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Headlines, December 2, 2019

Monday, December 2, 2019

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

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

Samsung to roll out Galaxy Fold in more countries

Samsung Electronics Co. is planning to launch the Galaxy Fold in more countries, including Brazil, New Zealand and Chile, as its first foldable device draws stronger-than-expected market response, industry sources said Sunday.

According to the sources, the world's largest smartphone maker is considering releasing the device in some 30 countries by February next year. The tech giant has already rolled out the Galaxy Fold in 29 countries, including South Korea, the United States, Japan and France.

Investigator believed to be involved in election-meddling row found dead

An investigator who worked at the presidential office was found dead Sunday, police said, amid a prosecution probe into alleged attempts by Cheong Wa Dae officials to influence last year's local elections.

The official, who was dispatched to the civil affairs office from the prosecution, was found dead at an office in southern Seoul, according to police.

S. Korea confirms 34th wild boar infected with African swine fever

A wild boar found dead near the border with North Korea has tested positive for African swine fever (ASF), authorities said Sunday, bringing the number of such cases to 34 in South Korea.

The wild boar was caught by a joint team of soldiers and civilian hunters in Paju, northwest of Seoul, earlier this week, the National Institute of Environmental Research said.

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

US Flies Reconnaissance Plane over Korean Peninsula

A U.S. reconnaissance plane reportedly flew above the Korean Peninsula two days after a North Korean rocket launcher test.

According to private aviation tracker Aircraft Spots on Sunday, a U.S. Air Force U-2S plane was spotted some 15-thousand-240 meters above the Seoul metropolitan area, northern Gangwon Province and central Chungcheong Province on Saturday.

Former Presidential Official Linked to Political Scandal Found Dead

An investigator who worked at the presidential office was found dead on Sunday amid an investigation into allegations that the top office interfered in a mayoral election last year.

The official, who was dispatched to the civil affairs office from the prosecution, was reportedly found dead at an office in southern Seoul. He apparently left a note to his family and police are working to determine an exact cause of death.

Seoul City to Fine High-emission Cars in Downtown

The Seoul city government will fine drivers of cars that emit large volumes of carbon dioxide in central Seoul starting Sunday as part of efforts to curb air pollution.

Owners of old diesel or gasoline vehicles with the lowest emission control grade 5 will be fined 250-thousand won or about 210 U.S. dollars when they drive in the city's so-called Green Transport Zone.

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

Chief negotiator in defense cost-sharing talks with U.S. departs for Washington

South Korea will strive to strike a "mutually acceptable" defense cost-sharing deal with the United States, though the allies might miss the end-of-year deadline, the top South Korean negotiator said Monday.

Jeong Eun-bo, Seoul's chief negotiator for the Special Measures Agreement (SMA), made the remarks as he left for Washington to meet with his U.S. counterpart, James DeHart of the State Department, for a fourth round of the negotiations slated for Tuesday through Wednesday (U.S. time).

U.S. again flies spy aircraft over S. Korean capital areas: aviation tracker

A U.S. reconnaissance plane flew above the Korean Peninsula, an aviation tracker said Monday, on an apparent mission to monitor North Korea amid concerns the communist nation could undertake additional military provocations after last week's short-range rocket firings.

The plane, believed to be a RC-135W Ribet Joint, was spotted flying in the skies above South Korea's Yellow Sea and capital areas "on task over the Korean Peninsula," Aircraft Spots posted on Twitter.

U.S. beef imports at record high in Korea's imported beef market

Beef imported from the United States increased significantly to hit a share of over 50 percent of South Korea's imported beef market this year, a trade promotion agency said Monday.

South Korea imported 209,034 tons of U.S. beef in the January-October period, up 7.9 percent from 193,685 tons tallied during the same period a year earlier, according to data from the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).

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

Man claims innocence, seeks to overturn conviction in 1980s murder

CHEONGJU, North Chungcheong Province -- He was 22 years old when police accused him of rape and murder of a child in July 1989. He served 19 1/2 years of the life term he was handed before being granted parole in 2009. At 53, he is bringing the case back to court to overturn the 30-year-old conviction.

S. Korea's Nov. consumer price growth turns positive

South Korea's consumer prices rose 0.2 percent on-year in November, marking the first gain in four months, the statistics agency said Monday.

The consumer price index stood at 104.87 in November, compared with 104.71 for the same month last year, Statistics Korea said in a statement.

Due process ignored in deporting North Korean fishermen’

The two North Korean fishermen were suspected of fleeing to the South on a fishing boat after killing 16 of their colleagues. In defending the decision, South Korea’s Unification Ministry cited concern for the safety of the South Korean public.

The government’s swift expulsion of the North Koreans has also drawn criticism from local human rights groups and experts, who say that Seoul failed to protect the two North Koreans despite a constitutional mandate to do so. They also argue that Seoul violated the international convention on torture.

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

Companies give National Assembly failing grade

Eight out of 10 firms in Korea gave a failing grade to the National Assembly when assessing its policymaking efforts, a survey by the Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) showed Sunday.

According to the poll of 300 domestic companies, the firms gave an average 1.66 points on a scale of zero to four when rating the economic legislation of the current 20th National Assembly.

Gov't under fire for standing idle over deportation of NK defectors in Vietnam

The government is facing mounting criticism for doing nothing about 10 North Korean defectors who were apprehended in Vietnam and immediately deported to China. A human rights group said it had asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the local Korean embassy, for help but had received no assistance.

Nation mixed on bill to ban convicted celebs

A possible revision of the Broadcasting Act that aims to ban celebrities with criminal records from TV screens or other entertainment activities is emerging as a hotly-debated issue here, drawing mixed responses.

On July 25, Rep. Oh Young-hun of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) along with nine other lawmakers submitted a revision bill to the act stipulating that broadcast regulations should ban celebrities from appearing on TV programs, specifically those sentenced to prison terms for sexual crimes, driving under the influence (DUI), gambling or illegal drug use.

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

More Koreans Embrace Housekeeping Services

Hyundai Card analyzed credit-card transactions at 20 companies offering such services from January of 2017 until October this year and found that spending more than tripled from just 6,690 transactions in 2017 to 190,042 this year. Over the same period, the amount spent from W1.98 billion to W6.21 billion (US$1=W1,180). That suggests a growing number of people are paying for chores they would have taken care of themselves in the past.

Supreme Court Orders Retrial in Park Corruption Case

The Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a lower court ruling that found disgraced ex-President Park Geun-hye only partially guilty in a case involving kickbacks from the National Intelligence Service.

The top court ordered a retrial, ruling that the lower court should have counted toward her sentence more of the money handed to Park in brown envelopes by the spy agency over her years in office.

Hyundai Glovis Eyes China's Used Car Market

Hyundai Glovis is entering China's used-car market, which is scaled at more than W100 trillion (US$1=W1,180).

Hyundai Glovis was established to handle the transport of vehicles of affiliates Hyundai and Kia but has been branching out into the fuel tanker and transport business in China.

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

US experts on Korea disagree with Trump’s demands for 400% increase in defense cost-sharing

“It’s ridiculous to ask for a 400% increase.” “He only sees alliances as mafia-like transactional relationships.” “The value of an alliance isn’t calculated in dollars.”

American experts on the Korean Peninsula who spoke with the Hankyoreh on Nov. 19 were united in their criticism of the Trump

administration’s demand for South Korea to hike up its share of the cost of stationing American troops.

Former unification minister speaks on N. Korea’s current transformative changes

A former South Korean unification minister has predicted foundational changes in North Korean society.

“Right now, North Korea is undergoing the most sweeping structural change in its 70-year history. At the center of that change is the North Korean regime, which is to say Kim Jong-un,” said Lee Jong-seok, senior analyst with the Sejong Institute and former South Korean unification minister.

Human rights activists suffer lack of human rights

Chronic overwork, emotional labor, wages falling below the legal minimum -- these are not only phenomena taking place in blind spots between the cracks in human rights terms. According to a study, three out of 10 human rights activists -- people working for the sake of others’ human rights -- are suffering from harsh labor conditions, including pay that falls short of the minimum wage.

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

U.S. Senate: ‘Seoul’s contributions should be considered during defense cost sharing talks’

Amid growing criticism against the Trump administration’s demand to increase South Korea’s contributions to defense costs five times, U.S. Congress recognized South Korea’s significant contributions to the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year 2020, saying that it should be considered during negotiations.

Pyongyang: ‘Abe will see real ballistic missile up close’

The North Korean official made the remarks in a statement through the North’s Korean Central News Agency on Saturday. “Abe complained about our test firing of the super-large multiple-rocket launcher in early November, only to be miserably criticized as being ‘an idiot or exceptionally deformed child’ who cannot even tell a multiple-rocket launcher from a missile,” he said. “Even so, Abe continues playing idiot who cannot even differentiate beans and adzuki beans.” The official went on to say, “We advise (Abe) to carefully compare and learn the differences between the shell of a multiple-rocket launcher and the missile (when we actually fire a ballistic missile in the near future).”

Olive Young to strengthen K-beauty’s reach overseas

While the recent acquisition of a small Korean skincare brand by a global company has drawn much attention to K-beauty, Olive Young has organized the very first beauty convention in celebration of its 20th birthday bringing together leading K-beauty brands. The beauty and health retailer said Sunday that it held the “2019 Olive Young Awards & Festa” on Friday and Saturday at S Factory in Seoul’s Seongdong District.

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

Na Kyung-won's Request to Delay the North Korea-United States Summit, Is She of a Sound Mind?

Liberty Korea Party floor leader Na Kyung-won told the United States government that she did not want a summit between North Korea and the United States to be held before the parliamentary elections next April. In a private meeting of the party's lawmakers at the National Assembly on November 27, Na told lawmakers that she had asked Stephen Biegun, U.S. special representative for North Korea, not to hold a summit with North Korea around next April, when South Korea has parliamentary elections, because of the impact the summit could have on the elections, when she visited the U.S. on November 20.

Samsung Had a "Merger Plan" for Lee Jae-yong to Succeed Management in 2012For the first time, an internal document was confirmed showing that Samsung had designed a plan for the merger of its subsidiaries to have Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics take over management and strengthen his control over the group in 2012. This document includes details that squarely clash with the official position of Samsung, which claimed, "There was no plan for succession."

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.

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

NPS defers decision on greater push for shareholder activism

The fund management committee – NPS’s highest decision-making body – did not finalize on guidelines that would make the world’s third largest pension fund with assets under management stood at 714.3 trillion won ($605.8 billion) able to be more engaged in management to uphold shareholder rights.

AI, Biotech startups eye on booming pet industry in S. Korea

The burgeoning pet industry in South Korea has emerged as another promising market for startups with expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics.

Korean startup Varram System Co. recently released Pet Fitness Robot, an artificial intelligence (AI) robot that looks after pets at home when their owners are away. The robot, via mobile application, keeps pets active and gives snacks at a pre-set time, allowing their owners to leave home without worrying about their pets at home.

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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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