Tuesday, December 27, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
“We will make Uijeongbu a business hub of our region offering many good jobs!”
Mayor Kim Dong-geun of the Uijeongbu City said, “We will try to make Uijeongbu a business hub city Korea that offers many good jobs! “
Speaking at recent interview with The Korea Post media, Mayor Kim stressed' “Uijeongbu is a city that is good for business and a region offering many, good jobs.” “Even though the Uijeongbu City is the central city of the northern Gyeonggi region, there is not a single large business company that can represent our region,” Kim said remorsefully. “It is a city where only typical residential facilities are concentrated,” he said.
“We have 4.5 million readers and rank 6-7th among all media in Korea!”
“We now at The Herald Business Daily have a total of over 4.5 million readers and I trust that we rank the 6th or 7th among all so many media organizations in Korea!” So assured by Publisher-Chairman Jeon Chang-hyeop of The Korea Herald media at a year-end reception he hosted for the former members of The Korea Herald media. This writer attended the reception as a member of the 'Old Boys' club (as I was the former Cultural Editor of Korea's Number 1 English daily, The Korea Herald).
LG Chem makes equity investments in battery recycling firm, Jae Young Tech
LG Chem will team up with Jae Young Tech to accelerate its entry into the North American battery recycling market. LG Chem announced on Dec. 21 that it entered an equity investment agreement worth 24 billion won with the waste battery recycling company, Jae Young Tech, at the LG Twin Towers in Yeouido, Seoul. Based on this equity investment, the two companies plan to establish a battery recycling joint venture in North America by the end of 2023. LG Chem will lead the overall business such as establishing the business model, and Jae Young Tech will be in charge of technological issues including plant design, etc.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Critical COVID Cases Hit 4-Month High
The number of severely ill COVID patients in hospital has hit a four-month high amid icy winter weather. According to health authorities, critical COVID cases stood at 592 as of early Sunday morning, up 58 from the previous day and the most since late August. Seventy patients died, the most in about three months. Critical COVID cases were highest on March 31 with 1,315. But new infections are falling, probably because fewer people are getting tested.
Yoon to Broadcast Live New Year's Address
President Yoon Suk-yeol wants to broadcast the traditional New Year's address live on Jan. 1 instead of having a pre-recorded tape played. A source at the presidential office said Sunday that Yoon is "considering various ways of effectively delivering his New Year's message to the public including making it on live TV." Yoon will explain his plans to revive the economy along with other major policies for his second year in office, which include reforms in three key areas like labor, education and pensions. He said earlier that the reforms must happen during his tenure even if they make him unpopular.
Int'l Air Passengers Outnumber Domestic Fliers
International flight passengers outnumber domestic fliers for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Sunday, 3.08 million people took international flights on Korean carriers last month, compared to 2.85 million on domestic flights. Compared to a year ago, international passengers surged 734 percent but travelers on domestic flights dwindled 12.9 percent.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Korea chips act all but useless, critics argue
Once hailed as Korea's answer to the U.S. Chips Act, a bill aimed at increasing tax incentives for semiconductor manufacturing facilities was finally passed last week, but it disappointed lawmakers from the two largest parties, the industry and academia due to less-than-expected benefits. Rep. Yang Hyang-ja, the main author of the bill and head of a special committee on chip industry competitiveness promotion, harshly criticized the finalized version of the bill, saying that "it's better to veto" the bill rather than to pass it at its current status.
Samsung Engineering and Samsung Heavy bag big P4 contracts
Samsung Engineering signed a 793.8 billion won ($622.1 million) contract with Samsung Electronics for a semiconductor plant construction project at the chipmaker’s manufacturing complex in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi. The engineering company will build a substation and other facilities at Pyeongtaek Line 4, a new factory also known as P4, at the Pyeongtaek complex, according to a regulatory filing Monday. The size of the deal equals 10.6 percent of Samsung Engineering’s sales last year.
DP releases names, faces of prosecutors involved in Lee Jae-myung investigations
The liberal Democratic Party (DP) revealed the names and photos of 16 prosecutors conducting investigations related to its chief Lee Jae-myung, a move immediately lambasted by the rival People Power Party (PPP). The DP was found to have distributed an online newsletter containing a list of senior prosecutors investigating Lee, including those at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office and Suwon District Prosecutors' Office, to party members and regional committees last Friday.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Prosecutors investigate Seo Hoon for forced repatriation
The prosecution, investigating the forced repatriation of North Korean fishermen to North Korea, is speeding up its probe by summoning Suh Hoon, former head of the National Intelligence Service (NIS). On Monday morning, the Public Investigation Division 3 of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office allegedly summoned former director Seo to question why the joint probe on North Korean fishermen who expressed their intention to defect was terminated early and why the expressions, such as “expressed intention to defect and suggested a forced investigation,”
Kishida orders BOJ chief not to mention unnecessary details
According to the Asahi Shimbun on Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and said, “Don’t mention anything unnecessary at the press conference,” before the central bank increased interest rates by raising the threshold of long-term government bond yields. Some interpret his comments as Prime Minister Kishida’s order for the central bank to seek an exit strategy from the ultra-low interest rate policy. Analysts say that the 10-year “Abenomics,” which advocated quantitative easing to stimulate the economy, was put to an end due to Kishida’s strong will.
Putin seeks exit strategy in Ukraine
On Thursday (local time), the day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Washington and had a surprise meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would try to end the war rather than turn the wheel of war, adding that the sooner, the better. It was the first time he referred to the current situation as a “war” after claiming it was a “special military operation” since the Ukraine invasion in February. Analysts speculate that Putin may be seeking an exit strategy from the conflict in Ukraine.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Seoul to revise rule on levying capital gains tax for majority stockholders
South Korea will erase the system of adding stocks held by family and other members when majority shareholders are subject to pay capital gains tax 12 years after its enactment. According to the finance ministry and the National Assembly on Sunday, the ruling and opposition parties decided to remove the system of adding shares held by family members, including spouses, parents and children, to categorize major stockholders. The change will go into effect next year.
S. Korean steelmakers turn to offshore wind energy industry for growth
South Korean steel manufacturers are tapping into the offshore wind power market by expanding steel pipe supply to overcome sluggish demand at home and abroad. According to multiple industry sources on Sunday, steel manufacturers are enjoying a boon on the back of high demand for offshore wind energy that boosts steel pipe orders. Hyundai Electric & Energy Systems Co., an electric device and energy solution unit of Hyundai Heavy Industries Group, recently joined hands with U.S. GE Renewable Energy to launch offshore wind energy business.
S. Korean President Yoon’s approval rating rises for 2nd wk: Poll
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s approval rating has risen for the second week in a row since it recovered above 40 percent for the first time in 24 weeks in the third week of December, a poll showed Monday. The poll was conducted on 2,518 adults aged 18 or older nationwide between Dec. 19-23 by pollster Realmeter commissioned by Media Tribune. Positive assessment of Yoon’s performance gained by 0.1 percentage point to 41.2 percent from a survey in the previous week, while negative assessment fell by 0.2 percentage point to 56.6 percent in the same period.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
America must frankly own up to role in tragic Jeju April 3 Incident
South Koreans were long forced to remain silent about the tragic Jeju April 3 Incident. Over 30,000 residents of Jeju Island were killed by the police, the military and paramilitary groups such as the Northwest Youth Association during the incident, which began with a crackdown on a celebration of the March 1st Movement in 1947, continued with an uprising on April 3, 1948, and finally concluded on Sept. 21, 1954. But under Korea’s authoritarian governments, the uprising was stigmatized as a communist revolt, and the relatives of the victims were forced to live with their despair, shackled by a system of guilt by association.
If Japan wants to protect its people, preemptive strikes aren’t the way
Japan’s government and ruling parties are currently pushing forward with fundamental security policy changes by deciding to revise the National Security Strategy, the National Defense Program Guidelines, and the Mid-term Defense Program by the end of the year. Among the policy changes being proposed, the current defense plan includes a call to increase defense spending from the current 25 trillion yen (US$189.5 billion) over five years to 43 trillion yen over the next five years. There are also proposals to increase Japan’s current counterstrike capabilities by allowing the country to attack enemy bases preemptively.
S. Korea’s financial stress index upgraded to crisis level
Korea’s financial stress index (FSI), which shows the state of the short-term vulnerabilities in the domestic financial system, has entered the crisis stage. The situation has taken a sharp turn for the worse this year due to the steep rise in interest and exchange rates, as well as the ramifications dealings around Legoland in Gangwon Province have had on the bond market. This means that the financial system is more vulnerable to external forces, which is only causing more concern as monetary tightening and the slowdown of the economy are expected to continue next year.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
“It Was Never Discussed” Ahn Cheol-soo on Talks of Joining Hands with Na Kyung-won
On December 26, People Power Party (PPP) lawmaker Ahn Cheol-soo dismissed the rumor that he and former lawmaker Na Kyung-won were banding together and said, “We have never discussed that issue, and Na Kyung-won already announced that there would be no alliance.” Ahn, a PPP leader candidate, appeared on KBS radio on Monday morning and gave the answer when the host mentioned expectations of Ahn and Na joining hands if the two found some common ground and understood each other.
A Landlord Worse than the “Villa King” Kim Cheated Tenants out of 64.6 Billion Won
There were malicious landlords who cheated tenants out of more jeonse (a lease for a one-time lump-sum deposit) deposits than Kim (Gim), the “villa king” who recently died. The Korea Housing and Urban Guarantee Co. (HUG) keeps a list of homeowners in debt with leases on multiple homes who require special attention. The top thirty landlords on the list failed to return deposits amounting to 758.4 billion won, of which HUG reimbursed more than 90%. According to the information that Democratic Party of Korea lawmaker Park Sang-hyuk of the parliamentary Land, Infrastructure and Transport Committee received from HUG on December 26, as of the end of November, lessees involved in 171 contracts, who had their deposits insured, did not receive their jeonse deposits back from the villa king, Kim.
Interior Ministry Received the President’s Second Instructions on the Itaewon Crowd Crush “Through the Press”
The Ministry of the Interior and Safety found out about the president’s second set of instructions on the day of the Halloween crowd crush in Itaewon through the press. The interior ministry oversees the nation’s response to disasters, and that they did not receive the president’s instructions directly but only through the press has triggered criticism of holes in the country’s disaster management system. According to the presidential instructions received by the interior ministry on the day of the Itaewon crowd crush, which the special committee for a parliamentary inquiry into the incident confirmed on December 23
Arrest Warrant Issued for Yongsan District Chief over Itaewon Crush
A court has issued an arrest warrant for Yongsan District Office head Park Hee-young for failing to promptly respond to the deadly Itaewon crowd crush. The Seoul Western District Court on Monday issued the warrant for Park on charges of professional negligence resulting in death or injury, citing she may destroy evidence and that the allegations against her have been verified. Park is accused of failing to draw up proper crowd control measures for Halloween revelers and failing to promptly respond to the crush that killed 158 people.
N. Korea Convenes Key Party Meeting
The North's official Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) said on Tuesday that the 6th plenary meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers' Party was convened the previous day. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who presided over the meeting, reportedly said that the country came to have a deeper understanding of the recent situation of domestic and foreign conditions and clarified the direction of the development of state projects, which was a precious experience for 2022.
White House: US Closely Consulting with S. Korea on N. Korean Drones
The White House said that the United States is in close consultation with South Korea regarding North Korean drones that violated South Korean airspace on Monday, reaffirming its commitment to the defense of South Korea. A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said that the U.S. is aware of the reported North Korean drone flights across the military demarcation line, and it is consulting closely with South Korea about the nature of this incursion. The spokesperson said that the U.S. recognizes the need for South Korea to protect its territorial integrity and the U.S. commitment to the defense of South Korea remains ironclad.
N. Korea commemorates adoption of its constitution in event joined by leader Kim
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended a meeting to mark the anniversary of the promulgation of its Socialist Constitution half a century ago, according to Pyongyang's state media Tuesday. It took place at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang on Monday evening to mark the 50th anniversary of North Korea's institution of the Socialist Constitution, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. It marked the first time Kim attended an event to commemorate the country's adoption of the constitution since he took power in 2011.
Opposition leader says he will respond to prosecution questioning in another bribery probe
The leader of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), Lee Jae-myung, said Monday he cannot attend a prosecution questioning over bribery allegations surrounding corporate donations to a football club later this week but will arrange another date to respond to the probe. Last week, the Suwon District Prosecutors Office asked Lee to appear for questioning this coming Wednesday in connection to allegations the city government of Seongnam attracted some 16 billion won (US$12.5 million) in corporate donations to its municipal football club in return for administrative favors between 2016-18.
Demotion of Air Force brigadier general temporarily suspended
A court on Monday temporarily suspended a disciplinary measure to demote an Air Force brigadier general by one rank to colonel for mishandling a sexual assault case that led to the suicide death of a female soldier. The Seoul Administrative Court ruled in favor of an appeal by Jeon Ik-soo, the chief legal affairs officer of the Air Force. Under the ruling, Jeon will maintain his rank before a formal lawsuit makes a decision on the disciplinary measure.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Korean companies suffer from weakening stability, fiscal health
South Korean companies have seen revenue growth this year, but their fiscal health has deteriorated due to increased debt and lowered profitability, according to a report from a major business lobby group Monday. Despite their growing revenue, the slowdown in the growth rate, inventory piling up and soaring borrowing costs draw concerns as the country’s economy is largely expected to see headwinds next year, with sluggish exports and uncertainties in the global market.
Recovering drug users at rehab call for more help
A two-story redbrick house surrounded by trees in Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province, looks like any of the other ordinary suburban homes in the neighborhood. But residents in the house have a special purpose in common -- to put themselves on a path to recovery from drug addiction. The 165-square-meter house is the Gyeonggi branch of the Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Center, a private halfway house agency for recovery from drug addiction that aims to help drug users kick the habit without medical assistance.
Is KAI on Hanwha’s mind after DSME acquisition?
Hanwha Group’s planned acquisition of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, the nation’s No. 2 shipbuilder, is once again fueling speculation over its possible attempt to take over Korea Aerospace Industries, the sole aircraft maker here that would complete the conglomerate’s vision to become the Korean version of Lockheed Martin. The rumor of Hanwha looking into buying the state-run Export-Import Bank of Korea’s 26.41 percent stake in KAI began late September after it signed a conditional memorandum of understanding to acquire DSME’s controlling stake at 49.3 percent for 2 trillion won ($1.6 billion).
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
China hits back at news report about honey trap targeting former South Korean governor
The United States will provide $1.85 billion in additional military assistance The Chinese Embassy in Seoul has denied a media report accusing Beijing of setting a honey trap for a former South Korean governor and presidential hopeful. "I would like to emphasize that the report is fabricated, deliberately slanderous and contrary to etiquette," a spokesperson said Monday in a statement on Chinese social media platform WeChat.
Envoy touts Vietnam as Korea's ideal partner
The importance of Vietnam increased dramatically for Korea after President Yoon Suk-yeol unveiled his Indo-Pacific Strategy in November. It calls for a stronger Korean presence in the region in order to diversify trade partners and secure global supply chains. There are more reasons that boost the importance of the Southeast Asian country for Korea. Vietnam is expected to become Korea's third-largest trading partner this year, surpassing Japan. Korea is the largest foreign investor in Vietnam with over 9,000 Korean companies operating there.
Samsung unlikely to join Micron in chip output cut
Worries are growing that the global technology downturn may be wider, deeper and even longer-lasting than expected. Some Wall Street analysts have been forecasting the chip industry to face its worst drop in more than two decades, reaching back to 2001. The semiconductor industry is essential and foundational to the global economy, as semiconductors are used in all sectors of the economy from cars, communications and clean energy to information technology. But even the worst is yet to come. All the leading chipmakers enjoyed a heyday both in sales and profits during the pandemic, as delivery times for core parts and machinery for all industries exceeded more than a year thanks to increased demand and tight supply.
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