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Anthony Kuhn

Anthony Kuhn is NPR's correspondent based in Seoul, South Korea, reporting on the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and the great diversity of Asia's countries and cultures. Before moving to Seoul in 2018, he traveled to the region to cover major stories including the North Korean nuclear crisis and the Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster.

Kuhn previously served two five-year stints in Beijing, China, for NPR, during which he covered major stories such as the Beijing Olympics, geopolitical jousting in the South China Sea, and the lives of Tibetans, Uighurs, and other minorities in China's borderlands.

He took a particular interest in China's rich traditional culture and its impact on the current day. He has recorded the sonic calling cards of itinerant merchants in Beijing's back alleys, and the descendants of court musicians of the Tang Dynasty. He has profiled petitioners and rights lawyers struggling for justice, and educational reformers striving to change the way Chinese think.

From 2010-2013, Kuhn was NPR's Southeast Asia correspondent, based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Among other stories, he explored Borneo and Sumatra, and witnessed the fight to preserve the biodiversity of the world's oldest forests. He also followed Myanmar's democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, as she rose from political prisoner to head of state.

Kuhn served as NPR's correspondent in London from 2004-2005, covering stories including the London subway bombings and the marriage of the Prince of Wales to the Duchess of Cornwall.

Besides his major postings, Kuhn's journalistic horizons have been expanded by various short-term assignments. These produced stories including wartime black humor in Iraq, musical diplomacy by the New York Philharmonic in Pyongyang, North Korea, a kerfuffle over the plumbing in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Pakistani artists' struggle with religious extremism in Lahore, and the Syrian civil war's spillover into neighboring Lebanon.

Prior to joining NPR, Kuhn wrote for the Far Eastern Economic Review and freelanced for various news outlets, including the Los Angeles Times and Newsweek. He majored in French literature as an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis, and later did graduate work at the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American studies in Nanjing.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has further cemented his grip on power, in a big reshuffle of the country's leadership. However, he didn't signal a retreat, either from negotiations with the U.S. or a self-imposed moratorium on testing of missiles and nuclear bombs, something Pyongyang said he had been considering.

Japan's military has confirmed that one of its F-35A jet fighters has crashed in the Pacific Ocean during a training exercise. National broadcaster NHK reports that search crews have recovered part of the plane's tail.

As of midday Wednesday in Japan, the plane's pilot, reportedly in his 40s, was still missing. It is not clear whether he ejected before the plane crashed. NHK quotes Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya as saying that the military is focusing on rescuing the pilot and investigating the cause of the crash. He added that the U.S. military is assisting with the search.

They are not widely known. And their chances at achieving their stated aim — overthrowing the North Korean government — are believed to be slim at best.

Yet the defector group that calls itself Free Joseon (Free North Korea) could be the first organization to have successfully infiltrated a North Korean diplomatic mission.

Last week, Free Joseon claimed responsibility for a Feb. 22 raid on Pyongyang's embassy in Madrid. Ten intruders armed with knives and replica pistols entered the embassy, according to Spanish authorities.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In his books and speeches, President Trump has often promoted the power of walking away from a deal. And that is what he did in Vietnam today, ending a summit early with the leader of North Korea.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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With just days to go before his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, President Trump seems to have tried to lower public expectations for the meeting set for Feb. 27 to 28 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

"I'm in no rush for speed. We just don't want testing," Trump remarked on Friday, suggesting that he might not insist North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons, as long as it stops testing them.

Deep in the urban center of Kyoto, Japan, behind a department store, archaeologist Koji Iesaki digs down through successive layers of earth, each about 8 inches thick, taking him back in time to the Heian period, which began over 1,000 years ago.

He has found images of mythical beasts carved on roof tiles, remains of a moat that surrounded the temple during the Warring States period some 500 years ago and ritual vessels that held placentas, which were buried after childbirth in the belief that they would ensure a child's good health and fortune.

South Korea's human rights commission is launching a sprawling investigation into sexual abuse and violence in sports, following multiple allegations that coaches mistreated and attacked athletes.

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea plans to interview thousands more athletes, including children and adults, about possible mistreatment.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The wind howls and snow drifts around a house in Koriyama, in northeastern Japan's Fukushima prefecture. The town is inland from Fukushima's coastal areas that were devastated by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant meltdown.

Inside the home, several Vietnamese laborers prepare dinner. The house is a shelter, run by local Catholics, for foreign workers who are experiencing problems in Japan.

Kim Myong Song, a reporter for one of South Korea's biggest daily newspapers, the Chosun Ilbo, remembers rushing to cover a high-level meeting of North and South Korean officials early one morning in October.

Kim covers the Unification Ministry, which is in charge of inter-Korean relations. He also happens to be a defector from North Korea.

On the way to the bus that would take him to Panmunjom, the border village where the talks were taking place, the ministry called to tell him he had been barred from covering the event.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Progress toward an agreement between the U.S. and North Korea may have slowed, but South Korea has taken another remarkable step toward linking up with the neighboring regime — by train.

Last week, a South Korean train crossed the border into North Korea for the first time in a decade. It was a prelude to the two Koreas reconnecting their railways, after being separated for more than half a century.

South Korea is determined to push railway development forward, despite the lack of progress on the North Korean nuclear issue.

"Salute! Embrace the moon! White clouds float overhead! Step forward and push with palm!"

A coach barks out these martial arts moves in an auditorium at a private school in Taishan, a city in southern China's Guangdong province.

Two parallel rows of students kick, block and punch in sync with the commands.

Japan's government has confirmed that a Japanese journalist who was reportedly taken hostage in Syria in 2015, has been freed and is now in Turkey.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono says Japanese diplomats met with 44-year-old Jumpei Yasuda at an immigration center in Antakya, in southern Turkey. Yasuda has been there since being freed on Tuesday.

Kono said Yasuda appears to be in good health.

"A thousand newspapers with the same front page" is how the Chinese have for decades described the enforced uniformity of the country's state-controlled media.

Now, one face increasingly dominates those front pages. It belongs to China's president, Xi Jinping, who has gone to extraordinary lengths to control the narrative about China.

"The party controls the media, and of course, that means it controls the message," says University of Hong Kong media expert David Bandurski. "And basically, Xi Jinping is the message."

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Updated at 11:01 a.m. ET

Hours after President Trump announced tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, China responded with its own levies on $60 billion worth of U.S. products.

Chinese state television on Tuesday reported that the government has decided to impose tariffs of 5 percent to 10 percent on $60 billion worth of U.S. products, starting on Monday. The tariffs will apply to 5,207 items.

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As she collected her Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo 21 years after it was awarded, Aung San Suu Kyi recalled her years in isolation as a political prisoner, held under house arrest by what was then Burma's ruling junta.

Speaking at Oslo's City Hall in 2012, she remembered meditating on the nature of suffering in the context of her Buddhist faith.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Facebook has apologized in recent months for becoming a tool of foreign interference in elections, disinformation and hate speech in some of the world's most mature democracies. But critics are concerned that there's potential for even greater chaos elsewhere, especially in places where Facebook is the dominant social media platform.

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North Korean state media have reported that President Trump made a raft of concessions to Kim Jong Un that were not stated in the two countries' joint statement, following a first-ever meeting of the leaders in Singapore.

While the U.S. has yet to confirm the contents of the reports, they suggest that the two leaders reached more verbal agreements than they put on paper, and made public.

On the eve of her father's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Ivanka Trump seemed to be calling on her inner Yoda as she tweeted:

"Those who say it can not be done, should not interrupt those doing it."

-Chinese Proverb

Neat quote. But it was the first daughter's attribution to "Chinese Proverb" that sent social media sites into overdrive in China, where people scrambled to find who, among their ancestors, actually said this.

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When President Trump tweeted a pledge on Sunday to help save China's second-largest telecommunications firm because penalties imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department had cost too many Chinese jobs, many were left slack-jawed to hear such words coming from the "America First" president.

But the case of ZTE highlights the importance of high tech in the U.S.-China trade disputes, as well as how the two countries look at the role of government in the economy.

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