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How to explain national performance at the Olympics?

China and both Koreas were in the top 5 medal winners as of Aug. 1. Gold medallists Kai Qin and Yutong Luo of China pose on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Men's Synchronised 3m Springboard final on Day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games.  /Adam Pretty/Getty Images

John J. Metzler PARIS — As the London Olympics set new records for athletic achievements, the Summer Games equally highlight global competitions, both in the field of sport and nationalism. And despite all the naysayers that the London Games would not be ready, the traditional British can-do attitude prevailed (as they did in London 1948), [...]

August 2nd, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,China,Columnists,COMMENTARY,England,Exclusives,France,John Metzler,NE Asia,South Korea,Stateside,Top Stories,U.S. Culture | Read More »

Diving into the pool system: State media and the free press in S. Korea

U.S. secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton and former U.S. secretary of defense Robert M. Gates brief reporters at the Truce Village in Panmunjom, South Korea, on July 21, 2010.  /State Department

Special to By Donald Kirk, We’ve all seen journalists’ stories about getting stories — tales of facing down danger, of dealing with the bureaucracy, battling censorship, all of that. Foreign correspondents have written numerous books on their adventures in pursuit of news. They have little to say, though, about regurgitating material from “pool [...]

June 28th, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,NE Asia,South Korea,Top Stories | Read More »

‘Island of peace’ haunted by memories of war

The Nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington looms large, if rarely in view.  /Fremantle Por

Special to By Donald Kirk, JEJU – Schoolchildren here sing a mournful song about a gigantic rock about 90 miles southwest of the island where the souls of fishermen lost at sea find their final repose. The rock cannot really be called an outcropping since it’s actually submerged several meters, but South Korea [...]

June 21st, 2012 | Posted in China,Exclusives,Japan,NE Asia,North Korea,South Korea,Top Stories | Read More »

N. Korea selling off minerals to China in frantic bid for hard currency

Dump trucks carrying iron ore cross a bridge that connects North Korea with China.  /Steven Shaver/Bloomberg

Special to By Lee Jong-Heon, North Korea’s exports surged more than 84 percent last year to $2.79 billion on the back of bigger shipments of natural resources to China as Pyongyang seeks hard currency to finance its huge political gala events held earlier this year. South Korea’s trade agency says North Korean exports [...]

June 14th, 2012 | Posted in China,Exclusives,Intel Brief,NE Asia,North Korea,South Korea | Read More »

N. Korea takes aim, literally, at S. Korean media offices

South Korean police officers stand guard in front of the Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) building in Seoul on June 4. / Ahn Young-joon / AP

Special to North Korea said its military has entered the map coordinates of certain conservative South Korean media offices and threatened to strike them for insulting its new ruler Kim Jong-Un. The General Staff of the [North] Korean People’s Army said its troops have targeted the Seoul headquarters of the Chosun Ilbo, the [...]

June 12th, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Intel Brief,NE Asia,North Korea,South Korea | Read More »

U.S. satisfied by significant reductions in Turkey’s oil imports from Iran

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton added India, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Taiwan, Turkey, and South Africa to the list of countries exempt from the sanctions on purchasers of Iranian crude oil. In March, she made exemptions for 10 European Union countries and Japan.  /AFP

Special to WASHINGTON — The United States has removed the threat of sanctions from Turkey for its purchase of crude oil from neighboring Iran. The administration of President Barack Obama has exempted Turkey as well as six other countries from financial sanctions on Iran’s energy sector. Officials said the administration determined that Ankara was [...]

June 12th, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Iran,Mideast,NE Asia,South Korea,Stateside,Taiwan,Top Stories,Turkey,U.S. Politics | Read More »

S. Korea emerges as key military tech partner for Turkey

South Korea’s XK2 is the basis of Turkey’s co-produced Altay main battle tank.

Special to ANKARA — South Korea has been playing a major role in projects for Turkey’s military. Industry sources said South Korea has been engaged in more than $2 billion worth of projects for Turkey’s military. The sources said the East Asian state was selected by the Turkish Defense Ministry for Seoul’s willingness to [...]

June 6th, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Mideast,NE Asia,South Korea,Top Stories,Turkey | Read More »

Report: South Korean president approves major missile buildup

South Korea's Hyunmu-3C cruise missile.  /Reuters

Special to Seoul has approved an ambitious missile upgrade plan for additional 500-600 cruise and ballistic missiles during the next five years, according to a May 22 report in the Chosun Ilbo. “Given the mounting threat of provocations from the North since Kim Jong-Un took power, the [ROK] Defense Ministry reported to President [...]

June 3rd, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Life,NE Asia,North Korea,South Korea,Top Stories | Read More »

House panel votes to return tactical nukes to S. Korea, West Pacific

President Barack Obama looks toward North Korea from Observation Post Ouellette in the Demilitarized Zone in Panmunjom, South Korea.  /AP

Special to Compiled by Miles Yu, The House Armed Services Committee last week voted 32 to 26 to redeploy tactical nuclear weapons in the Western Pacific in general and in South Korea in particular. The action came in the form of an amendment offered by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) to the fiscal year [...]

May 22nd, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Intel Brief,NE Asia,North Korea,South Korea,Stateside,Top Stories,U.S. Military | Read More »

Seoul food: From mad cows to madder N. Koreans who might kill for any kind of beef

North Korean women attend a women's "Revenge Rally" against South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak and his regime on April 23. The sign at top right reads: "Let's start (a) nationwide holy war to sweep away rat-like Lee Myung-Bak and his group!"  /Reuters/KCNA

Special to By Donald Kirk, SEOUL — The sequence is simple: One more sick American cow, and the government here is in big trouble. The government here gets into trouble, and the North Korean regime can exploit the differences and make good on its dire threats, e.g., the one about “special actions” lasting [...]

May 4th, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Life,NE Asia,North Korea,South Korea,Top Stories | Read More »

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