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January 5, 2011 | By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
For most of his life, record store owner Kim Ji-yun has battled against a feeling he has trouble describing; a mystery of the soul, a puzzle that many say helps define their culture ? the ineffable sadness of being Korean. The concept is known as han . And for the nearly 50 million South Koreans it's as amorphous a notion as love or hate: intensely personal, yet carried around collectively, a national torch, a badge of suffering tempered by a sense of resiliency. "As a Korean, it's embedded in your DNA," said the ponytailed Kim, 46, pensively stroking his thin beard.
April 24, 2014 | By Christi Parsons and Barbara Demick
SEOUL - As he hops around the Western Pacific this week, President Obama hopes to unite much of Asia around a free-trade deal, updated alliances and a new power balance. But he first must persuade two of America's closest allies to stop squabbling. Jetting from Tokyo to Seoul on Friday morning, his second stop on the trip, Obama was between two nations mired in an old feud. South Koreans are furious over what they perceive as inadequate remorse from Japan over its brutal colonization of their nation from 1910 to 1945 and its use of Korean "comfort women" as sex slaves during World War II. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Korean President Park Geun-hye have traded slights and diplomatic digs for months.
March 3, 2013
Here's a good fare to Seoul: From LAX , you can fly on Hawaiian Airlines to the South Korean capital for $852, including all taxes and fees, for travel through May 30. One catch (besides that it's subject to availability): Connections by way of Honolulu require a one-night stay. Info: Hawaiian Airlines (800) 367-5320 Source : Airfarewatchdog Follow us on Twitter @latimestravel , like us on Facebook @Los Angeles Times Travel.
December 12, 2013 | By Barbara Demick
BEIJING - Jang Sung Taek, the uncle by marriage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was executed Friday for attempting to seize power for himself, the country's official news service reported early Friday. In a rambling report, the Korea Central News Agency denounced the “despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog" and said that he had attempted to “overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power.” The execution is the first by North Korea in decades of a top echelon official and raises questions about the stability of the increasingly erratic government.
April 12, 2013 | By Barbara Demick
BEIJING -- Secretary of State John F. Kerry hinted at the possibility of dialogue with North Korea on the first leg of a sprint through East Asia that has been shadowed by threats from Pyongyang. At a Friday news conference in Seoul with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, Kerry reiterated the U.S. commitment to the alliance forged during the 1950-1953 Korean War. "The real goal should not be reinforcing the fact that we will defend our allies, which we will, but it should be emphasizing for everybody the possibilities of peace, the possibilities of reunification, the possibilities of a very different future for the people of the Republic of Korea and ultimately North Korea," Kerry said.
September 2, 2010 | By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
The question has popped into the minds of most subway commuters, only to vanish amid the chaos of the workaday rush: "What if I just got off here?" But for Charles Usher, that idle thought launched an ambitious blog project to describe the intricacies of Seoul one subway stop at a time — all 477 of them. He wanted to pierce the prevailing urban sameness of his adopted hometown, areas dominated by high-rise apartments and chain outlets. On a recent Sunday, he headed out to the byzantine subway system dressed in a white shirt with a colorful koi fish on one shoulder, cargo shorts and pink sneakers.
April 8, 1985 | Reuters
French Premier Laurent Fabius arrived Sunday on a three-day official visit to South Korea. He will have talks with President Chun Doo Hwan and others on expanding political and economic cooperation.
January 28, 2013 | By Jori Finkel
Who's afraid of the big, broad biennial? Not Dan Cameron, who organized ambitious exhibition events like Prospect New Orleans before becoming chief curator at the Orange County Museum of Art last year. Now, his first big group show in his new job is shaping up to be a global mash-up shaped by seismic geopolitical undercurrents. Called the California-Pacific Triennial, the show features 32 artists from 15 countries that border the Pacific Ocean. This show replaces the California Biennial, a regular museum attraction that often promised more than it delivered, and the new project has a more sustainable every-three-years schedule.
July 18, 2011 | By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
Kang Hyun-min remembers the first time he slid an album from its cardboard jacket and delicately, almost reverently, placed it on the turntable. It was 1979, and Kang's father had made the record player off-limits to the 10-year-old. But home alone one day, the young Kang gave in to his curiosity; he flipped through his brother's album collection, thinking he might for once take control of that magical music player. Unable to read English, he knew musicians only by their album-cover art. He knew he had to hurry — someone could arrive at any minute.
October 17, 1988 | United Press International
Four escaped convicts held four sisters hostage for 12 hours Sunday in a tense standoff with police that ended with three of the escapees dead and the other wounded, police said. The four women were rescued unharmed, according to police. Police who forced their way into the house in western Seoul said they found two of the fugitives shot to death in a locked room. A third fugitive, who shot himself, died later. The fourth suffered minor injuries, police said.
December 8, 2013 | By Jung-yoon Choi and Barbara Demick
SEOUL - In a palace intrigue that could shake the foundations of North Korea, 30-year-old leader Kim Jong Un has purged from the leadership the powerful uncle who had been his de facto regent for the last two years, North Korean news media confirmed Monday. Declaring that Jang Sung Taek was "soaked with the capitalist lifestyle," the Korea Central News Agency reported that he had been removed from all his posts and expelled from the governing Workers' Party. Jang, 67, had been seen as a moderating influence on the young Kim. North Korean state news outlets said the political bureau of the Workers' Party met Saturday and "adopted a written decision to dismiss Jang from all of his positions and release him from the party.
August 6, 2013 | By Kate Mather
Asiana Airlines confirmed Tuesday that it will change the number of the flight between Seoul and San Francisco in the wake of the July crash that left three people dead and more than 180 others injured. Airline spokesman Suh Ki-Won said that beginning Monday, Flight 214 from Seoul to San Francisco will be renumbered to Flight 212. Flight 213, from San Francisco to Seoul, will change to Flight 211. "The reason for the change is that many people remember the flight number," he said, adding that the airline didn't want its customers to have "that kind of image.
July 31, 2013 | By Brittany Levine
Bok Dong Kim was 14 when she was forced to travel to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and other countries as a sex slave for Japanese soldiers during World War II.  Now the petite 88-year-old travels the world on her own, speaking out against the atrocities she suffered to pressure the Japanese government to produce an official document apologizing to the nearly 200,000 so-called “comfort women” taken as sex slaves from Korea,...
July 7, 2013 | By Maeve Reston, Lee Romney and Laura Nelson
SAN FRANCISCO - The head of Asiana Airlines apologized Sunday for the weekend plane crash that killed two teenage passengers. "I sincerely apologize over the accident, and to the passengers on board and their families," Yoon Young-doo, Asiana's president, told reporters at a televised news conference in Seoul. He described the pilots involved as "skilled" and said it could take time to determine what went wrong. Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency said the two victims were born in 1996 and 1997 and were from China.
July 6, 2013 | By Maeve Reston, Lee Romney and Laura J. Nelson
SAN FRANCISCO - An Asiana Airlines jetliner crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, killing two and injuring more than 180, as screaming passengers slid down rescue chutes before flames filled the cabin. Dozens of survivors were taken to hospitals. Passengers said that despite the chaos, most aboard Flight 214, which originated in Shanghai with a stop in Seoul, seemed able to exit quickly and walk from the wreckage without help. The cause was unclear, but federal investigators were looking into whether the plane clipped a sea wall separating the runway from San Francisco Bay, according to a source involved in the investigation.
May 30, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
A Korean American author's reverie on the victims of World War II sexual enslavement has landed in e-book form in the midst of fresh controversy provoked by a Japanese politician's defense of "comfort women" as necessary for wartime discipline and morale. Kalliope Lee 's “ Sunday Girl ” is set in Seoul in 1991, decades after the war's end. It tells the story of two young women who have returned to their birthplace after growing up in the American heartland. Sibyl, whose Korean mother and GI father have imparted a sanitized version of their postwar meeting during his service at the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, is in search of the secrets of her heritage, which were lost with her mother's early death from cancer.
April 21, 2005 | From Times Wire Reports
Six elephants escaped from an amusement park and rampaged through Seoul, officials said. All were eventually captured and returned to the park. One elephant hit Roh In-sun, 52, with its trunk, the Yonhap news agency said. She was being treated at a hospital. Television footage showed one elephant breaking a glass door to enter a restaurant. "Three elephants came.... I hid in the closet," owner Choi Yoon-sun said.
August 28, 1988 | KIM Q. BERKSHIRE
Simple logic told Tami Bruce this: Swim merely fast, and you'll spend September on a college campus in Gainesville, Fla.; swim faster, and you'll spend most of the month in the Olympic Village in Seoul. Keeping this in mind, Chula Vista's Bruce swam the best 200-, 400- and 800-meter freestyle races of her life two weeks ago at the U.S. Olympic swim trials in Austin, Tex. Second-place finishes in the 400 and 800 ensured her a berth in the Summer Games.
April 30, 2013 | By Bruce Klingner
It's time for South Korea to face facts: The Kaesong experiment has failed. The ideologically motivated joint business venture with North Korea known as the Kaesong industrial complex is not economically viable, nor has it achieved any of its political objectives. To protest recent sanctions against it, the North pulled its workers out this month and locked out workers from the South. Seoul tried to engage North Korea to resolve the dispute, coupled with an uncharacteristic deadline and a warning of "grave consequences.
April 12, 2013 | By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times
BEIJING - U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry arrived in Beijing on Saturday in hopes of turning the Chinese government's obvious frustration with North Korea's nuclear program into decisive action. Kerry's debut trip to East Asia as secretary has been shadowed by ominous threats from North Korea of nuclear attacks against the U.S. mainland and Washington's allies in the region. The Chinese have been unusually vocal in their condemnation of their old communist ally, with many prominent scholars saying it is time to cut the ties forged by Mao Tse-tung back in the Cold War era. Touching down in Seoul on Friday afternoon, Kerry met with South Korea's new president, Park Geun-hye, and Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se.
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