Freepressers

Daughter of a controversial leader runs for president of South Korea

Daughter of a controversial leader runs for president of South Korea

By Donald Kirk, East-Asia-Intel.com The specter of Park Geun-Hye running for president of the Republic of Korea evokes almost as many memories for those foreigners who were here during the reign of her father as it does for millions of Koreans who share quite differing perspectives. As a journalist in pursuit of about the only […]

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U.S.-North Korea 'food for nukes' deal means little, generates hot air in Seoul

U.S.-North Korea 'food for nukes' deal means little, generates hot air in Seoul

By Donald Kirk, East-Asia-Intel.com SEOUL — North Korea’s promise to give up or at least suspend its nuclear program clearly forces the end of the seemingly tough policies enunciated by South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak after he took office four years ago. No way can Lee appear as the strong leader who reversed a decade […]

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As Iran, Syria crises heat up, N. Korean missile exports boom

As Iran, Syria crises heat up, N. Korean missile exports boom

By Donald Kirk, East-Asia-Intel.com WASHINGTON — North Korea stands to be a major winner if Israeli hotheads lose patience and drive Israel into attacking Iranian nuclear facilities. With Iran said in some quarters to be only months away from emerging as the world’s 10th nuclear weapons power, North Korea reportedly is producing more middle-range missiles […]

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S. Korean who exposed payoff that led to a Nobel Peace Prize, is granted asylum in U.S.

S. Korean who exposed payoff that led to a Nobel Peace Prize, is granted asylum in U.S.

By Donald Kirk, East-Asia-Intel.com WASHINGTON — A former agent for South Korea’s multi-tentacled National Intelligence Service has defeated an intensive United States government bid to have him extradited to Seoul and imprisoned for revealing the payoffs to North Korea that led to the historic June 2000 North-South Korean summit and the Nobel Peace Prize for […]

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The power politics of mourning Kim Jong-Il: It's complicated

The power politics of mourning Kim Jong-Il: It's complicated

By Donald Kirk, East-Asia-Intel.com SEOUL — North Korea is playing a skillful game of funeral diplomacy and politics that’s dividing South Koreans and leaving everyone to wonder who’s doing what to whom in the corridors of power in Pyongyang. All North Korean strategists have had to do is issue a huge welcome to all those […]

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U.S. policy 'breakthroughs' in Asia hit a series of reality walls

By Donald Kirk, East-Asia-Intel.com WASHINGTON — Call it a matter of conflicting — or colliding — messages. South Korean conservatives have forced a free-trade agreement with the United States through a fractious National Assembly. A U.S. Congress “supercommittee” has demonstrated the weakness of the American system of governance by abject, humiliating failure to come up […]

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In break from the downbeat, U.S. and S. Korea finally open new trade era

In break from the downbeat, U.S. and S. Korea finally open new trade era

By Donald Kirk, East-Asia-Intel.com SEOUL — The United States and South Korea stood on the brink of a brave new world on Friday with a triumphant state visit to Washington by South Korea’s President Lee Myung-Bak marking the passage by both houses of the U.S. Congress of the much-delayed Korea-U.S. Free Trade Act. The final […]