Friday, January 16, 2009

Korea news links for Thursday, January 15, 2009

  1. Former South Korean president Kim Daejung urges Obama to make North Korea a priority. Kushibo's take: As Kim suggests, direct dialogue with North Korea might be a good way to reduce tension between Washington and Pyongyang. This was the basis of Kim's so-called "Sunshine Policy" (which his predecessor completely botched). On the other hand, it also provides Kim Jong-il's regime a chance to squeeze more concessions out of Washington.
  2. Kim Jong-il has picked his third (and youngest) son to be his heir. Kushibo's take: Let's see how long this lasts. North Korea should learn something from the drop in quality from Bush-41 to Bush-43. 
  3. YTN reports that a Canadian teacher of English has been accused of molesting three first-grade girls in Seoul's Sŏng-dong neighborhood (Korea Times link). Kushibo's take: With its relatively lax rules and lingering lack of awareness of the signs of sexual molestation among the general public, South Korea is an easy place for English-speaking pedophiles to hide in plain sight; it wouldn't be the first time this has happened. However, like with any other issue, just because a "foreigner" is arrested for something doesn't mean he/she's automatically guilty; it wouldn't be the first time a foreign national has been railroaded by the police and the judicial system.
  4. Moody's considers downgrading the ratings of several South Korean banks as they struggle to get dollars to pay off their debts. Kushibo's take: I'd give them dollars if I had any. 
  5. Property values in Kangnam rise on optimism generated by deregulation and cheaper lending. Kushibo's take: Everyone keeps talking about a real estate bubble, but things just keep going up and up. No kidding, Kangnam seems to defy gravity and economic law. It's a lot like Honolulu, which is also holding on to its value despite the collapse of values elsewhere. 
  6. Handbags are the most commonly lost item on the Seoul subway system. Kushibo's take: It's a really, really, really slow news day. 

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