Thursday, September 15, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
2022 Kiaf Seoul, Kiaf Frieze ends successfully, winning good responses
Kiaf Seoul, the most important international art fair in Asia, was held at A Hall and B Hall in COEX, Seoul from Sept. 3 to Sept. 6, 2022, with 164 galleries from 17 countries and regions participating. Meanwhile, Kiaf Plus was held at SETEC from Sept. 2 to 5, 2022. Kiaf Seoul 2022 has consolidated the status of Korea's leading international art fair city as well as connecting Korean art and global art market with strong line-up of domestic and foreign galleries.
"Optics Valley of China" in Wuhan builds high-caliber talent hub
In Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei province, there lies the East Lake High-tech Development Zone, one of the high technology development zones approved by China's State Council. In recent years, the high-tech development zone, or better known as the "Optics Valley of China," has constantly optimized its employment and business environments, making itself a high-caliber talent hub. As the birthplace of China's first optical fiber and first electro-optical transmission system, the "Optics Valley of China" has grown into the world's largest R&D and production center of optical fibers and cables.
Vice Trade Minister Jang visits BIE in Paris for talks on World EXPO 2030 Busan
First Vice Minister Jang Young-jin of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) visited Paris through Sept. 6-8 in order to submit the candidature dossier for World EXPO 2030 Busan to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the MOTIE announced on Sept. 7. The 1st Vice Minister headed the government delegation team, which also consists of Kim Yoon-il, President's Future Strategy Secretary, as well as Shin Chae-hyun, Ambassador for International Relations of Busan.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
N.Korea's Uranium Facility Still Operating, Nuke Watchdog Warns
North Korea is still operating a uranium enrichment facility at the Yongbyon nuclear complex in North Pyongan Province, the chief of the UN nuclear watchdog has warned. Rafael Grossi, the director-general of the IAEA, was speaking at a meeting of its Board of Governors on Monday. Gossi said there are also signs of activity at the Kangson enrichment site and constant preparations for a nuclear test at tunnels Nos. 3 and 4 at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site. All the evidence points to North Korea planning a fresh nuclear test, perhaps to develop tactical nuclear weapons.
Foreign Direct Investment Plummets
Foreign direct investment in Korea declined alarmingly in the first half of this year even as overseas investment by Korean companies surged. The Federation of Korean Industries last week said Korea's ranking among G20 countries in terms of FDI over the last five years fell from 15th to 17th place.
The Ministry of Trade Industry and Energy said in July that FDI in Korea in the first half of this year declined 15.6 percent from a year ago to US$11.09 billion. But investment by Korean businesses in overseas markets during the first quarter of this year surged 123.9 percent on-year to $25.4 billion.
Korean Businesses Alarmed as U.S. Protects Domestic Biotech
U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday signed an executive order to boost domestic biomanufacturing and slash his country's reliance on China for new medicines, chemicals and other products. The move comes shortly after Biden's Inflation Reduction Act ended subsidies for foreign-made electric cars. "The United States has relied too heavily on foreign materials and bioproduction, and our past off-shoring of critical industries, including biotechnology, threatens our ability to access materials like important chemicals and active pharmaceutical ingredients," the White House said.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
KDB's Kang says unloading bank's DSME stake is a top priority
The Korea Development Bank (KDB) Chairman said the state-run institution will speed up the sale of the troubled Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME). Minimizing the holding period of a company and selling it when possible is a principle of the KDB, said Chairman Kang Seog-hoon at a press conference held in western Seoul on Wednesday to celebrate his 100th day in the job. KDB owns 55.7 percent of the DSME.
Yoon gov't gets going on diplomacy on North with U.S., China
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong visited Mexico over the Chuseok holiday to inspect factories and promote Busan's bid to host the World Expo 2030 as a presidential envoy in his first overseas trip since being pardoned.
Next on his itinerary is Panama, as confirmed by a spokesperson at Samsung Electronics, and possibly Britain — destinations that local media outlets predict will serve as major settings for discussion about a future merger or acquisition. The Korean press was quick to suspect that the possible trip to Britain is intended to spearhead a deal on top of supporting Busan’s expo bid. Britain is home to chip design giant Arm, a potential takeover target.
Korea's fiscal belt tightened another notch with 3% deficit cap
The Yoon Suk-yeol administration is engaging in a series of diplomatic efforts this month that could focus on North Korean nuclear issues with key countries including the United States, China and Japan. The Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG), involving vice-ministerial defense and foreign affairs officials, is scheduled to meet on Friday in Washington to discuss ways to strengthen deterrence against North Korea's advanced nuclear and missile capabilities. Seoul's delegation will be led by Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong and Vice Defense Minister Shin Beom-chul, while the U.S. side will be led by Bonnie Jenkins, under secretary of state for arms control and international security, and Colin Kahl, under secretary of defense for policy.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
US could take an ultra-step next week
As the inflation rate of the U.S. in August exceeded the market’s outlook, fear of hard-landing is rising. Some even forecast that the Fed will take an ultra-step, raising the interest rate by one percentage point amid elevating concerns for prolonged inflation. There is a fearsome outlook that the interest rate may rise to 4.5 percent early next year. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) of August, released on Tuesday (local time), increased by 8.3 percent year-on-year, hovering over the market’s outlook of 8.0 percent.
N. Korea may pursue nuclear threat after US midterm election
The intelligence agencies from South Korea and the U.S. have reportedly analyzed the recent passage of North Korea’s bill allowing pre-emptive nuclear strike to build a ground to conduct the seventh nuclear test and turn around its current dynamics by successfully winning its nuclear disarmament negotiations.
“Seoul and Washington think the North is trying to highlight its justification of nuclear weapons development before carrying out its seventh nuclear test,”
King Charles gives termination notice to staff during queen’s service
King Charles III was caught again on camera losing his temper over a pen leaking on him during his official schedule. On Tuesday, the Guardian reported that King Charles III vented his frustration while signing a visitor’s book at Hillsborough Castle near Belfast. According to the report, when Charles realized that he used the wrong date, Sept. 12, he said with frustration, “Did I write the 12th? I hate this.”
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Seoul readying all possible means as the downside for KRW widens on galloping US inflation
Seoul authorities are readying “all possible means” to slow the Korean currency heading towards 1,400 won against the U.S. dollar as the downside for the local currency widened on the growing possibility of stronger and lengthier U.S. tightening actions against unrelenting inflation. First Vice Finance Minister Bang Ki-sun on Wednesday ordered “all available means to stabilize the market” as volatility has deepened from uncertainties on the pace and scope of rate increases in major economies due to runaway inflation.
Korea Inc faces multiple whammies on worsening forex terms
The upward spiral in the U.S. dollar brings crisis-like business environment for trade-reliant Korea Inc. Weakening of the Korean won to the levels of the wake of the 2008 Wall Street meltdown has done more harm than good as competitive Japanese, European, and Chinese currencies are also doing poorly against the dollar. Instead, expensive commodity imports fanned inflation and ate into production costs.
Hyundai Glovis wins $1.6 bn shipping deal from global automaker
Hyundai Glovis, a unit of South Korean auto giant Hyundai Motor Group, disclosed Wednesday it has bagged a $1.6 billion car shipping deal. The company said it will transport automobiles by sea to destinations in Asia, America, and Europe for a global finished car maker. It did not reveal the client’s name and other details due to the non-disclosure agreement. Shipping service will run for three years until 2025.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Yoon’s foreign policy acumen to be put to test by flurry of diplomatic engagements
President Yoon Suk-yeol is about to embark on two weeks of back-to-back diplomatic engagements, starting with his meeting with Li Zhanshu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, and including trips to the UK, the US and Canada. Whether he will be able to showcase his diplomatic ability by solving conundrums facing South Korea — strengthening the South Korea-US alliance into a mutually beneficial one in addition to improving South Korea’s worsened relations with China and Japan — is drawing interest.
N. Korea continues to prepare for nuclear test, says IAEA chief
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) revealed that North Korea is preparing for an additional nuclear test at its nuclear testing site in Punggye Village, Kilju County, North Hamgyong Province. The nuclear facility at Yongbyon, North Pyongan Province, also showed signs of an activated nuclear reactor as well as an expanded uranium enrichment facility. During his opening address for the IAEA’s board of governors meeting held in Vienna, Austria, on Monday, the agency’s director general, Rafael Grossi, stated, “As I reported in June, we have observed indications that Adit 3 at the Nuclear Test Site at Punggye-ri has been reopened,”
N. Korea adopts nuclear use manual, signaling return to parallel pursuit of nukes, economy
North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) passed a law on Thursday concerning the country’s nuclear weapons. The law “on the state policy on the nuclear forces” clearly stipulates the mission, constitution, and command and control structure of the country’s nuclear forces as well as decision procedures and conditions for using these nuclear weapons. Experts believe the new law is meant to strengthen North Korea’s deterrence capabilities by clearly stating the details of its use of nuclear weapons.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
First Public Hearing on the Network Usage Fee to Be Held in the National Assembly Next Week
The Science, ICT, Broadcasting and Communications Committee in the National Assembly is expected to hold a public hearing on the network usage fee early next week, and now attention is on whether this will accelerate the legislation process of related bills. According to the authorities connected to the ICT industry on September 14, the parliamentary ICT Committee decided to hold a public hearing according to the National Assembly Act at 10 a.m. September 20, after several bills concerning the cost of network usage were proposed.
Chairperson of the Anti-corruption Commission Accuses BAI of “Retaliation Based on Resentment” for Extending Audit
On September 13, Jeon Hyeon-heui, the chairperson of the Anti-corruption and Civil Rights Commission spoke on the decision by the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) to extend a special audit of the Commission and said, “The Board of Audit and Inspection pressed the assistant staff to reveal any intervention by the Commission chairperson, but when things didn’t go as planned, they dug up and raised an issue with the staff’s business trip expenses for two years--a separate issue--as retaliation out of resentment.”
Conservative Group Makes Surprise Attack on Peace Statue and Clashes with Anti-Japanese Group.
A conservative organization held a surprise demonstration near the “Girl of Peace” statue in front of the former Japanese Embassy in Jongno-gu, Seoul demanding the statue be removed and clashed with an anti-Japanese group for nearly four hours. According to the conservative New Freedom Solidarity, the group held a rally demanding the Statue of Peace be removed and the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance (for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan) be disbanded near the statue at around 10 p.m. September 11. In the process, they ended up in a tussle with Action Against Japan, which guarded the statue.
Vice Foreign Minister Vows to Strengthen US Extended Deterrence
First vice foreign minister Cho Hyun-dong has vowed to work toward strengthened means of extended deterrence by the U.S. against North Korea in high-level talks with the United States. The vice minister made the remarks on Wednesday to reporters after arriving at Dulles International Airport to attend a session of the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group(EDSCG) set for Friday in Washington. Cho said that through the meeting, he would strive to produce stronger means of extended deterrence to a degree that South Koreans can actually feel.
Defense Chief: S. Korea, US Revising Tailored Deterrence Strategy
Defense minister Lee Jong-sup said that South Korea and the United States are revising their tailored defense strategy(TDS) in response to increasing nuclear threats from North Korea. In an interview with Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday, the minister said the allies will produce specific response measures for various scenarios involving nuclear threats from the North and reflect them in the first changes to the TDS in nine years. Lee said that the update was prompted by more advanced nuclear threats by North Korea compared to 2013, when the TDS was first developed, as well as the improved military capabilities of South Korea and the U.S.
State Dept.: N. Korea's New Law on Nuke Policy to be Discussed in EDSCG Meeting
The U.S. State Department says that North Korea's new law authorizing preemptive nuclear strike will be discussed in high-level talks between South Korea and the U.S. this week. Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a press briefing on Wednesday that challenges and threats posed by the regime in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly against the U.S.' allies of South Korea and Japan, are an important agenda item for the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group(EDSCG) meeting.
FM has phone conversation with IAEA chief, discusses N. Korean nukes
South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin on Wednesday had a phone conversation with the chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog and discussed pending issues, including North Korea's nuclear ambitions, Seoul officials said. During the talks with Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Park raised the need for the international community to send an "unequivocal" message to North Korea over its nuclear threats, according to the foreign ministry.
China's top legislator due in South Korea
China's top legislator, Li Zhanshu, was set to arrive in Seoul on Thursday for meetings with President Yoon Suk-yeol and National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo amid speculation he could discuss the possibility of President Xi Jinping visiting South Korea. Li, China's third-highest-ranking official and chief of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, will lead a large delegation to Seoul for the three-day trip at the invitation of Kim. After arrival in the afternoon, no official event is set for the rest of the day.
Won hits over 13-yr low following disappointing U.S. inflation data, rate hike woes
The South Korean currency on Wednesday tumbled below the 1,390 won mark against the greenback for the first time in over 13 years as the higher-than-expected inflation data in the United States stoked worries over the Federal Reserve's more aggressive monetary tightening. The local currency closed at 1,390.9 won against the U.S. dollar, down 17.3 won from the previous session's close. The won dipped to as low as 1,395.5 at one point. This marked the first time the won has fallen through the 1,390 won mark since March 31, 2009.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
North Korea maintains hard line against “audacious initiative”
North Korean authorities have stressed the country must not yield to sanctions from the international community and continue on the road to self-reliance, lashing out at the South Korean government’s “audacious initiative” policy and rejecting its proposal for talks between authorities to solve the problem of separated families. The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party, said in an editorial on Wednesday, "Imperialists regard sanctions as an all-around means, but we will strive to follow the way of independence."
S. Korea, US to discuss ‘concrete,’ ‘stronger’ measures for N.Korean threats
South Korea and the United States will discuss “concrete and stronger measures” to counter North Korea’s existential and mounting threats and enhance the viability of the US extended deterrence at the upcoming high-level strategic talks, senior South Korean officials said. The two countries will hold a vice ministerial-level meeting of the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group, or EDSCG, in Washington on Friday for the first time since January 2018.
Jeju peace forum explores ways to tackle geopolitical challenges, climate change
The 17th Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity kicked off in Jeju on Wednesday to address and explore ways to tackle major global challenges such as the intensifying US-China rivalry, the Ukraine crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Under the theme, “Beyond Conflict, Towards Peace: Coexistence and Cooperation,” the three-day forum has invited world-class leaders, government officials and experts of various sectors to the International Convention Center Jeju to share insights and to promote global cooperation.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Queen Elizabeth II lies in state as throngs pay respects
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II left Buckingham Palace for the last time Wednesday, borne on a horse-drawn carriage and saluted by cannons and the tolling of Big Ben, in a solemn procession through the flag-draped, crowd-lined streets of London to Westminster Hall. There, a steady stream of mourners paid their respects to Britain's longest-reigning monarch. As the cortege left the palace, her son, King Charles III, and his siblings and sons marched behind the coffin, which was topped by a wreath of white roses and her crown resting on a purple velvet pillow.
Google, Meta together fined record $71.9 mil. for unauthorized personal data collection
The Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC) on Wednesday slapped a combined fine of 100 billion won ($71.9 million) on Google and Meta Platforms for collecting personal information without users' consent and using it for personalized online advertising and other purposes, officials said. In a general meeting, the commission approved the fines of 69.2 billion won for Google and 30.8 billion won for Meta Platforms, respectively, in the commission's first penalties handed out over personalized advertisement data collection. The fines mark the highest amount ever imposed for alleged violations of the personal information protection law.
Flying cars coming to Jeju in 2025
A consortium comprised of SK Telecom, Hanwha Systems and Korea Airport Corporation (KAC) will begin an urban air mobility (UAM) service in the country's southernmost island Jeju in 2025 as part of their efforts to become leaders in the emerging air taxi business, they said Wednesday. The consortium, called K-UAM Dream Team, said it signed a memorandum of understanding with the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province to launch a test operation of the UAM service connecting the Jeju International Airport with famous sightseeing venues of the island.
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