Wednesday, October 30, 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).
Memoir: Trump Called S. Korea 'Major Abuser'
U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly called South Korea a "major abuser" and claimed the U.S. ally should pay 60 billion dollars a year for the stationing of American troops in the country. Guy Snodgrass, former chief speechwriter and communications director for former U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, made the claim in his memoir "Holding the Line: Inside Trump's Pentagon with Secretary Mattis," published on Tuesday.
S. Korean Banks Launch Trial 'Open Banking' System
South Korean banks have launched an "open banking" system that allows customers to access the money transfer and payment functions of various banks on a single platform. Ten commercial banks, including NH Nonghyup, Shinhan, Woori, KEB Hana and KB Kookmin, said on Wednesday that they launched the service on a trial basis from 9 a.m. Eight other banks, including the Korea Development Bank and Standard Chartered, will also join the program after fully preparing for launch.
S. Korea's Proposed 'Blue Sky Day' Likely to be Accepted by UN
The United Nations is likely to accept South Korea's proposal to designate November 15 as "Blue Sky Day" to promote global awareness of the importance of responding to climate change. South Korea' mission to the UN said Tuesday that unofficial consultations on the matter are underway. Cho Hyun, Seoul's new ambassador to the UN, told reporters in New York that the designation will heighten world awareness of climate change and create a platform to support it.
N.K. rejects dialogue offer, insists on discussing Mount Kumgang issue in writing
North Korea rejected South Korea's offer for working-level talks about the fate of a long-suspended joint tour program to Mount Kumgang in the communist nation, insisting on discussing the matter in writing, the unification ministry said Tuesday. South Korea made the dialogue offer on Monday in a counterproposal to North Korea's demand that Seoul remove all of its long-abandoned facilities from the mountain resort in an apparent threat to end the joint business.
Prosecution seeks arrest warrant for brother of ex-justice minister
The prosecution again sought an arrest warrant for a younger brother of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk on Tuesday over a hiring scandal and an alleged fake lawsuit in connection with a private school foundation run by his family. State prosecutors asked a Seoul court to issue a warrant to formally detain the 52-year-old man over charges, including breach of duty, bribery, obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting destruction of evidence.
Proposals on forced labor spat raise cautious hope for Seoul-Tokyo fence-mending
From creating a fund to compensate victims of Japan's wartime forced labor to entrusting a civilian panel with addressing the thorny issue, a flurry of proposals are raising cautious hope for a thaw in frosty ties between Seoul and Tokyo. Diplomatic circles, scholars and media in both countries have put forward the ideas while Seoul and Tokyo have been exploring a diplomatic off-ramp -- or at least a path for de-escalation -- through a series of high-level or working-level talks in recent months.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
N. Korea pulls out of football tournament in South: Seoul
North Korea has pulled out of a December international women's football tournament in the South, Seoul's football authorities said Tuesday, weeks after Pyongyang hosted a surreal World Cup qualifier in a near-empty stadium. Pyongyang's nuclear talks with Washington are at a deadlock and it has been at loggerheads with Seoul since the collapse of the Hanoi summit between leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump in February.
Cut the card: Smartphone service to provide digitized ID
With a view to enhance the efficiency of public services, the government said Tuesday citizens will soon be able to store digital versions of their important documents, including identification cards, in smartphones for verification. During a joint press briefing in Seoul, the Ministry of Interior and Safety and other related agencies announced extensive plans for the digital transformation. The government pledged to use advanced technology in improving its public services and social welfare programs.
S. Korea beats military club in tuneup for Olympic baseball qualifiers
The South Korean national baseball team eked out a 5-1 win over the military club Sangmu on Tuesday in a tuneup game for the upcoming Olympic qualifying tournament. Starter Park Jong-hoo tossed three shutout innings and slugger Choi Jeong had two of the team's seven hits at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, where pitchers generally looked sharper than hitters.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
No. of irregular workers hits record 7.48 million
The number of irregular workers in August jumped to 7.48 million from 6.61 million a year earlier, even as the Moon Jae-in administration continues its efforts to reduce temporary positions to improve job security, Statistics Korea data showed Tuesday. Both the actual number of irregular workers and the increase were the highest the government has seen in the 16 years since it began compiling the statistics back in 2003.
CSAT expansion feared to inflate bubble in Gangnam
The government's move to expand the portion of the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) in college admission is raising concerns that it could further inflate a bubble in homes prices in the affluent Gangnam area. Seoul's apartment prices are considered to have already been overheated due to a mixture of record low interest rates and a lack of supply in the affluent area caused by government regulations to curb speculation on the reconstruction of old apartments there.
Experts split over future course of bitcoin
Bitcoin prices climbed above the 10 million won ($8,585.9) mark over the weekend raising expectations that the virtual coin will continue on another bullish run. The sudden hike of the world's most-widely traded cryptocurrency followed Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent remark claiming China should "seize the opportunity" offered by blockchain technology.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
N.Korea Rejects Talks Over Mt. Kumgang Resort
North Korea on Tuesday rejected South Korea's proposal of talks to discuss the situation surrounding halted tours to the North's Mt. Kumgang resort and a sprawling South Korean-funded hotel complex there. The South had proposed working-level talks a day earlier to "discuss a new development direction" for the scenic resort and stop the North demolishing the facilities. But North Korea sent a notification to South Korea that it will go ahead with the demolition "by exchanging documents without the need to hold working-level talks."
Korea, Japan 'Mulling Economic Cooperation Fund'
Seoul and Tokyo have started a discussion to improve bilateral relations by floating the idea of creating an economic cooperation fund, Kyodo News reported Monday. The two countries are gradually inching away from their standoff and recently discussed the idea floated by the Japanese. The aim is for big businesses in both countries to set up a joint fund with the help of their government, Kyodo reported quoting Korean and Japanese officials.
Half of High Schoolers Suffer Side Effects from Energy Drinks
As many as half of all Korean high schoolers could be suffering side effects from caffeinated energy drinks such as heart palpitations, insomnia and even death, according to a small-scale study. Prof. Oh Yun-jung at Keimyung university interviewed 245 high schoolers and found that 79.5 percent had drunk them. The most common reason was to alleviate fatigue with 64.6 percent, followed by their taste with 21.5 percent.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Civic groups successfully erect 5th comfort woman statue in US
The chant was raised by members of a crowd, standing with fists clenched, at a ceremony unveiling a comfort woman statue on Oct. 27.
The statue was installed in the front yard of a building in Annandale, Fairfax County, Virginia, near Washington, DC, known for its large Korean population.
This ceremony ended three years of limbo for the statue, which has finally found a home after arriving in Washington in November 2016. The groups behind the statue are committed to working even harder to raise historical awareness and to secure an apology from Japan.
Korea, US reach consensus on certain aspects during defense cost-sharing talks
A key member of the South Korean delegations for negotiations on the 11th South Korea-US Special Measures Agreement (SMA) on defense cost-sharing, which goes into effect next year, said the two sides had “each clarified their respective positions to the other and shared views on certain aspects.”
A key official on the negotiating team made those remarks while telling reporters on Oct. 28 about the outcome of the second round of negotiations for the 11th defense cost-sharing agreement, known as the Special Measures Agreement (SMA). The second round was held in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Oct. 22-24.
South and North scratch heads over resumption of Mt. Kumgang tourism
South and North Korea are speeding up their efforts to find a solution to revive the imperiled Mt. Kumgang tourism project. On Oct. 28, the South Korean government made a proposal to the North to “hold working-level [director-general] talks at Mt. Kumgang at a convenient time for discussions on issues related to tourism at Mt. Kumgang, including those raised by the North.” A response to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s order on Oct. 23 to demolish related facilities “upon agreement with the relevant South Korean sectors,” this came three days after the North’s proposal on Oct. 23 for correspondence discussions and a visit to North Korea for the demolition on an agreed-upon date. If the talks do come to pass, they will be the first between South and North Korean authorities in more than 10 months since the second round of athletic subcommittee talks on Dec. 14 of last year.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
N. Korea refuses S. Korea’s suggestion for in-person meeting in one day
North Korea refused the South Korean government’s proposal to hold working-level talks to discuss the new development directions of Mount Kumgang’s tourism.
North Korea sent a notice signed by the Mount Kumgang International Tourist Bureau to the South Korean Ministry of Unification and Hyundai Asan via the inter-Korea liaison office in Kaesong on Tuesday morning, which proposed the “discussions over the removal of South Korean tourism facilities in Kumgang Mountains and its schedule to be conducted in written correspondence.” The Ministry of Unification explained that the notice did not mention the “new development directions of Kumgang Mountains’ tourism,” which was suggested to be discussed in working-level meetings by the South Korean government and Hyundai Asan on Monday.
HHI-DSME merger gets green light from Kazakhstan
Hyundai Heavy Industries Group (HHI) has been given a green light to acquire Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) in Kazakhstan. This is the first approval the shipbuilder has received for the merger. Hyundai plans to complete the tie-up by the first half of next year but opposition from labor unions and soured South Korea-Japan relations could act as a variable in the merger.
Samsung to build an entertainment complex in Saudi desert
Samsung Group will join an entertainment megaproject, “Qiddiya,” which will be built in Saudi Arabia. Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong has been focusing more on finding opportunities in the Middle East, meeting with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman three times this year, and it seems that his efforts have paid off.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Hologram Enables the “Eternal Testimony” on the Tragedy of the Comfort Women in the Japanese Military
A door has opened for people to go beyond time and space and talk with the elderly comfort women victims in the Japanese military. Using interactive artificial intelligence (A.I.) technology, people can now ask and listen to the answers given by the elderly victims. When you greet the elderly woman, who appears as a hologram, she answers, "Hello. Nice to meet you." It is a significant education tool, for you can personally ask questions, and it is also a method to permanently preserve the vivid testimony of the elderly women. Some believe this can be an alternative at a time when the number of surviving victims continues to diminish.
U.S. Pressure to Restore GSOMIA Is Inadequate
The United States has been pressing the South Korean government in connection to the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan and the Special Measures Agreement between South Korea and the U.S. David Stilwell, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs held a press conference in Tokyo on October 26 and said that the GSOMIA was "beneficial" to the U.S., South Korea and Japan and expressed his plans to ask the South Korean government to reconsider its decision to terminate the military information agreement. Stilwell also said that the U.S. was not in a position to mediate the conflicts between South Korea and Japan and argued that the two countries should not let an economic problem expand into a security issue.
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.
Maeil Business News Korea ( http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Samsung SDI Q3 OP drops 31.3% on yr amid ESS fire scare, upbeat on outlook
Samsung SDI Co., the battery making unit of South Korea’s Samsung Group, reported a 31.3 percent on-year fall in its operating profit for the third quarter as it grappled with the series of fires at its energy storage systems (ESS).
The company said in its regulatory filing Tuesday that its operating profit for the quarter ended September was 166 billion won ($142 million), down 31.3 percent from a year ago but up 5.5 percent from the previous three months.
Korean prosecutors indict heads of ride-hailing service Tada
South Korean prosecutors found the rental van-hailing service Tada illegal and indicted its managing chiefs, dealing another blow to the country’s ride-sharing business that has failed to take off due to multiple regulations and die-hard opposition from cab drivers.
Lee Jae-woong, chief executive of the car-sharing platform SoCar, and Park Jae-uk, chief executive of Value Creators & Company (VCNC), subsidiary of SoCar and operator of Tada, were indicted without detention on charges of illegally running a transportation business as a van rental service, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said Monday.
K-Bank devises Plan B for recapitalization by courting KT units
K-Bank hopes to gain much-needed capital fuel indirectly from its investor KT and normalize banking operation that has been lagging far behind its sole rival Kakao Bank before the third entry joins the internet banking market.
According to financial industry sources on Monday, K-Bank has recently completed a legal review of a plan to issue new shares to one of KT’s subsidiaries as part of its efforts to raise capital.
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