Headlines, October 25, 2019
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Headlines, October 25, 2019
  • Lee Kyung-sik
  • 승인 2019.10.25 10:06
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Friday, October 25, 2019

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

S. Korea decides to give up developing country status at WTO

South Korea said Friday it has decided to give up its developing country status at the World Trade Organization in a concession to the United States over reform of the global trade body. The announcement came as U.S. President Donald Trump has been pushing to make sure that self-declared developing countries do not take advantage of special and differential treatment that come with the status.

POSCO Q3 net drops 53 pct on high material costs

POSCO, South Korea's top steelmaker, said Thursday its third-quarter net profit dropped 53 percent from a year earlier, hit by high raw material costs. Net profit reached 496.8 billion won (US$424 million) in the July-September period on a consolidated basis, compared with a profit of 1.05 trillion won a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing. Third-quarter operating profit reached 1.04 trillion won, down 32 percent from a year earlier, with sales declining 2.6 percent on-year to 15.9 trillion won over the cited period, it added.

S. Korea's economic growth projected to hit 10-year low in 2019

South Korea's economic growth will likely slow down further this year, possibly falling below the 2 percent mark for the first time in 10 years, analysts said Thursday. The gloomy outlook comes after the Bank of Korea (BOK) said the local economy grew 0.4 percent from three months earlier in the third quarter, marking a sharp slowdown from a revised 1 percent on-quarter expansion in the previous quarter. On an on-year basis, the local economy grew 2 percent in the second quarter and again in the third quarter.v

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

S. Korea Decides to Give up Developing Country Status at WTO

South Korea has decided to give up its developing country status at the World Trade Organization(WTO). The decision was made in a meeting of chiefs of economy-related ministries at the government complex in Seoul on Friday. The government said it will keep and exercise rights to negotiate flexibility in order to protect sensitive items, such as rice, in the country's agriculture industry.

Senior US Official to Visit S. Korea Nov. 5

A senior U.S. State Department official will visit South Korea early next month as part of a six-nation Asia trip. The State Department said on Thursday in a news release that Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell will visit Japan, Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea and China from Thursday to November seventh. Kicking off his tour with a three-day stay in Japan, Stilwell will meet with foreign and defense ministry officials.

Samsung Chief's Bribery Retrial Set to Begin

The review of an appeals court verdict in Samsung Electronics Vice Chair Lee Jae-yong's bribery case involving impeached former President Park Geun-hye will start Friday. The Seoul High Court is set to begin the trial at 10 a.m., at which Lee is expected to appear along with his lawyers. Lee spent a year in prison for providing billions of won in bribes to ex-President Park and her confidante Choi Soon-sil. He was freed on a suspended sentence in February last year on appeal.

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

PM Lee expects Seoul-Tokyo dialogue to pick up pace after talks with Abe

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon voiced optimism Thursday that Seoul and Tokyo will accelerate their "official" diplomatic dialogue to mend their frayed ties, speaking after his 21-minute talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Lee said he regards the "unofficial, periodic dialogue so far" between the diplomatic authorities of the two sides as having been "formalized." Now, he added, South Korea-Japan diplomacy is expected to gain speed.

N. Korean leader inspects spa resort, voices great satisfaction

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un toured a spa resort under construction in the country's western area, expressing "great satisfaction" with facilities there, Pyongyang's state media reported Friday. In a "field guidance" trip to the Yangdok County Hot Spring Resort in the North's South Pyongan Province, Kim also said it is a "striking contrast" to Mount Kumgang on the east coast, where he visited a few days earlier and ordered the removal of all South Korea-built "unpleasant-looking" buildings.

Top U.S. diplomat for Asia to visit Seoul on Nov. 5: State Department

David Stilwell, the top American diplomat for East Asia policy, will visit South Korea next month for talks with Seoul officials over the bilateral alliance and cooperation between the two countries, the U.S. State Department has said. Stilwell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, will travel to Seoul on Nov. 5 as part of his Asia trip that also includes stops in Japan, Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand and China. It will mark his second visit to Seoul in his current capacity following the first in July.

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

Apple launches iPhone 11 series in S. Korea

American tech giant Apple's latest iPhone 11 series officially hit the shelves in South Korea on Friday, targeting consumers looking for premium phones available in 4G models. Apple released its iPhone, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max in South Korea about one month after their launch in other markets, including the United States, China and Japan. The new iPhones have faster processors, improved camera quality and better battery life -- features that are available only in 4G models.

N. Korean leader inspects spa resort, voices great satisfaction

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un toured a spa resort under construction in the country's western area, expressing "great satisfaction" with facilities there, Pyongyang's state media reported Friday. In a "field guidance" trip to the Yangdok County Hot Spring Resort in the North's South Pyongan Province, Kim also said it is a "striking contrast" to Mount Kumgang on the east coast, where he visited a few days earlier and ordered the removal of all South Korea-built "unpleasant-looking" buildings.

China embassy staff heading to UK site where 39 found dead in truck

Chinese embassy staff are heading to Essex in Britain to verify reports that 39 people found dead in a truck were its nationals, the foreign ministry said Thursday. The victims were discovered in a container on the back of a truck in Grays, east of London, on Wednesday, shortly after arriving by ferry from Belgium.

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

FM says 'US asks too much in defense cost-sharing'

The United States is making a "far more excessive" level of demands in the ongoing defense cost-sharing talks with South Korea, Seoul's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Thursday. "It is true that the U.S. is making a much higher level of demands than before, so preparing a pan-governmental strategy is crucial for the allies to narrow their differences on the issue," she told reporters in a regular press conference at the ministry's headquarters in downtown Seoul.

Corruption investigation zeros in on ex-minister

Former Justice Minister Cho Kuk is in the hot seat after his wife Chung Kyung-sim, a Donyang University professor, was arrested early Thursday morning over the ongoing corruption scandal involving the family. While Chung was charged with 11 counts including obstruction of business, forgery, embezzlement and destruction of evidence, prosecutors believe Cho himself was an accomplice in some of the cases, or at least was aware of them.

'Too powerful, too political': reining back prosecutorial power

The promise of prosecutorial reform has been made by almost every Korean presidential candidate. However, few had the political will or courage to try once elected. None have come this close. The prosecution's investigation into allegations surrounding short-lived former Justice Minister Cho Kuk's family has reignited the debate over its political neutrality, and has sparked public support and attention to fast-tracked bills aimed at curbing the agency's extensive powers.

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

Nearly All Young Mothers Quit Jobs After Maternal Leave

The vast majority of women who take maternity leave return to their old jobs for only a short time of up to three months, an alarming study finds. This could be partly due to job-related stress and discrimination in the early days after their return, but businesses suspect that many women simply take advantage of a paid maternity leave and then hang around for some weeks before becoming full-time mothers or taking a job elsewhere.

Hundreds of Private Kindergartens Closed down This Year

A total of 257 private kindergartens closed down in the first four months of this year as intake dwindled due to the low birthrate. According to the Ministry of Education, 437 private kindergartens closed down from 2017 until April this year -- 69 in 2017, 111 last year and 257 from January to April of this year. According to a study by Lee Sam-sik at Hanyang University, the population of children aged three to five fell from 1.39 million in 2015 to 1.34 million last year.

Gov't Issues Strong Warning Against Vaping

The government has strongly advised against the smoking of liquid e-cigarettes, which are blamed for a recent surge in severe lung illnesses. Health and Welfare Minister Park Neung-hoo in a press briefing on Wednesday said people must stop using vapes as they pose a serious risk to public health. But the government has yet to put a total ban on their sales or recall them.

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

Why did Kim Jong-un criticize his father’s Mt. Kumgang project?

“Due to the mistaken policy of the predecessors who tried to get benefits without any efforts after just offering [up] the tourist area, the mountain has been left uncared for more than 10 years [. . .] and the land is worthy of better [than that],” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was quoted as saying during field guidance at the Mt. Kumgang resort in a front-page story in the Rodong Sinmun. Kim “made a sharp criticism of the very wrong, dependent policy of the predecessors who were going to rely on others when the country was not sufficient enough,” the Oct. 23 edition of the state-run newspaper also said.

Court issues arrest warrant for Cho Kuk’s wife Chung Kyung-shim

The Seoul Central District Court has issued an arrest warrant for Chung Kyung-shim, 57, professor at Dongyang University and wife of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk. The arrest comes 58 days after prosecutors’ investigation of Cho’s family entered full swing on Aug. 27 with a search and seizure operation. With Chung being the main suspect in prosecutors’ allegations surrounding the family, the prosecutors appear to have more or less established the legitimacy of their investigation by arresting her. Now that Chung is in custody, they appear poised to ramp up their investigation against Cho.

Japanese high-school students visit S. Korea to learn about historical issues

“I never heard about South Koreans’ painful history on Twitter or the internet. There’s so much inaccurate information. [. . .] It was really difficult for me to come to Korea and hear for myself about what the comfort women went through.” Takahiro Hosoya, a 17-year-old second year student at a high school affiliated with Japan’s Chuo University, teared up as he recalled the moment when he first encountered a statue of a young girl in Seoul’s Jongno District representing the victims of Japanese military sexual slavery.

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

Lee, Abe agree to improve bilateral relations

After his Thursday meeting in Tokyo, South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon found a common ground with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the worsening relations between the two neighbors should not be left unattended any longer. Some experts are saying that the meeting could serve as a turning point for their bilateral relations with a hand-written letter from South Korean President Moon Jae-in being delivered to Mr. Abe to urge shared efforts to quickly resolve the pending issues between the two countries.

Korea Telecom Chairman Hwang Chang-gyu speaks at ETH Zurich

About 400 students burst into laughter when Korea Telecom (KT) Chairman Hwang Chang-gyu, 66, said “This isn’t a Hollywood movie” in his lecture at the main building of ETH Zurich at 11 a.m. on Tuesday (local time). But they soon became serious as he started elaborating more on the fifth generation (5G) technology that enabled what they saw on the screen - drones scanning a large fire that broke out at the city center and sending the information to firefighters wearing AR goggles and 5G-connected telemedicine.

Spanish king awarded honorary citizenship in Seoul

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain have become honorary citizens of Seoul. The Seoul metropolitan government announced that the two royalties, currently on a visit to South Korea as state guest, visited the City Hall on Thursday to receive the certificates of honorary citizens from Mayor Park Won-soon.

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

First Government Guideline on Kopinos: Easing Visa Requirements for Foreign Children Who Have Obtained Recognition of Paternity

The Ministry of Justice provided guidelines allowing Kopinos (children born from a Korean father and a Filipino mother) and other foreign children born out of wedlock who have received recognition of paternity to easily enter South Korea. This is the first time that the government has set up measures on the issue of Kopinos. The latest action is assessed as the first step toward resolving the problem of out-of-wedlock children of foreign mothers, such as Kopinos.

Do Not Shut the Door on Tourism of Mount Kumgang

On October 23, North Korean media outlets reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered officials to tear down South Korean facilities in Mount Kumgang, a symbol of inter-Korean exchanges, claiming they were unpleasant to look at. Chairman Kim claimed that Mount Kumgang was neglected for a decade due to an improper policy of his predecessors who tried to rely on the South when the nation was weak and surprisingly criticized his father, Kim Jong-il, who had promoted the tourism of Mount Kumgang as an economic cooperation project with the South. He also said, "Mount Kumgang has become like a symbol, a measure of inter-Korean relations, spreading the idea that tourism of Mount Kumgang cannot be developed if inter-Korean relations do not advance, but this is a wrong perception."

President Moon's "Post-Cho Kuk" State Administration, the Emphasis Is on Fairness

President Moon Jae-in stressed strong reforms to improve fairness, the reorganization of the Prosecution Service and cooperation between ruling and opposition parties when he addressed the National Assembly on October 22. These issues were directly and indirectly linked to the controversy surrounding the family of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk.

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

Samsung Elec shows its prowess beyond memory via system chipsets for 5G in US

Samsung Electronics eager in building chip prowess beyond memory has released two new mobile processors and other solutions tailored for future mobile devices, defining its market leadership in the 5G era characterized by intensive use of video and artificial intelligence applications. The semiconductor giant unveiled the Exynos 990 and Exynos Modem 5123 at the Samsung Tech Day 2019 in San Jose, California on Wednesday, stating they are perfectly adapted for high-volume 5G and AI applications.

Kia Motors’ Q3 OP down 45% on qtr as one-time costs eat into brisk sales

South Korea’s second-largest automaker Kia Motors Corp. reported a 45 percent on-quarter fall in its third-quarter operating profit due to massive one-time warranty costs for its defective engine, but beat the market estimate thanks to brisk sales of its new models, especially sport utility vehicle. Kia Motors said in a regulatory filing on Thursday that it raised 291.5 billion won ($248.8 million) in operating profit on a consolidated basis in the July-September period, retreating 45.38 percent from the previous quarter but beating the market consensus of 244.5 billion won.

KB Kookmin Bank CEO Huh In to win second term

Huh In, chief executive officer of South Korea’s top commercial lender KB Kookmin Bank, is easily win the second term. The company’s recommendation committee picked Huh as the sole candidate for the position on Thursday after reviewing his accomplishment during his service, assertiveness in carrying out mid-to long-term strategies and leadership in organization management, according to KB Financial Group. Huh’s term ends in Nov. 20.

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