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Headlines, November 19, 2019

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

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

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

U.S. appears to be reviewing options for success of N.K. talks: minister

The United States appears to be reviewing various options for the success of denuclearization negotiations with North Korea, Seoul's unification minister said Monday. Kim Yeon-chul made the remark to reporters after meeting with U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun in Washington. He declined to elaborate.

FTC begins process to sanction Naver over alleged breach of competition rules

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said Monday it has started a process to penalize Naver Corp., South Korea's biggest internet portal, over alleged abuse of its market dominance. The anti-trust watchdog sent the company the final report detailing its judgment on the alleged violation of fair competition rules in three different areas, Song Sang-min, a FTC director in charge of market oversight, said. He declined to give details about the specifics of the review.

S. Korea to grant smaller firms grace period on 52-hour policy

South Korea plans to apply a grace period for smaller firms in adopting the 52-hour workweek system, the labor minister said Monday, reflecting concerns over financial costs and a legislative deadlock at the National Assembly. "In the case (the policies) are not legislated, the government will push for all possible measures focusing on areas that (companies are) struggling within the extent of not harming the intent of the 52-hour workweek system," Lee Jae-kap, minister of employment and labor, said at a press briefing in the government complex city of Sejong.

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

S. Korea, US Hold Defense Cost-Sharing Negotiations

South Korea and the United States held a third round of negotiations in Seoul on Monday to renew their cost-sharing deal for stationing American troops on the Korean Peninsula. South Korea's chief negotiator Jeong Eun-bo and his U.S. counterpart James DeHart sat down together at 1 p.m. at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses.

N. Korea Repeats Calls for US to Drop 'Hostile Policy'

North Korea has repeated its calls for the United States to drop its "hostile" policy against it, saying that the U.S. should not even consider denuclearization negotiations before doing so. Kim Yong-chol, who led nuclear negotiations as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's counterpart, relayed the position Tuesday in a statement carried by the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency.

Unification Minister Says US Appears to be Reviewing Various Options for Successful Nuke Talks

Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said on Monday that the United States appears to be reviewing various options for the success of denuclearization negotiations with North Korea. Kim made the remark to reporters after meeting with U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun in Washington when asked to comment about North Korea's latest statement rejecting talks with the U.S.

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

N. Korea rejects nuclear talks before U.S. withdraws hostile policy

North Korea said Tuesday it has no interest in denuclearization negotiations with the United States unless Washington drops its "hostile" policy. Kim Yong-chol, who formerly led the negotiations as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's counterpart, issued the statement in response to Sunday's decision by South Korea and the U.S. to postpone military exercises in support of diplomatic efforts to denuclearize the North.

U.S. appears to be reviewing options for success of N.K. talks: minister

The United States appears to be reviewing various options for the success of denuclearization negotiations with North Korea, Seoul's unification minister said Monday. Kim Yeon-chul made the remark to reporters after meeting with U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun in Washington. He declined to elaborate.

Samsung's DRAM market share hits 2-year high in Q3: report

Samsung Electronics Co.'s share in the global DRAM market rose to the highest in two years in the third quarter on robust chip demand for servers and smartphones, a report showed Tuesday. The Korean tech giant's DRAM market share stood at 46.1 percent in the July-September period, the highest since the second quarter of 2017, according to market tracker DRAMeXchange.

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

N. Korea rejects nuclear talks before US withdraws hostile policy

North Korea said Tuesday it has no interest in denuclearization negotiations with the United States unless Washington drops its "hostile" policy. Kim Yong-chol, who formerly led the negotiations as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's counterpart, issued the statement in response to Sunday's decision by South Korea and the US to postpone military exercises in support of diplomatic efforts to denuclearize the North.

Trump says will 'strongly consider' testifying in impeachment probe

President Donald Trump said Monday he is "strongly" considering accepting a challenge from opposition Democrats to testify in his own impeachment investigation. After the speaker of the lower house, Nancy Pelosi, upped the ante by suggesting that Trump come forward to tell the "truth," the Republican president said he was keen.

Korean Air flight delayed after collision at Frankfurt Airport

Korean Air flight KE 905 collided with another plane on the taxiway in Frankfurt, Germany, on Saturday, delaying the subsequent flight bound for Incheon, the air carrier said Sunday. The incident involving the flight that departed from Incheon occurred Saturday at 6:20 p.m. (local time). While waiting on the taxiway after landing at Frankfurt Airport, the airplane’s horizontal stabilizer located at its right wing crashed into the end of an Air Namibia’s plane left wing.

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

US backs off bit to entice NK to nuke talks

A senior North Korean diplomat arrived in Russia, Monday evening, for consultations with officials there over the possible resumption of denuclearization talks with the United States. "On Nov. 18, at Sunan International Airport Ambassador A. Matsegora saw off member of the State Affairs Commission of DPRK, First Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK Choe Son-hui who left on a visit to Russia," the Russian embassy said in a post on its official Facebook page.

UN special rapporteur to visit Seoul to protest against hurried deportation of NK sailors

A United Nations expert on human rights plans to visit Seoul next month, to file the organization's "low-key" protest over the government's recent decision to deport two North Korean fishermen, a high-ranking diplomatic source said Monday.

'US adding pressure on Japan to resolve GSOMIA'

Washington is putting pressure on Japan to present the "right conditions" for the renewal of an intelligence-sharing pact with South Korea, according to South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo. But it's highly unlikely Japan will withdraw its trade restrictions imposed on South Korean companies, as Tokyo is insisting that Seoul Korea should "do something" about the South Korean Supreme Court's rulings which ordered Japanese companies to compensate surviving South Koreans forced to work for them during wartime.

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

Koreans Spend More on Eating out

There has been a drop in spending on home-cooked food and children's education but an increase in healthcare and eating-out costs due to the low-birth rate and aging society. According to a report by KEB Hana Bank on Sunday, people have cut down on expenses on home cooking but spent more on eating out. Groceries took up the largest proportion or 27 percent of household expenditure in 1990, but that plummeted to 14 percent in 2018. But spending on eating out and holidays increased nearly three times from eight percent to 14 percent during the same period.

N.Korea Keeps up Rhetoric Over S.Korea-U.S. Air Drills

North Korea conducted its own aerial maneuvers with fully armed Mig-29 and Su-25 fighter jets right before the U.S. and South Korea decided to postpone their own joint air defense drill. The North's official Korean Central News Agency on Saturday reported that leader Kim Jong-un attended a combat flight contest. He oversaw North Korean fighter pilots "conduct bombing flight and firing flight under the command of the formation flight."

Japan OKs Liquid Hydrogen Fluoride Shipment to Korea

Tokyo has recently approved the first export of liquid hydrogen fluoride to Korea, four months after it imposed export curbs on three high-tech materials. The materials -- hydrogen fluoride, photo resists and fluorinated polyimides -- are essential in chipmaking. Until recently no shipment of liquid hydrogen fluoride was approved under the tougher rules, though Japan has approved shipments of gaseous hydrogen fluoride and the other materials since it tightened the export controls.

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

S. Korea, US postpone scaled-down joint air exercise

The South Korean and US militaries ultimately decided to postpone a scaled-down exercise they’d planned for this month to replace Vigilant Ace, a joint air exercise of larger scale. The decision is aimed at providing military support for diplomatic efforts to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula and denuclearization, including North Korea-US negotiations.

How postponing joint military exercises opens path to dialogue

The sudden announcement on Nov. 17 by top South Korean and US defense officials that this year’s joint air exercise will be postponed can be regarded as a political decision by the two countries’ presidents based on a consensus transcending their mutual differences. At heart, both presidents are determined to somehow sustain the Korean Peninsula Peace Process, which has had numerous ups and downs since the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

S. Korea, Japan hold bilateral defense minister talks during ASEAN meeting in Bangkok

South Korea and Japan held bilateral defense minister talks in Bangkok but failed to make meaningful progress in bridging their differences ahead of the scheduled termination of their General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) at midnight on Nov. 23, reports say. The meeting of the two sides’ defense ministers was the first in five months following a June meeting in Singapore to resolve issues concerning a patrol aircraft incident, as well as the first since Taro Kono was named as Japan’s defense minister.

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

Naver, SoftBank to form a joint venture from next month

Lee Hae-jin, the founder of South Korea’s biggest portal site Naver, and Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank, are officially joining forces to claim the hegemony of global ICT industry currently dominated by America and China. On Monday, the two companies made an announcement that Line and Yahoo Japan, the subsidiaries of Naver and SoftBank respectively, reached a merger agreement, which will start in earnest next month.

No. of mountain goats on Mt. Worak increases from 22 to 100

About 100 mountain goats, which are designated as first-class endangered wild animal, are believed to live on the Worak Mountain that is spanning both North Chungcheong Province and North Gyeongsang Province. The Korea National Park Service (KNPS) said on Wednesday that a herd of mountain goats, whose number is sufficient to survive independently, have been confirmed to inhabit the area based on its research since 2017.

S. Korea, US decide to postpone upcoming combined air exercises

South Korea and the United States have postponed their combined air exercises set for later this month despite the opposition of working-level officials, reportedly following the decision of U.S. President Donald Trump. “I am the only one who can get you where you have to be,” Trump tweeted Sunday (local time), apparently addressing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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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/)

Naver’s Line, Yahoo Japan to become one family to fight US, China on internet front

Naver Monday pronounced an engagement between its Japan-focused messenger operator Line Corp. and Yahoo Japan Corp. in a stunning match of a South Korean and Japanese entity at a time ties between the neighbor countries are at its worst to form a dream Asian team against multinational giants like Google and Apple as well as Chinese names.

Korea mulls pushing back 52-hour workweek enforcement for midsize companies

South Korea is mulling granting a waiver period of more than six months to midsize companies subject to the new statutory 52-hour workweek next year, as well as widening the exceptions for working overtime. The government will provide “adequate” grace period for companies with 50-299 employees so they can adapt to the new reduced workweek once it becomes effective on Jan. 1, Minister of Employment and Labor Lee Jae-gap said in a briefing Monday.

South Korea to double down green drive for emission cut commitment

Revving up to carbon-reducing commitment, South Korea plans to spur early commercialization of next-generation solar power generation and double the driving range of electric vehicles per single charge by 2030. It also laid out plans to reduce probability of nuclear-related safety accidents by one hundredth of current level and develop technology to lower fine dust emissions from coal fire by more than 90 percent.

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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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