Monday, March 31, 2014

The New (and Dangerous) Normal in Korea

As my colleague J.T. reported earlier today, North Korea and South Korea exchanged fire across their maritime border, the Northern Limit Line (NLL).
As J.T. explained:
“South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency said that the North fired approximately 500 shells into the water near the Northern Limit Line (NLL) between noon and 3:30 p.m. on Monday. After an estimated 100 rounds landed on the south side of the NLL, the South Korean military responded with 300 shells fired from its K-9 self-propelled howitzers. F-15 fighter jets were also sent to patrol the southern side of the border.”
This should be deeply concerning to everyone, not only because of the dangers of this particular incident but also because this is likely the new normal on the Korean Peninsula. As is well known, in 2010 North Korea sunk a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, and shelled the Yeonpyeong islands, which is near where North Korea’s artillery landed on Monday.
South Korea exercised commendable restraint during these twin provocations in 2010. At the same time, it pledged to never be caught flat-footed in the future.
One consequence of this decision was the development of South Korea’s “active deterrence” policy, which I have discussed previously. As South Korea’s Defense Minister, Kim Kwan-jin, explained it, the military is developing “an active deterrence and will build an attack system to swiftly neutralize North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, while significantly improving our military’s capability of surveillance and reconnaissance.”

Dunkin’ Donuts jumps on Korea's - Asia’s coffee craze By Matt Viser


Skytrax 2014 best airport award goes to Changi Airport (Singapore).

Perhaps it’s the rooftop pool, four-story slide, pop-in movie theater or free foot massages. Maybe it’s the nature trails, butterfly garden and complimentary tours of central Singapore. Whatever the reason, it will likely come as little surprise to frequent visitors that ever-entertaining Changi Airport once again topped Skytrax World Airport Awards as the best airport in 2014........

Changi is a familiar hub for those who travel through Asia, welcoming more than 52 million passengers last year. That's nearly 10 times the population of the city it serves. Changi's perennial rival, Incheon International, near Seoul, came in a close second on the 2014 Skytrax list, followed by Munich Airport, Hong Kong International and Amsterdam Schiphol.
Looks like I will be flying into number 2 Incheon (South Korea)once again come April. :-)

Asia Times Online :: Crimean conquest shows China the way

Asia Times Online :: Crimean conquest shows China the way

South Korea Takes Delivery of C-130J Super Hercules South Korea adds a C-130 J, India investigates a C-130 J crash, and more.


India and Sri Lanka: Playing the Long Game?


Saturday, March 29, 2014

India-China to collaborate on building semi-high speed rail

India and China would look at collaborations in semi-high speed rail and building world-class railway stations.
NEW DELHI: India and China would look at collaborations in semi-high speed rail and building world-class railway stations. This was decided at the strategic and economic dialogue between the two countries earlier this month when an Indian delegation, headed by Planning Commission deputy chairmanMontek Singh Ahluwalia, had visited Beijing

The new 'silk road', a rail link from China's factories to heart of Europe


Britain Gains Renminbi Trading Deal


China, Germany eye Renminbi hub in Frankfurt


Confucius Institutes: Hardly a Threat to Academic Freedoms


Nepal’s Two Maoists Parties in Unification Bid


Friday, March 28, 2014

Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asia Pacific Mark Schwartz: Reason to Be Optimistic on China's Economy

Here is what caught my eye, and why I have always said - - - the only thing that can stop China - - - is China. 
"My confidence in China stems from the fact that the roadmap has been laid out and the strategy has been determined."

South Koreas President Park offers North Korea massive aid?


Tracking China’s Hot Money Flows Through Commodities


Americans Must Adjust to a World Dominated by China — Fed’s Bullard


Lermontov: A poet for all ages

Lermontov: A poet for all ages
Mikhail Lermontov. Source: Natalia Mikhaylenko

Mikhail Lermontov stirred strong emotions as a poet and was known as for his passion and reckless courage, which eventually led to a Pushkinesque death at a young age.
Alena Tveritina, specially for RIR
March 26, 2014 READ MORE

Expressing the Chinese Dream Imagery and ideograms in the “Chinese Dream” campaign posters send a message to an increasingly pluralized society. By Joyce Lee

Expressing the Chinese Dream
“Honesty and sincerity passed down from generation to generation; Confucian classics last forever.” Nirenzhang clay sculpture of a young schoolboy.
Image Credit: Joyce Lee

Thursday, March 27, 2014

WTO Finds Chinese Rare Earth Export Restrictions in Violation of International Trade Law


Pakistan President Visits Afghanistan


China Decries US 'Hypocrisy' on Cyber-Espionage


Is a Philippine-Vietnam Anti-China Alliance in the Making?


The Kunming Attack and Chinas Uighur Politics

The Kunming Attack and China’s Uighur Politics

Uighur merchants in Uruqmi, Xinjiang. Like other Chinese minority groups, Uighurs face linguistic and religious discrimination, fueling a separatist movement that Chinese authorities have blamed for the March 1 terrorist attack in Kunming. (Photo: Peter Morgan / Flickr)
On March 1, a group of knife-wielding assailantsstormed a railway station in the southern Chinese city of Kunming. It was a grisly scene: Attacking passengers at random, the assailants killed 29 people and wounded 130. According to Chinese authorities a gang of six men and two women carried out the attack. Four attackers were shot and the other four have been detained. READ MORE

Taiwan and the Future of the Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement


Flagship Showdown: Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. Sony Xperia Z2


Staring past Central Asia's strongmen By Julika Peschau

Asia Times Online :: Global Economy

Watch the US Drop 2.5 Million Tons of Bombs on Laos

Watch the US Drop 2.5 Million Tons of Bombs on Laos   this is our karma:

Between 1964 and 1973, the United States dropped around 2.5 million tons of bombs on Laos. While the American public was focused on the war in neighboring Vietnam, the US military was waging a devastating covert campaign to cut off North Vietnamese supply lines through the small Southeast Asian country.

The nearly 600,000 bombing runs delivered a staggering amount of explosives: The equivalent of a planeload of bombs every eight minutes for nine years, or a ton of bombs for every person in the country—more than what American planes unloaded on Germany and Japan combined during World War II. Laos remains, per capita, the most heavily bombed country on earth.

The map above, created by photographer Jerry Redfern, provides another view of the massive scale of the bombing. Each point on the map corresponds to one US bombing mission starting in October 1965; multiple planes often flew on missions.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Shamanic voyages around Lake Baikal

Shamanic voyages around Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal. Source: Alamy / Legion Media
There are several scared ancient sites that dot the landscape near the world’s deepest lake. Join RIR on a Shamanistic pilgrimage.

An Encyclopedia of Korean Buddhism


It is also available on

Germany to help Korea's unification

President Park Geun-hye said at a summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel held in Berlin on Wednesday Korea will benchmark the formerly divided western nation in realizing unification with North Korea.

South Korean Poultry Approved for Sale in U.S. Despite Bird Flu Outbreak

South Korean Poultry Approved for Sale in U.S. Despite Bird Flu Outbreak

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) published a final rule that will allow the Republic of Korea to begin exporting poultry products to the U.S. 

Photo credit: Demotix
Food & Water Watch questions President Obama’s motivation behind allowing potentially diseased South Korean chickens to be sold in America’s supermarkets. Photo credit: Demotix

Most alarming is that Korean poultry flocks have become infected with various strains of avian influenza, prompting the Korean government to cull more than 11 million chickens and ducks in January in order to prevent the disease from spreading further. Recent reports have the disease afflicting other species and sickening dogs.
The rule becomes effective on May 27.

Climate Change and the Asia Pivot

Climate Change and the Asia Pivot

It’s time to turn the perception of climate change as a threat into an effective response. (Photo: Wikipedia)
The admiral of the U.S. Pacific Fleet said in an interview last year that he considered climate change the world’s “greatest security threat,” while Secretary of State John Kerry recently compared climate change to a weapon of mass destruction. The threat is real. Despite more than 25 years of explicit warnings from the world’s best climate scientists, the amount of greenhouse gasses (GHG) being pumped into the atmosphere continues to rise. In fact, 60 percent of the totalhas been emitted since the danger came to light in the late 1980sREAD MORE

Korea-China FTA Likely to be Signed within This Year

25 MARCH 2014
President Park Geun-hye, who visited the Netherlands for the Nuclear Security Summit, met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to talk over the conclusion of the Korea-China FTA within this year. Experts say that her emphasis on the issue reflects her strong will to create a new growth engine for the Korean economy in China’s market of 1.3 billion potential customers. In addition, the two presidents reconfirmed their consensus on the denuclearization of North Korea, promising to work more closely together and to not tolerate nuclear weapons in the North.
At present, Korea and China are in the second round of FTA negotiations surrounding the scope of sensitive items and the degree of tariff cuts. President Park, during her meeting, suggested that the talks be wrapped up so that the deal can be signed before the end of this year. “I believe that an early conclusion of the free trade deal will contribute to the national interests of both countries,” said her Chinese counterpart. 
- See more at:

Kimjang: Kimchi Making & Sharing


Each year before the onset of winter, large amounts of kimchi are made in preparation for the cold season. This tradition unique to Korea is known as Kimjang, and it was added to the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List in 2013. Kimjang is what made it possible for Korean people to enjoy the traditional dish kimchi throughout countless winters, generation after generation.

North Korea & Human Rights: Tolerating the Intolerable


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New tax worries some Koreans in US By Jane Han

By Jane Han

Last week, a major news bomb was dropped on the Korean community in the U.S.

The dreaded Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) deal has finally been agreed upon between Korea and the U.S., a severe headache for Koreans in the U.S. who have money in Korea.

Under the agreement, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will receive information on bank and other financial accounts held by U.S. citizens, green card holders and residents in Korea. Starting in July, Korea’s National Tax Service (NTS) will automatically send information to the IRS on accounts with a balance higher than $50,000.

Samsung may cut chip production in US By Kim Yoo-chul


Japan's Demographic Crisis: Any Way Out? Japan has a population problem. What can it do to address it (if anything)? By Ankit Panda


Amid Ukraine Crisis, Russia Pursues Energy Deals With Asia by Zachary Keck


U.S. Asia Pivot: Looking Backwards, Pivoting Sideways by Alexis Dudden

Looking Backwards, Pivoting Sideways

A shout out to Confucius is necessary because he gets at the heart of the problem with U.S. East Asia policy today: “When the names are not correct, language does not match the truth of things.”

What began as a “pivot” several years ago is now a “rebalance.” Yet it is neither. And since the U.S. government doesn’t appear to have the resources to pay for its new Asia policy, the final result will not likely correspond to the initial vision.
In the attempt to explain what “it” is — which remains more an attempt to explain what “it” is not — Washington has succeeded in making clear that the Navy wants lots of cool new stuff. Beyond that, American policy in East Asia remains confused at best. On a country-by-country level, different “desks” at the State Department may appear to have a handle on what practitioners are doing. But such efforts — especially regarding China and Japan — are now openly at cross-purposes. Specifically, the vibrant China envisaged in U.S. policy is on a collision course with the more self-reliant Japan likewise championed, while Korea falls into the gap. READ MORE

Asia Times Online :: Gains for China, India in new cold war By M K Bhadrakumar

Asia Times Online :: Gains for China, India in new cold war

Gains for China, India in new cold war
By M K Bhadrakumar

China and India need to meditate over zen and the art of responding to the Ukraine crisis. If they cherry-pick thoughtfully, they stand to gain significantly out of the rising tensions in the relations between the United States and Russia.

In terms of co-relation of forces - to use the jaded Marxist-Leninist concept - the international environment is becoming very promising. Much depends on how China and India choose to respond to the courtship that can be expected from the West and Russia in a foreseeable future and extract advantages.

President Vladimir Putin singled out China and India in his


celebrated Kremlin speech last week to express Moscow's satisfaction over the stance they took over Crimea's historic accession to Russia. In carefully chosen words, Putin said, "We are grateful to the people of China, whose leadership sees the situation in all its historical and political integrity. We highly  appreciate India's restraint and objectivity."

Korea's jailed bosses keep power points By Aidan Foster-Carter

Asia Times Online :
Korea News and Korean Business and Economy, Pyongyang News