Monday, September 19, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
President Yoon to visit UK, US, Canada from Sept. 18-24
President Yoon Suk-yeol has left Seoul to visit the U.K., the U.S. and Canada in that order from Sept. 18-24. National Security Office Director Kim Sung-han on Sept. 12 held a media briefing on the chief executive's itinerary at the presidential office in Seoul's Yongsan-gu District, saying, "The purpose of the tour is to strengthen solidarity among partner countries that share core values and expand the foundation of 'economic diplomacy.'"
ECCK, KOTRA to jointly hold the “Business+ Forum”
The European Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ECCK) and Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), supported by 17 foreign chambers in Korea, will host the ECCK x KOTRA Business+ Forum at Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Sept. 20. The Business+ Forum, in short, is a monthly meeting venue for expats working in Korea that features a lecture in combination with a meal and a networking session. This event is the 5th Business+ Forum.
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.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Chinese Nat'l Museum Removes False Chronology After Korean Protest
The National Museum of China is removing a chronology of Korean history in an exhibition that pointedly omits the ancient kingdoms of Koguryo and Balhae after an official Korean protest. Some Chinese historians have tried over the last decades to co-opt early Korean history as Chinese, but the state museum made the decision after the Korean Foreign Ministry lodged a complaint saying the omission is an "an issue vital to the identity of the Korean people."
Yoon to Meet Kishida in 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 next week. It will be Yoon's first summit with Kishida and the first Korea-Japan summit in two years and 10 months, although the two briefly shook hands during the NATO summit in Spain in June. The two leaders are expected to talk about a range of divisive issues including compensation for Korean victims of forced labor during World War II and Japanese curbs on some hi-tech exports to Korea.
Overpaid Bank Workers Have No Right to Strike Now
The Korea Financial Industry Union, which represents bank workers, plans to go on strike on Friday demanding a 6.1-percent wage hike, a 36-hour cap on the working week and extended retirement age. The entire country is reeling from rising interest rates and runaway inflation, but bank workers, who are the prime beneficiaries of this trend, insist on working less for even more money. Banks have been closing an hour early since July 2021 to take part in the government's coronavirus lockdown.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
U.S. vows to use full capabilities to ensure security of South
Washington promised to use “all available levers” and draw on the full range of its military and “other advanced non-nuclear” capabilities to provide extended deterrence for Seoul against Pyongyang. The commitment was made in Washington last Friday as high-level officials from the United States and South Korea met in person for the first Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (Edscg) meeting in nearly five years. It was the first time ever that the meeting was held under the Yoon Suk-yeol administration, which launched in May.
President Yoon, first lady depart on trip for U.K., U.S., Canada
President Yoon Suk-yeol and first lady Kim Keon-hee departed for London Sunday to attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II as a part of a whirlwind seven-day trip that will also take them to the United States and Canada. The presidential couple departed on Air Force One from Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Sunday morning in their second overseas trip after visiting Spain in late June to attend a NATO summit in Madrid. In London, Yoon will visit Westminster Hall, where the Queen has been lying in state since Wednesday, and attend a reception hosted by King Charles III.
This futuristic car will bring people to airports
Hyundai Motor Group unveiled a mockup of a purpose-built vehicle (PBV) Friday that it believes to be the future of automobiles. Twenty-five new technologies are used in the six-seater vehicle. Four Hyundai companies — Hyundai Motor, Kia, Hyundai Mobis and Hyundai Transys — have been jointly developing the PBV, which is planned to be released under the Kia brand in 2025. A PBV is designed for specific applications such as shuttle services, last-mile delivery and ride-hailing. This PBV will be designed for ride-hailing services for people traveling to or from airports.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
S. Korea, U.S. to respond with nuclear attacks against N. Korea’s WMD use
The U.S. has decided to respond with nuclear weapons if North Korea uses not only nuclear weapons but also comparable weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).“The United States and the ROK made clear that any DPRK nuclear attack would be met with an overwhelming and decisive response,” South Korea and the U.S. announced in a joint statement adopted at a meeting of the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultative Group (EDSCG) on Friday (local time), which was attended by vice ministers of foreign affairs and defense.
US nuclear aircraft carrier Reagan to visit port of Busan
With South Korea and the U.S. having agreed to strengthen deployment of U.S.’ strategic assets by resuming the operation of the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group on Friday, the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG) will conduct a joint military drill with the South Korean Navy. It will be the first time in five years that a U.S. aircraft carrier will conduct a joint drill within the Korean Theater of Operations.
Biden pursues regulation against US corporations' cross-border investments
President Joe Biden administration has disclosed that it is pursuing a policy to control even overseas investment by U.S. corporations, following its “Made in America” strategy to reinforce the supremacy of the U.S. manufacturing business. According to U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Friday, there is progress in formulating an approach to address outbound (cross border) investments in sensitive technologies, particularly investments that would not be captured by export controls and could enhance the technological capabilities of our competitors in the most sensitive areas.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
USD/KRW flirts with psychologically important 1,400-mark
The Korean won is flirting with the psychologically important 1,400-mark against the U.S dollar on Friday even after the local government’s verbal intervention made on the previous day. The won opened Friday’s trading at 1,399.0 against the dollar, its lowest value versus the greenback since March 31, 2009. It closed the day at 1,388.0. The Korean currency’s depreciation was accelerated after the Chinese yuan, which the Korean won usually moves in sync, broke the psychologically important threshold of 7 yuan per dollar overnight.
Korean universities in massive restructuring amid plummeting birth rates
Universities across South Korea including those prestigious schools in Seoul have decided to reduce the size of admissions to deal with falling enrollments amid plummeting birth rates. According to the Ministry of Education, 96 or 29 percent of 331 universities nationwide have decided to cut their total enrollment quotas by 16,197 until 2025 as part of the government-led college restructuring plan. The total reduction size is equivalent to the closure of four to five universities in the country.
Consumer confidence in housing market hits all-time low in S. Korea in August
Consumer confidence in South Korea’s housing market tumbled to an all-time low in August as the climbing interest rate has dampened real estate demand, leading to a fall in housing prices, data showed Thursday. According to data released by Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements (KRIHS), nationwide real estate consumer sentiment index reached 89.4 in August, down 4.2 points from a month ago. This was the lowest since the institute began compiling related data in July 2011.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Hinting at nuclear use is in vogue, and Kim Jong-un is staying on trend
At a defense development exhibition titled “Self-Defense-2021” held in Pyongyang last October, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un clearly stated that “our arch-enemy is the war itself, not south Korea, the United States or any other specific state or forces.” “Undoubtedly, we are not strengthening our defence capability targeting at south Korea,” Kim emphasized, thus revealing that he would not preemptively attack the South with nuclear weapons. In other words, the purpose of North Korea’s nuclear power was not to obtain “victory” in war but to “deter” war in the first place.
US initiatives prompt fears of hollowing out of S. Korean manufacturing
More and more South Korean companies are announcing plans to invest in the US in step with the US government’s policy of providing incentives to major industries and favoring US-made products, designed to expand production facilities within the country. Large and mid-sized South Korean corporations are scrambling to move up their existing investment schedules or promise additional investments, while their subcontractors are taking steps to join in on the movement to establish production facilities in the US.
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.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
The Tragic End of Another Neglected Stalking Case
A metro station employee in her twenties was fatally stabbed in the station bathroom. Her assailant was a colleague at work, who was being tried, but not detained, for stalking. He committed the crime a day before the court ruling. The incident triggered criticism that it ended tragically because of multiple problems, such as the poor response from investigative agencies and the judiciary concerning the stalking victim and the lack of safety measures inside the workplace.
Presidential Office to Spend 87.8 Billion Won to Build a New State Guest House in Yongsan
On September 15, it was confirmed that the Office of the President was planning to spend over 80 billion won of the nation’s budget to build a new state guest house to receive important state visitors and host events. According to the National Property Management Fund Budget for 2022, which Democratic Party of Korea lawmaker Han Byung-do received from the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the government estimated 87,863,000,000 won in operating expenses for the construction of main and attached facilities of the Office of the President to receive foreign guests and host various events.
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.”
Yoon Offers Condolences to King Charles III over Death of Queen Elizabeth II
President Yoon Suk Yeol began his two-day visit to the U.K. by attending a reception for foreign dignitaries hosted by King Charles III on Sunday. During the event at Buckingham Palace on Sunday evening, Yoon offered his condolences to Charles III on the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the presidential office said. The new British monarch, on his part, thanked the Korean leader for visiting the U.K. to offer his sympathies for the loss of of the King's mother, it said.
Rival Parties to Clash as Parliament Opens Interpellation Session
The National Assembly will begin a four-day interpellation session on Monday. With Prime Minister Han Duck-soo and some of the closest Cabinet members to President Yoon Suk Yeol expected to attend the opening-day questioning sessions on political affairs, the main opposition Democratic Party(DP) will likely interrogate them on the early missteps and controversial policies of the Yoon administration.
Gov't Completes Land Provision for US for THAAD Operation
The government has reportedly completed the procedures to grant land to the U.S. for the operation of a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense(THAAD) unit in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province. Yonhap News quoted diplomatic and military sources as saying on Monday that a Status of Forces Agreement(SOFA) joint committee consisting of senior South Korean foreign ministry officials and U.S. military commanders signed a document on THAAD land provision on September 8, completing all related procedures.
Yoon attends reception hosted by King Charles III
President Yoon Suk-yeol on Sunday attended a reception in London hosted by King Charles III and expressed his condolences over the death of Queen Elizabeth II, his office said. Yoon, who arrived with first lady Kim Keon-hee in London earlier in the day, attended the reception at Buckingham Palace ahead of the queen's state funeral Monday. Yoon personally expressed his condolences to King Charles, who thanked the president for traveling to London to mourn his mother's death, according to the presidential office.
Presidential office says 'no comment' on S. Korea-Japan summit
The office of South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said Sunday it had "no comment" on Japanese news reports denying plans for a summit between Yoon and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in New York this week. Yoon's office said earlier that the two countries had agreed to a summit on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly either Tuesday or Wednesday in what would be their first bilateral summit since December 2019.
PM Han calls for tight vigilance against Typhoon Nanmadol
South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo instructed government officials Sunday not to allow even a "single moment of carelessness" as they are bracing for the potential impact of an approaching powerful typhoon. Han presided over a meeting with related officials to check the country's preparedness, with Typhoon Nanmadol projected to move northeast across Japan after making landfall in an area close to the island country's Kagoshima Prefecture on Sunday.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Yoon leaves for London, on 5-day trip to UK, US, Canada
President Yoon Suk-yeol is on a seven-day tour of the UK, US and Canada, where he will meet state leaders to strengthen security and economic cooperation and urge those attending the United Nations General Assembly to cooperate on the threat of North Korea. Yoon left Seoul Air Base for the UK on Sunday morning. This is his second overseas trip following the NATO summit in June. First lady Kim Keon-hee is also accompanying him on the tour.
Ruling party's ethics panel opens new disciplinary process against ex-leader
The ruling People Power Party's ethics committee initiated yet another disciplinary process Sunday against its former leader, Lee Jun-seok, under fire for his sharp criticism of President Yoon Suk-yeol and the party. The move came after PPP lawmakers called for disciplinary action against Lee last month, taking issue with his earlier broadsides seen as an angry reaction to his ouster in July from the party chairmanship over allegations of him receiving sexual services.
SK chief visits Japan to ask support for Busan’s Expo bid
SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, who doubles as chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, held meetings with Japanese political and business leaders, including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, to ask Tokyo’s support for South Korean port city Busan’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo.
Chey stayed in Tokyo on Thursday and Friday, according to the KCCI -- the nation’s largest business lobby -- on Sunday. On the first day, the KCCI chief met with Matsumoto Masayoshi, the vice chairman of the promotion committee of the 2025 World Expo Osaka.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Samsung chief expected to attend funeral of Queen Elizabeth II
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong is in the United Kingdom (U.K.) and is expected to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, according to industry officials, Sunday. Lee arrived in the U.K. and is known to be engaged in business activities at present. Initially, he was scheduled to meet with U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss as a special envoy to the president and ask for cooperation in hosting the World Expo 2030 in Busan, but the scheduled meeting was postponed after the death of the Queen Elizabeth II.
Yoon decries predecessor's NK policy, stresses S. Korea-US deterrence: NYT
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has criticized his liberal predecessor Moon Jae-in's dovish approach to North Korea as "being obsessed with only one friend," while stressing his focus on deterrence to counter evolving threats from the recalcitrant regime, The New York Times reported Sunday. During the interview, the president expressed his thoughts on Moon's diplomacy toward Pyongyang through summitry, and Moon's stance between Washington and Beijing, which he described as "political show" and "too ambiguous," respectively.
Ruling party's ethics committee decides on additional punishment for ex-leader
The ruling People Power Party (PPP) held an emergency ethics committee meeting, Sunday afternoon, and decided to take additional disciplinary measures against its former chairman, Lee Jun-seok. Lee has been under fire for his harsh words against President Yoon Suk-yeol as well as the party. He is also embroiled in a sexual bribery case and questioned by police Saturday for about 12 hours over allegations of receiving sexual services twice in exchange for favors in 2013. In July, the PPP held an ethics committee meeting and suspended Lee's party membership for six months over the bribery investigation, ultimately depriving him of his chairpersonship.
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