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The Commodification of Dokdo Island: Nationalism in the Marketplace

Koreabridge - Fri, 2017-05-05 01:18
The Commodification of Dokdo Island: Nationalism in the Marketplace


How do we consume nationalism in the marketplace? And what does it mean to treat nationalism as a commodity? 

In this conversation, Nam Center Postdoctoral Fellow Jiun Bang discusses the commodification surrounding the Dokdo/Takeshima dispute, and challenges some of the traditional assumptions behind our perceptions of nationalism. 

And- a conversation on the strange linguistic character of the name Ehwa Womans University. Bang shares some little known facts about her alma mater. All this and more on episode 67 of The Korea File. 

This episode was produced in collaboration with the University of Michigan’s Nam Center for Korean Studies. 

Music on this episode:
John Lopker's 'My Dear Dokdo' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTSMNaFB8Rkand also 
Kim Kyung-min's 'Dokdo, dokdo, dokdo' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JT3NcD5162s

 

+ Listen to "The Commodification of Dokdo Island: Nationalism in the Marketplace" on Spreaker.


    The Korea File
      http://www.spreaker.com/show/korea_moments

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Emojis – Here to Stay?

Koreabridge - Thu, 2017-05-04 09:39
Emojis – Here to Stay?

It seems that anyone who uses any kind of messaging app (Kakao Talk, Facebook Messenger, SMS, etc.) these days uses emojis to some extent. Even a 46-year-old relative latecomer to chat apps like me tends to use them as a shorthand way of answering affirmatively (thumbs up), to show laughter (as opposed to typing “LOL” which I never quite warmed to), or sometimes just to be silly and try to get a laugh out of someone.

I haven’t had a use for this one. Yet.

This recent piece talks about the ways that East Asian users use emojis, and one of the things I found interesting was the idea that emojis offer softer or more indirect ways of saying things that would be hard to express otherwise for cultural reasons:

“[Emojis] appeal not just to the young but also to middle-aged office workers looking to smooth awkward or delicate situations with bosses, colleagues and family members. [Some emoji sets] include a crotchety grandmother who curses a lot – a softer way for chat-app users to swear in front of their elders – and a loving father-daughter set in which the girl gently admonishes her dad.”

Not everyone is crazy about emojis, for similar reasons why people were initially opposed to the ubiquitous shorthand of text communication in general (cya, omw, lol, OMG, etc). To me emojis serve as a useful supplement to written language, in that they convey that missing element of body language and other visual cues without which it often becomes hard to express humor, sarcasm, anger, levity, seriousness, joy, and a range of other emotional shades that are clearly present in face-to-face speech.

A judiciously chosen emoji can reduce ambiguity and thus lessen the potential for miscommunication, which to me is reason alone to consider it a useful supplement to the written language. My sense is that they’ll stick around in some form. What’s your take?

Groovy Jay ending it all? I’m not sure what to make of this one. Use with caution.

 


OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
http://bosmosis.wordpress.com/
http://twitter.com/bosmosis

 

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Running The Pyongyang Marathon As A Foreigner

Koreabridge - Mon, 2017-05-01 14:54
Running The Pyongyang Marathon As A Foreigner

Recently, over 1,000 foreign runners participated in the Pyongyang, North Korea Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon. Held every year since 1981, the race only began accepting participants from outside North Korea in 2014, & the very next year, Laura Imkamp was one of those who traveled to North Korea to participate. The Shanghai-based German expat spoke to Korea FM reporter Chance Dorland to describe her experiences & what she learned while running the event.

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Stream this episode online at http://www.spreaker.com/user/seoulitup/running-the-pyongyang-marathon-as-a-fore

Download the full episode at http://api.spreaker.com/download/episode/11790525/2017_05_02_pyongyang_marathon.mp3

This episode is brought to you by Podcast Assist & its $30 per hour flat rate podcasting voice overs, editing, mastering, transcriptions & even hosting (select a topic, they’ll create & host the podcast). Visit Facebook.com/PodcastAssist for more information.

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

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The post Running The Pyongyang Marathon As A Foreigner appeared first on Korea FM.

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Sunday April 23 : Busan International food and crafts market

Koreabridge - Sat, 2017-04-22 10:54

From: https://www.facebook.com/events/1885007781779546

The Busan Foreign Culture Market is a regular (usually monthly) event where people come together to share arts, crafts and food from all around the world. 


At the heart of every market is Culture, Community and Charity with us raising money for several local and international charities. 

부산 외국 문화 시장은 사람들이 함께 모이고 세계 각국의 음식과 공예품을 공유하는 곳입니다. 또한, BFCM가 다양한 지역 자선사업을 위해 돈을 모금하고 모금활동에 참여하고 있습니다.

We also believe in reducing waste with the event serving as a donation point where people can bring along unwanted items which we will then sell, donate or re-cycle for charity. Please check out our FAQ section herehttps://www.facebook.com/notes/busan-foreign-culture-market/faqs/628434080694302

To make the event succesful we need the community to support us so if you would like to donate a couple of hours of your time to help out we will welcome you with open arms, it is a great way to meet new people and give back to the community.

Location location location

Gorilla
British pies, sausage rolls, pate & Bakewell tarts
British chocolates, HP sauce, marmite & vegemite
Fudge, brownies, rock cakes & cookies
Massage candles and soaps 
Calligraphy & crochet
Hand sewn postcards and Busan themed accessories 
Jewelry by Broadhead boutique
Hummus, tzatziki and falafel

HQ Bar
Baked goods and cheesecakes
German baked goodies
Pakistani food - biryanis, samosas
Sausages
Dips, pots pies, pasta
Jewelry 
BAPS tables banana bread and chocolate treats

Beached Bar
Clothing donations and donation drop off point
Teddy bear game
Burritos
Dill Pickles
Vegan and gluten free baked goods
Jewelry & accesories
Monkey bread

OPC
Baked goods
Heat packs
Candles
Soaps & beauty products
French baked treats 
Desserts & food from the Philippines 
Empanadas 
Fabric & embroidery items

 

 

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Young Koreans Challenging Politicians & Their Role In South Korean Society

Koreabridge - Fri, 2017-04-21 11:03
Young Koreans Challenging Politicians & Their Role In Korean Society

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s presidential career began & ended with firsts, & while countless pieces have been written on the protests that led to her removal from power, one recent writeup from the Canadian weekly current affairs magazine Maclean’s makes the case that that South Korean youth, & the forces they control, are perhaps behind it all. Maclean’s writer Dave Hazzan, formerly based in Seoul, joins Korea FM reporter Chance Dorland to discuss his article & what it reveals about the power of South Korean youth. Read Hazzan’s full article at http://www.macleans.ca/politics/worldpolitics/in-south-korea-the-young-rise-up-against-a-president-and-a-society/.

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Stream this episode online at http://www.spreaker.com/user/seoulitup/young-koreans-challenging-politicians-th

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This episode is brought to you by SeoulStartups.com, an English speaking community for workers in Korea. Designers, developers and entrepreneurs share and discuss ideas, work, culture, startups, language and integration to the market and life in Korea. Networking in Korea when you don’t speak the local language fluently can be hard. Seoul Startups wants to bring the currently fragmented community into one place, where people can ask for help, advice, learn and make connections that will help them succeed in their career in Korea. Join today at SeoulStartups.com/.

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The post Young Koreans Challenging Politicians & Their Role In South Korean Society appeared first on Korea FM.

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THAAD is Not about Missile Defense anymore

Koreabridge - Sun, 2017-04-16 13:23
THAAD is Not about Missile Defense anymore


This is a local re-post of a piece I wrote at The National Interest a few weeks ago. The graphic here comes straight from the Lockheed Martin webpage on THAAD. There’s so much contradictory information floating around about THAAD, maybe it’s best just go to the website and look for yourself. No, I’m not shilling for LM; I have no relationship. I just thought it would be convenient. And yes, I support the THAAD deployment here.

Anyway, this essay is actually about the politics, specifically that China WAY overplayed its hand against the THAAD deployment in South Korea. Now THAAD isn’t about THAAD anymore. The Chinese have ballooned it into such a huge issue, that it’s now about SK sovereignty and freedom to make national security choices without a Chinese veto. If you want to read why I am wrong, here’s my friend Dave Kang to tell you that I am getting carried away.

I still stand by my prediction though: neither Ahn nor Moon will withdraw THAAD even if they’d want to otherwise, because now it would look like knuckling under to China. Maybe the Justice Party candidate would withdraw it, but she is polling at 3%.

The full essay follows the jump:

 

 

The South Korean decision to install the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system has prompted a major Chinese reaction. The Chinese government has used a wide range of economic pressure against South Korea to reverse its decision. It has severely restricted tourist travel to the country, cancelled cultural events, pursued fatuous regulatory action against the company (Lotte) which sold the land to the South Korean government on which THAAD will be stationed, and, in a move worthy of the ‘freedom fries’ of yore, staged a public bulldozing of bottles of the Korean national alcohol soju.

 

Campy, yet Serious

This effort is simultaneously ridiculous and clever, campy and serious. On the one hand, it is preposterously obvious that these ‘protests’ are staged. Once again, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated how woefully out of touch it is with modern democratic opinion. The same apparatchiks who mistake ‘praise’ of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in The Onion as the real thing are those who think that a video of a bulldozer driving over soju bottles might somehow appear authentic. If China’s increasing bullying of South Korea over THAAD were not so serious, these hijinks would be comedy material. Indeed my students here in South Korea laugh over this in discussion even as they worry about it.

On the other hand, this a wise way to pressure South Korea if the CCP is absolutely dead-set against a THAAD emplacement in South Korea, which it appears to be. South Korea is a mid-size economy with a few very large exporters selling to a few very large markets. This makes it highly sensitive to the politics of its biggest export markets, of which China is one. Japan too has been targeted in this way by China, but it is more diversified economically than South Korea and so had more flexibility to ride out Chinese displeasure. China has also used these tactics in southeast Asia.

The CCP also retains plausible deniability by routing this pressure obliquely through nongovernmental actors. There has been little overt, ‘track 1’ pressure, likely because Beijing is hoping South Korea will back down without an open breach. But the mercantilist-dictatorial state can ‘encourage’ patriotic action in an economy where something like 80% of firms have some amount of state ownership.

Countries with an open media can surely see through this charade of independent action. But in China itself, this can be marketed as the outrage of the Chinese people, rising up against encirclement by the Americans and their lackeys. And in global public opinion, there is surely enough hostility to the US in places like Russia or the Middle East that this will sound somewhat plausible, or at least be marketed that way by anti-American elites.

Now South Korea Cannot Give In

 

In South Korea, the recent impeachment of conservative president Park Geun-Hye has opened the door for the left to take power in the upcoming special election on May 9. The left has broadly opposed THAAD. In the wake of Park’s final approval of it last year, several opposition parliamentarians jetted off to China to express their discontent (or ‘appease’ as the conservative press howled). The likely winner on May 9, Moon Jae-In, has expressed skepticism over THAAD before. The other left-wing candidates – there are no serious right-wing candidates given just how badly the Park scandal has discredited the right – have been even more hostile.

Yet I am very doubtful that Moon or any of the candidates, barring the least likely winner on the far left, will remove THAAD. There is indeed still a debate over THAAD’s technical merits. While I believe the case for THAAD is solid, and South Korean opinion generally supports it now given the sheer velocity of North Korean missile testing, there remain coherent arguments in opposition. For example, that it is merely symbolic, because North Korea could use other weapons to devastate South Korea, or that it might simply encourage North Korea to build even more missiles to overwhelm THAAD.

But such technical issues are increasingly irrelevant. The time to debate that was a year or two ago. Back then, the US and South Korea had made extensive track 1, track 1.5, and track 2 outreaches to China on THAAD, to explain its capabilities and consider China’s concerns. All were rebuffed. Instead China has dug in its heels, rather deeply, on this. It has been signaling to South Korea for more year not to deploy, threatening all sorts of retaliation. This has increasingly turned THAAD from a technical-functional issue of missile defense to an expression of South Korean national security sovereignty: does South Korea have the right to make national security decisions without China’s approval? The South Korea media, even on the center and left, are increasingly framing the tussle this way.

Hence the curious, but deserved, outcome for Beijing. Just as a South Korean government which agrees with China on THAAD is likely coming to power, Chinese bullying has painted it into such a tight corner that a leftist president will likely retain THAAD. For at this point, THAAD is not about THAAD anymore; it is about whether China has a veto over South Korean foreign policy. No South Korean president can assent to that.


Filed under: China, Defense, Elections, Korea (North), Korea (South), Missiles/Missile Defense

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

@Robert_E_Kelly

 

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Top 10 Things to Do in Jeju Island

Koreabridge - Thu, 2017-04-13 07:20
Top 10 Things to Do in Jeju Island

Fly just an hour and a half from the capital city of Seoul and you will arrive at South Korea’s resort island, Jeju Island or Jeju.

From UNESCO-certified natural wonders to hundreds of unique museums and attractions, this enchanted island has something for everyone.

To help you get the best out of Jeju, here’s a list of 10 best things to do on the island – try a bit of everything!

1. Get in touch with nature in Jeju Island

When it comes to nature, Jeju has it all. Named as 7 New Wonders of Nature in 2011, Jeju offers pristine beaches, waterfalls, oreums or volcanic cones, lava tube caves and many more awe-inspiring natural wonders that are absolutely bucket list-worthy.

There are so many places to visit in Jeju, so here we’ve narrowed down to five of our favorite spots on the island.

  1. Hallasan Mountain: a dormant volcano at the center of the island with crater lake on the top, surrounded by a national park with 368 parasitic volcanoes.
  2. Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak): an 182m volcanic cone famous for spectacular sunrises.
  3. Iho Taewoo Beach: a beach near downtown Jeju City famous for iconic horse-shaped lighthouses.
  4. Manjang Caves (Manjanggul): the longest lava tube on Jeju with the largest recorded lava column in the world inside the cave.
  5. Jusangjeolli Cliffs: unique volcanic rock formations that look like rectangular pillars near Jungmun Beach

Since there are so many destinations on the island, you won’t be able to visit and see all of them in one day, especially if you are traveling by foot or public transportation.

If you want to maximize your travel, the best options are to rent a car or to book one of the organized tours such as 1 Day Small Group Van Tour and 1 Day Bus Tour or private and personalized tours with a customized itinerary such as Taxi TourPrivate Van Tour or Private Mini Bus Tour.

2. Visit museums with a difference

If this is your first-time in Jeju Island, you will definitely be blown away by hundreds of museums scattered all over the island. In fact, Jeju’s museums are one of the main reasons to visit the island as they certainly offer something more than the classic, boring ones you’ve visited before.

A. Jeju Loveland 

Have fun taking photos in a sexy pose with the sexy and erotic sculptures at Jeju Loveland. Showcasing 140 sculptures and artworks inspired by human sexuality, this unique theme park has been drawing tourists and travelers from all around the world.If you’re with the little ones, don’t worry. There’s a separate playground zone for minors. To purchase 17% off discount tickets for Jeju Loveland, click here.

B. Teddy Bear Museum

Displaying a massive collection of teddy bears, Teddy Bear Museum is one of the must-visit museums in Jeju. Not only children love this place, but adults as well! For more information, click here.

C. Hello Kitty Island 

From galleries, café to a gift shop, Hello Kitty Island offers everything Hello Kitty. Don’t forget to drop by the gift shop and get yourself one of the Hello Kitty-themed goods as a souvenir!Make sure to take advantage of 17.5% off discount tickets before you visit.

See more must-visit museums in Jeju: Glass CastleBonte MuseumJeju Aerospace MuseumPlay KPOP Museum

3. Catch some waves

Offering a variety of scenic watersports and water-based activities, Jeju Island is a haven for aquaholics.Check out the list of exciting water-based activities offered by Trazy.com and book the activity according to your water personality!

  1. Stick-to-the-basics: Discover scuba diving program in Eastern Jeju
  2. Adrenaline junkies: Parasailing
  3. Laidback wanderer: Yongyeon Pond Kayaking
  4. Luxury sailors: Chagwido Glass Yacht
  5. Underwater explorer: Seogwipo Submarine
  6. A ‘reel’ fisherman: Deep sea boat fishing in Chagwido
  7. Non-swimmers: Aqua Planet Jeju
4. Take time to smell the flowers

Jeju offers beautiful gardens and parks to wander through and immerse in Jeju’s nature. Here are five best spots for an idyllic escape with your beloved ones!

  1. Hallim Park: a popular park featuring 9 different themed zones, including Palm Tree Road, Jeju Stone and Bonsai Garden, Subtropical Botanic Garden and more and two lava caves.
  2. Ecoland: a family-friendly theme park where you can explore Jeju’s forests on an 18th century Baldwin steam train.
  3. Ilchul Land: a theme park with botanical gardens, a waterfront park, a folk village, a cactus greenhouse and a small lava cave.
  4. Spirited Garden: a beautiful garden with the largest artificial waterfalls in Jeju. Many famous public figures including Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao from China, Nakasone from Japan and many more visited the garden.
  5. Camellia Hill: the biggest arboretum in Asia famous for its forest path and beautiful gardens of camellias.

Looking for extraordinary parks? Check out the two popular miniature theme parks below!

  • Mini Land: a theme park with miniature replicas of world-famous architectures and landmark buildings located in the eastern part of Jeju. For more info, click here.
  • Soingook Miniature Theme Park: a miniature theme park that is similar to Mini Land, but located in the western part of Jeju. For more info, click here.
5. Hit the trailsA. Walk through Olle Trails

In Jeju, there is a series of trails called Jeju Olle-gil, which leads through forests, volcanic cones and many other best-kept secrets of Jeju Island. There are 26 routes in total and you can explore three of them if you sign up for a one-day Olle trekking tour. For more info, click here.

B. Hike up Hallasan Mountain

Hiking up Hallasan Mountain or Mt. Halla, and to its peak at 1,950 meters (6,397 feet) above sea level is one of the experiences you must try in Jeju. The reward for hiking to the top are the sight of Baekrokdam, the lake-filled crater, and the magnificent view of volcanic cones in the surrounding Hallasan National Park.It is relatively easy to hike Hallasan Mountain. The hiking courses are less than 10 km in length. Starting at the Seongpanak Entrance, the 9.6-kilometer (6-mile) hike to the summit takes about five hours. But take note that the weather changes constantly and it can be very wind while you are hiking.

6. Savor the authentic flavors of Jeju

Are you a food enthusiast? Try Jeju’s three best local specialties below!

  1. Jeonbokjuk: an abalone porridge made out of innards of the abalone and rice.
  2. Heuk-dwaeji: a juicy and succulent grilled pork belly from Jeju’s native black pig, which is slightly more expensive than regular pork, but well worth it.
  3. Jagalchi: grilled or boiled thinly sliced raw silver scabbardfish

See 9 best local restaurants in Jeju Island.

If you are a Muslim traveler, make sure to check out the list of Muslim-friendly restaurants in Jeju here.

7. Drop by hipster cafes and fine diners

If you feel like you had enough local foods, enjoy a fine dining at Maison Glad Buffet. Then drop by one of these trendy beachfront cafes killer views of the island’s stunning ocean vistas. See Jeju’s 6 best beachfront cafes here.Or try and visit one of the most unique cafes in Jeju, Siwa Dream Foot Bath Cafe. While enjoying a cup of coffee you can treat yourself a nice foot bath to relax your tired feet and freshen up yourself. For more info, click here.

8. Head out for outdoor adventures

When you visit Jeju, never miss out on adventurous activities and experiences that the island has to offer. Make your trip legendary with some of the best adventures below!

  1. Horseback ride: Try horseback riding in Jeju, particularly the shore-front horseback riding. You can take in the view of wonderful Seongsan Ilchulbong, or Sunrise Peak while riding a horse along the beach. Sign up here and saddle up!
  2. Rail bike: Take in Jeju’s stunning scenery with your beloved ones while pedaling along the railway tracks. You can purchase 34% off discount tickets here.
  3. Zipline:  Fly over a forest or ocean! Zipline Jeju offers an adrenaline-pumping zip lining experience with four different options for you to choose from. Purchase 25% off discount tickets here.
  4. Off Road Ride: Seeking for pure adrenaline-filled joy? Head out and explore Jeju’s natural wonders in off-road recreational vehicles at Sunsaemi Park. Grab your squad and enjoy the 12km off-road drive course! Booking is available here.
  5. Hot Air Balloon: Launch yourself a hot air balloon, hop on it and get a panoramic view of Jeju Island at sunset. Make sure to book in advance for this unique and amazing experience here.
9. Soak up the history and culture of JejuA. Experience Jeju’s local market scenes

Experience the authentic local culture of Jeju at five-day markets or permanent local markets. One of the most famous markets is Dongmun Market, located near Jeju International Airport.It is the largest permanent market in Jeju where you can find all sorts of indigenous goods and products such as Jeju citrus fruits. Compared to other seafood restaurants and traditional marketplaces around, the price of the fish and seafood here is known to be relatively cheap.

See Top 10 traditional markets in Jeju.

B. Time travel back to the late 19th century

Housing a folk village with over 100 traditional houses and 8,000 folk items, Jeju Folk Village Museum is a must-visit place for those who want to learn about the island’s rich history and culture. Purchase discount tickets for Jeju Folk Village Museum here.

10. Explore Jeju’s other paradise islands

Though Jeju itself is an island, there are beautiful small islets.

  1. Chagwido Island (west of Jeju): a tiny uninhabited island, just a short 10 minutes ride from Jagunae Harbor, famous as a fishing destination. A boat fishing experience in Chagwido at only $11 is available here.
  2. Udo Island (east of Jeju): a popular island situated 3.5 km off the coast of Jeju, famous for its pristine white beaches, particularly Seobin-baeksa Beach, and black lava cliffs.

Check out more awesome things to do in Jeju Island or other parts of South Korea at Trazy.comKorea’s #1 Travel Shop!

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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6 Reasons We Probably Why We Probably Won’t Bomb North Korea

Koreabridge - Sun, 2017-04-09 02:41
6 Reasons We Probably Why We Probably Won’t Bomb North Korea


This is a local re-post of an article I wrote for The National Interest a few weeks ago.

Even though we are bombing Syria now and Trump wants to look tough and presidential, I do not think we will bomb North Korea. We’ve thought about it for years and always demurred. Trump, for all his bluster, has changed those reasons for not attacking, so I still think we won’t do it. Maybe Trump really is erratic and unpredictable, but I’d bet McMaster and Mattis are telling him a lot of the same stuff – huge risk or war, Seoul’s vulnerability, trashing of the relationship with China and so on. Are we ready to gamble all that on strikes that might not even work?

The full essay follows the jump:

 

 

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made waves last week when he suggested that military action against North Korea was an option. He pointedly said that former President Barack Obama’s ‘strategic patience’ approach was over. Tillerson did not say what military options were under consideration, but bombing is the likely choice. The US has air superiority over North Korea by a wide margin, while it is unclear what kind of naval action would be available, and ground action of course has huge risks.

The idea of retaliating against North Korea has, of course, been around for a long time. North Korea provokes South Korea, Japan, and the United States regularly. Several of those provocations were severe enough that military action would likely have enjoyed some global acceptance. In 1968, the North Koreans captured the USS Pueblo, a naval intelligence vessel, and held the crew for almost a year. In 1969, North Korea shot down a US reconnaissance plane, killing the crew. In 1998, North Korea shot a missile over Japan. In 2010 North Korea sank a South Korean corvette and shelled a South Korean-held island, killing fifty. Yet in each case, the US, South Korea, and Japan choose to defer. The reasons for that restraint are broadly still in place and will likely inhibit President Donald Trump as they have previous US presidents:

1. Seoul is extremely vulnerable to North Korean counter-fire. This is probably the greatest military constraint. South Korea is badly configured for a protracted bout of tit-for-tat retaliation and counter-retaliation with North Korea. This is not like Israel’s ability to strike Arab opponents with limited counter-strike vulnerability. Seoul and its surrounding Kyeonggi province lie right on the demilitarized zone border. Kyeonggi includes 55% of the entire South Korea population and is the economic and political heart of this highly centralized country. This megalopolis makes for a big, hard-to-defend, easy-to-hit target should Pyongyang hit back against an airstrike.

2. Trump would need the political approval of South Korea and Japan. Those countries would bear the brunt of any retaliation. Legally, Trump could proceed of course, but he would destroy the US alliance with either or both if they did not approve. While Japan under hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might run the risk, South Korea is effectively unable to respond now, because its president has been impeached. Seoul is led by a caretaker government at the moment, and the left, which would almost certainly disapprove of airstrikes, is widely expected to win the upcoming May election.

3. Such a strike would not be brief or ‘surgical;’ it could last days or even weeks. As such, it would soon look more like a war rather than a limited action. North Korea has spent decades tunneling to protect its military assets after it suffered under an extraordinarily punishing US air campaign during the Korean War. It has also invested in road-mobile launchers and submarines. If the US were to try to hit all of North Korea’s nuclear and missile assets, the air campaign would likely be extensive and lengthy. If it did not, North Korea might well use its remaining assets to strike South Korea and Japan. The longer the campaign dragged on, the more likely North Korean counter-action would become. A slide toward all-out war would loom,

4. We do not know what North Korea’s red-lines are. The Korean People’s Army (KPA) presumably has war plans, just as we do. Those plans almost certainly have flash-points for how to respond to allied action. Given that its nuclear and missile programs are North Korea’s most valuable assets, after the leadership itself, it is easy to imagine that the KPA would hit back. Also, the longer the US air campaign lasted, the more it would look like a war, not a limited action. There would be rising pressure throughout the North Korean elite to do something, and given that the KPA’s access to the highly-constrained national budget turns on its reputation as the state’s ferocious defender, the brass would almost certainly be howling to hit back hard. Again, the slide from a limited action toward war would loom.

5. North Korea would almost certainly use human shields. Assuming the US air campaign did not end in short order, the North would almost certainly start wrapping potential targets with civilians. The North Korean elite let one to two million of its citizens starve to death in the late 1990s famine. They would have no compunction to once again sacrifice their people.

6. Such an airstrike would wreck America’s relationship with China, the most important bilateral relationship in world politics, for years, perhaps decades. Any US campaign would take place over China’s objection, and the US would almost certainly not provide any advance notification. China loathes North Korea but fears its collapse and US military hegemony in Asia even more. The US has always grappled with how much to let North Korea impinge on its relationship with China. While Washington desperately wants Chinese assistance on the North, it has never risked the entire relationship, in all its many important aspects – trade, investment, China’s dollar reserve holdings, the South and East China Seas, climate change, and so on – on the North Korea question.

These costs and constraints do not make airstrikes impossible, but they have impeded kinetic options in the past, and I see no reason why they do not this time as well. That the US is considering airstrikes anyway, despite these high hurdles, suggest just how dangerous North Korea has now become.


Filed under: Korea (North), 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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Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival | Travel Review & Tips

Koreabridge - Fri, 2017-04-07 01:20
Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival | Travel Review & Tips About Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival

Early April every year, the Simni Cherry Blossom Road, the 4 km road that connects Ssanggyesa Temple and Hwagaejangteo Market, is filled with 1,200 cherry blossom trees in full bloom.  To capture this scenic view, people from all over Korea take a trip to this small village in Hadong, Gyeongsangnamdo Province and have an unforgettable moment with their beloved people.

In the hope that international travelers also get to know about this charming little village, I, a member of Trazy Crew and your best online tour guide for Korea, set off to Hadong to deliver the beautiful scenery of Hwagae Cherry Blossom FestivalTrazy’s Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival tour bus dropped me off at Ssanggyesa Temple. The tour is designed for you to walk about 4 km from Ssanggyesa temple to Hwagaejangteo Market while enjoying the cherry blossom arch over your head.

Ssanggyesa Temple

Ssanggyesa Temple is one of the most popular temples in the Jirisan area and its foundation dates back to the 8th century. The layout of the buildings in the temple compound well harmonizes with the surrounding nature. The colorful, but not necessarily gaudy, paintwork on the wooden buildings doubles aesthetic pleasure in the traditional construction.

Simni Cherry Blossom Road

The road to Hwagaejangteo Market divides into two at the temple’s entrance by Hwagaecheon Stream. Both roads, laid out side by side with the stream in the middle, are filled with densely planted cherry blossom trees. Whichever side you choose, you’ll walk under the beautiful cherry blossom arch. Also, you can switch the road at the bridges that you will encounter a couple of times on your way to Hawgaegangteo Market.

Photo of the other side taken from one side of the streamPhoto taken on the bridge

This cherry blossom road has a nickname. Some people call the road “Hollye-gil” which is translated as “Wedding Road” in English. The myth behind it tells that if a couple walks this road together, they come to get married and live happily ever after.

Tip 1. Try Cherry Blossom Oyster & Ice Cream!

By the time my legs got tired and I needed something to eat, I came across a few food tents and snack bars. While the food is generally slightly over-priced, it is worth trying this unique local food of the area, Beotgul – the cherry blossom oyster.This oyster is caught from Seomjingang River in the local area. Unlike other oysters, this inhabits fresh water and grows as big as a human hand. I ordered one huge oyster. The server lady cut one of the shells off, took the flesh off from the other shell, chopped the flesh into a mouthful size and topped it with sour and spicy chili sauce. If you feel put off by raw freshwater food, you can also ask to cook it.I kept walking towards Hwagaejangteo market, the pick-up point for the tour bus to Seoul. This time I came across an ice cream stall famous for the cherry blossom ice cream. They added cherry blossom syrup in the ice cream mix. The ice cream is very sweet and you can taste the flowery flavor in it. I continued to follow the road with the ice cream on one hand, and the camera on the other hand.

Tip2. Walk More for the Greater View!

As I got closer to the market, the view became even more picturesque because the cherry blossoms begin to bloom near the market and they gradually spread up to the temple, the higher area. My view became brighter and brighter every time I took a step forward. The snow white cherry blossoms absolutely dazzled my eyes.The magnificence of the view reaches its peak at the end of the 4-km cherry blossom road and I finally met Hwagaejangteo Market with its signature thatched roof stores.

Hwagaejangteo Market

Hwagaejangteo Market is located where Hawgaecheon Stream joins Seomjingang River that divides Jeollanamdo Province and Gyeongsangnamdo Province. For its geographical feature, the market traditionally served as a meeting point for people from different provinces. People from Gyeongsangdo Province and Jeollado Province would come to Hwagaejangteo Market and exchange their local produce.The statue symbolizes a pedlar who used to travel across the country to sell goods in Hwagaejangteo Market.You can find locally cultivated green tea and herbs, pottery, and rice wine in the market. The beautiful scenery of the surrounding area attracts heaps of tourists all over the country and the market, of course, serves as an agora for people from different regions to meet.

Things to Check before You Visit
  • Wear in Layers!
    Although it is warm during the day in early April, mornings and nights are still chilly and you definitely need a jacket. The tour starts in the early morning and the temperature is highly likely below 10-degree celsius. It would be wise of you to wear thin clothes in layers during this season.
  • Wear Comfortable Walking Shoes!
    The area is not hilly but you’ll have to walk the 4 km cherry blossom road and more. Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • Remember When to Visit!
    Cherry Blossoms in Hadong, located in the southern part of Korea, bloom earlier than those in Seoul. Make sure you plan the trip for the first week of April if you want to visit Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival.
Looking for other spring festivals in Korea?

Browse more spring packages and tours at Trazy.comKorea’s #1 Travel Shop, and savor the delights of spring with us!

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