Reporting on North Korea, after all these years, is still pure guesswork

Reporting on North Korea, after all these years, is still pure guesswork

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has dodged a bullet, meaning the onslaught of speculation about whether he was dead or alive, ill or just avoiding the coronavirus. It’s amazing how quickly and easily many of us were taken in by the initial report on the Daily NK, based on […]

Why can’t our high-priced intelligence agencies say where Kim Jong-Un is?

Why can’t our high-priced intelligence agencies say where Kim Jong-Un is?

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk SEOUL — The vanishing act of Kim Jong-Un provokes one inevitable question. With all the billions that the U.S. puts into gathering intelligence by all those “agencies,” why can’t any of them come back with the definitive answer on the state of his health? Just think about the multi-tentacle […]

Last flight from Washington: Disembarking into an Orwellian future?

Last flight from Washington: Disembarking into an Orwellian future?

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk SEOUL — The phrase has a certain drama, overtones of life-or-death struggle: “The last plane out of” a city under attack, under siege, on the brink of surrender. In my case, it was “the last plane out of Washington,” or, to be precise, the last non-stop flight from Washington […]

U.S. forces in Norfolk: Strange war with invisible enemy

U.S. forces in Norfolk: Strange war with invisible enemy

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk NORFOLK, Virginia — America’s mightiest warships, including the carrier John C. Stennis, line up grey and forbidding here at the world’s largest naval base at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. A few gate-keepers, security people, stand guard on the piers, but otherwise almost no one is visible. It’s […]

Home on leave, foreign correspondent can’t believe what he’s seeing

Home on leave, foreign correspondent can’t believe what he’s seeing

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk WASHINGTON — The mere idea of the nation’s capital more or less shutting down would have been beyond imagination if anybody had talked about it seriously two months ago. Even after the outbreak of coronavirus in China had reached Korea and Europe, very few people would really believe the […]

North Korea blocks world from all details about coronavirus impact

North Korea blocks world from all details about coronavirus impact

Special to WorldTribune.com By Donald Kirk In a time of crisis, near-panic, over a disease to which the best medical minds have yet to find a sure cure, total cooperation is essential. The World Health Organization, scientists around the world, anyone who knows anything is duty-bound to try and help. Which brings us to North […]

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 […]