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Headlines, October 24, 2019

Thursday, October 24, 2019

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

Wife of ex-justice minister arrested after 2-month probe

The wife of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk was arrested Thursday in a court decision that is expected to add traction to the prosecution's probe into charges over her daughter's college admission and a financial investment. Following a hearing on Wednesday, a Seoul court approved an arrest warrant for Chung Kyung-sim, a professor, saying that the charges are justified and there is the possibility of her attempting to destroy evidence, among other reasons.

Korean economy grows 0.4 pct on-quarter in Q3: BOK

The South Korean economy continued to grow at a steady pace in the third quarter, partly helped by increased government spending and a slight rebound in exports from three months earlier, central bank data showed Thursday. In the three months ended Sept. 30, the country's real gross domestic product (GDP) gained 0.4 percent from the previous quarter, according to the advance data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

POSCO's Argentine salt lake contains more lithium reserves than expected

South Korea's top steelmaker POSCO said Wednesday that its salt lake in Argentina contains more lithium reserves than its original calculation, allowing the company to safely secure a key commodity for making electric vehicle batteries. POSCO said its latest exploration of the Salar del Hombre Muerto salt lake in northern Argentina showed that the site contains more lithium reserves and salt water than it expected.

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

Wife of Former Justice Minister Arrested in Corruption Probe

A local court has issued an arrest warrant for Chung Kyung-shim, the wife of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk, on charges related to their daughter's college admission and private equity fund investments. The Seoul Central District Court on Thursday approved prosecutors' request to issue the warrant, citing the charges are justified and that Chung may attempt to destroy evidence.

S. Korean Economy Grows 0.4% in Q3, Dimming Hopes for Annual 2% Growth

The South Korean economy continued to grow at a slow pace in the third quarter, dimming prospects of achieving two-percent growth this year. According to preliminary data by the Bank of Korea on Thursday, the country's real gross domestic product(GDP) gained point-four percent in the July-September period from three months earlier. From the same period last year, the local economy grew two percent in the third quarter.

KCNA: N. Korea Wants to See How 'Wisely' US Acts through End of Year

A North Korean Foreign Ministry adviser said on Thursday that the country will see how "wisely" the United States acts through the end of the year regarding nuclear negotiations. The remarks came in a statement carried by the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency from Kim Kye-gwan, former chief nuclear envoy for Pyongyang.

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

Korea, U.S. hold new round of defense cost-sharing talks in Honolulu

South Korea and the United States held a fresh round of negotiations in Hawaii this week on the sharing of the cost for the upkeep of American troops on the peninsula, Seoul's foreign ministry said Thursday. The two-day talks began in Honolulu on Wednesday (local time) with both sides bracing for yet another grueling tug of war over how much South Korea should pay next year and beyond for the stationing of the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea (USFK).

PM Lee seeks to set stage for S. Korea, Japan to spur dialogue when he meets Abe

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon has said he has the goal to set the tone for South Korea and Japan to facilitate dialogue when he meets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this week. Lee plans to meet Abe on Thursday in Tokyo amid frayed relations between the two neighboring countries over Japan's wartime forced labor and its subsequent imposition of export curbs against Seoul.

N.K. to see how 'wisely' Washington acts through year-end deadline: official

A former top North Korean nuclear envoy said Thursday he hopes to see the United States act "wisely" through the end of the year, apparently referring to the deadline Pyongyang set for Washington to come up with a new proposal in their denuclearization negotiations. In a statement, Kim Kye-gwan, a foreign ministry adviser, also voiced hope that "special" relations between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump will create a "motive force" to remove challenges between the two countries going forward.

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

South Korea hosts renewable energy conference

South Korea is hosting an international renewable energy conference this week to discuss the global climate crisis and measures to expand renewable energy use with around 3,500 participants from 108 nations. The International Renewable Energy Conference, which kicked off Wednesday in Seoul, is a biannual energy forum. The three-day event is being attended by government officials from 59 countries, including the US, Germany and China, international organizations, including the International Renewable Energy Agency, and firms such as Danish wind firm Vestas and Korean solar company Hanwha Q Cells.

North Korean leader orders to remove South Korean facilities from tourist resort

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered the pulling down of facilities built by South Korea at the Kumgangsan tourist resort, amid stalled inter-Korean diplomacy. According to the North’s official newspaper Rodong Sinmun and the Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday, the North Korean leader visited Kosong Port, Haegumgang Hotel, the House of Culture, Kumgangsan Hotel, Kumgangsan Okryu Restaurant, Kumgang Pension Town, Kuryong Village, Onchon Village, Family Hotel, Onjong Pavilion No. 2 and Kosong Port Golf Course on the east coast this week.

S. Korea mobile carriers attack global market with 5G technology

South Korea’s telecom giants are making a foray into the global market with fifth-generation wireless network technology in a push to discover business opportunities beyond the domestic market. SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus are accelerating their efforts to enhance 5G partnerships with mobile vendors around the world -- for example, by exporting network equipment and developing 5G-based content.

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

Kim Jong-un orders 'sweep away South Korean things at Mt. Gumgang'

South Korea is ready to discuss the issue of the Mount Geumgang tourism project after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un abruptly ordered the complete demolition of "unpleasant-looking" South Korean facilities at the resort, Cheong Wa Dae said Wednesday. "We have to analyze North Korea's position on the Mount Geumgang tourism projects and how its next Geumgang business plan unfolds. Before responding to the North Korean leader's comments on the Geumgang project, again, we have to think about what the North plans to do. If necessary, we will talk to the North Korean government on the matter," a senior presidential aide told reporters in a briefing.

Gov't strongly warns against using liquid e-cigarettes

The government issued a strong recommendation Wednesday advising people to stop using liquid e-cigarettes until the effects of "vaping" products on the human body have been fully confirmed. This follows growing reports over their hazards to health. It plans to order the manufacturers and importers of liquid products for e-cigarettes to submit a list of ingredients used and will conduct studies on these to find a link between them and lung damage.

US Indo-Pacific strategy places Seoul at disadvantage in defense cost-sharing talks

The Washington-led Indo-Pacific strategy is emerging as another major burden in South Korea's ongoing defense cost-sharing negotiations with the United States. So far, the key focus of the defense cost negotiations has been on the upkeep of 28,500 U.S. Forces Korea personnel stationed here. But Washington is moving to step up pressure on Seoul, urging the latter to pay more for not just the maintenance of the USFK, but also regional security under the Indo-Pacific initiative.

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

K-Pop Stars Fall Victims to 'Deepfake' Porn Videos

Nearly all "deepfake" videos in circulation on the Internet are porn, and around a quarter of the performers whose faces have been superimposed are female Korean stars, according to a study. There have been fears that the digital technology could be used to further fiendish political plots, but the findings confirm that man is by and large a simpler animal. Dutch cybersecurity company Deeptrace analyzed images on five major websites distributing deepfake videos and found that a quarter of the victims were female Korean celebrities.

Moon Hopes DMZ Can Resemble the Santiago Trail in Spain

President Moon Jae-in says he wishes the demilitarized zone can one day attract and welcome people from all over the world, like the Camino de Santiago walking trail in Spain. "When peace settles on the Korean Peninsula, I hope the eemilitarized zone, straddling the waist of the Korean Peninsula, can be connected as a 'road of peace' where citizens of the world can walk together. I also ask for Spain's steadfast support and cooperation in our efforts for peace," Moon said.

Court Rules Husbands Are Legal Parents in Births Using Sperm Donors

The Supreme Court has ruled that as long as two married parents agree on the procedure in advance, children born using sperm donors are considered the children of both of them. The court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal brought by a man asking to confirm that a child born to his wife using a sperm donor is not his. The court said that if he had previously agreed to have a child through artificial insemination using another person's sperm, he cannot change his mind after the child is born.

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

S. Korea, US begin defense cost-sharing negotiations in Honolulu

Delegations from South Korea and the US are sitting down in Honolulu, Hawaii, from Oct. 22 to 24 to negotiate the two countries’ 11th defense cost-sharing agreement, which will take effect next year. South Korea’s newly appointed chief negotiator Chung Eun-bo and the rest of his team jumped into the negotiations following dinner with the American team on Oct. 22. There’s likely to be a vehement debate over the total amount of South Korea’s defense contribution and the specific categories of expenses included in that amount.

S. Korea’s local governments can now provide humanitarian aid directly to N. Korea

South Korea’s local governments now have the option of directly providing humanitarian aid to North Korea rather than working through NGOs. South Korea’s Unification Ministry announced on Oct. 22 that it had revised rules about humanitarian aid and cooperation projects with North Korea to allow local government bodies to gain approval as operators of North Korean aid programs.

Openly gay New Zealand ambassador to S. Korea attends reception with husband

“A great honor to meet President Moon and First Lady today with my husband Hiroshi. Thanks to President Moon first time this has been possible in Korea.”

This Twitter message was posted on Oct. 18 by Philip Turner, New Zealand’s ambassador to South Korea. Images in the media showing Turner becoming the first diplomat in South Korea to visit the Blue House and meet President Moon Jae-in with a same-sex spouse drew an outpouring of support from the local LGBT community. But some critics also said it invited mockery of the current South Korean political situation where even the ruling party refuses to discuss anti-discrimination legislation.

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

Russia’s KADIZ violations are provocative operations,’ says U.S.

The U.S. State Department said Russian military planes’ violations of the Korea Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) were “provocative operations” and it will try to prevent future attempts by Russia. “The U.S. strongly supports our ally, South Korea, and its concerns regarding the recent provocative air force operations by Russian military jets. We are working closely with South Korean counterparts regarding this matter,” an official of the State Department said during a briefing session on Tuesday (local time).

Kim Jong Un criticizes inter-Korean Mt. Kumgang tour project

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered to remove “shabby-looking” South Korean facilities at the Mt. Kumgang resort during his visit to the resort on Wednesday. The North Korean leader expressed his will to reconstruct the Mt. Kumgang resort in North Korean way after accusing his predecessors of relying on South Korea for the construction of a tourist resort in return for gains. Kim Jong Un’s criticism of the symbol of inter-Korean collaboration drew a stark contrast to South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s policy speech at the National Assembly the previous day, in which he stressed the need for a “peace economy” between two Koreas.

World’s largest beauty store ‘Sephora’ comes to Korea

Sephora, the world’s biggest cosmetics retailer, is opening its first store in South Korea on Thursday at Parnas Mall on Teheran-ro in southern Seoul. This store will be the first of the 14 stores that the beauty giant is planning to open in the country by 2022, which is expected to intensify the competition in the market with Chicor of Shinsegae and Olive Young of CJ.

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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/)

LG Display to cut 2019 capex by $426 mn as losses deepen

South Korea’s LG Display Co., suffering mounting losses after posting three consecutive losing quarters until the third quarter, will slash this year’s capex by about 500 billion won ($426.3 million) and accelerate structural reforms to reduce its heavy reliance on loss-making liquid crystal display (LCD). LG Display said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that it posted an operating loss of 436.7 billion won in the third quarter ended September, deepening from a loss of 368.7 billion won in the previous quarter and swinging into the red from a year ago.

NCSoft to empower game characters with AI in the coming Lineage 2M label

South Korea’s leading online game developer and publisher NCSoft Corp. will enhance artificial intelligence-based non-player characters with responsive, adaptive and intelligent behaviors in its much-anticipated mobile MMORPG title “Lineage 2M” coming out this year. “There would be no comparable games to the new Lineage series for the next few years,” said NCSoft CEO Kim Taek-jin in show of confidence in the global market during its press event on Oct. 8.

Samsung Elec backs U.S. quantum computing startup IonQ

Samsung Catalyst Fund, the venture capital fund run by South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co., invested an undisclosed amount in U.S. quantum computing startup IonQ. The Maryland-based startup said Tuesday it raised $55 million in a funding round led by Samsung and Mubadala Capital, a sovereign wealth fund backed by the United Arab Emirates.

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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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