Elise Hu

Elise Hu is an award-winning correspondent assigned to NPR's newest international bureau, in Seoul, South Korea. She's responsible for covering geopolitics, business and life in both Koreas and Japan. She previously covered the intersection of technology and culture for the network's on-air, online and multimedia platforms.

Hu joined NPR in 2011 to coordinate the digital development and editorial vision for the StateImpact network, a state government reporting project focused on member stations.

Before joining NPR, she was one of the founding reporters at The Texas Tribune, a non-profit digital news startup devoted to politics and public policy. While at the Tribune, Hu oversaw television partnerships and multimedia projects; contributed to The New York Times' expanded Texas coverage and pushed for editorial innovation across platforms.

An honors graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia's School of Journalism, she previously worked as the state political reporter for KVUE-TV in Austin, WYFF-TV in Greenville, SC, and reported from Asia for the Taipei Times.

Her work has earned a Gannett Foundation Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism, a National Edward R. Murrow award for best online video, beat reporting awards from the Texas Associated Press and The Austin Chronicle once dubiously named her the "Best TV Reporter Who Can Write."

Outside of work, Hu has taught digital journalism at Northwestern University and Georgetown University's journalism schools and serves as a guest co-host for TWIT.tv's program, Tech News Today. She's also an adviser to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where she keeps up with emerging media and technology as a panelist for the Knight News Challenge.

Elise Hu can be reached by e-mail at ehu (at) npr (dot) org as well as via the social media links, above.

Cup Noodles, the dorm-room staple that cooks in three minutes, turns 45 this month. There's no better place to celebrate than its very own museum in Yokohama, Japan.

"This is the museum that really honors the creator of instant ramen and Cup Noodles," says museum manager Yuya Ichikawa, who leads me on a tour.

The U.S. is targeting a Chinese company and the people who run it for allegedly helping North Korea with its nuclear weapons program. It closely follows the North's fifth nuclear test, which took place earlier this month.

"Each new nuclear test...spurs this kind of scramble to do something," says John Delury, a professor of international relations at Seoul's Yonsei University. "And sanctions is the kind of preferred choice."

The ground had barely stopped shaking from North Korea's most recent nuclear test last week when the international condemnations began.

North Korea and South Korea maintain strict separation most everywhere in the world. Yet oddly, one of the few places they intersect is Laos, the small, communist nation that's long had ties with the North and now has growing links with the South.

Laos has a grim claim to fame, as the most heavily bombed country in history. And today, more than four decades after the U.S. dropped those armaments, millions of unexploded bombs remain.

President Obama on Tuesday became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the small, communist Southeast Asian country and promised to double U.S. funding to help educate residents about the dangers and clear the bombs that remain in the ground.

Recently inaugurated Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is "expressing regret" for his comments at a fiery press conference, in which he called President Obama a "son of a bitch" or "son of a whore" (depending on how you translate the Tagalog) and threatened to swear at him in a planned bilateral meeting.

The White House canceled the meeting shortly after Duterte's comments.

"We ... regret [the remarks] came across as a personal attack on the U.S. president," Duterte's office said in a statement issued Tuesday.

The North Korean regime's network of overseas restaurants have enjoyed a bit of renown this year, after the defection en masse of 13 restaurant workers from one of the Pyongyang dining outposts in Northeastern China this spring.

Those restaurant workers are now in South Korea, having absconded in a coordinated defection that is the biggest mass-defection from North Korea in history.

The shops here in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, hum along without air conditioning, and there are as many tuk-tuks as taxis to take you where you want to go. The rather sleepy place is about to get shaken awake as throngs of global leaders, and their traveling entourages and press, descend on the small nation, starting Monday.

Laos is hosting the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN summit, and the country will mark President Barack Obama's final stop in Asia as president.

A zombie flick is smashing box office records in South Korea. Train to Busan has been seen by an estimated 11 million Koreans — a fifth of the population — and broken numerous records, including the highest single-day ticket sales in Korean film history.

The plot isn't complicated: Everyday South Koreans find themselves trapped on a speeding bullet train with fast-multiplying zombies, creating the kind of claustrophobic feel that freshens up the zombie trope. But beyond a fast-paced summer thriller, it's also an extended critique of Korean society.

As part of the project A Nation Engaged, NPR and member stations are exploring America's role in the world heading into the presidential election.