Friday, April 8, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Pernod Ricard Korea wins four awards at 2022 Korea Wine and Spirits Awards with its brands Royal Salute, Ballantine’s, and Jameson
Salute, the prestige whisky from Pernod Ricard Korea (headed by CEO Frantz Hotton) has been selected as the Best of 2022 in the whisky category at the 2022 Korea Wine and Spirits Awards. In addition, the company’s premium scotch whisky Ballantine’s and Irish whisky Jameson won the grand prize in their respective categories, bringing the company a total of four awards. Hosted by ChosunBiz, the 2022 Korea Wine and Spirits Awards is Korea’s top liquor awards. They were created to develop and promote quality liquors and support the establishment of a healthy drinking culture.
BAT Sacheon Factory acquires the AWS certification
BAT Sacheon Factory has been officially certified for the International Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), the company announced on April 7. BAT Sacheon Factory has taken steps to acquire the AWS certification since last year and passed the final assessment through rigorous on-site water resource management and consultation with stakeholders. With its water recycling facility, BAT Sacheon Factory has been recycling 18,000 tons of wastewater annually. This is equivalent to the water required to fill 7 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Along with the monthly inspection of its wastewater treatment and the industrial complex management authority’s check-up, BAT Sacheon Factory has been seeking ways to improve the environment and seek a win-win with the local community by sharing the outcome of the on-site water resource inspection results inside and outside the factory.
April 10th marks 1 year of Uzbekistan’s joining GSP plus beneficiaries
April 10 marks one year since Uzbekistan joined the GSP plus group beneficiaries. Uzbekistan joined the group in April last year, becoming the ninth country to participate in the special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance. Through the GSP+, Uzbekistan will receive duty-free access to the EU market for about 66% of tariff lines. At the same time, the GSP+ supports Uzbekistan in implementing sustainable development objectives and making further progress in the fields of human and labour rights, environmental and climate protection and good governance.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
COVID Patients Can Pick up Medication in Person
COVID patients who are isolating at home can now go to a pharmacy to pick up their medication. This decision was made to ease bottlenecks in the medical system as more and more patients are demanding face-to-face medical consultations, according to health authorities. Until Tuesday, other family members or carers had to pick up prescriptions or a public health worker had to deliver it to a patient's door, and consultations with a doctor were only over the phone. But under the new guidelines, which come as Korea lifts nearly all lockdown restrictions, patients can get a face-to-face consultation in a designated clinic or hospital and go to any pharmacy to pick up their prescription.
BOK to Raise Key Interest Rate Without Governor
The Bank of Korea will hold a monetary policy meeting on April 14 to set the key interest rate. The central bank is widely expected to increase it due to mounting inflationary pressure. Consumer prices increased 4.1 percent in March on-year, the highest in a decade. Ahn Jae-kyun at Shinhan Investment Corporation said, "There are mounting calls for the BOK to deal with inflationary pressure, so we cannot rule out a rate hike this month." But the meeting will have to go ahead without a governor since Lee Ju-yeol's term ended last month, while his successor Lee Chang-yong awaits a National Assembly confirmation hearing on April 19.
Airlines Fret Rising Oil Prices Will Thwart Post-COVID Recovery
Just as the aviation industry looked set to begin recovering from the impact of COVID-19 travel restrictions, it is now being hit by soaring oil prices. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Wednesday announced plans to increase the number of international flights from 420 per week this month to 520 next month and 620 in June, with the aim of returning to almost 50 percent of the pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year. Buoyed by the plans, Korean flagship carriers are already moving to increase their international flights. Starting from next month, Korean Air will increase flights to Hawaii from three times a week to five. Its flights to Toronto and Paris will also be increased from three times a week to four, while those to Guam and Sydney will be doubled from twice a week to four times a week.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Gender Ministry isn't being abolished yet, says Ahn
The incoming Yoon Suk-yeol administration will maintain the current government organizational structure while it focuses on urgent state affairs, said presidential transition team chairman Ahn Cheol-soo Thursday. That includes keeping the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, which Yoon vowed to abolish on the campaign trail. In a press briefing at his office in Tongui-dong, central Seoul, Ahn said that after an in-depth review of reorganizing the government, “We concluded that it would be better to focus on current state affairs such as stability in people’s livelihoods and foreign affairs, rather than making hasty decisions and pursuing them during the transition period.”
North could carry out big test, says Sung Kim
Sung Kim, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, told reporters that Pyongyang could conduct a missile or nuclear test to mark the anniversary of the birth of its founding leader Kim Il Sung this month. The anniversary, also known as the Day of the Sun, falls on April 15 and is considered North Korea’s biggest national holiday. Kim Il Sung was the grandfather of Kim Jong-un, the current North Korean leader. In previous years, Pyongyang has celebrated the occasion with flashy military parades and missile tests. North Korean pundits say this year’s Day of the Sun holds special meaning for Pyongyang, given that it’s the 110th. The communist regime tends to give more emphasis to anniversaries ending in a five or zero.
Kakao Mobility looks to get moving beyond its borders
Kakao Mobility is planning to go beyond the Korean borders, the company said Thursday. Kakao Mobility, which runs taxi-hailing app Kakao T, held an online press conference Thursday, outlining its overseas expansion strategy as the Covid-19 pandemic starts to wane across the globe. During the conference, the Kakao subsidiary revealed its plan to allow those traveling outside of Korea to use local taxi-hailing services through its Kakao T app. The goal is to make the service available in more than 120 countries, according to the company. Moreover, the Kakao subsidiary will collaborate with other transportation service companies operating overseas and make direct investments to accelerate its market penetration even outside taxi-hailing service business.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Yoon visits heart of KORUS alliance amid threats from Pyongyang
South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol on Thursday made a visit to U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys or Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province. “I can’t emphasize the significance of stringent deterrence based on the military alliance between Seoul and Washington and combined defense readiness amid serious international circumstances around the Korean Peninsula such as Pyongyang’s ICBM firing,” Yoon said. His message seemingly intended to stress how firm the KORUS alliance stays despite growing tensions over the region due to North Korea’s ICBM provocations and signs of nuclear tests prior to Yoon’s presidential inauguration. It was the first instance that a president-elect visited a garrison of the US Armed Forces in Korea (USFK).
Prices of imported grains likely to spike by over 10 percent
Imported grain prices are expected to rise by more than 10 percent over the 2nd quarter compared to the first three months of this year. Added to the increase of more than four percent in prices in March, higher grain prices will only put an increasing upward pressure on food prices. The import unit value index of edible grains is projected at 158.5 in the second quarter of the year, up by 10.4 percent on a quarter-on-quarter basis according to the April issue of “International Grains” released on Thursday by the Center for Agricultural Outlook Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI).
Zelenskyy says Russia should be removed from UN Security Council
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy revealed in detail the Russian forces’ killing of citizens and urged that Russia should be removed from the U.N. Security Council. The president attended an opening meeting of the U.N. Security Council held at the U.N. headquarters in New York on Tuesday (local time) and said that Russia should be removed as a permanent member of the Security Council so that it won’t be able to stop the council’s decisions on its invasion. He called for the reform of the U.N. and added that the organization should be dissolved without an alternative.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Samsung Elec Q1 sales hit quarterly record but stock remains tepid
Samsung Electronics Co. on Thursday reported its best quarterly sales in the January-March period despite multiple whammies from chip to shipping disruptions and geopolitical risks. Samsung Electronics in its earnings guidance estimated its operating income at 14.1 trillion won ($11.6 billion) for the first quarter, up 1.66 percent against the previous quarter and 50.32 percent from a year ago. Sales were estimated at 77 trillion won, the highest-ever quarterly result after adding 0.56 percent on quarter and 17.76 percent on year.
KT to expand media biz value chain with $4.1 bn target by 2025
South Korean telecom giant KT Corp. will invest 500 billion won ($410.3 million) in the next three years with a focus on original content production for its streaming platforms and channels to become a leading player in the sector with a target revenue of 5 trillion won by 2025. According to a business roadmap unveiled on Thursday, KT will expand its media and content lineup, with newly launched KT Studio Genie cranking out 24 originals by next year starting with a TV series tentatively titled ‘There is no Goo Pil Soo,’ starring actor Kwak Do-won and K-pop boy group Highlight member Yoon Doo-joon on May 4.
Korea aims to return int’l flight operation to full normalization by 2023
South Korea has set a bold target to fully normalize international flight operations to the pre-pandemic levels by 2023, one year earlier than its previous plan, on projection that the Covid-19 pandemic would become an endemic by the latter half of this year. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport on Wednesday unveiled a plan to resume regular international flight operations in three phases this year. Its primary target is to resume international flight services to half the level offered in 2019, or before the Covid-19 pandemic started and grounded airplanes across the world, by the end of this year, and to fully offer regular international services in 2023, one year earlier than its initial projection.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
A month of Yoon shows he’s following footsteps of failed former presidents
South Korea’s presidential election took place on March 9, which means we’ve had almost a month with Yoon Suk-yeol as the president-elect. The two months between election and inauguration don’t leave a lot of time to prepare for five years of governance, but Yoon has been the subject of major attention and anticipation as the next leader. He’s drawn some praise for his unceremonious and media-friendly demeanor — but in terms of substance, it’s hard to grade his performance over the past month very highly. He’d get 50% marks just for doing nothing, but he’s fallen well short of even that.
Yoon envoy discusses deployment of US strategic assets to Korean Peninsula with Jake Sullivan
A delegation for South Korea-US policy discussions sent by President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol delivered a letter from Yoon to US President Joe Biden during a visit to the White House on Tuesday. Meeting with reporters after delivering the letter through Jake Sullivan, the White House national security advisor, delegation leader and People Power Party lawmaker Park Jin explained, “We delivered a letter reflecting President-elect Yoon’s firm commitment to and vision for developing the South Korea-US alliance.”
S. Korean president-elect’s envoy says it reached consensus with US on upgrading alliance
A delegation for South Korea-US policy discussions dispatched by President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol announced that it had “reached a consensus” with the US after “sharing President-elect Yoon’s vision for upgrading the South Korea-US alliance to the higher level of a comprehensive strategic alliance.” “The US welcomed the President-elect’s vision for strengthening the South Korea-US alliance — a key pillar of regional security and prosperity — into a partnership that contributes at the global level, including the responses to the Ukraine situation and COVID-19,” said the delegation’s leader, People Power Party lawmaker Park Jin, while speaking with reporters Monday after a meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Transition Committee Anxious about the Inflation Asks Incumbent Government for “Special Measures”
The presidential transition committee is urging the Moon Jae-in government for special measures to control rising prices. The committee appears to be pressing the incumbent government to aggressively fight the inflation, after failing to present suitable measures of its own. This is the result of a sense of crisis in the transition committee that the soaring prices could threaten the basic policy direction of the soon-to-launch new government. People are also voicing concerns that if the new government fails to resolve this urgent problem, the sparks could spread to the local elections in June. On April 6, President-elect Yoon Seok-youl instructed his staff to promote measures to stabilize the people’s economic activities, including consumer prices, amid challenging domestic and international conditions as the top priority of the new government.
Samsung Electronics Achieved Record-High Sales in Q1, Operating Profits Rose 50% YOY
On April 7, Samsung Electronics announced it achieved consolidated sales of approximately 77 trillion won and consolidated operating profits of approximately 14.1 trillion won in the first quarter of 2022. Samsung’s performance exceeded the forecast by the securities industry (sales of 75.2 trillion won, operating profits of 13 trillion won). Sales rose 0.56% and operating profits increased 1.66% quarter on quarter. Year over year, sales rose 17.76% and operating profits jumped 50.32%. Samsung Electronics set a new record in sales, breaking the previous record set in the fourth quarter of 2021 (76.57 trillion won). This was also the second time that the company’s quarterly operating profits exceeded 10 trillion won, after Samsung earned 15.64 trillion won in Q1 2018, when there was a major semiconductor boom.
Han Duck-soo’s Prime Minister Nomination Triggers Controversy over Kim & Chang’s Advisor Fees: President-elect Yoon Seok-youl Asks for “Favorable” Judgment
Prime minister nominee Han Duck-soo (73) received over 1.8 billion won while working as an advisor for the law firm Kim & Chang for four years and four months, and this has sparked controversy the day after he was nominated as the new prime minister. President-elect Yoon Seok-youl, who knew that this could be a problem in the confirmation process, stressed the purpose of his nomination and asked for “favorable” judgment. Since there could be a clash of interests with the position of the prime minister, what activities Han Duck-soo engaged in in exchange for the advisor fees are expected to emerge as a major issue.
Vessel Carrying 6 S. Koreans Missing in Taiwanese Waters
The foreign ministry said on Thursday that a vessel carrying six South Koreans went missing in waters off Taiwan. The ministry said it was notified that Taiwanese marine search authorities received a distress signal from the tugboat Kyoto 1 in the western waters of Taiwan at around 9:50 a.m. Thursday. The ministry said all six persons on board the vessel were South Korean nationals. The 322-ton tugboat Kyoto 1 went missing while towing Kyoto 2, an auxiliary vessel, en route to Indonesia from Busan Port in South Korea. The ministry said the auxiliary vessel was found but Kyoto 1 was presumed to have gone missing.
Nominee for US Top Envoy: CVID of N. Korea Fits with Nonproliferation Goals
The nominee for U.S. ambassador to South Korea said on Thursday that a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization(CVID) of North Korea fits with the U.S.' non-proliferation goals. Philip Goldberg made the remarks in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Services Committee, calling North Korea a "rogue regime." The nominee said that while CVID is difficult to achieve, the objective corresponds very well to the U.S.' non-proliferation goals. He said that CVID is also suited to the U.S. policy of deterrence, as well as a commitment to building, broadening, deepening its alliances with South Korea.
Current Account Surplus Narrows in February
South Korea posted a current account surplus in February, but the surplus sharply declined as imports increased amid the soaring prices of oil and raw materials. According to tentative data from the Bank of Korea(BOK) on Friday, the country's current account surplus came to six-point-42 billion U.S. dollars in February, down from eight-point-06 billion dollars the previous year. It is the 22nd straight month a surplus has been logged since May 2020 but the amount plunged by one-point-64 billion dollars from a year ago. The goods account surplus slipped to four-point-27 billion dollars in February, down one-point-59 billion dollars from a year earlier.
S. Korea to release 7.23 mln more barrels of oil reserves over Ukraine crisis
South Korea has decided to release 7.23 million barrels of strategic crude reserves, in addition to its recent commitment of 4.42 million barrels, to help bring down high energy prices amid the ongoing Ukraine crisis, the industry ministry said Friday. Last week, 31 member nations of the International Energy Agency (IEA) agreed to release 120 million barrels of oil from their emergency reserves, following their similar decision last month to release 60 million barrels of oil, in response to the "significant strains of oil markets resulting from Russia's invasion of Ukraine," according to the energy agency.
Ex-President Park endorses key aide for Daegu mayor
Former President Park Geun-hye openly endorsed a key aide for mayor of her hometown of Daegu in June's local elections Friday, in her first political move since returning to her hometown last month following a presidential pardon. Park, who was pardoned in December after spending four years and nine months in prison on a 22-year sentence for corruption, appeared in a YouTube video to declare her support to lawyer Yoo Yeong-ha of the People Power Party (PPP), who is considered her closest aide.
Yoon vows to strengthen deterrence against N. Korea's nuclear, missile threats
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol vowed Thursday to strengthen deterrence against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats during a visit to a U.S. military base, his spokesperson said. Yoon flew by helicopter to Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, amid heightened tensions in the wake of North Korea's test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile last month and concern Pyongyang could carry out a nuclear test. "Strong deterrence through the Korea-U.S. military alliance and combined defense posture cannot be emphasized enough in a grave international security situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula, including North Korea's ICBM launch," Yoon was quoted as saying by spokesperson Bae Hyun-jin.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Yoon to start presidency at Defense Ministry, confident about no ‘security gap’
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s new government is taking shape, with the transition committee saying Yoon would start work at the Yongsan Defense Ministry building immediately after taking office and the Cabinet will be formed based on the current government organization.“President Yoon Suk-yeol will begin his presidency without a security gap on the day the new government is inaugurated on May 10,” a transition committee official said Thursday.
Ukraine girds for renewed Russian offensive on eastern front
KYIV, Ukraine -- Ukraine was bracing to battle for control of its industrial east and appealing for more help from the West after Russian forces withdrew from the shattered outskirts of Kyiv to regroup. Authorities were urging people to immediately evacuate from the Donbas region before Russia intensifies its offensive. In Brussels, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged NATO to provide more weapons for his war-torn country to help prevent further atrocities like those reported in the city of Bucha.
People Power Party looks to run in new direction
South Korea’s conservative People Power Party is set to elect a new floor leader Friday, as it readies for a party merger and the launch of the Yoon administration. On Friday, the party will elect a new floor leader to succeed Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon for a full year, and the election is seen as a battle between those who have connections to President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol and those who do not. Rep. Kweon Seong-dong, one of the closest figures to Yoon, is up against Rep. Cho Hae-jin, who essentially has no ties with the president-elect. Kweon is widely expected to win the election and direct the party to closely cooperate with Yoon and his new administration.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Complete, verifiable denuclearization of North Korea must be achieved: Goldberg
The United States and its allies must resolutely pursue a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization (CVID) of North Korea, the nominee for U.S. ambassador to South Korea said Thursday. Philip Goldberg also said North Korea may stage additional provocations amid suspicions that Pyongyang may be preparing to conduct a nuclear test. "Comprehensive, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization ― those are difficult goals, but they fit very well with our non-proliferation goals," he said in his confirmation hearing before the Senate foreign services committee.
Korea braces for gradual COVID-19 transition to endemic
The government is mapping out a gradual "return to normalcy" scheme by treating COVID-19 as endemic, as daily infection cases are showing clear signs of decline. According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Wednesday, the country will lift the social distancing and quarantine measures in phases, rather than declaring an end to the pandemic and removing all regulations at once. "Discussions (on the new regulations) are still in progress," Park Hyang, a senior health official, said during a briefing. She said that in light of Omicron's relatively low fatality rate, health authorities are considering lowering the infectious disease level of COVID-19, which has been at "Level 1," the highest in the four-tier system.
North Korea feared to return to nuclear brinkmanship
Concerns are rising that North Korea may be returning to nuclear brinkmanship by conducting another nuclear test ahead of major political events, including the 10th anniversary of leader Kim Jong-un's inauguration on April 11, as well as the April 15 Day of the Sun, an annual holiday marking the birthday of Kim Il-sung, North Korea's founding leader. ccording to U.S. government officials and North Korea watchers, there is a high possibility of the country launching an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) or carrying out a nuclear weapons test in the coming days.
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