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Why learn Korean? – 7 Reasons to Learn This Magical Language

Mon, 2021-03-01 05:38

Have you ever asked yourself the question “Why learn Korean?” What is so special about this language? Among all the languages in the world, each of them cool and unique and quite possibly worthy of learning, why should you choose to study Korean?

In this article, we hope we can decidedly answer the question “Why learn Korean?” and hopefully give you the inspiration to continue your Korean language studies.

Let’s check out the reasons why you totally should learn Korean!

1. Korean alphabet is super simple and the writing system incredibly logical

At first glance, Korean may come across as an intimidating language due to having its own alphabet. However, the Korean alphabet is actually wonderful for how easy it is to learn and memorize. In fact, with us, you can master it in just 30 minutes!

Not only is the alphabet quick to memorize, but so is learning how to form words and sentences with them. Because the alphabet didn’t naturally evolve but was specifically created by King Sejong, it functions quite differently from many other languages. The ease and logic behind learning the basics of writing and reading certainly make Korean a language worth learning.

2. Korean grammar is straightforward

One massive advantage of Korean grammar is the lack of need to conjugate verbs, at least in the same way that you would have to with many other languages. Thanks to this fact, fewer headaches and more learning can take place! If you’re already convinced about learning Korean now, here is our beginner’s guide to Korean grammar.

For example, there’s no need to worry about noun genders. One big struggle people experience when learning languages like French, Spanish, and Italian – so, Latin languages – is having to learn how all nouns have genders – and what gender each noun has! But Korean language doesn’t have them at all, which is one more awesome way to make learning the language a little simpler.

3. It’s easy to speak

Because the Korean alphabet is built on phonetics, pronouncing Korean is also incredibly logical. The sounds may be new to you, but you’ll quickly be able to learn them as everything is pronounced the way it is written. We have a guide for Korean pronunciation as well, to get you started. With practice, you’ll be able to speak Korean words properly in no time!

In addition, you get to take advantage of “Konglish”, which stand for mixing Korean and English in speech. That means, there are a lot of loan words from English in the Korean language. In turn, it means less new vocabulary to learn, as you already know many of them through English and now only need to nail the Korean way of pronouncing them. Konglish is a great way for beginners to speak Korean without necessarily memorizing a lot of foreign words.

4. Korean music, dramas, and movies are incredibly popular right now

Thanks to BTS and Blackpink and many other world-famous K-pop artists, K-Pop is currently at its peak as a worldwide phenomenon. The Korean Wave is definitely here to stay! That makes Korean language a super cool one to be learning at the moment. So cool, in fact, you just might easily find friends to study together with! Better yet, maybe you could find a South Korean friend to practice your Korean with.

And not only are Korean dramas and movies great to watch for their popularity, but there are so incredibly many top-quality dramas and movies to choose from. And the best bit? They make for some of the best listening comprehension practice you could have when not in Korea. You could even learn a thing or two about their culture while watching your favorite Korean drama.

5. Korean culture is intriguing and unique

Beyond its popular culture, there’s a lot to love about the culture in Korea. It’s tremendously interesting and in many ways one of a kind. Even before the Korean wave, Korea has had a history of being a center of culture and arts. It’s possible to research and experience parts of it without knowing a lick of Korean. But the best bits you’ll likely only be able to understand once you also understand some of the Korean language. Specific terms, nuances, and so on, are much easier to get a hold of once you know some of the languages behind them.

6. It will be of so much help when you do visit South Korea

Most Koreans do speak enough English that you will survive your visit with flying colors even if you aren’t fluent in Korean. However, being able to communicate in the local language always makes things like ordering in the restaurant more convenient and comfortable for both parties. Not to mention Koreans will find you so cool and respectful for having taken the time to learn their language!

And, for example, it will give you an easier time making Korean friends once there. Koreans do spend a lot of time studying English and other languages. However, the truth is that it’s always easier to make friends with them when you approach them using Korean. But making Korean friends also means you will get to put your Korean skills into action often, making it a useful language to learn.

Korea has a very rich culture and visiting Korea to know more about their way of life is definitely worth it. However, you may want to brush up on your Korean before your trip if you really want to fully experience Korean culture. Trust us, the locals will love you for it.

7. Korean language can be useful for your career

Especially if you want to work in translation, interpretation, or other jobs that heavily involve languages, having Korean language included in your repertoire is a massive advantage.

Although there are many speakers of Korean out there, it still remains a language that few people are able to use as their talent. Therefore, it can be more advantageous to become proficient in Korean rather than Japanese or Chinese, or Russian, Spanish, French, and so on, for that matter.

Is Korean worth learning?

There are a number of factors that make learning Korean worth it. First, it’s a fantastic and fun language. If you’re a K-drama fan, then you get to understand the dialogues without having the need for subtitles. And if you love K-pop, then you’ll understand the lyrics and you get to sing along with your favorite artist.

Second, if you are going to visit or live in Korea, then it will undoubtedly be a new language that’s worth learning for you. Same if it is a language connected to your family history or your university degree. Perhaps learning Korean might even be necessary for your job! Learning Korean is worth learning because it opens you to a wider horizon. There are several reasons to learn Korean as we’ve discussed in the article above.

It could also be that the reasons above don’t apply to you. You may just want to learn a language and Korean just happens to be the one that you’ve been contemplating taking on.

Is Korean hard to Learn?

Generally, learning Korean isn’t difficult to learn. It may depend on your native language or language learning experience. But there’s nothing too difficult when you give your heart, time, and energy to learn something and that also applies to learning Korean. If you have the right materials and strategies on top of your dedication to learn Korean, it won’t be difficult to learn the language.

We hope that we’ve given you a new perspective on your Korean studies. Initially, you might feel that Korean is a new language that’s difficult to learn but eventually, with time, you’ll find that if you’re going to pick a foreign language to study, Korean might just be the one for you.

Is the language the same in North and South Korea?

The North and South use different dialects and vocabulary, but the fundamental parts of the language are the same.

Should I Learn Korean?

Although at first glance it may not seem like much more than a quirky niche language to learn for fun, learning the Korean language can actually have many advantages for you. Its relative easiness, coupled with the strong popular culture behind it, makes it a fun language.

But it’s in its usefulness both in living and traveling in South Korea as well as how you can utilize it for work, that you can truly see what a magnificent language Korean is to learn.

What questions do you have about learning Korean? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Why learn Korean? – 7 Reasons to Learn This Magical Language appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Wong Karwai Special

Mon, 2021-03-01 04:34
Date: Repeats every day until Tue Mar 16 2021. Monday, March 1, 2021 - 13:30Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - 13:30Wednesday, March 3, 2021 - 13:30Thursday, March 4, 2021 - 13:30Friday, March 5, 2021 - 13:30Saturday, March 6, 2021 - 13:30Sunday, March 7, 2021 - 13:30Monday, March 8, 2021 - 13:30Tuesday, March 9, 2021 - 13:30Wednesday, March 10, 2021 - 13:30Thursday, March 11, 2021 - 13:30Friday, March 12, 2021 - 13:30Saturday, March 13, 2021 - 13:30Sunday, March 14, 2021 - 13:30Monday, March 15, 2021 - 13:30Tuesday, March 16, 2021 - 13:30Location: Event Type: 

○ Period: February 26 - March 16, 2021

○ Venue: Busan Cinema Center

○ Tickets: 8,000 won for adults / 7,000 won for youth/ 6,000 won for members

○ For more info.: 051)780-6000

○ Website: http://www.dureraum.org

* Film List

重慶森林: Chungking Express

墮落天使: Fallen Angels

春光乍洩, Happy Together

花樣年華, In The Mood For Love


* Movie Times:


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Daegu Softball League - Spring 2021

Mon, 2021-03-01 02:22
Classified Ad Type: Location: Neighborhood: DaeguContact person by email

Daegu Softball League is starting soon and currently accepting sign-ups! It's a co-ed recreational league with heaps of personality. All levels accepted!  Play some ball, drink some beers, and make some friends!  Fun, fantastic food, and good vibes GUARANTEED! It's hands down one of the best decisions you can make while living in Korea! Visit www.daegusoftball.com for details.  

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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Learn Korean with BTS – Here’s How to Do It

Sun, 2021-02-28 16:59

Did you know that you can learn Korean with BTS? That’s right! The boys from Big Hit Entertainment can help with learning Korean!

Who knew that studying the songs of a boyband with over 100 million global fans can help you in learning the Korean language?

If you’re interested to study the Korean Language with BTS, read on!

Who is BTS?

BTS is a seven-member boy pop group from South Korea. They are also called “Bangtan Boys”, and are under the entertainment company Big Hit Entertainment (Do you know how to say BTS in Korean? Check out this video). They’ve taken Korea and the whole world by storm!

What does it mean to learn Korean with BTS?

You can use BTS lyrics, songs, and content to help you with studying the language. Within the songs, you can know useful vocabulary, slang, and expressions. Then when you sing along to the songs, you can speak and listen to the words you’ve learned.

You can look out for playlists like “BTS study music” or “BTS workout music” to help you with learning the language.

As you understand what the music means, you’ll start to uncover the subtle meanings built into the language. It’s different than just learning the romanized English version of the song. Additionally, you can actually learn a thing or two about the culture at the same time!

Can you become proficient in Korean by listening to K-Pop?

Yes, it will definitely help with proficiency. However, you will still want to study the underlying grammar and words. That will allow you to understand the meaning of the lyrics, as well as be able to create your own sentences.

We have a structured online course that will teach you all of the fundamentals that you need.

How can K-Pop help me learn Korean?

There are many ways that listening to K-Pop can help you study Korean.

The lyrics of the songs use a mix of everyday conversational language and artistic language. These can help you understand words or phrases. You can listen to the lyrics and understand the meaning behind them.

K-Pop artists also have live broadcast channels such as V Live. During these broadcasts, some kind-hearted fans translate what the artists say into English for the other fans who don’t understand. Sometimes the artists even do the translating themselves, if you ask nicely!

They also have a variety of programs such as Run BTS, where you can get exposed to their dialogues or conversations.

Can BTS help me in learning Korean?

You might be asking yourself: Can BTS really teach you Korean? Yes! We know a few tips for what type of learning you can do with the Kings of Big Hit Entertainment. We hope you are ready for it because we’ll introduce them to you below.

However, simply knowing you could study a foreign language with BTS may not be enough of a reason to utilize them as a learning tool. So, on top of some of the ways you can learn with BTS, here are some reasons why it’s totally awesome to learn Korean with BTS!

#1. You can follow along with their catchy songs

Give a few of their songs a listen, and you’ll know just what we mean. Whether the songs will become your personal favorites or not, they will get stuck in your head. Their fans know what we’re talking about!

Not only will you find their catchiness a great motivation to keep studying, but you’ll also end up learning through them whenever you find yourself singing along to the tune. AZLyrics is a great resource for finding BTS’ song lyrics in romanized, hangeul, and translated versions.

#2. You can have brief lessons throughout the day

Because each song is only a few minutes long, you don’t have to spend an hour on each one. In many cases, you’ll only need three minutes!

So if you’re pressed for time at the moment, put on a catchy song by BTS and really listen to the lyrics. You might even try singing along. It might not happen immediately, but each of those three minutes of pronunciation practice will add up. Soon you’ll be surprised by how much of the lyrics you can actually understand!

#3. Singing along improves your pronunciation

When studying Korean, practice is key. And is there anything more fun than practicing your pronunciation by singing along to your favorite songs? We don’t think so!

If you’re having a hard time understanding the lyrics, try just learning a few words at a time. Do the same with the grammar and phrases, and step-by-step the meaning will become clear!

#4. The songs’ repetitiveness makes memorization easier

Once you get started with singing along with BTS, you’ll want to listen to the songs over and over again, which will enhance your listening, memorization, and even pronunciation skills.

Because the vocabulary in the songs isn’t your typical everyday basic conversation, you’ll also try to learn them with more excitement so that you can understand properly what your biases are singing about. In little time you’ll find yourself singing the songs from memory, even when it’s not playing in the background!

#5. Beyond songs, there’s so much content with BTS in them to explore through

Any song from this awesome group would eventually be a big hit. But beyond the songs, they have so much content to help you learn.

You can also follow them on their social media accounts and focus on reading their photos’ captions. You can even connect and socialize with the millions of BTS fans who are also trying to study the language. Youtube videos of their interviews are a big hit among fans, with hours of content, garnering millions of likes from fans. Ask any of their global fans (called the BTS Army), they’ll tell you that they’re so much more than just the music.

#6. You can learn slang that isn’t taught in textbooks

It’s fun to pick up slang in songs, and the BTS lyrics are a great way to study them! The more modern slang you know, the more you’ll be able to understand K-Dramas and Korean movies, too.

#7. It can aid in understanding K-Pop culture and culture in general

BTS is a big name in K-Pop as well and can be likened to as one of Korea’s flagship music acts at the moment. Through them, you can not only open doors to more understanding and knowledge of K-Pop, but of Korean culture as a whole. And loving the culture behind the language is a great way to learn.

These are just a few examples of the reasons and ways that BTS can help you in learning Korean. You may even come up with new ways yourself!

If you want to learn what BTS lyrics mean, we have a step-by-step course inside of 90 Day Korean membership that will teach you the basics in only 3 months. Skip the guesswork plus get hand-picked content and full support from a native Korean speaker.

What questions do you have about learning Korean with BTS? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Learn Korean with BTS – Here’s How to Do It appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Sinheungsa Temple – 신흥사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

Sun, 2021-02-28 14:59
Sinheungsa Temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do.

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Temple History and Myth

Sinheungsa Temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do, which shouldn’t be confused with the more famous temple of the same name in Sokcho, Gangwon-do, means “New Enjoyment Temple” in English. Sinheungsa Temple is located on the foot of Mt. Yeongchuksan (1081 m) on the western side of the mountain. If this mountain sounds familiar, it should, as it houses Tongdosa Temple on the eastern side of Mt. Yeongchuksan.

There are some that claim that Sinheungsa Temple was first established in 301 A.D. during the Gaya Confederacy (42-532 A.D.). And while it’s plausible, it’s highly unlikely with the introduction of Buddhism entering into the neighbouring kingdoms of the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. – 660 A.D.) in 384 A.D. and the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C. – 935 A.D.) in 527 A.D. And without any archaeological or architectural evidence, it would seem that Buddhism entered this territory sometime after 301 A.D.

With all that being said, and like so many other great temples in Korea, Sinheungsa Temple has a great myth surrounding its creation. According to myth, King Suro (42?-199 A.D.), the legendary founder of the Gaya Confederacy, was praying on the temple grounds when he was advised that there was a poisonous dragon/snake in a neighbouring jade pond. He was instructed to drive out this poisonous dragon/snake from the countryside. So praying earnestly, the temple building stones turned into fish and drove out the dragon/snake from the countryside and into the East Sea. That’s why now, if you knock on a stone at Sinheungsa Temple, it’ll sound like metal.

After its foundation, very little is known until the mid-Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), when Sinheungsa Temple was rebuilt in 1582. During the Imjin War (1592-1598), the temple was destroyed by the invading Japanese in 1592. According to a record recovered during a partial repair of the main hall at Sinheungsa Temple in 1988, it was discovered that the Daegwang-jeon Hall had been rebuilt in 1657. From that date, the entire temple complex was slowly rebuilt.

A major restoration and rebuilding period occurred at Sinheungsa Temple during the 1980’s. Not only was the Daegwang-jeon Hall repaired, but starting in 1983, the Chilseong-gak Hall, the Sanshin-gak Hall, the Cheonwangmun Gate, the Iljumun Gate, and the Guksa-dang Hall were rebuilt, as well. This restoration and rebuilding continues to the present day with new additions like the Gwaneum-jeon Hall, the Myeongbu-jeon Hall, and the Samseong-gak Hall being built in the eastern courtyard.

In total, Sinheungsa Temple is home to two Korean Treasures. It’s also worth noting that the head monk at Sinheungsa Temple isn’t a big fan of pictures or videos being taken at the temple, so be forewarned if you do in fact visit Sinheungsa Temple.

Temple Layout

You first approach Sinheungsa Temple up an unevenly paved country road next to a meandering stream. You’ll need to walk about five hundred metres up this country road and past the uniquely designed Iljumun Gate to gain entry to the main courtyard at Sinheungsa Temple. Crossing over a bridge with handrails appearing in the form of a dragon’s head and body, you’ll see the walled-off compound that is the main temple courtyard at Sinheungsa Temple.

Just to the right of this is the temple’s Cheonwangmun Gate. Four expressive incarnations of the Four Heavenly Kings take up residents inside this second entry gate at Sinheungsa Temple. The exterior walls to the Cheonwangmun Gate are beautifully, yet intimidatingly, adorned with various guardian murals.

Appearing on the other side of the Cheonwangmun Gate, and now standing squarely in the western temple courtyard, you’ll notice the Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion) to your immediate left. Housed inside this one story structure are the four traditional Buddhist percussion instruments, which include a Brahma Bell, a Dharma Drum, a Wooden Fish Drum, and a Cloud Plate Drum. Of the four, it’s the blue Mokeo (Wooden Fish Drum) that will draw most of your attention with its slender body and fierce dragon head. It’s also in this part of the temple, even further to the left, that you’ll find the monks quarters, visitors centre, and study halls at Sinheungsa Temple. And to your immediate right of the Cheonwangmun Gate is a large, long lecture hall.

However, it’s the temple structure straight ahead of you that’s the main attraction at Sinheungsa Temple. It’s the Daegwang-jeon Hall, which was first built in 1657, and it’s Korean Treasure #1120. The exterior wall murals that once adorned the Daegwang-jeon Hall are all gone: washed away by the passage of time. Although the Daegwang-jeon Hall was built in the mid-Joseon Dynasty, it retains a lot of the features of the early Joseon Dynasty. Stepping inside the Daegwang-jeon Hall, you’ll immediately notice that the interior is completely filled with historic murals that date back to the mid-17th century, while a few others were painted in the 18th century. In total, there are nearly fifty of these murals, and they’re designated as Korean Treasure #1757. Also, the interior is decorated with elaborate dancheong colours that are believed to have been created at the time of the Daegwang-jeon Hall’s construction. The triad of statues on the main altar is occupied by the central image of Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy).

Specifically, as for the collection of fifty murals housed inside the Daegwang-jeon Hall, the inner, outer, and upper half walls are adorned with these murals, as are the cross beams and the tall inner columns to the Daegwang-jeon Hall. The murals are meant to depict the Buddha’s world. The murals that adorn the eastern inner walls of the Daegwang-jeon Hall consist of a Yaksayeorae-bul (The Buddha of Medicine, and the Buddha of the Eastern Paradise) triad in the upper central portion of the wall. Murals of the Palsang-do (The Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life) adorn the outer columns and horizontal supports. There are also paintings dedicated to Agwi (Hungry Spirits) on the lower under wall on the far left corner of the Daegwang-jeon Hall.

The murals on the western wall, on the other hand, take up the entire wall. In total, the wall is divided into three parts, which contain murals dedicated to an Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) triad at the top. There are then six Bodhisattvas in the middle, and the Four Heavenly Kings at the base of the three parts. Spread throughout the entire interior of the Daegwang-jeon Hall are guardian murals. And to the rear of the main altar, on the reverse side of the main altar wall, is a dark blue mural dedicated to three incarnations of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). There is one larger seated central image of the Bodhisattva of Compassion that’s joined on either side by two smaller standing murals of Gwanseeum-bosal. While some of the murals housed inside the Daegwang-jeon Hall were repaired during the early 19th century, both the Yaksayeorae-bul triad and the Amita-bul triad on the east and west walls remain as they were first painted.

To the left rear of the the Daegwang-jeon Hall is the newly constructed Nahan-jeon Hall. Housed inside the Nahan-jeon Hall are sixteen beautiful statues of the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha) that are joined on the main altar by the central image of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). Past the Nahan-jeon Hall, and up a winding trail to the rear of the Nahan-jeon Hall, is the Sanshin-gak Hall that looks over the entire temple grounds. The right exterior wall is adorned with a ferocious tiger. Stepping inside the small shaman shrine hall, you’ll be greeted by a solitary painting dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). In the painting, Sanshin is holding a feather fan in his right hand, and the tiger is cuddled up close to the Mountain Spirit with its head and paw placed lovingly/protectively on the lap of Sanshin.

To the right of the older part of the temple is the eastern temple courtyard. There are three newer temple shrine halls that occupy this part of the temple grounds. The first is the newly built Gwaneum-jeon Hall. Housed inside the Gwaneum-jeon Hall, and seated on the main altar, is a beautifully ornate statue dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal. This multi-armed and headed incarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion is joined by a statue of Yongwang (The Dragon King) that stares inquisitively up at Gwanseeum-bosal. As for the interior of the Gwaneum-jeon Hall, it’s filled with beautiful murals dedicated to the various incarnations of Gwanseeum-bosal, including the back wall of the main altar that’s occupied by three all-white incarnations of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, including one reminiscent of the historic one found at Muwisa Temple.

To the right of the Gwaneum-jeon Hall is the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. This hall is dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). The exterior walls are adorned with frightening and redemptive murals of the afterlife. Stepping inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall, you’ll notice a golden-capped statue of Jijang-bosal seated on the main altar. Above the main altar is one of the most amazing murals dedicated to Jijang-bosal in all of Korea. The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife stands on a stone island outcropping surrounded by the fires of the underworld, as Jijang-bosal attempts to save the souls of the dead. The main altar statue inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall is joined by large wooden seated statues of the Siwang (The Ten Kings of the Underworld). And the rest of the Myeongbu-jeon Hall is ornately occupied by vibrant murals of guardians and fowl like peacocks.

The final shrine hall that visitors can explore at Sinheungsa Temple is the Samseong-gak Hall, which is situated just to the north of the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. This newly constructed shaman shrine hall is filled with three murals. The three murals are dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars), Dokseong (The Lonely Saint), and Yongwang (The Dragon King).

How To Get There

Sinheungsa Temple is one of the more difficult temples to get to because of its relatively remote location. From the Wondong train station in south-western Yangsan, you can catch Bus #2. Take this bus for nineteen stops and get off at the “Yeongpo – 영포” stop. From here, you should be able to see a large brown sign saying Sinheungsa Temple on it. From this sign, hang a right for five hundred metres, and you’ll find the temple.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

This little known temple is packed with both natural and architectural beauty. The main highlight, without a doubt, is the 17th century Daegwang-jeon Hall with its equally historic murals that occupy every square inch of the interior. It’s truly spellbinding with its fifty historic Buddhist murals. Adding to these are the murals and iconography that occupy the half dozen shrine halls and the pair of entry gates. While you’ll have to watch for the curmudgeonly head monk at Sinheungsa Temple, and while a bit remote in location, Sinheungsa Temple is definitely worth a visit!

A look through the Cheonwangmun Gate at the historic Daegwang-jeon Hall. The historic Daegwang-jeon Hall at Sinheungsa Temple. The main altar inside the Daegwang-jeon Hall with a Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural) and the historic triad of Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha, and the Buddha of the Eastern Paradise) above it. The backside of the main altar wall. It’s a dark blue triad of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). The west wall inside the Daegwang-jeon Hall. This is the lower section of two Sacheonwang (Four Heavenly Kings). The western wall’s middle section with six Bodhisattvas. The upper portion of the western wall with a triad dedicated to Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). An Agwi (Hungry Spirit) mural inside the Daegwang-jeon Hall. The elevated Sanshin-gak Hall at Sinheungsa Temple. A look inside the Gwaneum-jeon Hall at the Bodhisattva of Compassion. The main altar inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. The newly built Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. field_vote:  0 Your rating: None
Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

BECAUSE(1) SONGㅣ- 아서/어서 송

Sun, 2021-02-28 14:53

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Hi 안녕하세요 I'm Won!
I hope this channel is helpful

Private Korean lesson (Conversation, Pronunciation, Writing etc)
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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Boriam Hermitage – 보리암 (Namhae, Gyeongsangnam-do)

Sun, 2021-02-28 05:00

The View from the Manbul-jeon Hall at Boriam Hermitage in Namhae, Gyeongsangnam-do.

This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of sales, if you purchase the item after clicking on an advertising link at no expense to you. This will help keep the website running. Thanks, as always, for your support!

Hermitage History and Myth

Boriam Hermitage is located on Mt. Geumsan (704.9 m) in the southern part of Namhae, Gyeongsangnam-do. Boriam Hermitage was first established in 683 A.D. by the famed monk Wonhyo-daesa (617-686 A.D.) near the end of his life. Wonhyo-daesa was drawn to this location because of the amazing appearance of the mountain. Wonhyo-daesa saw light emitting from the mountain. Wonhyo-daesa described this light as a “light beyond description.” So he named the mountain Mt. Bogwangsan, and he named the new temple Bogwangwa Temple.

Boriam Hermitage gained famed as the site where General Yi Seong-gye (King Taejo), who would become the founding king of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), performed ritual prayers. It’s believed that Yi Seong-gye (King Taejo) stayed at Boriam Hermitage for one hundred days to seek guidance to sufficiently lead his new kingdom, as well as to have the wisdom and good fortune to establish this new kingdom. It’s also believed that Yi Seong-gye (King Taejo) promised Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and the local Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) that he would wrap the entire mountain in silk if he was successful in his establishment of a new dynasty: the Joseon Dynasty. Sadly this promise was never fulfilled; but his future successor, King Hyeonjong of Joseon (r.1659-1674) would carry out this promise by renaming the mountain where Boriam Hermitage is located from Mt. Bogwangsan to Mt. Geumsan. It was also at this time that the temple was renamed to Boriam Hermitage from Bogwangsa Temple. Boriam Hermitage means “Enlightenment Hermitage” in English. At this time, Boriam Hermitage was designated as the “vowing temple of the royal family.”

Boriam Hermitage is one of the five most famous temples in Korea for the worship of Gwanseeum-bosal. It’s a Gwaneum-doryang, and it’s reputed that Boriam Hermitage is one of five sites where Gwanseeum-bosal is supposed to dwell in Korea.

More recently, Boriam Hermitage has undergone three renovations and reconstructions in the 20th century. The first took place in 1901, followed by one in 1954. The final of the three renovations took place in 1969 with the completion of the large, stone statue dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal that overlooks the South Sea.

Boriam Hermitage has quite an interesting myth, as well, related to the three-story pagoda that was meant to enshrine the partial remains of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) that were brought with Queen Heo on her voyage. The stone pagoda sits on a rock ledge that overlooks the South Sea at the hermitage. According to this myth, the pagoda was first built from the stones that Queen Heo brought with her from India. Queen Heo is the legendary/mythical queen mentioned in the 13th century text the Samguk Yusa. According to the Samguk Yusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms), Queen Heo became the wife of King Suro of Geumgwan Gaya (42?-199 A.D.) at the age of sixteen. After arriving on the Korean peninsula by boat from a distant kingdom called the Ayuta Kingdom, Queen Heo became the first queen of Geumgwan Gaya. Together, King Suro and Queen Heo would have twelve children (two of whom took on her family name). But while Queen Heo is referenced in the Samguk Yusa and the Garak-gukgi (The Record of Garak Kingdom), which is now lost, there is no mention of Queen Heo in any pre-modern Indian sources. What further casts doubt on this myth is that the stones that make up the three-story pagoda are made of granite. What’s more likely is that the pagoda was first built during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). Either way, even if the myth seems unlikely, it’s an interesting myth that attempts to connect Boriam Hermitage to the ancient Gaya Confederacy (42-562 A.D).

Some of this information can be found in David Mason’s book “An Encyclopedia of Korean Buddhism.”

Hermitage Layout

Arriving at the base of Mt. Geumsan, which is apart of Hallyeohaesang National Marine Park, you’ll need to pay the 2,000 won entrance fee to the national park to gain access to Boriam Hermitage. After paying the Hallyeohaesang National Marine Park entry fee, there are three ways to get to the top of Mt. Geumsan. The first is that you can walk the nearly four kilometre trail up the mountain, which I don’t recommend. The second way you can get to the top of the mountain is by a shuttle bus. This shuttle bus leaves frequently from the base of Mt. Geumsan. The third way you can get to the top of Mt. Geumsan is by car, but you’ll probably need to wait in line until a parking spot opens up in the limited parking lot spaces for Boriam Hermitage. If you do in fact drive to Boriam Hermitage, I recommend getting there early to avoid the lines.

After finally getting to the top of Mt. Geumsan, you’ll pass by the ticket booth at Boriam Hermitage. Entry to the hermitage is a very reasonable 1,000 won. The hike from this booth to the main hermitage grounds is a beautiful one kilometre hike. Boriam Hermitage is very popular, so just follow the crowds to make sure you don’t get lost. Along the way, you’ll catch glimpses of the South Sea off in the distance. This view is what makes Boriam Hermitage so famous and popular.

Finally nearing the hermitage grounds, you’ll come to a second parking lot. This smaller parking lot houses a convenience store. It’s also from this second parking lot that you’ll finally get a clear view of the South Sea and the tiny islands that dot the horizon. The view is breath-taking.

A little further up the trail, and at a fork in the trail, you’ll need to turn left. Descending down a large set of stairs, you’ll finally be in the compact hermitage grounds. To your immediate left, and past the hermitage’s administration office, is the Manbul-jeon Hall (10,000 Buddhas Hall). Inside this temple shrine hall, as the name kind of alludes to, are ten thousand Seokgamoni-bul (Historical Buddha) statuettes. These statuettes line all of the interior walls to the Manbul-jeon Hall. And sitting in the centre of the main altar triad is a larger sized statue of Seokgamoni-bul. It’s from out in front of the Manbul-jeon Hall that you get, arguably, the most impressive view of the South Sea from Boriam Hermitage.

Stepping into the centre of the hermitage courtyard, you’ll be flanked by the Wontong-jeon Hall to your right and an observation hall to your left. Both are fairly long in length. Surrounding the Wontong-jeon main hall are paintings of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). And sitting all alone on the main altar inside the Wontong-jeon Hall is a diminutive statue of Gwanseeum-bosal on a red silk pillow.

Behind the Wontong-jeon Hall, and up a steep set of stone stairs, is the temple’s Sanshin-gak Hall. Inside this rather plain shaman shrine hall is a beautiful painting dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). The main highlight to this painting is the uniquely painted tiger that peers around the side of the Mountain Spirit.

To the left of the Wontong-jeon Hall is the Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion). And the final area that visitors can explore at Boriam Hermitage is down a flight of stairs next to the Jong-ru. Down these stairs, and up a smaller set, is a ledge that houses a tall, slender statue dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal. This stone statue looks serenely out onto the sea. And to the statue’s right is the aforementioned three-story pagoda. Like from the Manbul-jeon Hall, there are some breath-taking views of the South Sea from here.

How To Get There

From the Namhae bus terminal, which is called “Namhae Gongyong Terminal – 남해공용터미널,” you’ll need to catch a taxi to get to Boriam Hermitage. The ride should last about twenty-five minutes, or 16.1 k.m., and it’ll cost you 20,000 won one way.


Overall Rating: 8/10

While the hermitage buildings aren’t the most impressive that you’ll see at a Korean Buddhist temple, this is more than made up for by the spectacular views from the heights of Boriam Hermitage. The views from the standing Gwanseeum-bosal statue and the Manbul-jeon Hall have the greatest vistas of the South Sea. Truly, the neighbouring landscape is second-to-none; and arguably, the most beautiful that you’ll find at a Korean temple or hermitage for that matter.

The amazing view as you first approach Boriam Hermitage.

The first sign of the hermitage grounds as you approach.

The view with the observation hall at Boriam Hermitage.

One of the most beautiful views at Boriam Hermitage.

Inside the Manbul-jeon Hall. It’s from just outside this hall that you get the most amazing view.

The main altar inside the Wontong-jeon Hall.

The spectacular view from the Sanshin-gak Hall.

The stone statue of Gwanseeum-bosal alongside the three-story pagoda from the founding myth.

A look up at the observation hall at Boriam Hermitage.

A better look at Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion).

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Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #92: It’s For You

Sat, 2021-02-27 18:01

In this lesson we'll learn about the grammar forms 위해(서) and 위한 - and we'll learn how to use it with both verbs and nouns.

We're up to lesson 92, and the final episode in this series will be 100.

Remember that this course goes in order, so start from the very beginning if you're new to this series. Everything builds upon the previous lessons and goes in order.

The post Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #92: It’s For You appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

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Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #92: It’s For You

Sat, 2021-02-27 18:01

In this lesson we'll learn about the grammar forms 위해(서) and 위한 - and we'll learn how to use it with both verbs and nouns.

We're up to lesson 92, and the final episode in this series will be 100.

Remember that this course goes in order, so start from the very beginning if you're new to this series. Everything builds upon the previous lessons and goes in order.

The post Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #92: It’s For You appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

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The 2021 Koreabridge Server Move

Sat, 2021-02-27 14:20

On February 28, Koreabridge.net upgraded its software and moved to a new server.  If all went well, there shouldn’t be any significant change in functionality and only minor changes in how things look.  Hopefully, once we settle in, we can add additional features and maybe even get some cosmetic surgery :)

If you encounter any problems using the site or have any feedback, please let us know as soon as possible.  You can comment below or send an email to [email protected].

An archived version of the ‘old site’ will be online at Koreabridge.COM until March 5. Any private messages sent between after February 26-28 were not transferred to the new site. You should still have been notified and can check them there until March 5.

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English Worship @ Podowon Church in Yulli / Busan

Fri, 2021-02-26 14:03

We're an English Speaking Christian Church (led by an American Missionary) We're an inter-denominatioal ministry and our mission is to equip and serve the international community for Jesus Christ.

Our church is located in North West Busan, near Yulli station. Come join us for Worship and Fellowship! 

Adult English Worship Service: Sunday 1:30 p.m. - 7th Floor of Cultural Bldg.  

  • The Cultural Bldg is the tall glass building on the right side of the main church.
  • Enter Cultural Building on ground floor entrance and go up to 1st Flr.
  • Or Enter Main Church Bldg and go up to B1 level. Go across the B1 corridor to Cultural Bldg. and take elevator to the 7th floor.

         Sermons online at www.podowon.or.kr - scroll to "Adult English Worship"

Children' English Worship: Sunday at 10:00 a.m. (B206) for grades 1-6.

  • B206 is located in the Main Church Bldg. Go to level B2 - down left side hallway. 

Address: 16 Hyoyeol-ro, Buk-gu, Busan  / Podowon Church "Dream Center"

Taxi - Yulli Station 율리역 Podowon Church 포도원교회

for driver - 부산광역시 북구 효열로 16 (금곡동, 포도원교회)

Subway: Take Green Line 2 to #236 - 율리Yulli station. Out Exit 4 - go to corner - turn right

  • Walking Directions: Church is 2 Minutes from Exit 4 (See Map)

Bus #: 15, 111, 121, to Yulli Station 율리역 Stop

  • Walking Directions: Church is 3 Minutes from Bus Stop. (See Map)
Location: Event Type: 
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Interview/presentation/resume preparation

Fri, 2021-02-26 11:57
Classified Ad Type: Location: Contact person by emailHello, I’m Michael G. Gallagher, and I’d like to offer you my services as an English language consultant.   As everybody in Korea knows, English is one of the main international languages. So, it automatically follows that a workable knowledge of English could greatly improve a person’s chances for success in life. This is especially true if a person wishes to work for a western company or any other type of organization here in Korea or overseas.  And apart from having good English conversation skills, the ability to create and deliver powerful presentations, succeed at job interviews, and writing a good resume and cover letter in English, are all essential for any professional person hoping advance themselves in today’s international world.   Here’s how I can help you if you decide to use my services.   * During a first interview, we will meet and I will evaluate your needs.   * After that interview, we will both together lay out a possible course of study for you. This    can include the following: a. Writing resumes and cover letters that will help you get a job interview.   b. I will coach you on how to have a successful job interview. This will include one  or more practice job interviews with me acting as your possible future employer. After the practice interview we will get together and discuss how you can improve your performance.   c. Creating and organizing powerful presentations, whether it’s for school, work, or a conference. Great emphasis will be placed on writing and delivering a successful speech. This will include coaching on organization, posture, gestures, and voice projection. As with the practice job interviews, after your practice presentation we will talk about what changes, if any, are needed to improve your performance.   My qualifications   My original field of study was not ESL. I have MA and Ph.D. degrees in International Studies from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, USA. Before coming to Korea, I taught ESL in mainland China and politics in Hong Kong. Here in Korea I have 17 ½ years teaching experience at the university level. A good part of that experience involved teaching students how to create effective presentations, how to prepare resumes and cover letters, and how to have a successful job interview. Apart from my university teaching career, I have also taught at hagwons, where my students often included business executives and other professional people. Considering this extensive teaching background, I believe that I can offer anybody that employs my services a serious chance of achieving their professional goals.   Rates: To be discussed after our first meeting.   Contact information:  phone # 010-2848-7685, e-mail sauruman56@yahoo.com, Kakao Talk. Corona-19: For now, at least, all instruction will be online using Zoom, Skype, or Webex. S091000078_1511181559000_00001.jpg
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43" NEX TV (Jangsan) - 125k

Fri, 2021-02-26 07:40
Classified Ad Type: Location: Neighborhood: HaeundaeContact person by emailHello, I'm trying to sell my 43" NEX TV. This TV was purchased in August of 2020 and hasn't been used a ton. I'm including a TV stand that was purchased separately. The TV is a bit wobbly on it, but it works just fine. I have the original box and stand in case you don't like the one I have! Here is the link to the exact TV on Gmarket: http://mg.gmarket.co.kr/Item?goodscode=719981534 I am located near Jangsan exit 14 and get off around 6 PM. Shoot me a message or comment if you're interested! It needs to be gone by Saturday if possible.


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Poll: Will you get a Covid-19 vaccine as soon as it's available?

Wed, 2021-02-10 01:16
Yes No Not sure Poll: Will you get a Covid-19 vaccine as soon as it's available?
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Examination day with BGN! Let`s learn more together!

Thu, 2021-01-28 07:47
Examination day with BGN! Let`s learn more together!

Examination day with BGN! Let`s learn more together!

Many patients wish to get rid of glasses or contact lenses, but don`t know what to start with.
It is not as complicated as you may think!

Today BGN Eye Hospital will introduce you each step you may face when visiting us for a LASIK consultation. Let`s start!

Step 1. Registration and personal information gathering

All patients fill in informational paper in preferred language (English, Russian, Korean)
We check previous medical history and history of contact lenses use. Also we check patient`s preferences and lifestyle to make sure the best customized surgery would be recommended after examination.

Step 2 Examination

BGN provides over 50+ comprehensive examinations to choose the best option for each patient.

These examinations include retina OCT, fundus check, corneal endothelial cells check, corneal topography, ORB and Pentacam cornea check, corneal pachymetry (cornea thickness check).

Corneal examinations are very important as corneal thickness, shape and diameter play main role in choosing Laser Vision Correction type.

MR check - or manual refraction check is also a very important examination during which we check patient`s refractive errors and maximum possible correction. That`s when we can let you know if you should expect 20/20 vision after surgery

Step 3 Doctor`s visit

 So all examinations are done and the next step would be doctor`s visit. After analysing examination results doctor will let you know if all eye structures including cornea and retina are healthy and if you are a candidate for all kinds of surgeries or just some of them.

Step 4 Surgery consultation

During surgery consultation we will explain in detail all examination results, explain possible surgery options, answer all your questions and help to choose the best option for each patient.

Step 5 DNA test

After deciding on the surgery type, we will proceed with the surgery booking on the preferred date. Surgery also can be done on the same day upon patient`s wish. Usually DNA testing takes from 24 to 48 hours, but in case of the same day surgery express test, that takes only 2 hours, is also available without any extra charge. DNA testing is included in every surgery price, and is done with the purpose to check that patient does not have Avellino corneal genetic disease and Laser Vision Correction is fully safe.

Now you have spent one examination day with BGN, and are one step closer to your 20/20 vision!

The next step would be to contact us and book a free LASIK consultation to find the best option for you!

Currently BGN has winter discounts for all types of SMILE surgeries as well as huge promotion upcoming for Lunar New Year holidays. Hurry up to book your appointment these holidays season today!


To book a consultation at BGN please contact them at direct line 010-7670-3995

Kakao: eye1004bgnbusan,

Facebook : eyehospitalinkorea  or

Email: [email protected]



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Teaching kindergarteners about homosexuality? Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education faces controversy over its Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights

Fri, 2021-01-22 07:21
Teaching kindergarteners about homosexuality? SMOE faces controversy

After a five year hiatus, the Kimchi Queen is back! 

Coronavirus has been hard and boring. Hubby and I live in Pittsburgh now and life just seems like work then sit around the house then work some more. Since I'm no longer traveling for work, I decided to get back to blogging! (Also brush up my Korean) I'm probably never going to get back to posting every day like I did back in 2015, but I'm going to try to post something once a week. Mostly translations! Google translate has gotten much better over the past 5 years, but I do think there is still some value in curating and translating for the blogiverse. 

For my first translation, I'm going to translate an article from the Seoul Economy Daily (서울경제신문) on a controversial plan to protect students (including LGBTQ students) by my old employer - the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.  This article leans heavily conservative, so I might also find a more liberal take on this story. 

A controversy is brewing over the 3-year Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights put forward by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE) beginning in 2021. This is because some members of  the church and parents believe it is a plan to push a leftist agenda on students as young as three years old. As the controversy spreads, including more than 20,000 people signing a petition against the plan on SMOE's homepage, SMOE clarified that the plan's purpose was to protect students' rights and provide education on human rights. 

According to the office of education, on the ministry's homepage on January 15th someone had posted a petition titled 'Against the Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights which will inculcate children as young as 3 on gender ideologies and biased ideas" and by 10:45 that morning approximately 23,400 people had signed. From the 12th of this month until the 11th of January, if more than 10,000 people had signed the ministry would have to provide a response, but this was reached within two days.

A petitioner who identified themselves as a parent wrote "I couldn't believe the contents of the planned Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights" and that "from three years old (pre-school, primary, middle, and high school) protecting the human rights of sexual minorities ... they are going beyond protecting rights to confusing the normal students." Furthermore, "This is making it possible for our democratic education to be corrupted into a biased, ideological education, especially at an age when children are highly susceptible to this type of inculcation" arguing that this plan violates the neutrality of education. 

The Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights is a plan established by the superintendent for schools in Seoul every three years in accordance with the Seoul Student Rights Ordinance. This plan has 20 initiatives, including protecting LGBTQIA students' rights and supplying guidelines to prevent discrimination. The fact that this includes not only polices related to LGBTQIA students in elementary, middle, and high schools, but also establishes education on sexual minorities at kindergartens has resulted in a backlash from parents and church groups. 

Recently, the Seoul Education Love Parent Association and other groups stated that "the strengthening of human rights education on sexual minorities and  dispatching investigators to investigate sexual harassment events" will "result in stigmatizing students who don't agree as they fear of being labeled as discriminatory."  Furthermore, as it relates to 'democratic citizenship education' content, 'We have to clarify what kind of citizen education we provide - whether that is as a socialist democracy or a liberal democracy." 

Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education has released a press release repeating that "education on sexual minority rights is not compulsory and is implemented at the school level" and that "information on AIDS and homosexuality reflects the medical position of national medical institutions, the World Health Organization, the World Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association. In addition, "It aims to  cultivate citizens of a democratic community through both training and capacity strengthening for teachers, and to develop instructional materials for democratic citizenship education, which has no relation to left-wing communist revolutionary ideologies." Regarding the contents related to LGBTQIA people, the statement added "LGBTQIA education is not suitable for kindergarten students due to their developmental stages," and that, "The content in the Comprehensive Human Rights Plan is to strengthen support for LGBTQ students."

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Don’t Bet on a Biden Breakthrough with North Korea – but Trump was Never Serious about it Anyway

Fri, 2021-01-22 05:40
Don’t Bet on a Biden Breakthrough with North Korea – but ...


This is a re-post of an essay I wrote last month for The National Interest, but since Biden just became president, this seems like a good time to put it up here.

The short version is that America’s North Korea policy options are poor, so now that the adults are back in charge, US policy toward North Korea will probably snap-back to pre-Trump form. Trump tried all sorts of hijinks – threatening war, then cozying up to Kim Jong Un – but none of it was ever serious and all of it failed, because Trump was buffoonish dilettante.

And yes, the status quo with NK is bad, but the options are worse – war or appeasement, basically – so this is why the containment and deterrence of North Korea has basically been our North Korea policy for decades even though no one likes it. I figure that is what is coming back now.

The full essay follows the jump:


There has inevitably been much discussion since Joseph Biden’s election victory of how he might change American North Korea policy. Much of it turns on hopes that Biden will pursue more fruitful engagement than the erratic negotiations current US President Donald Trump in the last few years.

This should indeed be the case. Biden is obviously an establishmentarian. He has deep roots in the foreign policy community of Washington, DC. He was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and played a major foreign policy role as vice-president to former President Barack Obama. And his cabinet selections to date have been seasoned Washington hands.

The contrast with Trump will be fairly obvious. Biden will be more steady on North Korea, rather than swinging dramatically from confrontation to conciliation as Trump did. Nor will Biden place as much emphasis on public relations. All the Trump sideshows – the search for a Nobel Prize, the forced bonhomie with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the outlandish language – will disappear.

Instead Biden will return to the long slog that is negotiating with North Korea. There will be no summit unless negotiations merit it, so most of the work will re-submerge into the depths of the State Department and North Korean Foreign Ministry. Perhaps some manner of deal will arise from working level-talks. But given how poorly such efforts have gone in the past, this is hardly likely.

There will be no war threats, nor rhetorical attacks on America’s South Korean ally. Instead, North Korea will likely be a mid-level issue for Biden: occasionally grabbing attention when the North does something outrageous, but otherwise the stalemated status quo of the last decade will likely reassert itself. And with so many other issues afoot – covid, tense relations with China, repairing alliances – the Biden team is likely to accept that stalemate by default.

The status quo is not ideal, but it is one all sides have slowly accustomed themselves to and can live with given the risks of change. It is essentially a stalemate. North Korea remains unbowed – still a Cold War relic, unliberalized and orwellian – and it has nuclear weapons. So long as those are not proliferated, the world resigns itself to the permanent sanction, isolation, deterrence, and containment of the North.

In other words, the Korean division remains as entrenched as ever, and although now nuclearized, it remains basically stable. The US is unwilling to risk war for denuclearization, and so long as it the North is responsible with its nuclear program, the US is accommodating itself to North Korea as a nuclear weapons state. The US will never admit this however, and the cost for North Korea is permanent exclusion from world politics. The North Korean elite, in turn, is willing to accept this banishment as it does not care if its people suffer the costs of global isolation, and it also believes, rightly, that nuclear weapons are its best deterrent against external attack.

This status quo is unhappy and dangerous: it punishes the North Korean people brutally; it dramatically raises the level of violence possible if the Korean War returns; it leaves a geopolitical flashpoint permanently unresolved with all the possibilities of misperception and inadvertent incidents that entails. But it is also stable. All sides prefer it to the costs of pursuing change:

– The US would like denuclearization, but the costs are too high: Strikes raise the possibility of war; a deal would require huge US strategic concessions, such as the withdrawal of the US from South Korea, which Washington is unwilling to make. So the US has adjusted.

– The North would like sanctions lifted and normalization, but the costs are also too high: Denuclearization is the clear price for an entry into world politics as a (somewhat) normal state. The United Nations Security Council has voted for sanctions, and even China and the dovish South Korean left support the North’s denuclearization. Given that the Pyongyang elite can push the costs of sanctions off onto the population – the people who run North Korea can still access the luxury goods of the global economy through smuggling – it too has chosen to adjust.

It is not clear what Biden can do to alter these deep-seated structures behind the grim, long-standing status quo. Trump tried all sorts of antics and gimmicks, only to drop North Korea as an irresolvable issue. His predecessor Obama tried a deal in 2012 which fell apart almost immediately. The South Korean left, now in power, has tried relentlessly for years to pull North Korea out its shell, only to regularly receive Pyongyang’s abuse.

So Biden will likely give North Korea a ‘college try’ – he will put out diplomatic feelers, consult with allies, go slow on the rhetoric – but it is unlikely he would make the huge concessions the North would demand for denuclearization. And there will be many other pressing issues. So the status quo stalemate is likely return, and that will be good enough for Biden.

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



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North Korea’s 2021 Nuclear Modernization Announcements

Wed, 2021-01-13 10:33
North Korea’s 2021 Nuclear Modernization Announcements

This is a re-post of an essay I just wrote for The National Interest. I discuss the recent announcement at the 8th Workers Party to Congress to significantly modernize and expand the North’s nuclear and missile arsenal.

A lot was announced, but my inclination is to agree with Ankit Panda that the development of battlefield nuclear weapons is the most important announcement. I noted this in my comments to Ankit on Twitter: “These strike me as a battlefield leveler for NK’s military which is technologically far behind. Also South Korea is really dense in just a few places/cities, and it has a few highly vulnerable critical junctures, like the highway Route 1 running through the mountains or Busan port. Battlefield nukes would be ideal for disrupting these junctures.”

The full essay follows the jump:


North Korea recently convened the Eighth Congress of its ruling Workers Party. These are, of course, highly scripted affairs, but for outsiders, they offer one of the few windows into North Korean policy-making which we have. The speeches and reports released provide at least a general sense of where the North Korean elite sees the country’s economic development and foreign relations especially.

Much of this year’s focus on has been the proposed major expansion of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. Updates and improvements include longer-range missiles, hypersonic missiles, and smaller, tactical nuclear warheads to supplement the larger weapons which provide the bulk on North Korean deterrence against the US and other foreign opponents. (For fuller technical details on the modernization, try here.) The political backdrop of justification is America’s unchanging ‘hostile policy.’

Politically, this is not very surprising in its broad strokes. Relations between the US and North Korea have been very poor for a long time, of course. North Korea explicitly sought nuclear weapons to deter the United States from attacking it. Northern nuclear negotiators routinely invoked the fate of Saddam Hussein of Iraq or Moammar Kaddafi of Libya as justification: had those leaders possessed nuclear weapons, the US would not have attacked them. This logic is almost certainly correct.

The timing at the end of US President Donald Trump’s term is also likely not a coincidence. North Korea achieved the ability to strike the United States with a large nuclear weapon in late 2017. It then paused the development and elaboration of its nuclear and missile programs, likely to see what might come of Trump’s effort to engage North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un in negotiation.

This pause was strategically wise. North Korea did not give up anything. No nuclear weapons or missiles were surrendered, but it did give Trump the illusion of progress and some breathing space to make a serious offer to the North. Trump never managed to offer concessions remotely commensurate to his demands though. The Americans repeatedly insisted on terms close to total disarmament in exchange for sanctions relief. This was wildly unbalanced in America’s favor – and Kim himself made analogously unbalanced offers in the North’s favor. Further, the North Koreans likely sensed, as much of the commentariat did over time, that Trump seemed more interested in the imagery and media coverage of the meetings than in the details of a deal. In the end, the talks simply withered away.

Now comes Joseph Biden as the new American president, and he is a well-known hawk on North Korea. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and vice president under former President Barack Obama, Biden cleaved to fairly establishmentarian approaches to the North. He advocated sanctions, deeper cooperation with South Korea and Japan, and pushing China to help rein in Pyongyang. This is not terribly imaginative; it basically follows the contain-and-sanction consensus on North Korea policy which has developed over decades in Washington. Nor is it dangerous or war-threatening, like Trump’s course in 2017; Biden is no bomber. But it does mean that US-North Korea relations will likely return to confrontational status quo which has characterized them for decades.

In short, the North probably held off on further nuclear and missile rollouts and elaborations after 2017 to see if Trump was serious in his outreach. He was not, and Biden is a pretty standard North Korea hawk. So now Pyongyang will return developing a modern, multifaceted program.

The military implications are less clear. As Ankit Panda notes, the move to tactical nuclear weapons is the most concerning. North Korea’s ability to deter a US regime change assault depends primarily on its ability to deliver a large nuclear weapon to the US mainland. That requires an intercontinental ballistic missile and a warhead of at least several hundred kilotons in yield. Such a weapon would parallel those built by the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War to hold each other’s cities hostage and maintain peace through a balance of fear.

That worked during the US-Soviet stand-off, and we assume that this is the goal of North Korea too. And its developments before 2018 – larger warheads, missile of greater throw-weight – suggest that it sought this traditional deterrence relationship. This is obviously not a good development, but it is understandable. We know the logic behind such weapons procurement.

Tactical nuclear weapons are different. They have a much lower yield. Scenarios for them often include use on a battlefield or against extremely hardened underground targets. This is unnerving. For what purpose, then, would the North Koreans want such weapons? That the North Koreans provide no doctrinal statements on nuclear use or planning makes this question even more opaque:

One scenario floating for years on the most hawkish fringes of the analyst community is that North Korea actually wants nukes to bully South Korea into submission, not simply for defense. Another is that North Korea will at some point be so desperate for foreign exchange because of sanctions, that it will start proliferating its nukes and missiles for money. A third is that North Korea might actually use nuclear weapons on the battlefield in South Korea in the case of a war. North Korea’s military is large but obsolete, and South Korea has just a few, extremely dense cities and several critical infrastructure junctures in an otherwise mountainous country.

In each case, low-yield nukes fit the frightening script. This is something we will need to watch closely.

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



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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

LTW: Iran's Revolutionary Guards captures S. Korean oil tanker to get oil money back

Sun, 2021-01-10 03:32
LTW: Iran captures S. Korean oil tanker to get oil money back

Good morning,

While the whole Korean peninsula turned into Kor-beria with temp dropping to -24 Celsius, the coldest in 35 years, Iran seized a S.Korean oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz on Jan 4, holding 20 crew members. Though Iran cited environmental sea pollution by the tanker, it was clear Iran's move is aimed at pressuring S.Korean government to speed up the release of the 7 billion oil dollars S.Korea is holding to follow the U.S. sanction against Iran.  The two countries have been working on finding a solution such as paying with Covid 19 vaccines, but not much progress.  S.Korea immediately dispatched top officials to Tehran for dialogue, despite Iran's refusal to their entry. It is feared the seizure will last long as there is no easy solution under the current hostile U.S.-Iran relationship. S.Korea turned into a  shrimp caught between two fighting whales or suffering grass under fighting elephants.

There is only one street in Seoul named after a foreign city.  Tehran-ro. Ro meaning street.  One of the busiest streets in Seoul, Tehran- ro was named  so when President Park Jung-hee and Iran's King Pahlavi agreed to name a street for each capital city in 1977. Total of 3.7km (2.3mi) long, Tehran-ro stretches from Gangnam Station through Renaissance Hotel  to Samseong Station where  Intercontinental Hotel is located.  A must visit street when you are in Seoul with your family, but just don't get close to a large beige building next to the Intercontinental Hotel for peace in your family.  Hyundai Department Store filled with Prada, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci, Cartier, Tiffany, Rolex....



P.S: Hyundai Motor stocks jumped 19.2% on Jan 9, the highest daily pick-up since 1988, after news of talk with Apple. So confidential, even a key direct report to Hyundai Chairman was not aware of this deal. More to follow when the deal is finalized.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed