Tuesday, January 4, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Amb. Dizon-De Vega cited for unreserved effort for bilingual Special Report on the Philippines
On Dec. 29, 2021, The Korea Post media presented Ambassador Maria Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega of the Philippines in Seoul with a Plaque of Citation for the valuable information and support given to The Korea Post media in the publication of a Special Report on the country in its December 2021 issue. The special report was published by both the English and Korean-language publications of The Korea Post, including the Internet editions (www.koreapost.com in English and www.koreapost.co.kr in the Korean language). Ambassador Dizon-De Vega provided The Korea Post media with excellent answers to the interview questionnaire and picture materials essential in the publication of a quality Special Report for the promotion of relations, cooperation and friendship between Korea and the Philippines.
“2022 in Uzbekistan will be ‘Year of Ensuring Human Interests, Mahalla Development’ ”
Dear compatriots! I sincerely congratulate all of you, our entire multinational people, on the New Year. In these joyful moments, I wish you all health, peace and prosperity! Today, on the threshold of the New Year, we with gratitude see off the passing year. The Year of Supporting Youth and Improving Population Health has left a bright mark on our lives. We carried out large-scale activities together. Despite the consequences of the pandemic and the global crisis, the country has achieved high economic growth. Many enterprises, clusters, technology parks and modern infrastructure have been created. New housing, kindergartens, schools and universities, healthcare, culture and sports facilities are being commissioned. Entrepreneurship is developing rapidly, including among women and youth. Our hardworking farmers have grown a rich harvest in the past year.
‘Brazil is a country with very special meaning to me’
Brazil is a country where I started my first foreign service as a Korean diplomat. In the early 1980s, I arrived in Brasilia-DF, the capital on the other side of the globe from Seoul and lived there for about 5 years. During my life in Brazil I had my second child (a son) and studied Portuguese literature at UniCEUB. It’s also where I first started playing golf. Accordingly, it gives me a feeling of Brazil like my second home. Brazil has given me new family, many foreign friends, more knowledge, exotic experiences and wonderful memories. My second son was born at the Hospital Militar de Área de Brasília. When I heard the news of the birth and ran to the newborn ward of the hospital, I could recognize my son at a glance because he was a foreigner who looked different from other new born babies.
In New Year's Address, Moon Hopes Presidential Election Will be One of Unity
President Moon Jae-in says he hopes the upcoming presidential election, which will determine the nation's future, will not be a race of hostility and division but that of unity. Moon made the remark in his final New Year’s Address at the presidential office in Seoul on Monday. The president once again pushed for the country's "unity", as was underlined when he granted a special pardon to former President Park Geun-hye last month. Saying the nation has a successful history of overcoming hardship through unity and cooperation, Moon stressed the need for the country to again come together in heading toward the future. On his administration’s achievements, Moon said it advanced after overcoming numerous challenges, adding that it institutionalized the reform of powerful agencies so that they wouldn’t reign over the people.
Yoon Offers Apology for Drop in Support
Main opposition People Power Party(PPP) presidential candidate Yoon Suk Yeol has apologized for a recent drop in approval ratings. Yoon told reporters on Monday at PPP headquarters that many people are concerned about the election, which is because of his inadequacy and he offered a deep apology. The candidate said that he is seriously considering a massive reform of his election committee and collecting opinions from many people on the matter. Yoon added that as not much time is left until the election, he will come to a conclusion on the reforms soon and start fresh on campaigning.
Emergency Use Authorization Granted for Pfizer's COVID-19 Pill
The government on Monday granted emergency use authorization for Pfizer's COVID-19 pill, the first domestic approval for an oral treatment. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety's decision regarding Paxlovid followed a request for the review from the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency(KDCA). The ministry considered it necessary to authorize the pill amid a resurgence in infections following an evaluation of its safety and efficacy and a meeting with an advisory panel of experts. The advisory committee reportedly agreed on the need to green light the pill, citing the country's virus situation and clinical study data. Pfizer said Paxlovid was found to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by 88 percent when given to an unvaccinated person at high risk of severe infection within five days of symptoms starting.
Main opposition campaign leaders offer to resign en masse as Yoon's support drops
The main opposition People Power Party (PPP) said Monday all senior members of its campaign committee, excluding its chief, offered their resignations to presidential nominee Yoon Suk-yeol to demonstrate their commitment to overhauling the campaign amid declining support for the candidate. The PPP initally said in a text message to reporters that the resignations were submitted by campaign chief Kim Chong-in, all the standing chairs, co-chairs, heads of divisions and the chairman of the Saesidae Preparatory Committee. A committee spokesperson later clarified that Kim did not offer to resign, and cited an error in communication.
Moon pledges to pursue 'irreversible path to peace' with N. Korea until his term ends
President Moon Jae-in said Monday he will pursue an "irreversible path to peace" on the Korean Peninsula until his term ends, calling for dialogue and cooperation with North Korea. In his final New Year's speech as president, Moon admitted South Korea still has a long way to go to improve inter-Korean relations, despite many achievements during his five-year term. "I will not stop efforts to institutionalize sustainable peace," Moon said in the nationally televised address, adding South Korea will make final efforts for normalization of inter-Korean relations and a path toward irreversible peace. By institutionalizing peace, Moon appeared to be referring to his initiative to adopt a declaration with North Korea and other countries of a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War as part of efforts to kickstart long-stalled talks with Pyongyang.
Ahn favored over Yoon in hypothetical unification of opposition candidates: poll
Ahn Cheol-soo of the minor People's Party is regarded as the better fit as the unified opposition presidential candidate than Yoon Seok-yeol of the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) should the two merge their campaigns for the upcoming election, a survey showed on Monday. Commissioned by JTBC, Global Research polled 1,012 adults over the weekend on whom they would support in a hypothetical unification of the two opposition nominees. Of the respondents, 41.1 percent said they backed Ahn, while 30.6 percent said Yoon was the better candidate to run for the opposition side. But among those who approved of the unification, 55.9 percent said they supported Yoon, compared with 35.9 percent who favored Ahn.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Moon hails S. Korea’s democratic ‘maturity’ in New Year’s address
President Moon Jae-in hailed progress in South Korean democracy in a New year’s address on Monday, saying it has “matured” and been recognized by the world. “The government, which was launched without a transition committee in the face of an impeachment of the president, unprecedented in constitutional history, straightened up the collapsed constitutional order and advanced democracy,” Moon said in a speech delivered on the main stairs of Cheong Wa Dae on Monday morning. Moon said his administration had institutionalized reform of authority in which the principles of checks and balances work so that authority can no longer reign over the people.
Feuding, gaffes, falling support put opposition campaign in crisis
Leaving just 66 days before the presidential election, the entire leadership of the main opposition People Power Party’s campaign committee resigned Monday, amid unending internal strife, constant gaffes and falling support. After the campaign chief Kim Chong-in announced earlier in the day that he would carry out a complete reform of the election committee, the party said all politicians holding a leader position at the election camp would resign from their posts, including all of the team’s standing chairmen and division leaders. Kim was also to resign according to the party announcement, but later confirmed that he will remain in his position. The initial announcement was wrongly delivered due to miscommunication, the party’s spokesman Lee Yang-soo said.
NK is one year closer to perfecting nuclear weapons due to Biden’s policy: Bolton
A former national security adviser to Donald Trump slammed Joe Biden’s foreign policy, saying North Korea is a year closer in perfecting its nuclear and ballistic missile technology as a result of Biden’s diplomacy on Pyongyang -- or lack thereof. In an op-ed published by Washington-based news outlet the Hill on Sunday, John Bolton identified Iran and North Korea as the Biden administration’s nuclear proliferation failures in 2021. Bolton, who championed a hawkish policy toward Iran and North Korea, said that while both Tehran and Pyongyang want Washington to release economic pressure on them, neither want it enough to “make the strategic decision to abandon pursuing deliverable nuclear weapons.”
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
President's New Year speech slammed for failing to reflect reality
President Moon Jae-in highlighted the achievements of his administration during his last New Year speech as the country's chief executive, but faced criticism that the government again failed to reflect on the difficulties people are facing due to COVID-19 restrictions and the widening wealth gap between the haves and have-nots. During the televised speech, Moon said that Korea is now a developed country and highlighted his government's achievements with regards to pandemic responses, economic recovery, democracy, social fairness and inter-Korean relations. He also stressed that the accomplishments should not be downplayed.
Opposition party seeks breakthrough by overhauling presidential campaign
The main opposition People Power Party (PPP) and its presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol made a drastic decision Monday to completely overhaul their election committee and campaign, hoping to stop a sharp decline in approval ratings of the candidate and the party with just two months left before the March 9 presidential election. All of the standing chairs of the conservative party's election committee, co-chairs, as well as the heads of divisions and sub-organizations offered to resign as part of the sweeping overhaul, according to the party. The PPP initially said Kim Chong-in, the head of the committee, also offered his resignation, but it said about an hour later that Kim would stay, adding there was a misunderstanding among party members.
Fed's earlier-than-expected rate hike rekindles preference for safe assets
The United States Federal Reserve's reported plan to bring forward interest rate hikes will rekindle appetites for safe assets, weakening the valuations of Korea's local currency and KOSPI-listed stocks, analysts said. Earlier expectations were that the Fed would increase its key rate sometime late in the first half of 2022. But there stands a growing likelihood for the authority to do so as early as March, soon after it ends the tapering of its bond-buying campaign. Fed Chair Jerome Powell also hinted at the possibility, saying that it does not require much time lag between the end of tapering and the rate hike due to the increasing risk of inflation there.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Korea Lowers Age Barrier for Lawmakers to 18
Starting this year anyone over 18 can run for a National Assembly seat or in a regional election. The National Assembly passed a resolution slashing the minimum age of candidates in general and regional elections from 25, which it had been since 1948, to 18. The bill passed by 204 out of 226 votes on Dec. 31, having only been tabled in committee three days earlier. Its rapid passage in a parliament notorious for sitting on legislation for years has raised suspicions that both ruling and opposition parties have high hopes that young voters can boost their dismal showing in the polls.
Korean Builders Manage Well in Overseas Orders Despite Pandemic
Korean builders' overseas orders surpassed US$30 billion for the second year in a row last year despite the prolonged coronavirus pandemic. According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Korean companies won $30.6 billion worth of overseas construction orders last year, down 13 percent from $35.1 billion in 2020. "Although the figure saw a slight decrease on-year, it is still quite impressive considering the overall number of orders lost due to the pandemic," a ministry official said. After exceeding $70 billion in 2010, overseas orders hovered above $50 billion every year until 2014 but have remained at around $30 billion since 2016 due to a fall in oil prices. A total of 318 builders won over 500 deals from some 90 countries last year.
Unidentified Person Crosses DMZ to N.Korea
An unidentified person crossed into North Korea through a wire fence on the eastern frontline in Gangwon Province on the night of Jan. 1. The man was caught on a surveillance camera when he crossed the fence but went unnoticed until a few hours later. This is the seventh major case of failure in border security of the Moon Jae-in administration, including the surprise landing of four North Koreans in a wooden boat at Samcheok Port in 2019. "We spotted an unidentified person in the demilitarized zone on the eastern frontline on surveillance camera around 9:20 p.m. Saturday," the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Sunday. "We sent troops into the DMZ to capture him but he crossed the military demarcation line to the North around 10:40 p.m."
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
5 key terms for parsing Kim Jong-un’s vision for N. Korea in 2022
The fourth plenary meeting of the 8th Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee took place from Dec. 27 to 31 under North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. At the meeting, Kim declared what amounts to his version of South Korea’s community development project known as the Saemaul Movement, while calling COVID-19 prevention North Korea's “most important work.” In contrast, effectively no mention was made of policies toward South Korea, or of foreign policies in general. For a third straight year, the meeting included no New Year’s address by Kim. Here are five key terms that tell us what Kim’s focus will be in 2022.
Yet another person makes it into N. Korea past S. Korean military’s border guards
An unidentified individual presumed to be a civilian defected to North Korea from South Korea on Saturday, New Year’s Day. The individual crossed the barbed wire fence dividing the two Koreas in Gangwon Province along the eastern front line, where the 22nd Infantry Division is stationed. Though security cameras caught the person crossing the border and an alarm sounded in response to the defection, the military was not alerted to this fact until later. Because the 22nd Infantry Division has a track record of similar incidents in which failure to properly guard the border met with inadequate early response to emergencies, the military is sure to face criticism. Some have also expressed concern for the defector’s safety, as North Korea has ramped up disease control measures against COVID-19, going so far as to close its borders.
Biden’s dichotomous foreign policy has divided the world
“It’s year-ender season, so I would ask you, what does the [Joe Biden] administration consider your biggest achievement in foreign policy in this first year? And also, what lessons have you learned from what is arguably the biggest failure, which is Afghanistan?” “You know, this is a great question. I want to be thoughtful about it. I want to talk to the president about it, and I’m happy to do that.” When an expected question came up at a regular White House press conference on Dec. 14, the normally eloquent press secretary Jen Psaki was obliged to hedge, ducking out of providing a direct answer.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Moon expresses hope that upcoming election will be one of unity
With 65 days left until the presidential election, President Moon Jae-in expressed hope that the upcoming election will be a race of unity that embodies the hope of the people, instead of hostility, hatred and division. In his New Year’s address at Cheong Wa Dae on Monday, President Moon said the country can advance into a better future when the achievements of the preceding administration continue to grow throughout the next administration, leading to a bigger leap forward. President Moon once again highlighted the need for unity in his last New Year’s address in office, following his previous remarks, where he stressed ‘national unity’ while announcing a special pardon for former president Park Geun-hye.
N. Korean defector crosses military lines for the second time
The male that defected to North Korea on Saturday by crossing the security fence that borders Goseoong, Gangwon Province, was confirmed to be the same North Korean defector that crossed over to the South in November 2020. There is growing criticism on eased security monitoring on military front lines, allowing the same person to freely cross the Military Demarcation Line twice, as well as police and other related institutions’ management on defectors. “The appearance of the male that defected to the North, as shown on our surveillance cameras in the Civilian Control Line as of noon on Saturday, almost exactly matches with that of A, who defected to the South in November 2020.
Hong Kong’s Citizen News shuts down to protect its staff
Hong Kong’s anti-China online news site Citizen News closed on Sunday. It appears the new site decided to cease operations after even large media outlets shut down one after another due to the growing suppression of the press from the authorities. There are growing concerns that the freedom of press has virtually disappeared in Hong Kong as three anti-China media outlets shut down in the past half a year following the closures of Apple Daily, the largest daily newspaper in Hong Kong, in June, and Stand News on Dec. 29. On its official Facebook account, Citizen News made the announcement “with a heavy heart,” saying they must ensure the safety of everyone who are on board in a time of crisis.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
The Vaccine Pass Expiry Date Will Be Applied Starting Today: When Does My Vaccine Pass Expire?
From January 3, the six-month expiry date of the vaccine pass will be applied. If a person received the basic doses before July 6, 2021, she must receive a third booster shot for her vaccine pass to remain valid. Disease control authorities decided to enforce the expiry date of the vaccine pass, which is valid for 180 days, beginning this day. The vaccine pass will remain valid for 180 days, since 14 days after the second dose of the vaccine was administered. People with vaccine passes past the expiry date will be restricted in their use of public facilities, such as singing rooms, movie theaters, and Internet cafes. The government has designated the period from January 3 to 9 as an introductory period.
Isolated Due to Unemployment: Another Presidential Election for Young People in Words Only
The Kyunghyang Shinmun divided eighteen citizens who took part in the candlelight demonstrations from November 2016 to March 2017 into four groups and conducted focus group interviews. We selected the groups according to the key social agenda in Korea: unemployment among young people, real estate, self-employed business owners, and non-regular labor. Each group consisted of 4-5 people and through the interviews, we listened to the struggles young people have in finding employment, the real estate issues of people who don’t own a home, the suffering of storeowners challenged by COVID-19, and the grief of non-regular workers who lie in the blind spot of labor rights.
In the End, Park Geun-hye Was Pardoned: Her Supporters Weep, While Her Opponents Cry, “The Candlelight Was Betrayed”
At around midnight December 30, the thermometer pointed to -5°C. The supporters of former president Park Geun-hye, who had gathered on the street in front of Samsung Medical Center in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, began shouting and waving their white light sticks the moment the date changed to December 31 at midnight. It was the moment when Park, who was hospitalized across the street, was pardoned. Park was sentenced to 22 years in prison and had served four years and nine months of her time in prison, but due to her deteriorating health, she was hospitalized last month. And while she was in the hospital, she was included in the special pardon in time for the New Year granted by President Moon Jae-in.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korean battery majors defend 30% global share in EV last year vs China’s rise
South Korean battery majors LG Energy Solution, SK On, and Samsung SDI managed to defend combined market share of above 30 percent in the global EV power in the face of escalating competition with Chinese producers. Bellwether LG Energy Solution was behind 51.3 gigawatts per hour (GWh) in powering electric vehicles hitting the roads worldwide in the first 11 months of 2021, up 90.6 percent on year. It nevertheless yielded the No. 1 rank to CATL of China whose market share increased by 10 percent, according to global market tracker SNE Research.
Kospi outlook for 2022 mixed on political calendar and tightening environment
South Korea’s key stock index Kospi is projected to move in a modest range of between 2,800 and 3,400 this year with outlook mixed due to uncertainties depending on the outcome of the March presidential election and shift to tightening around the globe in the aftermath of ultra-loose policy in pandemic period. Research center directors at six major securities firms in a poll by the Maeil Business Newspaper project a peak from 3,200 to 3,600 this year, with the most optimistic projection issued by KB Securities.
KHNP joins Egyptian nuclear project, but other projects in question due to phase-out
Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP), the state operator of nuclear reactors, has entered exclusive talks with Egypt to provide turbine buildings for the country’s first nuclear power plant, and can raise hopes up for greater overseas opportunities as the European Union is mulling to include nuclear power as green taxonomy, if not for contradicting policy at home. Whether Korea can sustain the supremacy in nuclear reactor technology amid growing global acceptance of nuclear reactors for carbon neutrality goals is in doubt as financing basis and industry habitat in Korea have been weakening under the government’s mid to long-term policy of phasing out of nuclear power.
What’s ticking around the world at this second?
See what the world media around the world have to report:
Le Monde www.ilemonde.com
Sydney Morning Heraldwww.smh.com.au
Colombia Reports http://colombiareports.com
El Universal http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english
Ecuador Times http://www.ecuadortimes.net
The Jordan Times https://www.jordantimes.com
Philippine Daily Inquirer https://www.inquirer.net
Daily News Hungary http://dailynewshungary.com
Budapest Times http://budapesttimes.hu
The Korea Post is running video clips from the different embassies.
And many other countries.
What are you waiting for?
The Korea Post media are more than eager to be used, and to serve you—with the following five news outlets, 36 years old this year!
Korean-language Internet edition: http://www.koreapost.co.kr
English-language Internet edition: http://www.koreapost.com
Korean-language print newspaper:
English E-daily: http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=10690