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Yoo isn't really about Steve

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By Jason Lim

When we had a boy several years back, it was a surprise to me that my son was considered a Korean citizen although he was born in the U.S. Just because my wife was a Korean national at the time of his birth, he automatically became a dual citizen without any input from us.

I further found out that the Korean law mandated that he serve in the Korean military if he doesn't renounce his Korean citizenship by March of his 18th year, even though he might not have any connection to Korea between now and then. This became the ultimate Catch-22 when we realized that we had to register his birth through the Korean bureaucracy in order to gain the legal standing to then turn around and renounce his Korean citizenship. I guess this makes sense in a roundabout way since you can't renounce something that you don't have a record of having.

I bring this up because the recent Korean Supreme Court ruling in favor of Steve Yoo being allowed back into Korea reminded me of Korea's unique and somewhat twisted love-hate relationship with the mandatory military conscription and how it often leads to nonsensical norms and laws like the one above.

At the height of his popularity as a singer in 2002,........

© The Korea Times