Donald Kirk

Donald Kirk has covered the Far East since the 1970s for most major American newspapers and is currently based in Seoul, Korea.

 RJMorton

Exercise in terrorism: The likely cause of Otto Warmbier’s death

Exercise in terrorism: The likely cause of Otto Warmbier’s death

By Donald Kirk The death of Otto Warmbier provides a powerful reminder of the torture and terrorism perpetrated by one of the world’s most repressive regimes. Americans are no doubt aware of the tyranny of the dynasty led by a man who revels in ordering the development of long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads […]

 RJMorton

Key U.S. alliance in Northeast Asia put to the test with election of new South Korean leader

Key U.S. alliance in Northeast Asia put to the test with election of new South Korean leader

By Donald Kirk Would Kim Jong-Un mind giving Moon Jae-In a break? More than any other South Korean leader in years, Moon would like nothing better than to be the one to bring about North-South reconciliation. Wouldn’t it be great, Moon’s newly appointed former activists must be saying, if Kim Jong-Un invited Moon to Pyongyang […]

 RJMorton

Talking North Korea peace has paid off for the talkers, but not for peace

Talking North Korea peace has paid off for the talkers, but not for peace

By Donald Kirk An interviewer for a radio station in Boston, winding up one of those Q&A’s to which journalists are subjected, asked, What would you do to resolve the North Korean “problem?” I answered, “I have no solution, no idea, no clue.” While that response might seem like an abject display of ignorance or […]

 RJMorton

Amid the Korean nuclear showdown, don’t forget the trade gap that threatens the western alliance

Amid the Korean nuclear showdown, don’t forget the trade gap that threatens the western alliance

By Donald Kirk All the talk over what to do with North Korea overlooks one problem to which people are not paying that much attention. That’s the yawning gap in trade between the U.S. and all its leading trade partners. It’s a lot easier to grasp the significance of a North Korean nuclear warhead attached […]

 RJMorton

Mar-a-lago menu: THAAD and Kim Jong-UN; Powerpoints and hot air

Mar-a-lago menu: THAAD and Kim Jong-UN; Powerpoints and hot air

By Donald Kirk From the outset, the idea of implanting a Star Wars weapon capable of zapping an enemy missile 150 kilometers above the earth’s surface had to be controversial. The real problem from the South Korean viewpoint initially was, what for ― what we really need are short and mid-range missiles for not only […]

 RJMorton

Profiles in Korean corruption: First female president may be seen later as tragic figure

Profiles in Korean corruption: First female president may be seen later as tragic figure

By Donald Kirk The prospect of Park Geun-Hye going to jail in the most sweeping political scandal in modern Korean history inspires invidious comparisons. Who, actually, was the most corrupt president since promulgation of the “democracy constitution” in 1987 at the height of demonstrations as massive as those we have witnessed in central Seoul since […]

 RJMorton

Cognitive dissonance in Seoul over the waving of American flags

Cognitive dissonance in Seoul over the waving of American flags

By Donald Kirk The sight of the American Stars and Stripes among the Taegukgi held high by loyalists to Park Geun-Hye is a reminder of the historical depth of ties among mostly aging Koreans to the country that rescued the South from annihilation by North Korea and China in the Korean War. Some Americans, seeing […]

 RJMorton

War? Explosive tensions are mounting on the Korean peninsula

War? Explosive tensions are mounting on the Korean peninsula

By Donald Kirk Suddenly the outlook for keeping the peace on the Korean peninsula has taken an alarming turn for the worse. We’ve long been accustomed to the threat of Korean War II, but now it’s looking like more than a scary mirage. China is up in arms over the arrival of the first elements […]

 RJMorton

Forgotten takeaway from the killing of Kim Jong-Nam: North Korea’s bio-chemical WMD threat

Forgotten takeaway from the killing of Kim Jong-Nam: North Korea’s bio-chemical WMD threat

By Donald Kirk The poisoning of the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un should make everyone painfully aware of a category of “weapons of mass destruction” that’s overlooked in the controversy over nuclear devices. In all the negotiations, recriminations, talk and double-talk about North Korea’s nuclear menace, little is said about the North’s highly […]

 RJMorton

Fake news and false flags: According to Kim Jong-Un, the CIA killed his brother

Fake news and false flags: According to Kim Jong-Un, the CIA killed his brother

By Donald Kirk The assassination of Kim Jong-Nam promises to go down as one of those weird acts of terrorism that North Korea, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, will forever deny having perpetrated. The prevarication and obfuscation in this case would appear a little more ornate than North Korea’s unending denials […]

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