In the news

Next Tuesday, 5 February, a vigil will be held in remembrance of Kim Bok-dong who passed away on Monday 28 January, aged 93. She was a victim of Japanese military sexual slavery and a tireless campaigner against violence to women and girls in conflict. Her visit to London in 2015 touched many hearts. The vigil […]

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Kia wins Car of the Year award

by Philip Gowman 25 January 2019
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Congratulations to Kia for being the first Korean manufacturer to win Car of the Year award from the UK’s What Car? magazine. According to the magazine, “the e-Niro beats its rivals via knockout rather than on points, because it’s the first sensibly priced electric car that can fit into most people’s lives.” The company’s press […]

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Korean Englishman team wins cultural ambassador award

by Philip Gowman 12 January 2019
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Congratulations to the Korean Englishman team Josh Carrott and Ollie Kendal for their “Korea Image Stepping Stone Bridge Award” from the Corea Image Communication Institute (CICI). The award ceremony was held two days ago. Josh and Ollie run the 영국남자 Korean Englishman and JOLLY YouTube channels, which between them have over 4 million subscribers. Links: Corea Image […]

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Sokeel Park awarded MBE

by Philip Gowman 11 January 2019
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Congratulations to Sokeel Park for being awarded an MBE in the 2019 New Year’s Honours list, published on 28 December. The official citation in the Foreign Secretary’s Diplomatic Service and Overseas List reads: Sokeel John PARK, Country Director, Liberty in North Korea. For services to UK/Korea relations … though you suspect that Mr Park is […]

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BTS’s busy couple of weeks

by Philip Gowman 16 October 2018
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It’s been a busy couple of weeks for Korea’s biggest band: A speech for UNICEF at the United Nations on 24 September. The speech, by the band’s leader Kim Namjun (aka RM), ended as follows: Like most people, I’ve made many and plenty mistakes in my life. I have many faults and I have many […]

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Text of the Pyongyang Joint Declaration

by Philip Gowman 19 September 2018
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The following is the unofficial translation of the communique issued from the Pyongyang summit. President Moon’s statement following the summit can be found on the Blue House website. At the bottom of this post is a link to download a translation of the military accord that was signed at the same time. Pyongyang Joint Declaration […]

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RIP Bill Speakman VC

by Philip Gowman 21 July 2018
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The funeral was held this week for Bill Speakman, the so-called Beer Bottle VC. The ceremony was held on 19 July in the Wren Chapel at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, where Speakman was a pensioner. He died peacefully at the Hospital on 20 June 2018, aged 90, surrounded by members of his family. Obituaries can be […]

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The Singapore Summit: the Joint Statement

by Philip Gowman 12 June 2018
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Here is the official text from the Summit: Joint Statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the Singapore Summit. President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim […]

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Min Kym’s stolen Strad – the Classic FM podcast

by Philip Gowman 20 May 2018
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“This is the story of violinist Min Kym and what happened when her instrument was taken from her. It’s a tale of giddy love, devastating loss and the healing power of music.” Listen to the podcast here, with a summary on the Classic FM website here. Keywords: Musicians: Kym Min-jin

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UK gets its first elected Korean councillors

by Philip Gowman 5 May 2018
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Congratulations to Ha Jaesung and Kwon Bora, who have become the first Koreans to be elected councillors in the UK following the local elections on 3 May. Ha was elected to the Kingston Council for the Lib Dems, while Kwon was elected to Hammersmith and Fulham for Labour. He stood for the first time in […]

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Text of the Panmunjeom Declaration

by Philip Gowman 27 April 2018
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I’m wondering why a text as significant as this one is not prominently displayed on the Chongwadae or Ministry of Unification websites. The following is the unofficial translation you can find in the English-language newspapers. If there’s a materially different official version that subsequently comes to light I’ll repost. Update 12 May 2018 – I’ve […]

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Lee Geonyong receives Thomas Cranmer Award

by Philip Gowman 7 April 2018
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Congratulations to Dr Lee Geonyong, director of music at Seoul’s Anglican Cathedral, granted the Thomas Cranmer Award for Worship by the Archbishop of Canterbury on 6 April 2018. The Cranmer Award for Worship was first awarded by Archbishop Justin Welby in March 2016. It is named after Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1533 to […]

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In memory of Hwang Byung-ki

by Philip Gowman 10 February 2018
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In memory of the great man, here’s a video interview on Arirang TV uploaded in January 2015: And here he is playing one of his best-known compositions, Chimhyangmoo (침향무 | 沈香舞), performed on the KBS show Gugak Hanmadang. The definitive obituary in English has been written by Jocelyn Clark in the Asia Times. I was […]

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UK military develops plans for rescuing Brits

by Philip Gowman 22 January 2018
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Apparently the MoD have been doing some contingency planning, and sent some top brass over to check out the lie of the land: Based on the information [Senior British military officers] collected, they are devising an evacuation plan for some 8,000 British civilians in South Korea (Chosun Ilbo). I suppose it was the responsible thing […]

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The LKL quiz of the year 2017

by Philip Gowman 15 January 2018
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I’m currently going through my 2017 press cuttings and trying to make sense of them, in the hope that as in (some) previous years I’ll be able to pull together a series of posts summarising some of the most newsworthy stories of the year. In case I don’t manage to get that done (after all, […]

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OB seem to be getting their money’s worth

by Philip Gowman 20 November 2017
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Who knows how much Gordon Ramsay is getting paid to be brand ambassador for Oriental Brewery’s Cass lager. But he’s certainly getting their brand into the news, at least in the English language press, both in the UK and Korea. His current promotional tour to Korea, coinciding with his filming of an episode of Please Take […]

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A few links relating to Trump’s visit

by Philip Gowman 14 November 2017
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A few links relating to President Trump’s visit to Seoul before they are too out of date: His hosts used an official dinner to score two foreign policy points over the Japanese: One of the guests was former comfort woman Lee Yong-soo and the Japanese were said not to have appreciated it when Trump embraced […]

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