Kimchi in space. The Kimchi Bus. Government-sponsored chefs and restaurants spreading the word of Kimchi around the globe. South Korea is one of the nations most involved in branding itself through its food, using food as a part of it’s “soft power.” It’s called “Gastrodiplomacy” — the use of food as a diplomatic tool to help resolve conflicts and foster connections between nations.
What happened to me in the first two weeks of 2017? I became a novice K-pop fan. But seriously, what’s so unusual about that? Are there not millions of K-pop fans too? Yes, that would be true, until I tell you my age. K-pop bands target teenagers, not grown-ups and certainly not people who are almost senior citizens like me. But wait, I also became a novice fan of Korean drama shows.
This week in Gwangju, we also see cultural diplomacy in action. "With support from the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, some 100 participants and their families and communities have come together with a team of dancers from Battery Dance, a New York-based contemporary dance company, to help build understanding and bridge divides."
How should the Trump administration approach Pyongyang diplomatically? Given a widespread, rigid view among U.S. policymakers that the Kim regime is nothing more than an “evil deceiver” and the tendency of those policymakers to automatically equate talking to North Korea with a reward, setting up a low-profile back channel with North Korean negotiators should be prioritized first.
A Japanese documentary released Saturday depicts the life of a Korean student who sacrificed himself to rescue a Japanese man in a subway station in Tokyo in 2001. [...] The film comes out at a tense time in Korean-Japanese relations after official protests from Tokyo over statues set up in Korea to honor the victims of the Japanese Imperial Army's drafting of Asian sex slaves in World War II.
In his first official trip as secretary of defense, Jim Mattis traveled to East Asia, with scheduled stops in South Korea and Japan. “It is a priority for President Trump’s administration to pay attention to the northwest Pacific,” Mattis told the New York Times. “I am going to get current by listening to them, finding out where their issues are, and then we are going to work together and strengthen our alliance.”
The rekindling of a row between Japan and South Korea over symbols of the “comfort women” could hinder efforts to strengthen security cooperation between Washington’s two key Asian allies, according to an American scholar versed in Tokyo-Seoul ties.
The theme of this year's expo is "Joint Prosperity of Asia through Cultural Exchange," and will display performances, exhibitions and symposiums at Ho Chi Minh City Hall plaza and nearby locations. It will be held from November 9 through December 2. More than 10,000 people from 40 countries will participate as performers.