Is the Lee Administration Its Own Worst Enemy?

This is how South Korean diplomats talk about each other:

A former high-ranking official jokingly said South Korea’s diplomats may look like they have been playing the piano for decades but they can’t manage a song as simple as ‘Chopsticks.’ South Korean diplomacy resembles a small and decrepit station in a remote village where trains no longer stop. In short, the isolation strategy is tantamount to diplomatic failure, even if officials of the Lee regime might not like to hear that.

A Chill in Shangra-La

The Next Battleground?Days are when I despair of a peaceful Pacific – pardon the redundancy – and I start seeing portents of an angry futureevidence of a Confucian peace notwithstanding.

No Prize for Demonizing China

GEORGE JONAS, columnist for the National Post of Canada, is a treasure of the Anglosphere–everything he writes, whether serious or light-hearted, is worth reading. Readers with an interest in Northeast Asian affairs will find this recent column especially worthwhile. It’s called Dear Leader’s see-no-evil enablers, and it examines the international response to North Korea’s sinking of the Cheonan. Here’s the point: Westerners who look to China fo … Read More


What?! Are we handing out medals for pointing out the frakking obvious! Now, what do you propose we do?

The Daily Show Does the Cheonan Incident (Video)

I might as well add my gripes about Jon Stewart’s monologue on the Cheonan Incident. I apologize, I’m still studying for an exam.

But, really, why do we need Korean War footage and Klinger clips, to add humor to this incident? If any South Korean living now has any recollection of M*A*S*H, it’s negative. And, of course, the two Koreas are at war. But, in 2010, neither Korea is the same state that in 1950 began that debacle, and the relationship between the two has evolved as well. It’s just not the framing I would prefer for this comic sketch. The blogosphere is weathering the crisis with skepticism and hard questions about regional stability, proliferation, unification, and China’s role in the world. Get on the right page, Jon!

Subversive AND Skeptical in the South

Just when I get frustrated with the expat blogosphere – which seems utterly ridiculous with conservatives who trust implicitly that the voices in their head spewing out invective are more convincing than facts – students give me hope. I’m not working today, but the BBC picks up the load. Sungsoo Ji in Masan and I would probably agree.

I’ve done my national service and I’ve still got friends in the army. They’re saying that soldiers are getting more training and that things are getting serious.

Our president could be overreacting though – North Korea doesn’t want war.

To be honest, I’m not sure I trust the information given to us about the Cheonan sinking. It could be a trick because it’s election period at the moment, so it could be some kind of strategy.

You’re Now An Enemy of the Korean State

It’s always chilling to know that your president wants you to shut up, so that he can get his yes-minions elected. Is there something authoritarian about today’s Korea?

…polls showed Lee’s uncompromising stand against the North has helped keep support ratings for him near the 50 percent mark in recent weeks.

…”We are not going to tolerate activities that harm public interest and undermine national integrity through the spread of false information,” Seoul police commissioner Cho Hyun-oh said in a message to officers, vowing to punish offenders.

The crackdown on Internet rumor mongering is likely to resurrect a frequent opposition complaint that the government is trampling on democracy and free speech.

The Official Heart of the Cheonan Conspiracy Machine

Seoul and Pyongyang continue sparring over the cause of the sinking of ROKS Cheonan, and are now disagreeing about mini-subs, torpedoes, gas turbines, and brochures.

North Korea’s National Defense Commission in its first ever press conference for the international media Friday challenged the findings of a multinational investigation into the sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan and accused the South of “fabricating” charges. South Korea’s Defense Ministry and other government agencies immediately presented evidence to rebut North Korea’s claims.

Wen Blows Beijing’s Soft Power

Beijing Goes After Michael Corleone

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama (L), South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (C) and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pose with elementary school students of their countries as they arrive to bury a time capsule and plant a tree in Seogwipo on Jeju island May 30, 2010.

“Listen, whoever comes to you with this Barzini meeting, he’s the traitor. Don’t forget that.” No matter how it’s translated, the PRC’s prime minister still sounds like the threat the Godfather warns Michael to expect.

Hunting Season on Cheonan Incident Conspiracy Theories Opens

Aside from collecting conspiracy theories about the sinking of ROKS Cheonan (here, here, here, and here), I’m partial to blaming the incident on subordinates.

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