Friday, September 16, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Korean-Chinese ties continue to grow in trade, other areas despite obstacles
On Aug. 24, the Republic of Korea and the People’s Republic of China commemorated the 30th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties with events in their capital cities. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Korea announced that official anniversary ceremonies were held concurrently at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul at 7 p.m. on Aug. 24 and the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing at 6 p.m., China time also on Aug. 24. Foreign Minister Park attended the Seoul gathering and read President Yoon Suk Yeol’s letter celebrating the 30-year milestone between the two countries.
“Korea, China must strengthen, increase economic ties thru expanded supply network”
President Yoon Suk-yeol of the Republic of Korea stated on Aug. 24, 2022, “Korea and China should try to strengthen and increase their relations and cooperation in the economic and security areas, especially though expansion of the network of supplies.” Speaking on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and China, Yoon also expressed his desire to meet with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping of China.
Prospering ports contribute strength to China's foreign trade sector
At this peak period of foreign trade, ports in China are kept very occupied. Satellite-navigated autopilot guiding vehicles are running between terminals and container yards, and gantry cranes automatically taking containers to preset destinations. According to statistics released by the Ministry of Transport, Chinese ports handled 1.34 billion tons of cargos in July, up 5.7 percent year on year, and the country's container throughput rose 11.2 percent from a year ago to 26.36 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) during the same period.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
U.S. Aircraft Carrier to Stop in Busan Next Week
The U.S. Navy has released photos of flight training aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which arrives in Busan next week. The photos on the Pentagon website on Tuesday show F/A-18E Super Hornet fighters of Strike Fighter Squadron 195 (VFA-195), also known as the "Dambusters," taking off from and landing on the aircraft carrier in the Pacific. The publicity seems to be a warning message to North Korea, which is thought to be preparing for another nuclear test.
Korean Gov't Fines Google, Meta for Violating Privacy Law
Korean authorities have issued fines to Google and Meta Platforms for violating local privacy laws. The Personal Information Protection Commission said Wednesday it levied W69.2 billion in fines on Google and W30.8 billion on Meta Platforms for collecting personal data to use in personalized advertising without users' permission (US$1=W1,391). These are the biggest fines for privacy violations the regulator has ever issued. The commission ordered the tech giants to clearly inform users when their information is being collected and used, and to obtain their consent in a way that enables them to exercise their right to privacy.
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 )
First bilateral summit with Japan in years set for New York
President Yoon Suk-yeol will hold a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, the presidential office said Thursday. It will be the first summit between the leaders of Korea and Japan in nearly three years and could be a breakthrough in efforts to improve deteriorated bilateral ties. Yoon and U.S. President Joe Biden will hold their second summit in just four months following one in Seoul on May 21.
Strike damages bill angers businesses and faces PPP opposition
Businesses are fuming over a set of bills that would limit their ability to seek damages in the event of losses related to strikes. Lawmakers from the left-leaning Justice Party and the Democratic Party (DP) proposed Thursday a bill to prohibit employers from seeking compensation if businesses are harmed as a result of a strike. The bill protects regular workers, sub-contractors and freelancers.
Samsung signs onto the RE100 sustainability initiative
Samsung Electronics has signed on to the RE100 initiative, a global campaign to replace all electricity generated by fossil fuels with renewable energy by 2050, the company announced Thursday. As a major electricity consumer, the electronics maker aims to power its domestic and global operations with clean electricity by the target year. In the beginning, it will focus on its consumer electronics and smartphone factories and offices, with a goal of converting them by 2030. After that, chip factories will be converted.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Ruling party reveals information about two N. Korean fishermen
The ruling People Power Party (PPP) has revealed information about the two North Korean fishermen. They were forcibly repatriated to Pyongyang under the former Moon Jae-in administration despite expressing their will to surrender in November 2019. Rep. Ha Tae-gyeong, Ji Seong-ho, and Hong Seok-jun of the PPP, who are visiting the U.S. to attend the IPCNK general meeting, issued a statement on Wednesday (local time) and said, “We decided to “disclose their basic information including their name, age, and hometown as we cannot delay identifying their whereabouts.”
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,”
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
S. Korean gov’t reports $62 bn deficit in Jan-July despite tax revenue growth
The South Korean government ran a deficit of 86.8 trillion won ($62.3 billion) for the first seven months this year even as tax revenue increased by nearly 40 trillion won. The Ministry of Economy and Finance reported Thursday that the government’s total revenue came to 394 trillion won in January-July, adding 37.1 trillion won from a year ago. Tax revenue totaled at 261 trillion won, up 37.3 trillion won from a year ago, driven by corporate and income taxes that rose on recovery in business activities and hiring.
President Yoon calls for legal action against foul play in solar power projects
President Yoon Suk-yeol has called for legal procedures to be taken for the misappropriation of 261.6 billion won ($187.5 million) in state subsidies after corruption findings in investigative reports on the previous government’s solar power projects. Speaking to reporters on Thursday as he arrived for work, Yoon condemned the findings discovered by the Office of Government Policy Coordination under the prime minister.
Hyundai Motor to deploy five XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks in California in 2023
South Korea’s top automaker Hyundai Motor Co. will deploy five XCIENT Fuel Cell electric trucks in California next year under a funding program led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to Hyundai Motor on Thursday, it secured $3.5 million in 2021 Targeted Airshed Grants (TAG) funding from the U.S. EPA to deploy five units of its latest electric trucks in California in the third quarter of next year.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Korean biotech industry warily runs numbers on Biden’s latest protectionist push
US President Joe Biden recently signed an executive order aimed at building a US-centered supply chain for the biotechnology industry, which joins previous ones for semiconductors and electric vehicles. With the US representing the world’s biggest market for biopharmaceuticals, South Korea’s pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are on the alert over its introduction of policies favoring development and production within its borders.
Won-dollar exchange rate poised to break 1,400 won for third time in history
The won-dollar exchange rate has risen above 1,390 won, putting it on the cusp of 1,400 won. The exchange rate rose at a faster clip after the US consumer price index for August jumped 8.3% from last year, bucking market predictions that inflation is nearing a peak. The value of the South Korean won is likely to keep falling for even longer both because of gradually worsening domestic factors — including the trade deficit and sluggish exports — and because of the external factor of the US Federal Reserve, which is expected to move even faster to tighten monetary policy.
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.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Lee Jun-seok, “When the President Goes Overseas, the Ethics Committee Will Attempt to Expel Me”
On September 15, former leader of the People Power Party (PPP), Lee Jun-seok said, “If you examine those people (PPP) for a few months, they always do something when the president leaves the country or goes somewhere.” He suggested the possibility of additional disciplinary action against himself when President Yoon Suk-yeol leaves for a 7-day overseas trip on September 18. This day, Lee appeared on CBS radio and spoke on the People Power Party’s response to his request for an injunction and said, “I think they are resorting to a ‘dismissal tactic’ rather than debating the details.”
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.
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.
S. Korea, US Agree to Hold Working-Level Talks on IRA This Week
South Korea and the United States have agreed to hold working-level talks within the week to address Seoul's concerns over the exclusion of South Korean-made electric vehicles(EVs) from tax incentives under the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act(IRA). The agreement was made on Thursday in a meeting of first vice foreign minister Cho Hyun-dong and his U.S. counterpart, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, in Washington. The vice minister said that working-level officials of the two nations will hold a video-linked meeting before the end of the week to discuss general issues with the new law.
Pres. Office Seek 87.8 Bln Won Plan to Build New State Guest House
The presidential office has reportedly requested a budget of more than 80 billion won to build a new state guest house near the office. The plan was confirmed in the 2023 budget for state funds for the management of national property presented by the finance ministry to Rep. Han Byung-do of the main opposition Democratic Party. According to the plan, a budget of 87 billion-863 million won was allocated for the construction of facilities within the presidential office complex for visiting foreign dignitaries and other important events, with nearly 50 billion won set aside for the first year of the two-year project.
PPP Chief: S. Korea, Japan Likely to Resume Visa Exemptions Soon
The interim leader of the ruling People Power Party(PPP), Chung Jin-suk, has indicated that South Korea and Japan may soon resume their mutual visa waiver program. Chung told reporters on Thursday on the sidelines of a forum in Jeju Island that he expects to hear good news sometime next week. Under the two nations' visa waiver program, South Korean citizens were previously allowed to travel to Japan without a visa for up to 90 days and vice versa, but the arrangement was suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Opposition leader's son questioned over gambling, sex purchase allegations
Police have questioned the elder son of Lee Jae-myung, the chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), over suspicions raised during the presidential election that he illegally gambled and bought sex services, officials said Thursday. The 30-year-old son, Dong-ho, has been accused of having illegally gambled on an internet card game site on several occasions between early 2019 and late 2021 and purchased sex services. As the allegations emerged late last year while Lee was running as the DP's presidential candidate, he apologized and confirmed the son joined the gambling site and wrote on its bulletin board.
Yoon to hold first summit with Japan's Kishida next week
President Yoon Suk-yeol will hold his first-ever summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in New York next week on a trip that will include his attendance at the U.N. General Assembly and a separate meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, his office said Thursday. The meeting with Kishida will mark the first summit between the two countries in nearly three years since the last meeting in December 2019 and raises hope for improving relations frayed badly over wartime forced labor and other issues related to Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.
Ruling party proposes bipartisan resolution against N. Korean leader's vows to keep nukes
The ruling People Power Party (PPP) suggested Wednesday that the rival parties adopt a joint resolution against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's pledge to keep the country's nuclear weapons. "I urge the ruling party and the main opposition to react in a bipartisan manner amid an unprecedented security crisis," Emergency Committee Chairman Chung Jin-suk told a party meeting. "It has become clear that Kim Jong-un's 2018 promise to former President Moon Jae-in to give up nuclear weapons was a blatant lie."
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Yoon and ruling party blast Moon-era solar power projects
Solar power projects carried out during the Moon Jae-in administration appear likely to come under the scrutiny of law enforcement, raising speculations of a more far-reaching probe aimed at the previous government. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, President Yoon Suk-yeol said that alleged irregularities in solar power projects will be processed through the “standard legal system,” saying that the developments were “deplorable.”
S. Korea, US agree to launch high-level dialogue channel on defense tech cooperation
South Korea and the United States agreed to enhance cooperation in defense science and technology to counter emerging threats and establish a high-level dialogue channel to regularly discuss the issue, South Korea’s Defense Ministry announced Thursday. South Korea’s Vice Defense Minister Shin Beom-chul separately met US Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu and Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment William LaPlante on Wednesday at the headquarters of the US Defense Department near Washington.
Japan's forced labor dispute: Korea should freeze liquidation process, former ambassador says
A former South Korean ambassador to Japan said Korea should "freeze" the liquidation process of Japanese firms accused of using forced labor in the early part of the 20th century to mend ties with Japan, as the country's top court continues deliberating on a critical ruling in the case. Seoul should also legislate any final settlement made over the issue with Japan to put an end to the dispute once and for all, Shin Kak-soo, who served as ambassador to Japan from 2011-13 under the Lee Myung-bak administration, said in a forum held in Jeju on Thursday.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Putin thanks China's Xi for his 'balanced' stand on Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday for his ''balanced'' approach to the Ukrainian crisis and blasted Washington's ''ugly'' policies at a meeting that followed a major setback for Moscow on the battlefield. Speaking at the start of talks with Xi in Uzbekistan, Putin said he was ready to discuss unspecified ''concerns'' by China about Ukraine. ''We highly appreciate the well-balanced position of our Chinese friends in connection with the Ukrainian crisis,'' Putin said, facing Xi across a long table.
Yoon to hold summit with Kishida next week at UN
President Yoon Suk-yeol will hold a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of the 77th United Nations General Assembly next week, the presidential office said Thursday. Kim Tae-hyo, the first deputy director of the National Security Office, told reporters Yoon will hold a summit with Kishida during the Korean leader's attendance at the U.N. event from Sept. 20 to 21. "Since many countries participate in the general assembly, and there are many other diplomatic events that are planned, the exact schedules of President Yoon's summits with foreign leaders are subject to change, but we have reached agreements in holding South Korea-U.S. and South Korea-Japan summits and are now arranging the times," Kim told reporters.
China slams US Senate bill supporting Taiwan's defense
China's Foreign Ministry accused the United States of violating its commitment to the ''One China'' principle and interfering in internal Chinese affairs Thursday, after the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations committee approved a new bill that could significantly increase American defense support for the island of Taiwan. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told reporters in Beijing that China had ''lodged serious complaints'' with Washington over the legislation, which still needs U.S. House and President Joe Biden's approval to become law.
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