Monday, December 5, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
“Korea will put national flag on Mars by 2045 under space economy plan”
President Yoon Suk-yeol on Nov. 28 said, "We will plant Taegeukgi (the Korean national flag) on Mars by 2045, the centennial anniversary of national liberation." At a ceremony to announce the nation's roadmap for the future space economy at JW Marriott Hotel Seoul in the city's Seocho-gu District, he added, "Korea will develop a projectile engine to reach the moon within five years and land on the moon 10 years later in 2032 to begin mining resources there."
SK On signs MOU with Hyundai Motor to supply EV battery in North America
SK On signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Hyundai Motor Group to strengthen the North American electric vehicle (EV) battery supply chain, the company said on Nov. 29. The signing ceremony of the MOU took place at SK Group Headquarters in Jongno, Seoul, Korea, on November 29 (KST) with participants including SK On Chief Administrative Officer Choi Young-chan, Hyundai Motor Company Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Future Growth Planning Division & EV Division Kim Heung-soo, and other representatives from both companies.
Aftermath of President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Korea
In October 2022, Nigeria’s leader, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari was in Korea for a state visit during which, he held bilateral summit with his Korean counterpart, President Yoon Suk-yeol where both leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation for both countries. Also, he met with the Speaker of Korean National Assembly, President Buhari delivered an address at First World Bio Conference that held in Seoul, Korea; held meeting with former United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon; meeting with African Ambassadors accredited to Korea as well as meeting with Captains of industry in Korea and Nigerians living in Korea amongst other engagements.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Korea to End This Year in the Red as Exports Plunge
Exports fell 14 percent on-year in November, declining for the second straight month, while Korea's trade balance was in the red for the eighth month running. The main culprits were the slowing global economy and rising import costs due to high energy prices. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Thursday said exports last month fell to US$51.9 billion, while imports grew 2.7 percent to $58.9 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $7 billion. Exports declined at a faster rate than in October, which also slowed import growth as demand for materials and components for goods destined for export weakened.
Slowing Factory Output Signals Economic Slump
Factory output, which forms the backbone of Korea's economy, is slowing dramatically. According to Statistics Korea on Wednesday, factory output fell 1.5 percent in October, the biggest decrease seen since April 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic started. It declined for the fourth month in a row after July's 0.2 percent, August's 0.1 percent and September's 0.4 percent. Declining output usually means that private consumption is dwindling and goods cannot be sold. Service sector output fell 0.8 percent last month, also the biggest decline since December of 2020. Retail sales declined from March through July before rebounding briefly in August but fell again in September (1.9 percent) and in October (0.2 percent).
Samsung Donates W50 Billion to Charity
Samsung has donated W50 billion to the Community Chest of Korea's Christmas campaign (US$1=W1,300). The money will be used to help people in need and educate children and adolescents. The donation was delivered to the charity in Seoul on Thursday. Samsung's own charity collection campaign this year was joined by Samsung Electronics, Samsung Display, Samsung SDI, and 20 other affiliates, and tens of thousands of staff chipped in.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Former Blue House official arrested for North killing cover-up
Former national security advisor Suh Hoon was arrested Saturday on suspicion of destroying evidence and engaging in a cover-up in the case of a fisheries official killed by North Korean troops. The Seoul Central District Court granted prosecutors an arrest warrant to detain Suh after a marathon 10 hour-long review session, citing the “gravity of the crime, the rank held by the suspect, ties between officials involved in the case and corresponding concerns that more evidence could be destroyed” as the reason for approving the prosecution’s warrant application.
Korean labor declares all-out fight even as strike loses some steam
Labor amped up the rhetoric and declared an all-out fight in response to the government's highly focused response to a strike by truckers. The continued efforts through the weekend came despite a railway union on Friday calling off a strike that was to be held in support of the truckers and signs that actions taken by the Yoon Suk-yeol administration have been highly effective. The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) assembled for a national convention near the National Assembly in western Seoul Saturday afternoon, to unite with the truckers strike and criticize the government's order to return to work.
Seoul, Washington, Tokyo impose sanctions on Pyongyang for weapons programs
Seoul, Washington and Tokyo imposed back-to-back sanctions on Pyongyang for its nuclear and missile weapons programs. South Korea levied unilateral sanctions on individuals and organizations linked with the North's weapons programs, Seoul's Foreign Ministry announced Friday. "The Korean government decided to additionally designate eight persons and seven institutions as subjects of independent sanctions," said the Foreign Ministry in a statement. "This is a measure to respond strongly to North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and missile programs that pose serious threats to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the international community."
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Presidential office tightens response to fake news
The South Korean presidential office is considering additionally revamping personnel and the organizational structure around the end of the year as part of ordinary reforms to assign the right person to the right unit by function and capability. This change focuses on upgrading press relations with better responses to fake news and implementing an “export drive” policy. Cheon Hyo-jeong, the vice spokesperson to the presidential office, has been transferred newly as an administrator for the presidential secretary for new media under the senior secretary to the President for public relations, according to the presidential office on Friday.
Lee visits Abu Dhabi as first overseas destination since taking office
Chairman Lee Jae-yong of Samsung Electronics (photo) chose the Middle East as his first overseas destination after taking office. He will be attending a private high-level meeting of political and business leaders in the United Arab Emirates. According to the business community on Sunday, Chairman Lee departed Korea to visit Abu Dhabi. Details of the trip have not been made public, but Lee is expected to visit the annual private roundtable hosted by President Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates.
Korean communities cheer for Team Korea in Manhattan
Shouts of glee were heard across Korean communities in the U.S. as Korea’s national football team advanced to the final 16. Global media described Korea’s victory as one of the most overwhelming scenes in 92 years of World Cup history and the World Cup spirit of 2002 returns. Around 200 fans convened at Greeley Square Park in Manhattan, New York, to watch and root for the Korean national football team playing against Portugal at 9 a.m. on Friday (local time). Large TV screens and cheering equipment were prepared by the Korean American Association of Greater New York and the New York Korea Town Association, who hosted the street cheering.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
S. Korea’s consumer price up 5 percent on year in November
South Korea’s consumer price stayed above 5 percent, but the growth pace slowed last month as price of oil and farm products showed limited increases, government data showed Friday. The consumer price index (CPI) stood at 109.10 in November, up 5.0 percent from a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea. But the growth pace slowed by 0.7 percentage points from the previous month.
Korean steelmakers accelerate advance into green energy sector
South Korean steel firms are accelerating their advance into the sustainable, green energy sector, ranging from hydrogen power to secondary battery materials, amid the world’s fast low-carbon energy transition. Choi Jeong-woo, CEO of POSCO Group, South Korea’s largest steel making business group, met with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Australia on Thursday (local time) and discussed eco-friendly business cooperation, the company said Friday.
SK focuses on stability in end-year executive reshuffle amid uncertainty
SK Group, South Korea’s second largest conglomerate, has chosen stability during this year’s annual executive reshuffle on Thursday, with modest changes in leadership amid escalating global uncertainties. Cho Dae-sik, chairman of SK Supex Council, the group’s decision-making body to drive growth, will retain his position to serve his fourth two-year term to becom the organization’s longest serving chair. He has led the council since 2017. Under his continued leadership, the council will expand its role to help other affiliates move to advance into international markets.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
How Japan has used crisis in Korea to its advantage throughout history, and what it means today
During World War II, even when Germany completely surrendered in May 1945 and the war was declared over, Japan did not surrender. It is said that this was due to the reckless assessment of the situation by the Japanese leadership, especially that of the military, which had decided that it would fight until the bitter end. Many think that it took the catastrophic damage of the US dropping atomic bombs on it for Japan to realize the severity of the situation and finally capitulate.
Children need to be reminded of why we must love in times of war, says Ukrainian author
While literature for children and teenagers appeared in England later than in France, for example, England began contributing to the field in the second half of the 18th century. The development of children’s rights coincided with the growth of the middle class, which brought with it the formation of attitudes about children, the regulation of child labor, and the first legal definition of childhood. Society was gradually coming to see children as representing a separate phase in the life cycle, rather than being small adults who were expected to take part in work and warfare.
Yoon’s historic new lengths to quash trucker strike
The South Korean government issued the first work start order in its history Tuesday against workers with the Cargo Truckers’ Solidarity Division (TruckSol), who are currently on a general strike. Work start orders are a legal procedure that opens up the possibility of criminal punishment. From the workers’ standpoint, it amounts to a declaration of war. It's also not especially surprising, given how the administration has behaved ever since the TruckSol headquarters of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU) declared it would be going on strike.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
“Regular Services Resumed for All Trains” Korail Labor and Management Reach Last Minute Agreement
After a last-minute tug-of-war, labor and management of the Korea Railroad Corporation (Korail) concluded their negotiations. The labor union canceled a strike scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Friday, and they have resumed the regular operation of all trains as well as the Seoul Metro lines 1, 3, and 4. The final agreement will be drawn up after a meeting of the union’s extended walkout committee and a general meeting of union members at 3 p.m. Friday.
President Yoon Claims Exports Declined Due to the Cargo Truckers’ Strike and Asks for Their Cooperation to Overcome Crisis
On December 1, President Yoon Suk-yeol asked the Cargo Truckers Solidarity, currently engaging in a strike, to end the walkout and cooperate in overcoming the economic crisis. Thursday night, President Yoon wrote on social media, “I ask those in the freight transportation business to end the strike and put in your efforts to overcome the economic crisis.” He also wrote, “Inflation and the energy crisis is weighing down on the global economy even before we have completely made our way out of the crisis brought on by Covid.”
First Meeting of Ruling and Opposition Parties to Discuss Policies: First on the Table, the Government Organization Act to Abolish the Gender Ministry
On November 30, former chief of staff Im Jong-seok condemned the Prosecution Service, which requested an arrest warrant for Suh Hoon, former Cheongwadae national security director. He demanded the prosecutors to stop their political retaliation on the Moon Jae-in government. Wednesday on social media, Im wrote, “The Yoon Suk-yeol government’s argument that the Moon Jae-in government systemically manipulated and concealed the death of a civil servant in the Yellow Sea is merely a political delusion and is a stubborn attempt to justify political retaliation.”
Yoon Instructs Preparation for Return-to-Work Order for Oil, Steel Truckers
President Yoon Suk Yeol has instructed officials to prepare to immediately extend a return-to-work order for striking cargo truck drivers in other industries such as oil and steel. Yoon made the instruction during a meeting with related ministers on Sunday, saying the truckers’ walkout in those fields are feared to cause additional damage to the economy. He also called on officials to secure substitute drivers and utilize military personnel and vehicles to minimize the strike’s impact on the related industries.
S. Korea, Vietnam Hold Summit on 50th Anniversary of Ties
President Yoon Suk Yeol is set to meet with Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Monday. According to the presidential office, the summit will be convened at the presidential office on Monday afternoon to discuss measures to further develop the Seoul-Hanoi ties, which mark their 50th anniversary this year. President Ngyuen arrived in South Korea on Sunday for a three-day visit, becoming the first foreign leader to make a state visit to the nation since President Yoon took office in May.
Trade Minister to Visit US to Discuss IRA
Trade minister Ahn Duk-geun and lawmakers will visit the United States for talks with U.S. officials to address Seoul's concerns about the exclusion of electric vehicles assembled outside North America from tax subsidies outlined in the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Sunday, Minister Ahn and a bipartisan group of lawmakers will visit Washington from Monday to Friday to discuss the IRA with senior officials of the U.S. administration and Congress.
Yoon ready to issue executive order for striking truckers in fuel and steel industries to return to work
President Yoon Suk-yeol instructed officials Sunday to prepare an executive order for striking truckers in the fuel and steel industries to return to work amid logistics disruptions caused by the collective action. Yoon told officials to "prepare to immediately issue an administrative order for industries, such as oil and steel, that are feared to incur additional damage" as he presided over a meeting of relevant Cabinet ministers on the topic of the ongoing strike.
Moon's chief of staff banned from overseas travel over hiring scandal
Prosecutors have imposed an overseas travel ban on a former presidential chief of staff for alleged involvement in a hiring scandal, sources said Sunday. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office recently banned Noh Young-min -- who served as presidential chief of staff to then President Moon Jae-in from 2019 to 2020 -- from leaving South Korea, they said. Noh is under suspicion of pressuring Korea Integrated Freight Terminal Co. to hire Lee Jung-geun, a former deputy secretary general of the then ruling Democratic Party (DP), as a full-time adviser.
Yoon speaks by phone with Bento, Son after S. Korea's victory over Portugal
President Yoon Suk-yeol had separate phone talks Saturday with the South Korean national team's head coach Paulo Bento and captain Son Heung-min after the 2-1 victory over Portugal to advance to the round of 16, his spokesperson said. In a call with Bento, Yoon highlighted the coach's leadership that he thought has bound players together and led to the victory, according to deputy presidential spokesperson Lee Jae-myoung in a written press briefing.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Freed S. Korean sailors arrive in Ivory Coast to fly home
Two South Korean sailors abducted by unidentified pirates near the Gulf of Guinea nine days ago arrived at Ivory Coast’s main port of Abidjan on early Saturday, all in good health, the Foreign Ministry said. All 19 crew members, including 17 Indonesians aboard a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker -- towed to port by a tugboat -- were freed a day after pirates took over the vessel on Nov. 24 in what authorities suspect to be crude theft, worth at least 3 billion won ($2.3 million), according to the ministry.
S. Korea's 2022 exports likely to mark on-year growth but pace to slow down
South Korea is expected to post a growth in 2022 exports from a year earlier, but it is unlikely to meet its yearly target of $700 billion in outbound shipments due to sluggish sales of key items, like mobile devices and ships, government data showed Sunday. Exports of 15 major products, including semiconductors, ships, cars and petrochemicals, for the first 11 months of 2022 amounted to $490.6 billion, up 7.6 percent from the same period last year, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Korean delegation departs for US to discuss EV subsidies
A South Korean delegation consisting of government officials and lawmakers departed for Washington on Sunday to meet their US counterparts and discuss ways to minimize the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act against local carmakers. The five-day trip aims to put more pressure on the US Congress to revise the controversial bill, which has scrapped generous incentives for electric vehicles made outside of the US.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
NK leader nominated again for tyrant of the year
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was nominated again as "Tyrant of the Year" by Index on Censorship, a British nonprofit organization that promotes freedom of expression and publishes works by censored writers and artists every quarter. This is the second year that Kim has been nominated for that inauspicious title. "As far as freedoms go, there is no landscape so bleak as North Korea … Under Kim Jong-un's totalitarian regime, citizens are fed propaganda in lieu of actual food. And as for elections? The ballot paper has only one option," said Katie Dancey-Downs, the organization's assistant editor.
Rival parties engaged in political row over ex-national security advisor's arrest
Rival political parties are at loggerheads over the arrest of former Director of National Security Suh Hoon on suspicions of covering up North Korea's killing of a South Korean fisheries official in 2020. While the ruling People Power Party (PPP) is ratcheting up the offensive by taking aim at former President Moon Jae-in, the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) is crying foul over the arrest, claiming it is political retaliation. The Seoul Central District Court issued an arrest warrant against Suh, Saturday, citing the possibility of destroying evidence related to the official's death.
SK vows to continue offshore natural gas project in Australia despite legal setback
SK E&S, a natural gas provider of SK Group, said Sunday that the company will make efforts to carry out its offshore natural gas field development project in Australia even though the Federal Court of Australia ruled in favor of the Indigenous people again in a legal appeal over the gas field involving Australian energy firm Santos. SK E&S has been participating in the Barossa-Caldita offshore gas field project in Australia together with Santos since 2021 as the company announced it would invest a total of $1.4 billion over the next five years to produce low-carbon liquefied natural gas (LNG) using carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology that reduces CO2 emissions.
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