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Headlines, October 23, 2019

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

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

Kim inspects Mount Kumgang, criticizes dependence on S. Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited Mount Kumgang on the east coast and lambasted dependence on South Korea for the operation of the resort area once jointly run by the two Koreas, Pyongyang's state media reported Wednesday. During the "field guidance," Kim also ordered the removal of "all the unpleasant-looking facilities" built by South Korea and construction of the country's own facilities, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

SK Innovation files compensation suit against LG Chem over breach of contract

SK Innovation Co. said Tuesday it has filed a lawsuit seeking compensation against local rival LG Chem Ltd. in Seoul, upping the ante in their monthslong legal battle over electric vehicle (EV) battery issues. SK Innovation and its U.S. affiliate SK Battery America Inc. filed a lawsuit with the Seoul Central District Court, requesting that LG Chem withdraw its patent lawsuit in the United States and compensate each company 500 million won (US$426,000) for breach of contract.

Hyundai Heavy workers to stage partial strike amid wage dispute

Workers at Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., South Korea's top shipbuilder, will stage a partial strike this week, its labor union said Tuesday, amid little progress in its wage negotiations with management. The decision to lay down their tools for four to seven hours per day from Wednesday to Friday came after the labor union's 21st round of wage talks with the company ended without an agreement earlier in the day.

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

Kim Jong-un Orders Removal of S. Korean Facilities in Mt. Geumgang

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered the removal of South Korean-built tourist facilities at Mount Geumgang, criticizing dependence on the South. According North Korea's state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Wednesday, Kim criticized the "mistaken policy of the predecessors" who were dependent on others to develop the tourist spot. While inspecting the tourist resort, which lies on the east coast of North Korea, Kim reportedly said the unpleasant-looking South Korean facilities must be removed and rebuilt in a modern way using North Korean methods.

S. Korean Prime Minister Meets Japan's New Emperor, Offers Congratulations

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon on Tuesday offered congratulations to Japan's new emperor, Naruhito, who formally proclaimed his ascension to the throne in a ceremony in front of thousands. According to the prime minister's office, Lee attended a banquet hosted by the new emperor on Tuesday evening after attending the enthronement ceremony on behalf of the South Korea government.

Russia Denies Violations of S. Korea's Airspace

Russia's Defense Ministry on Tuesday denied allegations that its warplanes violated South Korean airspace, claiming that they strictly observed related international protocol. The Russian ministry said in a statement that two Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bombers flew over neutral waters in the East Sea, West Sea and the East China Sea on Tuesday, adding the trajectories were part of regular flights.

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

Deeper inter-Korean economic cooperation necessary to prevent return to confrontation

Vice Unification Minister Suh Ho said Tuesday that deeper economic cooperation with North Korea would lower the chances of the two sides returning to the era of confrontation as he made a pitch for Seoul's push to build a "peace economy" through cooperation with Pyongyang. "The deeper inter-Korean economic cooperation becomes, the harder it would be for us to return to the old rules of confrontation," Suh told a forum held in Seoul to discuss ways to establish a peace-based economy on the Korean Peninsula.

S. Korea, UNC in close talks over DMZ entry permission for nonmilitary purposes

South Korea and the United Nations Command (UNC) have been closely discussing the command's authority to restrict entry into the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) for nonmilitary purposes, the defense ministry said Tuesday. Calls have grown for a need to supplement UNC regulations on passage through the DMZ that divides the two Koreas after the command rejected several requests from South Korea to pass through the zone for nonmilitary purposes, such as inter-Korean exchanges.

S. Korea to hold discussions on developing-country status

South Korea's finance minister said Tuesday the government will hold final discussions in the coming days on whether to maintain developing-country status amid a looming U.S. deadline. Hong Nam-ki did not provide a specific time frame on when the meeting will be held. South Korea has faced a dilemma over the issue as U.S. President Donald Trump is seeking to make sure that self-declared developing countries do not take advantage of the benefits that come with the status.

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

Moon urges parliament to pass budget bill

President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday called for the National Assembly’s cooperation on next year’s budget, stressing the need to inject funds to promote innovation and peace, and to create a fairer society. In his policy speech at the National Assembly, Moon also urged the parliament to pass bills concerning prosecutorial reform, saying they would help create a fairer and more transparent society.

PM’s Japan visit a chance to mend ties

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon kicked off a three-day visit to Japan in the hope that a meeting with his Japanese counterpart will pave the way for improvements in the two countries’ strained relations. Before heading to Tokyo, Lee said he hoped South Korea and Japan would foster harmonious and mature relations despite difficulties, speaking with Japanese Ambassador Yasumasa Nagamine, who saw Lee off at Seoul Airport in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province.

Korea vows to build 250 more hydrogen stations by 2022

Up to 250 hydrogen charging stations will be built across Korean cities and highways by 2022 to provide drivers access to hydrogen charging within 30 minutes of wherever they are, the government said Tuesday. According to the government’s hydrogen infra establishment measure, jointly mapped out by the industry, transport and environment ministries, up to 190 hydrogen charging stations for vehicles and 60 charging stations for buses will be built over the next three years.

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

Seoul considers 'no-rally day' at squares

Squares and plazas in Seoul, open to all including protests and sit-ins, may get a "break" day. Citizens have been calling for a "break" from rallies at Gwanghwamun Square, Cheonggye Plaza, Seoul Plaza and other public spaces in downtown Seoul, and the city government is seriously considering this. Seoul Metropolitan Government said Tuesday it is considering designating a "no-rally day" regularly, a day without any protests, rallies, or other events at the locations so that the public can use them.

Native English teachers entitled to severance pay: top court

The top court has ruled that native English teachers working at private language institutes here are eligible for severance pay and annual vacation allowance according to the Labor Standards Act. The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld an appellate court's decision to recognize native English instructors as employees protected by the law and thus provide them various allowances. But the court sent the case back to the Seoul High Court to amend the calculation of such payment.

Businesspeople in Tokyo want Prime Minister to offer clues

TOKYO ― South Korean businesspeople in Tokyo's Korea Town remained hopeful Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon's visit to Japan to attend the coronation of new Japanese emperor will help to improve Seoul-Tokyo relations. However, Japanese businesspeople contacted by The Korea Times, here, still remained doubtful that there will be any visible progress in the short term.

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

Real Estate Profits Show How Wealth Concentrates in Gangnam

One in three people in Korea who made more than a W1 billion profit from a real estate sale over the last five years live in Seoul's Gangnam area (US$1=W1,174). According to data from the National Tax Service, 10,934 real estate sales resulted in profits of more than W1 billion from 2013 and to 2017, with the total amounting to W16.5 trillion. Some 7,187 or 65.7 percent of the sales were made in Seoul and were worth W10.9 trillion, and 3,927 generating W5.9 trillion happened in the three districts that make up greater Gangnam -- Gangnam, Seocho and Songpa.

S.Korea Contributes 30% of Humanitarian Aid to N.Korea This Year

South Korea has been the biggest donor of humanitarian aid to North Korea so far this year. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, South Korea has contributed more than US$9 million in aid to the North through international organizations, about 30 percent of the total international aid provided to the North so far this year.

Defectors Send Flyers to N.Korea to Denounce World Cup Qualifier Fiasco

An activist group of North Korean defectors launched balloons carrying propaganda leaflets and other materials into North Korea in Gimpo near the demilitarized zone. They floated some 20 huge helium balloons carrying 500,000 flyers, 500 booklets, 2,000 US$1 bills, and 1,000 USB sticks into North Korea from the border town of Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province on Sunday.

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

Pyeongtaek demands compensation for flooding caused by concrete wall around Osan Air Base

In late 2016, US Forces Korea (USFK) began building a 3m high concrete wall around Osan Air Base (K-55) in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province. Ahead of the rainy season in 2017, residents living near the base submitted a complaint in which they said the concrete wall posed a risk of blocking the flow of rainwater and causing flooding during heavy rains.

Outdated employment laws cause thousands of migrant workers to be sent back home

In February 2015, a migrant worker from Bangladesh identified as “M” who had left his job was put in touch with a new company by a Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) employment center. After an interview, M decided to take the job  one day before the expiration of the three-month job-seeking period granted to migrant workers by the government. He frantically visited the center to get an employment permit form, but the official in charge was away on business.

Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” makes record-breaking US release, fans Oscar rumors

After being released in select US theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Oct. 18, the film “Parasite,” directed by Bong Joon-ho, has already generated a record-breaking US$376,264 in box office sales, marking the biggest per-screen haul of any international film to debut in the US. After winning the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or and grossing over US$70 million in South Korea alone, “Parasite” is now being mentioned as a potential Oscar contender.

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

Japan's Emperor Naruhito officially proclaims his enthronement

In his official enthronement ceremony on Tuesday, Japanese Emperor Naruhito has made it clear that he would continue with his father’s principle of pursuing peace. Given that he chose to use neutral wording for constitutional amendments, it seems that he has considered the ongoing discussion on the matter within the country.

Seoul Semiconductor wins patent infringement lawsuit in U.S.

Seoul Semiconductor has won a patent lawsuit it filed against a U.S. distributor for selling a Philips LED TV display that infringes its patents. The distributor will not be able to sell Phillips TV from now according to the ruling. The South Korean LED maker said on Tuesday that it has won a permanent injunction against Fry’s Electronics.

Hwang Hyun-sook confirmed as the first female police commander

It has been belatedly confirmed that the first female commander of police in Korea was the independence patriot Hwang Hyun-sook (1902-1964). Ms. Hwang is known to have been imprisoned during the March 1 Movement along with independent patriot Yu Gwan-sun. A personnel appointment article ran on The Dong-A Ilbo 71 years ago served as a clue to the discovery of Ms. Hwang’s career.

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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/)

Investor appetite for Posco affiliates’ debts remains strong thanks to positive growth outlook

South Korea’s largest steelmaker Posco and its affiliates are enjoying overwhelming demand for their debts as investors appreciate their solid growth potential and rosy earnings outlook. According to multiple sources from the investment banking industry on Tuesday, Posco Capital, a venture capital services provider under Posco, received 141 billion won ($120 million) worth of subscription orders from investors during its recent book-building session, nearly five times more than its initial offering of 30 billion won for the three-year debt. The debt uderwriters are IBK Investment & Securities and KB Securities.

Celltrion’s Remsima pitches on self-injecting Remsima’s comparable efficacy

Celltrion Inc. announced positive Phase 1 results that the subcutaneous (SC) version of its autoimmune disease biosimilar Remsima showed comparable efficacy and safety to the existing intravenous formulation for patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 LTE, Under Armour edition due this week

Samsung Electronics Co. will launch two new versions of Galaxy Watch Active 2 – LTE model and Under Armour edition this week in Korea, hoping to build up credential in the wearable market dominated by Apple. The LTE model of Galaxy Watch Active 2 will be rolled out on Wednesday and the Under Armor edition on Friday, according to the company on Tuesday.

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