South Korea

South Korea

Latest news, in-depth features and opinion on South Korea, covering politics, economy, society, K-pop and Seoul’s relationships with North Korea, Japan, China and the United States.

Defectors from North Korea hit an all-time low
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features one important number about China to give you insight into the rising power. 12: The number of North Koreans who defected to South Korea between April and June this year. The figure, an all-time low, represents a dramatic drop compared to the 320 people in North Korea who crossed into the South over the same period last year. According to South Korea’s Ministry of Unification, in the first three months of 2020, 135 North Koreans sought asylum in its southern neighbor, a 41% drop compared with 2019. Ministry spokesperson Yoh Sang-key told reporters that regional border closures caused the drop due to the coronavirus pandemic. Experts said th
Who is North Korea’s Kim Yo-jong?
On June 16, 2020, an inter-Korean liaison office was demolished in North Korea after Kim Yo-jong said it was “useless” and would soon be seen "completely collapsed.” Many were intrigued by the high-profile remarks from the only sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who is emerging as an apparent close ally and even a potential heir to her brother’s leadership role.
North Korea blows up inter-Korean liaison office
The North Korean government “blew up” its joint liaison office with South Korea on June 16, 2020. Located in the border city of Kaesong in North Korea, the destruction of the building was confirmed by South Korea’s Unification Ministry in a report sent to journalists. The move by North Korea comes after Pyongyang cut off communication with Seoul on June 9, and expressed anger over North Korean defectors sending balloons across the border filled with pamphlets critical of Kim Jong-un. 
When will social distancing end? Keep an eye on South Korea
It has been almost two months since South Korean soccer club Incheon United were supposed to play their first match of the season. But in that time, South Korea – once the coronavirus outbreak’s first major epicenter outside China – has stabilized its infection rate to the point that the country’s professional teams like Incheon United can play again, albeit to an empty stadium. “Fans were ecstatic when they heard the announcement, even if they’ll have to wait a little longer to actually watch the matches inside the stadium,” said Jih Won-ik, a social media manager at the club. “We might get the go-ahead from the government to open games with 10% or 20% of the maximum audience capacity of 20
Beating Covid-19: How Hong Kong and South Korea did it without lockdowns
Three months after reporting their first cases of the novel coronavirus, Hong Kong and South Korea are showing communities throughout the world that there is light at the end of the tunnel. On Tuesday, Hong Kong confirmed four cases of Covid-19, continuing a week-long run of single-digit case numbers. The city has reported 1,029 cases and four deaths since reporting its first infection on January 23. The totals for South Korea, which reported nine new cases on Tuesday, stood at 10,683 confirmed cases and 237 deaths. In both cases, there have been suggestions that the achievements, if sustained, could lead to an easing of social restrictions.  Seoul has said that while its social distancing
Just how lethal is the coronavirus? South Korea may have the best answer
Within a month of confirming its first case of the new coronavirus on January 20, South Korea had tested nearly 8,000 people suspected of infection. A little over a week later, that number had soared to 82,000 as health officials mobilized to carry out as many 10,000 tests each day. (Where did the coronavirus come from? How to prevent infections? Here’s what we’ve learned so far about the coronavirus.)  Neighboring Japan, on the other hand, tested only a fraction of that number, with fewer than 2,000 people checked on any given day since the beginning of its outbreak in late January.  So far, more than 6,000 cases have been confirmed in South Korea and over 1,000 in Japan, if you include the
Secretive church linked to South Korea’s outbreak may have ties to Wuhan
Members of the Christian sect linked to a cluster of coronavirus cases in South Korea held meetings in Wuhan until December, only stopping when they realized that their community had been hit by Covid-19, the previously unknown disease caused by the virus. The South China Morning Post has learned that the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the epidemic, has around 200 members, most of whom are currently under quarantine outside the city. “Rumors about a virus began to circulate in November but no one took them seriously,” said one member, a 28-year-old kindergarten teacher. “I was in Wuhan in December when our church suspended all gatherings as soon as we
Will ‘Parasite’ make it past China’s film censors?
Chinese film fans still don’t know if, or when, they will get to see Parasite, the South Korean film that made history by winning the 92nd Academy Award for best picture, along with three other Oscars. Some expressed doubts the film would be shown in China given its unflinching criticism of social inequality and extreme poverty, and its amoral storyline. It wouldn’t be the first Korean film to fall foul of Chinese censors. Korean directors have not been shy about depicting their country under dictatorship, and are likened to French filmmakers in their stylistic portrayal of sex and gore. Chinese censorship rules ban the explicit portrayal of sex, violence, sensitive political issues, practic
K-pop star ‘liked’ a tweet about Hong Kong. His Chinese fans are not amused
K-pop singer Choi Siwon — from the popular boy band Super Junior — has apologized to his 16 million Chinese fans for “liking” a post on Twitter about the Hong Kong protests. Choi, 33, liked – and later unliked – a Tweet from the South Korean newspaper Chosun on Sunday which linked to an interview with Chow Pak-kwan, the 21-year-old Hong Kong protester who was shot by a police officer at point-blank range on November 11.  Mainland internet users called for Choi to leave Super Junior. He is another public figure from the Asian entertainment world who has sparked an online backlash from nationalistic Chinese over alleged support for the anti-government protests in Hong Kong. Many commenters on
The surprising place some Korean women are going for a career boost
It takes less than two hours to fly from Seoul to Shanghai. The capital of South Korea and one of China’s largest cities are separated by a mere 500 miles, but the differences between the two Asian giants are clear. South Korea is a democracy that elected its first female president, Park Geun-hye, in February 2013. China, meanwhile, is a one-party state that has never had a woman president or premier. The all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, which currently has seven members, has never had any women either. China is not a feminist paradise. Indeed, it was ranked 103 out of 149 countries for gender parity in a 2018 report by the World Economic Forum, falling from 57th place in 2008. And