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Headlines, November 28, 2019

Thursday, November 28, 2019

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

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

N. Korea says it tested super-large multiple rocket launcher under leader's guidance
North Korea said Friday it successfully tested a super-large multiple rocket launcher's successive firing system under leader Kim Jong-un's guidance in the launch of two projectiles the previous day. On Thursday, South Korea's military said the North fired two projectiles from what is presumed to be a super-large multiple rocket launcher from Yeonpo in the country's eastern South Hamgyong Province toward the East Sea. The North's official Korean Central News Agency said the Academy of Defence Science conducted the drill to "finally examine the combat applicability" of the launcher. Kim expressed "great satisfaction" over the test results.

Seoul, Tokyo to hold high-level talks over bilateral trade row in late Dec.
South Korea and Japan will hold high-level talks with Japan in December, the first step toward resolving their bilateral trade row, Seoul's trade ministry said Friday. On Thursday, working-level trade officials from South Korea and Japan met in Seoul, apparently to discuss the schedule and agenda for director-general level talks. "Through the meeting, the two countries agreed to meet in Tokyo around the third week of December on export policies," South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement.

Moon, Mahathir agree on 'strategic partnership' between S. Korea, Malaysia
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad agreed Thursday to elevate relations between their countries to a "strategic partnership" next year, noting that bilateral ties have deepened in various fields, such as cutting-edge industries, energy, arms projects, health care and the environment. "Malaysia's Look East Policy and South Korea's New Southern Policy have complemented (each other) harmoniously," Moon told the prime minister at the start of their Cheong Wa Dae talks in Seoul, which pool reporters were allowed to cover.

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

N. Korea Says it Tested 'Super-Large' Multiple Rocket Launcher
North Korean state-run media said on Friday that the country successfully tested a "super-large" multiple rocket launcher's continuous firing system under leader Kim Jong-un's guidance the previous day. The Rodong Sinmun paper said that North Korea conducted the test for the final review of the launcher's combat capability, adding the weapons system's superiority and reliability have been confirmed through the continuous firing test.

S. Korea, Japan Hold Working-level Talks on Trade Row
South Korea and Japan reportedly held working-level talks on Thursday in a step towards resolving their trade disputes. The talks came after the two nations agreed to hold dialogue on Japan's export curbs against South Korea after Seoul conditionally put off the termination of their military information sharing pact last week.

CSAT to be Determining Factor for 40% of Admissions Spots at Major Seoul Universities
Major universities in Seoul will soon select at least 40 percent of their students primarily based on the results of the standardized college entrance exam. The Education Ministry announced the plan Thursday in an effort to enhance fairness in college admissions, explaining that it will be fully implemented by 2023.

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

Imports of Japanese beer in freefall on boycott
South Korean imports of Japanese beer tumbled more than 99 percent on-year in the past two months due to a boycott of Japanese products amid a bilateral trade row, data showed Friday. South Korea brought in Japanese beer worth US$38,000 in October, down 99.5 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea International Trade Association.

Seoul, Tokyo to hold high-level talks over bilateral trade row in late Dec.
South Korea and Japan will hold high-level talks with Japan in December, the first step toward resolving their bilateral trade row, Seoul's trade ministry said Friday. On Thursday, working-level trade officials from South Korea and Japan met in Seoul, apparently to discuss the schedule and agenda for director-general level talks.

N. Korea says it tested super-large multiple rocket launcher under leader's guidance
North Korea said Friday it successfully tested a super-large multiple rocket launcher's successive firing system under leader Kim Jong-un's guidance in the launch of two projectiles the previous day. On Thursday, South Korea's military said the North fired two projectiles from what is presumed to be a super-large multiple rocket launcher from Yeonpo in the country's eastern South Hamgyong Province toward the East Sea.

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

Korea, Malaysia to upgrade relations to strategic partnership
President Moon Jae-in and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad held a summit meeting in Seoul on Thursday, agreeing in principle to upgrade bilateral relations to that of strategic partners next year. At the summit, Moon praised Malaysia’s rapid economic growth and expanding South Korea-Malaysia relations, going on to express hopes for further cooperation.

N. Korea fires 2 unidentified projectiles into East Sea: JCS
North Korea fired two unidentified projectiles into the East Sea on Thursday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, in the latest in a series of military moves amid stalled denuclearization talks with the United States. The projectiles were fired from areas of Yeonpo in the country's eastern South Hamgyong Proince into the waters off the east coast at around 4:59 p.m., the JCS said in a release. No other details were immediately available, including the projectiles' type and flight range.

South Korea’s exports to grow 3.3% next year: KITA
South Korea’s exports are expected to rise 3.3 percent next year on the back of global economic recovery and rising memory chip prices, a local trade association said Thursday.
The Korea International Trade Association said exports are forecast to stand at $561 billion in 2020 with imports of $522 billion, growing 3.3 percent and 3.2 percent on-year, respectively.

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

Seoul will ask Beijing to end 'THAAD retaliation'
Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi will pay a visit here next week to discuss pending issues with his counterpart Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, the foreign ministry said Thursday.
"At the invitation of Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, China's State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit South Korea for two days from Dec. 4," an official ministry statement said.

North Korea fires two projectiles, apparently from super-large multiple rocket launcher
North Korea fired two projectiles from what is presumed to be a super-large multiple rocket launcher on Thursday, South Korea's military said, in the latest in a series of military moves amid stalled denuclearization talks with the United States. The projectiles were fired from Yeonpo in the country's eastern South Hamgyong Province into the waters off the east coast at around 4:59 p.m., the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a release.

LKP floor leader hit for asking US not to hold summit around elections
Na Kyung-won, floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP), has come under fire for allegedly asking Washington not to initiate a plan to hold another U.S.-North Korea summit around the time of next year's general elections in South Korea. Na said she was just explaining that North Korea-related policies could have a strong influence on voters, but other lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) and other minor parties have strongly criticized Na for putting her party's interests before national security and the broader goal of achieving peace on the Korean Peninsula.

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

Small Business Owners Get into Debt to Stay Afloat

The amount of loans taken out by small business owners increased a record 12.1 percent or W6.4 trillion in the third quarter of this year as small businesses desperately try to stay afloat (US$1=W1,178). Small businesses took out more loans to finance running costs rather than to expand facilities, demonstrating that most of them were simply trying to keep their head above water.

China 'Ready to Accept N.Korea as Nuclear Power'

China appears ready to accept North Korea as a nuclear power, according to a report by the Brookings Institution. The conservative think tank recommended that the U.S. should no longer rely on China to uphold sanctions against North Korea since Beijing has begun to deviate from the goal of North Korean denuclearization.

Seoul's Birthrate Dwindles to New Low

The average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime fell to a record-low 0.69 among Seoul residents in the third quarter of this year. Statistics Korea said Wednesday that 73,793 babies were born in the country from July to September of this year, down 8.3 percent compared to the same period of 2018.

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

Japan drawing up reports to have forced labor sites recognized as UNESCO sites
Sources say that an organization that the Japanese government has commissioned to carry out research for a report on Japan’s Meiji industrial revolution sites, which is supposed to be submitted to UNESCO by Dec. 1, has published previous reports that deny or downplay the conscription of Koreans for forced labor during Japan’s colonial occupation of Korea. This is aggravating concerns that a substantial amount of research by this organization, called the National Congress of Industrial Heritage, could appear in the “conservation status report,” a progress report that the Japanese government is submitting to UNESCO.

Scrambling for a solution to the forced labor issue
Various groups are hard at work to find a solution to the issue of Koreans into forced labor during Japan’s colonial occupation, with potential solutions including one proposed by South Korean National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang, another proposed by the South Korean government, and a third that’s being drafted by victims who are filing lawsuits for compensation. But Moon’s proposal, if it becomes law, could provoke a major backlash because of strong opposition from NGOs linked to the victims of forced labor.

Samsung Group planned to manipulate market prices ahead of Cheil/Samsung C&T merger
The Future Strategy Office (FSO), which previously served as the Samsung Group’s control tower, drew up plans for artificial manipulation of market prices ahead of the Cheil Industries/Samsung C&T merger in April 2015 in order to win support from the National Pension Service (NPS) and other shareholders, an internal document shows. The document appears to bear out allegations of group-level planning and stock price manipulation to pave the way for a merger benefiting the succession of Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong to management authority.

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

‘Slow-motion train wreck,” says former commander Blair about trilateral alliance
Former commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific region Dennis Blair compared the current situation of the shaky trilateral alliance among South Korea, the U.S., and Japan, which has been caused by the U.S.’ demands for a significant increase of South Korea’s defense cost share and Japan’s export regulations on South Korea, to a “slow-motion train wreck.” In his article published by the Hill, a media outlet specialized in the coverage of the U.S. Congress, on Wednesday (local time) under the title “Time for Japanese, Korean and American statesmanship,” the former commander said, “The current leaders of the three countries seem determined to push domestic political agendas to the point of deeply undermining their countries’ shared values and interests.”

Samsung opens paths for commercialization of light-emitting QLEDs
Samsung Electronics announced on Thursday that the company has proved the commercialization feasibility of quantum dot light-emitting diodes (QLEDs) that overcomes the limits of quantum dot (QD) materials. According to the electronics giant, the quantum efficiency of self-emitting QLEDs increased by 21.4% and the QLED lifetime extended to one million hours – the highest level in the industry – with the improved structure of QDs. The relevant study was published by Nature, the globally-renowned science journal.

Russian farmers give VR goggles to cows for milk test
Are the cows grazed on green fields in sunny environments more likely to produce healthier milk? An interesting experiment was conducted on a Russian farm to verify such a hypothesis. The catch is that the fact that the test didn’t take place on an open green field but employed a VR device as a tool for experiment. According to CNN, the Russian Ministry of Agriculture and Food conducted an experiment where milk cow grazing on the outskirts of Moscow are made to wear VR goggles offering visual images of an idyllic environment for the cattle.

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

"Compensation with No Apology from Japan Means No History, No Justice" Victims of Forced Labor Oppose Moon Hee-sang's Proposal

The victims of forced labor during the Japanese occupation expressed their opposition to the solution proposed by Moon Hee-sang, chairman of the National Assembly, and said, "An apology from Japan must come first." Chairman Moon had suggested that compensation be provided to the victims from donations from corporations and the people of both South Korea and Japan. On November 27, Yang Geum-deok (91), who was forced into labor at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries during the Japanese occupation said, "An apology by the Japanese government is important (in the issue of forced labor). If Japan has a conscience, it would talk about other things after it apologized." She further said, "I am not a beggar. I have done fine without that money.

Na Kyung-won Asks U.S. to "Refrain from NK-US Talks Before the Parliamentary Elections"

On November 27, it was confirmed that Liberty Korea Party floor leader Na Kyung-won (56, pictured) shared her concerns with the U.S. that if a summit between North Korea and the United States is held around the time of South Korea's parliamentary elections next April, the purpose of the summit could be distorted. A North Korea-U.S. summit before next year's parliamentary elections would work against the Liberty Korea Party, so her words were interpreted as a request to practically postpone any summit plans. This has triggered criticism of the major opposition party’s floor leader, for putting political interests--impact on the elections--before an important diplomatic event to resolve the North Korean nuclear problem.

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

Kia Motors shares up 1% on buyback plan to reward employees
Korea’s No. 2 car maker Kia Motors said its employee association will buy 300 billion won ($254 million) in treasury shares over the next three months, another boost to the stock following raving response to its latest sedan K5. According to the company on Wednesday, 15,768 Kia Motors workers, or 44.5 percent of the total payroll, signed up for the employee stock option plan, which amounts to 7,602,100 shares, about 1.9 percent of the outstanding shares. The carmaker’s employee stock association plans to buy the stocks as cheap as possible by considering external market variables.

BMW vows $2 bn purchase of Korean auto parts, premier 5 Series at Busan Auto Show
Global luxury car-making giant BMW Group promised commitment to the Korean market, keeping up near $2 billion purchase of auto parts from Korea next year as well. “The BMW Group recognizes Korea is one of the world’s power houses of high-end technology. It represents innovative thinking, technological progress and tremendous openness to new developments,” said Dr. Nicolas Peter, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG Finance., in a press conference held Wednesday at BWM Korea Driving Center in Incheon.

ST Pharm files IND to start phase 1 study of new colorectal cancer drug in U.S.
South Korea’s ST Pharm on Thursday announced an IND filing with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to initiate a phase 1 study of its investigational colorectal cancer drug STP1002. The study aims to evaluate the drug’s safety and efficacy in patients with colorectal cancer and other solid tumors. STP1002, a drug in a new class, inhibits tankyrase involved in the proliferation of cancer cells and is believed to treat patients with KRAS-mutant colorectal cancer who do not respond to existing therapy Erbitux.

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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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