Friday, October 21, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
2022 Itaewon Global Village Festival in Seoul draws attention from Koreans, expats
There are many festivals in Korea and among them one of the most unique ones may be the ‘2022 Itaewon Global Village Festival’ where people from all over the world come together. This year, residents from a total of 31 different countries of the world are known to have diparticipated-adding addition charm to the name of Itaewon as “A Global Village in Korea.” This year, the Festival began with performance by a Taekwondo demonstration team on the main stage on October 15. It can be enjoyed only at the Itaewon Global Village Festival, which is a traditional cultural performance national competition with Embassies of 14 countries.
Uzbekistan's initiatives in Astana contribute to strengthening economic, social security
The world is going through a difficult period. As a result of increased international competition, contradictions in the field of global security have deepened, which has led to many sanctions restrictions on trade. This has a devastating effect on trade flows and international value chains. As the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev said: “Today we are witnessing an unprecedented lack of dialogue and trust, growing uncertainty in international relations. All this undermines the foundations of multilateral cooperation, provokes the escalation of conflicts, leads to systemic failures in the global economy.”
“Nepal is interested in further promoting relations, cooperation, friendship in religious, many other fields”
Newly accredited Ambassador Madam Jyoti Pyakuryal (Bhandari) said that she was very much interested in the promotion of relations, friendship and cooperation between her country of Nepal and Korea. At a meeting with Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik and his editorial team at the Embassy on Oct. 14, 2022, she said that cooperation in the religious area was also very important. Publisher-Chairman Lee met with Ambassador Pyakuryal and Charge d’Affaires Ram Singh Thapa together with Chief Abbot Hyangdeok of the Cheonman-sa Buddhist Temple in Ulsan who was visiting Nepal and India for meeting with the Buddhist leaders in the two countries.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
N.Korea Fires Another Artillery Volley at Buffer Zone
The South Korean military is on high alert after North Korea fired another 100 artillery shells on Wednesday into a buffer zone in the West Sea, violating a 2018 cross-border military agreement. It fired some 250 artillery shells into buffer zones in the East and West Seas the previous day and has fired artillery rounds eight times since Oct. 14. The U.S. Air Force kept watch on North Korea's military movements Wednesday by sending an E-3B early warning aircraft over the West Sea and the capital region while putting B-1B strategic bombers on standby on Guam. Pyongyang blames massive South Korea-U.S. military drills on its doorstep for its recent provocations.
Seoul National University Still Bastion for Metropolitan Elite
Korea's top seat of learning, Seoul National University, is more than ever a bastion for the metropolitan elite. SNU had the biggest proportion of freshmen who went to high schools in the Seoul metropolitan area and surrounding Gyeonggi Province this year, and one out of 10 came from the affluent Gangnam and Seocho districts. But opportunities for students from other parts of the country lag well behind the levels of other universities. Main opposition Minjoo Party lawmaker Seo Dong-yong analyzed admissions data from 2018 until this year and found that 10.4 percent of 3,396 SNU freshmen graduated from high schools in Gangnam and Seocho, although they account for only 2.1 percent of all high school seniors nationwide.
China Blocks Polish Delegation's Flight to Korea
A Polish government delegation's visit to Korea has been cancelled because China refused to let it fly through Chinese airspace. The delegation was to attend a ceremonial handover of a consignment of Korean weapons to Poland. Warsaw recently bought dozens of Chunmoo multiple rocket launchers in addition to Korean tanks, howitzers and fighter jets. Instead the event takes place via Zoom on Wednesday. The delegation led by Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak had planned to leave Warsaw for Seoul on Monday but cancelled at the last minute because their request to fly through Chinese airspace was turned down by Beijing right before their departure.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
DP says corruption probe is pure political payback
Democratic Party (DP) Chairman Lee Jae-myung denied receiving any illegal funds for his failed 2022 presidential campaign on Thursday in his first public remarks about the prosecution’s arrest of a former aide. Seoul prosecutors on Wednesday arrested a close aide to Lee on allegations of taking 800 million won ($559,000) in bribes from a private investor linked to the controversial Daejang-dong development project. Prosecutors believe that the aide, 55-year-old Kim Yong, who’s the deputy head of a DP-affiliated think tank named the Institute for Democracy, used the kickbacks in Lee’s campaign because the transactions took place from April to August 2021, when the DP was holding its presidential primary.
Oh says he's pursuing 2036 Olympic Games 'quietly'
Seoul’s strategy for bidding to host the Olympics in 2036 will be low-key, Mayor Oh Se-hoon said in an interview on Wednesday. Oh made clear his desire for Seoul to host the Summer Olympics in 2036 in an interview with local broadcaster SBS aired Wednesday afternoon. "Seoul is now in the spotlight as a very attractive city thanks to K-pop and K-drama,” Oh said. “[Hosting the Olympics] will be a good opportunity for Korea, which has joined the ranks of advanced nations, to be presented to the world and roar on the world stage,” Oh added. Oh had declared he would “host another Seoul Olympics” by renovating existing sports facilities during the Seoul Olympic Legacy Forum held on Tuesday.
Top brass commit to extended deterrence in Washington
The United States reaffirmed its commitment to the defense of South Korea, and the protection offered by its nuclear umbrella, at a meeting of the countries' top military brass in Washington. South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Chairman Kim Seung-kyum and U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark A. Milley held the 47th Korea-U.S. Military Commission Meeting (MCM) on Wednesday at the Pentagon, where the two military chiefs reaffirmed the strength of the South Korea-U.S. alliance and discussed the security situation on the Korean Peninsula.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Korean and American businessmen issue joint statement against IRA
U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Wednesday (local time) that he would hold an IRA hearing once the Republican Party wins the majority in the midterm election slated for next month.“The IRA needs to be revised, and going hand-in-hand with China can be a win-win for both of us,” said Senator Graham during a BMW event in his constituency in South Carolina announcing investment plans for electric vehicles. He said if his party takes control after the midterm elections, he will hold a hearing where automakers can have a say about what they need to hone their competitive edge.
Yoon hints at vetoing revised grain management bill
The ruling and opposition parties wrangled over the revision to the Grain Management Act, which was railroaded through a parliamentary committee on Wednesday. The revised bill makes it mandatory for the government to purchase the excessive rice supply. Experts say President Yoon Suk-yeol has effectively hinted at the possibility of vetoing the bill as he said, “It will not be much helpful to farmers.” Before the parliamentary committee, some members of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea were picketing condemning oppression against the opposition party.
BOK employee sneaks coins
The police arrested a Bank of Korea employee on the charge of pocketing 100 won coins worth 24 million won in collusion with a coin dealer. The Daejeon Metropolitan Police Agency announced Thursday that the police arrested Mr. A for violating the anti-corruption law. He, in his 60s, is currently working at the BOK headquarters in Daejeon, Sejong, and South Chungcheong region. The police also apprehended Mr. B, a coin dealer in his 40s, who received the coins from Mr. A and circulated them in the market on the bribery charge.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Viva Republica tightens its grip on Toss Payments with additional stake acquisition
Viva Republica, the operator of Korea`s third app-based lender Toss Bank, has acquired an additional stake in its e-payment subsidiary Toss Payments, raising its ownership to about 70 percent. According to industry sources on Thursday, Viva Republica purchased about 20 percent stake in Toss Payments from a second majority shareholder in a recent capital raise worth 61.4 billion won ($43 million). Unlike an ordinary capital raise, the transaction was realized through Viva Republica’s exercise of a call option for the stake owned by a special purpose company.
Poland adds rocket launcher to weapons order from Korea, may opt Korean reactor tech
Poland has become a mega market for South Korean arms and nuclear energy, with Hanwha Defense drawing multi-billion-dollar order for 288 multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) and state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) reportedly ready to sign a nuclear project deal in weeks. According to the Korean Ministry of National Defense on Wednesday, Hanwha Defense under Korean conglomerate Hanwha Group has signed a basic contract with Warsaw to supply K239 MLRS Chunmoo units to the Polish army starting next year. Specific order for shipment will be decided in the final contract.
GS joins Carlyle to bid for Korea’s dental scanner maker Medit, pitted vs KKR
Multinational capital Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Carlyle Group are vying for Korean 3D dental scanner maker Medit in a deal near 4 trillion won ($2.8 billion). According to the investment banking industry on Wednesday, KKR and Carlyle’s consortium with GS Group submitted their letters of intent to buy 100-percent stake in Medit being offered by Unison Capital. Other potential aspirants SK Telecom, CVC Capital Partners, and Blackstone have bowed out of the race, according to sources familiar with the deal. A preferred bidder will likely be selected next month.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
“We may die, but we won’t submit!”: Iran’s protests through eyes of woman in Tehran
Editor’s note: Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman, died in Tehran, Iran, on Sept. 16, at the hands of Iran’s morality police, who deemed she wasn’t wearing her hijab properly. When doctors who had reviewed her treatment records raised the possibility that she’d been beaten to death, the women of Iran were enraged. The very next day, anti-government protests coalesced under the slogan of “women, life, freedom.” Those protests are now in their second month. So far, more than 200 people have died in those protests, and everyone from middle and high schoolers to people who lived through the Islamic Revolution in 1979 has taken to the streets.
Two Koreas locked in cycle of eye-for-eye shows of force, reprisals
With South Korea choosing to respond militarily to North Korea’s shows of force against it, North Korea continues to respond in kind, trapping the Korean Peninsula in a vicious cycle that could turn explosive. Concerns are growing that the crisis on the peninsula could escalate out of control if the comprehensive inter-Korean military agreement signed Sept. 19, 2018, which was meant to prevent accidental conflict from escalating into an all-out war, loses potency. For two consecutive days, on Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon, North Korea fired artillery shots into the waters off its east and west coasts.
Prosecution seeks arrest warrant for Seoul’s ex-defense chief over case involving N. Korea
Prosecutors investigating the 2020 death of a fisheries official in the West Sea requested arrest warrants for former Defense Minister Suh Wook and former Coast Guard Commissioner General Kim Hong-hee on Tuesday. The request was made a mere four days after the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) released a report tantamount to an indictment. Despite this case being a low priority, demonstrated by the fact that this is the first request for arrest warrants after the prosecution began its investigation in July, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office requested the warrants on the day of parliamentary inspection, an unusual and unprecedented decision.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Lee Jae-myung, “I Never Spent a Single Won of Illegal Funds in the Presidential Election”
Lee Jae-myung, leader of the Democratic Party of Korea, said on October 20, “I never spent a single won of illegal funds in the presidential election.” Lee made the statement at a meeting with the press after a general meeting of the Democratic Party lawmakers at the National Assembly on Thursday. Earlier on Wednesday, prosecutors arrested Kim Yong, one of Lee’s closest aides and also the vice director of the Institute for Democracy, for receiving political funds for the presidential election. They also attempted to conduct a search and seizure of the institute.
The Symbol of Reconstruction in Gangnam: Seoul Passes Plan to Reconstruct Eunma Apartment into a Complex with Buildings up to 35 Stories Tall
The reconstruction of Eunma Apartment in Daechi-dong, which has been the symbol of reconstruction in Gangnam, Seoul, passed a review by the Seoul metropolitan government 19 years after the project was launched. The construction of Eunma Apartment was completed in 1979, and the complex has represented old apartment complexes in Gangnam. Eunma will be redeveloped into a massive complex with 5,778 apartments in buildings up to 35 stories tall. On October 19, the city of Seoul announced that it passed revisions to the reconstruction plan for Eunma Apartment in Gangnam-gu in the eleventh meeting of the Urban Planning Committee.
Selling Security and the Return of the Far-Rights: Ruling Party Turns Back into the Korea Party
The far-right politicians Kim Moon-soo (pictured, left), chairman of the Economic, Social and Labor Council, and Hwang Kyo-ahn (right), former leader of the United Future Party, have returned to the People Power Party (PPP). The PPP is criticizing the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye and starting an anti-Communist debate calling for nuclear armament, using the security crisis as an excuse. The ruling PPP no longer has a force centered on former leader Lee Jun-seok to keep it in check, while President Yoon Suk-yeol’s approval ratings remain low. In this situation, the party seems to be turning back into the “Liberty Korea Party” with party leader candidates competing to show who is most conservative in color to gain the support of conservative members.
DP Chief to Hold Special News Conference Fri.
Main opposition Democratic Party(DP) chairman, Lee Jae-myung, will hold a special news conference at the National Assembly on Friday. Lee will likely state his position on his close aide, Kim Yong, who is in custody and the prosecution’s attempt to raid the DP headquarters. The DP chief will likely state that he’s open to an investigation by an independent counsel and not the prosecution on allegations that illegal funds were used in his presidential campaign. News of Lee’s imminent briefing comes as prosecutors earlier in the day requested an arrest warrant for Kim on charges of violating the Political Funds Act.
Prosecutors Seek Arrest Warrant for DP Chair's Aide
Prosecutors have requested an arrest warrant for a close aide to the main opposition Democratic Party(DP) Chairman Lee Jae-myung on charges of violating the Political Funds Act. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said on Friday that it filed for the warrant for Kim Yong, the deputy chief of the DP-affiliated think tank Institute for Democracy. Kim allegedly colluded with former acting president of Seongnam Development Corporation Yoo Dong-gyu to receive a combined 847 million won in illicit political funds on four occasions between April and August last year from those who benefited from the Daejang-dong development scandal.
Pentagon: US Keeping Close Eye on N. Korea's Preparations for Nuke Test
The U.S. Department of Defense is unchanged in its assessment that North Korea is preparing for a potential nuclear test, adding that Washington and its allies in the region are keeping a "close eye" on moves by Pyongyang. Pentagon spokesperson Pat Ryder made the remarks at a briefing on Thursday when reporters asked about any developments on a possible nuclear test by the North. The spokesperson said that the U.S. will continue close communication with its allies including South Korea and Japan.
Producer prices bounce higher in Sept. amid inflation woes
South Korea's producer prices bounced back in September following the first downturn in about two years a month earlier, as high energy and farming bills drove up costs, central bank data showed Friday. The producer price index, a major barometer of consumer inflation, inched up 0.2 percent in September from a month earlier, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).
Court sets hearing on arrest warrant of ex-defense chief over slain fisheries official
A Seoul court is set to hold hearings Friday to decide whether to issue arrest warrants for former Defense Minister Suh Wook and former Coast Guard Commissioner General Kim Hong-hee in connection with the previous administration's handling of the 2020 death of a fisheries official at the hands of North Korea, officials said. The Seoul Central District Court will hold hearings for the two, and the decision is expected later in the day or early Saturday.
Top commanders of S. Korea, U.S., Japan vow close security ties to counter N. Korean threats
he top military officers of South Korea, the United States and Japan emphasized the importance of trilateral security cooperation against North Korea's threats during their Pentagon meeting, as Washington reaffirmed its commitment to the defense of the regional allies, according to a joint statement. Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Chairman Gen. Kim Seung-kyum participated in the Trilateral Chief of Defense Meeting, along with his American and Japanese counterparts -- Gen. Mark Milley and Gen. Koji Yamazaki, respectively
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Arrest warrant sought for close aide of opposition leader on illegal political funds charges
Prosecutors sought an arrest warrant Friday for a close confidant of Lee Jae-myung, the chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), on charges of taking illegal political funds from real estate developers, officials said. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office filed for the warrant for Kim Yong, deputy head of the DP-affiliated Institute for Democracy think tank, on suspicion of receiving a total of 847 million won ($593,552) from property developers in the city of Seongnam in violation of the political fund law.
Opposition leader to hold news conference over prosecution's probe
Opposition leader Lee Jae-myung will hold a previously unannounced press conference at 11 a.m., officials said, as a prosecution investigation closes in on him after an arrest warrant was sought for one of his closest aides on charges of taking illegal campaign funds. Kim Yong, a long-time confidant of Lee, is suspected of receiving 847 million won ($593,552) in illegal political funds last year from real estate developers involved in a corruption-laden project in the city of Seongnam when Lee was mayor. Prosecutors suspect the money was used to help finance Lee's presidential campaign.
Top commanders of S. Korea, US, Japan vow close security ties to counter N. Korean threats
The top military officers of South Korea, the United States and Japan emphasized the importance of trilateral security cooperation against North Korea's threats during their Pentagon meeting, as Washington reaffirmed its commitment to the defense of the regional allies, according to a joint statement. Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Chairman Gen. Kim Seung-kyum participated in the Trilateral Chief of Defense Meeting, along with his American and Japanese counterparts -- Gen. Mark Milley and Gen. Koji Yamazaki, respectively -- on Thursday (local time). US Indo-Pacific Command commander Adm. John C. Aquilino and Gen. Paul J. LaCamera, top commander of the US Forces Korea, attended it as well.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Korea, US biz leaders urge gov'ts to fix bias in Inflation Reduction Act
Korean and U.S. business leaders called for efforts on Thursday to address discriminatory trade policies created by the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which only grants tax credits to electric vehicles manufactured in North America. During an annual conference co-hosted by the Federation of Korean Industries and the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, the key business lobbies of both countries issued a joint declaration urging the two governments to address issues such as the electric vehicle tax credit passed into law in the IRA and search for a non-discriminatory resolution.
US remains committed to denuclearization of 'entire' Korean Peninsula: Pentagon
The United States remains committed to the denuclearization of the "entire" Korean Peninsula, a defense department spokesperson said Thursday, indicating that the U.S. is not considering deploying nuclear weapons to South Korea. Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder also reiterated that the U.S. extended deterrence provided to South Korea would be sufficient to defend the Asian ally and deter any potential aggression from North Korea. "We are still committed to denuclearization of the entire peninsula," the spokesman said when asked if the U.S. was considering making South Korea a nuclear state.
Opposition leader to hold news conference over prosecution's probe
Opposition leader Lee Jae-myung will hold a previously unannounced press conference at 11 a.m., officials said, as a prosecution investigation closes in on him after an arrest warrant was sought for one of his closest aides on charges of taking illegal campaign funds. Kim Yong, a long-time confidant of Lee, is suspected of receiving 847 million won ($593,552) in illegal political funds last year from real estate developers involved in a corruption-laden project in the city of Seongnam when Lee was mayor.
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