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Headlines, November 18, 2019

Monday, November 18, 2019

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

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

Trump urges N.K. leader to 'act quickly,' 'get deal done'

U.S. President Donald Trump urged North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Sunday to "act quickly" and reach a deal with him on dismantling the regime's nuclear weapons program. Trump's tweet came as denuclearization negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled since the two leaders' second summit in February ended without a deal. The U.S. president suggested that they meet again soon.

Declines in DRAM prices to slow down in Q4: report

The pace of the fall in DRAM prices is expected to slow down in the fourth quarter on a gradual recovery in global demand, a report showed Saturday. The average sales prices of DRAM are anticipated to shrink 5 percent in the October-December period compared with a year ago, according to industry tracker DRAMeXchange.

Samsung Electronics' first labor union under umbrella group sets sail

Samsung Electronics Co.'s first labor union under a major South Korean umbrella union group set sail Saturday. The union, under the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU), submitted a labor union establishment application to the government Monday and earned the approval two days later.

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

Trump Urges N. Korean Leader to 'Act Quickly' to Reach Deal

U.S. President Donald Trump urged North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Sunday to "act quickly" and reach a deal with him to dismantle the North's nuclear weapons program. Trump said on Twitter that he is the only one who can get Kim where he has to be. Trump added that Kim should "act quickly and get the deal done," and hinted at a possible third summit by ending the tweet "See you soon!"

S. Korea, US Agree to Postpone Joint Air Exercises

South Korea and the United States have decided to postpone their joint military exercises set for this month. A Defense Ministry official in Seoul said that the decision was made on Sunday during a bilateral meeting between Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and his American counterpart Mark Esper in the Thai capital of Bangkok on the sidelines of the 6th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministers' Meeting-Plus.

Top Office Hopes for Resumption of US-N. Korea Talks

The presidential office has expressed hope that North Korea and the United States will soon resume working-level negotiations and make substantial progress towards the North's denuclearization and establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula. A senior top office official issued the position on Sunday when asked to comment on a decision by the defense chiefs of South Korea and the U.S. to postpone joint air exercises this month.

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

S. Korea's trade deficit with Japan tipped to hit 16-year low this year

South Korea's trade deficit with Japan is expected to sink to a 16-year low in 2019 due to a tumble in imports, data showed Monday. Seoul posted a trade deficit of US$16.37 billion with Tokyo in the first 10 months of this year, down 20.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from the industry and trade ministry and the Korea International Trade Association.

S. Korea, U.S. to hold new round of defense cost-sharing negotiations

South Korea and the United States were set to hold a new round of negotiations in Seoul on Monday over the sharing of the cost for the upkeep of American troops on the peninsula, officials here said. South Korea's chief negotiator, Jeong Eun-bo, and his U.S. counterpart, James DeHart, will lead the two-day negotiations, with the allies still far apart on key issues, such as Seoul's total share and what should be included in the cost-sharing deal, called the Special Measures Agreement (SMA).

Moon says he will discuss Korea peace with ASEAN leaders in Busan

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Monday he hopes for "in-depth discussions" about the Korea peace process with the leaders of 10 Southeast Asian countries during an upcoming group summit to be held in Busan, calling them "reliable friends and advisers" regarding the issue. "There still remain critical junctures for peace on the Korean Peninsula," he pointed out in a contribution to the Asia News Network (ANN), a coalition of two dozen major news organizations based in South Korea and 20 other Asian nations, including the ASEAN members.

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

Coming challenges call for stronger Korea-ASEAN ties

President Moon Jae-in contributed this article to The Korea Herald and Asia News Network member newspapers on the occasion of the 2019 ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit slated for Nov. 25-27 in Busan. – Ed. Next week, November 25-27, the 2019 ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit and the 1st Mekong-Republic of Korea Summit will be held in Korea.

Kim watches airborne landing training, urges improved war preparedness

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has supervised an airborne landing training, emphasizing the need to improve the country's war preparedness, Pyongyang's official news agency said Monday. Kim's "field guidance" was reported a day after South Korea and the United States decided to put off their wartime air exercises to encourage North Korea to return to the negotiation table for its denuclearization.

S. Korea's trade deficit with Japan tipped to hit 16-year low this year

South Korea's trade deficit with Japan is expected to sink to a 16-year low in 2019 due to a tumble in imports, data showed Monday. Seoul posted a trade deficit of $16.37 billion with Tokyo in the first 10 months of this year, down 20.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from the industry and trade ministry and the Korea International Trade Association.

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

South Korea, US, Japan defense chiefs meet amid North Korea, GSOMIA tension

South Korea, the United States and Japan held a trilateral meeting at the Avani Plus Riverside Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, on the sidelines of the 6th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers' Meeting-Plus (ADMM-PLUS). The defense ministers from the three countries discussed the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), a bilateral military intelligence sharing pact between Seoul and Tokyo that is about to expire, and the North Korea nuclear issue.

Big increase in defense cost sharing could backfire on US

A whopping increase in South Korea's share of defense costs mostly for the maintenance of some 28,500 United States Forces Korea troops, could potentially backfire on Washington as the increase could weaken the U.S.-South Korea security alliance and lead to Seoul's spending less on U.S.-manufactured weapons.

Moon to face tough questions on economy, diplomacy

President Moon Jae-in's upcoming appearance on a live televised question and answer session is generating a lot of public interest amid the wide range of challenges he is facing in the latter half of his presidency. Cheong Wa Dae has underlined that the MBC program, which will start at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, is different from previous media events in that there has been no scenario prepared. The audience will consist of 300 applicants who registered on the MBC website. The moderator is Bae Cheol-soo, who is a well-known radio program host and singer.

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

Naver's Line and Yahoo Japan Eye Merger

Naver founder Lee Hae-jin and Softbank chief Masayoshi Son are hoping to join hands in a merger of Lee's messaging giant Line and Son's Yahoo Japan. A final agreement is expected within this month. Line is Japan's No. 1 mobile messaging service with more than 80 million users, while Yahoo, though flagging elsewhere, is the country's top Internet portal used by more than 50 million people.

Opening Coffee Shops No Longer Viable

Opening coffee shops is no longer a viable option for retirees and others who dream of running a cozy small business, a report by a major bank suggests. According to the report by KB Kookmin Bank, coffee shops in Korea earn an average of just W10.5 million a year and the closure rate stands at a whopping 14.1 percent which compares badly even with other lazy business ideas like fried-chicken restaurants (US$1=W1,168).

Moon Snubs Otto Warmbier's Parents

Cheong Wa Dae has refused a request from a civic group here for a meeting between President Moon Jae-in and the parents of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who was murdered by the North Korean regime. Cheong Wa Dae claimed Moon is busy, but there are suspicions that he is trying to pacify the North Korean regime at all costs and does not want to be seen to sympathize with its victims.

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

S. Koreans now consider finances, insurances a basic life necessity

In Korea, the traditional saying holds that the essential needs for human existence of “clothing, food, and shelter,” in that order. Now, for the first time ever, “finances/insurance” has been named in place of clothing as one of the three areas of life South Koreans view as most important. Analysts attributed the shift to growing anxieties over the future due to an aging population and low interest rates at a time when rising income levels have more or less resolved more basic needs.

S. Korea continues to dawdle in ratifying core ILO conventions

A month has passed since a motion to ratify key conventions of the International Labor Organization and a revision to the Labor Relations Act were submitted to the National Assembly. Since bills aren’t debated while the National Assembly is auditing government agencies, lawmakers can’t be criticized for dawdling that whole time. But more than two weeks after the audit concluded, the Environment and Labor Committee, the committee responsible for these bills, hasn’t even decided when to convene its bill review subcommittee.

Over 49,000 adoptees in US left without citizenship

Born in South Korea in 1982 and adopted by a US family in 1984, 37-year-old Leah has lived in the US for 35 years. After finishing school, she joined the US Navy and served for the next 10 years. In 2007, her unit was deployed to Iraq, but she was unable to go. Traveling to Iraq would require her to receive security clearance, and she did not have US citizenship. The reason she did not is because her foster parents divorced shortly after adopting her without finishing her naturalization procedures.

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

Growing calls for change of generation in political parties

Two former and incumbent senior lawmakers of the ruling and opposition parties announced on Sunday that they will not run in next year’s general elections, stirring up controversy in the political circle. Those lawmakers include Kim Se-yeon, 47, three-term lawmaker of the Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and the leader of the main opposition party’s think tank, and Im Jong-seok, 53, former Chief of Staff for President Moon Jae-in.

Hyundai Motor introduces car sharing service venture in LA

Hyundai Motor Group has launched a future mobility service venture company in the U.S. The South Korean company signed the memorandum of understanding with the City of Los Angeles to launch MoceanLab, its U.S.-based mobility service venture company, on Thursday (local time) at the CoMotion LA, a mobility exhibition organized by the city.

More people have 2 or more jobs since introduction of 52-hour workweek

Jeong, a 35-year-old worker who is earning a yearly wage of 22 million won (18,850 U.S. dollars) from a small company, has been also working part time at a convenience store since September. As his company started 52-hour workweek (limiting maximum work hours to 52 hours) on a trial basis, before the system will take effect in earnest for companies with less than 300 employees next year, he saw his overtime pay significantly decline.

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

NK Kim Myong-gil, "Biegun Conveyed Wish to Meet for Talks in December. Willing to Sit with the U.S."

On November 14, Kim Myong-gil, a "roving ambassador" of the North Korean foreign ministry and the chief negotiator for North Korea in denuclearization talks with the U.S. said, "If we can resolve the issue with negotiations, we are ready to meet with the U.S. at any time and place." In a statement released this day, Kim said, "Recently, the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, through a third country, conveyed wishes to meet again for negotiations in December," according to the Korea Central News Agency.

U.S. Defense Secretary Esper Mentions Possible Adjustments to the ROK-US Joint Exercises

On November 13 (local time), U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (pictured) said that he would adjust the training posture as required by diplomatic affairs and suggested possible changes to the ROK-US joint military exercises. Secretary Esper mentioned a flexible approach shortly after the spokesperson for the North Korean State Affairs Commission made a comment condemning the joint aerial exercises of South Korea and the U.S.

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

S. Korean lenders’ NP drops in 2019 due to high labor costs, less interest gain

South Korea’s four major lenders – KB Kookmin, Shinhan, Woori, and KEB Hana – are expected to post a fall in net profit this year for the first time in four years due to a rise in labor costs on top of a reduced interest gain in a low-interest rate environment. According to an analysis by Maeil Business Newspaper on Sunday of third-quarter disclosures of four commercial banks KB Kookmin, Shinhan, Woori, and KEB Hana, the lenders spent a total 4.3 trillion won ($3.7 billion) as payroll in the first nine months of this year, topping the previous high of 4.2 trillion won recorded in the same period of 2015.

Doosan Bobcat opens new global control tower in U.S.

South Korea’s compact construction equipment maker Doosan Bobcat Inc. under Doosan Group has opened a global control tower in Minnesota, the United States, in a bid to enhance its competitiveness in the global market. According to the company on Sunday, Doosan Bobcat opened Global Cooperation Center that will serve the role of a “control tower” for the regional offices across the world including those in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America, said the company.

Korea-themed fusion cuisines recognized in 2020 Michelin Guide

Fusion cuisines combining western cooking and Korean culinary tradition continued to gain recognition by Michelin Guide in its 2020 gourmet guidebook for dining in Seoul. The world’s popular guidebook for gourmet gave stars to total 31 restaurants in Seoul in its 2020 edition, adding five more to the last year’s list.

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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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