Friday, October 14, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Tajikistan, UN co-host high-level int’l confab against terrorism
The International High-Level Conference on “International and Regional Border Security and Management Cooperation to Counter Terrorism and Prevent the Movement of Terrorists” will take place in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on 18-19 October 2022. This two-day conference is co-organized by the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union (EU), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the State of Qatar.
Margilan City of Uzbekistan hosts 5th International Festival of Traditional Textiles
On October 20-22, 2022, the V International Festival of Traditional Textiles "Atlas Bayramy" will be held in the city of Margilan. The festival is aimed at supporting creativity, preserving and popularizing traditional Uzbek textiles. As highlighted by Sara Noshadi, Head of the UNESCO Office in Uzbekistan, “The festival contributes to the preservation of the intangible cultural heritage by promoting the know-how of producing traditional Uzbek textiles. It also contributes to the improvement of the quality and design of traditional crafts in all types of Uzbek textiles, from cotton production to silk fabrics, carpets and embroidery or clothing design.
SK On signs a lithium supply deal with Australia’s Lake Resources
SK On, a global leading electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturer, announced today it has signed a lithium supply deal with Australia’s Lake Resources, a move that will further strengthen its key battery materials supply chain in response to robust business growth and geopolitical risks. Under the agreement signed on Oct. 11, SK On anticipates the delivery of battery-grade lithium commencing as early as the fourth quarter of 2024 after acquiring a 10 percent stake in Lake Resources. The offtake deal has an initial five-year term with an option for an additional five years.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Samsung, SK Win U.S. Grace Period on Tech Exports to China
Washington has granted a one-year waiver to Samsung and SK Hynix of its protectionist ban on exports of chip equipment to their plants in China. The U.S. Commerce Department on Oct. 7 announced export restrictions on chip equipment made with U.S. technologies to chip makers in China, making it mandatory to get separate approval for shipments of equipment and technologies for manufacturing 18 nm or smaller DRAM chips, 128 gb or bigger NAND flash chips, and 16 nm or smaller logic chips.
S.Korea Nudges U.S. to Share Tactical Nukes
The government has asked the U.S. to share tactical nuclear weapons in order to boost its defenses against North Korea. A high-ranking government official said on Wednesday, "If North Korea pushes ahead with a seventh nuclear test, we will face a whole new level of threat. We are discussing with the U.S. ways to radically strengthen the U.S.' extended deterrence to fit the changed security situation on the Korean Peninsula." The government has in mind the rotational deployment of strategic U.S. military assets near the Korean Peninsula such as an aircraft carrier group equipped with nuclear weapons or nuclear-powered submarines.
IMF Raises Korea's Growth Outlook on Improved Consumption
The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday projected this year's economic growth outlook for Korea at 2.6 percent, up 0.3 percentage points from an earlier forecast in July on the back of improved consumption as a result of eased lockdown. But the IMF lowered the country’s growth rate for next year from 2.1 percent to two percent. The Korean economy is hampered by its export dependency. Its trade deficit has already surpassed US$30 billion this year as the country faces growing import costs and exports show signs of flagging due to worldwide inflation and the soaring dollar.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
SK Innovation pledges to erase its carbon footprint by 2062
SK Innovation promised to erase its carbon footprint from the past six decades by 2062, raising the bar for itself from its previous goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Titled “all-time net zero,” the vision was introduced during the oil refiner’s 60th-anniversary ceremony, held Thursday in Jung District, central Seoul. “All-time net zero is our promise to uphold our responsibility as the previous generation and to hand over a sustainable world to the next generations,” said Kim Jun, SK Innovation CEO.
North's cruise missile tests fly under radar of sanctions
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un personally watched the test-firing of long-range strategic cruise missiles by tactical nuclear operations units, Pyongyang's state media reported Thursday. According to an English-language report by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea on Wednesday fired “two long-range strategic cruise missiles that flew for 10,234 seconds along an oval and pattern-8 flight orbits in the sky” above the Yellow Sea and hit their target 2,000 kilometers away.
Ex-defense minister grilled over 2020 murder at sea
Former defense minister Suh Wook was questioned by investigators at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office on Thursday over allegations he suppressed evidence related the killing of a South Korean fisheries official by North Korean soldiers in 2020. Suh is the first ministerial-level official to be brought in for questioning in the case, which the presidential office has accused the preceding administration of bringing to a premature conclusion for political reasons.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
North Korea launches long-range cruise missiles
North Korea continued its provocations launching two long-range cruise missiles nine months after its previous test firing. It announced that the missiles were deployed to its army for the operation of tactical nukes. On Thursday, the state media Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said that the missiles, which were launched the previous day at Gaechon, South Pyongan Province, flew over 10,234 seconds along an oval and patter-8 flight orbit in the sky above the West Sea of Korea to target 2,000 kilometers away clearly.” It was the longest record among the three rounds of a testing spree of what the North claimed to be long-range cruise missiles.
Samsung supports India’s eye care through Galaxy Upcycling
Celebrating World Sight Day on Thursday, South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics announced its plan to expand the campaign of fundus diagnosis using older Galaxy smartphones in India. The campaign will cover 150,000 people by 2023 through the Galaxy Upcycling Program. The Galaxy Upcycling Program is a project launched in 2017 to convert old Galaxy smartphones into IoT devices. A case in point is the EYELIKE Fundus Camera, a portable device developed in cooperation with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), Yonsei University Health System, and LabSD.
Burden rises by 12trillion won in 3% interest rate era
To tame strong inflations, the Bank of Korea (BOK) took another “big step” and raised the base rate by 0.5 percentage points to 3 percent, the highest since October 2012. The second big step translates to over 12 trillion won more interest burden on households and enterprises. The central bank’s Monetary Policy Board held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the future direction of their policy and decided to raise the policy rate by 0.5 percentage points to 3 percent. The central bank took its first big step in July, and it seemed to have been pacing the speed of interest hike by raising only 0.25 percentage points in August.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
U.S. DOE officials meet Korean EV battery makers to hear concerns about IRA
Officials from the United States Department of Energy (DOE) have met with South Korea’s top 3 EV battery makers – LG Energy Solution, Samsung SDI and SK on – to hear their concerns about the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, which restricts use of non-U.S.-made EVs and battery materials. According to the Korean battery industry sources on Thursday, U.S. DOE officials attended a meeting where the three Korean battery majors and battery material providers Lotte Chemical and POSCO Chemical delivered their concerns about the IRA. But it remains to be seen whether or how much their feedback can be reflected in the future U.S. government policy regarding the EV and battery materials industries.
Ohio to become the base for LGES-Honda’s first battery JV
South Korean battery maker LG Energy Solution Ltd. (LGES) and Japan’s Honda Motor Co. are settling their first joint-venture battery plant in Ohio, one of the Rust Belt regions in the United States to score points amid increasing America-first movement in the world’s top economy. LGES and Honda announced Wednesday that they will be establishing a joint battery facility to produce battery modules in Fayette County in Ohio, located 64 kilometers southwest of Columbus. Construction of the joint factory will begin early next year with an aim to launch mass production of pouch batteries at the end of 2025.
Korean lenders upping rates and diversifying offering to capitalize on high rate momentum
South Korean commercial banks are scrambling to capitalize on the boom from spike in interest rates, competing with higher-yield deposits and issuing exotic debt to indulge wealthy investors. Woori Bank raised the interest rate of 19 fixed deposit and 27 installment savings deposit offerings by up to 1.00 percentage point with maximum yield at 4.8 percent. Other deposit rates were bumped up 0.3~0.5 percentage point. Of installment savings products, Woori Bank raised the rate of two products – Woori Pay and Woori Magic – by 1 percentage point each.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Calls for nuclear arms showcase politicization of security in S. Korea
Amid North Korea’s recent escalations of its nuclear threats and the mounting possibility of it carrying out a seventh nuclear test, some in South Korea’s ruling party have been arguing for the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons to the South as a means of strengthening the country’s deterrence. In other words, the ruling party is calling for a tit-for-tat strategy in dealing with the North. However, some are critical of the idea, saying that deploying tactical nuclear weapons would not only go against the principle of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but would also prove unviable as a solution to the security crisis as it is dependent on US policy.
Germany is rising to occasion in European security order, says ambassador to Korea
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February has had major implications for the European landscape. Germany, which had stayed circumspect about the arms race in the 70-odd-year post-war period, is in the midst of overhauling its security policy, while changes are also observable in its plans to phase out nuclear power by the end of 2022. Speaking to the Hankyoreh on Oct. 5, Ambassador Michael Reiffenstuel of Germany remarked that the country’s recent move to play a larger military role in Europe is its way of “taking up” the responsibility expected of it by the international community.
Samsung, SK Hynix granted 1-year waivers from US chip controls on China
Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix have recently been allowed to supply the necessary equipment for their semiconductor production facilities in China for the next year without seeking prior US Department of Commerce approval. With the US recently tightening its export controls on semiconductor equipment being sent to China, South Korean companies are obligated to obtain permission from the US Department of Commerce to continue their business activities. These two domestic companies have now reportedly acquired one-year waivers from the US.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Kim Moon-soo, “Moon Jae-in Is a Follower of Kim Il-sung’s Philosophy. He Will Be Judged by History”
On October 13, Kim Moon-soo, chairman of the Economic, Social & Labor Council said, “(Former) President Moon Jae-in will probably be judged by history.” Kim was forced to leave after calling the former president “clearly a follower of Kim Il-sung’s philosophy” in the parliamentary inspection by the Environment and Labor Committee at the National Assembly on Wednesday, and he insisted on his view to this day. Kim mentioned the fact that former presidents Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye were imprisoned and said, “Former President Moon is bound to receive a much stronger sentence.”
Lee Jun-seok’s Legal Representative, “Dismissing the Injunction Request Was a Poor Decision, a Disgrace to the Judiciary”
On October 13, the legal representative of Lee Jun-seok, former leader of the People Power Party, spoke on the court’s dismissal of Lee’s request for an injunction to suspend the validity of Chung Jin-suk’s emergency committee. He said, “It is a truly outrageous ruling that will remain a disgrace to the judiciary, which legalized a coup d’etat to seize power over a political party, in the history of political parties in the Republic of Korea.” Attention is now on whether Lee will object and appeal the court ruling.
onetary Policy Board Takes a Second “Big Step” and Raises the Base Interest Rate from 2.50% to 3.00%
The Bank of Korea Monetary Policy Board took another “big step” raising the base interest rate by 0.5% from the current 2.50% to 3.0%. On the morning of October 12, the Monetary Policy Board held a meeting to discuss the direction of the nation’s monetary policy at the Bank of Korea in Jung-gu, Seoul and decided to raise the base rate 0.5%. This is the first time in a decade since October 2012 that the base rate has reached 3%. The Monetary Policy Board raised the base interest rate for the fifth consecutive time following their decisions in April, May, July and August, which was also a first.
JCS: N. Korea Flies Warplanes Fly near Inter-Korean Border
About ten North Korean military jets flew close to the inter-Korean border, prompting South Korea to scramble F-35 fighters. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff(JCS) said that the North flew about ten military planes near the Military Demarcation Line(MDL) between 10:30 p.m. Thursday and 12:20 a.m. Friday. The JCS said the South detected the North Korean warplanes around 25 kilometers north of the MDL in the western region and about 47 kilometers north of the line in the eastern region.
German President to Visit S. Korea in Early November
The presidential office says that German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will visit South Korea early next month. Presidential spokesperson Lee Jae-myoung said on Thursday during a press briefing that the German president will travel to South Korea for an official visit from November 3 to 5. President Yoon Suk Yeol and the German president are scheduled to hold a summit on November 4 to discuss ways to develop bilateral ties and cooperation between their nations in economic security issues.
S. Korea's Antitrust Watchdog Slaps Hefty Fine on AstraZeneca, Local Drug Maker
South Korea's antitrust watchdog has slapped a hefty fine on global pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and local generic maker Alvogen on forging a deal to avoid competition. The Fair Trade Commission(FTC) on Thursday announced a preliminary decision to impose a one-point-one billion won fine on AstraZeneca and one-point-five billion won on Alvogen. According to the watchdog, the local generic maker Alvogen suspended its plan to release a generic version of Zoladex, a treatment for prostate and breast cancer initially developed by AstraZeneca, in return for gaining exclusive rights to sell three types of AstraZeneca products in the country.
N. Korea fires 1 short-range ballistic missile, about 170 artillery shots: S. Korean military
North Korea on Friday fired a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) into the East Sea and about 170 artillery shots into maritime "buffer zones" set under a 2018 inter-Korean military tension reduction accord, the South Korean military said. The provocative move came after more than 10 North Korean warplanes staged a menacing flight close to the inter-Korean border, prompting the South Korean Air Force to scramble its F-35A stealth fighters and other assets to the scene, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
Ex-Defense Minister Suh Wook questioned over slain fisheries official case
Prosecutors questioned former Defense Minister Suh Wook from the previous administration Thursday as part of their investigation into the 2020 death of a South Korean fisheries official at the hands of North Korea. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office is looking into allegations the Moon Jae-in administration concluded without sufficient evidence that the official was killed while attempting to defect to the North. Critics have accused the Moon administration of drawing the conclusion to curry favor with Pyongyang.
Yoon says he is looking carefully at extended deterrence options
President Yoon Suk-yeol said Thursday he is listening carefully to various opinions in South Korea and the United States regarding measures to strengthen extended deterrence against North Korea's nuclear threat. Yoon also said he is looking carefully into "various possibilities," when asked by reporters about a newspaper report claiming South Korea has asked the U.S. for a nuclear-sharing arrangement amid the possibility of a seventh nuclear test by the North.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Xi's 3rd term to raise geopolitical pressure for Seoul, experts say
Chinese President Xi Jinping appears set on course to take an unprecedented third term in office at the upcoming Communist Party Congress, and his reappointment would likely ramp up geopolitical pressure for Seoul, experts here said Thursday. The experts also forecast that Xi's hawkish stance toward the US will only intensify the already heightened tensions between the two countries. This in turn will place South Korea in a more difficult position as the two superpowers would likely raise pressure for Seoul to take a side in many sensitive issues where they clash.
N. Korea fires 1 short-range ballistic missile toward East
North Korea fired one short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) toward the East Sea on Friday, the South Korean military said. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected the launch from the Sunan area in Pyongyang at 1:49 a.m. It did not provide other details. "While strengthening our monitoring and vigilance, our military is maintaining a full readiness posture in close cooperation with the United States," the JCS said in a text message sent to reporters.
Korea stumbles into divisive, risky debate on nuclear redeployment
While North Korean threats intensify, concerns are growing as the nation’s grave security issues could become political strife. Although President Yoon Suk-yeol and his office did not publicly admit to reviewing the redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons amid constant threats from North Korea, the information about their moves is constantly being leaked from the government and the ruling party. When asked about Yoon’s position on related reports, Yoon told reporters Thursday morning, “Right now, there are various opinions on extended deterrence in Korea and in the US, and we are listening carefully and examining various possibilities."
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Experts call for realistic policy to contain North Korea
With North Korea's recent show of force unequivocally showing that its nuclear and missile technologies have become a growing threat, an increasing number of experts say it's time to think about a more realistic, attainable goal than denuclearization to deal with the North. In that respect, an arms control agreement is emerging as a likely option to deter the escalating nuclear threat from North Korea, according to some diplomatic observers, while others disagree because doing so would recognize North Korea as a nuclear state.
IMF chief urges aggressive fight against soaring inflation
Warning that inflation threatens to become ''a runaway train,'' the managing director of the International Monetary Fund urged policymakers to keep up the fight against rising prices even it means more pain at a time of extraordinary economic turmoil. Speaking to reporters Thursday, the IMF's Kristalina Georgieva said that the world economy ''has been hit by one shock after another ― the coronavirus pandemic, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and a resurgence of inflation. But reining in rising prices should take priority, she said. ''If we do not restore price stability, we will undermine prospects for growth,'' she said
'Korea needs to utilize hallyu, economic development to host World Expo'
Korea needs to utilize some of its unique strengths such as hallyu, the Korean cultural wave, and its rapid economic development to boost its ongoing campaign to host the World Expo 2030 in Busan, according to the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), Thursday. The FKI released the results of an analysis of four countries that hosted the Expo in recent years. The countries have been successful in attracting the Expo with differentiated strategies by taking advantage of their own strengths.
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