America’s top diplomat emerges as bad cop on China

America’s top diplomat emerges as bad cop on China

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has mounted a broad campaign warning against China’s infiltration of American life from university campuses to American companies, from Wall Street to Silicon Valley. At just about every opportunity at which he’s asked to speak or comment, Pompeo accuses the Chinese of exploiting […]

Behind Parasite’s triumph: Unlikely angel, Samsung heiress

Behind Parasite’s triumph: Unlikely angel, Samsung heiress

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk In all the outpouring of high praise for the Korean blockbuster Parasite after its dazzling success at the Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood, one noteworthy side of the production was largely ignored: the film had the enthusiastic backing of an heiress to the riches of Korea’s biggest commercial dynasty, […]

‘I am not a virus’: Return of the ‘yellow peril’ in a post-racist world

‘I am not a virus’: Return of the ‘yellow peril’ in a post-racist world

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk The spread of a deadly disease brings out the best and the worst in people. Upside, scientists look for causes and cures for the coronavirus, often coordinating through the World Health Organization, while doctors and nurses work tirelessly to care for the sick in hospitals and clinics. Negatively, unfounded […]

Seoul government bristles at less-than-diplomatic rebuke by U.S. Amb. Harry Harris

Seoul government bristles at less-than-diplomatic rebuke by U.S. Amb. Harry Harris

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk The U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Harry Harris, has one of the world’s more sensitive diplomatic missions. He’s got to defend the U.S.-Korean alliance while getting along with a government that’s dedicated to appeasing a North Korean regime that’s hostile to the U.S. and South Korea. The […]

2020 update on that ‘axis of evil’

2020 update on that ‘axis of evil’

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk A detail generally overlooked in all we’ve been reading about the misfired Iranian missile that brought down the Ukraine airliner with 176 people aboard: It was almost certainly made in North Korea and sold to Iran or made in Iran from a North Korean design and technology. The relationship […]

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 […]