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Headlines, October 22, 2019

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

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

S. Korean PM leaves for Japan to attend emperor's enthronement event, meet Abe

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon left for Japan on Tuesday to attend the Japanese emperor's enthronement ceremony amid frayed ties between South Korea and Japan over the issue of Tokyo's wartime forced labor. Lee embarked on a three-day trip to Tokyo, whose itinerary includes a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday.

Korea's producer prices fall for 3rd straight month in Sept.

South Korea's producer prices dropped for a third consecutive month in September, central bank data showed Tuesday, possibly signaling a steady drop in consumer prices that has been partly blamed for the country's slowing growth. The producer price index for all commodities came to 103.84 in the month, down 0.7 percent from the same month last year, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

S. Korea to install hydrogen charging stations without delay

South Korea's industry ministry said Tuesday it will install hydrogen charging stations throughout the country without any delay in line with its hydrogen policy vision that promotes the cleanest energy for automobiles. Under the plan, South Korea will finish installation of 310 charging stations for hydrogen fuel cell cars by 2022, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. The number will eventually reach 1,200 units in 2040.

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

Prime Minister Embarks on Japan Trip for Enthronement Ceremony, Talks with Abe

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon departed for a three-day trip to Japan early on Tuesday to attend Emperor Naruhito's enthronement ceremony. Naruhito is set to formally proclaim his ascension to the throne in a ceremony at 1 a.m. Tuesday at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. The prime minister will attend the ceremony as well as a banquet hosted by the new emperor on Tuesday night.

Arrest Warrants Issued after US Ambassador Residence Break-in

A local court has issued arrest warrants for four college students on charges of breaking into the U.S. ambassador's compound in Seoul. The Seoul Central District Court on Monday approved prosecutors' request to issue the warrants, citing that the four students may flee or destroy evidence. Seventeen members of a progressive student group used ladders to climb over the wall of the residence of U.S. Ambassador Harry Harris in central Seoul on Friday.

Trump: 'Very Interesting Information' on N. Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that there is "very interesting information" on North Korea and that there will be a "major rebuild" at some point. Trump made the comments during a Cabinet meeting at the White House in his first remarks on North Korea since the breakdown of bilateral working-level nuclear negotiations in Sweden earlier this month. Trump touted his achievements in his North Korea policy, repeating the claim that the U.S. would be in a major war with the North if he had not been elected.

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

N.K. media slams S. Korea over missile tests, weapons development plans

North Korean propaganda outlets slammed South Korea on Tuesday over its plans to conduct missile tests and develop new weapons, calling such moves "outright provocations" that will have consequences. The criticism came after a top South Korean military officer said earlier this month that the military has conducted test-firings of some of its Hyunmoo missiles this year and plans to routinely conduct such live drills.

Arrest warrants issued for 4 college students for breaking into U.S. envoy's residence

A Seoul court issued warrants for the arrests of four college students on Monday on charges of breaking into the U.S. ambassador's residence. Seventeen members of a progressive college student group used ladders to climb over the wall of the residence of U.S. Ambassador Harry Harris in central Seoul on Friday. After reviewing the results of a preliminary probe, prosecutors formally requested the court permit the arrest of seven of them.

Finance chief calls for full implementation of budget

South Korea's finance minister called Tuesday for a full implementation of the budget in the fourth quarter in a move to boost the country's slowing economy. Hong Nam-ki made the comments in a Cabinet meeting in Seoul, citing the current economic conditions and the importance of the government's fiscal role.

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

Trump says 'lot of things going on' regarding NK, raises prospects of 'major rebuild'

US President Donald Trump said Monday that "a lot of things are going on" regarding North Korea, as doubts over the regime's will to denuclearize rose after the breakdown of nuclear talks with Pyongyang earlier this month. During a Cabinet meeting, Trump also mentioned the prospects of a "major rebuild" while touting his engagement with the North, with a renewed claim that if somebody else became president, "you'd, right now, be in a big war."

S. Korea grapples with gender discrimination in workplace

South Korea has seen its female employment index improve steadily over the past 10 years, but continues to struggle with gender equality when it comes to parental leave and consequent career breaks, data showed Monday. Unlike in most developed economies which tend to see the employment rate of women in their 40s peak and start declining in the 50s, Korea has seen women in their late 30s and early 40s -- the prime age for childbirth and childcare -- being pushed out of the labor market.

SoftBank Seeks Majority Stake in WeWork With Bailout Deal

SoftBank Group Corp. offered to take a majority stake in WeWork, one of two rescue packages that the board of the troubled company is weighing, according to people familiar with the matter. The deal from SoftBank is currently in the lead among some directors, according to a person familiar with the board’s thinking. A decision is likely to be made Monday night, though the process is fluid, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations.

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

'Moon-Abe summit possible at APEC'

Cheong Wa Dae didn't rule out the possibility of President Moon Jae-in holding a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of their participation at next month's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gathering in Chile. "President Moon plans to forgo meeting with Abe at other chances including an ASEAN meeting in October and an APEC meeting in Chile in November.

SsangYong to join Mahindra-Ford alliance

Mahindra & Mahindra, the Indian multinational automaker, plans to have SsangYong Motor, in which it has a major stake, join a three-way alliance with Ford Motor, its joint venture partner, in developing products ― including electric vehicles ― platform sharing and global marketing, a senior Mahindra official says. "SsangYong products are very much similar to products Mahindra and Ford are developing," Pawan Goenka, Mahindra's managing director and chairman of the SsangYong board, said in an exclusive interview Thursday at his office in Seoul.

Arrest warrant sought for ex-justice minister's wife

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office requested a Seoul court to issue an arrest warrant for former Justice Minister Cho Kuk's wife, Chung Kyung-sim, a Dongyang University professor, Monday, on 11 charges including obstruction of business, forgery, violation of the capital market law and destruction of evidence.

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

Marines Unable to Conduct Firing Drills on Islands Near N.Korea

Marines have been unable to conduct tank firing drills on Baeknyeong and Yeonpyeong islands off the North Korean coast since an inter-Korean military agreement in September 2018. Instead, they have had to practice all the way south in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province since June, where the territory and conditions are significantly different. A Marine officer told the National Assembly's Defense Committee last week that some 20 tanks deployed on the islands have not conducted live firing drills since last year.

African Swine Flu Found in Another Dead Wild Boar Near DMZ

Despite efforts by quarantine authorities to contain African swine fever, it continues to spread, as another dead animal tested positive on Sunday. The deadly animal disease was found in the carcass of a wild boar just 3 km south of the demilitarized zone in the border town of Yeocheon, Gyeonggi Province, raising concerns that the outbreak has spread further south. It brings the total number of such cases to 10, with eight found in the DMZ.

Haze Set to Blanket Korea Again as Fine Dust Returns

Korea is expected to be blanketed by fine dust again after a lull during the summer. According to the National Institute of Environmental Research, hazy skies are expected to linger in Seoul, Incheon and nearby metropolitan areas until early this week, as fine dust sweeps into the Korean Peninsula, reaching its peak level on Tuesday.

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

Samsung comes under fire for Galaxy 10 devices being unlocked by unregistered fingerprints

Amid complaints about Galaxy 10 series smartphones unlocking in response to unregistered fingerprints, consumer anxieties are growing with the posting of videos showing devices being unlocked with a piece of fruit. While banks, credit card companies, and other financial institutions have advised caution, Samsung Electronics has come under fire for its “lackluster” response after it announced that users should “register new fingerprints and avoid using a front cover until the next software update.”

Civic groups hold 10th candlelight rally for prosecutorial reform in front of Ntl. Assembly

Five days after Cho Kuk stepped down as Minister of Justice, South Korean citizens demanding prosecutorial reforms gathered with candles once again on Oct. 19 in front of the National Assembly building in Seoul’s Yeouido neighborhood. The demonstrators were unanimous in their message: now is the time for the National Assembly to focus on passing legislation for prosecutorial reforms.

Japan holds rehearsal for first imperial enthronement ceremony in 29 years

A rehearsal was held at the Imperial Palace in the Chiyoda Ward of Tokyo on Oct. 19, three days before the enthronement ceremony of Japanese Emperor Naruhito. The last such ceremony was held 29 years ago, in 1990. During the rehearsal, which was performed by proxies for Naruhito (the 126th in the imperial line), Empress Masako, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the imperial couple’s thrones were unveiled: the 6.5m Takamikura and the 5.3m Michodai.

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

S. Korea decides to give up developing country status in the WTO

The South Korean government has decided to give up developing country status in the World Trade Organization (WTO) that gives the country benefits in subsidies and tariff reductions. Much controversy is hence expected between the agricultural sector and the government as the former demands a compensation of 10 trillion won in return while the latter argues that the decision will have no impact on the agricultural industry.

SK Hynix develops 3rd-generation 10nm DRAM

SK Hynix has succeeded in developing a 16-Gigabit (Gb) DDR4 DRAM on the third-generation 10 nanometer (nm) production process. The South Korean memory chip provider plans to start supplying the newly developed chip from next year, when the global chip market is expected to recover, after getting ready for its mass production within the year.

Document: Tongdosa had military hospital during Korean War

Evidence has been found pointing to the installment of a military hospital at Tongdosa Temple during the Korean War in the 1950s. In the process of studying Buddhist relics from a molding sitting Mireuk statue at Yonghwajeon, they came across a document stating the history of a military hospital of 31 Army Division, which was built at Tongdosa Temple after the war broke out on June 25, 1950, which later on was operated for two years until April 1952.

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

Lee Jae-yong’s Case on Abuse of State Authority Sent Back to the High Court

Lee Jae-yong (51, pictured), vice chairman of Samsung Electronics will stand in court again. According to the court on October 20, Lee's case will be tried again and the hearing will begin at 10:10 a.m. on October 25 at the Seoul High Court, Criminal Division 1 (Chief Judge Jeong Jun-yeong). This will be the start of his formal hearing, not a preliminary hearing, so Lee will have to be present in court.

Foreign Workers Come out onto the Street: Listen to the Appeals on the "Migration of Danger"

On October 20, migrant workers from throughout the nation gathered in the heart of Seoul. It was not an outing. They took part in a demonstration calling for the government to set up measures for foreign workers. This day, over a thousand foreign workers (organizer's estimate) from Vietnam, the Philippines, Cambodia, Nepal, and Indonesia participated in the "2019 National Migrant Workers' Rally."

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

U.S.-Sino trade disputes lower S. Korean growth by 0.4 %p: BOK Gov

South Korea has taken a bigger-than-expected hit from a prolonged trade war between the United States and China, the country’s central bank chief said, hinting at another downgrade in the country’s economic growth outlook for this year to the lowest level in a decade.

S. Korea’s CJ CGV stock seesaws on rumors of overseas stake deal

CJ CGV, multiplex cinema chain under South Korean conglomerate CJ Group on Monday, denied it was close to achieving a major fund-raising scheme after the stock price seesawed on rumors of prospects. CJ CGV share opened strong Monday on rumors that the company has found a buyer for a stake of 20 to 30 percent in a special purpose company backed by cinema operations in China, Vietnam and Indonesia whose value was estimated over $1 billion.

Korea’s ICT exports plunge 22% on yr in Sept on sluggish demand from US, China

South Korea’s exports of ICT products declined by 22.0 percent in September from a year ago, marking an 11th straight month of contraction as slowing China’s economy and weak global tech demand continued to hurt the country’s components and electronics power.

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