Friday, December 13, 2019
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
Samsung Display to inject $11 billion for upscaling next-generation TV display capacity
According to KITA, Samsung Display will spend 13.1 trillion won ($11 billion) by 2025 in display operation to ensure leadership in next-generation panel market, with the government pledging full support. The vision on display operation starting with budgeting 111.3 billion won next year, more than tripled from this year, was announced by Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman and the group's de facto leader Jay Y. Lee at an event promising closer ties with the domestic supply chain, where President Moon Jae-in dropped in to demonstrate government blessing and backing.
President Moon meets with leader of Rock Band U2 and Philanthropist Bono
According to Cheongwadae, President Moon Jae-in met with Bono, the leader of the Irish rock band U2 and a humanitarian activist at Cheong Wa Dae for 40 minutes from 10:30 this morning. Bono is in Korea on the final leg of his band’s 2019 world tour. Today’s meeting was arranged after Bono asked to make a courtesy call on the President while making his concert debut in Korea with U2 to express his appreciation for the Korean Government’s contributions to international efforts to eradicate diseases.
President Moon to attend Korea-Japan-China Summit in China on Dec. 23-24
According to Cheongwadae, President Moon Jae-in will visit China December 23-24 to attend the 8th Korea-Japan-China summit. This year’s trilateral summit will be held on December 24 in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. At the summit, President Moon, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will have consultations focused on how to promote substantive cooperation among the three countries. They are also expected to have in-depth discussions about recent developments in Northeast Asia and the rest of the world.
N. Korea Slams US for Calling 'Provocative' UNSC Meeting
North Korea strongly criticized the United States on Thursday for convening a UN Security Council meeting, saying the "provocative act" has helped it decide which path to take in deadlocked nuclear talks. A spokesperson from the North's Foreign Ministry made the remarks in a statement carried by state-run media. The statement came after the U.S. convened a UN Security Council session on Wednesday and said it is prepared to be flexible in talks with North Korea but warned the regime against provocations.
Assembly Speaker Summons Meeting with Floor Leaders of 3 Parties
National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang on Thursday convened a meeting to be held with the floor leaders of three parliamentary negotiation groups to discuss referring fast-tracked reform bills to the plenary session for a vote. Assembly spokesperson Han Min-soo told reporters that the meeting is scheduled for around 5:30 p.m. along with the attendance of the floor leaders and deputy floor leaders from each of the three parties.
Chinese Ambassador: Xi Considering Visit to S. Korea During First Half of 2020
China's ambassador to South Korea says that Chinese President Xi Jinping is considering a visit to Seoul in the first half of next year. Qiu Guohong made the revelation at a forum hosted by the Federation of Korean Industries on Thursday, noting a recent visit by Foreign Minister Wang Yi as part of preparations for reciprocal visits by the leaders of the two countries. Qiu said such high-level relationships between the two sides provide an important opportunity in the development of ties between Seoul and Beijing.
U.S. warns N. Korea against 'ill-advised' action
A top U.S. diplomat warned North Korea on Thursday against taking any "ill-advised" action in light of its veiled threats to resume nuclear and long-range missile tests. David Stilwell, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, made the remark as North Korea has threatened to take a "new way" unless the U.S. offers concessions in their stalled denuclearization negotiations before the end of the year.
U.S. hopes N. Korea refrains from nuclear, long-range missile tests: Pentagon
The United States hopes North Korea will refrain from nuclear and long-range missile tests, but remains ready to respond to the threat, the Pentagon said Thursday. Joint Staff Vice Director Navy Rear Adm. William Byrne Jr. made the remark in response to North Korean statements hinting at a resumption of nuclear and long-range missile tests in the coming weeks.
U.S. again flies surveillance aircraft over S. Korea: aviation tracker
The United States flew a naval patrol aircraft over the Korean Peninsula, an aviation tracker said Friday, amid heightened tensions due to concerns North Korea could launch a long-range rocket. The U.S. Navy's P-3C maritime surveillance plane "conducted a mission over the Korean Peninsula earlier," Aircraft Spots said on its Twitter account without specifying the exact time of the operation. It also did not upload photos showing the flight route.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
US and China near deal that would suspend planned tariffs
The Trump administration and China are close to finalizing a modest trade agreement that would suspend tariffs that are set to kick in Sunday, de-escalating their 17-month trade war. "We're close to a deal," said Myron Brilliant, the US Chamber of Commerce's head of international affairs, who has been briefed by both sides. Brilliant said the administration has agreed to suspend Trump's plans to impose tariffs on $160 billion in Chinese imports Sunday and to reduce existing tariffs, though it wasn't clear by how much.
Six-term lawmaker Chung rises as potential prime minister
The presidential office is looking into six-term lawmaker Rep. Chung Sye-kyun as a possible replacement for Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, local news outlets reported Thursday. According to reports, Cheong Wa Dae received written confirmation from Chung agreeing to be subjected to the presidential office’s vetting process, Wednesday.
Korea, Japan foreign ministers may meet
Japan’s Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi is seeking to meet with his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha to discuss the issue of wartime forced labor, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported on Thursday. Arrangements are being made for talks between the two on the sidelines of the Asia and Europe (ASEM) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Sunday and Monday in Madrid, NHK said.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Seoul proposes to buy $1 billion of US weapons
In an apparent move to reduce South Korea's financial contribution to maintaining the 28,500 United States Forces Korea troops here, the government has proposed purchasing up to $1 billion worth of U.S. weapons, officials directly involved with the issue told The Korea Times, Thursday. "The South Korean team in the defense cost-sharing negotiations suggested a revised proposal to the United States. This included a Korea's plan to purchase up to $1 billion worth of U.S. weapons by the end of 2020," one official said.
Seoul, Tokyo seek 'exit strategy' over trade row
South Korea and Japan are seeking an "exit strategy" to end their bilateral friction ahead of the summit between the leaders of the two countries planned for Dec. 24 in Chengdu, China. Cheong Wa Dae confirmed President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will hold their summit on the sidelines of the upcoming 9th China-Republic of Korea-Japan Trilateral Summit to be held in the Chinese city.
FKI urges China to restore bilateral ties
The Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) urged China, Thursday, to put a bilateral dispute over a U.S. missile defense system deployed here behind it, and to resume full economic cooperation amid continued uncertainty in the global economy. At a meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Korea Qiu Guohong, FKI Vice Chairman Kwon Tae-shin called for the lifting of a ban on group tours to Korea, and the same treatment for Korean firms in China as their local counterparts, among others.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
U.S. Reaches Trade Deal in Principle with China
The United States has reached a "phase-one" trade deal in principle with China, a source briefed on talks between the two nations said on Thursday, saying a statement from the White House was expected soon. Trump was scheduled to huddle with his top trade advisers at 2:30 p.m. (1930 GMT) on Thursday. Ahead of the meeting, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told senators that announcements were possibly "imminent" on U.S. tariffs, senior Republican Senator John Cornyn told reporters.
Seoul Accepts Cleanup Cost for Returned U.S. Bases
Korea has taken back another four military bases from the U.S. and agreed to shoulder the cleanup cost for the often heavily contaminated sites. The two countries have also started negotiations about the process of returning the old U.S. Forces Korea headquarters in Yongsan in central Seoul to Korea. Seoul will foot an estimated W110 billion bill for their cleanup (US$1=W1,193).
S.Korea Budgets $1 Billion for Inter-Korean Cooperation in 2020
South Korea's budget next year for inter-Korean cooperation projects has set aside US$1 billion, an on-year increase of 9 percent. According to the Unification Ministry here, of the figure, a large portion is for economic cooperation, such as reconnecting railroads, while funds have also been allocated for forestry cooperation and for the peaceful use of the demilitarized zone.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Dongducheon to recover small portion of US Army base in return
When the South Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced on Dec. 11 that it would be immediately resuming control of four American bases ― namely, Camp Eagle and Camp Long in Wonju, Camp Market in Bupyeong, and the Shea Range at Camp Hovey in Dongducheon ― Wonju and Incheon welcomed the move, saying it would facilitate balanced regional development. In contrast, Dongducheon had to swallow its disappointment about only recovering a small parcel of the American facilities there, in the hope that this means the main base will be returned.
US agrees to immediately return 4 military bases to S. Korea
The US has agreed to immediately return four military bases in Wonju, Bupyeong, and Dongducheon that have been closed and neglected for 8-10 years and to continue deliberating with South Korea about the question of cleaning up environmental contamination at the bases. The process of returning the Yongsan Garrison to South Korea has also gotten underway. While the two sides have created a framework for assessing responsibility for contamination at the bases even after the handover, the US isn’t likely to readily accept responsibility.
S. Korea reduces coal pollution by half compared to previous year
The amount of fine particle pollution emitted from coal-fired power plants is down by roughly half from 2018 levels amid coal reduction measures implemented this December to cut back on the increase in fine particle emissions during winter. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced on Dec. 11 that after beginning its coal-fired power reduction measures at midnight on Dec. 1 by halting operations of 12 generators and imposing a maximum of 45 generators (80% of generation output) for a period of one week, fine particle emissions were down by around 45.8% (187 tons) from the same period in 2018 -- an equivalent effect to suspending the operation of 16 to 21 generators a day.”
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
U.S. may counter N. Korea’s ICBM threats with ICBMs
The U.S. made a firm warning against North Korea’s provocations at the United Nations Security Council meeting in New York on Wednesday (local time). Washington even mentioned the short-range ballistic missiles launched by the North, about which U.S. President Donald Trump has been silent, indicating a potential change in the country’s approach to the North Korea issues.
Park Hang-seo magic goes on in Hanoi
Park Hang-seo, the head coach of the Vietnamese national football team, and his under-23 players arrived on their private plane at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on Wednesday evening. Thousands of fans gathered at the airport to welcome the heroes who had won the championship title of the Southeast Asian Games for the first time in 60 years. Receiving loud applause, Park was seen wearing a big smile on his face and holding flowers as he disembarked.
U.S. to return 4 USFK bases to S. Korea
Four military bases of the United States Forces Korea (USFK) are returned to the South Korean government on Wednesday after a long delay since the agreement between South Korea and the U.S. The two countries will begin the return process of the Yongsan Garrison as well.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
110 Billion Won: The Estimated Cost to Clean Up Pollution at U.S. Bases, But Will the U.S. Will Pay Up?
On December 11, the U.S. returned four military bases of the USFK. The return had been delayed due to differences with the South Korean government on the responsibility for the cleanup of environmental pollution at the bases. According to the government explanation, it received the sites upon request from the relevant local governments and because of health issues of local residents. The government plans to receive the money to cover the costs of the cleanup after further negotiations with the U.S., but the outlook is not so bright. Our government will first have to shoulder the cleanup costs, while taking on the task of identifying the responsibility and negotiating U.S. contributions. The procedures to return the U.S. base in Yongsan, Seoul have also begun, but it doesn’t seem likely for the base to be returned any time soon.
President Moon Will Be in China on Dec. 23-24 to Meet Leaders of China and Japan: Talks in Progress for Bilateral Summits
On December 10, Cheong Wa Dae announced that President Moon Jae-in would attend a trilateral summit with China and Japan at Chengdu, Sichuan in China on December 23-24. The government is currently discussing with relevant authorities for possible bilateral summits with China and Japan during the president’s stay in China. If a summit with Japan is held, the focus will be on whether it can create a breakthrough to resolve conflicts between the two countries, triggered by Japan’s tighter export controls in July.
Maeil Business News Korea ( http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korean banks required to sell selective less risky equity-linked trusts to retailers
Korean primary bankers will be restricted in the counter sale of equity-linked trust (ELT) products by keeping them to underlying indices of major markets like S&P, public offerings and less-exotic or risky securities. Under a new guideline from the Financial Services Commission (FSC) to better protect consumers, banks will be allowed to sell trust products that track derivative-linked securities (DLS) with 1 or under loss multiple and are publicly issued.
Korean Air recognizes same-sex couple as family
South Korea’s flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co. recognized a same-sex female couple as family by granting the same-family mileage sharing program, a significant move in the patriarchal business empire in a traditionally conservative society. According to sources from the airline industry on Thursday, the nation’s largest full-service carrier registered a gay couple as family on its SkyPass mileage program on Monday, a day before Human Rights Day that falls on December 10 every year.
BOK to maintain monetary policy “accommodative” as it expects slow growth pickup
South Korea’s central bank will maintain monetary policy “accommodative” as it predicts growth and inflation to stay subdued over the next few years amid uncertainties on global front. In its annual monetary policy report submitted to the National Assembly on Thursday, the Bank of Korea (BOK) said the country’s economy is expected to grow gradually while from demand side inflationary pressure is projected to remain low.
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