Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
President Yoon, first lady talk over snacks with Vietnamese President Phuc
President Yoon Suk-yeol and First Lady Kim Keon-hee on Dec. 6 held a talk with Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who was on a state visit to Korea, at Sangchunjae, the reception hall of the former presidential compound of Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul. Deputy presidential spokesperson Lee Jae-myoung in a written briefing that President Yoon and his wife visited Sangchunjae for a 30-minute friendly chat over snacks with President Phuc.
LS Cable & System to supply 400 billion won HVDC cables to UK offshore wind power complex
LS Cable & System announced on Dec. 12 that it will supply 400 billion won worth of HVDC cables to the Vanguard Wind Power Complex in the North Sea, the Britain. It is the largest supply contract ever won by a domestic wire company in Europe. LS Cable & System said on Dec. 9 that it has signed a contract worth 200 billion won in Taiwan. LS Cable & System's large-scale orders from North America, Europe, and Asia this year are close to about 1.2 trillion won. The Vanguard Wind Power Complex will be built by Vattenfall, a Swedish state-run electric power company, next to the Boreas Wind Power Complex near Norfolk in the British North Sea.
Ms. Choi Yeon-hye, inaugurated as the 18th president of the Korea Gas Corporation
CEO Choi Yeon-hye, a former member of the National Assembly, was inaugurated as the 18th term president of the Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS) on December 9. CEO Choi started her work by checking the safety situation of the LNG production bases and nine regional headquarters nationwide, including Pyeongtaek, Incheon, Tongyeong, and Samcheok, and establishing three task forces in the areas of organization, personnel, and business.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Weak Yen Lures Korean Tourists to Japan
Nearly half a million foreigners visited Japan in October lured by the weak yen as soon as the country opened up again. That was up 2.4 times since the previous month. The biggest group were Koreans with 122,900, followed by Americans, Hong Kongers, Taiwanese and Thais. But the numbers are still small compared to levels before the pandemic. In 2018, 7.45 million Koreans visited Japan, or 620,000 a month on average, second only to the 8.38 million Chinese tourists. A staffer at the Japan Tourism Agency on Wednesday said, "Korean tourist numbers returned to 20 percent of previous levels as soon as the gates opened."
Ex-President Lee Myung-bak to Be Pardoned for New Year
Former President Lee Myung-bak is likely to be pardoned under a New Year's amnesty for jailbird politicians and business leaders being considered by the presidential office. It will also include former South Gyeongsang Province Governor Kim Kyoung-soo. The Justice Ministry will review the list on Dec. 20 or 21. A source in the ruling People Power Party last Friday said President Yoon Suk-yeol will grant the amnesty "to promote national unity and economic revitalization." Lee (81), who is serving a 17-year jail sentence for corruption and embezzlement in office, "is in poor health and is highly likely to be pardoned," the source said.
N.Korean Workers Party Vows to Stay in Power for 8,000 Years
The North Korean Workers Party has declared it will stay in power for another "8,000 years" after a year of "groundbreaking changes." When he took the helm, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made the relatively modest claim that the party could stay in power for 700 to 7,000 years, but a decade later he seems to feel emboldened to add another millennium. The official Rodong Sinmun daily said in a front-page article on Thursday that this year marks a "groundbreaking milestone" where Kim "clarified the direction of building a party for a new age" paving the way for the party's "80-year leadership to continue for 8,000 years."
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Top envoys from Seoul, Beijing work on Xi visit to Korea
Foreign Minister Park Jin and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a virtual summit on Monday, and agreed to work closely together on a visit by President Xi Jinping to Korea. Citing a meeting betwen Xi and President Yoon Suk-yeol in Indonesia last month, the two ministers agreed to "communicate closely" for further exchanges between the leaders, including a visit by Xi to Korea, said the Foreign Ministry in Seoul. The last time Xi came to Seoul was in July 2014. The two also spoke of boosting trade and cooperation on North Korea.
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.
Lots of diplomacy this week on the U.S. IRA
Korean and U.S. officials are holding discussions about the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and its impact on Korean industries. Second Vice Foreign Minister Lee Do-hoon will be meeting with Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth Jose Fernandez and members of the U.S. Congress during a visit to Washington this week. “I will be meeting with the congress members who drafted the IRA, to discuss possible next steps,” Lee told reporters upon his arrival at Washington Dulles Airport Sunday. The IRA, signed by U.S. President Joe Biden in August, grants up to $7,500 in tax credits to buyers of electric vehicles assembled in North America.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
No heavy taxation for those who own two homes
As early as next year, everyone who holds two houses is not subject to a heavy tax rate of 1.2 to 6.0 percent but to a lower tax rate of 0.5 to 2.7 percent. Although the heavy tax rate will be applied for those who own more than three houses, the maximum tax cap will be reduced to 5 percent from 6 percent. According to the National Assembly and the government on Monday, the ruling party and opposition parties have practically reached an agreement on the revision of the Comprehensive Real Estate Tax Act, even though they are at odds about next year’s budget to the extent to put off the issue until Thursday.
U.S. Ambassador to Japan unofficially visits Korea
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel visited Korea and met with Foreign Affairs Minister Park Jin. Ambassador Emanuel is a key member of the Democratic Party of the U.S. and is one of the close confidants of President Joe Biden. He also served as the White House Chief of Staff in the Obama administration. As Korea and Japan are actively working together to resolve the issue of wartime forced labor, the ambassador is expected to play an active mediator to improve ties between the two countries.
Presidential chief of staff to visit UAE as special envoy
Presidential chief of staff Kim Dae-ki will visit the United Arab Emirates as President Yoon Suk-yeol’s special envoy on Monday. It is the first time Kim will visit a foreign country as special presidential envoy.“Chief of staff Kim will visit the UAE as presidential special envoy through December 14,” the presidential office said in a statement on Sunday. “By holding meetings with ranking UAE officials, he will discuss ways of cooperation between the two countries to strengthen bilateral relations of a ‘special strategic partnership.’”
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
South Korea may report its first annual trade deficit in 14 years
South Korea’s exports fell 21 percent in the first 10 days of December, shrinking at a faster pace than imports to suggest the country could report its first annual trade deficit in 14 years on slow outbound shipments of chips and other key items. The country’s exports reached $15.42 billion in the first 10 days of December, down 20.8 percent from the same period a year ago, according to data released by Korea Customs Service Monday. Daily exports averaged at $1.93 billion, down 15.8 percent on year, based on 8 working days that were 0.5 day fewer than a year ago.
Korea’s 2019 corporate tax-to-GDP ratio ranked 6th among OECD members
South Korea had the sixth-highest corporate tax-to-gross domestic product ratio among 38 members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2019 and its ratio grew by the second fastest pace over the last five years. Korea’s corporate tax-to-GDP ratio was 4.3 percent in 2019, the sixth-highest among the members, according to the latest data published by the OECD Monday. Only five countries had a higher ratio - Luxemburg with 5.9 percent, Norway with 5.9 percent, Chile with 4.9 percent, Australia with 4.7 percent, and Columbia with 4.7 percent.
LS, LX Groups kick off 3rd, 4th generation management in earnest
LS Group and LX Group are speeding up transition in management by third and fourth generation of owners by promoting their heirs apparent Koo Bon-kyu, Koo Dong-hwi and Koo Hyung-mo to vice president or president of key companies of each business group. LS Group was separated from LG in 2003, and the holding company is LS. LS Cable & System is one of the group‘s flagship affiliates. LX Holdings is a holding company of LX Group which was established last year by taking four non-electronics affiliates from LG Group.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
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.
“To make a mistake and not correct it” voted Sino-Korean idiom of 2022
South Korean professors selected “gwa-i-bul-gae” as their sajaseongeo, an idiom consisting of four Chinese characters, of the year for 2022. The expression, which means “making a mistake and not correcting it,” came in first by an overwhelming margin in a nationwide survey of university professors. The Kyosu Shinmun newspaper reported Sunday that “gwa-i-bul-gae” was selected by 476 out of 935 university professors (50.9%) who responded to an email survey administered between Nov. 23 and 30 by the company Macromill Embrain.
Foreign Ministry’s focus on Japan leaves forced labor victims out in the cold
“Does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs even regard the compulsory mobilization that took place during the Japanese occupation as a human rights violation?” Reporters posed that question in a background briefing held at South Korea’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday. The press conference took place shortly after the conferral of the Moran Medal, the second rank of the Order of Civil Merit, for Yang Geum-deok was postponed at the Foreign Ministry’s request. As a victim of forced labor with the Korean Women's Volunteer Labour Corps during Japan’s occupation of Korea, Yang has spent the last 30 years shuttling between Korea and Japan in her ongoing campaign for justice in the courts.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
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. On Sunday, the Democratic Party announced that if the two parties failed to reach an agreement, it would draw up a separate budget proposal including tax cuts for ordinary citizens and pass the revised proposal in the National Assembly on December 15.
Government to Set Standard on Lifting Indoor Mask Regulations
On December 9, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said, “The government will designate indicators and standards to objectively evaluate the disease control situation, and when conditions are met, we will ease regulations on mandatory indoor masks, recommending them or allowing people to freely decide.” The prime minister made the announcement during his opening remarks in a meeting of related ministers on the Cargo Truckers Solidarity strike and a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters in response to COVID-19, which he presided over at the government office in Seoul Friday and added, “People have voiced many opinions on the mandatory indoor masks, and there have been many discussions in the government as well.”
Two Hundred Tenants Worry about Their Jeonse Deposits after the Death of the “Villa King,” Who Owned 1,139 Multiplex Houses
The death of Gim (Kim), a forty-something man in the rental property business referred to as the Villa King for leasing over a thousand multiplex houses (a.k.a. “villas” in Korea) and studio apartments in the Seoul metropolitan area, has become a greater problem for his tenants in recovering their jeonse (lease based on a single lump-sum deposit) deposits. According to the Korea Housing and Urban Guarantee Corporation (HUG) on December 12, after the death of Gim in October, tenants with a jeonse deposit refund guarantee insurance policy have not received their subrogated payments. A subrogated payment is a policy implemented for when the landlord fails to return the jeonse deposit after a lease has expired.
Heavy Snow Forecast for Central Region
Cloudy weather and snow are expected for most parts of the nation on Tuesday, with more than ten centimeters of snow forecast for the central region. According to weather authorities, more than ten centimeters of snow is expected for the southern parts of Gyeonggi and Gangwon Provinces and northern Chungcheong Province by Wednesday. Preliminary snow advisories have been issued for the regions. Up to five centimeters of snow is forecast for Seoul, northern Gyeonggi and South Jeolla Province.
S. Korea, China Agree on Cooperation for Smooth Implementation of Summit Agreement
The top diplomats of South Korea and China have agreed to closely cooperate for the smooth implementation of agreements made by their leaders during a summit last month. According to Seoul's foreign ministry, foreign minister Park Jin and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi held talks virtually for about 75 minutes on Monday and agreed to communicate closely to maintain the momentum in bilateral summit diplomacy and on Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to South Korea.
Nuclear Envoys of S. Korea, US, Japan to Meet in Indonesia Tuesday
Top nuclear envoys of South Korea, the United States and Japan are set to hold talks in Indonesia to discuss North Korea issues. According to Seoul's foreign ministry, Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Kim Gunn will hold a trilateral meeting with his American and Japanese counterparts, Sung Kim and Takehiro Funakoshi, on Tuesday in Jakarta. The South Korean envoy, who held bilateral talks with Sung Kim on Monday, will hold a separate bilateral meeting with Funakoshi on Tuesday after the three-way talks.
S. Korea predicted to log record trade deficit this year
South Korea is widely expected to post a record trade deficit this year due to soaring international energy prices amid a slowdown in exports, sources said Tuesday. Asia's fourth-largest economy had a trade deficit of US$47.46 billion as of Saturday this year, the largest-ever yearly red ink, according to the Korea Customs Service. The figure is nearly 2.3 times the previous all-time high of $20.62 billion recorded in 1996.
Yoon calls for bipartisan cooperation to pass 2023 budget plan
President Yoon Suk-yeol on Monday called for bipartisan cooperation to pass the 2023 budget plan, saying there can be no partisanship in handling people's livelihood matters. Yoon issued the call during a weekly meeting with Prime Minister Han Duck-soo at his office, days after the National Assembly missed the legal deadline to pass the national budget amid a standoff between the ruling and opposition parties.
Seoul to make subway trains not stop if necessary over protests by disabled advocacy group
The Seoul metropolitan government said Monday it will make subway trains not stop at a station if necessary, amid planned subway riding protests by a disabled advocacy group to demand better mobility rights. Demanding measures to improve their rights to free movement and budget for disability rights, the Solidarity Against Disability Discrimination (SADD) has been staging subway protests since late last year, boarding subway trains with a throng of wheelchair-bound members and causing delays in metro services during the morning rush hour.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
PM says N. Korea is ready to conduct nuclear test
Prime Minister Han Duck-soo has said North Korea is ready to conduct a nuclear bomb test, but South Korea and its allies have always been prepared for the North's major provocation. "We gather that they are ready," Han told Britain's Sky News in an interview, "although we do not know exactly when" a nuclear test would happen. North Korea has launched a flurry of short- to long-range missile tests so far this year and has widely been expected to carry out what would be its seventh nuclear test.
ILO to meet with government over truckers' demands
Senior officials of the International Labor Organization are set to meet with the Korean ministries of labor and transport to discuss matters regarding the local truckers strike on the occasion of attending a local conference in Seoul, the United Nations agency confirmed on Monday. The ILO members, including Tim de Meyer, senior adviser on standards policy, Karen Curtis, chief of the freedom of association branch, and Xavier Beaudonnet, head of the collective bargaining unit, will attend a two-day conference under the theme of international human rights and labor standards, hosted by the state-run Judicial Policy Research Institute, on Tuesday, the agency said via email.
Tale of North Korea’s cyberterrorists: How they break into ‘unhackable’ crypto platforms and cash out
Early this year, a senior engineer at Axie Infinity, a Vietnamese company that runs a popular blockchain-based play-to-earn game, was encouraged to apply for a lucrative job through LinkedIn. But after the engineer opened a document file with a job offer letter, the network of the Ronin bridge, a platform created by Axie Infinity to transfer cryptocurrencies, was suddenly compromised. Spyware planted in the file enabled hackers to infiltrate the Ronin network and steal cryptocurrencies valued at $625 million in March.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Seoul, Beijing agree to seek summit in South Korea
The foreign ministers of South Korea and China agreed to strengthen bilateral diplomatic ties, Monday, as the two countries seek to hold high-level exchanges, including a summit in Seoul, "in the new era of cooperation." According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister Park Jin and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi held a virtual meeting and agreed to "maintain exchange momentum" for President Yoon Suk-yeol and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping following their first summit in Bali, Indonesia, last month.
Gov't rejects demand for unconditional extension of minimum freight rate
The government will not accept a demand by the main opposition party and the truckers' union to extend for three more years a much-disputed law guaranteeing unionized truckers a minimum freight rate, stressing it will instead overhaul how truckers are paid in order to prevent a repeat of the devastating strike by truck drivers, the transport minister said Monday. Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Won Hee-ryong stressed that he is aware of concerns that the law without extension will expire, crippling low-income truckers.
Yoon's office says minister's dismissal should be considered after probe into Itaewon tragedy
The office of President Yoon Suk-yeol said Monday the question of dismissing Interior Minister Lee Sang-min should be considered after an investigation into the Itaewon crowd crush is completed. The statement comes a day after the opposition-controlled National Assembly passed a dismissal motion against Lee to hold him responsible for the government's bungled response to the tragedy that killed 158 people on Oct. 29. "There is no change to our existing position that the dismissal issue is something that should be decided after the truth is clearly determined," deputy presidential spokesperson Lee Jae-myoung said during a press briefing.
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