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Headlines, October 18, 2019

Friday, October 18, 2019

Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today

U.S. urges S. Korea to renew intel pact with Japan: Pentagon

The United States continues to call on South Korea to renew its military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan, a U.S. defense official said Thursday. David Helvey, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, made the remark at a security forum as he reiterated Washington's concern with Seoul's decision to end the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Tokyo amid a bilateral dispute over wartime history and trade.

Minister voices disappointment with Pyongyang match with no fans, live broadcast

Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul expressed disappointment on Thursday over an inter-Korean World Cup qualifier held in Pyongyang without any spectators or live broadcast, saying that it might reflect a recent "lull" in inter-Korean relations. On Tuesday, the two Koreas played to a scoreless draw in the match at Kim Il-sung Stadium. No spectators or reporters were allowed in the stadium, and only a small number of sports officials and foreign diplomats were able to watch the game.

Moon calls for expanding investment in construction sector

President Moon Jae-in on Thursday raised the need to expand the government's investment in the construction sector in a bid to help revitalize the economy. He also said it is important to accelerate expansionary fiscal policy in response to the deepening problems facing Asia's fourth-biggest economy. "Now is the time to concentrate power on the economy and the people's living," he stressed at the outset of a rare separate meeting with his economy team.

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KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)

Kyodo: Moon Expected to Send Letter to Abe through Prime Minister Lee

President Moon Jae-in is expected to send a letter to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe through South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, who will visit Japan next week to attend Emperor Naruhito's enthronement ceremony. During an interview with Japan's Kyodo News published on Friday, Lee said that he requested Moon to send a friendly letter to Abe.

Finance Minister: Japan's Export Controls Could Have Negative Impact on Global Economy

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki expressed concern that Japan's export restrictions against South Korea could impair the global value chain and have a negative impact on the world economy. The minister voiced the concerns on Thursday during talks with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the sidelines of a Group of 20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Washington.

S. Korea Elected to 5th Term on UN Human Rights Council

South Korea was elected to a fifth term on the United Nations(UN) Human Rights Council. South Korea's mission to the UN said that the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday elected the country to serve a three-year term starting in 2020. The human rights council is made up of 47 UN member states from regional groups including Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and Western Europe.

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Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)

Nelson Mandela's daughter begins role as S. African envoy to South Korea

A daughter of late former South African President Nelson Mandela has formally assumed her post as the new ambassador to South Korea, Seoul's foreign ministry said. Zenani Mandela-Dlamini visited the foreign ministry Thursday to meet with ministry officials as part of the diplomatic procedures.

"I'm really happy to be serving in Korea. I think we've got a great bilateral relationship between the two countries," she told reporters. "I will continue to strengthen the relations, and I look forward during my tenure to strengthening them."

9th case of African swine fever found in wild boar near inter-Korean border

Two wild boars found dead near the border with North Korea tested positive for African swine fever on Thursday, bringing the number of cases to nine in South Korea, a state-run institute said. The confirmation came a day after the two wild boar carcasses were found in the border towns of Paju and Yeoncheon, said the National Institute of Environmental Research controlled by the Ministry of Environment.

N. Korean leader visits greenhouse farm under construction amid food shortages

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited a greenhouse farm under construction, calling for an improvement in agricultural techniques to increase vegetable output, state media reported Friday. During the trip to the Jungphyong Vegetable Greenhouse Farm and Tree Nursery in North Hamgyong Province, Kim underscored the "need to actively introduce advanced technique and method of vegetable culture to increase the output and activate production," according to the Korean Central News Agency in English.

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The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)

Top prosecutor Yoon promises bold in-house reforms at audit

Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl pledged to drastically reform his agency at a parliamentary audit Thursday. “All of us are aware that the people are demanding prosecution reform more strongly than ever,” he said. “We respect their voices and the parliament’s decisions, and will also come up with our own reform measures.” His remarks reaffirming the agency’s commitment to reform come three days after former Justice Minister Cho Kuk resigned from his post.

Brexit deal is 'fair and reasonable': EU's Barnier

The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Thursday hailed the last-minute Brexit deal struck with Britain ahead of a crunch summit as a reasonable compromise that protects European interests. "We have reached an agreement that is fair and reasonable and corresponds to our principles," Barnier told reporters, but urged caution as the deal must still be passed by the British parliament -- which has rejected a Brexit deal three times before.

Top court confirms suspended sentence for Lotte chief

South Korea’s top court on Thursday confirmed a suspended sentence for Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin for his involvement in a corruption scandal that removed former President Park Geun-hye from power in 2017. The Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling that sentenced Shin to 2 1/2 years, suspended for four years, on charges including bribery, dereliction of duty and embezzlement.

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The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)

Foreign ministry hit for neglecting Korean game firms in China

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government agencies are facing growing criticism for not helping Korean game companies, which have been banned by the Chinese government from selling games in the mainland for the past two years, according to industry officials Thursday. The officials said that game companies' hardships have deepened with the government's indifference since China, the world's largest game market, suspended issuing service permits for Korean games in March 2017 as part of the country's protest of Korea's deployment of a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.

Doosan-AWS partnership undermines local cloud industry

Concerns are growing after Doosan Group decided to transfer its data storage and protection systems to Amazon Web Services (AWS), joining more business groups that are abandoning local cloud service providers, IT industry officials said Thursday. They said Korea may eventually lose its "data sovereignty" as a growing number of companies here become dependent on AWS, Microsoft, Google and other foreign data and IT service providers.

Moon vows for stronger corporate investment

President Moon Jae-in sought to dispel concerns about the worsening economy Thursday, following the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) recent lowering of its growth forecast for the Korean economy to 2 percent for 2019, down from a previous estimate of 2.6 percent. The figure is the lowest forecast since 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

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Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)

PM to Propose Summit with Abe in November

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon is expected to propose a Korea-Japan summit in November when he meets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo next week. Seoul hopes to propose talks between the two leaders to find a solution to a deepening spat between the two countries sparked by compensation for Korean forced laborers. Lee is to meet with Abe for about 15 minutes a day or two after the enthronement ceremony of new Japanese Emperor Naruhito on Oct. 22.

Cho Kuk's Wife Submits Dodgy Medical Records to Duck Questioning

Former justice minister Cho Kuk's wife submitted dubious medical records to prosecutors on Tuesday to evade a possible arrest warrant after claiming she has a brain tumor. The paperwork is not a a formal medical record but proof of hospitalization, and was issued by an orthopedic doctor, who would not be qualified to diagnose brain diseases. According to prosecutor it does not identify the physician in charge or even the hospital.

Traffic Deaths Decline

The number of traffic deaths has decreased significantly this year thanks to tougher penalties on drunk drivers and speed limits in urban areas. The number of deaths in traffic accidents stood at 2,402 during the January-September period, down 13.8 percent on-year, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Wednesday.

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HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)

Chill in inter-Korean relations displays no signs of warming up

After taking a beating over the controversial appointment of Cho Kuk as Justice Minister, the Blue House is facing another dilemma: the chill in inter-Korean relations. Seoul’s relations with Pyongyang have been strained since the second North Korea-US summit in Hanoi this past February. That strain became even more evident when a World Cup qualifying match in Pyongyang was played before empty stands, putting the Blue House in an awkward position.

S. Korean government embarks on hunting campaign for wild boars to contain ASF

The South Korean government has captured 628 wild boars in a single day in its effort to contain a recent outbreak of African swine fever (ASF). On Oct. 16, the Ministry of Agricultural, Food, and Rural Affairs announced that a cooperative team of military snipers, expert guides, and civilian hunters killed 57 wild boars within the Civilian Control Line (CCL) of the DMZ. A daily average of 258 wild boars were captured in the months of May and June.

S. Korea-Indonesia strike CEPA deal for increasing mutual trade and cooperation

South Korea and Indonesia have completed their talks on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), announced the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MOTIE) on Oct. 16. Similar to a free trade agreement (FTA), a CEPA includes specific terms for mutual economic cooperation and investment. With the world’s fourth largest population, an average age of 29, and burgeoning growth rate, Indonesia is set to become one of Southeast Asia’s major markets along with Vietnam.

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The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)

Japanese monk who honored Kanto massacre victims dies

Buddhist monk Seki Kouzen died at the age of 91 on Wednesday. He dedicated his entire life to commemorating all the Koreans who were murdered during the Kanto massacre. Documentary filmmaker Oh Choong-kong said on Thursday that the chief monk of Kannon-ji Temple contributed greatly to shedding light on the slaughter which took place in Takatsu, Chiba following the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 where numerous Koreans were killed by Japanese farmers with their hands tied.

Samsung Electronics ranks 6th in Interbrand’s 'Best Global Brands'

Samsung Electronics announced on Thursday that it ranked 6th on the list of worldwide brand consulting firm Interbrand’s 100 best global brands. Its brand value is estimated at 61.1 billion U.S. dollars or 72 trillion won. With the ranking left unchanged, the South Korean electronics giant rose in brand value by two percent from last year’s 59.9 billion dollars or 71 trillion won, recording the highest ever figure.

KAIST rolls up its sleeves for South Korean companies

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) formed an advisory board to help domestic companies that are struggling after Japan increased control on the export of materials to South Korea early August. “Cost-saving measures as well as technical solutions will be ready within six months, and businesses are also very passionate about it,” said Kong Hong-jin, a KAIST physics professor and authority on laser. He is currently leading a project to obtain the uniformity of laser beam.

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The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)

Parliamentary Elections? Perhaps the Presidential Election? Words on Cho Kuk's Political Role

The political circle is eyeing the future of former Minister of Justice Cho Kuk (pictured). For now, he has returned to the faculty of Seoul National University School of Law, but all kinds of suggestions on his political future can be heard in the ruling party. Some even mention nominating Cho as a candidate in the next parliamentary elections after the reorganization of the Prosecution Service led by the ruling party is completed.

Base Interest Rate Falls to 1.25%: Bank of Korea to Release Money into the Market

Amidst growing concerns of an economic recession, the Bank of Korea lowered the base interest rate to 1.25% to release more money into the market on October 16. This is the second cut this year, following the move in July. Thus the base rate has reached a record low for the first time in two years. The central bank expected the nation's economy to grow at a rate lower than the revised forecast (2.2%), and opened the door for an economic stimulus through further interest rate cuts. Some in the market believe that the base rate could fall to 1.0% next year.

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Maeil Business News Korea ( http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)

Maximum $84,000 can be fined for short-selling rule violation in Korea: FSC

Intentional violation of rules on short-selling in Korea could face fines of up to 100 million won ($84,253) under the revisions to the capital market act proposed by the financial authority. Under the country’s capital market act, regulatory violation of disclosures and unfair trading activities are subject to investigation by the Securities & Futures Commission before follow-up measures are taken, but there had not been a separate standard for imposing fines.

S. Korean gov`t to lax regulations to enable drone parcel, flying taxi services

The South Korean government will ease regulations on drone-powered businesses to enable autonomous drone parcel and flying taxi services in the country, joining the global race to stay competitive in the fast-growing drone market. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, Ministry of Science and ICT, and the Office for Government Policy Coordination on Thursday revealed a roadmap for the country to get a head start in fostering the growth of the drone industry by streamlining rules.

Korea’s Sep auto sales up for first time in 8 mos, but exports, output down

Domestic sales by Korean car producers increased in September, snapping an eight-month losing streak while Japanese brands sold less than half in Korea against a year-ago period amid unrelenting anti-Japanese sentiment. According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Thursday, automobile sales in Korea reached 133,016 units last month, up 4.1 percent from a year ago, rebounding sharply from 6.3 percent fall in August.

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