%.

It is a good thing that Pres. Moon signed the revised deal, but a bit irony that Moon was an active opponent of FTA with the U.S. when original pact went effect six years ago in 2012. Moon was at the center of his opposition party that had waged massive protests in the streets in Seoul while his crazy fellow lawmaker detonated a tear gas canister at the National Assembly to thwart the voting process on the FTA bill, claiming the Korea-US FTA is a monster that will ultimately kill Korean economy. Uhm... "If you flirt with a woman, you are in sinful adultery. If I do, I am in beautiful romance. "
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What is your view of the #MeToo Movement?

Koreabridge - Fri, 2018-09-28 15:25
Favorable and will result in significant change in the foreseeable future Favorable but change will be slow Don't Know/Don't Care Unfavorable but it will soon pass Unfavorable and it's a sign of what's wrong with the world today What is your view of the #MeToo Movement?
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Day 1 at Colorful Daegu: National Museum, Apsan Park & Suseong Lake

Koreabridge - Wed, 2018-09-26 23:41
Day 1 at Colorful Daegu: National Museum, Apsan Park & Suseong Lake

Hello everyone! Hope you guys are having a wonderful week and people living in South Korea, hope you had a great Chuseok vacation! This year during Chuseok, my husband and I decided to go to Daegu, a city that is really close to Busan. We stayed there for two days and one night. For today I will write about day 1, and I promise day 2 is coming soon!

So in day 1, we went to Daegu National Museum first. It is a brick built two storied building. According to wikipedia it was first opened in 1994. There are different halls in the museum, however it has three main halls, the ancient culture hall, the medieval culture hall & clothing culture hall. The museum is quite big so make sure you have enough time in your hand.

Next we went to Apsan Park. Apsan park is one of the largest urban eco park in daegu covering a huge area. This park contains numerous walking trails, war memorial hall of Nakdonggang river and different temples and monuments. However the main attraction is the cable car that goes up to 790 meter high.

A little drawback of roaming around during chuseok is most of the restaurants are closed during the time, as it’s a national holiday. Those which were open, were only allowing takeout. For chain restaurants-bakeries not all outlets were open. We had to walk a long distance to get us a pizza.

We went to Suseong lake at night. There is a musical fountain show for 30 minutes during May to October at 8 and 9 pm. The show was just magical!

For more details please check my travel vlog here: https://youtu.be/xmpJHWM17X8

Actually my WordPress account is already full of different media files as it has a limited capacity. So it feels like a travel vlog is better. Although I am thinking about getting a premium account but I am not sure about if I will be able to continue after buying one as my PhD life is getting really busy.

Hope you enjoyed the post!

-Munira Chowdhury, 27/09/2018

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/diaryofabrowngirl/
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Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC42htyRusICRqHzq_1gCpzQ
Twitter: https://twitter.com/B_D_B_G

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Quitting your job in Korea (A little known loophole with your E-2 visa)

Koreabridge - Tue, 2018-09-18 02:34
Quitting your job in Korea (A little known loophole with your E-2 visa

I am not advising that you do this and this is not for everyone, but I am just telling it like it is. If you are considering quitting your job or if you have been fired from your job teaching English in Korea then you have a few options.

If you are trying to quit your job and would like to transfer to another job then you will probably need a letter of release from your employer.

But I am not going to go into that with this post. You can read more about that here.

In this post I am just going to tell you about the loophole. 

Here it is.

You can actually quit your job and remain in the country on your E-2 visa. I did this when I was fired from a public school in Korea. I was fired after the first semester and stayed in Korea another 4 months or so on an E-2 visa.

The visa will remain active until it expires on the date that's in your passport. You can't legally work at another school with this visa, however if you have other means of making money or just want to hang around or travel throughout Asia or whatever you can.

If I remember correctly your employer can't cancel it without you. In fact when this happened I called immigration and explained my situation and they said the school can't cancel it.

You can cancel it though by handing in your ARC when you leave the country. If you want to get a new job legally teaching in Korea and start all over then you would have to leave the country on a visa run and complete all of your paperwork again.

Again I am not advising this, but you could also get a part time job or work under the table at another school temporarily. If you are a very conscientious person then that is not for you. 

According to Jordan Peterson's Big 5 test I am not a very conscientious person which means I don't necessarily follow the rules. If you object to this then that means you are a more conscientious person.

From my point of view I look at it like who are you harming by teaching under the table? But the immigration staff is very conscientious and you could get kicked out of Korea or maybe fined for teaching illegally.


If you want some more time or you need to make some more money before you go then you could get another job.

Of course if you are fired or quit your job then you will probably have to arrange your housing as most housing is included with the contract. I didn't have to arrange new housing. I stayed in the same housing, but had to start paying rent which was like 350,000 Won or so a month.

Anyways that's the deal if you are fired or quit you can stay in Korea on the E-2 visa until it expires. This probably isn't something you would plan on doing, but if you find yourself in this situation then well you have some options now that you probably didn't know.

 ESLinsiderThings You Probably Didn't Know About Teaching English In Asia, But Should Know

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Po Tid: Harry Potter Themed Cafe in Busan

Koreabridge - Mon, 2018-09-17 01:48
Po Tid: Harry Potter Themed Cafe in Busan

Hello everyone, I hope you had a wonderful weekend! I think you can understand what will be the content of my blog today reading the title! But I have a surprise for you and that is, I made a whole video about my experience of visiting this wonderful cafe! This is a must visit place in Busan for Harry Potter fans. Although I heard during the weekend the place is super crowded, but we were really lucky and managed us a table. Check my full vlog for details!

-Munira Chowdhury, 17/09/2018

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What Do Koreans Think of Foreigners Who Speak Korean?

Koreabridge - Fri, 2018-09-14 17:57
What Do Koreans Think of Foreigners Who Speak Korean?

You're studying Korean, right? What do Koreans think about you? I wanted to ask them how Koreans feel when they hear you're trying to learn their language - whether you can speak it or not.

I filmed a series of interviews this summer in Korea, and asked several questions to people. I've since been compiling them into separate videos, and there are about 2 more left for this series. Next year I'll go again and film some more. Speaking of which, is there somewhere you'd like me to go to film my next series of interviews? I've done the past 2 at 광화문 (that's why everyone's wearing 한복s), and I've done one in 홍대.

Enjoy the video!

The post What Do Koreans Think of Foreigners Who Speak Korean? appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.





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Korea TESOL International Conference

Koreabridge - Fri, 2018-09-14 12:34
KOTESOL International Conference

Oct 13-14 2018

Seoul (Sookmyung University)


Pre-registration for attendees will run through Sept. 30, 2018


 Major Conference Speakers Plenary Speakers

Stephen Krashen ㅡ University of Southern California (emeritus), applied linguist.
Scott Thornbury ㅡ ELT author, academic, teacher trainer.

Featured Speakers

Jill Hadfield ㅡ Unitec Institute of Technology, ELT author, academic, teacher trainer.
Yilin Sun ㅡ Seattle Colleges
Ki Hun Kim ㅡ MegaStudyEdu
Steven Herder ㅡ Kyoto Notre Dame University
Jill Murray ㅡ Macquarie University
Jennifer Book ㅡ IATEFL TTEd SIG

Featured Panel

Boyoung Lee / Kyungsook Yeum / Joo-Kyung Park



The Korea TESOL International Conference

The Korea TESOL International Conference is the place to go to meet new people, learn new things and to become re-inspired as a teacher. The annual two-day conference will be held at Sookmyung Women’s University on October 13-14, 2018. All English language teachers are invited to attend. 

The theme of this year’s conference is “Focus on Fluency.” The conference chair, Kathleen Kelley, hopes that she and other attendees will gain a better understanding of how to promote English language fluency in the classrooms. 

The conference will feature an impressive line-up of invited speakers. With plenary sessions from the Steven Krashen, a world-renowned applied linguist, and author; and Scott Thornbury, English language teaching authority, author of An A to Z of ELT, and the popular blog of the same name. Other notable speakers include Jill Hadfield, well known for her books of classroom activities; and Kim Ki Hun, one of Korea’s millionaire English teachers, once featured on CNN.

In addition to the invited sessions, there will also be close to 200 concurrent sessions by passionate teachers and researchers on a wide array of topics related to teaching English in Korea, many coming from other countries to present. There will be strands for teachers of all age groups from young learners through adults. There will even be a “101” strand for new teachers, or experienced teachers who want to get back to the basics. 

To take a break from the sessions, sit on the patio and chat with other teachers, or visit the partner displays to check out the latest ELT books and textbooks, and browse for a degree program.

Attendees may register at the venue on conference weekend, but to save time and money, pre-registering is recommended. Pre-registration is open through September 30, and those who pre-register will save an average of 10,000 won. Please see the chart below for pricing, and visit koreatesol.org/ic2018 to pre-register or learn more about the conference and its invited speakers. 

Registration fees

Registration Type 


Aug. 1-Sept. 30

Onsite Registration

(2-day pass) Oct. 13

  Onsite (Sunday Only)

  Oct. 14


50,000 won

60,000 won

  30,000 won


75,000 won 

85,000 won 

  40,000 won

Groups (5+ people) 

65,000 won 



Undergraduate Students 

25,000 won 

35,000 won

  15,000 won


Korea TESOL International Conference
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‘Don’t forget your chopsticks’ (Global Living Magazine)

Koreabridge - Tue, 2018-09-04 07:08
‘Don’t forget your chopsticks’ (Global Living Magazine)

Thanks to Alison Cavatore at Global Living Magazine for publishing this piece on her worldwide expat resource site. In the article, I share my (two!) experiences of having surgery in South Korean hospitals. Enjoy!

Don’t forget your chopsticks

An American expat goes under the knife in South Korea, after backing out eight years ago

By John Dunphy

The distance between one’s gallbladder and their right knee is not very far from a big picture perspective. But, the circumstances that brought me to a South Korean surgeon’s table in 2018 are perhaps wider than the years between it and my first attempt at going under the knife eight years ago in The Land of Morning Calm.

While both are typically laparoscopic procedures—gallbladder removal and meniscectomy, the procedure where a surgeon removes a torn portion of the horseshoe-shaped meniscus supporting the knee—are considered minimally invasive, any amount of “invasion” can be a harrowing experience. The anxiety only builds when such procedures are conducted in a foreign country, complete with their own sets of unforeseen cultural standards, a whole other suite of written and unwritten rules.

It was one of these unforeseen cultural standards that diverted my path in 2010 toward returning home to the United States early, instead of being cut completely open.

It’s also an important piece of information for anyone else who expects to stay overnight in a Korean hospital: Bring your own chopsticks. Or, forks, if chopsticks just aren’t your thing.

I did not know this when, on a chilly late March afternoon nearly a decade ago, I was admitted to Bumin Hospital in Busan for gallbladder surgery. But, not the laparoscopic procedure I would eventually have back in my home state of New Jersey. The old school kind. The kind that cuts you open.

I sat on my hospital bed in a room filled with Korean patients and me, the lone foreigner in the whole Korean world it felt like at the time. The translator spoke with the nurse amid blood being drawn, papers being signed and a television program being viewed at an uncomfortably-loud volume. In it, it appeared a shaman of some kind was circling a woman who kept moaning and shouting, as if an exorcism was taking place. The urge for my own soul to leave my body for a few weeks while all this was going on was rising fast.

Finally, the translator turned to me and spoke in English.

“Where are your chopsticks,” she asked.

It seemed like such a strange question that I thought I must have misheard her, or there had been some error in translation. But, no. I needed to provide my own cutlery, my own towels, my own water bottle (thankfully, the hospital provides the water). It was at that time as foreign an idea that I could imagine. It also gave me the opportunity to think twice.

My mind was made up as soon as I told the translator I could walk back to my apartment to collect the requested items: I was not getting surgery in South Korea. I was not even staying in South Korea. I was going home. A month later, as a fresh gallbladder attack doubled me over in the small hours, my father drove me to the local hospital in my suburban New Jersey neighborhood. Two days later, I had laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, which carried with it its own set of problems that resulted in a longer-than-usual procedure and subsequent recovery.

But, at least I had family and friends to help me, listen to me whine and take care of me. For that alone, I hope I could be forgiven my decision to back out of gallbladder surgery in South Korea in 2010. I lacked a strong social network, having arrived less than two months before. I had a thin grasp on reading the Korean language, and almost no idea how to speak it. I was adrift in a system where it remains standard procedure for the majority of basic necessities—such as helping with feeding, changing undergarments, wiping a prone patient’s backside—to be done by a family member. That family member, by the way, typically stays with the patient the entire time (which is typically significantly longer than any American hospital I have known) sleeping on a cot pulled out from under the patient’s bed. I knew then, and still know, that I made the right decision.

My Korean world was far different when I had meniscus surgery at Haeundae Paik Hospital in July. I returned to Busan in February 2013 and spent the next several years as first an English teacher, then the foreign editor for the city’s official English newspaper. I host a pair of weekly radio segments on the city’s English radio station, have performed in several theater productions, traveled around the country and several other countries. I learned more of the language (though, I hardly deserve the boilerplate “you speak Korean very well!” I get from some folks when I even just say “thank you” in the native tongue). I met a wonderful, beautiful woman, another expat who has called Busan home since around the time I decided gallbladder surgery here might not be the best idea. I have the support system in 2018 that was nonexistent for me in 2010, the support system that is essential for anyone about to have any surgical procedure done, especially in a foreign country. That is probably, for me, the most important part to have lined up before going under the knife in South Korea.

It’s also important to leave one’s idea of standard operating procedure in their own country at the door. In South Korea, I was originally told my meniscus surgery would include a five-to-seven day hospital stay, for a procedure that is usually outpatient in the United States. Is one better than the other? I think the sweet spot is somewhere between, which is why I was grateful to have a doctor who was flexible with this. I ended up staying in the hospital only two nights.

While it’s important for patients to be flexible with their ideas of what a proper hospital experience entails, it’s equally important to be an active member of the process. Some larger hospitals have full time translators on staff, many won’t. Whether you have a hospital translator, a Korean-speaking friend or an outside translator on hire, ask questions. Ask enough questions that you need to in order to be as knowledgeable as you would be in your native language. If something seems confusing or does not make sense, it might just be a cultural difference. Or, not. Ask questions.

The proof is in the final product. Weeks after having the surgery, my stitches long since removed, I can truthfully say I am glad to have had the procedure. Not only am I walking with considerably less pain (which is getting lesser by the day), I did not have to take out a second mortgage to have the procedure done. Indeed, my surgery, hospital stay and subsequent take home medicines cost me about as much (520,000 won, or about $460) as the MRI at another hospital that was the deciding factor in having the procedure (about 500,000 won). All of this from South Korea’s National Insurance.

Ultimately, surgery for an expat in South Korea will be a personal decision. It will also be a decision that hopefully is not made in urgency but with careful planning and consideration. For me, it was an experience that was beneficial and relatively pain-free (considering the circumstances, of course), provided I made sure I was flexible, patient and remembered that the world is a very big place.

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.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Koreabridge Typhoon Center - Soulik Cometh!

Koreabridge - Tue, 2018-08-21 01:48



Latest Satellite Image  *  Latest Storm Track
Korean Meteorological Administration
Typhoon Safety Guide
Past Typhoons: Sanba   Bolaven  Photos

Hourly Local Forecasts

Typhoon Soulik  Updates

From Axios

  • Soulik is forecast to maintain its intensity through its close encounter with the Rykyu Islands, where it could deliver a punishing combination of strong winds, heavy rains, and storm surge flooding to Kagoshima Prefecture. It is then forecast to weaken to a Category 2 storm as it nears its second landfall in southwest South Korea.
  • By August 23, the storm should be delivering a windswept rainstorm to Seoul.+
  • Typhoon Soulik has an unusually large eye that is 86 miles (75 nautical miles, according to JTWC) across. Typically, such intense storms have eyes that are closer to 20 to 40 miles across, which is where the minimum central pressure is located. In contrast to the violent motions of air within the areas of showers and thunderstorms surrounding the eye, the air within the eye sinks, scouring out any cloudiness.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Better beers are here in Busan (Dynamic Busan)

Koreabridge - Wed, 2018-08-08 15:24
Better beers are here in Busan (Dynamic Busan)

It’s a pretty great time to be in South Korea if you are a craft beer drinker.

The craft beer industry is blowing up all around the world. While it’s still pretty young in South Korea (especially here in Busan), that newness and freshness are really exciting. Especially for those of us who have been here for at least a few years and remember the times when there weren’t more than a few options beyond the bland, light American-style lagers that have dominated much of the beer-drinking world here.

It’s also great to have the input of Jiyoung Moon, my Korean editor and co-writer for this piece. With Dynamic Busan, what’s starts is her Korean story, which is then translated by our capable translator Sangmin Kim. Then, it comes to me. Besides cleaning up the text to better read like native English-written text, I consult with Jiyoung on what else should be added and what can be taken away. It has been a pretty (sorry) dynamic team effort.

The story can be found below and at the Dynamic Busan website. If you’re ever in Busan, South Korea, definitely consider grabbing a pint!


While the craft beer industry is booming worldwide, it has seen particularly solid growth here in Korea. This is partly because it is just so different from what has been available for as long as any beer could be bought here.

The government, for its part, is helping keep up the momentum. Busan last year designated craft beer as a local business it wants to see succeed and supported craft beer-related brand design, advertisement, promotions and more as a result. Korean craft beer is not only gaining traction here, it’s getting recognized beyond the country. Rate Beer, a well-known beer evaluator from the United States, highlighted four Busan-based craft beers during “The Best Beer in Korea” in 2016. They recognize greatness. Beer enthusiasts traveling from across Korea to Busan for its brews recognize greatness. Now, it’s your turn. Are you up to the challenge?

Busan Craft Beer Festival

Head to BEXCO in Centum City Sept. 5 through 9 for the inaugural Busan Craft Beer Festival. More than 50 businesses including Busan brewers, other domestic breweries, importers, food trucks and more are expected to participate in this festival. People will be able to taste 100 different kinds of craft beer during the festival and enjoy various music performances. Beer brewing lectures are also expected to be conducted. A busanbeerfestival.com website is expected to launch soon.

*Galmegi Brewing Company

Minsik Seo, Jiwon Jeong, Steven Allsopp and Ryan Blocker are making magic happen at Galmegi Brewing Company.

The galmegi (seagull) is not only the symbol of Busan. It has become the symbol of the emerging craft beer market here, as well. Busan craft beer began with Galmegi Brewing Company. In 2013, Galmegi opened Busan’s first western-style brew pub, located within shouting distance from Gwangalli Beach. Their beers that first year were contract brewed, which is when a business works with an outside brewery to make their beers, often using their own recipes. But, with immediate success brought rapid growth. The brewery opened a short walk away in 2014.

Their hard work has paid off. Besides the brewery in the Gwangan area, there are five Galmegi franchises, in Nampo, Seomyeon, Haeundae, the Kyungsung University/Pukyong National University area and in the Pusan National University area. Galmegi Brewing Company’s beer is also available in a number of tap houses in Seoul. Galmegi has an assortment of beer styles that range from light to dark, slightly sweet to unapologetically bitter. India Pale Ales, ambers and stouts can be found on regular rotation. But, more unique, seasonal choices are available, as well, including a ginger-infused beer, a boozy triple IPA and a refreshing beer brewed with Korean yuja fruit.

-Location: 58, Gwangnam-ro, Suyeong-gu

-How to get there: Geumnyeonsan Station (Metro line 2), exit 5. Walk down the cobblestone road toward the beach. Cross the street at the next main intersection and turn right. Walk until you see the brewery on the left.

-Informationgalmegibrewing.com, @galmegibrewing on Instagram

*Gorilla Brewing Company

Most breweries offer samplers of their selections.

Gorilla Brewing Company has been busy. Opening in a small space in Millak-dong (neighbor-hood) in January 2016, the owners of this British-style craft beer brewery quickly realized expansion would be necessary. The following year, Gorilla moved to Gwangan, in a larger two-story location a short walk down the road from Galmegi’s brewery. Gorilla Brewing harvests its hops, the flower that is a key component in beer making, from a farm in Gyeongsangbuk-do (province), which allows them to maintain a fresh taste that is very local. About 10 different beers are brewed by Gorilla, including their enormously-popular Gorilla IPA, Busan Pale Ale and more. Special beers have included Tiramisu Extra Stout and the FM Coffee Stout, brewed utilizing coffee beans from the popular FM Coffee shop in Jeonpo-dong. Their brew pub also has a number of other Korea-based brews on constant rotation, allowing visitors a condensed opportunity to taste what all the fuss over Korean craft beer is about.

Saturday visitors to Gorilla Brewing Company can check out live music every Saturday night, as well as free yoga classes at noon.

-Location: 125, Gwangnam-ro, Suyeong-gu

-How to get there: Geumnyeonsan Station (Metro line 2), exit 1. Walk straight toward the beach. Turn left at the next intersection and walk straight for about five minutes. Gorilla Brewing is on the left.

-Informationgorillabrewingcompany.com, @gorilla_brewing on Instagram

*Wild Wave Brewing Co.

What began as a sour beer project in Gwangan has headed east to Songjeong Beach. While Wild Wave Brewing Co.’s Surleim sour beer is still one of its most popular brews (and available in bottles), they have expanded their choices beyond sour into other realms of deliciousness. The brewery’s regular rotation includes Surfing High, a highly drinkable kolsch-style brew, the full-bodied and flavorful Bella IPA and Hazelnut Ale, an Irish red ale made with maple syrup and hazelnuts. Enter their Songjeong brewery and the impressive array of oak casks immediately catches the eye. Wild yeasts and lactic bacteria from the air in these casks result in the sour, tropical flavors that have made Wild Wave famous. Order from their favorable menu of various pub grub, order a couple pints and prepare to have a fantastic afternoon that is only a short walk away from Songjeong Beach.

-Location: 106-1, Songjeongjungang-ro 5beon-gil, Haeundae-gu

-How to get there: Songjeong Station (Donghae line), exit 1. Cross the street and turn right down the alley near the bus stop.

-Information: wildwavebrew.com, @wildwave.brew on Instagram

*Praha 993

A visit to F1963 in Mangmi-dong can fill up an entire afternoon. There are regular art exhibits, a bookstore, even a coffee shop. There’s also delicious Czech-style beer. Launched in 2017, Praha 993’s origins begin in its founders Czech Republic homeland. Its beers range from pilsners (which originated in the Czech Republic) and stouts to India Pale Ales and seasonal specialties like pumpkin ale that are brewed on-site. These pair well with an assortment of both Czech-inspired and pub-familiar meals including fish and chips and Koleno, savory slow-roasted pork knee that is a quintessential Czech feast. The number 993 in their name comes from the year beer is believed to have been produced for the first time in the Czech Republic. Beer drinkers can experience more than 1,000 years of beer history at not only their flagship location, but also in their Seomyeon branch and at other fine pubs across the city.

-Location: 20, Gurak-ro 123beon-gil, Suyeong-gu

-How to get there: Suyeong Station (Metro lines 2 or 3), exit 5. Take bus 54 and get off at the Sanjeong Apartment stop. Walk uphill toward F1963.

-Informationpraha993.com, @praha993_brewing on Instagram

*Hurshimchung Brau

Hurshimchung Brau has brewed their beer in a fun German-style beer house in Nongshim Hotel since 2004. Hurshimchung Brau uses imported German malt for its beers, which include familiar German styles like pilsner, weizen and dunkel.

Enjoy an array of German/Korean beer hall food fusion favorites such as Haxen, a German-style jokbal (braised pig’s feet), deep-fried octopus and more. Their great hall holds regular live performances and offers a view of the brewery. Hurshimchung Brau also holds a popular Oktoberfest outdoor event every year that features unlimited servings of their sensational suds.

-Location: 23, Geumganggongwon-ro 20beon-gil, Dongnae-gu

-How to get there: Oncheonjang Station (Metro line 1), exit 1. Walk straight to public parking lot for two minutes. Cross the main road, then follow Geumgang gongwon-ro for three minutes. Cross the street at the intersection and Nongshim Hotel is on the right.

-Information: hotelnongshim.com

*Finger Craft

A former home and commercial milk storage building has been converted into Finger Craft, which refers to wanting to be the number one place for beer. Besides their warm and inviting flagship location along the Oncheoncheon Stream, Finger Craft has two other locations near City Hall and in Choryang. Six different contract-brewed craft beers are available utilizing their own recipes including Osige Ale, a beer created with coffee supplied by the popular Momos Coffee, also in the Oncheonjang area, the hearty Black Finger, the citrus-infused Mosaic Finger and more.

-Location: 7, Oncheoncheon-ro, Dongnae-gu

-How to get there: Oncheonjang Station (Metro line 1), exit 2. Walk toward Myeongnyun Station five minutes. Their Captain Hook-style signboard will be seen on the left.

-Information: @fingercraft on Instagram

*Owl & Pussycat Taproom

“Good people drink good beer.” It is sound advice that adorns the wall of Owl & Pussycat Taproom in Gwangan.

This craft pub and bottle shop offers both an impressive selection of bottled beers from around the world as well as both local and international drafts. All of this with a breathtaking view of Gwangalli Beach. Owl & Pussycat Taproom features nearly a dozen different kinds of tasty contract-brewed beers created from their own recipes, including the aromatic Suri Saison, the coffee-infused Gwangan Brews, an India Pale Ale and more. Snacks that always pair well with beer such as pizza, sausages and fried chicken are also available.

-Location: 2F, 38-1, Namcheonbada-ro, Suyeong-gu

-How to get there: Geumnyeonsan Station (Metro line 2), exit 3. Walk toward the beach. It is located in the same building as Ediya Coffee.

-Informationfacebook.com/opc.brewing , @opc_brewing on Instagram


Tetrapod offers customers house-branded contract-brewed beers and other beers from around Korea. From its stylish interior to curated design focus, those especially interested in design and branding will find something to enjoy. Their design aesthetic even garnered an iF product design award from International Forum Design of Germany. Familiar favorites like IPAs, pale ales and stouts are available.

-Location: 2F, 77, Jungang-daero 680beonga-gil, Busanjin-gu

-How to get there: Seomyeon Station (Metro lines 1 and 2), exit 6. Turn right after passing Electronic Land. Walk one more block and enter the alley on the left. Walk straight a little further, then walk toward the building with a brick wall on the left.

-Informationtetrapodbrewing.com, @tetrapod_brewing_co on Instagram

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.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

LTW: BMW cars in Korea on fire (literally)

Koreabridge - Tue, 2018-08-07 03:15
LTW: BMW cars in Korea on fire (literally)
Much respected BMW is currently facing a big image problem as its 520d models keep catching fire in Korea. In 2018 alone until Aug 4, total of 32 BMW cars got fire on the road. More frustrating is that these engine fires take place only in Korea, not in other nations. After reports of some parking lots banning 520d models and an internet mockery of BMW as Burn My Wagon, BMW Korea finally made an apology on Aug 6, explaining that a leakage of coolant from the EGR cooler is the root cause of the problem, and that this is not a unique problem in Korea. Korean version of NHTSA is not buying BMW's root cause analysis, and urged BMW to come up with more detailed reports. It is estimated that 8.5% of the 106,317 BMW cars ordered for recall have potential to burst into flames. While BMW owners are lining up to file a lawsuit, BMW sales in Korea has dropped 43.9% in 4 months from 7,052 units in March to 3,959 vehicles in July.

I was at BMW headquarter in Munich, Germany, last week. With over 30 years in Korean auto industry, I thought about dashing into the head office for a meeting with high level engineering team to address the urgent issues from Korean consumers, especially on why fire in Korea only. My wife stopped me as she has more urgent issue to address at a Louis Vuitton store in downtown Munich.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Should You Get a Korean Tattoo? + Interview with Koreans

Koreabridge - Fri, 2018-08-03 18:00
Should You Get a Korean Tattoo? + Interview with Koreans

Over the past 5 years I've been asked over and over about helping people to decide their tattoos. Many people have wanted to get tattoos in Korean (in 한글) and have asked me for translations or advice. I wanted to answer some of those questions by making this video.

Actually, it might be a good idea to *not* get a tattoo in Korean if you're not committed to the idea. This is for several reasons, which I explain in the video, including them still not having the best image (although this is changing), being difficult to get, and the high chance that it won't look good or won't make sense. But if you still want to, I also outline a few tips for how to make sure your tattoo is as good as possible.

To finish this video I went on the streets and interviewed some Koreans to ask them what they think about tattoos. The question that I asked Koreans living in Seoul is this: “외국인이 한국어로 된 타투를 하면 어떨까요?” (“What do you think if a foreigner gets a Korean tattoo?”).


The post Should You Get a Korean Tattoo? + Interview with Koreans appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.





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South Korea is Now Running Détente with North Korea – and that is Probably a Good Thing

Koreabridge - Fri, 2018-07-20 22:57
South Korea is Now Running Détente with North Korea – and that is ....

This is a local re-post of a lengthy review I wrote on this year’s détente for the Center for International Governance Innovation. This is the original version, rather than that edited up version. They’re basically the same

Basically, I argue that the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore was a nothingburger, that basically served to get Trump out of the way. The Americans had to be involved somehow given their importance to South Korea security. So Trump had to have something – unsurprisingly, a content-free, made-for-TV summit. With Trump now sidelined, Moon can do his stuff. I figure we’ll be lucky if he can cap NK at its current arsenal without giving up too much. That is the challenge now.

The full essay follows the jump:



In mid-June, US President Donald Trump met North Korean ‘Chairman’ Kim Jong Un in Singapore. Kim governs the North as the chairman of the State Affairs Commission, not as president. The summit was widely criticized in the United States as an empty photo-op, and there is growing evidence that North Korea is not in fact changing much of its nuclear program in response to the meeting. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to the North Korea this year to move the process along. This will be the acid test of whether the Singapore meeting changed the US-North Korea dynamic much.

I am skeptical the North Koreans will come around soon; any kind of serious denuclearization will take years and cost an enormous amount of money, because the North Korean program is now so elaborate. But Trump has already declared victory on this problem before the US media and dumped further efforts on Pompeo. So the most likely practical outcome of the Singapore summit is the recession of the Americans from the peace process and its further piloting by the South Koreans, particularly President Moon Jae In. As South Korea’s ally, the US had to be involved somehow, but Trump seems to have moved on, and his interest and knowledge of the relevant questions is thin. In effect then, Moon will run this détente going forward with few American constraints given how vague was the Singapore statement.

The following review covers the summit’s declaration, criticisms of it, the contours and concessions of a more serious deal with the North, and possible future paths Moon might follow:

1. The ‘Sentosa Declaration’

The summit declaration – so named for the small island in Singapore where the two leaders met – has four elements. One is the return of remains of US soldiers from the Korean War. This, while morally important for the families, is not a strategic issue and was appended late by Trump, likely to appeal to his conservative voters.

The main points are: a) ‘new relations of peace and prosperity;’ b) a ‘lasting and stable peace regime;’ and c) ‘complete denuclearization.’ All are somewhat vague; the statement is less than 400 words. So the following is somewhat speculative:

Point a) sounds like a market opening of North Korea. Trump showed a curious faux movie trailer to Kim pitching exactly that. China has similarly argued to the North for two decades that it should embark on a controlled liberalization of its economy, as Beijing did after Mao Zedong’s death. The hope is that a perestroika of the Northern economy along Chinese or Vietnamese lines would, at minimum, improve human, especially food, security in the North. The man-made famine in the North of the late 1990s killed around 10% of the population. A perestroika might also bring mild political liberalization too, moderating the worst, most orwellian aspects of North Korea.

Point b) likely hints at a formal peace treaty to end the Korean War. The two Koreas and the US are legally still at war. The current peace is technically an armistice stretching all the way back to mid-1953. North Korea particularly has long sought a treaty for the normalization and recognition of the North which it implies. North and South Korea make competing legitimacy claims against each other to be the ‘real’ Korea. In practical terms however, South Korea has long since won the inter-Korean cold war competition. North Korea now fears absorption along East German lines, and a peace treaty which recognizes North Korea as a distinct Korean state alongside the South is a long-standing goal. A ‘peace regime’ is a vaguer dictional choice throw around by proponents who fear a formal treaty will be too difficult to get past hawkish opposition in Seoul and Washington. The Moon government occasionally talks this way too. It is not clear what such a regime would be – perhaps UN monitoring of a demobilization along the demilitarized zone (DMZ)?

Point c) is a part of the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization (CVID) mantra which the Trump and Moon administrations have pushed all year. CVID seek to remove all elements of North Korea’s nuclear (and, likely, missile) program in such a way that would make it both impossible to restart and verifiably terminated. This is, of course, a tremendous concession to demand of North Korea, and few North Korea analysts believe that Pyongyang would ever accept this. Or if it did, it would demand such extraordinary concessions – such as the cessation of the US-South Korea alliance – that the US and South Korea would likely never accept. Hence it was not a surprise that Trump was unable to get the “V” and “I” of CVID in the declaration. Pompeo has since been asked about this and responded that these were ‘understood’ as part of the declaration. That is almost certainly not correct and more a political than empirical claim.

2. The Critiques of Sentosa and CVID

There are two main lines of concern with the statement Trump brought back.

First, it is akin to previous statements on denuclearization which the North Koreans have signed with the US, South Korea, and other parties. As far back as 1993, North Korea and the US singed a joint statement on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The North has also agreed to such statements as a part of the ‘Sunshine Policy’ – an inter-Korean détente process from 1998-2007 under previous liberal South Korean presidents – and the Six Party Talks – a George W. Bush administration-era outreach effort which included the Koreas, China, Japan, the US, and Russia. Pulling yet another generic denuclearization statement out of the North Koreans this time around is not really an achievement.

Trump worsened this problem with his particular brand of hyperbole and overstatement. In the months running up to the summit, he and his administration talked about a huge breakthrough in US relations with the North, CVID, a peace treaty, a Noble Peace Prize, and so on. Since Trump returned to the US, he has claimed on Twitter and in Trumpist media that the threat is over, that he has great chemistry with Kim, and that Americans should treat him as North Koreans treat Kim, and so on. Expectations were poorly managed, creating an enormous disjuncture between what Trump appears to believe he has accomplished, and what the North Koreans did in fact agree to in Sentosa.

Second, the statement contains no action items, timeline, or detail. In that sense too, it does not move the process past previous statements. The statement says denuclearization is to begin ‘expeditiously.’ Pompeo has talked of serious movement in the next two to four month, or in the next two years. Both of those timelines conveniently fit the US electoral calendar. The North Koreans are highly unlikely to be so obliging. In past negotiations, they have dragged their feet, asked for huge concessions and side-payments, and insisted on synchronous steps from the US and South Korea. They are likely to do so again.

It is easy to foresee, for example, the North asking for billions of dollars in ‘decommissioning funding,’ which could be political difficult for Trump given his criticism that former President Barack Obama paid Iran as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The US might then try to push those costs onto China, Japan, and South Korea, as it did in a similar effort in the 1990s. All this would be time-consuming and contentious as US partners would resent this treatment.

Another thorny example is the “V” and “I” in CVID. Verifiability will be high bar, because the US and South Korea would likely demand inspectors and cameras. The North will likely fight that as violations of its sovereignty, much as Saddam Hussein did in the 1990s. There will likely also be a sharp conflict over which inspectors. The North will demand them from sympathetic nuclear states like China or Pakistan. The US, Japan, and South Korea will push for the International Atomic Energy Agency or more sympathetic nuclear states like France or Britain.

Irreversibility will be even harder. The nuclear and missile programs are now mature. North Korea has the relevant human capital now. Facilities could be destroyed, but what about the technicians themselves who could reconstitute the programs later? Would those individuals, potentially thousands of scientists and their families, be allowed to leave the country? This would be extraordinarily contentious.

These are just a few of the many thorny issues likely arise. They will likely require years to hammer out.

3. Meaningful North Korean Concessions

The above critiques of Sentosa point to the issues most important to the US and South Korea. Broadly, we are seeking two kinds of concessions: political and strategic. That Trump brought home neither is the grounds for dismissing Singapore as an enormous missed opportunity.

Political concessions are the most important. The most fundamental reason why North Korean nuclear weapons worry so many is the nature of the regime. North Korea is the closest to George Orwell’s 1984 the world has ever seen. Its gulags have been compared to Nazi Germany in the most definitive human rights portrait of the country. Its personality cult is more servile than Stalin or Mao’s. It has engaged in gangster and terrorist behavior for decades – dealing methamphetamines, murdering its critics overseas, attacking South Korean vessels, and so on.

Were the North Koreas to close a gulag, initiate even a bit of liberalization at the bottom, or even pass a genuine commercial law to protect foreign investment in the North, the country’s most hawkish critics would relent. Trump however dismissed human rights at Singapore. There are some hints that Kim himself may want some kind of economic opening, which could in turn soften the regime’s harshest edges. But even if this is true, there is no evidence that anyone around Kim on the State Affairs Commission wants this liberalization.

If North Korea is not going to change, if it intends to remain the orwellian Democratic People’s Republic Korea, then US and allied goals switch to the strategic – nuclear weapons, missiles, biological and chemical weapons, force deployments of the North Korea military near the DMZ, particularly Seoul, and so on. Pompeo and Moon will likely push for movement on these issues in the months to come. Without some progress, hawks will decry that détente is becoming appeasement.

Moon is a liberal who is likely comfortable giving the North pretty serious concessions on strategic questions. But he was only elected with 41% of the vote. South Korea remains politically deeply divided over how to respond to North Korea. If this year’s détente is to survive the next partisan transition in the South Korean presidency, then Moon will have to claw out enough concessions to somewhat placate the South Korean right.

Trump is in a similar bind. Neoconservatives in the US will be looking for these sorts of concessions in the coming months with limited patience. Lindsey Graham, the hawkish US senator, has already said that war will be an option once again, after last year’s war crisis, if the North Koreans do not meaningfully disarm.

The North is currently flirting with an artillery pullback. This is progress, but ultimately the US and South Korea are going to demand concessions on nuclear weapons and missiles. One starting point would simply be a stockpile inventory – how many warheads do they have? (Guesses hover around fifty.) How many missiles do they have? (Hundreds?) How may kilograms of plutonium and highly enriched uranium? (Hundreds?) A basic worksheet on these questions from the North Korea would relieve a lot hawkish anxiety – there would be less pressure to strike if exaggerated estimates are corrected. It is another disappointment of the Singapore meeting that Trump could not even pull something this basic out of Kim.

4. Future Prospects: Moon’s Detente

The Singapore summit did not return much unfortunately. Trump got only another pro forma denuclearization agreement from the North along the lines of many it has signed in the past. This would have been easier to swallow if Trump had not hyped the event so much. But on the issues which really matter – political concessions on human rights, e.g., or strategic concessions such as a missile count – this year’s détente has still not advanced much. To date there has been much pageantry and symbolism: Moon had his own summit with Kim in April, and it was similarly theatrical but thin on detail.

The challenge going forward is to pull costly concessions from North Korea, ideally for as little from the democratic camp as possible. But realistically, the North Koreans will not give away another serious for little. They have been tenacious bargainers in the past. The allies should expect to have to make costly concessions too.

Allied concessions could include sanctions relief and aid most obviously. The North Koreans have complained about the sanctions for years. The North is not autarkic despite its ideology. It needs access to the world economy, and banking system particularly, to finance needed inputs. Similarly, North Korea is poor and its economy fairly dysfunctional. South Korea has given it direct aid transfers in the past. Seoul could resume those. More serious concessions would involve US forces in Korea. The North Koreans fear US airpower, so US air wings could be withdrawn to Okinawa or Guam; US troop totals on the peninsular might also be reduced.

The exact mix of these elements, and Northern reciprocal concessions, has scarcely been broached yet in the media unfortunately. CVID has absorbed much attention, but it should be noted that the North is highly unlikely to go to zero on warheads and missiles. Pyongyang spent fifty years developing these weapons; they provide a powerful deterrent against US-led regime change. The allies must need to grasp that CVID will almost certainly not happen and start thinking about a mixed package deal of concessions and counter-concessions.

All this falls to Moon now. Trump is little interested in the details of a North Korean deal. By his own admission, he did not prepare for Singapore, and he has dropped it since his return, after a few celebratory tweets. Moon has thought about these questions for decades. He is popular and has a majority in the parliament. With Trump self-sidelined, Moon now has the political space to push for a major deal. If he can pull enough strategic concessions out of Kim to placate hawks in Seoul and Washington, he has a chance to break the long stalemate.

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



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BGN Eye Hospital

Koreabridge - Mon, 2018-07-09 06:20
Website:  https://www.facebook.com/eyehospitalinkorea/

BGN Eye Hospital - your comprehensive and specialized eye care provider in Busan!

BGN Eye Hospital is a part of BGN Eye Care Group, it is located in Seomyeon area ( Buam station, exit 2) .

BGN Eye Hospital is a part of BGN Eye Care Group, it is located in Seomyeon area ( Buam station exit 2). BGN Eye Hospital specializes in treatment of cataract, glaucoma, presbyopia, retinal diseases, children myopia, dry eye syndrome, comprehensive Eye Examinations as well as in in Laser Vision Correction (Lasik, Lasek) and ICL vision correction surgeries ( Aqua ICL/Toric ICL).

Why choose BGN Eye Hospital?

1) Our ophtalmologist have rich professional experience in performing operations for vision correction, cataract, retina and glaucoma treatment.

2) We offer our patients the most advanced, safe and innovative equipment for examination and surgeries.

3) We work with Global insurances, including Bupa and Cigna and provide direct billing service for our patients.

4) We provide one stop service and full patient support in English, Russian and Chinese languages. We will do our best to make your stay at the hospital as comfortable as possible.

5) We constantly have promotions and discounts for ou patients!

Curently we have promotion prices for Laser Vision Correction Surgeries ( Prime Lasek 1,000,000 won, All Laser Fit Lasek ( Fisrt Plus Lasek) 1,400,000 won, Custom Lasik 1,600,000 won) and special discounts for Comprehensive Cataract Examination!

Find out more by contacting us!

Direct: 010-3030-0327/051-933-85 ( English, Русский, 中文)

email: maria@bgnhospital.com

BGN Eye Hospital: Busan, Busan-jingu, Gaya-daero 729 ( Buam subway station, exit 2)

cigna bupa advertisement.jpg - 복사본 (2).jpg BGN Eye Hospital
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Korean Cosplay Convention (with Abby P) | 코스프레 체험

Koreabridge - Sat, 2018-07-07 17:25
Korean Cosplay Convention (with Abby P) | 코스프레 체험

I've wanted to try cosplaying since I was a teenager, but didn't have an opportunity. I wasn't a big fan of anime, but I did watch some, and I thought it'd be fun to visit a convention. Well this year in Korea I found out that there are several conventions going on, and one of them was a cosplay convention in Seoul. So I contacted my friend Abby P (another YouTuber) and we went together in cosplay as characters from the movie "Spirited Away."

Have you ever tried cosplay before? What are your experiences?

Abby P also made a video about our cosplay experience on her channel here: https://youtu.be/u4Y342EyAFc

The post Korean Cosplay Convention (with Abby P) | 코스프레 체험 appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

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North Korean vs South Korean Dialects

Koreabridge - Sat, 2018-06-30 14:55
North Korean vs South Korean Dialects

Have you ever wondered why North Korean news announcers seem to talk so differently than South Koreans?

Do you want to know how North Korean and South Korean dialects are different?

Ever since my last dialect video I made in 2016, I've wanted to tackle the topic of North Korean dialects. But it's just such a large topic, and it's difficult to find information besides vocabulary words and a plethora of North Korean TV dramas.

So over the past year or so I've been collecting North Korean language resources (textbooks, grammar explanations, vocabulary, phrases, intonation samples, and more) to compile a long list of differences and unique points about North Korean dialect to create a video. Finally this January I started putting those items together and shortening the list into what might be an easy-to-digest and watchable video... and here it is!

Let me know your feedback on this new video. I'd like to be able to make more dialect-related videos in the future as well.

The post North Korean vs South Korean Dialects appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.





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LTW: - S.Korea clashes against Germany in World Cup and in automotive quality battle

Koreabridge - Thu, 2018-06-28 23:09
LTW: - Korea clashes against Germany in World Cup and in auto quality South Koreans were exhilarating at 1:00am on June 28 when South Korean soccer team beat defending champion and world #1 Germany in World Cup match in Russia. It was the first time Asian country ever defeated Germany in World Cup history, and the first time Germany got eliminated in the World Cup preliminary league since 1938. Another news with South Korea over Germany came as Hyundai Genesis ranked highest in the recent influential J.D Power 2018 U.S. Initial Quality Survey(IQS) which measures the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles during the fist 90 days of ownership.The lower the score, the better. Its sister Kia took the 2nd with 72, followed by Hyundai with 74. Impressed with Korean Hyundai and Kia in top 3, Forbes magazine compared it "man biting dog." Premium German car maker Porsche ranked 4th with 79 while BMW and Mercedes-Benz found themselves at 11th and 15th, respectively. My German friends won't call me for a while..

Though Hyundai has become a major player with over 8 million vehicles a year, its start was meager. Hyundai's first model, Ford Cortina, went into production in Ulsan plant in Nov 1968, assembling Cortina components from Ford U.K. Its production was less than 6,000 a year. Many of Hyundai engineers who worked on Cortina in 1968 are still active in Korean auto industry. Imagine those engineers who built Model T with Henry Ford are still pounding table at operation reviews in Detroit suppliers.

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