Monday, October 21, 2019
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
N.K.'s official newspaper urges stepped-up resistance against U.S. sanctions
North Korea's official newspaper accused the United States on Monday of using sanctions in order to bring disobedient countries to their knees, stressing the country should stand up to such attempts without giving in to pressure. North Korea has intensified its criticism of the U.S. since the breakdown of their Stockholm working-level denuclearization talks earlier this month. It has increased calls for strengthening "self-reliance" in the face of U.S.-led sanctions.
Moon's approval rating rebounds after Cho Kuk resigns: Realmeter
President Moon Jae-in's approval rating has bounced back to 45 percent after Cho Kuk's resignation as justice minister, a weekly poll showed Monday. According to Realmeter, the rating gained 3.6 percentage points on-week to 45 percent. It conducted the phone survey of 2,505 people nationwide, aged 19 or older, for the five business days last week. The margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Suspected bird flu case reported in central city of Asan
A suspected virulent avian influenza (AI) case has been reported in Asan, South Chungcheong Province, authorities announced Sunday, as South Korea has been struggling to curb the spread of African swine fever for months. A case of AI H5 virus has been confirmed in wild bird feces, sampled near a creek last Tuesday, according to the National Institute of Environmental Research, which is affiliated with the environment ministry.
Prosecutors Request Arrest Warrant for Wife of Former Justice Minister
Prosecutors on Monday requested an arrest warrant for the wife of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk. Cho's wife, Chung Kyung-shim, is suspected of embezzlement and fabricating a college presidential citation to help her daughter gain admission to medical school.
Preliminary Fine Dust Reduction Measures Take Effect in Capital Region
Preliminary fine dust reduction measures are being implemented in the Seoul capital region on Monday as fine dust levels are forecast to be higher the next day. The season's first preemptive anti-fine dust measures forbid public sector vehicles with license plates that end in even numbers from operating between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province.
Ruling Party Proposes Negotiation on Bill to Set up Independent Probe Unit
The ruling Democratic Party(DP) proposed on Sunday that political parties prioritize negotiation of a bill to set up an independent investigative body that deals with crimes by high-ranking public officials. The bill is part of judiciary reform proposals that also include a bill to give more investigative authority to police. The controversial bills were placed on the fast-track in late April, along with an election reform bill.
Korea's exports down 19.5 pct in first 20 days of October
South Korea's exports fell 19.5 percent in the first 20 days of October mainly due to decreased shipments of semiconductors and ships, customs data showed Monday. The country's exports stood at US$26.8 billion in the October 1-20 period, compared with $33.3 billion in the same period last year, according to the Korea Customs Service.
U.S.-China dispute lowers S. Korean growth by 0.4 percentage point: BOK chief
The trade dispute between the United States and China is expected to have lowered South Korea's growth by up to 0.4 percentage point, the head of South Korea's central bank has said, without elaborating on the country's anticipated growth outlook. "We cannot but be affected by the trade dispute between the two countries because the proportion of our exports to the United States and China is so large," Bank of Korea (BOK) Gov.
Seoul, adjacent metropolitan areas launch preliminary measures to reduce fine dust
Seoul and its adjacent metropolitan areas kicked off preliminary measures to reduce fine dust air pollution on Monday, the first such steps taken this autumn. A set of preliminary measures are being taken in the public sector to cut fine dust in a proactive manner when there is a high possibility that authorities could launch steps to cut the air pollution two days later.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
‘Cho Kuk’s resignation did not douse ideological flames’
As controversies surrounding his family peaked, Cho Kuk resigned as justice minister on Monday, but protests continued, both for and against President Moon Jae-in’s key aide. A pro-Cho group called Gaegukbon -- a Korean acronym for People’s Brawl Movement Headquarters -- kicked off its 10th demonstration at 5 p.m. Saturday, this time in front of the National Assembly in Yeouido. Its former gatherings took place at the prosecution office district in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul.
Musical ‘Aida’ to kick off final run in Korea next month
The final South Korean production of the beloved musical “Aida” will kick off next month, wrapping up a run that spans 732 performances, 14 years and 730,000 audience members. The local promoter for “Aida,” the Seensee Company, said the musical will be performed Nov. 13 to Feb. 23, 2020, at the Blue Square Interpark Hall in central Seoul.
Bill to tackle university admission fraud to be tabled
A ruling Democratic Party lawmaker plans to submit a special bill on reviewing university admissions of lawmakers’ children early this week. The move comes amid public uproar over fairness in university admissions triggered by allegations that the daughter of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk enjoyed extra privileges.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Cheong Wa Dae strives to ride out poor job approval ratings
President Moon Jae-in's job approval rating fell below the 40 percent mark for the first time since he took office in the latest Gallup poll, reflecting the growing public discontent toward his administration in the wake of the Cho Kuk disaster, which paralyzed politics and divided society. In an Oct. 18 survey, 39 percent of the 1,004 respondents said Moon was doing a good job, down 4 percent from a week ago.
Are brokerage stock reports reliable?
The nation's top five securities firms ― Mirae Asset Daewoo, Korea, NH Investment & Securities, KB and Samsung Securities - have never released an investment report with a "sell" recommendation on a firm's stock over the past year. Despite a pile of reports encouraging investors to buy shares, Seoul stocks have failed to reflect their optimism.
Expectations surge on PM Lee's meeting with Abe in Tokyo
All eyes will be on Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon during his visit to Japan this week, waiting to see whether he can create a breakthrough in the worsening relations with the neighboring country over historic and economic issues. He is planning to visit Japan from Tuesday to Thursday to celebrate Japanese Emperor Naruhito's coronation on Tuesday as a representative of Korea.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Foreign Migrant Workers Growing Older
More foreign workers in Korea are now over 60, with the proportion rising from 5.8 percent in 2012 to 10.6 percent last year to reach 1.37 million, data from Statistics Korea show. Some 27 percent of foreign workers here are over 50 years of age. The figures exclude naturalized citizens. Building site managers are complaining about a lack of young foreign laborers. One industry source said, "Just 10 years ago, there were many young foreign laborers, but there are so many old ones now.
Study Finds High Levels of Hormone-Disrupting Chemical in Receipt Paper
Concerns are growing over of a harmful chemical found in receipt paper in Korea. A lawmaker said on Friday high levels of the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A was found in nearly half of the samples tested, citing a recent government study. BPA is used on receipt paper for their stability and high heat resistance.
Protesters Scale Walls Outside U.S. Ambassador's Residence
Around 20 South Korean protesters broke into the residential compound of the U.S. ambassador to South Korea Friday, prompting U.S. officials to call for tighter security measures around diplomatic missions here. Video of the break-in posted online shows a group of young, chanting protesters using ladders to scale the stone wall surrounding Ambassador Harry Harris' house, which is in a central area of Seoul.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
The DMZ: more than a millennium of military conflict
The Imjin River, which forms part of the border between South and North Korea, was also a national border a millennium and a half ago, during the Three Kingdoms Period. For more than a century, it formed the line of conflict between the kingdoms of Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla. The ruins of fortresses that line the riverbanks, including Horogoru Fortress and Gwanmi Fortress, display traces of battles from those times.
The ulterior motives of conservatives’ attacks on Kim Hyun-chong
When it comes to South Korean diplomacy these days, nobody gets talked about more than Kim Hyun-chong, second deputy chief of the Blue House National Security Office.
The setting was the National Assembly Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee on Sept. 16. Chung Jin-suk, a lawmaker with the Liberty Party Korea (LKP), asked Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha to respond to claims that she and Kim “had gotten into an argument where you ended up fighting in English at the end.” Kang replied, “I will not deny that.” Instantly, Kim was catapulted to center stage.
Soaring deposits and rent drive vulnerable groups to dismal living conditions
Kim Cheol-su, an unmarried high school graduate in his 50s, lives in a gosiwon, a kind of low-cost dormitory-style rental building. The rent for his unit, where he has been living for over two years, costs around 280,000 won (US$235.95). Kim’s hope is to be able to move into public rental housing. He doesn’t make much, but he sees it as possible if he saves up over the next 13 years or so.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
PM Lee to visit Japan to attend king’s coronation, meet with Abe
South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon will take a three-day visit to Japan from Tuesday to participate in the enthronement ceremony for the new Japanese king and have a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In the wake of a first visit by the top South Korean official as special envoy to Japan since the escalation of conflict between Seoul and Tokyo in July, watchers in the two countries carefully forecast a possible summit sometime in November.
Galaxy Fold 5G to be available for purchase from Monday
Samsung Electronics Co.’s “Galaxy Fold 5G” will be available for South Korean consumers on Monday. The new model hit the local market on Sept. 6, but people had to place pre-orders to lay their hands on the brand-new device. As of Monday, they can purchase the foldable smartphone at the company’s website, Samsung Digital Plaza stores, mobile stores, and mobile carriers’ stores.
Priest Kim Tae-won holds his 15th exhibition in Seoul
Priest and painter Kim Tae-won, 67, holds a retrospective titled “the 15th exhibition” from November 13 to 19 at Gallery Won in Gangnam, Seoul. The exhibition brings together about 100 paintings the artist has produced for the last 40 years, including drawings and copper paintings from his student days in Paris, oil paintings since 1995 and lacquer paintings since 2006.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
President Moon Ends the “Battle of Cho Kuk,” Now to "Catch" the Moderates with the Economy
President Moon Jae-in approved the resignation of former Minister of Justice Cho Kuk, putting an end to the "battle of Cho Kuk," and is now shifting the focus of state administration to the economy and the people's economic activities. The intention is to achieve economic outcomes in the middle of his term to gather the support of the people, including the moderates, and increase the drive for state affairs. He has chosen the economy as a way to break through the challenging internal and external conditions, such as the side effects of the "battle of Cho Kuk" and the standstill in the peace process on the Korean Peninsula.
Seoul Metro Lines 1-8 to Launch a 3-Day Strike on Oct. 16
The labor union of the Seoul Metro lines 1-8 will launch a 3-day strike on October 16. During the strike, operation of the trains is expected to drop to less than 80% the usual operations. At the Seoul Metro headquarters on October 15, the Seoul Metro labor union announced that it would go on strike from October 16 to 18 because negotiations with the corporation collapsed. Engineers will go on strike at 6:30 a.m. on October 16 and workers in other positions will begin the strike at 9 a.m.
Maeil Business News Korea ( http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
S. Korea’s historic low policy rates to limited impact on household debt
South Korea faces with growing concerns about a potential spike in already-high household debt pile following the central bank’s decision last week to cut interest rates back to the country’s record low of two years ago, but the country’s toughened loan regulations will likely put a cap on the debt rise.
Hyundai Motor Group companies adopt new internal communication tool
Three flagship names under Korea’s second largest conglomerate Hyundai Motor Group have been testing out work-only internal messaging platform to separate work and personal messaging. Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and Hyundai Mobis have begun to adopt ‘flow’, a new online collaboration tool developed by a Korean startup, to determine how it will be useful to increase employee productivity against freely available instant messaging tools like KakaoTalk.
Korea to redesign roads to become self-charging, self-cleaning and self-warming
The Korean government envisions smart roads that can charge moving cars on expressways and eliminate dust and other pollutants to keep air around the roads at reasonable level. Under 10-year vision released Friday, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport set four primary objectives in upgrading road infrastructure over the next decade through active employment of big data, artificial intelligence and other innovations.
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