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.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Every January, in the middle of the night, thousands of volunteers and outreach workers try to count the nation's homeless population. They search highway underpasses, wooded areas, abandoned buildings, sidewalks for those living outside. Due to the pandemic, this year's street count has been canceled or modified in hundreds of communities, even as the numbers appear to be on the rise. NPR's Pam Fessler reports.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un staked out a hardline position just days ahead of President-elect Joe Biden taking office, calling the United States his country's "biggest enemy," and vowing to advance his country's nuclear arsenal.

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency for the greater Tokyo region, as alarm at rapidly increasing coronavirus case numbers overtook concerns about economic losses. The emergency will take effect Friday, and last until Feb. 7.

As with an earlier state of emergency last April, which was expanded nationwide, the latest restrictions entail no punishments for violators. Residents will simply be asked to avoid nonessential outings, especially at night.

Mistakes were made.

That's according to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who in an address to a ruling party meeting made a frank admission — that the country's policies in the past five years had ended in abject failure.

"Almost all sectors fell a long way short of the set objectives," Kim told thousands of delegates to the Workers' Party's 8th Congress who were seated in a huge auditorium in Pyongyang.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

South Korea, one of the most successful countries in fighting the pandemic, is doing worse. Case numbers are growing during a third wave of infections. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports on the debate over how to respond.

During the pandemic, Japan's government has been subsidizing travel and tourism to juice the economy. After a spike in coronavirus cases, it will now suspend the program for two weeks.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

South Korea is awaiting new social distancing measures, due to take effect Tuesday evening, as earlier measures have failed to bring new coronavirus case numbers down. The government warns of an impending crisis, brought on by a third wave of infections.

New cases reported Monday exceeded 600 for the second day in a row, bringing the total to more than 38,000, with about 550 deaths.

John Lee was not trained for combat, but he eventually found himself in the thick of a pivotal battle in the Korean War.

Lee was a sophomore at Korea University in Seoul when the war broke out in June 1950. He joined the South Korean army and was assigned as an interpreter to the U.S. 1st Marine Division.

At one point later in the war, he was taking cover under a truck, under fire from Chinese troops, on the main road leading away from the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea, in an area dubbed "Hell Fire Valley."

South Korea's capital recorded its highest-ever number of new coronavirus cases, 291, on Thursday, while nationwide there were 629 cases — the largest total in nine months. Amid criticism of the government's recent handling of the pandemic, it is considering tightening public health restrictions.

That criticism — that the government has been too timid in tacking the current third-wave of infections — follows international praise for South Korea's aggressive response to the initial outbreak in February.

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