Obama to Pay Respects to Sewol Victims During Korea Trip

Article from the Kukmin Daily:

“As the father of two daughters…” Obama, Preparing for Korea Visit, Offers Full Support

On April 21st, Ben Rhodes, White House National Security Adviser, stated, “the sinking of the Sewol will be a big part of President Obama’s upcoming April 25-26 visit to the Republic of Korea.”

Rhodes spoke at a press conference for foreign journalists at the National Press Club. “We are thinking of ways that President Obama can help the families of the victims and the Korean people during his visit to the country.”

Rhodes emphasized, “While we don’t know how the situation will unfold and the schedule is not set, this incident will be a big part of the president’s visit…amid this painful tragedy, President Obama has ordered that our navy and disaster relief forces provide any aid that is needed.”

When this incident occurred on the 18th, President Obama did not just make formal comment, he expressed his full opinion during a press conference. He did not do so just as the president of an allied nation, but as the father of two daughters.”

Comments from Daum:

이래죽나저래죽나:

If there had been just one American aboard, the Americans would have saved dozens of passengers

ANANDA:

What are we to do when even the president of another country can empathize as a parent to the Sewol tragedy, yet our own leader shows no sense of urgency? It’s such a shame that all we see is how they have created an atmosphere of distrust and incompetence.

로오비:

How about our president–maybe because she never had children–she must not know how a parent feels–it would have been good if we had at least seen her cry with the victim’s families during a visit to Jindo

faithfulwisdom:

America and the other Western countries are looking on, and behind their condolences is sincere doubt.. They are thinking,’If a great leader rises in the North and surges into South Korea, what would these guys be able to do about it!!!’ With behavior like this, how can they ever take back wartime control of their military? The Japanese must be 100% certainly laughing out loud at us with feelings of revenge. The Chinese must be comforted that Koreans are the same as them and look down on us. I am embarrassed by Koreans and the South Korean government.

South Korean coast guard continue to search by the light of flares.

South Korean coast guard continue to search by the light of flares.

우현:

And our internet-comment Bitch in Chief is childless…

사자좌:

A shameful government and a scarecrow chicken president

jhzzang:

Getting married and raising kids means entering a whole new stage of growth in life. People who haven’t experienced it have no way of knowing the feeling. That’s how a parent feels.

행복한 날:

And if it so happens that at this moment the Saenuri party passes ₩920 billion in aid for the American military force, what then?

두둥님 다른댓글보기

How much must America look down on Korea if we lack the ability to rescue anyone…damn

Article from Yonhap:

U.S. National Transportation Safety Board: “If Korea Requests it, We Will Support an Investigation into the Cause of the Sinking”

On April 21st, Deborah Hersman, Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), spoke at a press conference to foreign correspondents, saying that the NTSB would support an investigation into the causes of the Sewol incident should South Korea request aid.

NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman

NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman

Hersman stated, “We were saddened to hear of the deaths of many students during this tragedy. We always investigate to see the cause of the incident.”

She explained, “in every incident, there is not just one cause, there are always many problems that need to be resolved…we expressed our condolences and contacted the Korean government to offer them our support in any way necessary.”

Hersman added, “We will respect the leadership of the Korean people during this investigation. The sunken ship belongs to Korea and falls under the jurisdiction of the Korean investigative authorities.”

The press conference was Hersman’s last as Chairman of the NTSB. After becoming well known to South Korea during the investigation into the landing accident of the Asiana Airlines airplane at San Francisco Airport, Hersman will this month become the CEO of the National Safety Council.

Comments from Daum:

악녀에전설:

The Korean government may not ask for help. Do you know why? There’s something they want to hide, think about it. If I say it out loud, Ilbe and the conservative nutjobs will call me a commie.

이래죽나저래죽나:

Just like we turned down foreign aid in the early stages of this massive tragedy, it is very likely we will turn down help with an investigation now. Even if they allow an investigation, it’s obvious it will turn into another Cheonan

쥐품닭척살:

If they cover up the timeline of the accident do they think they can escape blame? What about the ROK-U.S. military exercises happening nearby? Why did they refuse to send in divers who were available and able to spend 20 hours underwater? Trolls who try to engineer a cover up and shut us up, Japanese sympathizers and Ilbe trash…

뒤집힌거북:

Please, CIA and FBI, investigate our government as well

watermelon:

With this incident, people wouldn’t trust any government agency to do the investigation. They will have to get foreign and domestic experts, along with representatives from the students’ parents together to make an investigation committee, before the evidence washes away.

힐덮:

The government will stop any investigation, they keep trying to cover things up.

핏빛영혼:

They would never request help…even if the U.S. offered support, the Korean government would reject it… even when the U.S. military helicopters showed up on the scene in the beginning, they turned them away.

궁금함님 다른댓글보기

We definitely need help with the investigation

부마항쟁님:

“Police begin investigation of Ilbe Users following sexual slurs about female Sewol victims” – Between April 17th and 20th, an Ilbe user has uploaded comments on four separate occasions to the online forum that contain sexual slurs against the female students and teachers who perished in the Sewol sinking. Police say they are tracking down the authors of five separate malicious comments from two users posted to the “Daily Best” website (Ilbe). Calls for the website to be investigated have increased, as it has become known for verbal abuse of women, vulnerable groups and minorities.

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  • guest

    Overloading + Steering gear problem:

    Korea ferry steering gear in question

    CBC.ca – ‎1 hour ago‎

    “Investigations are focused on human error or a mechanical fault, with media saying the ship was three times overloaded, with cargo poorly stowed and inadequate ballast water. Captain Lee Joon-seok, 69, and other crew members who abandoned ship have …”

    …the Captain should be waterboarded, but the owner is also responsible for overloading the ferry, possibly making more modifications after the approved ones, and hiring such incompetent people.

    • Why on earth should the captain be waterboarded?

      Just for shits and giggles?

      • guest

        Eye for an eye.

        Waterboarding basically feels like drowning. He should be waterboarded as many times as the number of people who drowned because he told them to stay below deck.

        I just think that the next captain would think twice about abandoning their passengers if they know they would be drowned for their crime. …and if the consequences of being a horrible captain is this high, maybe stupid douchebags like the Italian captain wouldn’t treat it so lightly and hopefully will quit.

        • He didn’t do it on purpose, for God’s sake. At 68 years old, there’s nothing he could have done to have saved lives once the ship started sinking, except for maybe sacrifice his life to save one passenger who might have taken his spot on the lifeboat. Otherwise, the same amount of people would have died regardless.

          I’m getting pretty sick of this disgusting bloodlust that seems to pop up in the aftermath of every national tragedy nowadays. Maybe the captain is massively culpable for the sinking of the ship or the order not to evacuate; if so, then he should be tried according to established law. Rallying for the torture of an elderly man because he might have made some stupid mistakes and rationally chose to save his own life will do nothing to bring back those who have died.

          I’m pretty sure there isn’t a single captain alive who takes sinking a ship lightly. A captain isn’t a professional lifeguard who’s skilled and equipped to save lives. His/her responsibility is to keep the ship safe; once that’s no longer the situation, there isn’t much else he or she can do beyond the capacity of a typical crew member. I’m sure there were able and competent crew members who also could have risked their lives saving passengers, but instead chose to save themselves. Pitchfork-wielding masses only want the captain’s head on a platter because he’s the most public face available to scapegoat.

          • takasar1

            Didn’t you know, it’s cool to talk tough on the internet.

          • piratariaazul

            … especially logged on anonymous guest account.

          • linette lee

            Matt, I believe if that captain identified himself before stepping off the ferry would have made a big difference. I don’t think there is a real law required the captain to go down with the ship but since he is in charge of the ship giving orders to passengers and staff, he needs to remain on ship to overlook everything. It can really make a difference in every ship sinking rescue mission. You don’t want a man who is in charge to abandon post when there is emergency right. I know sometimes there is nothing the person in charge can do, but remaining at the scene should be required unless the rescue team relief him from his duty.

            I think in this case he just left when he wasn’t told by the rescue team to do so, so it’s his fault. He abandoned his passengers and his ship. On top of that many experienced captains were saying it doesn’t make sense to tell people to stay put. He shouldn’t have made that announcement telling the passengers to stay put. It’s worst than not telling the passengers anything. I went on a cruise ship on vacation and they conducted an emergency drill. They told us in the event of emergency all passengers go grab a life jacket and meet outside on the deck and not stay inside. I don’t know if the Korean ferry even have any emergency plan for emergency evacuation.

          • tomoe723

            Oh yeah? You obviously don’t know what you are talking about. You are just imagining it all in your head. The captain of any ship holds the highest responsibility. You don’t become captain without qualifications or training or knowledge. Captains know every aspect of their ship from stern to bow. They know protocols when to abandon ship, how to evacuate personnel/passengers/cargo. It is also maritime law for a captain to be the last person to abandon ship (if not sink and die with the ship). Either way, he will still be charged of crime.

          • True, I don’t know what I am talking about. But I have a feeling many others here don’t either. I’m a pragmatist, and the fact is, there is a certain point beyond which the captain staying with the ship no longer provides any practical value. If he abandoned the ship before that point, then I agree he is to be condemned. But if I abandoned the ship after there was nothing he could further do, then I do not agree with demonizing him for saving his own life, even if it broke maritime law.

          • bumfromkorea

            The bigger problem was that he didn’t do anything. The first person to call for help was a student who is now missing. The first person to pop any of the 44 emergency boats was a maritime policeman. He didn’t even pretend to help any of the passengers. He didn’t order people off the ship even when there were several civilian vessels in the area ready to help people (this would be when it was still possible to walk on the ship). He didn’t even press the alarm button. He didn’t even stay around with the maritime police on their boats trying to help the passengers.

            When he was talking to the emergency control center about the ship, all he cared about was “When is the maritime police coming?” When the control center told him to evacuate the passengers, he basically went
            “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever. When’s the maritime police coming? Is there a helicopter?”

            You know what he did once he got on land (one of the first, mind you)? Dry his 50,000 won bills on the hospital heater while telling people that he’s not the captain. This fucker, of all the culpable people in this incident, needs to die in prison alone, lonely, and continuously tormented by the faces of all the teenagers he buried under the sea.

          • tomoe723

            It’s not about dehumanizing the captain. It is about the weight of responsibility. Even if in the case (which it wasn’t) where he abandoned the ship before that point, he is still ultimately responsible. He is the captain, that alone tells a lot about the responsibility the position carries.

            Even if it was not “apparently” his fault, like maybe engines failing because of error on crew or ship mechanic, or encountered a force of nature (typhoon or hurricane), it is still the captain’s fault, BECAUSE the responsibility ultimately falls on the captain.

            I cannot stress it enough how heavy this position of responsibility is in times of danger or emergency.

          • So basically, you think all captains should be willing to commit suicide. Sorry, but I just don’t agree.

          • tomoe723

            No, you are misunderstanding things.

            Can you grasp the meaning of ultimate responsibility? The ship is the captain’s ultimate responsibility. Whatever happens to the ship is ultimately the captain’s responsibility. He may abandon ship, but looking back, it’s still his responsibility what happened to the ship regardless of the circumstances surrounding it.

            Maybe when you grow older you’ll understand more what responsibility truly means.

          • No, I just value human life. I already said before that if he could have done more, then he should have, but if he couldn’t, then he was justified in saving his own life. I don’t think he should be free from punishment, but I also don’t think this:

            Eye for an eye.

            Waterboarding basically feels like drowning. He should be waterboarded as many times as the number of people who drowned because he told them to stay below deck.

            …is the appropriate solution. Maybe when you grow older you’ll understand more what valuing human life truly means.

          • tomoe723

            I never said I condoned any of that waterboarding stuff. That’s not justice, that’s based on personal hatred already. I replied to your comment, I did not say anything about the previous comment. Maybe you need a little bit more of reading comprehension.

            Your sense of pragmatism is also misplaced. You say you value human life yet you rationalize the obvious wrongdoing of a captain who abandoned ship and left the passengers to fend for themselves and die in the process.

          • you rationalize the obvious wrongdoing of a captain who abandoned ship and left the passengers to fend for themselves and die in the process.

            Except, I didn’t. How many times must I repeat myself? I’ve already said multiple times that if he left prematurely then that’s bad, but if he left after there was nothing else he could further do, then that’s morally defensible. If he evacuated before telling other passengers to evacuate, then yes, that’s bad; but I don’t know if that’s the case. I know that he postponed telling passengers to evacuate, which may very well qualify as professional incompetence, but that’s not the same as evacuating before eventually telling other passengers to evacuate, which would obviously be bad, but, again, I don’t know whether that’s actually the case. If you do, then feel free to enlighten me. But so far, all of my comments have been disclaimed by being subject to the degree of his culpability, so you cannot characterize my position as claiming him to be unconditionally innocent.

          • tomoe723

            Then I must say you are one insensitive person. How can you not assess the gravity of the tragedy? It’s fine if you speculate on differing circumstances if the tragedy was on a smaller scale (or if maybe sufficient time has passed for some hurt to subside.) But to utter those speculations to rationalize what if this (or that) has happened is doing an outright insult to the pain that the victims and their families have undergone. It would have sufficed to state your opinion that waterboarding is not appropriate, but you insensitively go on rationalizing what if this or that happened. Have some empathy, imagine yourself if you went through the same ordeal. Personal hatred born out of these tragedies is very difficult to make sense of, and your rationalizing what ifs is insulting and heartless.

          • I refer you to my past comment on another article:

            I’m not saying the captain isn’t to blame. I’m just saying we should consider the points mentioned above so that our outrage at the captain is proportionate to the severity of his crimes, rather than the severity of the disaster.

            Justice informed by emotion is not justice. I believe the captain should be brought to justice. You think the captain should meet vengeance. There is nothing “insensitive” about trying to clarify the facts of the matter, instead of just jumping to conclusions based on wild emotions informed by possible rumors. I wouldn’t want any innocent person to suffer on behalf of something bad that happens to me. I’m amazed that you think avenging the victims is more important than objectively investigating the facts so that the right people can be brought to appropriate justice.

          • tomoe723

            Sheesh, I’m talking to a very immature person who claims to understand emotions and lofty notions of justice. As my father used to say, “you need to eat more rice boy!”

            You have no idea what justice is. You probably got those ideas from playing too many fantasy video games.

            You know what, I’m sleepy. I’d like to explain to you what justice truly is in the real world, but it’s more effective if you reflect on it yourself.

            And there you go again, rationalizing what ifs about an innocent person to suffer on behalf… you are referring to the captain who might be innocent. Where’s the responsibility now? Just mind your thoughts and words because you are becoming very cruel and insensitive on behalf of the victims themselves.

          • It’s called the legal system. That’s justice. You know: courts, fair trials, impartial jurisprudence, legal precedents, witness testimony, etc.? Here in the real world, justice is a matter of established law and available evidence, not emotions and “sensitivity”. In your attempt to be noble, you are becoming very cruel and insensitive to an elderly man who may have become a scapegoat for those seeking someone to fully blame, because weak-minded people think someone always has to be supremely at fault, when reality is typically far more complex than that. There isn’t always a 100% “bad guy” in every tragedy.

            I’m just saying he has the right to a fair trial. If that offends you, there’s something wrong with you.

          • takasar1

            As are you

          • tomoe723

            Oh? Do tell…

          • examplesample

            He was off drinking and fucking women while idiots were left in charge of steering & running the ship. Then he hops the fuck off with no pants on, pretty much the first dude rescued. He didn’t give a shit about those kids so we don’t give a shit about him. Why don’t you fly over there and be his personal lawyer since you love him so much??

          • Do you have credible evidence that he was “drinking and fucking women”? If so, then please present it. If not, then I am only interested in facts, not hearsay.

            I simply believe in the truth. If the truth turns out to be that he was cruelly irresponsible, then so be it––let him be punished accordingly. But if the truth turns out to be that he was just stupidly incompetent, then I don’t think that warrants him being demonized.

            To be honest I’m tired of talking about him, so I won’t mind if you don’t respond.

          • examplesample

            “[if] he was just stupidly incompetent, then I don’t think that warrants him being demonized.”

            You don’t think that being SO FUCKING DUMB THAT HE KILLED 200 PEOPLE warrants him being demonized?!?!?! WOWWWWWWWWWW you should really be a criminal defense lawyer, child molesters and mass murderers would love you!! I’m done, it’s clear you have no heart, BYE.

          • You’re insane. I already stated I believe in the truth. If that offends you, there’s something wrong with you. Demonizing should be reserved for evil people, not dumb people. Funny how I’m the one defending someone against a bloodthirsty pitchfork-wielding mob, and yet somehow I’m the one with no heart. Human history has had no shortage of people committing great evil in the name of good. Excuse me for not wanting to murder someone on the basis of rumors and hearsay.

    • reports are a girl was driving……I blame the girl

      • linette lee

        You need your butt kicked? Are you Chinese? ;)

  • Sarah

    “How about our president–maybe because she never had children–she must not know how a parent feels–it would have been good if we had at least seen her cry with the victim’s families during a visit to Jindo”

    …why I am I even surprised that somebody posted this. Obviously she was elected because of her father, but let’s be honest, as a Korean woman if she had had children, there is no way she could have become president.

  • guest

    In multiple articles, I’ve seen this conclusion: “They paid for their obedience with their lives.”
    It reminds me of the 1994 Karamay fire in Mainland, China. Children were gathered to put on a performance for several PRC party officials – then the curtains touching the stage lights caught fire. A woman, one of the officials, ordered the children to stay put, “Let the leaders go first”. By the time the officials have escaped, it was too late, and most of the children died.

    The rare few children who escaped were the rowdy ones who didn’t obey the order to stay put by the vermin officials.

    …it is with the Karamay incident in mind that I judge the actions of Capt. Lee Joon-seok a , I believe he made the ‘puzzling’ decision to order the students to stay below deck and left them there – so that those hundreds of children wouldn’t get between him and the first lifeboat. He KNEW that South Korea law mandate that the captain must stay – so he concealed his identity as the captain from the first rescue boat.

    I believe that Lee Joon-seok knew that there was time to get the children out from the cabin – but he knew that if there were children on deck, they would have been given priority on the lifeboats over him. He was on the FIRST lifeboat. The other survivors, such as the 5 year old little girl, came onto the deck AFTER Lee Joon-seok left on the first boat (I saw a picture of the first boat, and the captain was on it but the little girl was not). Meaning that at the time the captain left…and before, when he was waiting on the deck, there was time to save the passengers below – but that would mean risking his spot on the lifeboat.

    Basically, he was willing to condemn children to a sure death in the cabin, then to RISK his own life – or discomfort – even if they ran out of lifeboat space for the captain, he would have still survived being on deck and in lifejacket – but he wouldn’t even risk that – or to risk wetting the money in his wallet beyond recovery. He’s a sociopath that would probably run over someone twice to avoid being sued for medical bills.

    • chucky3176

      Your cultural explanation doesn’t wash, since the dead Korean kids testify with their own mobile texts that they sent, right when the accident happened.

      “In another set of messages, a father tries to help his child.

      “I know the rescue is going on, but try coming out if possible,” he writes.

      “No, dad, can’t walk. The hallway is packed with kids, and it’s too tilted,” the student writes.

      The hallway is packed with kids, and the ship is too tilted (very important part), so they can’t move. Even if they wanted to disobey the captain’s request to stay where they are, they could not move.

  • commander

    In an apparent bid to counteract possible negative sentiment among South Korean for his declared support of Prime Minister Shinjo Abe of Japan during his Wednesday-Thursday visit to the island country, US President Barack Obama displayed his willingness for Seoul to give support, if its ally needs, in recovering what is one of South Korea’s worst maritime disasters in decades.

    But what South Koreans anticipate for his two day sojourn in South Korea is not pledged support for the ferry sinking that could see its death toll up to 300 in a struggling rescue operation as a result of a combination of the captain’s incompetency, the ship operator’s flagrant disregard of safety guidelines, and the watchdog authorities’ porous complacency in oversight.

    All Obama needs to do to win the hearts and minds of South Koreans is to roll back Japan’s nationalist remarks insulting victims of its wartime sexual atrocities and behavior that is aimed at striking down its postwar pacific constitution banning use of force except for the self defense.

    But we know this job is almost impossible to Mr. Obama, which sees robust US-Japan ties as the backbone of American rebalancing toward Asia, with US defense budgetary cuts requiring more active role for Japan in countering growing China’s influences in Northeast Asia.

    This is all the more so as the United States is endeavoring to bring Japan into membership of Trans Pacific Partnership, which Obama proclaimed previously in an APEC summit, will have to lead to Asia-Pacific free trade area in the long haul, with the aim of preventing China from an East Asian group to the exclusion of the US.

    Nevertheless, American reluctance to check Japan’s unrepentant, provocative move toward rearmament could result in strategic loss for the United States.

    Such a possibility can be found in a fear of South Korea that the Japan will spiral out of American control not control if Tokyo sees its alliance with the US is no longer serve as a counterweight against China when the United States puts Sino-US ties over anything else forcing the relegation of Japan as the secondary state in the region.

    This doubt would probably eat away at the foundation of tripartite alliance between Seoul, Washington and Tokyo.

    • guest

      Thank you for our daily dose of Japan-criticism on a totally unrelated matter, as well as more hysterical South Korean paranoia.

      “Japan’s unrepentant, provocative move toward rearmament”

      Really? Are you really so scared of some sort of new imperial Japan in this day and age?

      • commander

        I can’t believe IN THIS DAY AND AGE, some prominent politicians and government officials in Japan call comfort women prostitutes, and claim that Japan did not commit wartime atrocities in their history textbooks for their children.

        If Japan dispatches its self defense unit, as China sent patrol vessels on disputed islands, which is called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan, to the islets of Dokdo to seize its control under political maneuvers of its ultra-rightist politicians, it could seriously ramp up tension between Tokyo and Seoul.

        This scenario is possible given that the Japanese government under nationalist Abe seeks to teach their children that Takeshima, the Japanese name for Dokdo, is their territory and South Korea is illegal in retaining effective control of it.

        Historical issues will remain unresolved because its turns into the clash of national prides after the task of holding accountable war criminals was not properly undertaken by victorious allied nations after World War II.

        Although Seoul and Tokyo presently have shared interest of deterring North Korean aggression and nuclear development, there could be conflicted interests between the two when threats from North Korea decline as inter-Korean ties improve toward reunification.

        From Long before, Japan has perceived the geopolitical significance of the Korean Peninsula’s geographical location, which they like to compare to a sword directed menacingly at Japan. The perception leads to the claim that Japan should colonize the Peninsula. If not doing so, Japan will be under constant threats from the Continent, the argument claims, and as we all know the insistence materialized about one century ago.

        This conception is still valid for many revisionist politicians in Japan.

        If two Koreas are reunified and emerges as a formidable industrial competitor and as having close ties with China, Japan will be contained within their own islands, and be forced into secondary nation in the region, an anathema for far rightist politicians, this grim view goes.

        As in the forcible seizure of the Crimean Peninsula by Russian contemporary czar Putin, who aspires to revive the old glory of the previous empire, Some Japanese ultra right wingers inwardly aspires to restore its glorious days by expanding its military activity scope, currently under US-Japan alliance, and in its own way when the alliance, in their perception, no longer serve as a bastion against China’s rise.

        The military expansion under the yoke of the US-Japan alliance is acknowledged tacitly by Seoul, which think the United States can still keep Japan into its control.

        But, some people in Seoul fear that in mounting signs of American relative decline in terms of economic strength, budgetary restraints which prompts the American greater dependence on Japan’s bigger role in military defense posture in the region, including controversial missile defense systems, the United States may lose control of Japan’s actions.

        • Rutim

          > From Long before, Japan has perceived the geopolitical significance of the Korean Peninsula’s geographical location, which they like to compare to a sword directed menacingly at Japan.

          Your imagination is surely creative one…

          > If two Koreas are reunified and emerges as a formidable industrial competitor and as having close ties with China

          I predict more of a Germany example – rather poor north and more wealthy south. Not to even mention that East Germany was much more developed country compared to North Korea at the time of unification… It’s surely fine for you to live in a bubble. And you probably believe that they have some magical ‘gold’ underground that no one knows for suree about aside from Russians, Kim family and PRC. And closer ties between Korea and China were the times of Korean Peninsula being a tributary state to China in history which ended up when Russia and Japan came to play on Peninsula in the late XIX century. People living on Korean Peninsula had two kinds of relationships with Chinese – fighting against them in distant past or having their troops there and paying tributes.

          > If Japan dispatches its self defense unit, as China sent patrol vessels on disputed islands, which is called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan

          It won’t happen… Japan isn’t China and won’t act like Chinese nowadays.

          Not much discussion could be done here as you think that Japan aims at invading Korea. It’s called psychosis.

          • Dan

            But if the government can’t unify Koreans against foreigners (especially Japan), they might notice the massive problems (aging population, world’s leader in suicide, liquor consumption, unhappy students, stomach cancer, massive prostitution, plastic surgery for kids..) that exist internally! Oh wait…

          • JohnDoe7

            You are assuming that the problems are hyped up by the Korean government and the Korean people actually do not care about the problems with Japan, which is clearly not the case.

            Any Korean president would have faced domestic pressure to be tough on Japan in face of similar problematic moves by Japan’s leaders.

          • Rutim

            Today I saw pictures of Japanese PAC-3 batteries with description that it’s presence against North Korean ballistic missiles is merely an excuse for ‘militarization’ of Japan…

            That wasn’t North Korean site – it was South Korean site which deals with South Korean military. I felt strong feeling of massive paranoia against Japan similar to northern part of peninsula…

          • commander

            Your obvious lack of understanding of history of Northeast Asian countries and international theories shows you are a pathetic know it all who actually doesn’t know anything of what you said. What a pity.

          • Rutim

            What theories? Like 5000 old nation or all of NE Asians come from Korean Peninsula? Surely I’m not modern enough to follow those ‘international theories’. Surely, what a pity.

          • commander

            Let’s call it quits. I dont want to talk with a person who is in ignorant bliss.

          • JohnDoe7

            https://www.google.com.sg/search?q=Korea+dagger+pointed+at+the+heart+of+Japan&rlz=1C1CHMO_en-GBSG563SG563&oq=Korea+dagger+pointed+at+the+heart+of+Japan&aqs=chrome..69i57.299571j0j7&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=122&ie=UTF-8

            The imagination is an old one.

            Germany is the most important country in EU now.

            Things can change rapidly, nobody thought Russia could annex Crimea just 3 months ago.

          • Rutim

            > Germany is the most important country in EU now.

            And Korea won’t ever be the most important country in NE Asia where you have Russia, China and Japan by it’s side. End of discussion.

            And the quote you presented meant that Korea is a ‘buffer zone’ for Japan – if it’s peaceful and stable that’s good. If it’s place for bigger hostile nations (like China or Russia were at the time) it’s dangerous situation for Japan. And this is truth.

          • JohnDoe7

            Your 2nd paragraph just proves my point. Korea is important because of the perception in which ever side that have Korea will have the advantage over the other.

            That quote is an imagination/perception. Korea is under China’s influence for centuries under 2 dynasties and there’s no Chinese invasion. While Japan invade Korea twice. That quote is used as a pretext for empire building, which is clearly the aim of the 2 invasions.

            In fact, judging from historical record, one could make the case that peace in East Asia depends on a Korea under the influence of a strong China.

          • TheKorean

            China and Japan doesn’t want a reunified nationalistic Korea, that’s why. A reunified Korea would of outpaced the Japanese ages ago.

          • TheKorean

            And you think Korea will side with Japan or China? You make me laugh.

        • guest

          “As in the forcible seizure of the Crimean Peninsula by Russian contemporary czar Putin, who aspires to revive the old glory of the previous empire, Some Japanese ultra right wingers inwardly aspires to restore its glorious days by expanding its military activity scope”

          You mean the Japanese are shoring up their defenses in response to China claiming any territory within sight, based off of some made up maps? Color me surprised. What a stretch to compare Japan to Russia, while conveniently ignoring the actions of China.

          “controversial missile defense systems”

          You mean the missle defense system needed due to living next to those crazy shits in North Korea, a nuclear armed China whose populace has wet dreams over exacting some misguided counter genocide on the Japanese of today, and Russia, who it is increasingly apparent can not always be counted upon to act rationally? Again, I wonder why Japan needs a missle defense system.

          Like I said before, it is sheer paranoia on your part and South Korea at large to even think that “big bad” Japan will come rolling back into the Korean peninsula.

          • TheKorean

            Yep, “Big Bad” Japan claiming our territories.

      • JohnDoe7

        haha. Just think of the possible Jewish, Polish and French responses if the current German government officials making the similar comments and moves as the current Japanese government officials.

    • takasar1

      Certainly didn’t expect random, pointless and irrelevant Japanese criticism on an entirely unrelated koreabang article…

      • Jetspa

        You must be new here.

        • takasar1

          On the contrary, I’ve been bringing the sarcasm/cynicism since 2012

  • chucky3176

    We don’t need the US transportation office to tell us what went wrong. It was a combination of overloading the boat three times the legal requirement, no safety procedure by the crew, human errors galore, greed and corruption by the owners of the ferry company, negligence of duty by ship’s crew, and now even throw in mechanical problems with the rust bucket ship. The black box recordings show the ship had a 30 second power blackout that left the ship’s steering uncontrolled and the ship spinning out of control due to its extreme overweight and (get this now, if all those factors weren’t enough), South Korea’s second most dangerous shipping area that has abnormally rapid ocean currents. The ship was being steered by a 25 year old woman practically straight out of college, who now can’t remember anything what happened.

    You can just throw everything in there that could go wrong that you can think of, and it happened.

    And top of that, if you think blaming these kids for being too obedient to authorities, have a look at the picture what must have been like in the ship where many were simply trapped inside.

    http://photo.hankooki.com/newsphoto/2014/04/23/hjh0820201404232109370.jpg

    Do you see the circled area in the picture? Those are people in there, banging on the window, crying for help. It’s unclear if they survived or not, but I would say they were the lucky ones because they were on the lower deck. Yes, I’m sure some would have survived if they had not listened to the captain’s broadcast to stay where they are, but many also were trapped and unable to get out even if they wanted to. The ones in the upper quarters, would be less lucky. So many bodies have been found so far, on the 3rd and 4th decks. They literally had no place to go. Many of the dead bodies have broken fingers because they were clawing at the walls while the water rushed in. It is clear they died a horrible frightening death.

    • wrle

      The ship had totally flipped over in those pictures. There was no way those people could have gotten out unless the windows were broken from the outside. I can’t believe those rescue workers were just sitting around like that. Did they not see those people crying for help or did they just ignore them? This whole situation was completely absurd.

    • tomoe723

      I don’t know what words to express my anger on that picture you posted. FUCK!^&%$## It’s just stupid beyond any degree…… sheeesh.

  • chucky3176

    The Reuters and CBC keeps reports that “Korea’s hierarchial society prevented the kids from thinking on their own to save themselves” after they were told to stay in their cabin. But look at these text messages. Do they sound like they could have saved themselves?

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/south-korea-ferry-disaster-texts-from-the-doomed-ship-1.2612734

    “In another set of messages, a father tries to help his child.
    “I know the rescue is going on, but try coming out if possible,” he writes.
    “No, dad, can’t walk. The hallway is packed with kids, and it’s too tilted,” the student writes.

    The passenger’s fate is unknown.”

    The hallway is packed with kids, and the ship is too tilted, so they can’t move.

    Does this sound like unthinking robot kids who were told to stay where they are, or do they sound like scared stuck kids who’s only hope was outside help?

    From the Korea Times:

    Culture can’t explain it all

    CNN, Time react typically to Sewol tragedy

    By Kim Young-jin

    Last Friday, two days after the Sewol sank, a CNN reporter made an on-air remark that felt all too familiar. “What (Korean) culture prizes in its children, its students, is obedience,” she said. “So when they were told to stay put by an adult, of course they would stay put.”

    “This is certainly heartbreaking for (the parents),” she commented, “because these are the very parents who have instilled that sense of obedience in listening to their elders.”

    TIME magazine pointed to the country’s “strict discipline” as perhaps making the children “more likely to follow the crew’s order.”

    Intended or not, the implication was hard to swallow: these young people were programmed to obey their elders at all costs, even if they knew better, and their behavior elevated the death toll.

    Major tragedies involving Korea are almost always followed by stories that question the role of Korean culture, which stresses deference to elders and authority figures, in what transpired.

    The use of culture as a blanket explanation can be problematic for multiple reasons.

    Most importantly, it can downplay the significance of more immediate factors at a time when details are still emerging.

    According to crew accounts, the Sewol jolted and began to list at 8:48 a.m. Seven minutes later, it sent a distress call to dispatchers, saying it was steeply tilting and that movement was impossible.

    While every moment may seem like an eternity in a crisis, seven minutes is a short window for teenagers facing the threat of powerful, cold waters to decide to buck the orders of someone who is supposed to know better about what to do in an emergency.

    Restricted movement also offers a physical explanation to why people may not have been able to escape — information that has nothing to do with culture.

    Other situational factors include where those who escaped were positioned at the time of the incident. According to the government, many of those trapped were on the third and fourth floors, while many who escaped were on the fifth.

    It also risks portraying the students as having behaved in a homogenous way. As stories emerge of teachers and crewmembers who gave their lives to help others, it’s reasonable to think that some students may have acted bravely and independently. And the cultural approach, some say, may unduly impose differences between East and West.

    “Emergency situations such as the recent tragedy are by their nature ambiguous, and people naturally look for leaders in these situations for direction and guidance,” said Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, a social-personality psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley.

    “Leaders are supposed to know what to do, and there is the assumption that what they tell you to do is for a reason (sometimes with tragic consequences). It’s a very strong tendency that may overshadow cultural differences.”

    The proclivity to the cultural angle may reflect the nature of media in the era of the 24-hour news cycle. With outlets covering events around the clock — in the case of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight for several weeks — the likelihood of relying on well-trodden tropes increases.

    Gil Asakawa, a journalist and blogger about Asian-American culture, said in theory it’s appropriate for western media to probe cultural differences in reporting stories.

    But he added, “The danger is that reporters will focus on it as an oddity, or something exotic, instead of educating their audiences about the differences in cultural values between Asia and the West.”

    In the coming weeks and months, culture needs to be addressed. The country’s maritime culture must be scrutinized.

    The same goes for the culture at Chonghaejin Marine, the operator of the ferry, in which an inexperienced third officer, not the captain, was in command when the accident occurred.

    Let’s not forget the culture among government officials and agencies, whose response was discombobulated when it needed to be seamless.

    And yes, the incident provides Koreans an opportunity to reflect on national culture as well, one which has driven the success of the small country to unimagined places but where safety measures are lacking.

    International coverage is but a tiny corner of the sprawling tragedy that has unfolded over the last week. Still, one hopes such reportage will be more careful when applying culture to explain rapidly-unfolding events.

    • kpopwillneverstop

      I think they might have meant in the terms of the captain telling everyone to stay on the boat and how the other staff didn’t want to save the children because the captain is the leader and the captain’s orders are the captain’s orders.

    • tomoe723

      “Korea’s hierarchial society prevented the kids from thinking on their own to save themselves” That’s just bullshit sensationalist journalism. I wouldn’t even call it journalism. Do they even think of the situation first before spurting out crap like that? Have these so-called journalists imagine how a kid thinks and feels when he is on a big boat in the middle of a big ocean (or deep blue sea)? No matter what culture it is, a kid will always feel very little even on a safe cruise ship having been exposed to how never-ending the body of water seems to look like. Even high school kids will feel this. It gives an emotion of helplessness and nervousness. Only a kid who grew up with the sea can overcome that emotion. Furthermore, that emotion is compounded a million times more when a tragedy like this happens. It’s only natural that a kid will look to an adult for what to do next in that hopeless situation.

  • All K-Pop concerts have been canceled until further notice…hang in there Korea…be strong

  • avante

    Can Kbang translate this message? From the Hyundai founder’s grandson. Apparently it caused quite a stir two days ago.

    http://www.eto.co.kr/news/outview.asp?Code=20140421112002890&ts=223922

    • Harald Olsen

      One of our translators is working on an article about the comments from the grandson, we hope to have it up soon.

      • avante

        Thank you thank you

    • kpopwillneverstop

      I know what you’re talking about. He was calling the families “barbarians” because they were lashing out at people (tbh, you can’t blame them. They’ve lost family members in an accident that could have been avoided) and supposedly, his father is running for Seoul Mayor, so he tried to apologized for his son’s action, but people ain’t giving a shit about his apology.

  • mei mei

    Obama is so cool and one of most good looking president ever

    • cantonizi

      No Putin is cool and the prez of Thailand is good looking.
      Obama is a fake muslim Amerikan.

      • mei mei

        of course i said it as among American Presidents

  • chucky3176

    So far, not one air pocket was found, and there will be none found on a big transport ferry that had big open spaces, with few small tight compartments. The angry families also blame this on the government saying the government gave them false hope from the beginning by sending in divers to non-existing air pockets.

    I understand their pain, but they’re not thinking clearly. What could the government do? It was damned if they do and damned if they don’t. The brunt of the anger in Korea is falling onto the government, with Park Geun Hye’s administration that had a 71% approval rating just a week ago, plunging to 54% today, and still rapidly falling. The longer this crisis goes on, the more danger to the current administration’s survival.

    Ten of the bodies recovered have still not been identified. Bodies are decomposing rapidly, pretty soon the only way for them identify the bodies would be through DNA testings. They need to raise that ship NOW.

    So many people in Korea are so angry and they are lashing out at everyone and at everything. There was even a nice Turkish immigrant who wanted to do something for the family so he put up a kebab stand outside the gymnasium where the surviving families are awaiting for their missing loved ones, giving out free kebabs. He was told to pack up and leave the area because he was turning the area into a party atmosphere by some angry complainers. The poor man apologized profusely and said he didn’t mean anything other than he wanted to do something for the grieving.

    Anyone who speaks or does a move, they better be ready to get a deluge of angry complaints, because the atmosphere is extremely hostile and sensitive. Better to remain silent and do nothing.

    As for that 5 year old girl lone survivor, they found her Mom’s body. Her one year older brother and her dad are still missing. The girl has not even been told what has happened to her family. There are other gut wrenching stories told by the divers who recovered the bodies. They found the bodies of young teen boy and his girlfriend, who had tied themselves together, trying not to separate and lose each other in the chaos. They died together. Another boy had a cellphone in his hand, gripping it so tight that they couldn’t pry it lose easily. He probably was waiting so anxiously for calls from his family. They found the body of the young girl who would have survived if she hadn’t gone back inside the ship, but who went back to help her trapped screaming friends. Then there was the Korean Chinese man traveling to Jeju on holiday, who texted to his friend in Seoul, from the ship, just minutes before the ship tilted, how he has never been happy as now, as he watched the beautiful sea on the horizon. Those were his last words, as his body was also recovered.

    • kpopwillneverstop

      Somebody said that the two bodies who lifejackets were tied to each other were fraternal twins.

    • tomoe723

      It’s a very sad state for the families of victims. I believe they need time to grieve and find peace within themselves for such an unbelievable tragedy to befall on them. It’s hard to offer condolences to someone who is still very much disturbed by the incident.

      • chucky3176

        Angry parents about to lynch government officials after day nine.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oI4RAi_04E0

        They’re demanding their children back.

        • tomoe723

          Having seen the pictures posted somewhere on this site, I’d probably lash out on the rescue team as well. *>=||

    • guest

      I hope they will find the little boy soon. I can’t stand it, he should have gotten away too, but he went back down to look for his parents, someone should have stopped him from going back.

  • Hitbbbw3

    Why does KoreaBang continue to syphon sources from Daum?

    • What exactly would you prefer?

      • bumfromkorea

        Naver! Just kidding.

  • chucky3176

    This picture is going viral in Korea right now. After they examined the photos and zoomed in, they noticed desperate people with lifejackets pounding on the windows, that are marked circled in this picture. Many of the bodies had bloodied hands and fingers (presumably from pounding so hard on windows and scratching at walls as they struggle to stay above water).

    http://news.kukinews.com/article/view.asp?page=1&gCode=soc&arcid=0008260669&code=41121211

    Either those rescuers didn’t notice those trapped people, or they didn’t even bother with them (I really hope not, but after what those ship’s crew did, nothing would surprise me anymore).

    • KamJos

      That is sickening. I read that too that many of the dead had broken fingers. It’s just awful. I feel so bad for those kids.

    • guest

      I read that /some/ of the crew had broken windows with hammer to get some of the kids out, maybe it was those kids. Please let it be those kids.

    • reality check!

      The guy in the blue boat was on CNN from what I can tell by the video and it sounds like they didn’t notice them… what a tragic situation.

      This is heart breaking tragedy… I don’t think those kids made it out…

      http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/26/world/asia/south-korea-ship-sinking/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

      • guest

        GODDAMNIT

        This fucking thing, what gets to me is that this fucking thing was preventable. No one can stop an earthquake or a stop cancer from killing a kid, but they weren’t far from shore and there wasn’t even a storm, absolutely nobody had to die if only there weren’t so many many mistakes!

  • bumfromkorea

    The sheer number of conservatives and the Saenuri officials being complete asshats in this tragedy is just disturbing.

    1. Minister of Education, putting the medical equipments aside to eat a bowl of ramen on the table that they were using to diagnose/treat the survivors and the missing passengers’ family.

    http://ojsfile.ohmynews.com/STD_IMG_FILE/2014/0419/IE001702245_STD.jpg

    1A. The Blue House Spokesperson defends the good Minister by saying (and I shit you not) “At least he didn’t put any eggs in the ramen”.

    2. Deputy Minister of Ministry of Security and Public Administration takes a commemorative photography with his subordinates… in front of the lists of the missing/dead… while smiling… with family members of the missing/dead not 10 feet away.

    http://pds.joins.com/news/component/nocut/201404/21/20140421075046382120.jpg

    3. Daegu Assemblywoman Gwon Eun Hee accusing one of the parents of the missing of being a fraud and a habitual anti-government instigator… based on a picture that was clearly photoshopped.

    4. Ji Man Won, a conservative commentator (think Hannity, O’Reilly, etc) claiming that the communist sympathizers (you’ll see this phrase pop up a lot) are manufacturing the Sewol tragedy and that the government should get ready to put down the “2nd Gwangju Rebellion” (a phrasing that, if you knew anything about the Gwangju Massacre, is jaw-droppingly offensive by itself).

    5. Saenuri Party leader Han Ki Ho accusing the people critical of the government’s response to this tragedy of being a communist sympathizer/agents of North Korea.

    6. Ilbe, the infamous conservative website, continuously insulting the dead/missing and their families in what can only be described as inhuman. These include calling the victims “Whale food” and “Fish cake soup”, and calling the families “Yoo-Jok-choong” (Survivor’s-family-insects). One particular member of this conservative movement even pondered whether the female victims of the Sewol let other victims have sex with them before drowning.

    7. When asked about the Maritime Police’s initial response to the tragedy, the spokesperson stated “We saved 80 people. We did a great job.”

    8. Ministry of Health and Welfare officials using ambulances as their personal taxis because they didn’t want to walk 500 meters.

    • chucky3176

      All that is sheer political infighting background noise. The left parties were just as bad. For example some saying the ship was sunk by joint US-SK war games exercise. This is all just noise signifying nothing to the real crisis at hand.

      What is more disconcerning is Korea’s total lack of coordination of emergency rescue and crisis management during national disasters. It was complete chaos. There should have been one leadership coordinating the rescue and dealing with the reporters and the family members. All the branches of the government, including the coast guard, the search and rescue operation, to the president looked like they were running around with their chicken heads cut off. For instance some of the coast guard helicopters were held back in waiting, as the different branches of government argued over jurisdictions. Another involved the Jindo VTS delaying the rescue operation possibly by 10 minutes because they were too busy typing up the proper paper work documents. And who was in charge of the search and rescue? It was the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries who were in bed with the sunken ship’s parent company. This government office was supposed to have inspected the sunk ship (which they did not, but passed the safety anyway). This branch is interesting because most of those people who serve there, were picked from shipping transport companies who planted their men into this office, to serve the shipping companies, rather than the tax paying public. When the parents and the Korean public found out about this conflict of interest collusion, they flipped. This is why Koreans cannot trust the search and rescue effort, or anything to do with the Korean government. Because they failed to represent and advocate for the Korean public. Instead they worked for the economic interests of those greedy bastards in the ferry company.

  • KCdude

    When I said that Park Guen-hye won the presidential election on December 2012, I said “Life father, like daughter”. It became true.

    On December 14, 1970, there was a South Korean ferry boat called the Namyeong-ho (남영호) was sunken with 338 dead passengers trapped inside. Its planned route was from Seogwipo (Jeju Island) to Busan. It was sunken somewhere around the coast of Jeollanamdo.

    This happened during the current president’s father, a “strongman”.

    • chucky3176

      Little bit selective, aren’t you? It didn’t matter who was the president, and it still doesn’t matter now. Corruption and neglect toward safety is a multi-generational societal malady in Korea, that can’t be undone by a presidential decree. Korean presidents are as powerless as the opposition party leaders. It’s the political consensus between the parties and the citizens that brings out coherent national policies. In a democratic society, governments are the reflections of its people. Was this tragedy solely because of Park Geun Hye? Hardly. This is a good time for Koreans, everyone from taxi/bus drivers, to individual dads and mom’s with little children sitting in their cars, to look in the mirror and reflect how they view safety. For example, accepting that bus drivers driving like maniacs are part of Korean culture, is as bad attitude as accepting the way the shipping companies like Sewol having no safety manual. If the politicians aren’t going to lift a finger, then it’s up to the grass roots movements to force change.

      • KCdude

        Either way, there’s no hope for Korea. I seriously see this via an religious Anglican Christian: this whole country is cursed. Cursed, I tell you, whether it’s a secular curse or a cultural curse. Don’t believe me that this country is cursed? Laugh at me if you want. But I will still think that South Korea is cursed forever.

        “Korean presidents are as powerless as the opposition party leaders.”

        But the Korean style presidential system is known to have a strong executive power. And South Korea is infamous for merging its executive and judicial branches. It’s a recipe for perpetual corruption in any governments around the world.

        I would still believe in the anti-South Korean hype because the whole South Korean society doesn’t agree with my Anglican faith and my devotion to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. (God save the Queen)

        Korea should revert back to a legitimate form of monarchy (not like the Kim dynasty in North Korea nor the Park dynasty in South Korea) in order to regain my respect for Korea.

  • KCdude

    Here’s my perspective through a view of an Anglican Christian. (God Save The Queen; slow and quiet death to any republic)

    The whole Sewol disaster is a Satanic ceremony to the corrupt politicians of any party background. There’s no hope for Korea.

  • cantonizi

    So Obama is in Amerika’s Asia telling S Korea how strong and powerful their navy is in the China seas.
    But the US navy can’t even save one kid from the sunken boat or find the whereabouts of the missing plan.
    Now that is so scary the N Koreans are shaking in their caves and China is running to the temples to do some serious foreign worshipping.

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