[national and international]

Topic: The Mission

Makgeolli seller.
On Wednesday afternoon, we had a small party in the 7th-floor library to celebrate the new year, where the spread was different from the usual reception catering we get. Different and more Korean. There were oranges, an East Asian new year tradition; tteok in numerous varieties; various Korean snack foods, like spicy potato sticks and squid crunchies; and plastic milk bottles that had been filled about a third of the way with rice, then the rest of the way with sugar-water. This concoction, I was told, is the basis for a sour, milky rice wine called makgeolli, which is often home-brewed and sold in two-liter soda bottles. At this stage, it was a pleasant, sweet beverage with no alcohol.

Today for lunch we had a reception to push the South Korean candidate for the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which meant the usual array of dumplings, smoked salmon, sushi, stewed beef, fruit, pastries and tteok that I’ve come to recognize as our standard reception fare. The crowd today was heavily international, because it’s the votes of other countries that we’re trying to win. From what I understand, South Korea has a couple more such candidates — judgeships on the International Criminal Court and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea — so there will be more receptions to come. Which, for me, means free meals.