Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
‘Cooperation between Uzbekistan, Korea is developing based on mutual trust, interest’
Ambassador Vitaliy Fen of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Seoul said, “This year marks the 30th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea.” Speaking at an exclusive interview with The Korea Post media at his office in Seoul, Ambassador Fen then said, “In addition, during the visit of the head of Uzbekistan to Korea last year, he proposed to declare 2022 as ‘The year of mutual exchanges between Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea.’ Details of the interview follow:
Korea, Lithuania hold talks on bilateral cooperation in laser, bio
Deputy Trade Minister Jeong Dae-jin met with Lithuania's Vice Economy Minister Jovita Neliupsiene at the Government Complex Seoul on Aug. 4, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said. Both sides exchanged views on Korea-Lithuania economic cooperation and other industries like laser and bio. Deputy Trade Minister Jeong also requested Lithuania’s interest in and support for Busan’s hosting of World EXPO 2030.
Samsung Electronics to be presenter for WorldSkills Competition 2022
Samsung Electronics announced on Aug. 5 that it will once again be the Overall Event Presenter for WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition, the world’s largest skill championship. The events will take place across 15 countries and regions from September to November of this year. Last year, Samsung Electronics committed to being the headline supporter of WorldSkills Shanghai 2022, which was cancelled in May due to the pandemic.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Yoon Returns from Vacation to Rock-Bottom Approval Rating
President Yoon Suk-yeol returned from his summer break on Monday morning to a dismal 24 percent approval rating, one of the lowest of any Korean president in history. Yoon spent the vacation at home in southern Seoul and promised to "listen to the will of the people with a more humble attitude" as he returns to work. He was apparently besieged by advice from elders and ruling party members during his break, who pointed out that his rock-bottom approval rating in recent polls was untenable.
Korea to Join Early Meeting of U.S.-Led Chip Alliance
Korean officials will attend a preliminary meeting of the U.S.-led Chip 4 alliance, a semiconductor coalition that also includes Japan and Taiwan to reduce global dependence on China. But Seoul wants to scupper a clause in the draft rules that would ban exports to China. A presidential office source said Sunday, "We expect to continue to fine-tune the agenda and our level of participation in the preliminary meeting next month."
Kim Jong-un's Security Beefed up After Abe Assassination
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un seems to have beefed up his personal security since the assassination last month of former Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe. Kim is now always flanked by bodyguards, which is a new development. "Bodyguards generally stand at distance because the propaganda effect of a photo decreases when they can be seen," a source said. "The new development shows that special circumstances require a sacrifice."
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Education minister offers resignation after backlash to policies
Education Minister Park Soon-ae announced her resignation late Monday afternoon, ending a short tenure that will be remembered for her least popular policy proposal, sending kids to school at the age of five.“I accept all responsibility for controversies related for education reforms, which were the result of my shortcomings,” Park said at a brief press conference at the Korea Educational Facility Safety Institute in Yeouido, southern Seoul at 5:30 p.m.
Yoon Suk-yeol brings humility back from vacation
President Yoon Suk-yeol came back from vacation vowing to listen to the public as polls show his approval ratings stuck below 30 percent. Yoon took questions from reporters for the first time in nearly two weeks as he arrived for work Monday at the presidential office and was asked how he felt.“During my vacation, I reaffirmed my belief that my duty is ultimately to the people — to carefully examine their will and to uphold it while sticking to my original intentions,” Yoon said in response.
President Yoon Suk-yeol to meet United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Friday
President Yoon Suk-yeol will meet with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Friday, the presidential office announced Monday. Guterres is scheduled to visit South Korea from Thursday to Friday. “Secretary-General Guterres’ visit to South Korea is his first since he attended the opening ceremony of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics,” said presidential spokesperson Kang In-sun during a press briefing at the presidential office in Yongsan, central Seoul, Monday.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Electricity bill soared by 20% comes as a shock for SMEs
“An increase in the unit price of electricity leads to a rise in value-added tax, the Korea Electrical Industry Foundation Fund, and seasonal surcharge at the same time. I am worried that there will be further increases in electricity bills when it feels like the price already went up by more than 20 percent within a year,” said a member of a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) in Incheon.
Attacks on Ukrainian nuclear power plant are raising global concern
As Ukraine and Russia are engaging in warfare in Zaporizhzhia in southeastern Ukraine where the largest nuclear power plant of Europe is located, concerns about the safety of the nuclear power plant are being raised. The Russian forces that seized the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in early March this year right after their invasion of Ukraine are using the power plant as a sort of shield as the Ukrainian forces began counterattacks in the south.
Ruling party members say Yoon’s confidants should take responsibility
As the approval rating for the ruling party and the Yoon Suk-yeol continued to drop since the June 1 local elections, members of the ruling party raised a voice that those close to President Yoon Suk-yeol should take responsibility.“Those close to President Yoon are pushing the ruling party and government relationships and the emergency committee,” said Rep. Kim Keun-sik, who headed the political situation analysis at the ruling party’s election campaign committee.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Seoul to sell $12 bn worth of idle state-owned assets over 5 yrs to boost finances
The South Korean government has decided to sell state-owned properties worth more than 16 trillion won ($12.3 billion) over the next five years, including idle and unused land and buildings, to aid widened fiscal deficit from expansionary policy during pandemic period. Under measures announced by the Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho Monday during an emergency meeting with economy ministers,
Seoul to lay out conditions for joining Chip 4 alliance as not ruin exports to China
South Korea will lay down the ground rules for joining the so-called Chip 4 alliance among the U.S., Japan, and Taiwan in a preliminary meeting with the United States early next month as not to damage interests for Kore According to multiple sources from the presidential office, Ministry of Economy and Finance, and Ministry of Trade an enterprises with high reliance on the world’s largest chip market.
SoCar IPO prospects murky upon disappointing institutional demand
South Korea’s app-based car-sharing pioneer SoCar may be discouraged to go through its defiant IPO upon meeting scanty institutional demand in last week’s bookbuilding session in another proof of jittery investor sentiment about economic prospects at home and abroad. The company tapped institutional demand on its initial shares for pricing on Aug 4-5 with a plan to invite retail investors on Wednesday and Thursday.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Seoul’s tightrope act between US, China grows perilous as China’s drills near Korean waters
After beginning immediately following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, the military exercises by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, which effectively encircled Taiwan for 72 hours, finally ended Sunday afternoon. During the drills, the Chinese military blockaded the entire island of Taiwan and launched ballistic missiles that flew over Taiwan, in what amounted to a practical rehearsal for an invasion — something that would have been unimaginable even a few years ago.
Seoul’s top diplomat heads to China amid mounting concerns
South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin will be visiting Qingdao, China, for three days starting Monday in order to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi. How Park will try to resolve pending issues between South Korea and China is drawing interest, as he is the first high-ranking official of the Yoon Suk-yeol administration to be visiting China. Park will be meeting Wang for the third time since Yoon’s term as president began.
Korea stays awkwardly on fence amid clashes, coordination between US and China
US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's Asia tour, which was capped off with visits to South Korea and Japan after a prior stopover in Taipei, is causing Taiwan significant hardship. However, even after the US lawmaker’s visit to Taiwan this week, the US and China seem to not have crossed each other’s red lines. Instead, the diplomatic and economic costs that resulted from the visit were left mainly to be borne by Taipei.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
More than 70% of the People Disapprove of President Yoon’s Handling of State Affairs and 76.8% Oppose Children Starting School at Age 5
Disapproval of President Yoon Suk-yeol’s job performance exceeded 70% for the first time, according to a survey result released on August 8. The polling firm, the Korea Society Opinion Institute (KSOI) conducted a survey of 1,002 adult men and women nationwide on August 5-6 upon request from TBS. The result showed that only 27.5% of the respondents approved of President Yoon’s handling of state administration, while 70.1% disapproved of his job performance and 2.4% answered, “I don’t know.”
“Pro-Lee Jun-seok” Chung Mi-kyung Steps down from People Power Party Supreme Council, “Lee Jun-seok Should Stop”
People Power Party (PPP) Supreme Council member Chung Mi-kyung, known as a Lee Jun-seok supporter, expressed her intention to resign as Supreme Council member on August 8. She urged Lee Jun-seok, who is currently getting ready to take legal action, to make a political resolution and said he should stop “for a greater cause.” This morning, Chung held a press conference at the National Assembly and said, “I stand here with a painful heart amidst a situation where we can no longer go against this massive political flow,”
South Korea’s First Moon Orbiter, Danuri, Lifts Off from Earth Toward a Dream of Becoming a Space Power
The first Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO), Danuri, lifted off. When Danuri enters the moon’s orbit as scheduled four and a half months later and begins observation, South Korea will be the seventh in the world to successfully engage in lunar exploration. This is the first time that a South Korean space probe broke away from the Earth’s orbit and pioneered the space frontier. At 8:08 a.m. August 5, South Korean time (7:08 p.m. Aug. 4 local time), the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying Danuri, was launched from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, U.S.A.
Public Organizations in Capital Region Adjust Tuesday Working Hours
The government has asked public and state organizations in the capital region to adjust their working hours for Tuesday as heavy rains caused severe damage to roads and subway stations in the region. The Ministry of the Interior and Safety asked public and state agencies in Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and Incheon to push back starting hours to after 11 a.m. The ministry asked such organizations to flexibly adjust their working hours.
Rival Parties Clash over Police Oversight Unit during Police Chief Nominee Hearing
Rival political parties clashed over the interior ministry's launch of a unit to oversee police operations during a confirmation hearing for police commissioner general nominee Yoon Hee-keun. Main opposition Democratic Party(DP) Rep. Moon Jin-seog criticized the government for violating the Constitution and the law by establishing the division without revising the relevant government organization and police laws. Moon cast concern over the government exercising undue influence in police investigations.
Pushed by Policy Backlash, Education Minister Tenders Resignation
Education Minister Park Soon-ae has expressed her intent to resign amid mounting criticism over her proposal to lower the school starting age by one year to five years old. During an emergency press conference on Monday, Park announced that she would step aside as the deputy prime minister and education minister. Despite her best efforts to desire to improve the education system, the minister said she fell short. She said she would take all the responsibility over controversies incited by proposals made on changing the school system.
KEPCO expected to log huge Q2 loss on high costs
The state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) likely posted a massive loss in the second quarter due to surging costs following record red ink three months earlier, a market tracker said Tuesday. The market consensus of KEPCO's consolidated operating loss stands at 5.37 trillion won (US$4.11 billion) for the April-June period, flirting with the 5.86 trillion-won deficit for the whole of 2021, according to FnGuide.
NHN turns to loss in Q2
NHN Corp. on Tuesday reported a second-quarter net loss of 5.3 billion won (US$4.1 million), from a profit of 15.2 billion won a year earlier. The company said in a regulatory filing that it posted 5.2 billion won in operating profit for the quarter, compared with 19.9 billion won a year ago. Sales rose 12.8 percent to 511.3 billion won. The operating profit was 60.1 percent lower than the average estimate, according to the survey by Yonhap Infomax, the financial data firm of Yonhap News Agency. The estimate of net profit was not available.
PPP to hold national committee meeting to finalize leadership transition
The ruling People Power Party (PPP) was set to hold a national committee meeting Tuesday to finalize a switch to an emergency leadership system despite fierce opposition from suspended party chief Lee Jun-seok. Following a meeting of national committee standing members on Friday where they declared an "emergency" situation for the embattled party, the committee's plenary meeting is set to take place at 9 a.m. to complete the leadership transition.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Is Yoon's vow to uphold people's will enough?
President Yoon Suk-yeol, whose approval ratings continue to slide, vowed to carefully observe and uphold the people’s will by keeping to his original intentions in entering politics upon his first day back after his summer vacation Monday. But critics say his rhetoric must be followed up with action if he is to regain public trust.
Education Minister offers to resign after month in office
Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Park Soon-ae offered to resign on Monday, nearly a month after taking the office, overwhelmed by the controversies surrounding the school entry age reform plan. Park is the first minister in the Yoon Suk-yeol administration to resign.“I am resigning from my post as the deputy prime minister and education minister. I took the office wanting to give the education benefits that I had to other people, but it was not enough,”
Korea to expand foreign workforce quota, seek fast entry
South Korea will push for fast inbound entry of foreign workers and expand quota for businesses to hire foreign workforces to resolve overall manpower shortages in the industrial sector, economic policymakers said Monday. The government plans to seek fast entry of 42,000 foreign workers, whose immigration process have been delayed during the period between 2020 and the first half of 2022.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Foreign ministers of South Korea and China to meet to address thorny issues
The foreign ministers of South Korea and China sit down for talks Tuesday to address a heap of thorny issues amid Beijing's growing displeasure with Seoul over its policies involving the United States, a staunch ally of the South. The meeting in Qingdao, China is the second of its kind between Foreign Minister Park Jin and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi since Park's inauguration in May and comes as the Chinese government has warned against South Korea's possible participation in the U.S.-proposed anti-China chip alliance, believed to be a platform aimed at countering Beijing's rising influence in global supply chains.
Yoon vows to go back to basics amid low approval ratings
President Yoon Suk-yeol said he would go back to basics when he returned to work on Monday after a week-long vacation, in an apparent effort to regain public trust in his administration. "As I looked back at what happened in the past, I came to be grateful to the people who have helped me come this far, with both harsh criticism and heartfelt encouragement," Yoon said while answering reporters' questions upon his arrival at the presidential office. "During my vacation, I reached the conclusion that as president, I need to be humble, and try to figure out what the public wants and listen carefully to what they say," he said.
Samsung Electronics signs wage deal with union for 1st time in 53 years
Samsung Electronics' union and management have reached an agreement on wage negotiations for 2021 and 2022, according to company officials, Monday. According to Samsung Electronics, the union and management of Samsung Electronics will hold a wage agreement signing ceremony on Wednesday. This will mark the first wage agreement between Samsung Electronics' labor and management representatives.
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