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from Raw Japan:

North Korea’s test of wills

Japan, perhaps the most nervous neighbor of unpredictable North Korea, is also the least able to overtly make its fears felt, after this week's nuclear test.

Analysts point out the combination of Tokyo's history of antagonism with the North and the fact that Pyongyang boasts missiles that could hit almost anywhere in Japan pose particular risks for the world's second largest economy.

Sanctions have already wiped out much of Tokyo's bilateral trade with Pyongyang, leaving little space for further punitive economic measures.

Developing a pre-emptive strike capability to enable destruction of enemy missiles on the launch pad is an option that some ruling party lawmakers advocate. Prime ministers, including incumbent Taro Aso, have said a first strike would be in line with Japan's pacifist constitution, if there were no other options.JAPAN-USA/OKINAWA

from DealZone:

Coke, eBay activity in Asia

CHINA-ECONOMY/PROPERTYIs it a sign of recovery that cross-Pacific deals are making a comeback? Certainly the mighty dollar makes overseas assets cheap, and foreign governments are probably more willing to create less friction on inflows with investment markets quiet.

In a deal that only a month ago was dead in the water, with a big protectionist steak through the heart, Coca-Cola’s bid to get into the Chinese market appears to be coming back to life. The company is now reported to be holding informal talks with China Huiyuan Juice to weigh partnership options after the $2.4 billion deal -- the largest-ever buyout of a Chinese company by a foreign rival – was scuppered.

from Global News Journal:

North Korean Revolutionary Tunes Sink to Bottom of the Sea

                                              By Jon Herskovitz

North Korea says somewhere up in the sky, a satellite it launched at the weekend is beaming to earth two revolutionary paeans: "Song of General Kim Il-sung" for the founder of the reclusive state and "Song of General Kim Jong-il," for the son who succeeded him when he died.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

South Korea rejects North Korea poisoning claim

South Korea has rejected claims by North Korea that it poisoned its players before last week's 2010 World Cup qualifier in Seoul, as tensions mounted over the North's long-range rocket launch on Sunday.

Kim Joo-sung, (South) Korean Football Association (KFA) international affairs chief, said the accusations were politically motivated and baseless.

from The Great Debate:

What Asia needs from the G20 meeting

stanchartJaspal Bindra is Chief Executive, Asia, for Standard Chartered Bank. The views expressed are his own.

Asia has come of age. When leaders from the Group of 20 nations converge in London, Asia's rising powers - China, India,  Korea and Indonesia - will be sitting at the global high table to decide on ways to reshape the world's financial and economic order.

from Raw Japan:

Asia’s baseball classic

BASEBALL-WORLD/Say, Amen, somebody!

The creators of the World Baseball Classic envisioned a global tournament spread over at least two continents and multiple time zones, featuring the greatest players and national teams possible.

That baseball aim, largely achieved in the inaugural 2006 event and even more so this year, may not completely jibe with the all-Asian WBC final between Japan and South Korea in LA on Monday, but no fan of the sport's finest would complain after an thrilling extra-inning game that ended in a 5-3 win to Japan.

from Global News Journal:

North Korea’s Kim Jong-il: Proof of life

                                                          By Jon Herskovitz

It is not often that I am reminded of Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan in our coverage of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.  But I thought of the 2000 movie starring Ryan and Crowe called “Proof of Life”   North Korea this week when  served up pictures of its Dear leader Kim and a communist party newspaper with a clearly marked Tuesday date.

from Our Take on Your Take:

Why the long face?

Photography is so often about being on the lookout for that strange moment and being ready to capture it, which is exactly what Kyungwon Kuk has done in this image from South Korea.

View this week's You Witness slideshow here.

from Ask...:

Place your bets on 2009′s top stories

As part of our Year in Review package, we're inviting you to place a virtual bet on the outcome of what we think will be some of the top stories in 2009. Clicking on one of the questions below will take you to the Hubdub news prediction site, where you can place a bet on the outcome and peruse other questions set by Reuters.

The graphs below reflect the current betting by the Hubdub community. We're also inviting you to set your own questions on 2009 events, either via Hubdub or via the comments field below. We'll feature the best ones here and add more of our own questions in coming days. If you create a 2009 question on Hubdub, you can flag it to us by sending a challenge to the Reuters account. We're 100 percent likely to check it out.

from Global News Journal:

The kinder, gentler side of North Korean communists

 

                                 By Jack Kim
North and South Koreans have been divided for more than 50 years by one of the world’s most heavily fortified borders. When we come into contact, it is almost always in small and carefully arranged visits.

I was a part of a South Korean group that recently spent four days in the North. Over the course of countless hours of contact with the North Korean minders assigned to our group, conversation turned from heated discussion over international politics and inter-Korean troubles to nationalism and sports. 

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