Farewell Korea, I Loved You So (Act III)

More of the same from the Global Journal (世界报), 07-08-15 print, on page 7 under the Specialist News Commentaries section. The author is Yuan Li, who prepared it for this paper. I’ve been slow to type this one up.


Moxi Lin also believes the Luwushenme government’s negotiations with the Taliban are weak, because in their isolated state, they can only offer economic or financial assistance as an exchange. Lin firmly believes that the South Koreans can accept this means of securing release. Gu Jie optimistically believes that with the continuing delays in this hostage crisis, the Taliban will accept the money in the end, and the prospects for the release of the prisoners is high. “The Taliban’s tribal leaders should now be intensely debating how to deal with these 21 South Korean hostages, and they will certainly have many different ideas, like whether or not to harm the female hostages. It must be known that the Taliban and “base organizations” are different, their faith in Islam is firm, but at the same time there are many different places whose customs and habits must be respected,” expressed Gu Jie, who once lived in Afghanistan, “I believe the Taliban will, in the end, be able to compromise, and accept this ransom money. A monetary exchange to the local tribes is an acceptable means of resolving this situation.

Translator’s notes:
- Not sure what the Luwushenme (as in I don’t know the last character is) is, I suppose whatever the Korean administration in charge is.
- Sorry, not much to write, I’m tired! More tomorrow!

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Farewell Korea, I Loved You So (Act II)

More of the same from the Global Journal (世界报), 07-08-15 print, on page 7 under the Specialist News Commentaries section. The author is Yuan Li, who prepared it for this paper.


Two key leaders in charge of handling this hostage situation don’t want to make this announcement themselves, because it would magnify the situation’s high degree of political sensitivity, and will also make the diplomatic dilemma of Korea’s struggling alone that much more obvious.

An assistant professor in the political science department of America’s UCLA, Moxi Lin, has stated,”However, this doesn’t mean the Bush administration won’t actively work hard for the safe release of the South Korean hostages. I am certain that Washington is right now carrying out many types of rescue attempts. After all, in America’s eyes South Korea is still a very important ally, and the Bush administration can in no way turn a blind eye towards this problem.”

Yet in March of this year, pressured by the Italian government, Karzai released several Taliban officials in order to secure the release of the kidnapped Italian reporter Mastrogiacomo. One of them was the Taliban spokesperson Hajimi, who had been captured in Pakistan.

But if severasl foreign hostages are now faced with a “death ticket”, the United States and Karzai’s government will not be willing to bend the rules. Last time, the United States bent under Europe’s pressure and tacitly consented the the Afghani government’s prisoner release. This time, despite much imploring from the South Korean government and people, the “no negotiating with terrorists” banner has been taking. To compare the two really makes one sigh.

- South Korea Erupts in Anti-American Fervor

Bush’s and Karzai’s unyielding stance on no negotians not only does nothing to help the circumstances, but it also complicates the situation. In the last several days the Taliban has pledged every day that if the two do not change their standpoint, they will have the face the hostage’s “miserable conditions”. It is difficult to imagine how the South Korean government and the hostages’ families can endure these types of threats. With the lack of resolution in the development of this situation, the public sentiment in South Korea is like a spear pointed towards Washington. According to a poll carried out by the South Korean “Central Daily Paper”, 76.9% of those polled hope that America will go into action, and will take on an active role in the resolution of this problem. Not a few political commentators worry that the American-South Korean will be injured because of this.

The current eruption of anti-American sentiment reflects the South Korean peoples’ dissatisfaction. South Korea’s left wing has for the past several years steadily protested South Korea’s sending troops to the Middle East, and this hostage situation may be an opportunity to garner political support. The left wing criticizes America for being unwilling to persuade the Afghani government to release prisoners, and consider this as equal to disregard for the life and safety of the South Korean hostages. And if one takes the political inclinations of South Korean Christians into consideration, the hostage affair becomes even more complex. In Korea, a portion of the Christian clergy are always at the vanguard of anti-American demonstration parades. And a few South Korean left wingers want to place the blame of this situation on America’s head.

- Exchanging Hostages for Ransom Money May Be an Exit

According to the Washington Observer report, Gu Jie has said that the South Korean government is privately trying provide money to the Taliban in excahnge for the hostages; although this may incur Washington’s displease, it may be a lifeline for the hostages lying on their deathbeds. “It is said that the price for each hostage will probably be US$130,000, and the South Korean government will in the end have to pay in excess of US$2 million worth of ransom money,” stated Gu Jie, “But I think that if this money can secure the safe return of the South Korean hostages, then it’s worth it.”

(to be cont.)

Translator’s notes:
- Not sure if it’s assistant professor or associate professor.
- Also, don’t know about Moxi Lin, maybe Moishe?
- Ahh! I’ll finish and revise this tomorrow!

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Farewell Korea, I Loved You So (Act I)

Today I grabbed a copy of the Global Journal (世界报), which turns out to be one of the more fringe papers. I could tell immediately, because plastered on the front page was a gigantic photo of a fighter plane, and both “Taiwan” and “War Strategy” are mentioned in the same headline. Although, I hesitate to call it a fringe paper–with every other news story about some conflict somewhere, or some impending conflict, or some expose on the machinery that would be used in said conflicts, because there are about five of these types of publications to every “normal” newspaper at any newstand.

But naturally you’ll get a lot more interesting opinions.

Today’s article is about the current crisis with the South Korean hostages in Afghanistan, which I haven’t really paid much attention to, but which turns out to be a fascinating, if distressing, situation. This is from the 07-08-15 print, on page 7 under the Specialist News Commentaries section. The author is Yuan Li, who prepared it for this paper.


The Taliban Hostage Strategy is Dividing the American-South Korean Alliance

Since July 19th, of the 23 South Koreans who were taken hostage by armed elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan, two of the hostages have already been executed and several more have become severely ill. Because the Afghani government is decidedly unwilling to yield to the Taliban’s demands to exchange prisoners, it looks like the prospect of survival for the remaining 21 hostages is grim. Not long ago, Afghani President Karzai met with President Bush at Camp David in the United States, where the two reaffirmed their position to refuse to negotiate with the terrorists’ demands for a prisoner exchange. America, which has long been a protector and a big brother to South Korea, has chosen this critical moment to maintain its own position, and South Korean citizens, excessively disappointed, have let out a cry of indignation, and their blazing fury could soon burn a bridge between the United States and South Korea.

In the past the South Korean government has been a strong supporter of America’s operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. But with the development of this hostage situation, not only has there been a challenge to whether or not Korea should support America’s policies in the Middle East, but there has also been a challenge to the the American-Korean allied relationship itself. How could it be possible for America to let Korea believe that it is doing everything she possibly can to rescuse the hostages and at the same time express its strong support of the resident authorities in Afghanistan? America has no way to respond to this question, and with this hostage situation at a deadlock, it is certain that it will injure the American-South Korean relationship.

- America’s Stubborn Opinion Will Make Korea Fight a Lone Battle

According to a US report by the Washington Observer, the head of the US Johns Hopkins University School of Internation Relations, Gu Jie, has said that, “Washington has already stated many times that they are not going to respond to the Taliban’s demands. I am guessing that however earnestly the South Koreans implore the United States government, it will not change its policy and give the Taliban any loopholes.” “America’s standpoint is to maintain its policy of “zero negotiation with terrorists”, and to prevent further hostage taking situations from occurring,” Gu Jie commented,”and now it doesn’t look like Washington is taking any action to change that standpoint.” Furthermore, the Washington Observer article mentions that the reason the Bush administration is unwilling to break with established policy is clear: doing so would set a disastrous precedent, and would open wide the door for more kidnappings and extortion.

After Bush’s and Karzai’s summit at Camp David, America’s National Safety Council spokesperson Geerdeng-yuehandeluo (Gordon…Yuehandeluo?) expressed the following viewpoint for his organization: there cannot be an exchange (with the kidnappers).

(to be cont.)


Translator’s notes:
- One thing I have been doing in the previous articles is sticking as well as I can to the Chinese mode of expression and their idioms. So I realize the articles’ English might sound a little off. Since I’ve never formally studied professional translation, I don’t know if it’s expected to really alter the language in order to get the point across. Well, I know that it’s done all the time actually, in books I’ve been reading with English and Chinese, but I feel like some translators stick more to the quirks of the source language than others. So I’m just not sure where I stand with that. In this article I’m going to go for stream-lining the English, replacing idiomatic expressions where I have to. I do like how this writer expresses himself though.
- The Washington Observer (http://www.washingtonobserver.org/en/) is a US based Chinese Language newspaper that focuses on foreign affairs.
- I’m assuming the article is referring to the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced Internation Studies. However the Dean is named Jessica Einhorn, so either Gu Jie is her Chinese name or Gu Jie refers to some other person. (She graduated from Barnard!)
- I am hard pressed to imagine how the US expects to stop kidnappings from happening unless it bars foreigners from entering anywhere in the world where the Taliban might operate. Which is slightly unrealistic.
- Any guesses on what name Yuehandeluo might be?
- A long article, so I’ll finish tomorrow. One interesting mention, in Korea they are seriously inflamed about this hostage situation. I saw a picture of a protest in Seoul where they burned a stack of Korans! Imagine if that made headlines in the world media!

Finally, an AP article on China in the upcoming 2008 election:

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Econ 102

Continuing the previous article, from page 6 of the Liberation Daily (解放日报), August 13, 2007. The author here is Xie Peng, and it’s from an August 12th Xinhua Press dispatch.

From a larger perspective, because the financial relationships of the more developed economies are very close, the American secondary loan market’s effect is not limited to that country alone. In Germany, France, England, and other countries a few overseas investment funds have clearly been affected.

The recent market changes have also caused large scale fluctuations in the captital costs of every type of market. Moreover, America’s credit market has a wide variety of levels and categories. The eruption of the secondary mortgage market crisis has shown itelf in the housing market. But the question is, will it appear in others like the automobile or credit card markets? Does the secondary market problem exist in regular markets? These doubts may become slightly more pressing, and may assist in inducing a new market panic.

- A Reverse Effect Persists

America’s secondary loan market problem has been building up for years. Today’s disastrous result was the culmination of the downward trend in housing prices, the increase in market interest rates, the lowering of credit thresholds by capital suppliers, the overlooking of risky management, and the avalanche of excessive borrowing. The problem cannot be completely or quickly resolved, and its effect will continue to persist.

According to the Swiss Credit and loan Bank’s tracking data, America’s floating interest rates’ peak period, when secondary loans will reestablish loan conditions, will occur before November of this year. At that time the scale of the monthly replacement loans will increase to US$50 billion. Because interest rates depend on the replacement of borrowing conditions, the amount of loans returned by secondary loan clients should increase by over three tenhs. Also, the housing market, which serves as the foundation for the secondary loan market, has not yet evidenced a “turning point.” Standard and Poor’s prediction is that the average housing price will lower in the first quarter of next year, and with the increase in borrowing rates, the pressure on clients to return loans will probably increase greatly, and the rate of forfeiture will rise.

- It Looks Hopeful that the Crisis can be Controlled

Currently, the secondary loan problem has yet to have a huge efffect on the entire American financial market, the American economy, or even the global economy. It also looks hopeful that the crisis wil continue to be controlled. First of all, the scale of the American secondary loan market is not very large in itself. Collecting data from different organizations, the scope doesn’t reach US$3 trillion, and the CDO bond capital, which forms the base of this market, isn’t worth more than US$1 trillion. The entire American housing loan market volume is worth about US$8 trillion. At the end of 2005, America’s bond market was worth US$25 trillion, and in an expansive difference, using market values to calculate it, the current American financial capital is worth US$46 trillion.

Although there is a retraction of the credit market, several days ago Standard and Poor released a report which stated that this was only a temporary adjustment process. Looking at the entire US business environment, until this year business profits increased on average, there was an increase in capital, and the fund requirements for issuing bonds were on the whole not large. Although there was a portion of the banking industry that suffered losses, bank personae estimate that the proportion wasn’t large. And on the whole the degree of stability of their financial affairs has increased, so the effect was limited.

In addition, after the credit market showed a short term “lack of vitality”, currency authorities threw in a large amount of money, greatly lowering the possibility of a crisis that could erupt and influence the entire system. The stock market also exhibited a positive reaction. Although the future money market is still tense, the Federal Reserve continues to offer promissary note window business, and has even lowered interest rates as a means of ensuring the market’s mobility.

The IMF considers America’s secondary loan crisis to still be within a “controllable scale.” The organization maintains the expectation of an increase in the American and world economies that it formulated before this crisis came about. The American growth will drop from 2.2% to 2%, and the global will increase from 4.9% to 5.2%. Of course, there are many market variables, and whether or not the secondary loan crisis will develop in the future also depends on many uncertain factors: for example the trend in housing costs, the direction of interest rates, and even changes in popular feelings within the market. The next few weeks will see if there are any market changes which deserve particular attention.

Translator’s notes:
- No time more than when I’ve translated this article have I felt more like a computer would feel if it could feel when it translates an article. At points I have had no idea what I am translating exactly, I’m just placing words in the correct syntax. Ah! But this article was a particular challenge, in terms of sentence structure, and was pretty fun. I don’t know if the sentences were a result of the subject itself or the personal style of the author.
- I don’t know what “promissary note window business’ is, or if that’s even close to the correct translation.
- Ah, finished! Interesting!

Comments/corrections welcome.

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Econ 101

From page 6 of the Liberation Daily (解放日报). This one is an economics article in the International Section. I decided to make tentative steps into this field, I’ve always said I’d study it in English, but never brought myself to concentrate on it, so maybe I’ll use studying Chinese as a pretext for studying some econ finally. The author here is Xie Peng, and it’s from an October 12th Xinhua Press dispatch.


America’s Secondary Mortgage Crisis Is “Controllable”

In the last week, America’s second mortgage loan market crisis was expanding its influence, with strong waves appearing in American, European, and even Asian markets. Afterwards, the currency authorities of the strongest developed economies, America, Europe, and Japan poured large sums of money into the financial system in a response to the risk.

The Short Term Effect has Already Happened

At present, the American secondary loan crisis only directly affects the credit market’s short term movements. In America, because the situation isn’t clear, banks–which are the main source of credit funds, have been employing low risk measures, and the entire market is thick with a “loan-saving” atmosphere. According to data provided by the Economist, recently the difference in the interest rates of the American business loan market and the bonds market has been increasing, comparable to the end of 2006 when it flared up one time. The increase in rates was reflected by the tightening of the supply of capital, and “risky soaring prices” were raised. If the increase in market financial capital costs becomes the standard situation, then the effect won’t be limited to the hedge funds and private equity funds that are the supporting levers of the capital. It will also affect consumer credit and businesses’ normal financial requirements, and will go on to injure the entire economy.

Besides, capital securitization manipulation has already spread the secondary loan market risk to a wider territory. The International Monetary Fund’s latest data shows that the major securitization product of this market comes from collaterized debt obligations (CDO) of American issuers. These are basically dispersed into the hands of five types of financial organizations, which include banks (31%), hedge funds (10%), insurance companies (31%), asset management companies (22%), and retirement funds (18%).

(to be continued)

Translator’s notes:
- Some of the terms I’m not quite sure how to translate, since I’m not entirely up on this subject. But what is interesting is that Chinese often breaks down terms into semantic components that effectively describe the concept, even if it’s not what is normally used in English. English actually does the same, but it’s not as in your face as Chinese.
- Wow, and researching some of this stuff would require more time than I have at the moment. Slowly though, I’ll go slowly.
- This was a little much so I’ll be continuing it tomorrow.

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Lost in Space

From the 2007-08-12 print of the Oriental Morning Post (东方早报), on page 9. In the International section. I branched out a little because there were a couple of space articles I thought were more interesting. There was another one on the North Pole affair again but I’m not very excited by that. This piece’s not quite America-related, it’s about a company planning a space hotel! Written by Zheng Jie.

2012, We’ll Stay in the “Milky Way Suite”

-The world’s first space hotel to open for business; you can enjoy 80 minutes of space travel; $4,000,000—The “Milky Way Suite” will be the Milky Way Galaxy’s most expensive hotel, the price for a three day stay is US$4 million.

The “Milky Way Suite”, the world’s first space hotel, plans to open for business, and hotel guests will be able to enjoy the service of 80 minutes of space travel.

- US$4,000,000, Three Days

The architect in charge of design, from Barcelona, Spain, has expressed that the “Milky Way Suite” will be the Milky Way Galaxy’s most expensive hotel, with the price of a three day stay set at US$4 million. Within that time, guests will be able to enjoy the sunrise 15 times a day, and in their suites they will be able to climb the walls of their streamlined rooms like Spiderman.

Xavier Claramunt, the company’s head inspector in charge of operations, has put all his effort into recruiting elements for the design of the “Milky Way Suite” that will add luster to this risky dream. The hotel will have a total of 22 rooms, which includes three bedrooms. The interiors will not contain any straight lines, corners, or windows, and the size of every room is to be determined to fit exactly into the rocket that will blast them into space. This is the world’s first project of the sort, preceded only by Robert Bigelow’s space hotel. Other space capsules will be separately put to use as bars, cafeterias, and reception rooms.

“The zero gravity bathroom was the biggest challenge,” said Claramunt, “Figuring out how to provide for the guests’ more private activities is not an easy thing.” But they have already solved the problem of showering in a weightless environment–the guests will enter a shower room in which water globules will float from all sides.

If the guests don’t like the scenery outside of the portholes, they will be able to participate in scientific experiments on space travel.

-40,000 people Can Afford to Stay

While formerly working as an aerospace engineer, the “Milky Way Suite” was only an amateur hobby for Claramunt, until a space enthusiast wanted to invest US$3 billion in creating this hotel, turning this science fiction novel fantasy into reality. Afterwards, an American company devoted to the development of Mars came on board, and turned the “Milky Way Suite” into the first step of its prospective goals to be realized. There are currently investors from Japan, America, and the United Arab Emirates holding negotiations.

Claramunt is reticent to discuss the identities of the generous supporters behind him, but when he’s talking about his expected guests he’s very frank. “We estimate that there are 40,000 people in the world who can afford to stay in this hotel. Whether or not they are willing to spend the money to fly into space, we don’t know,” he said.

Spending US$4 million for a single vacation certainly seems a little extravagent, but insiders in the up and coming space tourism industry believe that the process of turning hotel management towards the idea is a slow one, because people feel that the costs of space travel aren’t going to decrease very quickly.

The “Milky Way Suite” indicates that the price doesn’t just include the fee for three evenings in space; guests will also carry out 8 weeks of 007-style training at a space camp on a tropical island.

“Going into space can be followed by a feeling of fright,” Claramunt said, “So while the guests are on the space station, the transport rocket will remain fixed to the space hotel so that they will feel they will be able to return home.”

With today’s intense awareness of global climate change, the “Milky Way Suite” still hasn’t planned on how to remedy the pollution created by rockets used to carry only 6 people into space. “However,” said Claramunt, “We hope that after the guests see the planet from such a great distance, it will produce a desire in them to protect and be concerned for our planet.”

There’s also a small picture depicting an artist’s rendition of the space hotel, with the caption:
-Rooms will fit into the rockets that take them into space.

Translator’s Notes:
- The “Milky Way Suite” is what I translated the name as, but it’s actually called “Galactic Suite”. In Chinese it appears as if there isn’t really any distinguishing between the two words.
- The enjoying “80 minutes of space travel” appears to actually mean orbiting the earth every 80 minutes, I don’t know why that got lost in translation.
- I also don’t know why the author says this Spanish project is the first of its type and then says Bigelow’s project was first. Maybe I’m missing something. Bigelow is an American at the head of a different aerospace company interested in the same sort of idea.
- I think the Chinese reaction to this is that it’s really crazy. First off there is the four million dollars which is an option for the smallest percentage of the smallest percentage of the Chinese, and there is that ominous ending about potential pollution. That is something I do feel the government does try and promote an awareness of, at least through official and propaganda channels. Whether or not the average person is aware of extent of China’s environmental crisis, I don’t know. Haha, whether or not the average world citizen is aware of the earth’s environmental crisis, I also don’t know.

Comments/corrections welcome.

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