Korean news roundup: US Ambassador knife attack, gender inequality and North Korea is still crazy
After starting this feature yesterday, we’re back with today’s news updates!
There’s no question what the biggest story was today. US Ambassador Mark Lippert was subject to a surprise knife attack this morning by a known anti-US and anti-Japan activist and opposed US-South Korea joint military drills. The man apparently shouted “I committed an act of terror!” as police wrestled him to the ground and is now in custody. The Guardian has a run-down of the whole situation.
North Korea did as North Korea is wont to do in response to the attack and released a vicious and overly dramatic statement. CNN reported that the government branded it a “knife attack of justice” while KCNA Watch has the full statement from Korean Central News Agency. But don’t expect much sense from it as it’s littered with gems like this:
The recent case amid mounting anti-Americanism reflects the mindset of south Korean people censuring the U.S. for bringing the danger of a war to the Korean peninsula through the madcap saber-rattling.
Saber-rattling, I’ll have you know. Anyway, we hope Ambassador Lippert recovers soon.
The US has forfeited over a million dollars of assets to Seoul which were traceable to proceeds from corruption by former Korean dictator Chun Doo-hwan. The money comes from the sale of a house purchased by his son and a half-a-million dollar investment his daughter-in-law made in a private company. This is apparently the first time the US has returned laundered money to Korea.
The Korea Herald has an interesting story about classes for young sexual offenders aimed at teaching them and their parents why their behaviour was wrong. Hopefully it’s working as they’re increasing the number of sessions and participants. Do be warned that it does open with a a pretty gruesome story about a series of rapes that took place in 2004 and the awful victim-blaming from the parents of the boys involved. The interview with the counsellor was really enlightening and it reminded me of this fantastic piece by Se Woong Koo about Korea’s deeply gendered (and problematic) models of sexual relations.
In honour of International Women’s Day on Sunday, The Economist has a Glass Ceiling Index Chart ranking OECD countries in terms of their friendliness to women in the workplace. As you may imagine South Korea comes bottom in pretty much everything.
A photo of a homeroom class from the high school who were involved in the ferry tragedy last year was released and it’s predictably heartbreaking.
There’s some pretty worrying figures about birthrates and aging populations over at the Korean Herald.
The Korean cosmetics industry continues its lowkey bid to take over the world with a 50% rise in exports in the past year. Unsurprisingly the trend is led by Chinese consumers who accounted for about a third of sales.
It’s not so much news but Chris over at Korean Indie has a nice beginner’s guide to Korean electronic music that you should check out.
Oh and Rap Monster has released a track with Warren G and it’s… actually okay.