Headlines, December 17, 2019
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Headlines, December 17, 2019
  • Lee Kyung-sik
  • 승인 2019.12.17 12:41
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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

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

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

Trump says U.S. is watching N. Korea closely
U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that he would be disappointed if something was "in the works" in North Korea and that the United States is watching the regime closely. Tensions between the two nations have escalated ahead of a year-end deadline set by the North, after which the regime has hinted at resuming nuclear or long-range missile tests.

S. Korea, Japan agree to continue talks over trade war
South Korea and Japan on Monday agreed to continue talks to resolve their monthslong trade row, sharing what they called an "expanded mutual understanding" of each other's export control system. The two sides held lengthy talks in Tokyo earlier in the day, the first step in seeking a breakthrough to help mend the frayed economic and political ties following Tokyo's export curbs on some key materials shipped to Seoul.

China, Russia propose lifting some U.N. sanctions on N. Korea: report
China and Russia on Monday proposed a draft United Nations resolution that would give North Korea some relief from sanctions, including exempting inter-Korean rail and road projects from the restrictions, according to Reuters. The text seen by the news agency also seeks to lift sanctions affecting North Korean exports of statues, seafood and textiles. It also calls for lifting a ban on North Koreans working abroad and the termination of a requirement to repatriate all North Korean workers by Dec. 22.

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

China, Russia Propose Lifting Some UN Sanctions against N. Korea
China and Russia reportedly proposed a draft UN Security Council(UNSC) resolution on Monday that would lift some sanctions against North Korea. Reuters said the draft would exempt inter-Korean rail and road projects from UN sanctions and lift others that affect North Korean exports of seafood and textiles.

Kim Jong-un Visits Mausoleum on Father's Death Anniversary
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly visited the mausoleum of his late father and predecessor to commemorate the eighth anniversary of his death. The North's state-run Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) said on Tuesday that Kim paid his respects to Kim Jong-il at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang, where he and Kim's grandfather Kim Il-sung lie in state.

Ex-Justice Minister Grilled by Prosecutors over Alleged Bribery Cover-up
Former Justice Minister Cho Kuk was questioned for 12 hours on Monday over allegations that the top office unduly intervened in a bribery probe involving a former vice mayor of Busan. The Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors' Office said on Monday that they questioned Cho from 10 a.m. to 9:40 p.m. Cho reportedly spent 80 minutes reviewing a report generated by investigators after his questioning session.

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

S. Korea, U.S. open new round of defense cost talks
South Korea and the United States opened another round of talks Tuesday on the sharing of the cost of stationing American troops here, with the current deal due to expire in two weeks amid few signs of progress. This week's negotiations, set to run until Wednesday, will likely be the last round of talks before the current cost-sharing deal, known as the Special Measures Agreement (SMA), expires on Dec. 31. The two sides are led by Jeong Eun-bo, South Korea's chief negotiator, and his U.S. counterpart, James DeHart.

U.S. Forces Korea ends night curfew for troops after 9 years
U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said Tuesday it lifted a curfew for all of its troops, effective immediately. The curfew, set for between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., was imposed in 2011 amid public outcry over allegations of sexual violence and other crimes by USFK troops. Before making the termination decision, USKF temporarily suspended the curfew until Tuesday, and looked into the results for assessment.

N.K. leader visits mausoleum to mark 8th anniversary of father's death
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has visited the mausoleum in Pyongyang where his late father's body is enshrined to commemorate the eighth anniversary of his father's death, the North's state media said Tuesday. Kim paid tribute to his deceased father and former North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun where the bodies of late Kim and the country's founder, Kim Il-sung, lie in state, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

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

Biegun proposes meeting with North Korean counterparts
US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun on Monday proposed a meeting with North Korean officials during his visit to Seoul, saying Washington is willing to discuss all issues of interest to Pyongyang if they resume denuclearization talks.

China, Russia propose lifting some UN sanctions on N. Korea, US says not the time
China and Russia on Monday proposed the UN Security Council lift a ban on North Korea exporting statues, seafood and textiles, according to a draft resolution seen by Reuters, in a move Russia said is aimed at encouraging talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

Rigid mortgage loan regulations roil real estate market
In a surprise move on Monday, the South Korean government announced unprecedented real estate regulations to offset previous ones that have failed to curb rising housing prices. But as the newly introduced measures largely focus on loan restrictions, skepticism also mounted that the wealthy will continue their speculative buying in cash.

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

Boeing to halt production of 737 Max airliner in January
Boeing Co. said Monday that it will temporarily stop producing its grounded 737 Max jet starting in January as it struggles to get approval from regulators to put the plane back in the air. The Chicago-based company said production would halt at its plant with 12,000 employees in Renton, Washington, near Seattle. But it said it didn't expect to lay off any workers ''at this time.''

Trump says US is watching North Korea closely
U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that he would be disappointed if something was "in the works" in North Korea and that the United States is watching the regime closely. Tensions between the two nations have escalated ahead of a year-end deadline set by the North, after which the regime has hinted at resuming nuclear or long-range missile tests.

US Forces Korea ends night curfew for troops after 9 years
U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said Tuesday it lifted a curfew for all of its troops, effective immediately. The curfew, set for between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., was imposed in 2011 amid public outcry over allegations of sexual violence and other crimes by USFK troops. Before making the termination decision, USKF temporarily suspended the curfew until Tuesday, and looked into the results for assessment.

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

U.S. Calls on N.Korea to Return to Talks
U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, sent both a message of warning and a call for dialogue to the North on Monday ahead of a year-end deadline for talks. "We are fully aware of the strong potential for North Korea to conduct major provocations in the days ahead," Biegun said. "To say the least, such an action will be most unhelpful in achieving the lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula."

Minor Gaffe Threatens Diplomacy Between Korea and Japan
A minor diplomatic gaffe by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is threatening planned top-level talks with Korea. Abe committed a breach of diplomatic protocol on Friday by telling a forum in Tokyo that he will meet with President Moon Jae-in in Chengdu, China on Dec. 24 on the sidelines of a trilateral summit.

Korea's Defense Spending 10th Highest in the World
Korea has been ranked as the world's 10th-biggest military spender. The Defense Agency for Technology and Quality said on Monday that Seoul's defense spending last year amounted to US$43.1 billion. The top five spenders were the U.S., China, Saudi Arabia, India and France.

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

N. Korea conducts “another crucial test” at Sohae Satellite Launching Ground
North Korea’s Academy of National Defense Science stated on the afternoon of Dec. 14 that “another crucial test was successfully conducted at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground [. . .] on December 13.” The results of the test, the statement said, “will be applied to further bolstering [. . . North Korea’s] reliable strategic nuclear deterrent.”

N. Korea holds “crucial test” that lasts for seven minutes at night
North Korea’s Academy of National Defense Science reported on the afternoon of Dec. 14 that it had carried out “another crucial test [. . .] at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground,” a site in Tongchang Village that also tests missile engines, on the evening of Dec. 13. North Korea had announced a “very important test” at the same place on Dec. 7, just six days ago. Unlike the previous announcement, the academy took the unusual step of specifying the exact time of the test (from 10:41 to 10:48 pm on Dec. 13).

LG and Koo family’s rule of succession grant company to oldest son
The LG Group has passed into its fourth generation of management while continuing to abide by a conservative rule of succession to the oldest son, from the foundation of Lak Hui Chemical Industrial in 1947 and GoldStar in 1950 to its current incarnation with LG Chem and LG Electronics. The ruling Koo family is also noted for the relative lack of conflict when it spun off with its industry partners in the Huh family into LG and GS.

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

Biegun urges N. Korea to have talks saying there is no deadline
Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea who has been nominated to become the next Deputy Secretary of State, suggested the resumption of denuclearization talks to the North on Monday, saying the United States does not have “a deadline” and “We are here and you know how to reach us.” He also warned against the North that is ratcheting up its rhetoric as its end-of-year deadline nears.

A new technology launches to prevent black ice accidents
On Saturday, seven people were killed in an accident on the Sangju-Yeongcheon Expressway that was caused by black ice, a thin coat of ice that forms on wet surfaces as the temperature drops. Black ice is hard to spot as it is transparent. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced on Monday its plans to check the conditions of all the roads susceptible to black ice, but this is nearly impossible considering the road network of South Korea extends 11,000 kilometers.

Rep. Ami Bera appointed as chairman of Subcommittee on Asia-Pacific region
The U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs announced on Friday that Rep. Ami Bera of California’s 7th congressional district has been appointed as chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Nonproliferation.

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

The Status of Youth Rights in Broadcasting Disclosed by “Boni Hani”
The adult male performers in the EBS TV show, Live Tok! Tok! Boni Hani, were at the center of controversy for allegedly assaulting and sexually harassing an adolescent girl who appeared on the show. This has reignited the issue of the labor environment for child and teenage entertainers. Experts point out the need for a guideline to protect the human rights and labor rights of minor actors.

“Tried to Steal the Milk, Because of Hunger” Basic Livelihood Grant Hardly Meets the Basics of Life
“I am grateful to the people who shared their heartwarming care with my family, when we had to search for food. But in order to solve this problem, we need to work together to build a society where people can survive on the basic livelihood grant.” Since December 14, when MBC News Desk covered the story of citizens, the police and a supermarket owner who reached out to help a father and son living on the government’s basic livelihood grant, caught after stealing milk and apples from the supermarket out of hunger, their stories have lit up the Internet.

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

Toss Bank, Korea’s 3rd internet bank led by Viva Republica, cleared for operation
A third internet bank Toss Bank in a consortium of 11 led by fintech firm Viva Republica gained clearance from the Korean financial authority to start business within the next six months.

KB Kookmin Bank officially opens budget phone service Liiv M
South Korean lender KB Kookmin Bank on Monday officially launched its first budget phone service, Liiv M, a hybrid of mobile banking and phone services that also enables its users to open mobile services without visiting a mobile carrier outlet, which is first of its kind in the country.

Korea’s top delivery app Baemin M&A may face antitrust questions
It remains to be seen whether the local anti-trust authority will grant Korea’s top food delivery app Baedal Minjok (Baemin) to join the industry’s second and third and go under Germany’s Delivery Hero as one family. The $4 billion M&A deal, where Woowa Brothers agreed to sell 87 percent owned by other investors to Delivery Hero requires review by the Fair Trade Commission.

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