Sleepless in Pyongyang: Three reasons for Kim’s anxiety

Sleepless in Pyongyang: Three reasons for Kim’s anxiety

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk The killing of Qasem Soleimani by an American drone aircraft on orders from U.S. President Donald Trump as the Iranian general arrived in Baghdad to spur on Iran-backed Iraqi militia against the U.S. confronts Kim Jong-Un with serious problems. The first is that North Korea cannot publicize the episode […]

Decapitation? Assassination? Over in Pyongyang, Kim Jong-Un isn’t hung up on semantics

Decapitation? Assassination? Over in Pyongyang, Kim Jong-Un isn’t hung up on semantics

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk People who split hairs over semantics ask if decapitation is the same as assassination. The debate assumes relevance in the wake of the killing of the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. No, he wasn’t exactly decapitated, meaning his head wasn’t literally cut off from the rest of his body though […]

Scary trends in once anti-communist South Korea

Scary trends in once anti-communist South Korea

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk From the viewpoint of a foreigner, one common denominator marks South Korea’s seismic shifts from left to right, liberal to conservative, socialist to capitalist. That is the level of authoritarianism, the threat of dictatorial rule, the demands for complete loyalty if not subservience to one particular viewpoint or another. […]

The China-North Korea axis, then and now

The China-North Korea axis, then and now

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk In the first annual “Transactions” published by the venerable Korea Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society in 1900, James S. Gale, one of the early missionaries, wrote, “The more we read, the more we are forced to the conclusion that Korea was under a mesmeric spell at the hands […]

Shinzo Abe: Dare he say, ‘Make Japan great again’?

Shinzo Abe: Dare he say, ‘Make Japan great again’?

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk Japanese conservatism is like a seething volcano, spewing smoke and ash but not quite ready to erupt. The reluctance reflects the great ambivalence in Japanese society. Japanese are fundamentally conservative, united in a culture dedicated to hard work and formal relationships but otherwise undecided about where they are going […]

New talk of Asian ‘co-prosperity’ sphere, this time in Busan; But where was China?

New talk of Asian ‘co-prosperity’ sphere, this time in Busan; But where was China?

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk BUSAN ― Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, had his hands in his pockets and a bored expression on his rugged face as President Moon Jae-In extolled high-tech Korean manufacturers on the big day of his summit with the leaders of 10 Southeast Asian countries. Having sat or […]

Can Seoul and Tokyo cooperate? Yes, says U.S.; No, says Pyongyang

Can Seoul and Tokyo cooperate? Yes, says U.S.; No, says Pyongyang

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk WASHINGTON ― Koreans have innumerable reasons to resent Japan’s sense of superiority and also every reason to get over it. Astonishingly, apologists for North Korea deride U.S. attempts at persuading South Korean and Japanese leaders to get along with each other. It’s as though they really think South Korea […]

North Korea dusts off its Mount Geumgang playbook

North Korea dusts off its Mount Geumgang playbook

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk Editors’ Note: North Korea is demanding demolition by South Korea of the entire resort area at the base of Mount Geumgang (Diamond). The tourist facilities were built with investment, mostly from Hyundai, of more than $2 billion. South Korea closed tours from the South in 2008 after a South Korean woman […]

Memo to sophisticates in Seoul embarrassed by pro-U.S. demonstrations: Get over it

Memo to sophisticates in Seoul embarrassed by pro-U.S. demonstrations: Get over it

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk SEOUL — Americans hardly know how to respond to all those American flags seen in central Seoul on Saturday afternoons and evenings. Initially, as Korean conservatives began flying the Stars and Stripes at conservative rallies after the impeachment, ouster and jailing of Park Geun-Hye in 2016 and 2017, Americans […]

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