Joint Security Area @ Panmunjom


The 38th Parallel

I mentally keep a list of “Places I must see before I die.”  I guess it is kind of like an unending bucket list.  While I have been able to travel a lot, there are so many places in the world I want to see so my list never shrinks.

One place I always wanted to visit was the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom – the 38th parallel between North and South Korea.  It’s definitely not necessarily an ideal place to visit or a vacation hotspot.  However, I always felt that it was important to see the physical divider between my motherland that’s been torn into two different states.

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A Discussion with Professor Katharine Moon: A Different Perspective

Map of Yeonpyeong

The blue line indicates the oceanic border as understood by South Korea; the red line indicates the border as insisted by North Korea.

CHRISTINE OH (edited by Daisy Chang)

February 8th, 2011—Professor Katharine Moon of Political Science at Wellesley College sits comfortably in her chair, wearing a gray ANKHR sweater. She is the unofficial advisor for the Wellesley student organization, Advocates for North Korean Human Rights (ANKHR). ANKHR invited her to speak at a casual dinner-and-discussion to address a question that has been on all of our minds: What the hell is going on with North Korea?

Almost thirty students are gathered in a big living room, intently listening to her speak. She starts out by asking a familiar and frequently asked question: To whom do you listen when it comes to North Korea, and how to we know who’s right? From its governmental system to its organizational structure, everything about North Korea is foggy compared to the relative transparence of other nations.

So, what do we know about North Korea? Her answer: Well, not much. And what we do know, we must always question how we know it. Whatever information we have about the country, she says, must always be questioned. Continue reading

Reflection on the Yeonpyeong Incident


The day of the Yeonpyeong incident, South Korea as well as much of the international community was in shock. I was standing outside of Soongshil University at the time, and my friend was the one who let me in on the news that as I stood there, hungry for dinner, North and South Korean soldiers were attacking and shooting each other from their respective locations. A few moments later, as we were listening to the radio, North Korea bombed Yeongpyeong Island. It seemed so out of the blue, and I wondered why on earth such a thing was happening. Continue reading