Friday, May 13, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
China's new Long-March 6 carrier rocket completes maiden flight
A modified version of the Long March-6 carrier rocket with solid strap-on boosters blasted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China's Shanxi province at 5:50 p.m., March 29. The rocket, on its maiden flight, sent two satellites, Pujiang 2 and Tiankun 2, into planned orbits. It was the 412th mission of the Long March rocket s eries. The modified version is a new member of and further enriches China's new-generation carrier rocket family. The launch also marked the first mission carried out at the Launch Area 9A of the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, China's first intelligent launch area.
Bulgarian Embassy introduces Letters of Bulgaria, Alphabet of Europe
On the occasion of May 24th, the Day of the Bulgarian Alphabet, Education and Culture, the Embassy of Bulgaria in Korea and the Busan Metropolitan City have the pleasure to present the exhibition “The Letters of Bulgaria - Alphabet of Europe.” On display are 30 posters created by 30 renowned artists from 20 countries, each reflecting one of the 30 letters of the Bulgarian alphabet, one of early Europe’s three major alphabets. Each letter was chosen by drawing lots during the international adjudication of the fifth International Triennial in October 2007 in Sofia. One of the letters, “Ь”, was created after a contest among young Bulgarian artists and students, in which more than 60 authors up to 35 years of age took part. All posters are four-colored, in a 70 х 100 cm format, and of identical typographic design.
Maruti Suzuki, Hero Moto Corp, Tata Cummins receive incentives
A proposed investment of Rs 29,834 crore is expected from the 75 approved applicants under the Component Champion Incentive Scheme. Maruti Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp, Lucas-TVS, Tata Cummins, and Toyota Kirloskar Auto Parts are among the 75 firms approved for receiving incentives under the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for the automobile and auto components sector, the government said on Tuesday. A proposed investment of Rs 29,834 crore is expected from the 75 approved applicants under the Component Champion Incentive Scheme.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Support for Conscripting Women Grows
Some 42 percent of women in their 20s support equal conscription instead of compelling only young men to shoulder the burden of defending the country. In a poll of 1,786 people over 16 by Kstat Research last month, 42.2 percent of supporters cited the need for women to be able to defend themselves in a war, and 25 percent said women should share duties equally with men. Next came because women are capable (14.9 percent), and because military service can be helpful in building a career (12.3 percent).
Trucks and Vans Top Car Sales in Hard Times
Trucks and vans are the bestselling vehicles in Korea as more prestigious passenger cars are being held up by a microchip shortage. The two bestselling automobiles in the first four months of this year were Hyundai's Porter truck with 26,569 and Kia's Bongo van with 21,760. The Porter had been the top seller several times, but this is the first time cars for commercial use have taken the top two spots. The biggest reason behind the latest change appears to be the chip shortage, which has been delaying deliveries of popular passenger cars.
Korea's Trade Deficit Keeps Mounting in May
Korea's trade deficit swelled to US$3.7 billion in the first 10 days of this month, the Korea Customs Service said Wednesday. The country already suffered from the second consecutive month of trade deficits in April for the first time in 14 years. That means the cumulative trade deficit so far this year has reached $9.86 billion. Over the same period last year Korea enjoyed a healthy $7.92 billion trade surplus. According to KCS, Korea's exports during the first 10 days of this month totaled $16 billion, up 28.7 percent on-year, but imports increased at a faster clip, particularly energy, surging 34.7 percent to $19.8 billion.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Yoon cobbles together first meeting of Cabinet
President Yoon Suk-yeol appointed his foreign and interior ministers Thursday ahead of holding his first Cabinet meeting. With Yoon's appointments of Minister of Foreign Affairs Park Jin and Minister of Interior and Safety Lee Sang-min, nine out of 18 minister positions are filled and sworn in. Technically, a majority, or 11 Cabinet members out of 20, are needed to meet the quorum to convene a Cabinet meeting. A complete Cabinet includes 18 ministers, prime minister and the president. To reach the quorum, Yoon invited two ministers from the previous Moon Jae-in administration to attend: Health and Welfare Minister Kwon Deok-cheol and Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Noh Hyeong-ouk.
While Covid wanes, there's no end in sight for 'Aida'
Eight days after national health authorities lifted the outdoor mask mandate, hundreds of locals ready to let loose packed into the Blue Square theater in central Seoul for the first preview performance of this year’s local production of musical “Aida” on May 10. And the show did not disappoint. Ostensibly based on Giuseppe Verdi’s opera of the same name, Elton John and Tim Rice’s Disney musical flaunts a Tony-winning score and an ultimate coming-of-age romance between Egyptian captain Radames, enslaved Nubian Princess Aida and Pharaoh’s daughter Princess Amneris. A tear-jerker in one scene and then a hilarious comedy in another, “Aida” is a fully-packaged Broadway megahit.
North Korea admits its first Covid cases
North Korea has identified its first ever cases of Covid-19. A report Thursday by state-run news agency Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said that cases of the Omicron variant had been found in the capital Pyongyang. North Korea has not previously acknowledged any cases. According to KCNA, samples collected from a group of people experiencing flu-like symptoms and fevers on Sunday tested positive for the highly contagious Omicron variant. In response, the regime declared a “state of maximum anti-disease measures,” with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordering strict restrictions on the movement of people in all cities and counties on Thursday and the distribution of medical supplies stockpiled in case of a Covid-19 emergency, KCNA reported.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Up to 10 million won to be provided in assistance for small businesses
Small business owners and companies affected by social distancing rules to stop the spread of COVID-19 and reported a drop in sales by more than 60 percent will receive up to 10 million won in COVID-19 compensation package. Meanwhile, 22.7 million low-income households will be able to receive up to 1 million won. On Thursday, the first cabinet meeting, which was presided over by President Yoon Suyeol, and passed 34.9 trillion won supplementary budget bill, the biggest extra budget bill in hisis also the new administration’s first supplementary budget and the second in 2022. The budget size will total 59.4 trillion won if combined with the amount to be expensed as local subsidy, etc.
Hanwha Solutions to invest 380 billion won to build solar energy infrastructure
At the Intersolar Europe 2022, Europe’s biggest solar energy exhibition which took place in Munich, Germany, Hanwha Solutions announced a plan to invest a total of 380 billion won in South Korea and the United States to build high-performance solar cells and modules. The South Korean energy company will first invest 180 billion won to newly establish the production line of solar cells based on the tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) structure. Hanwha Solutions’ investment into domestic facilities for producing solar cells is the first in five years.
Confirmed cases advised to get 3rd or 4th shot three months after infection
The South Korean government recommended that confirmed cases of COVID-19 should get the 3rd or 4th vaccine three months after testing positive. Those who is expecting the 1st or 2nd jab are allowed the shot three weeks after infection. The guidelines on COVID-19 patients’ vaccination schedule took effect on Thursday as per the nation’s expert group on COVID-19 vaccination. Previously, COVID-19 patients were not notified by the government of any recommended dosing schedule. It only gave a broad direction that confirmed cases can get an injection once they recover and are released from self-quarantine.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korean retailers put $171.4 bn in local, offshore stocks over last two years
South Korean mom-and-pop investors are in panicky mood from stock market crashes in the U.S. and at home after having put more than 220 trillion won ($171.4 billion) in domestic and offshore – mostly in U.S. - shares over the last two years. According to data from Korea Exchange and Korea Securities Depository on Thursday, Korean individuals net purchased 226.1 trillion won worth of local and foreign stocks from early 2020 to May 6. They net bought 165.2 trillion won in local stocks including 132.2 trillion won on the main Kospi and 33 trillion won on Kosdaq.
Wireless carriers vie to win smart transport system across Korea
South Korean wireless network carriers expanding battlefield in a range of 5G-based businesses are contesting over smart mapping and connectivity to sponsor self-driving vehicles when they hit the roads. In a press conference Wednesday, KT Corp. said it was bidding to dominate orders from regional governments based on its successful demonstration experience through so-called cooperative intelligence transport system (C-ITS). KT has so far won the largest number of C-ITS orders in Korea. The company has completed demonstration project for Jeju Special Self-Governing Province in 2020 and established C-ITS in Ulsan last month.
KT’s Q1 earnings at 11-year best, readying IPO of digital bank and e-book platforms
Korea’s telco major KT Corp. has closed the first quarter at its best earnings in more than 11 years as it reaped fruits off evolving 5G network services for consumers and businesses. KT disclosed Thursday an operating income of 626.6 billion won ($487.6 million) on a consolidated basis for the first quarter ended March 2022, surging 69.6 percent from previous quarter and 41.1 percent from a year ago. It is the best income since the third quarter 2010.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Hidden history of S. Korea’s Blue House: A supreme seat of authority rooted in Japanese colonial rule
“As of today, the era of the Blue House presidency is over.” These words, spoken by outgoing President Moon Jae-in before a crowd of people seeing him off on his last day of work at the Blue House on Monday, sounded like a weighty declaration. It signified the end of the Blue House’s history dating back 83 years (or 82 years and eight months, more precisely) as the supreme seat of South Korean authority — ever since Sept. 20, 1939, when Jiro Minami (1874–1955), the seventh Japanese governor-general of Korea and a figure notorious for his policy forcing Koreans to adopt Japanese names, moved into a new residence built in the rear garden of the Gyeongbok Palace, the primary palace used by Joseon’s kings.
S. Korean court gives anti-discrimination march OK to pass in front of Yoon’s office
A court has allowed a protest march to proceed in front of the presidential office in Seoul’s Yongsan District.The decision puts a curb on attempts by police to automatically ban protests and assemblies “within 100 meters of the presidential residence” even after recently inaugurated President Yoon Suk-yeol relocated his presidential office from the Blue House to Yongsan. With the court stating in unmistakable terms that the office was not considered part of the presidential residence, observers are predicting that most assemblies and demonstrations nearby could be permitted, provided that they pose no issues in terms of the president’s security.
Pompeo dissuaded Trump from withdrawing US troops from S. Korea, memoir reveals
When former US President Donald Trump insisted on completely withdrawing US troops from South Korea, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly told him to wait to do it in his second term. Former US Defense Secretary Mark Esper sheds light on the details of Trump’s Korea policy in his memoir “A Sacred Oath,” published on Tuesday. In the book, Esper writes how Trump called for the withdrawal of US troops several times, while also saying that Koreans were “terrible to deal with,” regarding the renegotiations on defense sharing costs.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
A Walk Holding His Cat, Moon Jae-in’s Life after Retirement, “Just Like 5 Years Ago”
A look into the ordinary life of former President Moon Jae-in in his home in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do following his retirement has drawn attention. His close aides met with the former president in his Yangsan home on May 11 and said Moon seemed comfortable and looked just like he did five years ago. This day, former chief of staff Im Jong-seok posted a picture with former President Moon on social media and wrote, “He seemed relaxed,” and added, “I bow my head and thank the people for their passionate support as the president got off work and as he returned home to Yangsan.”
“Half the Women Were Objects of Sexual Pleasure for the Yangban” More Controversial Comments by Kim Seong-hoi
On May 12, Kim Seong-hoi (pictured), the secretary for religious and multi-cultural affairs in the presidential office, who once stirred controversy with comments hostile to homosexuality and comments slandering comfort women victims, quoted Galileo Galilei on his Facebook account and wrote, “And yet it moves,” along with an argument that “Half the female population were objects of sexual pleasure for their masters, the yangban (aristocrats in Joseon) any time.”This day, Kim wrote a post titled, “Monologue” and wrote, “In Joseon, 40-50%, nearly half the population were slaves (nobi), and among them female slaves were preferred because they could produce second generation slaves.
President Yoon’s Inaugural Address Cried “Freedom” and Nothing Else: No Vision on Welfare, Labor, Education and the Climate Crisis
President Yoon Suk-yeol (Yoon Seok-youl) emphasized “the dignified life of a free citizen” in his inaugural address on May 10. However, he did not present any vision in welfare, education, labor, the environment, and gender equality showing how he would lead the state to make that possible. Although he did mention tasks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, polarization, and poverty, he simply ended at listing the problems. He only stressed growth as a solution to these problems, triggering concerns among civic groups that he could end up fueling polarization and inequality. Some argued that the “unrestrained collective conflicts in the country,” and “anti-intellectualism” that the president mentioned had strikes by trade unions in mind.
N. Korea Reports Six Deaths, 18,000 Fever Cases
North Korea has reportedly confirmed 18-thousand new cases of fever and six deaths, including one from COVID-19. According to the North's official Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) on Friday, leader Kim Jong-un visited the national emergency quarantine command and received the report on Thursday. The report said the country has seen a soaring number of unknown fever cases nationwide since April, totaling around 350-thousand in that short period of time, with 162-thousand now fully recovered. The North reportedly saw about 18-thousand new fever cases nationwide on Thursday alone, with 187-thousand people receiving treatment in isolation. The report said six people died on Thursday, including one from the stealth omicron variant.
JCS: N. Korea Fires Three Short-Range Ballistic Missiles toward East Sea Thursday
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff(JCS) said North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles from the Sunan area in Pyongyang toward the East Sea on Thursday. The JCS said on Thursday that it detected missiles launched at around 6:29 p.m., adding that they flew 360 kilometers with a maximum altitude of 90 kilometers and a top speed of Mach Five.Intelligence authorities of South Korea and the U.S. are analyzing the details of the launches. The missiles are presumed to have been launched from what the North calls a super-large multiple rocket launcher at intervals of about 20 seconds.
Yoon Pledges Additional $3 Bln for Global Fight against COVID-19
President Yoon Suk Yeol said on Thursday that South Korea will contribute an additional 300 million U.S. dollars to a global initiative against COVID-19. The president made the pledge in his pre-recorded speech for the second Global COVID-19 Summit co-hosted by the United States, Belize, Germany, Indonesia and Senegal. In his first appearance on the international stage since Tuesday's inauguration, Yoon said that South Korea will continue its contribution to the global effort to end the pandemic as the nation seeks to fulfill its responsibility and roles.
Yoon pledges additional $300 mln for global anti-COVID-19 fight
President Yoon Suk-yeol said Thursday South Korea will provide an additional US$300 million for a global anti-COVID-19 partnership as he attended a multilateral summit of world leaders for the first time since taking office earlier this week. Yoon made the pledge in a prerecorded video message for the second Global COVID-19 Summit that was held virtually and co-hosted by the United States, Belize, Germany, Indonesia and Senegal. "South Korea has joined the international community's efforts to quickly bring an end to COVID-19 and build a sustainable global health response mechanism," Yoon said. "We will continue to further support the international community's efforts to end COVID-19 and fulfill our responsibility and role."
N. Korea reports 6 COVID-19 deaths amid 'explosive' spread of fever
North Korea said Friday six people have died from COVID-19 and symptoms of fever were reported among more than 18,000 people nationwide the previous day alone. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited the country's state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters Thursday and examined antivirus efforts, a day after it declared a shift to the "maximum emergency prevention system," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. Since late April, an unknown fever spread "explosively" across the North, affecting 350,000 people, according to the KCNA. It added that 162,200 people have been fully treated so far.
U.S. has no plans to provide COVID vaccine to N. Korea, but supports Int'l efforts: White House
The United States has no immediate plans to provide COVID-19 vaccines to North Korea but supports international efforts to help vaccinate the people of the reclusive country, a White House spokesperson said Thursday. Jen Psaki, however, accused Pyongyang of exploiting its people by denying or diverting international assistance to pursue unlawful weapons programs. "The United States does not currently have plans to share vaccines with the DPRK," the White House press secretary said when asked if the U.S. had plans to provide North Korea with COVID-19 vaccines.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Cabinet approves Yoon’s 1st bill on W59tr-extra budget
The Cabinet endorsed the supplementary budget worth 59.4 trillion won ($46 billion) in its first meeting under the Yoon Suk-yeol administration in Seoul on Thursday. The budget, drawn up by a group of ministries, is mostly aimed at supporting the self-employed and microbusiness owners. But the real scale of the extra budget in terms of utilization for payouts for the people and other segments of the economy would stay at 36.4 trillion won, given that 23 trillion won would be granted to local governments under relevant laws, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
North Korea, economic alliance set to dominate Korea-US summit agenda
North Korea will likely top the agenda for President Yoon Suk-yeol and US President Joe Biden at the summit meeting in Seoul, but forming economic alliances and ties to contain China will also be high on the list for the US. The Yoon administration will face difficult choices as the US and China seeking to involve Korea, a strong player in strategic industries such as chips and batteries, in their supply chains.
North Korea confirms COVID-19 outbreak, Kim orders lockdown
North Korea officially confirmed a COVID-19 outbreak for the first time in a state media report on Thursday. Calling the situation the “biggest emergency,” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered a de-facto lockdown to prevent further spread of the disease. According to the Korean Central News Agency, Pyongyang has detected cases of the stealth omicron variant, the highly transmissible offshoot of the omicron virus.“The country’s biggest emergency has occurred with a hole in our emergency quarantine front which we have kept safe for two years and three months since February 2020,” the KCNA said.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
N. Korea fires 3 missiles in 1st major provocation after Yoon's inauguration
North Korea fired three suspected ballistic missiles toward the East Sea, Thursday, marking the first major provocation since President Yoon Suk-yeol took office two days earlier. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected the three, possibly short-range missiles, being launched from Sunan area in Pyongyang around 6:29 p.m. They traveled 360 kilometers to a maximum altitude of 90 kilometers at a top speed of Mach 5. "This is a grave provocation that must be suspended right away," the JCS said. It went on to say, "The military has strengthened monitoring activities and vigilance and is maintaining a full readiness posture in close cooperation with the United States."
Yoon makes debut to int'l diplomacy at COVID-19 summit
President Yoon Suk-yeol made his debut on the international diplomatic stage, Thursday, promising a $300 million contribution to an international initiative on COVID-19 response. During his speech at the second virtual Global COVID-19 Summit, Yoon stressed Korea's role and responsibility in the world's battle against the pandemic. "Korea has been making contributions to the international society's efforts to end COVID-19 and build a sustainable global response system for healthcare," Yoon said. "We will continue making contributions to the global efforts to see the end of the pandemic, and will play our role and fulfill our responsibility."
US has no plans to provide COVID vaccine to N. Korea, but supports Int'l efforts: White House
The United States has no immediate plans to provide COVID-19 vaccines to North Korea but supports international efforts to help vaccinate the people of the reclusive country, a White House spokesperson said Thursday. Jen Psaki, however, accused Pyongyang of exploiting its people by denying or diverting international assistance to pursue unlawful weapons programs. "The United States does not currently have plans to share vaccines with the DPRK," the White House press secretary said when asked if the U.S. had plans to provide North Korea with COVID-19 vaccines. DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name.
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