Tuesday, April 19, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
The 23rd Jeonju International Film Festival held in Korea on April 23-May 7
The 23rd Jeonju International Film Festival starts on April 23 this year, and continues till May 7. According to the schedule of the Opening-Closing Ceremonies and Award Ceremony, preview screenings for Opening and Closing Films and five press conferences will be held during the festival. Launched in 2000, Jeonju IFF is now recognized as Mecca of independent film festival of Asia and the widest window of avant-garde cinema around the world.
Concerning private sector, privatization and demonopolization
On April 8, 2022 the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a Decree in which goals are set extensively with specific timeframes for taking measures in a number of key areas of the country's economic development to create favorable conditions for the development of the private sector, as well as measures to accelerate the process of privatization, the fight against corruption and demonopolization. It should be noted that this Presidential Decree is directly related to the "Development Strategy of New Uzbekistan for 2022-2026". If briefly and abstractly, the goals of the Decree are aimed at achieving stable economic growth, increasing the competitiveness of the national economy and reducing the state share in the private sector’s economy.
“Boysun Bahori” festival to begin in Padang village on May 7
On May 7-8, the festival “Boysun Bahori”, the long-awaited holiday of the renewal of nature, national traditions and folklore will start in the mountain village of Padang in Boysun district, reports “Dunyo” IA correspondent. Сurrently, the festival is being thoroughly prepared in cooperation with the Ministry of culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Surkhandarya region county executive and a number of other organizations in the Surkhandarya region. In accordance with the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan “on the organization and holding measures of the International Folklore Festival “Boysun Bahori” on February 7, 2022, more than 200 representatives folklore communities operating in our country will participate in the traditional festival, demonstrating the traditions of clothing, songs and folklore specific to their territory.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Moon to Leave Cheong Wa Dae on Eve of Yoon's Inauguration
President Moon Jae-in will leave Cheong Wa Dae on May 9, his last official day as president, the presidential office said last Friday. Moon will attend the inauguration of his successor Yoon Seok-youl the following day before leaving for his private retirement home in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang Province. Moon and his wife will spend the night at an undisclosed location in Seoul, the last presidential couple to have inhabited the palatial Blue House that will now become a museum and park.
N.Korea Fires Short-Range Nuclear Missile
North Korea said Sunday it succeeded in test firing a new tactical missile that would be capable of striking Seoul from the frontlines with a nuclear warhead. The new missile has a much shorter range than an intercontinental ballistic missile but can be mounted with a tactical nuclear warhead and could pose a bigger threat to South Korea than an ICBM. The Joint Chiefs of Staff here confirmed that North Korea launched two projectiles into the East Sea from Hamheung, South Hamgyong Province at around 6 p.m. on Saturday. The JCS said they flew to a height of around 25 km and a distance of approximately 110 km at a maximum speed of Mach 4.0.
S.Korea-U.S. War Simulation Exercises Kick off
South Korea and the U.S. kicked off largely computer-based command post training on Monday in preparation for any full-scale war with North Korea. The exercise will last for nine days and take various new factors into account like the coronavirus pandemic and the changing power dynamics of the region, the Joint Chiefs of Staff here said Sunday. But the exercise involves no field training and is mostly a computer simulation, the JCS added. In advance, the two countries conducted four days of crisis management staff training on April 12-15.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Health minister nominee steps into scandals
Minister of Health and Welfare nominee Chung Ho-young is facing allegations of misdeeds involving his children’s university admissions and son's exemption from military service and members of the People Power Party are calling for him to abandon the nomination. Rep. Ha Tae-kyung and Rep. Kim Yong-tae of the PPP both called for Chung’s resignation Monday. In a press conference Sunday, Chung addressed the allegations surrounding two of his children’s admissions to a medical school and his son’s exemption from active-duty military service due to medical issues.“There was no possible way to use my social position for the advantage of my children, and there was no wrongful act committed,” Chung said. He called for a thorough investigation of the allegations.
Moon rejects prosecutor general's resignation
President Moon Jae-in rejected the protest resignation of Prosecutor General Kim Oh-soo Monday, and offered a meeting instead. Kim tendered his resignation Sunday in response to the ruling Democratic Party's (DP) legislative drive to abolish the state prosecution service’s remaining investigative powers, which he described last week as a change that would be “welcomed by criminals.” The prosecutor general requested a meeting with the president last week but didn't get one. At a Monday press briefing, Blue House spokesperson Park Kyung-mee said Moon decided to reject Kim’s resignation and instead meet with him later in the day.
Long time coming, PPP and PP agree to merge
The main opposition People Power Party (PPP) and minor People’s Party (PP) finally agreed to merge. PPP chairman Lee Jun-seok and Ahn Cheol-soo, leader of the PP, announced the merger at a press conference at the National Assembly on Monday, more than five weeks after Yoon Suk-yeol was elected president. The parties each held a supreme committee meeting on Monday morning and passed a merger plan of the two parties. The PPP said its supreme committee “approved the merger with the People’s Party,” and added a plan to convene its national committee, which is a mandatory process to merge the parties, was passed as well.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Half of apartment unit transactions in Gangnam and Seocho made at new high prices
Half of apartment unit transactions in Gangnam and Seocho districts after the presidential election were made at new high prices. Meanwhile, seven of 10 apartment unit transactions in Seoul were made at lower prices than the previously highest prices, confirming skewed demand for Gangnam. According to the data submitted on Monday by the Korea Real Estate Board to the office of Kim Hoi-jae, a member of the Democratic Party of Korea, 12 of 23 apartment unit transactions made in Seocho district between March 10 to April 12 were sold at higher prices than the previous records. In Gangnam district, such a share was 47.2 percent, or 17 out of 36 transactions.
Economy and security risks to be managed by presidential office
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol stressed on Monday that “a strong economy means strong security and vise versa,” hinting that the National Security Council of the Presidential Office would be directly involved in managing any signs of risk if economic/security issues are found. Yoon’s remarks came from a policy roundtable titled “Economic and security planning to overcome risks and become a global hub,” which was held at a hotel in Jongno-gu in Seoul by Seoul Forum for International Affairs. The event was attended by former Prime Minister Lee Hong-gu, former Environment Minister Kim Myeong-ja, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won,
Russia controls entry and exit in Mariupol
The Russian troops closed Mariupol, a city in the southern part of Ukraine, issuing movement passes to control the traffic of citizens in and out the city. The latest move by the Russian military is aimed at bringing Ukraine down to its knees by taking hostage of the entire city, a strategic hub in the region. Despite Russia’s ultimatum, some 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers are holding out, poised to fight it through. According to CNN, Petro Andriushchenko, the advisor to the mayor of Mariupol, said on Telegram that it was impossible to travel in the city or go outside without the pass from the Russian troops, adding that the remaining men in the city will be censored before being deployed to other places, and that the entry into Mariupol will be suspended starting Monday.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
LGES-led Korean consortium to launch $9 bn EV mineral project in Indonesia
Shares of South Korea’s top battery maker LG Energy Solution Ltd. (LGES) and its parent LG Chem Ltd. stayed subdued Monday despite report of $9 billion mega-project to lead a Korean consortium to establish an EV value chain in resource-rich Indonesia. According to multiple industry sources and foreign media outlets on Monday, the LGES-led consortium signed a non-binding framework agreement with Indonesia’s PT Aneka Tambang Tbk (Antam), a state-owned mining company, and battery investment firm Indonesia Battery Corporation (IBC) last week to establish an EV battery value chain in the Southeast Asian country.
Increased dividend from Korean Inc. to worsen C/A balance and KRW weakening
Over $8 billion, or more than half of cash dividend payouts from the Korean Inc. for the fiscal 2021, would go to offshore investors this month, further denting the current-account balance amid trade deficit and Korean won weakening from foreign selloff in Korean securities. According to data compiled by NH Investment & Securities on Sunday, Korean firms’ dividend payment for fiscal year of 2021 is estimated to total 30.2 trillion won ($24.5 billion) with 32.2 percent, or 9.7 trillion won, going to foreign investors. Samsung Electronics and 10 other Korean firms will pay out 200 billion won or more in cash dividend to foreign shareholders.
Naver and Kakao to report slowed growth Q1 on increased labor cost
South Korean internet giants Naver Corp. and Kakao Corp. are expected to deliver stagnated growth for the first quarter due to spike in labor cost to indulge skilled IT workforce. According to earnings data compiled by South Korean financial data provider FnGuide Inc. on Monday, Naver’s operating profit for the first quarter is projected at 344.1 billion won on revenue of 1.88 trillion won ($1.52 billion), off 2 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively from the previous quarter while gaining 19 percent and 25 percent against a year-ago period.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
N. Korea test-fired weapons meant to enhance “operation of tactical nukes”
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “gave important instructions on further building up the defence capabilities and nuclear combat forces of the country” while observing the “test-fire of a new-type tactical guided weapon,” the Workers’ Party of Korea-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper reported in a front-page story on Sunday.“The new-type tactical guided weapon system is of great significance in enhancing the efficiency in the operation of tactical nukes of the DPRK,” the article said. Based on the eight photographs published by the Rodong Sinmun, the “new-type tactical guided weapon” was fired from two launch tubes mounted on a transporter erector launcher.
What China is worried about as it watches the war in Ukraine
The war between Russia and Ukraine is dragging on. Instead of progressing at lightning speed as Russian President Vladimir Putin expected, the war has persisted, bringing to the fore an international power game. Countries of the West have condemned and sanctioned Russia, highlighting the intimate alliance between Beijing and Moscow. Though China is maintaining its attitude of neutrality, the international community is keeping an eye on it in order to make sure the country is not alleviating the effects of Western sanctions by aiding Russia. So what exactly is China’s stance? First, China has been consistent in regard to its strategic goal of maintaining an all-out strategic partnership with Russia.
Why S. Korea’s prosecutor general is tendering his resignation now
The surprise notice of resignation of South Korean Prosecutor General Kim O-su, who had previously declared his intention to finish out his term “according to the law and principles” even under pressure to resign from the People Power Party and key associates of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, appeared to be based on his conclusion that there was no point in continuing with his duties. Kim’s decision came in protest of the Democratic Party’s plans for separating the prosecutors’ investigation and indictment powers. Another factor that may have cemented his resolve to quit was current President Moon Jae-in’s effective refusal of his request for a meeting.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
An Article by Chung Ho-young’s Son Turns out to Be a Clever Mix of a Master’s Thesis Written by a Chinese Student
Chung (31), the son of the minister of health and welfare nominee Chung Ho-young, co-authored a research paper, which some claim is a translated revision of a Chinese student’s master’s thesis from Kyungpook National University. The academic adviser of the Chinese student was Professor Park in the Department of Electronics Engineering at Kyungpook National University and was also a co-author of the article in question along with Chung. Professor Park published around thirty articles in major academic journals for ten years from 2007, and Chung was the only undergraduate student to be named as a co-author of a research paper. Chung applied for special admission to Kyungpook National University Medical School in 2018 and submitted two research papers he co-authored as his major achievements and experiences. He was accepted by the school.
Paintings by Wife of Prime Minister Nominee Han Duck-soo Sold to Hyosung Group and Booyoung Housing for Tens of Millions of Won
Choi (74), an artist and the wife of prime minister nominee Han Duck-soo, sold four pieces of her artworks to the Hyosung Group and Booyoung Housing for 39 million won. She held two solo exhibitions in the last ten years and sold tens of millions of won worth of her paintings, but she stated her occupation as “housework” in a document submitted for her husband’s confirmation hearing. Choi’s cash assets increased by 850 million won in the last ten years. The Democratic Party of Korea requested Choi and the owner of the gallery where Choi’s works were on display as witnesses in the confirmation hearing to see who bought Choi’s paintings, the price of the paintings, and how Choi came to increase her property.
Ukraine Asked South Korea for the Russian T-80 Tank Surprising the South Korean Military
On April 14, it was confirmed that Ukraine, at war with Russia, originally asked the South Korean defense ministry for 150-200 items of military supplies. The items Ukraine requested included weapons of destruction as well as non-destructive military supplies. Among the items on the list was the T-80U, a Russian tank that the South Korean military imported as part of the Brown Bear Project. The Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov asked for weapons in a phone call with Minister of National Defense Suh Wook on April 8. A military official said, “In the process of preparing for the ministerial phone call, the working-level staff at the defense ministries of the two countries adjusted the agenda,” and added, “In these discussions, the Ukrainian defense ministry requested military supplies of around 150-200 items.”
Top Prosecutor Withdraws Resignation after Meeting Moon
Prosecutor General Kim O-su has withdrawn his resignation after meeting with President Moon Jae-in on Monday. Kim submitted his resignation on Sunday in protest of the Democratic Party's legislative move to strip the prosecution of its investigative powers as a part of prosecutorial reform. However, President Moon turned down the resignation and met with Kim at the top office on Monday afternoon. After the meeting that lasted for over one hour, the top prosecutor told reporters that he has decided to do his best until the last moment under the given conditions. He added that civil servants need to respect the decisions of the person who has the power to appoint them.
US Urges N. Korea to Halt Provocation
The U.S. State Department has urged North Korea to halt provocation, warning that consequences will continue as long as the North continues with its provocation. Department spokesperson Ned Price issued the position on Monday during a press briefing when asked about the North's recent firing of a new tactical guided weapon. Price said that Washington has made it very clear to Pyongyang that the door to diplomacy remains open, but the North needs to stop its escalatory behavior and choose the path of engagement. The spokesperson said the U.S. is willing to listen to the North's concerns, but this can only happen through dialogue and the North has not yet given any concrete indications that it is open to dialogue.
BOK Chief Nominee Hints at Further Key Interest Rate Hikes
The nominee for Bank of Korea(BOK) governor has indicated that additional hikes of the benchmark interest rate will be inevitable to tame rapid inflation, should he take office. Rhee Chang-yong shared his monetary policy views in a written report submitted to the National Assembly Strategy and Finance Committee on Monday ahead of his parliamentary confirmation hearing the next day. Regarding the Bank of Korea’s decision last week to raise the benchmark rate by a quarter percentage point to one-point-five percent, Rhee said it was “properly” made and is in line with the direction he thinks the central bank needs to go in.
Yoon's office calls for determining health minister nominee's eligibility after confirmation hearing
The office of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol said Monday that whether the health minister nominee is fit for office should be determined after his confirmation hearing, despite calls for withdrawing the nomination over suspicions he used his position to get his children into a medical school. The nomination of Chung Ho-young, a former chief of Kyungpook National University Hospital, has become the hottest political issue after allegations surfaced that he used his position to help his daughter and son gain admission to the university's medical school and exempt his son from active duty military service.
Court suspends decision to void ex-justice minister daughter's medical school admission
A court on Monday suspended Pusan National University's decision to nullify its 2015 acceptance of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk's daughter into its medical school for having used forged documents on her application. The school in the southeastern port city of Busan made the decision earlier this month to cancel Cho Min's admission to its Graduate School of Medicine after the Supreme Court convicted her mother in January of forging some of the documents used in the daughter's application.
U.S. will listen to N. Korea's concerns but only through dialogue: State Dept.
The United States is willing to listen to any concerns North Korea may have but only if North Korea engages in dialogue, a Department of State spokesperson said Monday, urging Pyongyang to return to diplomacy. Ned Price also reiterated the North will continue to face consequences until it ceases its escalatory actions. "We are willing to listen to the full range of the DPRK's concerns, but this can only happen through dialogue and the DPRK has not yet given any concrete indications that it is open to this dialogue," the department spokesperson said in a press briefing, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
S. Korea, US kick off military drills as N.Korea gears up for massive military parade
South Korea and the US on Monday kicked off their annual combined military exercise, while North Korea has begun its preparation for a massive military parade likely to be held during the training period “in earnest,” South Korean military officials said. Seoul and Washington decided to conduct the nine-day, springtime Combined Command Post Training in light of the overall circumstances, including the COVID-19 pandemic and maintaining a combined defense posture.
Appeasement policy for NK needs to change, foreign minister nominee says
It’s time for a new policy approach to North Korea from the incumbent Moon Jae-in administration’s Korean Peninsula Peace Process, Rep. Park Jin, the nominee for foreign minister, said Monday. Making his first trip to the preparation office for the parliamentary confirmation hearing, Park of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s People Power Party also denounced Pyongyang’s recent missile launches, calling them a threat to peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Nuclear envoys of South Korea, US condemn NK missile provocations
Top nuclear envoys of South Korea and the United States condemned the series of missile tests by North Korea while urging the communist regime to return to the “path of dialogue,” in Seoul on Monday. South Korea’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk said he reaffirmed the strong alliance with the United States, with his US counterpart Sung Kim traveling to Seoul to discuss the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Public firms concerned about restructuring under incoming Yoon administration
Concerns are growing among employees of state-owned companies about their job stability, as the incoming Yoon administration is expected to pursue major restructuring of public firms under the premise of increasing efficiency. Such concerns are based on the fact that Choo Kyung-ho, the nominee for the positions of finance minister and deputy minister for economic affairs of the Yoon Suk-yeol administration, has been calling for years to overhaul and restructure public firms. When he was serving as the first vice minister of the finance ministry in 2013 in the Park Geun-hye administration, he urged public companies to undergo restructuring to eliminate "lax management" and resolve those public institutions' deficits.
Election watchdog chief tenders resignation over early voting lapses
The chief of the state election watchdog tendered her resignation Monday following criticism over mishandling of ballots cast by COVID-19 patients during early voting for the March 9 presidential election. Noh Jeong-hee, chairperson of the National Election Commission (NEC), expressed her intention to step down during the watchdog's general meeting, saying she feels responsibility over early voting lapses. Her resignation offer comes less than two months before the local elections on June 1. "I deeply apologize again for causing concerns to the people," Noh said. "I ask the people to cooperate so that the local elections can be held flawlessly."
President Moon rejects top prosecutor's resignation
President Moon Jae-in rejected Prosecutor-General Kim Oh-soo's resignation on Monday, in an apparent move to prevent a full-scale conflict between the prosecution and the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), which is seeking to strip the prosecution of its investigative powers. "President Moon rejected Prosecutor-General Kim's resignation and will meet him later in the day," presidential spokesperson Park Kyung-mee said Monday. After the meeting, Park said in a statement that the prosecutor-general explained to the president the concerns shared by prosecutors over the DPK's attempt. Moon expressed his trust in Kim and asked the top prosecutor to finish his term because he is not responsible for the current situation.
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