Donald Kirk

Donald Kirk is an author and journalist from Washington, D.C., and travels to South Korea, with stops in London, India, Pakistan, the Middle East, Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines, among other places, writing on the confrontation of forces in the post-September 11 era. He was the Seoul correspondent for the International Herald Tribune from 1997 to 2003. Before gravitating to Northeast Asia, he covered much of the Vietnam War for the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Star. He has also written books on Korea, notably Korea Betrayed: Kim Dae Jung and Sunshine and Korean Dynasty: Hyundai and Chung Ju Yung.
Donald Kirk
Donald Kirk is an author and journalist from Washington, D.C., and travels to South Korea, with stops in London, India, Pakistan, the Middle East, Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines, among other places, writing on the confrontation of forces in the post-September 11 era. He was the Seoul correspondent for the International Herald Tribune from 1997 to 2003. Before gravitating to Northeast Asia, he covered much of the Vietnam War for the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Star. He has also written books on Korea, notably Korea Betrayed: Kim Dae Jung and Sunshine and Korean Dynasty: Hyundai and Chung Ju Yung.

Latest from Donald Kirk

Opinion | South Korea’s Moon Jae-in may be the biggest loser of the Trump-Kim summit flop

With opposition mounting at home and sanctions still blocking inter-Korean cooperation, the relative calm on the peninsula may be small consolation for Moon Jae-in.

1 Mar 2019 - 10:38PM
South Korea’s Moon Jae-in may be the biggest loser of the Trump-Kim summit flop

With opposition mounting at home and sanctions still blocking inter-Korean cooperation, the relative calm on the peninsula may be small consolation for Moon Jae-in.

Opinion | If communist Vietnam can thrive on capitalist enterprise, why not North Korea?

Aside from a meeting with Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un’s trip to Hanoi may open his eyes to the possibility of unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit in a tightly controlled society, at no risk to his grip on power.

15 Feb 2019 - 11:07AM
If communist Vietnam can thrive on capitalist enterprise, why not North Korea?

Aside from a meeting with Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un’s trip to Hanoi may open his eyes to the possibility of unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit in a tightly controlled society, at no risk to his grip on power.

Opinion | As China feuds with the US, don’t expect it to encourage better behaviour from North Korea

Despite hopes that China will encourage Kim Jong-un to seek a detente, what Beijing really wants is to make life difficult for Washington as the trade war and Huawei case drag on.

6 Feb 2019 - 8:26AM
As China feuds with the US, don’t expect it to encourage better behaviour from North Korea

Despite hopes that China will encourage Kim Jong-un to seek a detente, what Beijing really wants is to make life difficult for Washington as the trade war and Huawei case drag on.

Opinion | A second Donald Trump-Kim Jong-un summit? They don’t even agree on what the first one meant

North Korea and the US may not agree on what ‘denuclearise’ means, but is there harm in meeting again? The answer is yes, actually, if these summits give the impression that diplomacy has been tried and did not work.

7 Dec 2018 - 6:27AM
A second Donald Trump-Kim Jong-un summit? They don’t even agree on what the first one meant

North Korea and the US may not agree on what ‘denuclearise’ means, but is there harm in meeting again? The answer is yes, actually, if these summits give the impression that diplomacy has been tried and did not work.

North Korea plays the cruellest game with family reunions
Will North Korea’s return of soldiers’ remains buy a US exit from the Korean peninsula?

North Korea has used US soldiers’ remains as a moneymaking scheme in the past, and now may be after a bigger payoff – a peace declaration and exit of US troops from the Korean peninsula

20 Jul 2018 - 10:30PM
Will North Korea’s return of soldiers’ remains buy a US exit from the Korean peninsula?

North Korea has used US soldiers’ remains as a moneymaking scheme in the past, and now may be after a bigger payoff – a peace declaration and exit of US troops from the Korean peninsula

From trade war to third world war? From Korea to the South China Sea, Trump’s tariffs risk escalation

US trade deficits make Trump’s aggressive strategy understandable, but China’s reliance on the US market has played a major role in keeping disputes – particularly over territorial waters – under control. As Trump hinders access, that could change

11 Jul 2018 - 3:29PM
From trade war to third world war? From Korea to the South China Sea, Trump’s tariffs risk escalation

US trade deficits make Trump’s aggressive strategy understandable, but China’s reliance on the US market has played a major role in keeping disputes – particularly over territorial waters – under control. As Trump hinders access, that could change

How Donald Trump sold out South Korea while furthering Kim Jong-un’s dream of domination

Donald Trump has raised false of hopes of Korean reunification but Kim Jong-un’s agenda cannot coincide with democracy.

28 Jun 2018 - 8:11PM
How Donald Trump sold out South Korea while furthering Kim Jong-un’s dream of domination

Donald Trump has raised false of hopes of Korean reunification but Kim Jong-un’s agenda cannot coincide with democracy.

Trump hands Xi Jinping a win in Singapore – and may have handed all of Asia to China

The US president may have earned his ‘dotard’ nickname in Singapore by signalling interest in reducing America’s military presence in East Asia, leaving China free to pursue its dreams of regional – and continental – dominance.

19 Jun 2018 - 6:40PM
Trump hands Xi Jinping a win in Singapore – and may have handed all of Asia to China

The US president may have earned his ‘dotard’ nickname in Singapore by signalling interest in reducing America’s military presence in East Asia, leaving China free to pursue its dreams of regional – and continental – dominance.

US-North Korea talks have many obstacles to overcome – starting with where to meet

The first hurdle in preparing the US-North Korea summit is the US’ unwillingness to meet Kim Jong-un on his home turf in Pyongyang, but a compromise there only means moving on to thornier issues, like North Korea’s definition of ‘denuclearise’ and American unwillingness to withdraw from South Korea.

20 Jul 2018 - 8:47PM
US-North Korea talks have many obstacles to overcome – starting with where to meet

The first hurdle in preparing the US-North Korea summit is the US’ unwillingness to meet Kim Jong-un on his home turf in Pyongyang, but a compromise there only means moving on to thornier issues, like North Korea’s definition of ‘denuclearise’ and American unwillingness to withdraw from South Korea.

The real reasons behind Xi Jinping’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

A looming trade war with the US, Japan’s shift to the right under Abe, and the continuing challenges to China’s geopolitical position in the region are all part of the calculations that convinced Xi a meeting was necessary.

20 Jul 2018 - 8:47PM
The real reasons behind Xi Jinping’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

A looming trade war with the US, Japan’s shift to the right under Abe, and the continuing challenges to China’s geopolitical position in the region are all part of the calculations that convinced Xi a meeting was necessary.

Why South Korea’s Olympic overtures to Kim Jong-un will misfire in the long run

By capitulating to most of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s demands before the Olympics, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has sent the message that he is all too willing to compromise.

21 Feb 2018 - 7:12PM
Why South Korea’s Olympic overtures to Kim Jong-un will misfire in the long run

By capitulating to most of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s demands before the Olympics, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has sent the message that he is all too willing to compromise.

The Olympics returns to South Korea 30 years on – and so do the protests

Reflecting on the history of the Olympics in Korea, the differences are apparent between the 2018 Winter Games and the 1988 Summer Olympics – today, the demonstrations are against North Korea, and the North can do much more than blow up airliners

20 Jul 2018 - 8:47PM
The Olympics returns to South Korea 30 years on – and so do the protests

Reflecting on the history of the Olympics in Korea, the differences are apparent between the 2018 Winter Games and the 1988 Summer Olympics – today, the demonstrations are against North Korea, and the North can do much more than blow up airliners

What South Korea is risking in Winter Olympics diplomacy with nuclear North Korea and Kim Jong-un
Trump and Tillerson play word games on talks with North Korea
What next from Kim Jong-un, as Trump piles on the pressure over North Korea’s nuclear programme?
Donald Trump’s Asia trek through Japan, South Korea and China will test the art of his deals

The US president faces several difficult tasks as he meets leaders in Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing, not least of which will be keeping the pressure on North Korea while easing China’s concerns about THAAD.

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM
Donald Trump’s Asia trek through Japan, South Korea and China will test the art of his deals

The US president faces several difficult tasks as he meets leaders in Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing, not least of which will be keeping the pressure on North Korea while easing China’s concerns about THAAD.

200 reasons why North Korea declaring war is nothing new
Trump’s threats at UN to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea demonstrate little relationship with reality

Donald Trump’s over-the-top declaration can’t hide the fact that military action against the North would be deeply unpopular at home, costly and opposed by North Korea’s neighbours

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM
Trump’s threats at UN to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea demonstrate little relationship with reality

Donald Trump’s over-the-top declaration can’t hide the fact that military action against the North would be deeply unpopular at home, costly and opposed by North Korea’s neighbours

Why Samsung heir’s jailing will do little to dent its smartphone profits, in the short term at least
Can South Korea’s Moon Jae-in find a path to reconciliation with North Korea?

Donald Kirk considers the dilemma confronting the South Korean president, as he seeks to balance a need for US protection with his wish for reconciliation

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM
Can South Korea’s Moon Jae-in find a path to reconciliation with North Korea?

Donald Kirk considers the dilemma confronting the South Korean president, as he seeks to balance a need for US protection with his wish for reconciliation

Can America survive the era of Trump family values?
Otto Warmbier’s death brings to light the brutality of North Korean dynastic rule
How North Korea’s nuclear weapons are testing Seoul’s special ties with the US
Can South Korea’s new president Moon Jae-in find the right balance on N Korea and domestic policies?
Why pacifist Japan is standing by its old friend America in naval power play
Why US trade deficit with China, South Korea and Japan must be making Pyongyang very happy
For South Korea, could Park Geun-hye’s downfall be one scandal too many?
With Park Geun-hye’s exit, jockeying begins for power over the fate of Korean peninsula
With Kim Jong-nam’s killing, North Korea shows the world its deadly arsenal includes more than nuclear weapons
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