Wednesday, August 31, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
President Yoon has an impromptu call with Lee Jae-myung for three minutes
President Yoon Suk-yeol delivered a congratulatory message to Lee Jae-myung, the new leader of the Democratic Party of Korea, and talked on the phone on Aug. 30. Kim Eun-hye, senior presidential secretary for public relations, said in a written briefing that President Yoon delivered a congratulatory message to Lee Jae-myung through Lee Jin-bok, senior secretary for political affairs. The call was made in the form of senior secretary for political affairs calling President Yoon to change the main opposition party leader Lee.
KOIMA Chairman Kim Byung-kwan meets with head of the Turkiye miners association
The Korea Importers Association (KOIMA) Chairman Kim Byung-kwan met with Ali Emiroglu, chairman of the Miners Association of Turkiye, in Istanbul, Turkey on Aug. 26 to discuss ways to cooperate on the supply chain of mineral resources, the KOIMA said on Aug. 29. The Turkiye Miners Association is the oldest association in the mineral industry, established in 1940, with 117 member companies, and about 80% of all minerals in Turkiye are produced and supplied through the association.
President Yoon says, "It is right to respect the conclusions reflecting PPP lawmakers’ opinions”
Regarding the gap in the leadership of the ruling People Power Party (PPP), President Yoon Suk-yeol said, "If it is the conclusion that our party lawmakers and party members have come to a conclusion, I think it is right to respect that conclusion." "I believe that a sufficiently reasonable conclusion for the future of the party and the country will be able to be reached through fierce debate," President Yoon said at a door-stepping press conference on his way to work at the Yongsan presidential office on Aug. 29.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Young Koreans Lose Interest in Civil Service Jobs
Young Koreans are losing interest in civil service jobs and instead flock to schools that train them in professional skills. Applicants for appraiser license exams have increased 2.6 times since 2018 to 4,509 this year, and for labor attorney license 74 percent to 8,261, while the number of people signing up for tax accountant licenses rose 41 percent to 14,728. Applications for license tests for accountants (15,413), paralegals (5,647) and patent attorneys (3,713) are also at the highest levels in five years.
Korean Officials Make Urgent U.S. Trip over EV Subsidies
A Korean delegation made an urgent trip to the U.S. on Monday to plead with the government there to reconsider slashing subsidies for electric cars made outside North America. The Inflation Reduction Act regulations signed by U.S. President Joe Biden last week scraps tax credits for EVs manufactured abroad and phases out subsidies for EV batteries made with raw materials from China.
Korea to Scrap COVID Tests Before Arrival
Korea will no longer require travelers to show proof of a negative COVID test on arrival from abroad after the Chuseok holiday. "We're going to scrap pre-boarding COVID testing for travelers regardless of their countries of departure," a health official said Sunday. "Further details will be discussed among health professionals and other experts to come up with guidelines depending on vaccination or whether their country of departure is still at high risk."
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
639-trillion-won 2023 budget proposed by Yoon government
The Yoon Suk-yeol government proposed a 639-trillion-won budget for 2023 on Tuesday. It is 5.2 percent higher than 2022's budget. The increase is the smallest since the 3.7 percent increase in 2017. When supplementary budgets are included, 2023's budget is lower than 2022's. If would be the first drop in 13 years, unless extra budgets are passed next year. Yoon's proposal must still be passed by the National Assembly.
Korea can't ignore human rights in China, says U.S. envoy
South Korea and the United States should hold countries like China responsible for human rights, the new U.S. ambassador to Seoul said in a lecture Monday. Philip Goldberg gave his first lecture since arriving in the country at Seoul National University's (SNU) Institute for Future Strategy Monday afternoon. He discussed South Korea-U.S. relations, Pyongyang' denuclearization and other regional and international issues.
Korean Air Force participates in Pitch Black drill in Australia
The Korean Air Force will be participating in the Pitch Black drill, a biennial multinational large force employment warfare exercise, in Australia from Aug. 29 to Sep. 7, the Air Force said Tuesday. Hosted by the Royal Australian Air, a total of 17 countries are joining the drill this year, including the United States, Britain and France. The Korean Air Force joined the drill as an observer from 2010 to 2018. This is the first time for the Air Force to fully participate.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Budget for 2023 shows the lowest increase in six years
The South Korean government announced a national budget of 639 trillion won for the next fiscal year, reporting an increase of 5.2 percent from this year’s. This is the second smallest increase since 2017 (3.7%). The budget proposal reduced spending of 24 trillion won, which is the biggest reduction in history, to minimize the expenditures. The welfare assistance for the socially vulnerable and marginalized group has increased, totaling over 100 trillion won for the first time
Scrapping the plan to forgo nuclear power plants becomes official
The draft of the 10th Basic Plan for Long-term Electricity (BPLE), which focuses on increasing the share of nuclear power generation to 32.8 percent by 2030, has been announced. The share of renewable energy generation will be reduced by nearly 10 percentage points. Accordingly, observers say that this has formalized the abolition of the nuclear phase-out policy proposed by the former Moon Jae-in administration. The BPLE subcommittee, composed of electric power experts, unveiled the 10th BPLE working plan at COEX, Gangnam-gu, Seoul on Tuesday.
France discusses possible implementation of energy ration system
The French government has raised the possibility of introducing an energy ration system this winter as Russia's invasion of Ukraine is causing an energy shortage across Europe. This means that the energy situation in Europe is so severe that the energy rationing is being reviewed in France, where about 70 percent of electricity consumption is covered by nuclear power and is highly dependent on Russian natural gas compared to Germany.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
S. Korea proposes $474 bn budget for 2023 in the first fiscal tightening in 13 years
The South Korean government in sync with the central bank’s monetary tightening is normalizing fiscal policy to pre-Covid levels, packaging the budget for 2023 in the smallest gain in six years to smarten up public finance by bringing down debt ratio against the estimated gross domestic product (GDP) below 50 percent. Under the first budgetary outline proposed by the government under President Yoon Suk-yeol endorsed by the cabinet Tuesday, Korea’s fiscal spending for 2023 would come to 639 trillion won ($473.8 billion), up 5.2 percent from this year’s original budget.
Korea cuts industrial budget for ’23 to $8 bn with focus on breeding chip and reactor sectors
South Korea’s 2023 budget for trade and industrial promotion cut from this year amid overall streamlining in fiscal spending will be focused to back supremacy in semiconductor and nuclear reactor technologies and nurture their value chains. According to its budgetary outline for 2023, the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MOTIE) proposed 10.74 trillion won ($7.95 billion), 3.7 percent lowered from this year’s spending.
LGES enters 2nd JV project in US via $4.4 bn partnership with Japan’s Honda Motor
LG Energy Solution Ltd. (LGES), electric vehicle battery maker of South Korea’s LG Group, has joined hands with Japan’s Honda Motor Co. to build a $4.4 billion joint EV battery facility in the United States in a rare partnership of manufacturers of the two neighboring countries in conflict over past and trade issues to cope with U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that discriminates outside assembling and sourcing of green vehicles.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Former presidential hopeful Lee Jae-myung wins control of Democratic Party of Korea
Former presidential hopeful and current National Assembly member Lee Jae-myung was elected as the new leader of the Democratic Party on Sunday. Five months removed from his loss in the March 9 presidential election, Lee is now the face of the top opposition party, which holds 169 seats in the National Assembly. Now he faces the task of unifying and reforming a party divided into his supporters and non-supporters as he attempts to steer the ship toward victory in the 2024 general elections.
London Korean school offers glimpse of a unified Korea
New Malden, a neighborhood on the outskirts of London, is known as “Little Korea.” Some 20,000 Koreans live in the area, including 800-1,000 people who have defected from North Korea. In the late 2000s, the UK granted asylum status to a large number of defectors on humanitarian grounds. There are also quite a few who first settled in Korea before moving to the UK. Jang Jeong-hoon, a director who lives in London, has focused his work on the North Korean defectors living in New Malden.
Economic ministers of S. Korea, China sign flurry of MoUs to bolster cooperation
The economic leaders of the South Korean and Chinese governments met for a videoconference Sunday, the first encounter between the two sides’ economic ministers in two years. In the meeting, they agreed to create a bureau director-level body to discuss supply chain issues. With the South Korean government currently planning to take part in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and the Chip 4 semiconductor supply chain consultative body, attention is focusing on whether Seoul can bring about stronger cooperation with Beijing, which is opposing both US-led initiatives.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Company’s Lawyer in the Case of “Layoff for 800-Won Embezzlement” Attended Oh Seok-jun’s Alma Mater
Supreme Court justice nominee Oh Seok-jun (pictured, 60, 19th class of the Judicial Research and Training Institute) once ruled that it was just for a company to fire a bus driver who had embezzled 800 won. It was recently revealed that the lawyer who represented the company in the trial went to the same high school and was in the same class at the Judicial Research and Training Institute as Oh.
Angry Game Players Raising “Horse Girls” Engage in a Carriage Demonstration Around Kakao Games Headquarters
People playing Uma Musume: Pretty Derby, a game provided by Kakao Games, complained about the operation of the game and on August 29, engaged in a demonstration with a real horse-drawn carriage. The “carriage demonstration” this day was scheduled to cover 1.4 kilometers from Sampyeong-dong in Seongnam, Gyeonggi to Baekhyeon-dong, where the Kakao Games Pangyo building is located.
“Not in the Name of Yoon Suk-yeol,” Dongguk University Professor Lee Chul-ki Renounces Government Reward
Lee Chul-ki (65) a Dongguk University professor submitted a letter renouncing a government reward for retiring teachers claiming he would not receive any government orders of merit or medals of honor ahead of his retirement. He said, “I have no intention to receive a reward in the name of the new president, Yoon Suk-yeol.” Orders of merit and medals of honor are rewards that the government grants to retiring teachers in recognition of their contribution in the development of education.
S. Korea, US Launch Talks over Inflation Reduction Act
South Korea and the United States have launched talks over the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, which excludes electric vehicles(EV) assembled outside of North America from tax incentives. A South Korean delegation of senior officials from the ministries of finance and foreign affairs led by deputy trade minister Ahn Sung-il held a series of talks with United States Trade Representative(USTR) officials, including Deputy USTR Sarah Bianchi, on Tuesday.
S. Korea, US Kick Off Joint Military Drills
South Korea and the United States kicked off large-scale combined military drills, dubbed the "Ulchi Freedom Shield" (UFS), on Monday. With the exercises, the government and the military seek to improve their capabilities to execute an all-out war in preparation for provocation by North Korea and a full-scale war by practicing pan-government crisis management and assistance procedures for joint operations.
RAND: N. Korea May Aggressively Employ Biochemical Weapons in Peacetime
South Korean and U.S. think tanks say North Korea may, in the future, more aggressively employ its biochemical weapons of mass destruction and cyber capabilities in peacetime. The Asan Institute for Policy Studies and the RAND Corporation on Tuesday held a joint news conference in Seoul to introduce their new analysis. The think tanks warned that North Korea can now more aggressively utilize other types of Weapons of Mass Destruction besides nuclear warheads, or "other WMD(OWMD),"
S. Korea seeks slowest growth of budget spending in 6 years for next year
South Korea on Tuesday proposed a budget of 639 trillion won (US$473.5 billion) for next year in the slowest spending growth in six years as it seeks to implement a belt-tightening policy to improve fiscal health. The proposal represents a 5.2 percent hike from this year's budget of 607.7 trillion won and compares with an 8.9 percent on-year increase for the 2022 state budget.
Neighborhood of new presidential residence designated as military facility protection zone
The new residence of South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in Hannam-dong, Seoul, and the nearby area has been designated as a military facility protection zone for higher level of security, the defense ministry said Tuesday. Yoon plans to move into the new residence this week and begin commuting from there Thursday, according to sources. Until now, he has been commuting from his private residence in southern Seoul.
Yoon seeks new opposition leader's support for public livelihood bills
President Yoon Suk-yeol spoke by phone with the new leader of the main opposition Democratic Party on Tuesday and congratulated him on his election while seeking bipartisan support for public livelihood-related bills, an aide said. The phone call with DP Chairman Lee Jae-myung came two days after Lee's election in a national convention and as Lee Jin-bok, the senior presidential secretary for political affairs, delivered congratulatory orchids on Yoon's behalf, according to Kim Eun-hye, senior presidential secretary for public affairs.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
2023 budget includes support for soldiers, young parents
The Cabinet on Tuesday approved the 2023 budget proposal worth 639 trillion won ($473 billion), which is aimed at securing the fiscal soundness and lowering the ratio of national debt to gross domestic product by minimizing state expenditure. Despite directions to refrain from conducting fiscal expansion, the first budget bill under the Yoon Suk-yeol administration sufficiently reflects its support plan for enlisted soldiers, households with infants, young people in their 20s as well as the underprivileged, the Finance Ministry said.
Budget raised for defense system against N.Korean threats
South Korea’s Defense Ministry has proposed to raise expenditures on establishing an indigenous three-axis defense system by 9.4 percent amid North Korea’s mounting missile and nuclear threats, but has left a controversial project of locally building a light aircraft carrier out of the spending bill. The overall defense budget for 2023 approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday morning set a 4.6 percent year-on-year increase to around 57.1 trillion won ($42.3 billion), the Defense Ministry said.
Seoul, Washington to hold formal talks on impact of US IRA: ambassador
As South Korea scrambles to respond to the potential impact of the US Inflation Reduction Act to Korean industries, Seoul agreed to hold formal talks with Washington over the issue. South Korean Ambassador to the United States Cho Tae-yong said Monday (US time) the government has delivered strong concerns to the US that the IRA, which excludes electric vehicles built outside of North America from tax benefits, brings "unfair treatment" to Korean electric vehicle makers.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who ended the Cold War, dies aged 91
Mikhail Gorbachev, who ended the Cold War without bloodshed but failed to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union, died on Tuesday at the age of 91, hospital officials in Moscow said. Gorbachev, the last Soviet president, forged arms reduction deals with the United States and partnerships with Western powers to remove the Iron Curtain that had divided Europe since World War Two and bring about the reunification of Germany.
Korea shifts to belt-tightening mode by cutting budget for first time in 13 years
The government said Tuesday that it will cut the national budget in 2023 for the first time in 13 years. The decision reflects a shift to a belt-tightening mode to improve fiscal health and keep soaring inflation in check, in contrast to the pandemic-era stimulus policy under the previous Moon Jae-in administration. The new budget sharply cuts spending on non-core expenditures in areas such as social infrastructure and energy, while increasing spending on nurturing future growth engines and supporting the vulnerable.
International tribunal to rule on Korea-Lone Star $4.68 billion dispute
Korea waited Tuesday for an international tribunal's decision in a massive, multibillion dollar damages suit that U.S. private equity firm Lone Star filed against the country in connection with its asset sell-off more than a decade ago. According to the justice ministry, the Washington-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) planned to deliver its ruling on the case on Tuesday (local time), bringing an end to the decadelong legal battle between the two sides.
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