Monday, June 13, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
MOTIE negotiator attends Korea-GCC FTA negotiations in Riyadh
Chief FTA negotiator Lee Kyung-sik of the Trade, Industry and Energy Ministry (MOTIE) led the South Korean delegation in the 5th round of Korea-GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) FTA negotiations held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on June 6. The senior FTA negotiator gave opening remarks and facilitated negotiations on relevant products and services, investment, e-commerce, customs clearance, sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS), technical barriers to trade (TBT) and SMEs collaboration.
U.S., S. Korea conduct combined live-fire missile launch
To demonstrate the ability of the combined US-ROK force to respond quickly to crisis events on the Korean Peninsula, U.S. Forces Korea and the Republic of Korea militaries conducted a combined live-fire exercise, the United States Forces Korea (USFK) said on June 6. This exercise utilized one U.S. Army missile and seven ROK Army missiles. The missiles were fired from the northeast of South Korea into the East Sea following appropriate notifications for air and maritime safety.
“Bilateral economic cooperation grows fast thanks to increasing Korean companies in Azerbaijan”
“Azerbaijan and Korea have strong mutual economic and business relations and those relations have achieved a larger scope and a higher level in recent years between our two countries and pleasingly, an increasing number of Korean public and private companies get involved in several projects in Azerbaijan.” So said Economic-Commercial Counsellor Vasif Aliyev at a recent interview with The Korea Post editors at the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Seoul on June 9, 2022.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Cheong Wa Dae Becomes Tourist Hotspot
The former presidential palace is fast becoming one of the must-see tourist destinations in Seoul. The sprawling compound of Cheong Wa Dae or the Blue House, so named after its blue roof, is conveniently close to Gyeongbok Palace and Insa-dong. Most foreign tourists interviewed by the Chosun Ilbo last weekend knew Cheong Wa Dae has opened to visitors and wanted to see it. One tourist from France said, "I found out on a French website for tourists and also on social media that Cheong Wa Dae opened to visitors."
N.Korea Fires Suspected Artillery Pieces into Sea
North Korea test-fired suspected artillery pieces into the sea on Sunday, South Korea's military said, days after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for greater defense capability to cope with outside threats. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that it detected several flight trajectories believed to be North Korean artillery on Sunday morning. It said South Korea maintains a firm military readiness in close coordination with the United States amid boosted surveillance on North Korea.
Seoul Is World's 10th Most Expensive City for Expats
Seoul is the world's 10th most expensive city for expats, according to global mobility company ECA International. It ranked eighth last year. The company ranked 207 cities from 120 countries based on factors like the average rent and public transportation costs as well as the strength of the local currency. Hong Kong topped the list for third year in a row. Also in the top 10 were Tokyo at fifth, Shanghai at eighth and Guangzhou at ninth, making Asia one of the priciest continents.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Trucker strike disrupts key industries, threatens automaking
triking truck drivers are disrupting the operations of a wide range of business, including ready-mix concrete producers, automakers and restaurants. Hyundai Motor is struggling to move finished cars so it can make more cars, while more than half of the country's ready-mix concrete factories have suspended operations due to a halt in the shipment of cement.
Travelers to U.S. no longer need negative Covid test
The United States no longer requires a negative Covid-19 test for air travelers entering the country from June 12, according to its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The decision comes after the travel industry had been lobbying for months to lift the test requirements as a way to revitalize inbound travel to the United States. The CDC plans to reassess its decision after 90 days. The new mandate will remain in effect “unless modified or rescinded based on specific public health or other considerations,” according to the CDC, such as the emergence of a new variant.
Woo Sang-ho calls for restoring trust as he becomes DP interim leader
Rep. Woo Sang-ho, the new interim leader of the liberal Democratic Party's (DP), said Sunday that the party needs to work on "restoring public trust," the loss of which he blamed for the poor showing in recent elections. Woo, a four-term lawmaker, was confirmed as the new chief of the DP's emergency steering committee Friday after being nominated for the position Tuesday. The previous interim leadership stepped down due to the party's defeat in the June 1 local elections.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
S. Korea, U.S., Japan agree to expand anti-N. Korea drills
The defense ministers of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan have met in person for the first time in two years and seven months and reached a surprise agreement on collaboration against North Korea, including missile warning drills, and the normalization of drills for detection and tracing of ballistic missiles. Against this backdrop, the North has reused the expression ‘struggle against enemy’ for South Korea for the first time in two years.
Further increase interest rates expected amid record high oil prices
Oil prices on average have spiked to a new record high both in South Korea and the United States. As oil prices have only grown amid the ongoing inflation across the globe, the Federal Reserve or the U.S. central bank is expected to take a “giant step” to raise the key interest rate by as high as 0.75 percentage points at one go in the near future. Likewise, there is a growing consensus that the Bank of Korea will increase the key interest rate additionally around July and August.
Russia fires cluster missiles on apartments
“This is where an underground bunker of our apartment used to be. Russia’s missiles hit the bunker and 18 people who were hiding inside the bunker were killed.” A resident surnamed Petro of a Ukrainian city located 54 kilometers north of Kyiv, said to a reporter on Saturday (local time), pointing to the site of a bombing in front of crumbled apartment buildings. The most intense battles took place in the city in March, right after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
S. Korea’s current account turns red to flag twin deficit in April
South Korea’s current account turned red for the first time in two years in April, the usual month for dividend payouts to foreign stock investors coupled with deteriorated trade balance from surging import cost to saddle the country with twin deficit in the fiscal and external accounts. The country’s current account registered $80 million in deficit in April, a sharp deterioration from $7.06 billion surplus in March, according to data released by the Bank of Korea on Friday.
BOK chief confirms tightening trend to continue on faster raises in key economies
Bank of Korea Governor Rhee Chang-yong on Friday confirmed that rate increases would have to go on to contain inflation as strong prices can harden lives more than rising interest rates in the longer run.“Interest rate increases can agonize the economically weak in the short term, but the damage can become greater if we miss the timing in containing inflation,” Rhee said in a speech marking the central bank’s 72nd year of founding.
FTC’s exempting shippers on Korea-China route fine for collusion stokes controversy
The Korean antitrust agency has fined a combined 80 billion won ($63.3 million) on local and foreign shippers for past freight rate rigging on the route between Korea and Japan, stoking controversy for exempting sea carriers on Korea-China route of punitive actions despite similar charge. The Fair Trade Commission announced Thursday provisional fine of 80 billion won 15 sea container carriers plus a corrective order for colluding in freight rates on the sea route between Korea and Japan for 16 years.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Not even first ladies are immune from sexism
A few years ago, I was scrolling through survey data released by a match-making agency when I came across some interesting findings. Apparently, men named meals as the “biggest waste of money” in dating costs. Not only that, but they also considered it to be “wasted money” even when women spent their own cash to buy things to snack on. In other data shared by a different match-making agency, men were found to most prefer “cooking” as a pastime for women. In contrast, they showed a low preference for visiting different popular restaurants.
Students’ pick for top study abroad destination? Survey says…
As the COVID-19 pandemic shows signs of abating, more and more people are signaling renewed interest in traveling and studying overseas. A survey of 10,000 prospective international students in 182 countries by Educations.com, which specializes in study abroad, showed Australia topping the list of the countries where students would most like to study overseas in 2022. South Korea came in 22nd, one spot higher than in 2021.
Enraged by allegations surrounding Han Dong-hoon’s daughter, parents call for penalties
A student at an international school in Songdo, Incheon, the daughter of South Korean Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon has a flashy resume: according to it, she’s authored a scholarly article, been published, founded a volunteer organization, formulated a development plan for a mobile phone application, and participated in an art exhibit. But on the flip side are allegations of plagiarism and ghostwriting, which can be traced back to an industry based on the intellectual exploitation of young people from developing nations, including Kenya.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
“Obstinate Suppression,” Police Ban Labor Demonstration of 499 Participants in Yongsan
The police sent a notice informing the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions that a demonstration of 499 participants in front of the War Memorial near the presidential office, which the confederation reported in advance, would be prohibited. The police banned the demonstration just two days after it announced a policy to allow smaller demonstrations near the Office of the President. Conflict between the new government and labor is intensifying as the government now bans a demonstration following its hardline response to the Cargo Truckers Solidarity strike.
Fire that Started in an Attorney’s Office in Daegu Kills 7 Including Suspected Arsonist, “Angry after Losing in Court”
A fire caused by arson in a building that mainly housed law firms near the Daegu District Court in Beomeo-dong, Daegu killed seven and injured more than forty people on June 9. According to the police and the fire department, around 10:55 a.m. this morning, a fire broke out on the second floor of a five-story building near the court in Beomeo-dong, Suseong-gu, Daegu.
A Private Contract with a Company that Only Has 2 Experts for the 600-Million-Won Renovation of Presidential Office Raises Questions
A newly founded company in Gyeonggi-do with only two experts was hired to renovate the presidential office in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. The company’s building capacity was assessed at far below the down payment for the renovation. In other words, an unverified company has taken on a project for a major state facility just six months after the company was established.
Unionized Truckers Strike Extends to 7th Day
Unionized truckers entered the seventh day of a general strike on Monday as the government and the union failed to reach an agreement in negotiations held over the weekend. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the union held a fourth round of negotiations at the government complex in Sejong from 2 p.m. Sunday, but failed to narrow differences. The two sides held talks for over ten hours on Saturday as well, only to end in disagreement.
JCS: N. Korea Fires Presumed Artillery Shots
The South Korean military said North Korea fired several artillery shots, possibly from multiple rocket launchers, on Sunday morning. The Joint Chiefs of Staff(JCS) said on Sunday evening that it detected "several flight trajectories" presumed to be North Korean artillery from 8:07 a.m. to 11:03 a.m. The JCS said the South Korean military maintains a robust readiness in close cooperation with the United States amid boosted surveillance on North Korea.
N. Korea Reports Below 40,000 New Fever Cases
North Korea claimed its fever-related daily cases suspected to be COVID-19 fell below 40-thousand. The North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Monday that 36-thousand-710 new fever patients were confirmed in the 24-hour period leading up to 6 p.m. Sunday nationwide. Quoting the nation's state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters, the KCNA said over 42-thousand patients recovered during the same period.
S. Korea to 'normalize' security cooperation with Japan to address N.K. threats: minister
South Korea seeks to "normalize" security cooperation with Japan and strengthen trilateral collaboration involving the United States to address North Korea's nuclear and missile threats, Seoul's defense minister said Sunday. Lee Jong-sup was speaking at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in this city state, striving to drum up global support to tackle the security challenges that he said can affect the overall Indo-Pacific region.
Presidential office holds security meeting amid N.K. artillery shots
The presidential National Security Office has held a meeting to discuss North Korea's firing of artillery shots presumably from a multiple rocket launcher, the presidential office said. The shots were detected between 8:07 a.m. and 11:03 a.m. on Sunday morning, and the NSO meeting was convened at 10:30 a.m. the same day to check the military's readiness posture, the office said in a notice to reporters late Sunday night.
Pres. Yoon has dinner with Cannes-winning Park Chan-wook, Song Kang-ho
President Yoon Suk-yeol had dinner on Sunday with director Park Chan-wook and actor Song Kang-ho to celebrate their honors at this year's Cannes International Film Festival. Park won the Best Director prize at the 75th edition of the film festival last month for his romance thriller "Decision to Leave." It was his third Cannes award following the Grand Prix for "Oldboy" (2003) and the Jury Prize for "Thirst" (2009).
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
South Korea eyes post-omicron life, mulls ending COVID-19 isolation
South Korea has already stopped quarantining close contacts and arriving travelers. Now the country is mulling whether to follow through with the planned lifting of mandatory isolation for COVID-19 patients in a bid to treat the disease as endemic. According to official statistics, the COVID-19 situation here has continued to improve since omicron peaked in March.
Police say suspect in fatal arson likely targeted attorneys after losing lawsuit
Police believe a man suspected of a fatal arson attack on Thursday in Daegu targeted attorneys on the defense team of the company he was suing in a civil case over a loss of several hundred million won in a real estate investment. According to the police, the 53-year-old man, who is only known by his surname Chon, brought a civil case against a trust company that was involved in a real estate project he had invested in, which never materialized.
Renault Korea Motors vows to stay committed to Korea
With big is beautiful still the mantra for many Korean drivers, small-car specialist Renault Korea Motors faces a challenge in the local market. So as the carmaker commits to the Korean market, new CEO Stephane Deblaise’s priority is designing a new car that suits Korean tastes and taking it to foreign markets with similar preferences.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Ex-spy agency chief's motives behind remarks on classified files questioned
The country's former spy agency chief Park Jie-won has found himself at the center of controversy after he publicly disclosed the agency has been secretly compiling dossiers on politicians, entrepreneurs and journalists. Experts were divided over whether Park made the remarks as a political gambit for personal gain or in a whistleblowing effort to stop the agency from further unethical gathering of information.
Korea pushes for trade pacts with Middle East amid geopolitical shift
What is happening in the Middle East has reminded the rest of the world of the foreign policy dictum, "yesterday's enemy can be your friend today." Israel and the Arab countries, which had long deemed each other respective enemies due to their oppositional stances on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, have begun to recognize each other as partners. Israel normalized diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Sudan in 2020.
Samsung chief visits Germany to seek cooperation with carmakers, semiconductor-related firms
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong visited Munich, Germany reportedly to seek cooperation with automakers and semiconductor-related firms. Munich hosts the headquarters of BMW and semiconductor-related firms such as Siemens, according to company officials. Lee's chartered flight, which arrived in Budapest, Hungary, on June 7, departed for Munich the following day. "It is true that Vice Chairman Lee went straight to Germany at the time," a Samsung Group official said. "But we have not been informed of his current whereabouts."
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Le Monde www.ilemonde.com
Sydney Morning Heraldwww.smh.com.au
Colombia Reports http://colombiareports.com
El Universal http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english
Ecuador Times http://www.ecuadortimes.net
The Jordan Times https://www.jordantimes.com
Philippine Daily Inquirer https://www.inquirer.net
Daily News Hungary http://dailynewshungary.com
Budapest Times http://budapesttimes.hu
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