Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
Moon proposes turning DMZ into U.N.-backed global peace zone
South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Sept. 24 proposed transforming the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which bisects the Korean Peninsula, into an international peace zone with the help of the United Nations. He put forward the idea while addressing the 74th session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. The DMZ, which cuts across the middle of the peninsula, is a "colossal green zone" that stretches 250 kilometers from east to west and 4 km from north to south.
SK E&C, U.S. firm to form joint venture for fuel cell production
SK Engineering & Construction Co., a South Korean construction company, said on Sept. 25, 2019 it will set up a joint venture with U.S.-based Bloom Energy for the production of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC). The 49:51 joint company, to be set up in November, will provide Korean-made fuel cells to local carmakers and others.
S. Korean, U.S. national security advisers meet in New York
South Korea's national security adviser had a meeting on Sept. 24 with his new U.S. counterpart on the sidelines of a U.N. session, Cheong Wa Dae announced. Chung Eui-yong, director of Cheong Wa Dae's national security office, had talks with President Donald Trump's national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, at a New York hotel. They agreed to maintain close communication and cooperation between the national security councils of the two sides. They also agreed to meet again either in Seoul or Washington at an early date, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung.
S. Korea Reports Fifth Case of African Swine Fever in Incheon
South Korea on Tuesday confirmed a fifth case of African swine fever(ASF) and the first outside Gyeonggi Province. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said that a suspected case found earlier on Tuesday in a precautionary serum test at a farm on Ganghwa Island in Incheon resulted in a positive test for the virus.
National Security Advisers of S. Korea, US Meet in New York
South Korea's national security adviser on Tuesday met with his new U.S. counterpart on the sidelines of a United Nations session. Presidential spokesperson Ko Min-jung said Chung Eui-yong, director of the National Security Office, held talks with U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien at a hotel. Ko said that in the meeting, the two agreed to maintain close communication and cooperation between their respective councils and that they would meet again in the near future either in Seoul or Washington.
S. Korea, Australia Agree to Enhance Cooperation in Energy, Defense
President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday held summit talks with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and agreed to expand cooperation in the areas of defense, the hydrogen economy and core mineral resources. In the summit, held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, Moon asked that particular attention and support be afforded to South Korean companies seeking to participate in major infrastructure projects pursued by the Australian government.
U.S. House passes resolution on S. Korea, Japan relations
The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a resolution stressing the importance of U.S. alliances with South Korea and Japan. The resolution, led by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, came as trade and historical disputes between South Korea and Japan have threatened to undermine trilateral cooperation with the U.S.
U.S. navy chief visits S. Korea
The new U.S. navy chief visited South Korea for talks with his counterpart on ways to strengthen the allies' joint readiness posture and boost cooperation between their services, the Navy here said Wednesday. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday arrived in Seoul on Tuesday for a two-day visit, his first trip to South Korea since he took office last month.
Minister says S. Korea playing key role in global fight against climate change
South Korea has solidified its position as a key player in the global fight against climate change with an announcement that it will host a green growth summit next year, Seoul's top environmental policy maker said Tuesday. Attending the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York a day earlier, President Moon Jae-in declared that the second P4G summit will take place in South Korea in June.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
19 killed, dozens wounded as Pakistan jolted by shallow 5.2 quake
At least 19 people have been killed and 300 injured after a shallow earthquake rattled northeastern Pakistan, tearing car-sized cracks into roads and heavily damaging infrastructure. The quake sent people in Lahore and Islamabad running into the streets. With rescue operations expected to continue overnight, residents in the worst-hit areas described their horror as walls collapsed and houses fell.
S. Korea, Russia to form joint investment fund, accelerate FTA talks
South Korea and Russia agreed Tuesday (Moscow time) to launch a fund for the industrial materials and parts sectors, and to speed up free trade negotiations, Seoul's finance ministry said. During the annual meeting on economic cooperation between South Korea and Russia, held in Moscow, South Korean Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki proposed a $1-billion joint fund to beef up the supply chain of industrial materials and parts by investing in core technologies, according to the ministry.
Top Democrat announces formal Trump impeachment inquiry
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday the opening of a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, saying he had violated the constitution in seeking help from Ukraine to hurt Democratic opponent Joe Biden. "The actions of the Trump presidency revealed (the) dishonorable fact of the president's betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections," she said.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Fear grows over possible spread of swine fever
Concerns are growing over the possible spread of African swine fever (ASF) nationwide amid speculation that vehicles visiting pig farms may have acted as a vector for the deadly virus. As the incubation period of the disease is up to 19 days, farmers and quarantine authorities fear there may soon be additional cases of the highly contagious disease.
Suicide rate jumps amid downturn
Korea's suicide rate and number of people committing suicide, which had fallen since 2013, rose by nearly 10 percent last year amid a prolonged business downturn, data showed Tuesday. According to Statistics Korea, the suicide rate has risen by 9.5 percent, amid tougher economic circumstances. The suicide rate is calculated as the number of deaths by suicide per 100,000 people.
Tracing the history of forced labor rulings
In a historic ruling, Oct. 30 last year, Korea's Supreme Court ordered Nippon Steel to compensate Korean victims of wartime forced labor. The decision, soon followed by subsequent ones against Mitsubishi, Fujikoshi and Hitachi, prompted a fierce backlash from the Japanese government.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Biggest Spenders on Seoul Real Estate Are in Their 30s
Apartment prices grew at the highest rate so far this year in August, while the total number of homes sold also reached a new high. People in their 30s were the most avid buyers. Market watchers say 30-somethings had been taking a wait-and-see approach last year due to soaring property prices but are now snapping up apartments before prices rebound from government curbs.
One-Man Stores' Incomes Plummet
A sharp increase in the minimum wage and dwindling custom from salarymen due to the shorter working week have hit many small businesses hard. Self-employed store owners appear to have suffered the brunt, according to second-quarter economic data analyzed by Liberty Korea Party lawmaker Choo Kyung-ho, who found that those with no staff made an average of W2.29 million a month during April to June, down 12.5 percent or W330,000 compared to the same period of 2018 (US$1=W1,198).
Japan Failed to Track N.Korean Missiles
Japan failed to track the trajectories of several short-range ballistic missiles North had fired since May, according to Kyodo News on Monday. Kyodo quoted Japanese government officials as admitting that military radars failed to pick up the trajectories of at least two of about a dozen missiles launched by North Korea from May to September. The report comes after South Korea decided to scrap a military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan amid a growing spat between the neighbors.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Japan to use satellites operated by private US companies for military intelligence
The Japanese government is pursuing the use of satellites operated by private US companies to gather military intelligence, a Japanese newspaper reported. The Yomiuri Shimbun published a Sept. 23 report citing an anonymous Japanese government official as saying Tokyo was looking into an approach of attaching sensors for monitoring military activity to privately operated satellites in the US and other countries for use as military intelligence collection satellites. According to the report, the Japanese Ministry of Defense has allocated a research budget of 100 million yen (US$929,100) for the effort, which was inspired by recent prolific “space business” activities by US and other companies.
S. Korean teenager Kim Yu-jin attends UN Climate Action Summit
On Sept. 20, three days before the UN Climate Action Summit, hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets of Lower Manhattan, New York. Protesters who had gathered here from around the world called for their national leaders to take action on the climate and ecological crisis, which they describe as the greatest crisis humanity has ever faced. One of those protesters was Kim Yu-jin, a 17-year-old girl from South Korea. Wearing a blue T-shirt bearing the Korean words “Teenage Climate Legal Team,” Kim stood at the front of the protest and joined young people from other countries in calling for urgent action on climate change.
S. Korea recovers top spot in OECD’s suicide rate listings
South Korea’s suicide rate, which had been gradually diminishing throughout the past few years, is back on the rise. Furthermore, South Korea has recovered the top spot in the OECD’s suicide rate list after falling to second place. According to Statistics Korea, the number of suicides in South Korea for 2018 was 13,670, an increase of 1,207 compared to the previous year. The suicide rate increased by 9.5 percentage points. Suicide was also listed as the top cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 40; it was the second leading cause of death for people in their 40s and 50s.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Trump finds no reason for mitigating sanctions before negotiations with Pyongyang
U.S. President Donald Trump made it clear that he does not consider reducing sanctions on North Korea during a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at InterContinental New York Barclay on Monday (local time). He clearly stated that denuclearization goes before anything else although North Korea previously proposed the new calculations of security guarantee and the lifting of sanctions. President Trump also said that South Korea is one of the largest U.S. arms purchasers while proposing to have further discussion on trade matters, by which he implied a return for the alliance with South Korea.
Samsung introduces industry’s first 0.7μ-pixel mobile image sensor
Samsung Electronics unveiled industry’s first 0.7㎛-pixel mobile image sensor called ISOCELL Slim GH1 on Tuesday. Determined to challenge Sony’s dominant position in the CMOS image sensor sector, the South Korean IT giant introduced the smallest pixel size image sensor, following the mass production of its 108-megapixel (Mp) image sensor.
Trump reveals desire for Nobel Peace Prize
U.S. President Donald Trump yet again revealed his desire a Nobel Peace Prize on Monday, saying that he should be given one if the Nobel Committee hands out prizes fairly. He also made sarcastic comments about former U.S. President Barack Obama, a 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner. This year’s Noble Peace Prize will be announced on Oct. 11.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
The First Ever Search of a Justice Minister's Residence: It Is Now Time for a Conclusion
On September 23, the Prosecution Service conducted a search of four locations including the residence of Justice Minister Cho Kuk and the universities that his children had applied to. This was the first time in South Korean history that prosecutors searched the house of an incumbent minister of justice, who directs and oversees the prosecutor general and the prosecutors. The court issued the search warrant, meaning it saw the possibility of irregularities. The investigation is focusing on securing evidence on allegations raised against Cho's wife, Professor Chung Kyung-sim. Any involvement of Cho is also a key issue, which appears to be the intention behind the search of his house.
Disciplinary Measures for Yonsei Univ. Professor Lew Seok-choon and His Rash Comments on the Comfort Women
Professor Lew Seok-choon of Yonsei University stirred controversy after making a comment referring the elderly comfort women victims in the Japanese military to prostitutes. In a sociology lecture for undergraduate students on September 19, Lew said, "We still have the prostitution industry, just as we did in the old days (Japanese colonial rule)," and compared the comfort women victims to prostitutes. He also said, "The comfort women were led by Japanese civilians and neglected by the Japanese government." His words were outrageous, a distortion of history different from historical fact. When a student asked, "Is it right to see the elderly victims of sexual slavery as prostitutes?" he even answered with words that were sexually aggressive, saying, "If you want to know, why don’t you try?" We find ourselves speechless.
Suspect in the Hwaseong Murders Depicted in the Film, Memories of Murder, Found
The police found a likely suspect for the “Hwaseong murders” the worst unsolved case in the history of crime in South Korea. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations has expired, so the authorities will not be able to punish the suspect for the murders that occurred in Hwaseong. On September 18, the Gyeonggi Nambu (southern) Police Agency announced that they had secured a major clue to identify A (50-something) as a likely suspect in the Hwaseong murders. A is currently in prison, serving his time for over two decades after being sentenced to life in prison for another rape and murder in 1994.
Maeil Business News Korea ( http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Samsung SDI to supply battery cells, modules to Germany’s AKASOL
South Korean battery maker Samsung SDI Co. signed a seven-year deal with Germany’s electric vehicle battery pack manufacturer AKASOL AG to supply lithium-ion battery cells and modules starting 2020, a move that should help it rapidly expand its presence in Europe.
Woori Bank employs automated system to review corporate screening for loans
South Korea’s Woori Bank Co. said Tuesday it was employing self-developed automated system for corporate credit review to speed up lending process for corporate clients. Lenders typically must devote much time on reviewing corporate credit as the process includes study on the company’s financial statement plus the external factors like the country’s business sentiment and industry features.
Chong Kun Dang’s first biosimilar wins green light for marketing in Japan
South Korea’s Chong Kun Dang (CKD) said on Tuesday that it received a regulatory nod in Japan to manufacture and sell the world`s first NESP biosimilar (CKD-11101) to treat anemia in the country. CKD signed a deal with a Japanese operation under U.S.-based Mylan in April last year over clinical development, regulatory approval for marketing and exclusive distribution in Japan. An application for manufacturing and marketing approval was filed with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in October of the same year.
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