Thursday, December 15, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Uzbekistan successfully holds the World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education
UNESCO II World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education (WCECCE) took place from 14 to 16 November, 2022, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The conference was attended by UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, heads of international organizations and financial institutions, ministers of education from UNESCO member countries, as well as leading international figures in the field of science and education. The event was co-organized by the Government of Uzbekistan, UNESCO, and other international organizations.
The “Uttar Pradesh” tourism roadshow held at the Indian Cultural Center
The “Uttar Pradesh” state tourism road show of India hosted by the Indian Embassy in Seoul was held at the Indian Cultural Center on Dec. 12. Indian Ambassador to Korea Amit Kumar delivered a welcome speech, followed by a keynote speech by Minister Jaiveer Singh of Tourism and Culture of Uttar Pradesh Government, and a detailed tourism presentation by Chief Secretary Amit Mohan Prasad of Small and Medium Business Department of Uttar Pradesh Government. About 30 people from India, Korea, tourism-related businesses and media figures attended the event.
Ambassador Seoul Pullman Hotel launches 4 types of Christmas special cakes
Ambassador Seoul Pullman Hotel is offering four types of ‘Christmas Special Cakes’ to enjoy special Christmas and year-end home parties in commemoration of the first anniversary after the renovation of the entire building. The special Christmas cakes presented by Ambassador Seoul Pullman Hotel are: 'Snow Candle' with sweet frosting cream on red velvet sponge, 'Winter Blueberry' with perfect harmony of white cream and fresh blueberries, 'White Chocolate Ball' made with Vallona Opalis chocolate ball and green tea gato sponge sandwiched with whipped cream, and 'Buche de Noel', a traditional French log cake made by sandwiching chocolate roll cake with the finest Ballrhona ganache.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Slow Economy Hits Young Koreans Hard
Both young entrepreneurs and jobseekers in their 20s and 30s are suffering from runaway inflation and slowing economy. According to the Ministry of SMEs and Start-ups on Sunday, the number of new venture firms established by people under 30 stood at 2,043 in September, the lowest since February 2020. One 27-year-old university student in Seoul, who ran a start-up renting out clothes with his schoolmates, is shutting down his business. He launched the business by winning W300 million from investors in 2020 but has now been told there will be no additional funding (US$1=W1,301).
More Koreans Seek Help for Mental Health Problems
More Koreans sought help for mental health problems amid the protracted coronavirus lockdown. According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the number of consultations at public mental clinics surged around 3.2 times last year to 2.36 million. Psychiatrists say the main reason was a growing sense of isolation in lockdown, especially among the increasing numbers of singles. But people also felt emboldened to use available services as the taboo around mental health issues shrank and the press and social media promoted seeking advice.
Korean, Chinese FMs Talk on Zoom
Foreign Minister Park Jin and China's top diplomat Wang Yi in a Zoom meeting on Monday agreed to cooperate in resuming flights and mutual exchanges, according to the ministry here. Park also told Wang it is in the common interest of both countries "to get North Korea to refrain from additional provocations, including a seventh nuclear test, and purse a path of denuclearization and dialogue." The ministry quoted Wang as promising that Beijing will "play a constructive role" in dealing with issues for the peace of the Korean Peninsula.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Nuclear envoys vow to tackle North's threats together
Special envoys from South Korea, Japan and the United States vowed to crack down on North Korea’s illicit cyber activities.“We will redouble our efforts to prevent North Korea from financing its nuclear weapon and missile program via cyber activities,” said the Foreign Ministry in Seoul following a meeting of the three envoys Tuesday.“There is nothing that North Korea can earn through its provocations, and Korea, the United States and Japan will show that through its cooperation.”
Subways to pass stations without stopping to avoid delays due to protests
Subways in Seoul will pass through stations without stopping if there are serious delays due to protests held by activists, the Seoul Metropolitan Government said Monday. The Solidarity Against Disability Discrimination (SADD) has been holding regular protests in recent weeks, demanding for more policies to ensure the rights of those with disabilities. The Seoul Metropolitan Government came to the decision to let subways pass stations in cases of severe delays during a meeting between related agencies including the Seoul Metro and the police.
China's envoy calls U.S. 'destroyer of international rules'
In a virtual summit with Foreign Minister Park Jin on Monday, China's top envoy called the United States a "destroyer of international rules," according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.“The actions of the United States obviously damaged the legitimate rights and interests of all countries, including China and South Korea, and once again proved that the United States is precisely the destroyer of international rules, not the builder,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi was quoted as saying by the Foreign Ministry in Beijing on Tuesday, alluding to Washington’s legislation this year ptoecting its semiconductor industry.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
'Parental allowance' to be offered from next year
Starting next year, the government will offer up to 0.7 million in parental allowance each month to households raising infants aged 0 and 1. It will also build 500 new public childcare facilities each year and increase part-time childcare service in phases. These new policies reflect the government’s intention to expand childcare support to address Korea’s birth rate, the lowest in the world (0.81). The Ministry of Public Health and Welfare determined the 4th Mid-long term Childcare Framework (2023-2027) on Tuesday after deliberation by the Central Childcare Policy Commission.
S. Korea ranked 59th in the happiness index
In a survey on the level of life satisfaction, the 30s were ranked the highest, and the 60s or older at the bottom of the list. South Korea was ranked 59th in the world on the happiness index, falling short of the median value. According to the report on “South Korea’s Society Trends 2022” published by Statistics Korea on Tuesday, life satisfaction stood at 6.3 last year (out of 10), making steady increases from 5.7 in 2013 to 6.1 in 2018. Among the different age groups, life satisfaction of the 30s was the highest (6.5). Experts say such a trend was attributable to the recent trend of younger people getting a job and forming a family later than before.
President Yoon scraps ‘Moon Jae-in care’ policy
President Yoon Suk-yeol is set to scrap the “Moon Jae-in care” policy, the initiative under the former administration to expand health insurance coverage, by saying, “Renovating health insurance policy is not a choice but a must.” Following his strong response to the Cargo Truckers Solidarity’s nationwide strike as a signal for labor reforms, President Yoon is signaling reform on several fronts, including in the healthcare sector, by publicly announcing to repeal the Moon Jae-in care policy.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korea Inc’s capex would grow with 3%p cut in max corporate tax rate : KERI
Capital investment in South Korea will increase by 12 percent with a 3-percentage-point cut in the maximum corporate tax rate, a study showed, but it is unclear whether the country’s legislature would pass a new corporate tax bill due to strong opposition from the main opposition party. According to an economic analysis conducted by the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI) at the request of Maeil Business Newspaper, corporate investment in facilities will grow by 11.9 percent if the country’s maximum corporate income tax rate falls to 22 percent from the current 25 percent.
Pediatrician shortage in Korea stops childcare service at major hospital
A shortage of pediatricians in South Korea has put a stop to hospitalization care for children at one of major general hospitals in Incheon, the country’s third biggest city and transportation hub with Incheon International Airport. Gachon University Gil Medical Center, one of the three tertiary referral hospitals in Incheon, on Monday announced that it has decided not to offer hospitalization services for infants, children and teens until February next year as it failed to hire pediatric residents who will start the first year in its pediatrics ward.
LG Energy, GM venture gets $2.5 bn loan from U.S. Energy Department
Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture between LG Energy Solution and General Motors Co., received a $2.5 billion low-cost loan from the U.S. Energy Department. The lithium-ion manufacturer will use the fund to expand its production facilities in Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan. The U.S. Energy Department announced on Monday (local time) that it had finalized a low-cost loan of $2.5 billion (3.26 trillion won) to Ultium Cells to help it build manufacturing facilities.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Korea’s new truth commission chairperson’s past denialist attitudes cast shadow over tenure
Kim Kwang-dong, the newly appointed chairperson of the second Truth and Reconciliation Commission, is expected to become the subject of controversy after revelations that he showed historical negationist attitudes in his past publications, including his insistence that accounts of shooting from helicopters during the May 1980 Democratization Movement in Gwangju were “falsehoods.” Kim recently began his official duties after an inauguration ceremony on Monday. At an autumn policy symposium held by the Korea Hayek Society (now the Market Economy Society) in October 2020, Kim presented a paper titled “The State’s Fascistic Controls on Historical Attitudes.”
National Assembly passes motion to dismiss safety minister over Itaewon response
A motion to remove Minister of the Interior and Safety Lee Sang-min from office was passed by the National Assembly on Sunday. Lawmakers belonging to the ruling People Power Party (PPP) were absent for the vote. The ruling party’s lawmakers opposed the vote by expressing their intention to pull out of the special committee overseeing the parliamentary investigation into the Itaewon disaster, but party leadership seemed hesitant to issue a flat-out refusal to conduct a parliamentary investigation. The National Assembly held a plenary session Sunday morning, where lawmakers passed a motion proposing the dismissal of Lee with a vote of 182 in favor and 1 vote counted as invalid.
Time for US to acknowledge, apologize for role in bloody Jeju April 3 Incident, argue experts
“The time has come for the US to face the truth about the Jeju April 3 Incident. That will make its relationship with South Korea healthier and stronger.” A symposium was held in Washington, DC, where experts asked that the US take responsibility and apologize for its involvement in the Jeju April 3 Incident as a way of reckoning with this painful episode in the two countries’ history. The Jeju April 3 Incident refers to a violent period on the Korean island of Jeju that extended between March 1, 1947, through an uprising on April 3, 1948, and in the form of bloody suppression by government forces for years after.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Twelve-Hour Cap on Weekly Overtime to Be Removed
The Future Labor Market Research Association, which has been researching improvements to the nation’s labor market upon request from the Ministry of Employment and Labor, recommended the government to change the unit for managing overtime from the current week to a maximum year on December 12. If the government accepts the recommendation, workers can work up to 69 hours a week, from the current 52 hours. The association also advised the government to change the wage system, currently based on the years of service, to one centered on tasks and performances. The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions criticized the latest recommendations as “advice for the worse, which leaves the decision on wages and working hours in the hands of the employer.”
Death in the Yellow Sea: Opposite Interpretations from the Life Vest to the SI. Why?
Prosecutors believe the death of a civil servant in the Yellow Sea was manipulated by the Moon Jae-in government into an attempt to defect to North Korea. Meanwhile, Suh Hoon, the former Cheongwadae national security advisor who was arrested and prosecuted for the case, refuted that they made a reasonable assumption based on limited information. Nothing significant has changed in the information obtained, including the special intelligence (SI), since then, but the interpretations presented by the two sides are completely opposite.
Dec. 15, the New Budget Deadline: Will the Opposition Party Single-handedly Pass the Budget for the First Time?
The ruling and opposition parties failed to make any progress in next year’s budget negotiations on December 11. The Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) passed the motion to dismiss Minister of the Interior and Safety Lee Sang-min in the National Assembly, while the ruling People Power Party (PPP) lawmakers boycotted the vote, fueling the confrontation between the two major parties. Earlier on Saturday, Speaker Kim Jin-pyo gave both parties an ultimatum to reach an agreement by December 15.
Parties Still Deadlocked over 2023 Budget ahead of Thurs. Deadline
Rival political parties continue to lock horns over next year's budget plan with just two days left until the deadline for parliamentary passage. The ruling People Power Party(PPP) and main opposition Democratic Party(DP) are at odds over slashing corporate taxes and reducing the general public's tax burden, trading accusations over the cause of the stalemate on Tuesday. The ruling bloc slammed the main opposition for claiming to prioritize the public’s well-being by reducing their tax burden when, in fact, it was the previous government that drastically raised taxes.
Nuke Envoys of S. Korea, US, Japan Meet in Jakarta
The top nuclear envoys of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan held talks in Jakarta on Tuesday and discussed response measures to North Korea's escalating provocations and missile threats. In his opening remarks of the session held at the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia, Seoul's chief nuclear negotiator Kim Gunn said the international community will never recognize North Korea as a nuclear power and called on the regime to face reality. He highlighted more than 30 years of solidarity within the international community as it stood firm with the common goal of the North's denuclearization, noting this will never change.
Ministry: Seoul, Tokyo Narrowed Gap over Compensation Issue
The foreign ministry said on Tuesday that Seoul and Tokyo have reduced the gap in their stances over the wartime forced labor compensation issue. The ministry’s spokesperson, Lim Soo-suk, made the remark in a regular media briefing in response to a related question, saying the discrepancy has been further narrowed through close communication and discussions between the two sides. His remarks came as the ministry resumed its efforts to collect public opinions over the long-standing matter with foreign minister Park Jin holding a “sage meeting” with four local experts on Seoul-Tokyo relations last Tuesday.
Grateful for 'fantastic' experience over 4 yrs, ex-nat'l football coach Bento leaves S. Korea
Paulo Bento, former head coach of the South Korean men's national football team, bid adieu to his adopted country Tuesday, as he returned to his native Portugal following the end of his "fantastic" four-year run. Bento, 53, coached South Korea to the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar earlier this month, only the country's third appearance in the knockout stage. After South Korea fell to Brazil 4-1 in the round of 16, Bento announced he would not be re-signing with South Korea. Bento said he had made up his mind in September.
S. Korea's economic policy to focus on taming inflation, creating jobs: minister
South Korea's finance minister said Wednesday the government will put its priority on combating inflation and creating jobs, while taking preemptive measures to cope with economic risks next year. "The South Korean economy is facing challenging situations at home and abroad. Difficulties are likely to further escalate in the first half of 2023," Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said during a meeting with economy-related ministers. "Inflation has passed its peak, and the upward pressure has eased, but it is likely to stay at a high plateau for the time being," Choo said. "The growth in the number of employed people is also expected to slow significantly due to a base effect."
Ex-South Gyeongsang Gov. Kim says he does not want parole
Former South Gyeongsang Province Gov. Kim Kyoung-soo has said he does not want to be released from prison on parole amid speculation he will be granted a special pardon by President Yoon Suk-yeol later this month. Kim, who has been serving a two-year sentence on opinion rigging charges, stated his case in a handwritten note posted by his wife on his Facebook page Tuesday, saying he rejects the conditions for parole, which include "clear indications of regret."
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
S. Korea's economic policy to focus on taming inflation, creating jobs: minister
South Korea's finance minister said Wednesday the government will put its priority on combating inflation and creating jobs, while taking preemptive measures to cope with economic risks next year. "The South Korean economy is facing challenging situations at home and abroad. Difficulties are likely to further escalate in the first half of 2023," Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said during a meeting with economy-related ministers.
S. Korea adds 626,000 jobs on-year in November; job growth slows for sixth month
South Korea added jobs for the 21st straight month in November, but the growth continued to slow for the sixth month in a row amid concerns over an economic recession, government data showed Wednesday, The number of employed people stood at 28.4 million last month, up some 626,000 from a year earlier, according to the data from Statistics Korea. It marked the highest growth for any November since the agency adopted the current research methods in 1999.
EU sanctions NK entities for illegal missile buildup support
The European Union on Monday levied sanctions on eight individuals and four entities, including North Korea’s Ministry of Rocket Industry and its subordinate trading company, for illegally providing support and funds for North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. The EU unveiled a new round of unilateral sanctions aimed at North Korea for the first time since this April in response to the Kim Jong-un regime’s record-breaking number of missile launches.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
President Yoon takes aim at 'Mooncare,' hints at abolishing it
President Yoon Suk-yeol on Tuesday criticized the expanded healthcare coverage reforms undertaken during the previous Moon Jae-in administration, known as "Mooncare," calling the reforms "populist policies that waste taxpayer money." In a strongly worded speech at a Cabinet meeting held in the presidential office, Yoon called for the "urgent normalization" of the state-run health insurance program and stressed that overhauling "Mooncare" is "not an option, but a necessity."
US goal of denuclearizing Korean Peninsula will not change: State Dept.
The United States remains fully committed to completely denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and that goal will not change, a state department spokesperson said Tuesday. The department spokesperson, Ned Price, also stressed the importance of holding North Korea accountable for its recent missile provocations. "We have conveyed our policy position by noting that we undertook a comprehensive review of our policy towards the DPRK in the early part of this administration," Price said in a telephonic press briefing, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Unification minister vows efforts to resume inter-Korean contact next year
South Korea will continue to persuade North Korea to stop its military provocations, while making efforts to resume inter-Korean contact next year, Seoul's top point man on unification said Tuesday. Unification Minister Kwon Young-se made the remarks during his year-end press conference on Ganghwa Island in Incheon, around 30 kilometers west of Seoul, as North Korea has ramped up its weapon tests this year, refusing to have dialogue with the South and the United States. "The government will seek measures to build trust with North Korea, no matter how trivial and minor it may be, and create conditions so that the North chooses dialogue and communication with the South," he said.
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