Friday, December 20, 2019
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
S. Korea, U.S. to hold last day of defense cost talks
South Korea and the United States were set to hold the last day of defense cost-sharing talks on Wednesday, but chances of a deal appear to be low as the two sides remain far apart over how much more Seoul should pay. Jeong Eun-bo, South Korea's chief negotiator, and his U.S. counterpart, James DeHart, were scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. in Seoul to continue the two-day talks on renewing the Special Measures Agreement (SMA), the cost-sharing deal.
Outgoing PM says his role for 2020 elections hinges on ruling party's decision
Outgoing Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon has said he will accept whatever the ruling party decides over his role in next year's general elections, as he is set to resume his political career. Lee, a former four-term lawmaker, plans to return to politics as President Moon Jae-in named Chung Sye-kyun, a former parliamentary speaker, as his successor Tuesday. The nomination is subject to parliamentary approval.
U.S. Democratic senators urge Trump to seek interim deal with N. Korea
Eight senior U.S. Democratic senators have urged President Donald Trump to seek an interim deal with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program ahead of a year-end deadline imposed by Pyongyang. In a letter to the president dated Wednesday, the senators -- Charles Schumer (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Mark Warner (D-VA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) -- also cautioned Trump against resuming the provocative rhetoric he used in 2017 during heightened tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.
Biegun Meets Chinese Vice Foreign Minister to Discuss N. Korea Issues
U.S. special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun on Thursday met with a senior Chinese official in Beijing to discuss Korean Peninsula issues. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui and the U.S. special envoy met in the Chinese capital on Thursday.
US Senators Urge Trump to Seek Interim Deal with N. Korea
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and seven other senior Democratic senators have urged President Donald Trump to seek an interim deal with North Korea to support sustainable nuclear negotiations with the regime.
Abe to Visit China for Talks with S. Korean President, Chinese Premier
The Japanese government said on Thursday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit China on Monday for a three-day trip. Abe will reportedly hold talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday in Beijing before a trilateral summit with Li and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu the next day.
Korea's overseas direct investment falls 5.8 pct in Q3
S. Korea's overseas direct investment fell 5.8 percent on year in the third quarter due to sluggish investment by the manufacturing sector, data showed Friday. The value of investments made by South Korean companies came to a total of US$12.7 billion in the July-September period, compared with $13.5 billion for the same quarter last year, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The U.S. accounted for the largest share of South Korea's overseas investments, with $2.85 billion in the third quarter, down 26.5 percent from a year earlier.
Moon to hold bilateral summit with Abe in China on Dec. 24: Cheong Wa Dae
South Korean President Moon Jae-in will hold one-one-one talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in China next week, Cheong Wa Dae announced Friday. Their Christmas Eve meeting in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, will be their first official summit in 15 months amid soured ties over a trade fight stemming from a historical issue. Given the difficulty in relations between the two sides, the meeting is "of great significance itself," Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Hyun-chong told reporters.
Corporate watchdog chief to take 'balanced approach' to Delivery Hero's acquisition of Woowa
South Korea's corporate watchdog chief has said her agency will take a "balanced approach" when it evaluates a US$4-billion deal by Germany's Delivery Hero to acquire the nation's largest food delivery app operator, Woowa Brothers.
Last week, the German firm, which also has the second-biggest delivery player, Yogiyo, in South Korea under its wing, said it will acquire an 87-percent stake in Woowa, the operator of delivery app Baedal Minjok, or Baemin, from existing investors, such as Goldman Sachs and Singaporean fund GIC.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Impeachment trial plans in disarray as Congress heads home
Congress has headed home for the holidays leaving plans and a possible timeline for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in disarray. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted Thursday that Senate Republicans must provide details on witnesses and testimony before she would send over the charges for Trump's trial. No deal, replied Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after meeting with his Senate Democratic counterpart.
Finance minister vows to boost recovery momentum next year
Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said Friday that South Korea will spare no efforts to boost economic recovery next year as it seeks to boost corporate investment and consumer spending. "There should be an economic rebound next year to put the economy on a growth track," Hong told a KBS radio program earlier in the day.
S. Korean firm shortlisted for Bulgarian nuclear plant project
The state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. has been selected as one of three potential investors for a nuclear plant project in Bulgaria, according to the Balkan nation's energy ministry on Friday. The South Korean energy firm, along with Russia's Rosatom and the China National Nuclear Corporation, were selected as strategic candidates for the new nuclear energy plant project in northern Bulgaria, its ministry said.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
US Senate confirms Biegun as deputy secretary of state
The United States Senate on Thursday confirmed Stephen Biegun, Washington's top envoy for North Korea talks, as deputy secretary of state. Biegun's confirmation by a 90-3 vote came as the special representative has been in Beijing to meet with Chinese officials over North Korea.
Moon, Xi to hold summit in Beijing on Dec. 23
President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold a summit meeting in Beijing on Dec. 23, according to Cheong Wa Dae, Thursday. Moon will arrive in Beijing on the morning of Dec. 23 on his way to Chengdu, China, for the Korea-Japan-China summit on Dec. 24. He will also meet separately with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
Gov't to focus on revitalizing investments
The government will place top priority on rehabilitating sluggish investment in 2020 by inducing 100 trillion won ($85.9 billion) from the private and public sectors, the Ministry of Economy and Finance said Thursday. It also plans to spend 240.5 trillion won to support export firms reeling from a series of trade conflicts ― the U.S.-China trade dispute and Korea's feud with Japan ― amid a global slowdown.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
N.Korea Condemns UN's Human Rights Resolution
South Korea took a backseat Wednesday when the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning human rights violations in North Korea and urging immediate improvements. The resolution, sponsored by 61 countries including France, Germany, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S., was adopted for the 15th year running. South Korea had co-sponsored it since 2008 but declined this year.
Moon to Hold Wummit with Xi in Beijing Next Week
President Moon Jae-in will head to Beijing next week for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping before Moon goes to Chengdu for the three-way summit with Japan. "Moon, through his summit with Xi [on Dec. 23], will exchange views on ways to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation, as well as the situation on the Korean Peninsula," a Chong Wa Dae spokesman said on Thursday.
N.Korean Regime Extorts Money from Criminals
North Koreans who are nabbed for crimes are reportedly offered clemency or shorter prison terms if they cough up for a loyalty fund. A source said, "One prisoner in Ryanggang Province who was serving a 15-year jail term for selling and taking narcotics had his sentence reduced by one-third and was eventually pardoned after donating tens of thousands of dollars to the fund."
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Samsung in management crisis due to owner risk
“We are very sorry for the concerns and disappointment that we have caused for many people with labor-management issues.” On Dec. 18, the Samsung Group issued a four-sentence “position statement” in the name of Samsung Electronics and Samsung C&T. It came after prison sentences were handed out on Dec. 17 to Lee Sang-hoon, chairman of the board at Samsung Electronics, and numerous other current and former executives charged with disrupting the formation and activities of a labor union at Samsung Electronics Service (Samsung SVC).
Scholars, activists worldwide opposed to construction of 2nd airport on Jeju
While South Korea’s Ministry of Environment reviews a supplemental report for a strategic environmental impact assessment of the proposed site of a second airport on Jeju Island, leading scholars and activists from other countries have openly called for the airport project to be halted. Environment Minister Cho Myung-rae said that the government would ask for further adjustments if any inadequacies are found.
Samsung reportedly moving to protect Lee Jae-yong after union busting ruling
Samsung Electronics and other core elements in the Samsung Group are reportedly making elaborate preparations to protect Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong amid investigations and trials in connection with a government influence-peddling scandal and accounting improprieties at Samsung BioLogics, even as Samsung Electronics joined Samsung C&T in issuing a statement on Dec. 18 apologizing for past efforts to sabotage union activities at one of its affiliates.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Impeachment to become major stumbling block in Pres. Trump’s reelection
U.S. President Donald Trump was impeached on Wednesday by the U.S. House of Representatives over the Ukraine scandal, dishonorably becoming the third U.S. president to be impeached by the representatives. President Trump is likely to be acquitted by the Republican-led Senate, but the aftermath of the impeachment will shake up the U.S. politics with the upcoming presidential election in 2020.
‘We cannot accept readiness costs of U.S. troops overseas,’ says S. Korean negotiator
“We are explaining South Korea’s contribution to the alliance and asking for a fair and objective assessment,” said Jeong Eun-bo, South Korea's chief negotiator for the Special Measures Agreement (SMA) on the sharing of military spending between South Korea and the U.S., indicating a “two-track” approach employed by South Korea at a press conference on Thursday.
Incheon airport to handle more flights per hour
Starting next year, Incheon International Airport will increase its handling of slots from 65 to 70 per hour to attract more foreign visitors. According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Thursday, a plan to enhance competitiveness of aviation industry was decided in a meeting to review and adjust state affairs.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
In an Age of Gender Equality, Commercials Remain in an “Age of Discrimination”
A teenage girl opens the door to her room, and behind her appear the words, “At seventeen, I began to close the door.” Then a voice calls out, “You’re late! You’re late for school!” Images of the girl follow, and viewers see her in high school, in college, and as she prepares to join society’s workforce. In between the scenes, her mother appears.
Hwang Kyo-ahn vs. Lee Nak-yeon: Will There Be a “Battle of Jongno”?
Jongno, Seoul is referred to as “1 Politics Street” in South Korea, because it has been the arena for major matches between future presidential hopefuls in every parliamentary election. It is also a land of opportunity and challenges, where the candidates can be reborn as political big shots.
Maeil Business News Korea ( http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Seoul plans record H1 spending, draw $90 bn investment for 2.4% growth in 2020
The Korean government will aim to draw 100 trillion won ($85.9 billion) worth of new investment from private and public sectors through various incentives, expedite record fiscal spending in the first half and offer sales tax relief to accelerate economic growth to 2.4 percent in 2020.
Mirae Asset to create aviation leasing firm ahead of Asiana Airlines buyout
Mirae Asset Group, part of a winning consortium in the $2 billion buyout of Korea’s second-largest carrier Asiana Airlines, is readying to set up an aircraft leasing company in Singapore. The South Korean investment house is aiming to set up an aviation leasing firm in the first quarter of next year, according to financial authority and investment banking sources on Thursday.
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