Headlines, October 29, 2019
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Headlines, October 29, 2019
  • Lee Kyung-sik
  • 승인 2019.10.29 10:16
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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

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

Moon declares S. Korea's AI-gov't vision, with 'AI national strategy' in the making

President Moon Jae-in presented South Korea's vision Monday for taking the lead in the global artificial intelligence (AI) sector, as his government is striving hard to foster innovative growth in response to the fourth industrial revolution. Addressing a major tech conference in Seoul, he announced a push for the "AI-government" project based on the country's signature e-government system. "Artificial intelligence is approaching us as a new civilization beyond the advance of science and technology," Moon said during the DEVIEW 2019 conference held at the COEX convention center in southern Seoul.

S. Korea to approve 7th low-cost carrier

South Korea's transport ministry said Monday it will permit Fly Gangwon, the country's seventh low-cost carrier, to begin operations next month, a move that could further heat up competition in South Korea's aviation market. An air operator certificate to be issued to Fly Gangwon on Tuesday will allow the carrier to offer two flights a day on the Yangyang-Jeju route beginning in November, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said in a statement. "The aviation authorities will closely monitor the new airline's flight preparations, pilot schedules, airplane repairs and maintenance, and others during the first month of operations," a ministry official said.

ABS issuance dips 11.9 pct in Q3

The issuance of asset-backed securities (ABSs) in South Korea slipped 11.9 percent on-year in the third quarter because of a decline in sales of government-led mortgage funds, data showed Monday. The value of ABSs issues stood at 9.6 trillion won (US$8.1 billion) during the July-September period, down 1.3 trillion won from a year ago, according to the data from the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).

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

S. Korea Denies Discussing Fund Creation with Japan over Wartime Labor Compensation

The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday denied a Japanese media report that Seoul and Tokyo are discussing the creation of an economic cooperation fund to resolve a dispute over compensation for Japan's wartime forced labor.

Japan's Kyodo News agency reported earlier on Monday that Japanese and South Korean governments have begun discussing ways to resolve the nearly year-long dispute, with the fund being considered as a possible option.

AP: US Envoy for N. Korea Expected to be Named No. 2 State Dept. Official

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun is reportedly likely to be nominated to the State Department's number two post this week.

The Associated Press reported Monday that Biegun is likely to be tapped by U.S. President Donald Trump as early as this week to be deputy secretary of state.

S. Korea's Air Passenger Traffic Rises 4.4% in Q3, Sets Record

South Korea's air passenger traffic reached a record high in the third quarter from a year earlier in spite of a decrease in travel to and from Japan.

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Tuesday, the number of air passengers came to 31-point-23 million passengers in the July-September period, up four-point-four percent from a year earlier.

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

Prosecutors indict ride-hailing service executives

South Korean prosecutors Monday indicted the heads of Tada, a ride-hailing service, declaring the app-based business illegal.

Lee Jae-woong, chief executive of car-sharing app operator SoCar, and Park Jae-uk, chief executive of its rental car hailing service unit, Value Creators & Company (VCNC), will face a trial without physical detention on charges of running a transportation business without a license, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said. VCNC operates Tada service.

S. Korea offers to hold working-level talks with N.K. about Mount Kumgang project

South Korea offered Monday to hold working-level talks with North Korea about a long-suspended tour program at the North's Mount Kumgang, after Pyongyang demanded Seoul remove all of its resort facilities from the mountain in a threat to end the joint business.

The North made the demand Friday, following up on leader Kim Jong-un's directive that all South Korean-built facilities should be removed from the mountain resort and the North should build an international tourist zone of its own there.

U.S. envoy for N.K. expected to be named No. 2 State Dept. official: report

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun is expected to be nominated as the No. 2 State Department official this week, according to a news report Monday.

Biegun, who has served in his current role since August 2018, is likely to be tapped by President Donald Trump as early as this week to be deputy secretary of state, the Associated Press reported, citing two U.S. government officials.

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

Moon vows more support for AI

The government will push for deregulation and expand subsidies to support the development of the country’s artificial intelligence-related industries, and a national AI strategy will be drawn up within the year, President Moon Jae-in said Monday. Speaking at Developers View 2019 -- the largest AI-related industry event held in Korea -- at the Coex exhibition center in Seoul, Moon pledged increased support for the industry, saying that the “era of AI” has arrived.

Seoul suggests working-level talks over Kumgangsan resort

The South Korean government has proposed holding working-level talks with North Korea in response to the regime’s plan to abolish the South’s facilities at the Kumgangsan tourist resort, the Unification Ministry said Monday.

The offer was made through the joint liaison office in the North’s border town of Kaesong after the regime notified the South that it would tear down the latter’s facilities in the tourist zone in accordance with the orders of its leader Kim Jong-un, who wishes to overhaul the obsolete site and give it a modern look.

South Korea’s top 1,000 firms spent W50tr on R&D last year

South Korea’s largest companies, including Samsung, Hyundai and LG, spent more on research and development and earned more in 2018 compared to the previous year, despite growing concerns about the slowing global economy, according to a local public institute on Monday.

According to a new report released by the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology under the Industry Ministry, the combined investment on research and development of 1,000 companies amounted to 49.7 trillion won ($42.5 billion) in 2018, up 7.9 percent year-on-year. The 1,000 companies are the Korean firms that made the largest amounts of R&D investments last year.

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

South Korea to promote AI sector as core industry

President Moon Jae-in will place more importance on promoting Artificial Intelligence (AI) with the aim of establishing it as a core nation industry.

During a visit to the Developer's View conference at COEX, Monday, Moon underlined the need to build an "AI powerhouse" as the next step to being an "IT powerhouse" to take the global lead in preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Moon plans to hold bilateral meetings at APEC

Preparatory works are underway for President Moon Jae-in to hold summits with "important counterparts" on the sidelines of his participation at next month's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gathering in Chile, Cheong Wa Dae said Monday.

In a briefing, Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung confirmed the South Korean leader will attend this year's gathering. "From Nov. 15 to 17, President Moon will visit Santiago, Chile, as the President will participate in this year's APEC meeting," Ko told reporters.

DPK floor leader pledges to launch special counsel probe into martial law plan

Rep. Lee In-young, floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) pledged Monday to push for the launch of a special counsel investigation to look into the former administration's alleged move to enforce martial law to crack down on protestors opposing the Park Geun-hye administration, and allegations that Hwang Kyo-ahn, chairman of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) was involved in the scheme.

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

Gov't Mulls Bypassing Sanctions to Revive Mt. Kumgang Tours

South Korea is still trying to think of ways of resuscitating tours to North Korea's scenic Mt. Kumgang resort by bypassing international sanctions.

But the idea is likely to be slapped down by the U.S., since it could undermine concerted pressure on North Korea, and even the cash-strapped North could refuse because it wants the sanctions lifted, not bypassed.

The Unification Ministry here has vowed to come up with "creative solutions" after North Korea asked Seoul last week to demolish "all the unpleasant-looking facilities" the South built in the resort.

Samsung to Outsource Smartphone Manufacture to China

Samsung is minded to outsource the manufacture of tens of millions of smartphones to Chinese companies, according to industry sources on Monday, putting small and mid-sized suppliers here on edge.

The electronics giant plans to produce 60 million smartphones annually under original design manufacture contracts with Chinese firms, which accounts for 20 percent of its total smartphone production.

Under the new system, Samsung simply has to set a price for the phones and the Chinese contractors design them, procure the parts and manufacture them.

Choi Soon-sil's Daughter Raided in Hospital

The daughter of ex-President Park Geun-hye's toxic confidante Choi Soon-sil has claimed her human rights were violated in a raid amid suspicions that she dodged taxes on her unusual wealth.

Chung Yoo-ra (23) is under investigation for failing to pay taxes on the sale of a building in the swish Gangnam area of Seoul.

She claims her human rights were violated when prosecutors searched her hospital room, where she is recuperating after giving birth to her third child, to secure mobile phone records.

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

US senior official hints that Washington will ask Seoul to renew GSOMIA agreement

A senior official at the US State Department hinted once again that the US will ask the South Korean government to extend its GSOMIA intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan. That agreement is scheduled to end at midnight on Nov. 22.

“We do of course encourage the Korean side to return to this agreement because it benefits us, benefits you [Japan] and it certainly benefits them [South Korea] as well,” said David Stilwell, assistant secretary of state at the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, during a press conference at the US Embassy to Tokyo on Oct. 26. Stilwell’s comments were reported by Kyodo News on Oct. 27.

Senior North Korean official releases another statement denouncing the US

“The US is seriously mistaken if it [means to pass the end of this year in peace] by exploiting the close personal relations between its president and the Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK [North Korea] [as] delaying tactics,” Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee Vice Chairman Kim Yong-chol said.

In the statement, which was released by the Korean Central News Agency on Oct. 27, Kim accused the US of intending “to isolate and stifle the DPRK in a more crafty and vicious way than before, instead of complying with our call for a change in its calculation method.” The statement credited Kim as chairman of the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee (KAPPC).

Moon expresses disappointment at North’s decision to demolish Mt. Kumgang facilities

On Oct. 25, South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed his disappointment with North Korea’s decision to tear down buildings at the Mt. Kumgang resort, voicing concerns that the move “could damage inter-Korean relations.”

Moon was speaking at an event for Blue House beat reporters at the Nokjiwon garden on the Blue House grounds. Destroying the facilities at Mt. Kumgang, Moon said, “could rub the [South Korean] people the wrong way, and such matters could damage inter-Korean relations.”

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

U.S. uses state-of-the-art technology in the raid of ISIS leader

“Got him, 100% confidence, jackpot, over,” U.S. Special Operations forces commander sent a radio message to the White House at 7:15 p.m. Saturday during a U.S. special military operation called Kayla Mueller aimed at capturing Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Barisha, Syria. The ISIS leader was confirmed dead two hours after the start of the operation.

Seoul proposes working-level talks to Pyongyang for Mt. Kumgang facilities

Seoul has proposed to hold inter-Korean working-level talks at Mt. Kumgang after Pyongyang said it wants to discuss the removal of Mt. Kumgang facilities with Seoul through an exchange of documents.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry spokesperson Lee Sang-min said on Monday that the government and Hyundai ASAN sent a notice to the Korea-Asia Pacific Peace Committee and Mount Kumgang International Tourist Bureau via the inter-Korea liaison office in Kaesong. Seoul proposed working-level talks with Pyongyang to discuss the removal of Mt. Kumgang facilities and Mt. Kumgang tourism and Hyundai ASAN suggested that the two sides discuss a new development direction for the Mt. Kumgang district, the spokesperson added.

SKT, Kakao clinch all-encompassing strategic partnership

“Competition between local companies is now meaningless,” the ICT industry said following the announcement of a share exchange deal between SK Telecom and Kakao Group. Since the advent of KakaoTalk in 2010, the two companies were often found at odds with each other. Kakao encroached into SKT’s cell phone texting market, which was once worth 1 trillion won a year, before shaking their market footing of voice phone calls with its VoiceTalk feature.

The rivalry between the two mobile communications giants remains fierce in various fields of industry from the competition in the music streaming platform between Melon and Flo, to the mobility platform divided by T Map and Kakao T, to their burgeoning AI service that is turning into as a showdown between SKT’s Nugu and Kakao i.

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

Two Weeks after Cho Kuk Resigned, Ruling Party Moves on as if Nothing Happened

"No sign of any reflection." "The leaders who should be talking about reforms are busy studying the faces of Cheong Wa Dae and their supporters." This describes the actions of the Democratic Party of Korea following the "battle of Cho Kuk."

It has been two weeks since former justice minister Cho Kuk stepped down on October 14, but the Democratic Party is under fire for neglecting to reflect on its shortcomings and to make any efforts for change. Fierce conflict centered on Cho has been ongoing for the past two months, virtually splitting the nation into two sides, yet the ruling party shows no signs of taking responsibility for the situation.

Daum Shuts Down Comments and Related Searches: May It Be an Opportunity to Reflect on Our Online Culture

Kakao decided to temporarily shut down the online comments function for entertainment news articles on the web portal Daum and to stop providing related search words linked to people. The company stopped announcing popular real-time search words from its news service. They also plan to release plans for improvement including the removal of online comments by the first half of next year. Kakao said, "The decision was made because the personal insults in comments on entertainment news articles have damaged the soundness of the public forum, and the related search words have also triggered serious side effects, such as the invasion of privacy." Kakao is a private company that earns profits from advertisements that are exposed when people consume the news. However, the company has decided to reject the online consumption of news articles triggered by online comments, because the damage due to malicious comments is not insignificant.

South Korean Economy Struggles to Grow 2%

The nation's economy grew by 0.4% in the third quarter of this year, making it unlikely for the nation's economy to grow 2% this year. This would be the lowest growth rate since the global financial crisis in 2009. External conditions, including the trade conflict between the U.S. and China, have deteriorated and the domestic market has been sluggish, fueling the risks of a slow growing economy.

On October 24, the Bank of Korea released the third quarter statistics, and the real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.4% compared to the previous quarter, falling below market expectations (0.5-0.6%). The economy started off with a sluggish first quarter, which showed negative growth of 0.4%.

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

Naver to join Kakao to overhaul online comment system after celebrity’s death

South Korea’s major web portals are poised to bring changes to their opinion sharing systems amid growing voices against malicious comments after singer-turned-actress Sulli died two weeks ago in an apparent suicide linked to cyberbullying and depression.

Kakao Corp., the country’s top messenger operator, was quick to stop users from posting malicious comments on its online entertainment news available in its messenger app Kakao Talk, and its Daum platform, by temporarily banning online opinion posting. The company that has also suspended its real-time most searched list for news articles on the app is said to be considering permanently disabling its online comment systems under its portal’s entertainment news sections.

Hyundai Heavy Industries’ Q3 profit down 38.3% on year

South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries Group saw its consolidated operating income shrink nearly 40 percent in the July-September quarter against a year-ago period as its business ranging from shipbuilding to oil refining took a hit from a slowdown in global economy.

Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings Co. in a regulatory filing on Monday reported its consolidated operating profit for the third quarter ended September fell 38.3 percent to 219.6 billion won ($187.7 million) against the same period last year. Its net profit plunged 72.4 percent on year to 66.1 billion won. Sales were down 1.1 percent to 6.5 trillion won.

Korean botox entry to China put on hold for nearly two years

The Chinese market proved to be hard nut to crack for Korean botulinum toxin producers whose entry has been stalled for nearly two years by China’s health authorities who appear to be buying time for local makers to catch up.

To date, only two botox products from U.S. Allergan and China’s Lanzhou Biological Preparations Institute have passed marketing clearance in the world’s second largest market of botox used for cosmetic purposes. Korean products are sold to China only through individual peddlers who cross borders to buy and sell items.

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