Will President Moon Cancel Comfort Women Agreement with Japan?

If President Moon scraps the comfort women agreement with Japan it will be very interesting to see what the Japanese reaction will be.  It seems to me the Japanese government would be furious if it was to happen considering the political capital Shinzo Abe used to get the deal completed:

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday hinted at possibly scrapping an agreement with Tokyo over Japan’s sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II, insisting that most South Koreans could not accept the deal reached by the former Seoul government.

“President Moon noted the reality was that most of his people could not accept the agreement over the sexual slavery issue,” Moon’s chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan said of the president’s telephone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The conversation came as Abe sought to congratulate the new South Korean leader on his election this week. Moon came into office Wednesday, only one day after winning the presidential by-election caused by the March 10 ouster of his predecessor Park Geun-hye over a massive corruption scandal.

The thorny issue of sexual slavery apparently took center stage of the conversation after the Japanese premier urged the new liberal Seoul government to honor the agreement signed by its conservative predecessor.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

Yellow Dust Phenomenon Has Been Happening on the Korean Peninsula for Centuries

A ROK Drop favorite Robert Neff has an published in the Korea Times that explains how the yellow dust problem that has been plaguing Korea has actually been worse in centuries past than what has been seen recently:

Namdaemun circa 1911.

For the past several days, the air quality in Korea has been horrible _ filled with dust and pollution. Many blame desertification in China due to its rapid industrialization but this phenomenon is not new _ it is one that has plagued the Korean Peninsula for hundreds of years.

Historical records from the Three Kingdoms period indicate dust storms occurred at least as far back as 174 A.D. One powerful dust storm in the early sixth century left the capital of Baekje shrouded in darkness as if it were night and a couple of decades later, Silla suffered one that lasted for five days. Perhaps the strangest of these weather phenomena took place in 644 when a red-tinged snow fell in Pyongyang.

The Annals of the Joseon Dynasty provide even more examples.

In November 1412, a horrendous dust storm mixed with fog blanketed the land. The visibility was so bad that people could not even see the person standing in front of them and the sudden spring-like weather melted the ice on the rivers.  [Korea Times]

Mr. Neff provides more examples of the bizarre weather created by the yellow dust at the link.  What I found of interest was that if this same bizarre weather happened today people would be claiming it is because of global warming.

Attacks on Korean Shop Owners Featured Heavily In Smithsonian Documentary About the 1992 LA Riots

I was watching on the Smithsonian app “The Lost Tapes: LA Riots” which had a lot of never before seen footage of the riots that happened 25 years ago in response to the Rodney King verdict.  You can watch the entire episode at the above link.  What I found of interest was the amount of footage featuring the attacks on Koreans in Los Angeles.  This fact is often glossed over by the media when discussing the riots.  Rioters were specifically targeting Korean businesses in retaliation for the shooting death of Latasha Harlins by a Korean shop owner during a confrontation.

Korean store owners defend their business during the 1992 LA riots. [CNN]

The incompetent police response also featured heavily in the program because the first day of the riot they initially responded to rioters and then were ordered to pull out.  Once they pulled out the gangbangers went on a rampage robbing stores and eventually other people joined in.  By the second day the rioters had advanced on Koreatown and still the police would not respond.  They left the Koreans to fend for themselves while they defended more affluent white neighborhoods.  Due to the police not responding the firefighters stopped responding as well because they kept getting shot at when they tried to put out the fires.  There was plenty of footage of shot up firetrucks.

The Korean shop owners had to take up arms to defend Koreatown from the rioters which is what saved that section of the city from being burned down.  While this was going on Jesse Jackson was on the radio saying that he believed many of the fires were caused by people trying to get insurance payouts and not from rioters.

CNN recently published an article that discusses how little attention the attacks on Koreans during the riot received from the media:

Store owner Richard Rhee stands vigil, armed with a handgun and a cellular phone on the roof of his grocery store in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles on May 2, 1992.

The nearly weeklong, widespread rioting killed more than 50 people, injured more than 1,000 people and caused approximately $1 billion in damage, about half of which was sustained by Korean-owned businesses. Long-simmering cultural clashes between immigrant Korean business owners and predominately African-American customers spilled over with the acquittals.
The Rodney King verdict and the ensuing riots are often framed as a turning point for law enforcement and the African-American community. But it’s also the single most significant modern event for Korean-Americans, says Edward Taehan Chang, professor of ethnic studies and founding director of the Young Oak Kim Center for Korean American Studies at the University of California, Riverside.
“Despite the fact that Korean-American merchants were victimized, no one in the mainstream cared because of our lack of visibility and political power,” Chang said. “Korean immigrants, many who arrived in the late 1970s and early 80s, learned economic success alone will not guarantee their place in America. What was an immigrant Korean identity began to shift. The Korean-American identity was born.”  [CNN]
This is the experience many Korean-Americans learned from the LA Riots:
“I watched a gas station on fire, and I thought, boy, that place looks familiar,” he said. “Soon, the realization hit me. As I was protecting my parents’ shopping mall, I was watching my own gas station burn down on TV.”
That he ended up on a rooftop with a borrowed gun was never in Lee’s life plan. He had quit his job as an engineer at an aerospace company to pursue what he hoped would be life as an independent businessman, opening up three businesses in Koreatown.
“I truly thought I was a part of mainstream society,” said Lee, who immigrated with his family to the United States as a child. “Nothing in my life indicated I was a secondary citizen until the LA riots. The LAPD powers that be decided to protect the ‘haves’ and the Korean community did not have any political voice or power. They left us to burn.”  [CNN]
The rest of the article goes on of course to talk about how bad President Trump is and how African-Americans and Korean-Americans need to unite against him.  I don’t think CNN is capable of writing an article any more without an anti-Trump bias.  Anyway I do recommend watching “The Lost Tapes: LA Riots” to get a better understanding of the LA Riots that happened 25 years ago.

Poll Shows 42% of Korean Women Have Had Botox or Filler Treatments

South Korea is well known for its affordable and expansive cosmetic surgery industry, but still this number seems extremely high to me:

A vast proportion of Korean women have had either botox or filler treatments, a study out last Friday suggests.

Pharma giant Allergan polled 450 women aged 21 to 55 here, and 42 percent admitted they have had the cosmetic treatments. And a quarter of the women who have not had the treatments yet would be willing to have them in the future, while 17 percent said they would think about it.

Only 16 percent said they had no intention of getting the treatments, which either plump up the face to make it look more youthful or immobilize facial muscles so no laugh lines or other wrinkles form.  [Chosun Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

Forest Fire Started Outside of THAAD Site in South Korea

It will be interesting to see if this fire was started intentionally to threaten the THAAD site in South Korea:

Another fire broke out late on Sunday near the site where the U.S. is installing the controversial anti-missile system called THAAD. It started at around 7:30 p.m. near the top of a mountain located closely to the golf course picked for the THAAD deployment in the country’s southern town of Seongju.

Firefighters are working to bring the fire under control but are having trouble in doing so due to darkness. The exact cause of the fire has not been confirmed yet.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

Update On Korean Woman Severely Injured in London Terror Attack

Here is horrible story about a 70 year old Korean woman on a dream vacation to Europe that was severely injured in the March 22nd terrorist attack in London:

Park, who sustained a head injury in a terror attack in London on March 22, is hospitalized at St Mary’s Hospital, London. She is photographed here on Friday local time. [KIM SUNG-TAK]

Bang Young-sook’s mother was having the holiday of her dreams. An orchard farmer from Yeongcheon, North Gyeongsang, the 70-year-old Park was all smiles as she and her husband posed on London’s picturesque Westminster Bridge on the afternoon of March 22.

The couple’s group tour to Europe was paid for by their children. Britain was their first stop. After the photo was snapped, Park’s husband walked on while Park stopped to arrange her selfie stick.

That brief pause led to tragedy. Park’s husband heard screams and turned back. A car had ploughed into the pedestrians on the bridge – and his wife was among dozens mowed down.

The terror attack in London by a 52-year old convert to Islam killed five and injured 50. Five Koreans were injured and Park sustained the most serious injuries. The other four, people in their 50s and 60s, were discharged after being treated for fractures and minor injuries. Park is still in London’s St Mary’s Hospital. In the pandemonium on the bridge, Park fell and hit her head. She required brain surgery.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.