Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Yoon meets Park, says he has always been sorry for the situation
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol visited the residence of former President Park Geun-hye in Yuga-eup, Dalseong-gun, Daegu on the afternoon of April 12 for a meeting with her. After the meeting, President-elect Yoon said that he has personally been feeling sorry for what had happened to her and between Park and himself.: Yoon than said that he made the remarks to Madam Park. Yoon visited the residence of Madam Park in Dalseong-gun, Daegu on the afternoon of the day and had a conversation with her. After leaving his private residence and meeting with reporters, Yoon said, “We talked about President Park’s health.”
Jeju Province Develop. Co. pursues eco-friendly, quality-oriented management
“Jeju Province Development Co. plans to focus on eco-friendly, quality, and consumer-oriented management this year,” said CEO Kim Jeong-hak of Jeju Province Development co. In an interview with The Korea Post, CEO Kim said, “First, eco-friendliness is the first year of the government’s implementation of the ‘Korean (K)-resource circulation economy, and there may be many changes and difficulties, but as a leader in the drinking spring water industry, we will try our best to present eco-friendly standards and directions for the industry.
U.S. President Biden likely to visit Seoul for a summit with Yoon Suk-yeol in May
U.S. President Joe Biden is reportedly planning to visit Korea for a summit with the new President Yoon Suk-yeol at the end of May. It was reported that the Biden administration is expected to soon begin formal work to coordinate schedules with each country for a trip to Korea and Japan at the end of May. The vernacular daily Chosun Ilbo quoted a diplomatic source in a telephone interview as saying, “I understand that the Biden administration is pushing to visit Korea on the occasion of attending the Quad summit in Japan on May 24. "A summit between the new President Yoon Seok-yeol and President Biden will also be held." Quad is a U.S.-led four-nation partnership between Japan, India and Australia.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Moon Vows to Keep in Touch with Twitter Followers
President Moon Jae-in on Monday said he expects to continue communicating on social media after he leaves the office as his Twitter followers have now surpassed 2 million. "I am looking forward to sharing my daily life out of politics after retirement," Moon said. He earlier promised not to get involved in politics. Moon retires to a compound in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang Province when his term ends on May 9. Presidential speech writer Oh Jong-sik will reportedly move in with him. Cheong Wa Dae said Moon has been getting some 150 handwritten letters a day compared to the usual average of 50.
Nuclear-Powered U.S. Aircraft Carrier to Join Drills with S.Korea
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln will enter the East Sea this week to take part in drills with South Korean forces. The U.S. aircraft carrier, which is currently in the East China Sea, is expected to arrive in the East Sea around Friday. It seems to form part of a show of force amid fears that North Korea will launch a provocation to coincide with regime founder Kim Il-sung's 110th birthday on Friday, either a fresh launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile or a seventh nuclear test. In November 2017 when the regime's nuclear and missile provocations were at their peak, the U.S. sent a warning message to the North by deploying no fewer than three aircraft carriers in the East Sea.
Ukrainian President Asks Korea to Send Weapons
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday asked Korean lawmakers to send weapons to help his country against the Russian invasion. Korea "has tanks, ships and various equipment that can block Russian missiles and we would be grateful if [the country] could help us fight back against Russia," Zeleneskyy told the National Assembly via Zoom. He reminded them that Korea was also helped in the 1950-1953 Korean War by the international community. In the 15-minute address, the Ukrainian leader thanked Korea for joining international sanctions on Russia but added that more help is needed. Zelenskyy has stayed in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv since the invasion began in February and addressed the assemblies of 23 countries as well as international organizations requesting military support.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Possibility of Yoon-Biden summit in May arises
U.S. President Joe Biden plans to visit Japan next month to attend a Quad meeting, leading to a possibility that he could stop in Seoul for a summit with Yoon Suk-yeol shortly after his inauguration as Korea's new president. Biden said in opening remarks in a virtual meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday that he is "looking forward" to seeing him in Japan around May 24 at a meeting of leaders of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad. Quad is a U.S.-led cooperative forum with India, Japan and Australia. While Biden has traveled to Europe, this would be his first visit to Asia since taking office in January 2021. There is speculation that Biden could visit Korea for a summit with Yoon, who will be inaugurated on May 10.
Yoon buries hatchet with president he helped oust
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol told former President Park Geun-hye Tuesday he was sorry about their adversarial history. Yoon, who as a prosecutor spearheaded the probe that led to the former president's impeachment and removal from office, visited Park at her residence in Daegu's Dalseong County at 2 p.m. Tuesday and held a 50-minute meeting in an "amicable atmosphere," according to their aides. Their first meeting was an opportunity for Yoon to make amends with Park, invite her to his inauguration next month and curry favor with her many conservative supporters. "We talked about [former President Park's] health," Yoon told reporters in Daegu after the meeting. "We do have a history.
DP lawmakers try to decide on bill to curb prosecution
Lawmakers from the liberal Democratic Party (DP) gathered Tuesday to decide whether to push through a bill to abolish the prosecution's investigative powers entirely. Although they didn't reach a decision by press time, DP Chairman Yun Ho-jung said Tuesday that the party intends to pass a bill stripping the state prosecution service of its investigative power and have it signed by outgoing President Moon Jae-in early next month. Speaking on a radio program, Yun said the party aimed to use its super-majority of 172 seats in the 300-member National Assembly to clear all legislative procedures for the bill so that it can be voted on and promulgated into law at a Cabinet meeting scheduled for May 3, before the presidency is handed over to President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol of the conservative People Power Party (PPP).“The way not to miss the opportunity is to completely reform the prosecution before the inauguration of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol,” Yun said.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Yoon Suk-yeol, Biden expected to hold their first summit in late May
South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden are expected to hold summit around May 24. During his virtual summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday (local time), U.S. President Biden said he is looking forward to seeing Modi in Japan on May 24. President Biden hinted that he is planning to visit Japan around May 24 for a meeting of leaders of Quad member nations including the U.S., Japan, Australia and India. If President Biden actually visits Japan next month, he is expected to stop in South Korea.
Security screening at the airport to be shortened to seven seconds
The security screening process will be shortened from 37 seconds to seven seconds by 2027, thanks to the introduction of cutting-edge screening technology, which allows passengers to slowly walk through instead of taking out laptops and prohibited items for security checks. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport announced on Tuesday that it established and finalized the Third Basic Plan for Air Transportation Security Measures (2022-2026).
Minister nominees’ columns on low birth rate cause a stir
Health Minister nominee Chung Ho-young and Trade Minister nominee Lee Chang-yang have caused a stir for their views on low birth rate they revealed in newspaper columns. In a column “Road to Patriotism,” which he wrote for a local newspaper in 2012, Health Minister nominee Chung wrote, “There has never been a time when it was easier to become a patriot than now,” adding, “You can easily become a prospective patriot right away just by getting married, and if it leads to childbirth, you will finally join the ranks of true patriots.” Chung went on to say, “According to some calculations, Koreans will become extinct in the year 2900. If you have any doubts, look around. Only one out of 10 women in their 20s got married.”
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
KEPCO’s Q1 loss to go deeper above $6.5 bn due to mounting fuel costs: Hana
Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) is forecast to report more than 8 trillion won ($6.5 billion) in operating loss in the first quarter due to surging coal costs on top of the soaring oil price from the Russia-Ukraine war, according to a local securities firm’s report.“KEPCO’s revenue will recover in the first quarter, but its operating loss will be further widened due to higher raw material costs,” said Yoo Jae-sun, analysts at Hana Financial Investment, estimating KEPCO’s operating loss at 8.4 trillion won. “In this situation, only power tariff hike would help its earnings.”
S. Korea’s financial exposure to real estate hits $2 bn, exceeding GDP last year
Over $2 trillion, or larger than the South Korean gross domestic product, went to real estate purchases or related market last year to underscore the extent of property frenzy amid soaring prices and lush liquidity, data showed. According to data obtained by Justice Party’s lawmaker Jang Hyeyeong from the Bank of Korea, exposure of banks and other financial institutions to real estate reached 2,566 trillion won ($2.07 trillion) as of the end of 2021, adding 12.4 percent or 283 trillion won from a year ago. The amount is equivalent to about 125 percent of the country’s nominal GDP last year.
Samsung financial svc almost all Korean adults use unite to single platform this wk
Samsung Group this week is rolling out an integrated financial platform offering from traditional financial to latest fintech services backed by its high tech that could disrupt the crowded digital finance landscape as its securities to insurance subscribers amount to 23 million, tantamount to almost all adult population in South Korea. Samsung financial platform dubbed “Monimo” will open on Thursday, integrating online services of Samsung Life Insurance, Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance, Samsung Securities, and Samsung Card. Given subscribers to the financial arms, Samsung projects that around 23 million people would use Monimo.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Zelenskyy entreats S. Korea to supply Ukraine with weapons in virtual speech to National Assembly
In his virtual speech to South Korean lawmakers Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged South Korea to send Ukraine military equipment that would help the country defend itself from Russian tanks, warships and missiles. Addressing the South Korean National Assembly, Zelenskyy openly requested arms support that would help Ukraine “stand against Russia.” He said, “South Korea has military equipment that can counter Russian tanks, ships, and missiles and save the lives of Ukrainian citizens,” specifically asking for anti-aircraft, anti-tank, and anti-ship weapons.
Biden to visit Japan next month, leaving open possibility of summit with Yoon by late May
US President Joe Biden announced that he will be visiting Tokyo in late May in order to attend a Quad summit. It’s likely that Biden will take the opportunity to visit South Korea as well, leading to projections that South Korea and the US will be holding a summit around that time. On Monday, the White House released a transcript of the virtual meeting between Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that took place on the same day. According to the transcript, Biden told Modi, “I’m looking forward to seeing you in Japan, about the 24th of May.”
US aircraft carrier to return to East Sea in response to N. Korean missiles after 4-year hiatus
The nuclear-powered USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, currently located in the East China Sea, will reportedly be arriving in the East Sea on April 15 to conduct training with the South Korean Navy. The US vessel's entry into the East Sea is the first in four years and five months since November 2017, when North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile and military tensions on the Korean Peninsula were high. Through this move, South Korea and the US are reportedly issuing a warning message to North Korea in the wake of its many missile tests this year as well as the growing possibility of a seventh nuclear weapon test.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Conflict over Bill to Strip Prosecutors of Authority to Lead Investigations Has Become an Instrument in a Power Struggle
With the launch of the Yoon Seok-youl government just a month away, a bill to strip prosecutors of the authority to conduct investigations has emerged as the biggest issue. Behind this issue lies a president-elect who once served as prosecutor general. The Democratic Party of Korea scrambled to promote a bill depriving prosecutors of their authority to conduct investigations following concerns that the President-elect Yoon Seok-youl could directly control investigations by the Prosecution Service and the Service could arbitrarily conduct investigations. The Prosecution Service, feeling a threat to its existence, is fighting back fueling the conflict. Underlying the latest conflict is a chronic lack of trust in the Prosecution Service. A battle between old and new power has spread to a proxy battle between the Democratic Party and the Prosecution Service, which again interlocked with a battle between the old and new power in the Prosecution Service.
Park Joo-sun, “Kim Keon-hee’s Post Ridiculed Cho Min? Overreading the Social Media Post. We Never Contacted BTS”
On April 12, Park Joo-sun, head of the presidential inauguration preparation committee spoke on the controversial invitation of BTS to the inauguration ceremony and said, “It was only an idea we discussed in the inauguration preparation committee, and we never contacted BTS.” This day, Park appeared on the YTN radio show, News King Bak Ji-hun and said, “The President-elect Yoon asked for a modest but meaningful inauguration ceremony, so when discussing the issue in a committee meeting, we decided that a program with unknown stars, children, teenagers, and people from isolated groups taking part and performing could significantly contribute to the meaning of national unity.”
All First Eight Members of the Cabinet Have Worked with President-elect Yoon
On April 10. President-elect Yoon Seok-youl nominated People Power Party lawmaker Choo Kyung-ho as deputy prime minister and minister of economy and finance. He announced the first eight members of his cabinet including former Jeju governor, Won Hee-ryong as minister of land, infrastructure and transport and former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lee Jong-seop as minister of national defense. The latest nominations also revealed Yoon’s tendency to appoint people he has worked with. This day, President-elect Yoon personally announced his ministerial nominees at the presidential transition committee press room in Tongui-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul. The announcement was made a week after Yoon nominated prime minister nominee Han Duck-soo on April 3.
Yoon to Announce Up to Ten Additional Cabinet Posts on Wed.
President-elect Yoon Suk Yeol will reportedly announce the nominees for up to ten additional Cabinet posts on Wednesday afternoon. An aide to Yoon told Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday that all ten remaining posts could be announced altogether later in the day, or the announcement may leave out “a couple of posts” still under deliberation. Yoon announced eight ministerial nominees on Sunday, including deputy prime minister for the economy and finance minister nominee Choo Kyung-ho, industry minister nominee Lee Chang-yang and land minister nominee Won Hee-ryong.
US Military Report: N. Korea Capable to Attack Satellites in Conflict
The U.S. Department of Defense says North Korea is conducting ballistic missile tests on the pretext of a space program for peaceful purposes. The Defense Intelligence Agency(DIA) under the Pentagon made the assessment in the “2022 Challenges to Security in Space” report released on Tuesday, which described China, Russia, North Korea and Iran as nations posing challenges and threats. The DIA report said the North has claimed the right to the peaceful use of space to enable testing of technologies used for ballistic missiles, adding that the space program provided the regime with data applicable to the development of long-range and multi-stage ballistic missiles.
DP to Pass Prosecution Reform Bill in April for Promulgation Within Moon's Term
The ruling Democratic Party(DP) has decided to push forward with a plan to deprive the prosecution of its investigative powers and pass a related bill by the end of the month. DP officials said on Tuesday that the decision was reached during a general meeting of party members and adopted as an official party platform. The ruling party, which holds 172 of the 300-seat parliament, seeks to hold a plenary session of the National Assembly this month to pass the bill, they said. As part of its prosecution reform, the DP also decided to push for the creation of a Korean version of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the U.S. and transfer the prosecution’s investigative power to the new state agency.
Yoon says sorry to ex-President Park, invites her to inauguration ceremony
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol met with former President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday, telling her he was sorry over their erstwhile relationship surrounding a corruption probe of Park and inviting her to his inauguration ceremony. "We talked about the president's health," Yoon told reporters after paying a visit to Park at her residence in her hometown of Daegu. "And we do have a history. I told her about my regret and that I felt sorry for her in my heart." After Yoon invited Park to his May 10 inauguration ceremony, she said in response that, given her current health condition, she is not sure whether she can attend it but she will try to improve her health and make it to the ceremony, according to officials of both sides.
S. Korea to send additional non-lethal aid to Ukraine: source
South Korea plans to provide Ukraine with additional non-lethal aid worth 2 billion won (US$1.6 million) this month to help the war-torn country, an informed source said Wednesday. Seoul is preparing to start sending to Ukraine such items as bulletproof vests, helmets, medical supplies and meals, ready-to-eat (MREs), as early as next week, according to the source. The new package has been arranged following South Korea's shipment last month of non-lethal military and medical supplies -- worth 1 billion won -- amid Ukraine's calls for support to repel Russia's invasion.
PPP leads DP by over 10 pct points in poll ahead of local elections
The main opposition People Power Party (PPP) is leading the ruling Democratic Party (DP) by 11.5 percentage points ahead of the June 1 local elections, an opinion poll showed Tuesday. In the survey of 1,000 people aged 18 or older conducted by Korea Research from Saturday to Monday, 38.6 percent said they will vote for the PPP in the elections while 27.1 percent supported the DP. The People's Party and Justice Party received 3.4 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively, with 27.7 percent undecided.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
‘Bill to benefit criminals’: Legal experts slam Democratic Party of Korea’s prosecution reform push
Top legal scholars and societies have hit back at the ruling Democratic Party of Korea’s push to strip the prosecution completely of its investigative powers, warning the move will end up benefiting criminals and hurting victims. Last week the Democratic Party leadership said the party would legislate the prosecution reform bill before the end of Moon Jae-in administration in early May. During a session Tuesday, the party agreed on reform of the prosecution -- “complete forfeiture of the prosecution’s investigative capabilities” -- and the press as part of its party platform, to be passed within this month.
Yoon to announce additional Cabinet nominations
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol will announce a second round of Cabinet nominations Wednesday, his spokesperson said, a list that is expected to include at least seven minister nominees and his chief of staff. The nominations will be for the remaining 10 positions -- ministers of education, foreign affairs, unification, justice, interior and safety, labor, small and medium-sized enterprises, maritime affairs, agriculture and the environment. Yoon will announce the nominees at a press conference at 2 p.m., his spokesperson Bae Hyun-jin told reporters.
Seoul Mayor pledges city’s alliance with new government in housing policy
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said Tuesday that he would seek close cooperation with the incoming Yoon Suk-yeol administration on Seoul’s housing policy to increase housing supply and suppress runaway real estate prices.“I think it is important to work closely with the central government to increase the housing supply. But the city will approach the issue carefully so as not to cause any unnecessary surges of real estate prices,” Oh said during a press meeting held in line with the first anniversary of his inauguration at Seoul City Hall.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Yoon invites former President Park to inauguration ceremony
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol invited former President Park Geun-hye to his inauguration ceremony, May 10, as the incoming president tries to rebuild relations with his predecessor. Park said she will attend the inauguration if conditions permit. Yoon's much-heralded meeting with Park took place for 50 minutes, Tuesday, while he was on a national tour, which started, Monday.
Ruling party to push for prosecutorial reform bill passage
Hardliners have gained the upper hand within the ruling liberal Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) in a drive to reform the prosecution to separate its investigative and prosecution powers in response to its overreaching role in alleged past corruption cases. But a few DPK members expressed concerns about the manner in which the reform is being pursued ahead of the local elections on June 1. Park Ji-hyun, an interim leader of the ruling party, is one of such skeptic.
Corporations' ESG activities strengthened: report
Local corporations' efforts to proactively strengthen environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) principles in their management have increased during the past year. According to the latest report by the Korea ESG Research Institute, which analyzed more than 4,700 shareholders' meetings of 707 companies this year, the number of attempts to set up a commission for the goal of sustainable management has increased by 69.5 percent year-on-year, while the number of attempts to establish ESG management committees has soared by 88.2 percent from the previous year.
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