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Headlines, November 12, 2019

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

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

The Korea Post (http://www.koreapost.com/)

U.S. JCS chairman addresses questions about troop presence in S. Korea, Japan

U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley has said the American public poses questions about why the United States should station troops in South Korea and Japan and why the Asian allies can't pay for their own defense, according to a Pentagon account of his recent conversation with reporters. Milley made the remark Sunday as he departed for the Indo-Pacific region, his first overseas trip since taking office in September.

Refiners brace for IMO 2020 with desulfurization, upgraded facilities

South Korean refiners said Tuesday they're ready to cope with new International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations on sulfur content in marine fuel with desulfurization and upgraded facilities. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, the IMO's new rule will go into effect limiting the sulfur cap of marine fuel to 0.5 percent from the current 3.5 percent. To comply with IMO 2020, vessel operators need to either install exhaust gas cleaning systems, also called scrubbers, or use clean fuels such as low-sulfur fuel oil, marine gas oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

S. Korea recaptures No. 1 spot in shipbuilding orders in Oct.

South Korea recaptured the top spot in global shipbuilding orders last month, industry data showed Tuesday, on the back of its dominance in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier market. In October, local shipyards, led by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., won orders totaling 1.29 million compensated gross tons (CGTs) to build 17 ships, accounting for 86 percent of the orders placed around the globe, according to London-based Clarkson Research Services Ltd., the world's leading provider of data for the shipping and shipbuilding industries.

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

N. Korea Demands US Implement Singapore Summit Agreement

North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations on Monday urged the United States to implement last year's agreement between the leaders of the two nations, accusing the U.S. of "political and military provocations." Ambassador Kim Song made the call during a speech at a UN General Assembly meeting on the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) in New York.

Kyodo: S. Korea, Japan Defense Chiefs' Meeting Being Arranged

South Korea and Japan are reportedly making final arrangements for their defense ministers to hold talks in mid-November in Thailand as a bilateral military information sharing deal is set to expire on November 22. Quoting a government source in Tokyo, Japan's Kyodo News reported on Monday that Japan is making final arrangements with South Korea to hold the talks on the sidelines of the annual ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting-Plus, which is set for November 16 to 19 in Bangkok.

Japan Argues Comfort Women Were Not Sex Slaves

An annual report published this year by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against using the expression "sex slaves" to refer to the so-called “comfort women.” Coming from an official government document, the statement is brewing controversy. It was confirmed Monday that the ministry’s 2019 Diplomatic Bluebook stipulates that “sex slave” is not an accurate expression and therefore should not be used.

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

S. Korea not considering delaying GSOMIA termination: defense ministry

South Korea is not considering postponing the termination of the soon-to-expire military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan, the defense ministry said Monday. The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) between South Korea and Japan is to expire on Nov. 23, following Seoul's decision in August to end it after Japan announced export curbs on Seoul, citing security concerns.

Moon vows unswayed push for peace, innovation, fairness in remaining presidency

Laying out a vision for the latter half of his presidency, President Moon Jae-in said Monday he will make constant efforts to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula, foster innovative and inclusive growth as well as enhance the level of fairness in South Korea. He described his 2 1/2 years of presidency so far as a period of "transformation" for the country to overcome the past and move toward a new future.

Prosecution files additional charges against ex-justice minister's wife

State prosecutors filed additional charges against the arrested wife of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk on Monday as they apparently prepare to summon Cho for questioning in connection with alleged irregularities by his family. Chung Kyung-sim, a professor, was indicted on 14 counts related to her daughter's college admission and her dubious investment in a private equity fund (PEF).

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

Jim Rogers still optimistic about investing in N. Korea

Jim Rogers, the Singapore-based US investor and chairman of Rogers Holdings, said he was still optimistic about investing in North Korea even after the country’s leader Kim Jong-un ordered the removal of all South Korean facilities from the Kumgangsan resort. “I’ve never met the man so I don’t know what he thinks, but I speculated that maybe, what he was doing was part of a negotiation ploy,” Rogers said in a telephone interview with The Korea Herald on Sunday.

North Korea assails US, South Korea and UN nuclear agency

North Korea on Monday accused the United States of "political and military provocations" and South Korea of "double-dealing behavior." North Korea's UN Ambassador Kim Song made the accusations in a speech to a General Assembly meeting on the International Atomic Energy Agency, which he accused of "ignorance of the prevailing reality of the Korean peninsula."

S. Korea beats US to open Super Round

South Korea defeated the United States 5-1 at an Olympic baseball qualifying tournament in Japan on Monday to inch closer to a spot in the 2020 Summer Games. Designated hitter Kim Jae-hwan launched a three-run home run in the first for South Korea, who added a couple of insurance runs in the seventh to claim its opening game of the Super Round at the World Baseball Softball Confederation Premier12 at Tokyo Dome in the Japanese capital.

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

Moon hints at terminating GSOMIA

President Moon Jae-in hinted at officially terminating an intel-sharing pact with Japan unless Tokyo withdraws its earlier decision to remove Seoul from its list of most trusted business partners, an official at the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), said Monday.

"During Sunday's dinner meeting with chiefs of the major five political parties at Cheong Wa Dae, President Moon told them Seoul's earlier decision not to renew the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan was a matter of principle," a DPK official said, adding DPK Chairman Rep.

Cambodia plays pivotal role for inaugural Mekong-Korea summit

Cambodia has many reasons to see the inaugural Mekong-Republic of Korea (ROK) Summit on Nov. 27 as a sign that it is right on track in expanding its presence in ASEAN-South Korea relations. Proposed by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, the summit will follow the broader ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit from Nov. 25 to 26. The meetings will be held in Busan, where all 10 ASEAN leaders will celebrate 30 years of ASEAN-South Korea ties.

Hong Kong police shoot protester, igniting renewed fury

A Hong Kong policeman shot a masked protester in the torso on Monday morning, igniting clashes across the city and renewed fury towards the force as crowds took to the streets to block roads and hurl insults at officers. The shooting, which was broadcast live on Facebook, is the latest escalation in more than five months of pro-democracy protests that have engulfed the international financial hub. Footage showed a police officer drawing a pistol in the district of Sai Wan Ho as he tried to detain a masked person at a junction that had been blocked by protesters.

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

Long-Term Unemployment Soars

The number of people who have been unemployed for more than three months has increased steadily over the last six years, according to a study. The Bank of Korea on Tuesday said long-term unemployed people, who accounted for 36.1 percent or 300,000 of all unemployed people in 2013, multiplied to reach 45.9 percent or 500,000 last year.

Private Tuition Spending Soars Despite Gov't Pledges

Spending on private crammers in Korea has soared to a record high despite government pledges to provide decent public education for all. According to figures released by the Ministry of Education in March this year, per-capita private education spending in 2018 reached W291,000, the highest since the government began tallying such data in 2007 (US$1=W1,158).

Korea's Car Production Plummets

Korean automakers are expected to produce fewer than 4 million cars this year for the first time since the global financial crisis in 2009. According to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association on Sunday, the country's five automakers produced 3.27 million vehicles from January to October, down 0.4 percent on-year. Their monthly average production has been below 320,000 cars this year.

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

National security advisor says GSOMIA will be terminated unless Japan withdraws export controls

South Korea’s national security advisor commented publicly about South Korea and Japan’s General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), which is scheduled to be terminated at 12:01 am on Nov. 23. “GSOMIA is an issue for South Korea and Japan to resolve, an issue that’s completely unrelated to the South Korea-US alliance. If South Korea-Japan relations are normalized, the South Korean government is willing to consider extending GSOMIA,” said Chung Eui-Yong, director of the Blue House National Security Office.

Workers rally in Seoul to protest lack of fundamental progress in S. Korean labor laws

On the afternoon of Nov. 9, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) organized the National Workers’ Rally at Yeouido Street in the Yeongdeungpo District of Seoul, to honor the 49th anniversary of the death of Jeon Tae-il, which falls on Nov. 13. Jeon Tae-il was a textile worker who set himself on fire to protest poor working conditions in 1970.

N. Korean smartphones now available with facial recognition and fingerprint scanners

Amid growth in the North Korean smartphone market, the latest models are reportedly being upgraded with face and fingerprint scanners. On Nov. 9, North Korean radio broadcaster Voice of Unification introduced listeners to a smartphone called the Phurun Hanul (“Blue Sky”). The smartphone is manufactured by the Phurun Hanul Corporation, which was established in 2015 under North Korea’s Ministry for the Electronics Industry.

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

Hong Kong police fires live rounds at protesters

A Hong Kong police officer shot a 21-year-old protester in the stomach with a live round at 7 a.m. Monday in the presence of a news camera. The protester received a surgery but reportedly is in a critical condition. According to a CNN report, a police officer was scuffling with a protester on a crosswalk when another protester wearing black clothes and a black cap with a black face mask approached him.

Two N. Korean fishermen expressed intent to defect in writing

The two North Korean fishermen accused of killing 16 fellow crew members on a squid fishing boat before arriving in South Korea, reportedly drew up documents in their own handwriting to express an intent to defect on the day of arrest before they were sent back to the North. Controversies are expected to rise over the government’s decision to deport the two men against their will expressed in written form.

Hyundai Motor develops the world’s first road-noise control technology

Hyundai Motor Group has developed the world’s first system that uses sound waves to keep out the road noise and will apply it to the Genesis SUV GV80 due to be launched this month. The Korean automaker announced Monday that it has commercialized the Road-noise Active Noise Control (RANC) system after six years of efforts and applied for patents on its core technologies in South Korea and the United States. The new system drastically reduces the noise caused by the friction between tiers and the surface of the road.

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

"Recalls Memories of a Student who Died During the Pro-Democracy Movement in Korea" Support for Hong Kong Demonstration Spreads in Korea

Support for the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong continues in major city centers and universities. Support for Hong Kong citizens is spreading after the death of a protestor during the crackdown by the Hong Kong police. The opposition from Chinese students and tourists also intensified. On the afternoon of November 10, Citizens Supporting Democracy in Hong Kong held a rally for Hong Kong citizens in front of Hongik University Station on Seoul subway line 2.

Chung Eui-yong, "Willing to Review Extension of GSOMIA If Relations Between Korea and Japan Are Restored"

On November 10, when a reporter asked, "If an agreement is not reached in the denuclearization negotiations by the end of this year--the deadline set by North Korea--do you think there is a possibility of North Korea changing its attitude toward the talks and of the political situation on the Korean Peninsula deteriorating?" Chung Eui-yong, chief of the Cheong Wa Dae National Security Office said, "We are preparing for various contingencies."

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

Korea’s wireless carriers okayed to consolidate with cable players

Economies of scale have been achieved in Korea’s pay TV market to give local players stronger defense against foreign invasion after two mega mergers have been cleared by local antitrust authorities following a lengthy deliberation. The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) on Sunday gave conditional approval to SK Broadband Inc., a subsidiary of the country’s top mobile carrier SK Telecom Co., to combine with t-broad, the country’s No. 2 cable TV operator, in a deal worth 4.7 trillion won ($4.05 billion).

K-OTC trading volume hits record high, driven by popular bio stocks

South Korea’s over-the-counter (OTC) market has attracted investors with growing interest in hot bio stocks such as Vivozon, whose investigational non-opioid painkiller is on track for regulatory approval with new clinical data about to be released in the U.S. The private equity market for unlisted companies achieved a milestone by surpassing 2 trillion won ($1.72 billion) in cumulative transaction value in September. On Nov. 5, daily trading value rose to a record 15.8 billion won.

Honestbee’s crisis nearly ends, early investor Brian Koo says

Honestbee, a Singapore-based grocery delivery startup, is on track to attract additional investment after striking a stock-conversion deal with investors who chipped in $170 million in convertible notes, said Brian Koo, one of Honestbee’s earliest investors, declaring “its crisis is almost cleared up.”

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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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