Ambulance Driver Charged for Running Red Light During an Emergency

This makes me wonder if anywhere else would charge an ambulance driver for running a red light while trying to get an infant to the hospital?:

An ambulance carrying an infant suffering a possible medical emergency and an SUV collided at an intersection in Songpa-gu, Seoul, early Jan. 1. / Yonhap

The driver of an ambulance carrying an infant suffering a possible medical emergency faces prosecution for ignoring traffic lights after the vehicle and an SUV collided.

The incident happened about 2 a.m. on January 1 at an intersection south of Olympic Bridge in Songpa-gu, Seoul. The ambulance, with its siren sounding, was coming from North Chungcheong Province and heading to Seoul Asan Hospital. It was also carrying the three-month-old child’s parents and a nurse. The infant was in a critical condition with fluid on the lungs.

The ambulance ran a red light before the collision with the SUV. Police said the SUV driver’s blood-alcohol level was 0.12 percent, enough for license revocation. No one was seriously injured in the crash.

Songpa police booked both drivers without arrest ― the ambulance driver for ignoring the traffic light and the SUV driver for driving under the influence of alcohol.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but long time residents in Korea are probably used to seeing how few cars bother to get out of the way of ambulances with their warning sirens and lights on as well.

Kim Jong-un Vows to Build Nuclear Weapons Program to Achieve “Equilibrium” with the U.S.

It looks like the North Koreans have no plans of freezing their nuclear program:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (2nd from R) laughs and claps during his guidance of a missile launch in Pyongyang in this photo, released by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency on Sept. 16, 2017. For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution. (Yonhap)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has pledged to complete the country’s nuclear program, saying that its final goal is to establish an “equilibrium” of military force with the U.S., its state media said Saturday.

Kim made the remark during his inspection of the launch of a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan a day earlier, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

North Korea on Friday fired a ballistic missile from Pyongyang that crossed over Japan. It flew around 3,700 kilometers while reaching a maximum altitude of some 770 km.

“We should clearly show the big power chauvinists how our state attain the goal of completing its nuclear force despite their limitless sanctions and blockade,” Kim was quoted as saying by the KCNA.

He underlined “the need to put an end to them with the all-state efforts as it has nearly reached the terminal,” he added.

It marked the second missile launch over Japan in less than a month. It also followed the wayward regime’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3.

“Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the U.S. and make the U.S. rulers dare not talk about military option” for North Korea, Kim said.

Kim, in addition, called on the North’s scientists and technicians to “put rockets on a modern and ultra modern basis and develop the operation level onto a higher stage with their close combination” — remarks that some observers say hinted at the possibility of additional provocations from Pyongyang.

The photo of the launch, released by the North’s daily Rodong Sinmun, showed that the Hwasong-12 missile was fired from a road-mobile launcher — an indication of enhanced mobility. The North was seen using a fixed launchpad to fire the same missile in May and last month.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

Last American Tourists Travel to North Korea

The final group of Americans willing to pay Kim Jong-un foreign currency to help support his missile and nuclear programs has traveled to North Korea:

A group of American travelers ― probably the last before the U.S. government bans its citizens from visiting the reclusive state from Sept. 1 ― landed in North Korea on Saturday.

The eight travelers ― include CNN correspondent Will Ripley on his 14th trip ― were undeterred by possible arrest, imprisonment or nuclear war.

Details about the other tourists, including their itinerary, are unknown. Beijing-based Koryo Tours organized the visit, which general manager Simon Cockerell is leading on his 165th trip to the North.

“It [the ban] is a pity for anyone curious who wants to go, but especially for North Koreans who might want to know what American visitors are really like,” Cockerell told CNN.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but this travel ban should have been in place a long time ago.

Picture of the Day: China Donates Ahn Jung-geun Statue to City of Uijongbu

China donates statue of Korean national hero

A project to set up the donated statue of Korean independence fighter Ahn Jung-geun is underway at a park in Euijeongbu, north of Seoul, on Aug. 8, 2017. The Charhar Institute, a Chinese civic think tank, donated the statue to the city to promote friendship between the two countries. The Korean national hero shot and killed Hirobumi Ito, the first Japanese governor-general of the Korean Peninsula, at a railway station in the Chinese city of Harbin in 1909. The statue depicts Ahn pulling out a gun to shoot the governor while running toward him. (Yonhap)

South Korean Welfare Ministers Vows to Establish a Welfare State

Minister Park plans to create his welfare state with steep tax hikes:

Health and Welfare Minister Park Neung-hoo speaks during his inauguration ceremony held at the government complex in Sejong, south of Seoul, on July 24, 2017. (Yonhap)

Health and Welfare Minister Park Neung-hoo said Monday he will strengthen the country’s social safety net and establish a foothold for a welfare state for the next five decades.

During his inauguration ceremony held at the government complex in Sejong, south of Seoul, Park said the country should be able to embrace the vulnerable people and become an inclusive society that can bring about growth from all walks of life.

“To make an inclusive welfare state, there should be harmony between a sound market economy and a strong social safety net,” he said, vowing to come up with detailed plans for such a society.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

Steph Curry to Visit South Korea on July 27th

The man that just signed the richest contract in NBA history looks like he will be making a few more bucks during his visit to South Korea on behalf of Under Armor:

NBA All-Star Stephen Curry will visit Korea in July.

He will be here on July 27 for the “Under Armor – Stephen Curry Live in Seoul” event sponsored by the Under Armor Korea Corporation.

Fans who wish to participate will be given a raffle ticket after they buy at least 50,000 won ($43) of Under Armor products by July 5.

Raffle ticket submissions can be made at all Under Armor stores nationwide — excluding outlets — or through the official Under Armor event webpage.

Winners will be sent a text on July 10 and may bring a friend.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

Trump-Moon Summit “Went Far Better Than Many Predicted”

Supposedly a lot of people thought the Trump-Moon summit was going to be a disaster and to me it concluded the way I expected it to.  President Trump advanced his issues on trade and USFK cost sharing and President Moon advanced his ideas on how to engage North Korea:

Ken Gause, a North Korea expert at CNA Corp., said that the summit “went far better than many expected.”

“I was pleased to see that Trump backed Moon’s lead on peninsula affairs, including supporting inter-Korean dialogue,” Gause said. “We shall see if this gives Moon more traction with Pyongyang, which still may need a greater commitment from Washington. Trump will continue to support if it shows progress. It also gives Moon the latitude he needs to deal with Beijing.”

He said it’s no surprise at all that Trump pushed for renegotiation of the FTA and greater defense cost-sharing.

“These are just as much domestic as foreign policy issues for the administration. If Trump can show he is getting a good deal from the Koreans on these issues, it gives him more latitude to support Moon’s approach to North Korea,” the expert said.

“So bottom line, the summit doesn’t appear to be the disaster many were predicting. Whether it has laid the foundation for a way forward, we will have to see,” he said. “I don’t expect Moon will get traction with Pyongyang unless he is willing to open the aperture for dialogue beyond denuclearization. Washington will have to support the expansion of the aperture for this to work.”  [Yonhap]

Did people really think President Trump was going to say something crazy about President Moon?  Trump has been respectful to those who have been respectful to him.  President Moon is a seasoned politician and understands how to approach Trump.  He is not like former ROK President Roh Moo-hyun.  If Roh and Trump were in the same room together then I would be worried about a summit disaster.

Is White Privilege to Blame for Otto Warmbier’s Death?

Leave it to the social justice warriors to connect the death of Otto Warmbier to so called “white privilege”:

As shocked as I am by the sentence handed down to Warmbier, I am even more shocked that a grown man, an American citizen, would not only voluntarily enter North Korea but also commit what’s been described a “college-style prank.” That kind of reckless gall is an unfortunate side effect of being socialized first as a white boy, and then as a white man in this country. Every economic, academic, legal and social system in this country has for more than three centuries functioned with the implicit purpose of ensuring that white men are the primary benefactors of all privilege. The kind of arrogance bred by that kind of conditioning is pathogenic, causing its host to develop a subconscious yet no less obnoxious perception that the rules do not apply to him, or at least that their application is negotiable.  (…..)

As I’ve said, living 15 years performing manual labor in North Korea is unimaginable, but so is going to a place I know I’m unwelcome and violating their laws. I’m a black woman though. The hopeless fear Warmbier is now experiencing is my daily reality living in a country where white men like him are willfully oblivious to my suffering even as they are complicit in maintaining the power structures which ensure their supremacy at my expense. He is now an outsider at the mercy of a government unfazed by his cries for help. I get it.  [Huffington Post via reader tip]

What is interesting is that there have been far fewer white people detained in North Korea than other races which the author makes no mention of in her article.  There has been 16 American detainees in North Korea since 1996.   Five were white, eight were ethnic Koreans, one black and one hispanic.  I have long recommended against traveling to North Korea, but many Americans have traveled there with no issues.  The biggest reason Americans have been detained is because of religious reasons, or in the case of Euna Lee and Laura Ling sheer stupidity.

This actually makes Warmbier’s detention very different from all the others.  What we don’t know is was Warmbier told by someone in the hotel he could have the poster in order to have an excuse to arrest him?  It seems pretty insensitive to me to blame so called “white privilege” when all the facts of why he was detained and what happened to him are not known.