USFK Soldier Killed in Traffic Accident Near Camp Humphreys

Condolences to the friends and family of the USFK soldier killed in a recent traffic accident in South Korea:

A U.S. soldier from the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade in South Korea was killed in a vehicle accident, police said Friday, Dec. 8, 2017.

A U.S. soldier was killed when a truck slammed into a military ambulance and a car that had pulled over to the side of a highway after an earlier collision south of Seoul, officials said Friday.

The Eighth Army confirmed that a 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade soldier died of injuries suffered in a vehicle accident. The soldier was not further identified pending family notification.

“Medical aid was provided on the scene until the soldier was transported via ambulance to the Good Morning Hospital,” the 8th Army said in a statement. “The incident is under investigation.” (…..)

The deadly chain of events began when a car rear-ended the U.S. military vehicle on an interchange, prompting the soldier to get out to examine the damage. An 8-ton cargo truck then slammed into them, according to the regional fire service.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link, but imagine what the response would have been if it was a US soldier that killed a Korean civilian in a traffic accident?  The usual suspects would be protesting and demanding apologies from the US President.

13 Dead After South Korean Fishing Boat Hits Oil Tanker Near Incheon

A deadly maritime accident occurred over the weekend in the waters near Incheon:

Authorities search the waters near the fishing boat that collided with an oil tanker on Sunday morning. The boat capsized on the waters near Yeongheung Island, southwest of Incheon, after the collision that killed 13 out of the 22 on the fishing boat. [NEWS1]

A fishing boat collided with an oil tanker in the waters off Incheon on Sunday morning, killing 13 people out of the 22 aboard the smaller vessel.

Two people, including the 70-year-old captain of the fishing boat, surnamed Oh, are still missing as of press time Sunday.

Authorities said the two vessels, a 9.77-ton fishing boat and a 336-ton oil tanker, collided on the waters south of Yeongheung Bridge which connects Yeongheung Island to Seonjae Island located in the waters southwest of Incheon around 6:09 a.m.

“The fishing boat left Jindu Port of Yeongheung Island at 6 a.m. and collided with the oil tanker around 6:09 a.m. on the waters some 1 mile south of the bridge,” said a marine police officer in Incheon during a press briefing on Sunday morning. “It capsized as a result.”  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read the rest at the link.

Korea Post Begins First Trial Run of Newspaper Delivery By Drone Aircraft

It looks like the newspaper delivery boy is on the verge of becoming obsolete:

A drone operated by Korea Post takes off from a port in Goheung, South Jeolla, to deliver mail and packages to the residents of Deungnyang Island, which is about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) off the coast. [KOREA POST]

Jang In-kil, the lone mailman on Deungnyang Island off the coast of South Jeolla, travels to a port in Goheung, some 40 minutes away from the island, by boat at 8 a.m. every day to pick up mail and packages for the residents of the island. By the time Jang returns with the mail, it’s already 3 p.m., which means it takes over eight hours every day for him to collect the mail for his neighbors on the island.

That eight-hour trip may be shortened to just one hour, thanks to a new delivery service by government-operated drones.

Korea Post, the national postal service provider, on Tuesday started a trial run of its delivery drone on Jang’s daily route. The drone flew the 3.8-kilometer (2.4-mile) trip from the port in Goheung to a community center on the island in just 10 minutes, half an hour less than the time Jang had to spend on the sea every day.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link, but I wonder if South Korea will have the same regulatory issues preventing drone delivery that Amazon is experiencing in the US?

ROK Defense Minister Forced to Apologize for Miniskirts Comment at JSA

In today’s day and age you have to be careful about every word you say as the ROK Defense Minister recently found out:

Of all the remarks to boost the morale of South Korean soldiers protecting the inter-Korean border, he picks the wrong one.

Making a sexual remark may boost male soldiers’ morale, but Defense Minister Song Young-moo chose the wrong place at the wrong time when he visited the Joint Security Area (JSA) Monday.

Two weeks after a North Korean soldier was shot five times when he dramatically escaped to the South through the JSA in the Panmunjeom truce village, Song visited the scene.

Besides checking out the scene, he met and encouraged South Korean soldiers for managing the incident well.

Song met the soldiers at a lunch in a mess hall, where he arrived late. Being apologetic, he cut short his talk so the soldiers would not have to wait long before eating.

“It’s not fun to listen to someone haranguing on and on before a food table,” Song said. “People say that the shorter speeches and miniskirts are the better, right?”

The soldiers replied with a thunderous “Yes, sir. Song finished his speech by saying he had come to the JSA to deliver the public’s praise for them for saving the badly wounded North Korean.

But Song’s “miniskirt” comment made headlines that suggested his choice of words was sexually offensive.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but add that to the list of banned speech that you can’t tell people you like miniskirts.

Flight Attendant from “Nut Rage” Incident Claims Korean Air Retaliated Against Him

It will be interesting to see how this plays out because I would think Korean Air probably retaliated against him after closely consulting with an army of lawyers on how to legally do it:

The whistle-blower who exposed the actions of the Korean Air chairman’s daughter who forced a plane to return to its gate in a tiff over macadamia nuts is suing her and the airline, accusing them of illegally demoting and ostracizing him.

“My case illustrates how those who say no to economic power in South Korea come under a systematic attack from their organization,” the whistle-blower, Park Chang-jin, said during a news conference on Monday. “I hope my case will help our society to think about the dignity and rights of common workers.”

The 2014 episode, which became known as a case of “nut rage,” led to international condemnation and ridicule of the chairman’s daughter, Cho Hyun-ah, after she became angry that a first-class flight attendant served the nuts without first asking her, then in an unopened package rather than on a plate, according to court documents.

Ms. Cho was vice president at the company at the time.  (…..)

Mr. Park took a leave of absence to recover from a psychological trauma. And when he returned to work in May of last year, Korean Air demoted him from cabin crew chief to flight attendant, citing what it called his poor English. He and his lawyers said the demotion was an illegal retaliation against his whistle-blowing.  [New York Times]

You can read more at the link.

South Korea to Conduct Review Anti-Abortion Laws

For those that didn’t know abortion is still illegal in South Korea, but the law is hardly ever enforced.  The Moon Jae-in administration is now going to conduct a review on whether to legalize the practice of abortion:

Cheong Wa Dae said Sunday it will review the legitimacy of the nation’s anti-abortion law.

Cho Kuk, the senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, said the government will begin the task by collecting more facts through research next year.

The announcement came after more than 230,000 people signed a petition against the law, which carries a sentence of up to one year or a maximum fine of 2 million won ($1,850) for a woman who has an abortion.

“The fetal right to live is critical, but the current law pushes abortions underground,” Cho said.“Besides, the law holds women accountable only, excluding men who are also responsible.”

“Based on the outcome of the research, we can take a step forward and begin a new debate.”

According to the government’s latest survey conducted in 2010, about 169,000 abortions were performed that year most of them (94 percent) were done illegally, but only about 10 people were indicted.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

North Korean Soldier Who Defected Across the DMZ Will Survive, But Was In Very Poor Health Before Being Shot

The North Korean soldier shot while defecting to South Korea across the JSA will live.  However, his poor medical condition before he was even shot is drawing increased scrutiny in South Korea:

The revelation that the man had a severe parasitic infection — Lee said he had never seen such a case except in medical textbooks — and that his stomach contained raw corn kernels prompted widespread shock in South Korea. North Korean front-line soldiers were supposed to be elite troops, yet this man had worms not seen in South Korea since the 1970s and had been eating uncooked corn?

Oh also has tuberculosis and hepatitis B, Lee said. And, at 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing about 130 pounds, he is several inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter than the average male 18-year-old South Korean.

There is intense interest in the soldier, and military intelligence officers reportedly are eager to question him about his escape, but Lee has been fending them off. The soldier is showing signs of depression and post-traumatic stress, and it will take about a month before he is well enough to answer questions, the doctor said.  [Washington Post]

You can read the rest at the link, but just think there are 25 million people in North Korea with probably many other bad health conditions which will need to be considered in a unification scenario.

By the way the soldier’s trauma surgeon Lee Cook-jong is a bit of celebrity in South Korea:

This is not Lee’s first time in the spotlight. The surgeon became a national hero in 2011 when he saved the life of a ship captain who had been shot by Somali pirates.

After pirates seized a chemical freighter near the Gulf of Aden in 2011, South Korean commandos stormed the ship and the pirates shot the captain six times during the rescue attempt.

Lee was waiting at a hospital in Oman and saved the captain’s life, earning a reputation as the country’s leading trauma surgeon. There was even a popular medical drama based on this story, “Golden Time.” The title was a reference to Lee’s frequent reminder that it is the hour after a severe injury that is most important for saving someone’s life.  [Washington Post]

85 South Koreans Denied Entry at Atlanta International Airport

Anyone want to take any guesses on what business 85 South Koreans were being flown into Atlanta to do?:

Eighty-five South Korean travelers were ordered to fly back after they were denied entry into the United States earlier this week, foreign ministry here said Tuesday.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the South Korean Consulate General in Atlanta was notified on Monday that 85 South Korean passport holders were refused U.S. entry at Atlanta International Airport in Georgia on Sunday and were ordered to leave the country.

The travelers arrived at the airport via two separate flights. All of them tried to enter the U.S. through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), a travel document under the South Korea-U.S. visa waiver program.

ESTA permits citizens of South Korea to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business for up to 90 days without a visa, but U.S. authorities found that they tried to enter the country for other purposes, according to the foreign ministry. The ministry, however, refused to give the details of their visiting purposes, citing privacy reasons.

“The South Korean Consulate General in Atlanta contacted the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to find out why our citizens were denied entry and were ordered to leave,” an official with the foreign ministry said. “We’ve checked whether the travelers received translation services and other amenities in the process.”  [Yonhap]