Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Recovering US soldiers' remains from Korean War

It has been 58 years since the Korean War ended with an armistice.

The US has been trying their best to maintain peace in the peninsula, which is located in between some of the World's most powerful nations - Russia, China and Japan. Now, the US has proposed to meet with North Korea to resume bringing home the remains of American soldiers buried in North Korean soil.

The US has started this project in 1996. For the next 10 years, there were 33 excavation projects in North Korea, and 220 bodies were brought home at last. However, when North Korea began testing nuclear detonations in 2005, this project was put on hold.

Now North Korea seems positive with resuming this project with the U.S.. Why?

Free stuff in Seoul!

Seoul Tourism Organization(STO), Seoul MICE(wut?) Alliance and various other organizations have put together Seoul Sizzling Sweepstakes. Basically every day, SSS offers a designated destination for tourist with a chance to win free things. Destinations include Seoul's Central Museum, Nanta performances, 63 Convention Center, COEX, and so on.

Unfortunately and a little incredibly, this offer is only for non-Koreans. So if you're traveling in Korea, or an expat living in Korea, you should definitely check this out. Prices include a free night at Hilton, tickets to Nanta performances, and so on.

Seoul Sizzling Sweepstakes

IAAF 2011 Championships in Daegu, Korea

South Korea isn't hosting only Pyongchang Winter Olympics 2018. They're also hosting IAAF (International Association of Athletes Federation) Championships 2011 in Daegu. It is basically an international competition for everything track sports - jumping, throwing, running and so on.

2,500 athletes from 207 nations will be participating 47 different events. Some international superstar athletes like Usain Bolt and many others will be participating as well!

Daegu has been preparing for this event for a while, and they're all ready and prepped with state-of-art technology and service. I hope the weather will be with us, as rain and athletes don't mix too well. Stay tuned for the event!

You can check out the details/schedules of the championships here :
IAAF Daegu 2011 (English)
IAAF Daegu 2011 (Korean)

North Korea fires artillery shells at South Korean islands again

Here we go, North Korea yet again. North Korea fired a few artillery shells at South Korean islands again. Nobody was hurt, and South Korea returned fire. Hopefully this won't get worse than this.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

N. Korea plans assassination of Minister of Defense

Republic of Korea's Minister of Defense, Kim Guan Jin
Here we go with North Korea again. ROK's recently appointed minister of defense has been popular and known for his aggressive military response strategy against North Korea, especially after the shelling of Yeonpyong islands.
JoongAng Ilbo newspaper said US and South Korean intelligence had been tipped off about a team sent to kill the minister and were trying to track it down. 
"It's not known whether the North has sent its own agents, hired foreigners from a third country or assigned the mission to its spies already operating in the South," the paper quoted one unidentified Seoul official as saying. 
"But it is a definite fact that a team aiming to assassinate minister Kim is operating on the orders of the North."
South Korea's military has added additional bodyguards and security for the minister accordingly. When will North Korea ever stop this kind of pointless provocations?

Source : N.Korea plot to kill S.Korea defence minister: reports (AFP)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Civilization 5 to add Korean scenario

Civilization series has come a long way...
Hey, a quick news if you're into computer games. Civilization 5 is adding a downloadable content pack that includes Koreans as a playable race. Koreans have faster tech development, along with some neat special units (the turtle ship, for example.). A unique scenario is also included in this pack : Samurai Invasion of Korea. I haven't played the game myself, but I'm assuming it's loosely based on the Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592 (임진왜란). Here's a video to check out the Koreans in Civilization 5.

East Sea or Sea of Japan?

You've probably heard of the territorial dispute between Japan and Russia. And the one going on South of China lately too. But there's another one in the same town that has been going on for decades, and it sort of exploded yesterday. It is the naming controversy of the ocean that lies between Japan and Korea.

There has been decades-long dispute over whether this sea was to be called 'East Sea' as Koreans call it, or 'Sea of Japan', the Japanese name. Korean government has been lobbying and doing a variety of things to make the international standards 'East Sea', but yesterday this happened : US agency IHO chooses Sea of Japan over East Sea. More below.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Koreans and Immigrants

Itaewon. The most popular place in Seoul for foreigners
Saw this on Yonhap news today. Gave me a few things to think about...

Ipsos, a public opinion survey agency, released a report about how citizens of different nations feel about immigrants in their nations. Ipsos surveyed citizens from 23 nations, 16~24 years old.

This report came up with some interesting and others interesting but misleading results, I think. Read more below.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Daeniel Dae Kim in the film Arena

Daniel Dae Kim, a Korean American actor popular for his role in LOST, is starring in the new upcoming sci-fi action gladiator movie. It is a movie where men are forced to "fight to the death for the entertainment of the online masses." Sounds a little familiar, eh? It looks like a hybrid of the plot from Death Race and action from Undisputable. Well, it's got Samuel L. Jackson in it, so why not?

Source : Angry Asian Man

KARA and SHINee in a new K-Drama

KARA (above)
SHINee (above)
First. No, KARA and SHINee won't be starring in a K-Drama as actors and actresses. But 'Strangers 6', a K-Drama made by a Korea-China-Japan collaboration. KARA and SHINee will be making the opening OST and other music for the drama.

Strangers 6 is a suspense action drama where the three governments (Korea, China, Japan) are putting a project together to prevent a wide-scale natural disaster bound to happen to a fictional city, and a mysterious organization tries to foil the plan. This drama will be aired in 10 different nations including South Korea, China, and Japan. Not every info is available yet, but I think this is worth waiting for!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Googling in the shadows

North Korea has been known as the most notorious regime when it comes to media censorship, especially Internet. Kim Jong-Il clearly knows the power of free information from the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Recently, however, somebody has been accessing Google and searching news articles about North-South Korea relations and North Korea-US relations. It's an act harshly forbidden, as it is an attempt to look beyond the heavily guarded border to see what is happening around the world. 

Beginning of this year, Radio Free Asia(RFA) detected somebody in North Korea accessing their website via Google. This person used 6 IP addresses for access. The frequency of this access increased over time, and there were 24 visits in June. RFA decided to trace this IP.

According to RFA, this IP did not belong to the North Korean government, or their information agencies. This person did not use the OS used by North Korea, the Red Star. The OS used was actually a forbidden one - Windows XP (funny, I was thinking Win ME). In a nutshell, this person was using a forbidden operating system to peek at forbidden information. Most of the access was done after 9 PM. Some of the IP addresses were not the usual '', but '', which is for schools and educational institutions.

Previously, only the high government agencies were known to have internet access in North Korea. However, some education institutions like Kim Il-Song University have allowed internet access for students. There is also a possibility that a foreigner staying in the US did this. Nothing is sure, as everything is a speculation. But someone did access internet to read news about the outside world, and it wonders me how long North Korea can control the flow of free information regardless of what method they use.

Source : 밤이면 밤마다…北서 구글 접속 사이버맨은 누구?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Blog posts worth reading

I've been too busy with work these days... and writing and researching always take a lot longer than I anticipate. So I figured it might be a good idea to spread the words for some worthwhile blogs.

AskaKorean! series on IMF bailout of Korea during the East Asian Financial Crisis of 1997

Roboseyo vs. AskaKorean! They have been discussing on the topic of "Nobody owns Arirang". Both have been  going on in multiple blog posts to highlight their points. Chronologically :
Nobody Owns Arirang (Roboseyo)
Uh, No. Arirang Belongs to Korea. Thanks. (AskaKorean!)
Koreans USE Arirang... but OWN It?: Part One: The Stakes (Roboseyo)
Koreans USE Arirang... but OWN It?: Part Two: Identify, Use... but Own? (Roboseyo)

All are very rich in information, politics, philosophy, and all that sophisticated shenanigans. Many of you are probably unfamiliar with the topic, but I think it's a very interesting read regardless.

Super Junior comeback

Super Junior, an internationally popular K-Pop group, has released a teaser video clip for Mr. Simple from their fifth album. And today, they're releasing the album. If you like Super Junior, then it's an exciting news for you!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Crazy Children's Cartoons from North Korea

Probably a perfect stoner film.
Remember the "Pencil Artillery"? I would've been actually surprised if that was all. Cracked has compiled 5 most ridiculous animations/cartoons made by the government of North Korea, to brainwash educate the children. The purpose of the films range from "Damn the Yankees!" to "Let's solve the pest problem."
I'm not joking. They made a film about a superfrog slaughtering bugs.
Read the article here. Worth your time. The 5 Craziest Children's Cartoons from North Korea

Edit : Another news article from a while back, about how Kim Jong-Il keeps a 'Robust' animation program in North Korea. Thursday Video: Kim Jong Il's Cartoons