Korea - Debate Over Ottawa Treaty Resurfaces in Finland Amid Russian Aggression

Korea is a peninsula located in East Asia. It is bordered by China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and Japan to the east. Korea is divided into two countries: North Korea and South Korea. The history of Korea dates back to prehistoric times, with evidence of human occupation dating back to the Paleolithic age. Over the centuries, Korea has been influenced by various cultures, including those of China and Japan, as well as European colonial powers.


The Korean Peninsula is roughly 600 miles (965 kilometers) long and 150 miles (241 kilometers) wide. It is mostly mountainous, with narrow, fertile valleys and coastal plains. The highest peak in Korea is Mount Paektu, which stands at 9,002 feet (2,744 meters) and is located on the North Korea-China border. Korea has several major rivers, including the Han, Nakdong, and Taedong, which provide water for agriculture and hydroelectric power.


Korea has a humid continental and subtropical climate, with cold winters and hot, humid summers. The temperature difference between the northern and southern parts of the country is significant, with the north experiencing colder temperatures due to its proximity to Siberia. The monsoon season, which brings heavy rains to the country, occurs between June and September.


Korea’s history can be traced back to around 2,000 BC, with the emergence of early kingdoms such as Gojoseon and Goguryeo. These kingdoms were eventually replaced by the Three Kingdoms of Korea (Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla), which lasted until the 7th century. Eventually, the Silla kingdom emerged as the dominant power, unifying the peninsula in 668. The subsequent Goryeo dynasty ruled Korea until it was conquered by the Mongols in the 13th century.

Over the next few centuries, Korea was ruled by various dynasties, including the Joseon dynasty, which lasted from 1392 to 1910. During this time, Korea underwent significant cultural development, with advancements in literature, art, and religion. However, Korea was often caught in the middle of power struggles between China and Japan, and it was forced to adopt various reforms and policies dictated by these larger nations.

In 1910, Japan annexed Korea and ruled it as a colony until 1945, when it was liberated by the Allies at the end of World War II. However, the country was then divided into two parts: the Soviet-backed North Korea and the US-backed South Korea.


Korean culture is heavily influenced by Confucianism and Buddhism, as well as by its neighbors China and Japan. Korean cuisine is known for its use of spicy flavors, fermented foods, and traditional dishes such as kimchi. Korean music and dance also have a rich history, with various styles of music and dance existing throughout the country.


South Korea is known for its highly developed economy, which is largely export-driven. The country is a major producer of electronics, automobiles, and steel, as well as being a leader in the development of cutting-edge technologies such as 5G networks. North Korea, on the other hand, has a heavily centralized economy that is controlled by the state.


South Korea is a democratic republic with a presidential system of government. The president serves a five-year term and has significant powers, including the ability to appoint members of the cabinet and to veto legislation. North Korea, on the other hand, is a single-party state ruled by the Workers’ Party of Korea.


Korea is a fascinating country with a rich history and culture. Despite the division between North and South Korea, the people of the peninsula share a common heritage and a long-standing desire for reunification. With its growing economy and technological advances, South Korea is becoming an increasingly important player on the global stage.

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The Impossible State Live Podcast: Yoon's China Policy: The Gloves are off?


23-05-15 14:00

The Impossible State live podcast hosted a discussion on President Yoon's China policy, featuring Dr. Ramon Pacheco Pardo, Professor at King's College London, and Dr. Victor Cha as the moderator. They discussed the recent Biden-Yoon Summit from the European perspective, Yoon's policy regarding China, economic coercion, and North Korea. The event was made possible through general support to CSIS.

‘Blessing’: US pair who welcomed South Korean tourists during storm visit Korea

South China Morning Post

23-05-15 12:58

A US couple who provided refuge for 10 South Korean tourists stranded in Buffalo, New York, amid a catastrophic blizzard in 2014 have been invited to visit South Korea by the Korea Tourism Organisation. Alexander and Andrea Campagna provided the tourists with warm clothing and blankets and allowed them to share their food and kitchen, cooking Korean feasts in return. “With so much sadness, pain and loss, the world was hungry for heart-warming stories”, Andrea Campagna said, but added that they were simply "doing their part". In South Korea, the couple and their friends will feature in a KTO tourism video called “Korea Never Forgets”.

North Korean hackers stole $721 million in cryptocurrency from Japan - Nikkei


23-05-15 10:18

Hacker groups linked to North Korea have snatched cryptocurrency worth $721m from Japan since 2017, according to data from analysis provider Elliptic. The stolen cash comprises about 30% of the global total of illicit cryptocurrency losses, the Nikkei business daily reported. Elliptic also said that the nation had stolen a total of $2.3bn in cryptocurrencies from businesses between 2017 and 2022. The Group of Seven finance ministers and central bank governors pledged on Saturday to tackle illicit activities by state actors, including the theft of cryptocurrencies.

North Korean crypto thefts target Japan, Vietnam, Hong Kong

Nikkei Asia

23-05-15 08:32

North Korea's hacker groups have targeted and stolen $721m worth of cryptocurrencies from Japan since 2017, comprising nearly 30% of the global cryptocurrency losses, said a study by a compliance firm. Researchers believe the stolen currency will be used to fund North Korea's weapons and missile programmes. The findings underscore the increasing significance of cryptocurrency for cybercriminals seeking new ways to evade detection and launder money.

Global, economic security top priorities as Trudeau heads to South Korea, G7 summit

The Toronto Star

23-05-15 08:00

During Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's first official visit to South Korea, and his attendance at the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Japan, global security threats, economic uncertainty and climate change will be the focus of discussions. Concerns over tensions in the regions with North Korea's nuclear weapons program, along with regional economic issues and the impact of climate change will be examined. Furthermore, the clean economy transition will be the focus of talks between South Korea and Canada's PM, who expect bigger business ties in clean fuel and critical minerals.

US debt woes could trigger a return to favour for fund manager specialising in emerging markets


23-05-16 06:00

Emerging markets-focused asset manager Ashmore is being tipped to return to favour, with a share price currently languishing at 234.4p, compared to 2020's peak of 570p and a peak of investments under management of $94.4bn in June 2021. Factors that dragged Ashmore's shares down include: a trend towards growth and technology rather than emerging markets; economic uncertainty and the Ukrainian conflict damping sentiment; and Ashmore's own investments performing below customers' expectations. However, a return to favour for emerging markets, plus scarcity in the debt market, could be a catalyst for Ashmore and the areas in which it invests, according to Questor.

US crypto clampdown pushes exchanges to go offshore

Financial Times

23-05-16 04:20

US cryptocurrency exchanges including Coinbase and Gemini are taking steps to launch overseas marketplaces in order to escape regulatory clampdowns at home, particularly during a US-led enforcement campaign in the crypto sector. US watchdogs are set to intensify government oversight following the failure of lenders like Celsius Network and FTX. The push for regulation in the space has impacted the fortunes of US-based exchanges. Binance has swooped in to claim most of the market share, becoming the world’s largest crypto exchange. Regulators are expected to respond with more concrete action soon, according to commentators.

South Korean lawmaker challenges Japan officials to drink Fukushima water

South China Morning Post

23-05-16 04:00

South Korea's leading opposition politician, Lee Jae-myung, has invited Japanese officials to drink the treated radioactive water that is set to be discharged from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean. The challenge came as South Korean scientists prepare to visit the plant to evaluate the safety of the water. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has sought to improve relations with neighboring Japan, which ruled Korea as a colony from 1910 to 1945, even if it means making concessions over compensation for Korea's war-time forced laborers.

Canada's Trudeau to visit South Korea; focus on minerals, security


23-05-16 02:57

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is to head to South Korea on 14 June for a summit with President Yoon Suk Yeol, marking the 60th anniversary of bilateral relations. Energy security will be at the fore of the talks, with the two governments expected to sign an agreement regarding key minerals supply chains and clean energy conversion. Canada boasts ample reserves of minerals – such as lithium, cobalt and nickel – used to make batteries for electric vehicles. Trudeau and Yoong will also discuss intelligence sharing and other security measures, potentially focusing on North Korea, which has previously been a sore point between Seoul and Ottawa.

North Korea steps up cybercrime amid pandemic hardship, sanctions

South China Morning Post

23-05-16 09:30

North Korea is conducting cyber-operations and hacking cryptocurrency exchanges in order to help fund its nuclear and missile programmes, according to Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology for the Biden administration. She said that about half of North Korea's missile programme had been funded through cyberattacks and cryptocurrency theft. Reports have suggested that North Korea stole up to $1bn worth of virtual assets in 2021. Researchers have emphasised the need for international cooperation to combat the country's activities.

South Korea soccer international Son Jun-ho detained in China on suspicion of taking bribe

The Toronto Star

23-05-16 08:52

South Korean midfielder Son Jun-ho, who played for the Shandong Taishan team in China's football league, has been detained in Liaoning province on suspicion of accepting a bribe. The allegations are understood to be linked to match-fixing concerning coach Hao Wei, and the bribery also involves other individuals in China's football scene. Despite the government investing extensively to make China a football superpower, the league has struggled for years to address its reputation for corruption, and teams are currently in dire financial straits, making them more vulnerable to corrupt practices.

China Arrests South Korean Footballer for Alleged Bribery


23-05-16 08:22

China has arrested a South Korean national and former member of the country's national men's soccer team, Son Jun-ho, on suspicion of taking bribes, in a move that has raised tensions between Beijing and Seoul amidst several diplomatic and economic tensions. The move comes in the midst of a wave of investigations targeting foreign companies operating in China and has raised concerns amongst expatriates working in the region.

Ukraine's first lady meets with South Korea's Yoon


23-05-16 08:00

Ukraine's first lady, Olena Zelenska, has met with South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol as a special presidential envoy, during her visit to participate in a media conference. Zelenska expressed a willingness to invite Yoon to Ukraine, saying it would be "very supportive." Warning against war fatigue, she called for "more radical" support for Ukraine to fight against Russia's aggression. However, South Korea, a major producer of artillery shells, has said it was not providing lethal weapons to Ukraine, citing its relations with Russia.

China says South Korean soccer player detained for suspected bribery

Nikkei Asia

23-05-16 07:49

South Korean soccer player, Son Jun-ho, has been detained by the public security department of Liaoning province, China, on suspicion of accepting bribes. News of his arrest broke on Monday, with no official announcement from Son. The South Korean foreign ministry stated that it was providing consular support for its citizen, while the Korean Football Association expressed its desire to hear from Son's Chinese Super League club, Shandong Taishan. Son played three games for the South Korean national team during the last World Cup.

Canadian minister 'confident' of Stellantis battery plant deal


23-05-16 12:48

Canada's industry minister is optimistic about reaching a deal with Stellantis over subsidies to build a battery plant in Windsor, Ontario, on the condition that the provincial government also offers some support. Talks between the parties are ongoing, with the Ontario provincial government needing to "pay its fair share". Stellantis stopped construction on the $3.7bn electric-vehicle battery plant in Canada in order to enter talks with the federal government.

Justin Trudeau arrives in Seoul for first official visit to South Korea

The Globe and Mail

23-05-16 12:07

South Korea and Canada are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on youth mobility having discussed strengthening their economic, military and cultural ties. The two countries have both issued Indo-Pacific strategies aimed at countering China's influence. South Korea is Canada’s seventh-largest trade partner, with $16.7bn in merchandise trade in 2021, while Korean companies are said to be keen on the critical minerals and clean fuel sources that Canada can provide. Trudeau's visit is also expected to address concerns of South Korea over reliance on Chinese suppliers and seek increased investment in Canada’s green technologies.

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau arrives in South Korea to discuss trade, North Korean challenge

Associated Press

23-05-16 11:16

Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau has arrived in South Korea for talks with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol. The two leaders are expected to discuss expanding trade between the two countries, as well as the challenges posed by North Korea. The talks are likely to cover North Korea’s human rights record and security cooperation, along with Canadian materials used by South Korean companies to manufacture electric car batteries or semiconductors. Trudeau is the first Canadian leader to visit South Korea in nine years. He will deliver a speech at the National Assembly in Seoul before meeting President Yoon.

South Korean footballer Son Jun-ho detained in China

Deutsche Welle

23-05-16 11:13

South Korean footballer Son Jun-ho has been detained in China on suspicion of accepting a bribe, China's Foreign Ministry confirmed. The 31-year-old midfielder, who played for Shandong Taishan club, was placed in custody "recently". The South Korean consulate in the provincial capital of Shenyang has been informed about Son's detention. China is currently cracking down on corruption and match-fixing among those involved in sports.

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un inspects military satellite facility -KCNA


23-05-16 21:35

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has inspected a military satellite facility and approved the next action plan for the country’s non-permanent satellite-launching preparatory committee, according to reports. Earlier this year, Pyongyang revealed it had completed its first military spy satellite and that final launch preparations were underway.