Friday, January 13, 2023
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
“We need to retaliate 100 times, 1,000 times if we are attacked from the North”
Regarding the power of the "Korean-style three-axis system" in response to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, President Yoon Suk-yeol said on Jan. 11, "The most important way to prevent an attack is to firmly establish the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) ability that can retaliate 100 times and 1,000 times if we are attacked." After receiving a report from the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2023, President Yoon ordered Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup to strengthen the military power, saying, "The most important thing in the three-axis system is KMPR and should be supplemented."
Former Osstem Implant embezzler sentenced to 35 years in prison
A former financial team leader who was put on trial for embezzling 221.5 billion won while working at Osstem Implant was sentenced to 35 years in prison and a fine of 30 million won. The Seoul Southern District Court's Criminal Settlement Division sentenced a 46-year-old man accused of embezzlement and violation of the Act on the Aggravated Punishment of Specific Economic Crimes to this and ordered to collect 115.1 billion won from him. His wife, identified only by her surname Park, was also sentenced to three years in prison for violating the Crime Profit Concealment Regulation Act.
Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung meets with U.S. Undersecretary of State Fernandez
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Eui-sun recently met with Jose Fernandez, the U.S. Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment. According to the business community on Jan. 11, Chairman Chung had a discussion with Vice Minister Fernandez about the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) at a hotel in Seoul the previous day. It seems that they shared various opinions in areas such as electrification, future mobility, and global supply chains as well as solutions to discrimination in Korean electric vehicles. In particular, Chairman Chung reportedly stressed the need for flexible measures for companies that have decided to invest in the U.S.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Yoon to Visit UAE, Switzerland
President Yoon Suk-yeol will visit the UAE and Switzerland next week, the presidential office said Tuesday. Yoon will tout for business in the Gulf federation, discussing exports of defense equipment and nuclear power plants with leaders there before attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, an annual gathering of global leaders and businesspeople. He will be accompanied by an entourage of businessmen from about 100 companies. Tycoons from major businesses will be included, but about 70 percent are from small and medium-sized companies.
China Stops Short-Term Visas for Koreans
China on Tuesday suspended short-term visas for Koreans in retaliation against what it claimed are "discriminatory" COVID measures taken by Korea. The abrupt suspension came without prior notice, disrupting plans for many who were about to visit the country. Among many countries who restricted entry for travelers from China amid a surge of COVID infections there, Korea and Japan were singled out for retaliation. Kyodo News reported that China also suspended short term-visas for Japanese travelers.
Brides Are Getting Older
Korean women are marrying later in life if at all, so that there are now more blushing brides in their 30s than in their 20s. According to Statistics Korea on Tuesday, there were 76,900 women in their 30s in 2021 who accounted for nearly half or 49.1 percent of all first-time brides. Next came 71,263 in their 20s or 45.5 percent, but numbers are also growing among women in their 40s (6,564 or 4.2 percent). This is the first time that 30-something brides have outnumbered those in their 20s.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Prepare for a permanent crisis, Lotte's Shin Dong-bin warns
Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin said that Lotte will uphold company values by enhancing global competitiveness and continuing to push the company to challenge itself at a biannual value creation meeting Thursday. “The contemporary era is one of permanent crisis,” Shin said, referring to continuing economic slowdown consisting of inflation, high interest rates and the strong dollar. “It’s totally different from a decade ago, when company management was secure.”
Rehearsal for Pyongyang military parade spotted
orth Korea appears to have mobilized military equipment for a rehearsal for a parade at Mirim training ground near Pyongyang, according to satellite photos captured by Planet Labs earlier this month. The military equipment includes a transporter erector launcher (TEL), which was frequently highlighted in past military parades. A TEL vehicle is used to transport missiles to a launch site, raise the missiles to the desired launch angle, then fire them. TELs enhance the mobility of a missile arsenal by allowing them to launched from different locations.
Three Koreans receive prize for promoting country at Korea Image Awards 2023
Three iconic figures that represented Korean culture in 2022 were selected as recipients for prizes at the Korea Image Awards 2023, including a globally recognized actor and two Olympians. The ceremony, hosted annually by the Corea Image Communication Institute (CICI), took place at the InterContinental Seoul Coex hotel in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, on Wednesday evening. CICI, established in 2003, is an organization affiliated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that promotes Korean culture abroad and does research on Korea’s international image.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Yet another U.S. intelligence leak gets Biden into trouble
Even after controversy was created by some U.S. classified documents found in U.S. Joe Biden’s private office, it was reported that he had gotten involved in another intelligence leak during his vice presidency. U.S. news media have raised some questions over his handling of confidential documents. NBC News reported on Wednesday that another batch of classified documents handled under the Obama administration was discovered at a new location that is different from the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, where he would often work after ending his vice presidency in 2017.
Chung Eui-sun is named MotorTrend Person of the Year
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Eui-sun has been named the most influential person in the motor industry this year. Tesla CEO Elon Musk was ranked 42nd. MotorTrend, America’s automotive magazine, revealed on Thursday the names of 50 people on the 2021 MotorTrend Power List and announced that the chairman of Hyundai Motor Group was ranked first. The magazine wrote that Mr. Chung was named the Person of the Year because of his vision and leadership to make the world a better place.
S. Korea capable of developing nuclear prototype within six months
President Yoon Suk Yeol's remarks on "the possibility of Seoul's possession of nuclear weapons" led to increased attention to the technological procedures and time period required for Korea to develop its own nuclear weapons. "South Korea already has the reprocessing and enrichment technologies at the level of nuclear states’," said Seo Kyun-ryul, an honorary professor of nuclear engineering at Seoul National University. "Once Korea decides to develop one, we can make a 20-kiloton prototype in just six months."
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Kakao Entertainment secures up to $963 mn investment from sovereign funds
Kakao Entertainment, a content unit of South Korea’s mobile platform giant Kakao Corp., has secured as much as 1.2 trillion won ($963 million) investment from sovereign wealth funds in Saudi Arabia and Singapore. According to multiple sources from the investment bank industry on Wednesday, Kakao Entertainment signed an investment contract with two institutional investors - Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp.
Samsung Biologics strives to win more deals this year
Samsung Biologics Co. plans actively seek to win more orders as its fourth plant gears into full operations and it plana to build a Bio Campus II, Chief Executive Officer John Rim said Wednesday during the 41st Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. Rim said that Samsung Biologics’ Plant 4 facility, currently only partially completed, will be fully operational in 2023, helping the company to expand orders and take a leading share of the market. With the completion of the plant, the company’s production capacity will top 604,000 liters.
Naver completes $81 mn buyout of Spain’s secondhand marketplace Wallapop
South Korean internet giant Naver Corp. has recently completed a 75 million euro ($80.7 million) investment in Wallapop in Spain, to become the largest shareholder, solidifying a global grip in the bourgeoning customer-to-customer market. Naver invested in Wallapop, a mobile-based platform in Europe for buying and selling second-hand products, according to Maeil Business Newspaper. The company is now Wallapop’s single largest shareholder with 30.5 percent stake.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
China suspends 72-, 144-hour transit visas for Koreans
China has suspended transit visa exemptions for Korean and Japanese travelers staying in China for 72 or 144 hours. The move appears to be a follow-up measure to China’s decision the day before to suspend issuing tourism and short-term visas to Korean and Japanese nationals. However, China will seemingly continue to grant transit visa exemptions to travelers staying in China for up to 24 hours.
S. Korean president raises eyebrows with seeming approval of Japan’s security strategy
Recent remarks made by President Yoon Suk-yeol hinting at support for Japan’s new National Security Strategy are causing a stir. Regarding the Japanese government’s decision to increase defense spending, Yoon said on Wednesday that “with missiles flying overhead and the [possibility of] nuclear weapons [being used by North Korea], it’s not easy to stop all of that.” Yoon made the comments during his closing remarks at the Blue House guesthouse on Wednesday after he and other officials received briefings from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of National Defense.
What Japan means when it says it wants 500 Tomahawks
The tomahawk is the original all-purpose weapon. The indigenous peoples of the Americas originally used tomahawks as hatchets and hammers. They also served as slashing blades and were excellent at felling distant prey. When the Europeans arrived in the New World, tomahawks were used as weapons to fight them, but they also functioned as peace pipes that could be filled with tobacco to be smoked as part of peaceful interactions. These multifunctional tools more than proved their worth long before the Swiss came up with their MacGyver knives.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Lee Jae-myung Proposes a Referendum on Constitutional Amendment to Introduce Two 4-year Presidential Terms in Next Parliamentary Elections
On January 12, Democratic Party of Korea leader Lee Jae-myung claimed that a constitutional amendment and political reforms to uphold the thoughts of the people were urgent and officially proposed a constitutional amendment changing the presidential term to four years with the possibility of a second term. Lee suggested that a referendum on the constitutional amendment be held simultaneously along with the parliamentary elections next year. The Democratic Party leader held a New Year’s press conference at the National Assembly on Thursday and announced, “This year marks the thirty-sixth year of the Constitution that was amended in 1987,”
“Just Because They Label Me Doesn’t Mean I Will Be Labeled,” Na Kyung-won Refutes Attacks about Her Representing Those Who Are Not Pro-Yoon
On January 11, former lawmaker Na Kyung-won spoke on her bid for People Power Party (PPP) leader and said, “I am contemplating what is important for the Yoon Suk-yeol government to be successful.” As pro-Yoon Suk-yeol members branded Na as a “non-Yoon” (someone who is not pro-Yoon) candidate, she fought back saying, “Just because they label me doesn’t mean I will be labeled,” and guarded her pro-Yoon image. She also resumed actions as a party leader candidate, suspended by criticism from the Office of the President after suggesting writing off loans for households that give birth.
U.S. Satellite May Crash Near Korean Peninsula: Science Ministry Issues Readiness Alert
On January 9, the Ministry of Science and ICT announced that a U.S. Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) was falling and that there was a possibility that the defunct satellite could crash near the Korean Peninsula. The science ministry issued a “readiness” alert at 7 a.m. Monday. The ministry explained that as of 4 a.m. Monday, according to the orbit analysis by the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, there is a strong possibility that the U.S. Earth observation satellite, the ERBS, may crash sometime between 12:20-1:20 p.m. Monday, and the Korean Peninsula was included in the expected crash area.
Pentagon: US Policy Still Focused on Complete Denuclearization of Korean Peninsula
The U.S. Department of Defense said on Thursday that U.S. policy continues to remain focused on the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder made the remarks during a press briefing when asked about President Yoon Suk Yeol's recent comments hinting at possible nuclear armament by South Korea. The spokesperson said that the U.S. is cooperating to protect the security and stability of its allies South Korea and Japan and to deter aggression from countries like North Korea.
MBC Reporters Allowed to Board Pres. Yoon’s Plane for Overseas Tour
Reporters from local broadcaster MBC will be allowed to board the presidential plane for President Yoon Suk Yeol’s overseas trip beginning on Saturday. The presidential office reportedly notified reporters of MBC on Thursday that it had decided to permit them to board the plane to cover Yoon's tour to the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland. The top office banned MBC reporters from the presidential plane in November of last year during Yoon's tour of Southeast Asia, claiming that the broadcaster had engaged in repeated distortions and biased reporting on foreign affairs.
Import, Export Prices Fall for 2nd Month in December
The country's export and import prices fell for the second consecutive month in December due to the appreciation of the won and a drop in oil prices. According to the Bank of Korea on Friday, the export price index stood at 118-point-03 in December, down six percent from a month earlier to log the second consecutive month of downward movement and the largest on-month drop since April 2009, when it slipped six-point-one percent. The fall was attributed to the won's appreciation against the U.S. dollar, a drop in global oil prices and sluggish global demand.
U.S. remains fully committed to defense of S. Korea with extended deterrence: Pentagon
The United States remains ready and capable to deter and counter any potential aggression against South Korea under its extended deterrence, a Pentagon spokesperson said Thursday, in apparent opposition to possible nuclear armament of its Asian ally. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said earlier this week that Seoul may deploy tactical nuclear weapons "or possess its own nuclear capabilities" should North Korean provocations intensify. Yoon's remark followed an unprecedented number of ballistic missiles launched by North Korea.
Biden says 'Katchi Kapshida' on Korean American Day
U.S. President Joe Biden underscored the importance of a strong U.S.-South Korea alliance on Thursday, saying the countries are stronger when they work together. The U.S. leader also used the famous phase of U.S. Forces Korea, "Katchi Kapshida" or Let's go together, in a statement released by the White House to mark Korean American Day. "One hundred and twenty years ago today, a group of 102 Korean men, women and children arrived in Hawaii in search of a new start," Biden said in his released statement.
Opposition leader Lee lashes out at gov't, calls for talks with Yoon
Opposition leader Lee Jae-myung lashed out at the government of President Yoon Suk Yeol on Thursday for what he called an attempt to "annihilate" the opposition party amid a prosecution investigation into bribery allegations involving him. Lee, chair of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), also renewed his calls for one-on-one talks with Yoon as he held his first official press conference, just two days after he was questioned by prosecutors over the bribery allegations. "I hope for a halt to the scheme to annihilate the opposition party," Lee said.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
China’s ‘retaliatory’ visa ban sign of stormy times ahead
China’s visa ban on South Koreans following Seoul’s tighter COVID-19 curbs on Chinese travelers is the kind of tit-for-tat spat the two Asian neighbors will have to deal with on multiple fronts for some time, experts said Thursday. China this week stopped issuing short-term visas in Korea for business visits, tourism, medical care, transit and other personal matters -- a response to what Beijing said were discriminatory restrictions Seoul had imposed on people arriving from China.
Democratic Party of Korea head Lee asks to meet with Yoon for unity
The head of main opposition Democratic Party of Korea, Rep. Lee Jae-myung asked for a meeting with President Yoon Suk Yeol on Thursday, saying the conservative administration was not making an effort to bring the parties together. The party chair repeated his request for a meeting with the president at the press conference held just two days after he was summoned by prosecutors in an investigation into allegations that he solicited bribes while he was mayor of Seognam, Gyeonggi Province.
First lady's solo activities likely to continue on UAE, Davos trip
Despite opposition pressure for first lady Kim Keon Hee to keep to a more supporting role, eyes are on whether she would continue to strike out on her own when she accompanies Yoon Suk Yeol on his first presidential trip this year Saturday. She and Yoon will go on a state visit to the United Arab Emirates and attend the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, for six days. “There is a high possibility that Kim will take an independent step (as she did in Cambodia) during the trip,” said Choi Jin, head of the Institute for Presidential Leadership, a research firm in Seoul.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
US inflation eased again to 6.5% over the past 12 months
Rising consumer prices in the United States moderated again last month, bolstering hopes that inflation's grip on the economy will continue to ease this year and possibly require less drastic action by the Federal Reserve to control it. Inflation eased to 6.5 percent in December compared with 12 months earlier, the government said Thursday. It was the sixth straight year-over-year slowdown. On a monthly basis, prices actually slipped 0.1 percent from November to December, the first such drop since May 2020.
Yoon keeps possibility of Seoul's possession of nuclear weapons open
President Yoon Suk Yeol made a rare remark about South Korea turning to nuclear weapons as a last resort to protect the country from North Korean attacks. In the closing remarks of the policy briefings from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Defense on Wednesday, he said he would not rule out the possibility of the redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea or the nation building its own nuclear weapons in case North Korea's nuclear threat becomes much more serious than it is now.
US benefits from Korea's disinterest in solar power industry
The Yoon Suk Yeol administration's obvious preference for nuclear energy over renewables has unintentionally created thousands of new jobs in the U.S. solar power industry, as Korean companies began shifting their focus to the North American market from the shrinking domestic market, according to industry officials, Thursday. After Hanwha Solutions held a press conference on Wednesday to announce its $2.5-billion investment to build North America's largest solar module manufacturing complex in the state of Georgia, U.S. President Joe Biden hailed the Korean firm's plan, describing the largest solar investment in U.S. history as a "big deal" for Georgia's working families and the American economy.
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