Monday, December 30, 2019
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
3.5 magnitude quake hits southeastern city
A 3.5 magnitude earthquake hit the country's southeastern region early Monday, the weather agency said. The quake occurred shortly after midnight at 00:32 a.m. at some 15 kilometers northeast of Miryang in South Gyeongsang Province, with a depth of 20 km, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).
N.K. party meeting discusses 'offensive measures' to ensure sovereignty, security
North Korea has discussed "offensive measures" to ensure the country's sovereignty and security during the second-day session of a major party meeting, state media reported, amid concern Pyongyang could ditch negotiations with the United States and restart major weapons tests. In Washington, National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien warned the North against any provocations, saying the U.S. will be "extraordinarily disappointed" in such cases and will demonstrate its disappointment.
U.S. says it has many 'tools' to deal with N.K. 'Christmas gift'
U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien warned North Korea Sunday that the United States has many "tools in its toolkit" to respond to any major provocation and will use them to demonstrate its disappointment. O'Brien made the comments in an interview with ABC amid concerns North Korea could be preparing to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile to express its frustration over stalled denuclearization talks with the U.S.
N. Korea Holds Key Party Meeting to Discuss Measures to Ensure Sovereignty, Security
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reportedly discussed measures to ensure the country's sovereignty and security at a meeting of top party officials on Sunday. The North's state media including the Rodong Sinmun said on Monday that Kim presided over the second-day session of the 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea.
National Security Adviser: US Has Many Tools to Deal with N. Korea
U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien warned on Sunday that if North Korea engages in provocation, the U.S. will be very disappointed and demonstrate that disappointment. During an interview with ABC, O'Brien said that the U.S. "always monitors the situation" in North Korea and noted that its leader Kim Jong-un "has said there would be something over Christmas." Last month, North Korea promised to deliver the "Christmas gift" if progress is not made in negotiations between the two nations ahead of an end-of-year deadline imposed by the North.
Vote Expected on Anti-Corruption Investigation Body
The National Assembly is likely to hold a plenary session on Monday to vote on a controversial bill on creating an independent anti-corruption investigative body. Ruling Democratic Party Floor Leader Lee In-young notified in a text message to DP lawmakers that the bill will be put to vote when the plenary session convenes at 6 p.m. Monday. The main opposition Liberty Korea Party(LKP) blocked the passage of the bill in the previous extraordinary parliamentary session using a filibuster, which lasted for about 27 hours.
Korea's industrial output gains 0.4 pct in November
South Korea's industrial output growth accelerated in November, supported by a modest gain in the service sector, data showed Monday. The November industrial output rose 0.4 percent from a year earlier, rebounding from a 0.4 percent decline in October, with both retail sales and facility investment growing from a month earlier in November, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.
Samsung to launch 'clamshell' foldable phone in Feb.
Samsung Electronics Co. is set to release a new foldable smartphone that folds like a clam in February before the release of the upcoming flagship Galaxy S11 next year, industry sources said Sunday. The South Korean tech giant is currently in talks with the country's three mobile carriers to release its second foldable smartphone at home, with a goal of releasing it in February, according to the sources.
S. Korea conveys to China Moon's correct comments on Hong Kong, Xinjiang
South Korea said Sunday that it has conveyed the correct version of President Moon Jae-in's reported comments to China in a rebuttal to what Seoul says was a mischaracterization of Moon's comments by China. At issue were comments Moon made during his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Dec. 23. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a news conference after the summit that Moon "also stated that affairs relating to Hong Kong and Xinjiang are China's internal affairs."
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Final vote expected on new corruption investigation body
A bill on setting up an independent body tasked with investigating corruption of high-ranking officials was expected to be put to vote Monday amid fierce opposition from the prosecution and the main opposition party. The nearly 27-hour filibuster, which the main opposition Liberty Korea Party began Friday to stop the bill’s passage, ended at midnight Sunday as the extra parliamentary session ended. A new session was called for Monday, where lawmakers are expected to vote on the contentious bill.
US stops operating surveillance flight on N. Korea: aviation tracker
The United States stopped operating a surveillance flight around the Korean Peninsula, an aviation tracker said Sunday, as North Korea did not follow through on its threat to deliver a "Christmas gift." Aircraft Spots tweeted earlier Sunday that "there is no RC-135S Cobra Ball operating" over the waters off South Korea for the first time in nearly five days.
All eyes on Pyongyang as Kim opens key party meeting
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un chaired the first part of a key ruling party meeting in Pyongyang on Saturday, amid speculation that the communist state may proclaim a “new path” in the face of stalled disarmament talks with the United States. Attended by key party and military officers, the fifth plenary session of the seventh Central Committee of the Workers’ Party discussed “details regarding building of the state and its defense,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Kim Jong-un discusses 'offensive measures' to ensure NK security: state media
North Korea has discussed "offensive measures" to ensure the country's sovereignty and security during the second-day session of a major party meeting, state media reported, amid concern Pyongyang could ditch negotiations with the United States and restart major weapons tests. In Washington, National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien warned the North against any provocations, saying the U.S. will be "extraordinarily disappointed" in such cases and will demonstrate its disappointment. He also said the U.S. has "a lot of tools in our toolkit" to respond to the North.
Companies scale down year-end parties amid downturn
Companies used to organize lavish year-end parties for employees to recognize their accomplishments for the year and motivate them to work harder in the coming year. But this is becoming a thing of the past this year as more businesses scale down year-end gatherings or scrap them altogether amid the prolonged economic downturn and growing demand for work-life balance.
US forces to stay in S. Korea, irrespective of change in situation
U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris, like his predecessors, reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the bilateral alliance and the presence of American troops in the South irrespective of the situation. His reaffirmation, however, seems more meaningful now because it comes amid concerns that U.S. President Donald Trump is using a half-century-old alliance as a bargaining chip and that the alliance is unraveling.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
How to Benefit from Coffee Without Overdoing It
Big coffee chains and small artisanal outlets are covering the globe like a rash, and Koreans are particularly addicted to the powerful legal stimulants they sell. According to a recent study by Hyundai Research Institute, average annual coffee consumption in Korea soared from 291 cups per adult in 2015 to 353 in 2018. The global average last year was just 132 cups per person. That means Koreans drink three times more coffee than the world average, and every single one of them drinks nearly one cup a day throughout a year.
Risk of Flu Increases on Days with High Levels of Fine Dust, Study Shows
People are more prone to contract the flu or catch a cold on days with high levels of fine dust pollution, a study suggests. A research team led by Prof. Yang Yoon-joon at Inje University Ilsan Paik Hospital analyzed the relationship between patients with acute respiratory symptoms and their exposure to fine dust particulate, who visited some 192 hospitals across the country during the period from 2016 to 2017.
Japan's NHK Sends Erroneous Alert of N.Korean 'Christmas Gift'
Japanese public broadcaster NHK Friday sent a news bulletin that incorrectly reported North Korea had launched a missile that fell into waters east of the Japanese archipelago, issuing an apology hours later explaining it was a media training alert. The news alert came as the United States and its East Asian allies have been on tenterhooks after Pyongyang’s warning this month of a possible "Christmas gift" for Washington in what experts took to mean a possible long-range missile test.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
S. Korean sisters devote lives to orphans in Ecuador
786 Seoljang Road, Janghowon Township, Icheon, Gyeonggi Province. The Community of Jesus Christ is a “very small” order located in the middle of a field. Unlike other convents modeled on medieval European castles, this one is so plain that one would not be surprised to find it was a farmer’s house. The 10 sisters, who had been having their lunch in the refectory, suddenly went into “silent mode” -- perhaps on edge due to the presence of a male in an area typically off limits to men.
75% of younger S. Koreans want to leave country
Young South Koreas, between the ages of 19 and 34, feel more anxious about life than the older generation, a new study has found. And even among the younger generation, the level of anxiety is higher among women than men. As a result, 79% of women want to leave Korea, as do 72% of men. On Dec. 15, a presentation titled “Diagnosis of Gender Conflicts from a Youth Standpoint and Suggested Policy Responses for an Inclusive State: A Gender Analysis of Fairness Perceptions” was delivered at the Korea Women's Development Institute’s 119th Gender Equality Policy Forum.
N. Koreans expected to life spans shorter than S. Koreans by 12-13 years
On average, North Koreans are expected to live for 12 or 13 fewer years than South Koreans, a new report finds, while North Korea’s population is just half the size of the South’s. On Dec. 13, Statistics Korea released its 2019 report about key statistical indicators in North Korea. In 2018, the report said, the North Korean population stood at 25.13 million, just less than half of South Korea’s population of 51.61 million. Life expectancy in North Korea amounted to 73.3 years for women and 66.5 years for men, figures that were 12.4 and 13.2 years lower, respectively, than South Korea (85.7 years for women and 79.7 years for men).
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
N. Korea seeks to strengthen ‘strategic stature’ through nuclear weapons
With the imminent release of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s Day speech that will determine the course of the Korean Peninsula in the new year, the North has announced that the decision on its new way has entered the final phase, by mentioning “historic transformation.” “The immediate orientation of the struggle of the ruling Workers' Party and the state and important policy issues for new victory in our revolution under the present situation were brought up as agendas of the plenary meeting,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said Sunday, reporting on the party’s fifth plenary meeting of Stage 7 that was convened on Saturday.
Lotte Hotel Seattle to open in 2020
Hotel Lotte, which garnered attention from the global hotel industry by acquiring the New York Palace hotel with 137 years of history in 2015, achieved another successful acquisition of a five-star hotel in Seattle, the largest city in the Northwest of the U.S. Hotel Lotte aims to target the U.S. market with the two hotels it acquired while positioning itself as a world-renowned hotel brand by expanding its global chain.
2 cups of coffee a day reduces Alzheimer's risk to a third
South Korean researchers released study results that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. A research team led by Psychiatry Professor Kim Ji-wook at Hallym University Dongtan Sacred Heart Hospital and Psychiatry Professor Lee Dong-young at Seoul National University Hospital said on Sunday that people who drink two or more cups of coffee per day had about a third of dementia-causing substances compared to those whose daily coffee intake is lower.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
A Foreign Tourist Arrived in South Korea Every 1.8 Seconds: Foreign Visitors in Korea Expected to Exceed 17.5 Million This Year to Set a Record High
A record-breaking number of foreign tourists visited South Korea this year, and to celebrate this the government organized an event on December 26. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Tourism Organization announced that they held the event, “Your Korea Mesmerizing the World” at the Incheon International Airport this morning to celebrate the fact that over 17.2 million foreign tourists entered the country. The 17,250,000thforeign visitor to enter Korea was Eko Prasetyo’s family from Indonesia.
S. Korea and Japan Confirm Their Deep-Rooted Conflicts: President Moon, “We Cannot Interfere with the Court Ruling on Forced Labor”
At the South Korea-Japan summit held for the first time in fifteen months in Chengdu, Sichuan Province on December 24, the two countries confirmed once again that how they handle the South Korean Supreme Court ruling on compensation for forced labor was the key and fundamental problem in resolving the worst ever conflicts between the two nations. It is now clear that a solution to the issue of forced labor is the ultimate starting point for the two countries to resolve sensitive issues, such as Japan’s tighter export controls and the postponement of the termination of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) between the two countries.
Maeil Business News Korea ( http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
NPS can demand changes to board, articles in companies with value under threat
South Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS) can now demand changes in the board or corporate articles in companies whose value has been unquestionably impaired from crimes of embezzlement, abuse of power or negligence of duty by management. The Fund Management Committee, the fund’s highest decision-making body, on Friday endorsed a guideline outlining the scope of engagement activities the NPS can take when pushing for better corporate governance.
Troubled carmakers under foreign owners make up a mere 15% in Korean market
Korean car producers under foreign ownership that once were responsible for one fourth of cars on Korean roads have become marginal, shunned by domestic drivers as well as losing confidence from their foreign parents due to low productivity and never-ending labor strife. The three automakers – GM Korea, Ssangyong Motor, Renault Samsung Motors – claimed a combined 15 percent market share at home as of the end of November, according to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association and the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association on Thursday.
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