Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
“Gangwon Province to host a month-long Forestry Exhibition from Sept. 22”
"Under the theme of 'the World, the Future of Humanity, and Finding in the Forest', the 2023 Gangwon Forestry Exhibition will be held in Goseong, Sokcho, Inje, and Yangyang for a month from Sept. 22 to Oct. 22 this year," said Governor Kim Jin-tae of Gangwon Province. This was disclosed at a recent interview with Kim Jin-tae conducted by The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985. Governor Kim said, "Forests in Gangwon-do account for 63 percent of the nation's forest area, which is the lungs of Korea, the ecological axis of the Korean Peninsula, and the driving force behind carbon-neutral green growth."
Korea, Netherlands sign 7 MOUs for industrial & energy cooperation
Minister for Trade Ahn Duk-geun met with Liesje Schreinemacher, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, and attended the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signing ceremony where the two countries signed seven MOUs on eco-friendly mobility and renewable energy cooperation. The ceremony was held on occasion of Dutch Minister Schreinemacher’s visit to Korea (March 13-15) as trade delegation head and as follow-up to the Korea-Netherlands summit talks held last November in Seoul.
The 103rd birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman celebrated
The Embassy of Bangladesh in Seoul celebrated the 103rd Birth Anniversary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and National Children’s Day 2023 on 17 March 2023 with due fervor and festivity. Members of the Bangladesh community in Seoul and the Embassy officials along with their children took part in the programme with great enthusiasm. The day’s programme commenced with the hoisting of the national flag by Ambassador Delwar Hossain with the national anthem in the morning at the Embassy premises.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Korean Electronics Companies Hope for Better Business in Japan
Korean electronics makers look forward to improved business in Japan, which has been a difficult market to penetrate. Japanese consumers prefer domestic brands over imports unless they are considered top of the range, and fractious ties between the two governments made matters worse. But as bilateral relations began to thaw late last year, Samsung and LG's market shares in Japan rose, and Korean start-ups also began to do business there. Samsung rose to the No. 2 spot in Japan's smartphone market last year for the first time in two years.
Samsung Biologics to Build 5th Plant
Samsung Biologics will build a fifth factory at its production site in Songdo, Incheon, due to growing demand. The plant will have the capacity to produce 180,000 liters of biopharmaceuticals a year, bringing the company's total capacity to 784,000 liters and making it the world's largest producer. The company's CEO John Rim announced that the W1.98 trillion investment plan was approved by its board of directors last Friday (US$1=W1,302).
N.Korea Continues Flurry of Missile Launches
North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile into the East Sea on Sunday, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff here, just three days after launching an intercontinental ballistic missile. The flurry of recent missile launches is a protest against massive joint South Korea-U.S. drills. The JCS on Sunday said the missile was fired from Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province around 11:05 a.m. and flew about 800 km before falling into the East Sea.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Korea's auto and auto part exports beat chip exports
The car and auto component export category is now Korea’s biggest, beating chips. The combined revenue of cars and auto component exports was $7.6 billion in February, 15.2 percent of the country’s total exports, according to data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Monday. That was more than February’s semiconductor exports, which came in at $5.96 billion. It’s the first time in six years that auto exports beat chip exports.
Workweek reform hurts public support for Yoon, PPP
The controversy over the government’s proposed workweek reform continues to grow, harming public support for the president and his party. In his first meeting since returning from Japan, President Yoon Suk Yeol ordered his staff to come up with measures to reduce public anxiety over working hour reform. President Yoon particularly emphasized compensation for extended working hours, namely, wages and vacation. The government has met with a backlash since announcing plans to increase the flexibility of the 52 hour workweek system on March 6, especially from young people.
Rival parties clash over conflicting reports on Yoon's Japan visit
Rival parties are deeply divided over the outcome of President Yoon Suk Yeol's summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo last week, especially amid contradictory reports on what was discussed during the bilateral talks. The conservative People Power Party (PPP) stressed that Yoon's trip to Japan over Thursday and Friday, the first bilateral visit by a Korean president in 12 years, was a necessary step toward prioritizing the national interests of both countries both in terms of security and economy.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
N. Korea conducts tactical nuclear attack drill
North Korea has been confirmed to have conducted an explosion test of a short-range ballistic missile tipped with a mock nuclear warhead targeted to launch an attack on the Korean peninsula on Sunday. The missile, KN-23, exploded 800 meters in midair, which is known as the optimal height to maximize killing power and capable of targeting the entire peninsula. North Korea said the test was a comprehensive virtual tactics exercise for a counter-nuclear attack toward key enemy targets.
UBS buys Credit Suisse to halt another Black Monday
Switzerland's biggest bank, UBS, has agreed to purchase the global investment bank Credit Suisse, which could have met the fate of Lehman Brothers. This acquisition helps prevent another global financial crisis, at least for the moment. Six major central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, have joined forces in a coordinated action to enhance market liquidity. During a media briefing on Sunday, the Swiss government and the Swiss National Bank (SNB) announced that UBS would be acquiring Credit Suisse with support from the Swiss government, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.
China, Russia strengthen ties to build common front against US
Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Russia on March 20 for three days at the invitation of Russian president Vladimir Putin. The visit reflects the two countries’ firm intention to strengthen their common front against the U.S., whom the two countries are at odds with over Taiwan and Ukraine. On the first day of the visit, both heads of state published a contribution in the other country's media, reflecting their close ties. President Xi cited an adage, saying, “True friendship reveals itself in hard times,” describing China- Russia ties as key neighbor. President Putin also stressed that “China-Russia ties are stronger than ever” in China’s People Daily.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korea launches first private satellite launcher from Brazil
South Korean aerospace company Innospace launched its suborbital test launch vehicle HANBIT-TLV on Sunday (local time) at the Alcantara Space Center in northern Brazil. The company is “verifying the flight performance of the engine and its payloads,” Innospace said, adding that it will release more details once it completes data analysis after the flight. Online video footage shot and shared by local residents showed the launch vehicle shooting up in a straight line and cruising into space. An official from the company said that “visually there doesn’t seem to be any problem in the launch.”
Korea’s 23 SMEs to participate in Saudi-Korean Industrial Village
More than 20 South Korean small- and medium-sized enterprises armed with advanced technologies in electric vehicles, biotechnology and robotics sectors are expected to join a project worth at least 13 trillion won ($9.9 billion) in Saudi Arabia to build production facilities in an industrial site in the Gulf nation. About 23 SMEs will sign land contracts at the Yanbu Industrial Complex, located 300 kilometers north of Jeddah, in May and set up production facilities for operations, according to a list of companies that have been confirmed to join the Saudi-Korean Industrial Village obtained exclusively by Maeil Business Newspaper from the Saudi International Industrial Village Co. on Sunday.
Record number of Korean youths pause from job searches or preparations
Nearly 500,000 young people aged between 15 and 29 said they “took a break” in terms of economic activities last month, the largest since related data was first compiled in January 2003. According to the Korea Statistical Information Service (KOSIS) of Statistics Korea on Monday, 497,000 youths in the economically inactive population who are neither employed nor unemployed said they paused their economic activity in February.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Yoon returns home from Japan to backlash over summit
Far from South Korea-Japan relations improving since last week’s summit between the two countries’ leaders, points of contention have risen to the surface, aggravating already negative popular opinion in Korea and prompting domestic backlash. The Yoon Suk-yeol administration in Korea is being admonished for “one-sided diplomacy” that showered Japan with gifts in kind, only to receive notes and invoices in return.
70 years of armistice and joint S. Korea-US drills
Spring has sprung for the year, which will mark the 70th anniversary of the armistice on the Korean Peninsula. Yet this year’s spring doesn’t feel quite like spring should. Though joint South Korea-US military drills have jeopardized the situation on the Korean Peninsula each spring and fall, this year the outlook is particularly unsettling. The coalescence of the Yoon administration’s ideology, the US Forces Korea (USFK) need for practical training, and the US need to reshuffle the military order to target China has resulted in joint exercises unprecedented in scale and intensity.
US deploys B-1B bomber to peninsula after N. Korea fires short-range ballistic missile
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff announced that North Korea had fired a short-range ballistic missile into the East Sea on Sunday morning. The US military responded by deploying B-1B strategic bombers to the Korean Peninsula amid the ongoing joint South Korea-US “Freedom Shield” drills. The Joint Chiefs reported on Sunday that the military detected a short-range ballistic missile fired toward the East Sea from Tongchang-ri in North Pyongan Province at 11:05 am, adding that the missile flew around 800 kilometers before splashing down in the East Sea and that the detailed specifications of its route are being analyzed comprehensively by South Korean and US intelligence agencies.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/ )
Increasing Number of “Bureaucratic Mafia” Outside Board Members: One in Three Was a Former Prosecutor
This year, 38.8% of newly appointed outside board members of major corporations in South Korea turned out to be former bureaucrats, and one in three of these directors had served in the Prosecution Service, just like President Yoon Suk-yeol. The Kyunghyang Shinmun analyzed the professional history of 116 candidates for outside board members (reflected multiple times when the candidate served as an outside director of more than one company) of 180 listed companies affiliated to the nation’s top thirty business groups newly appointed in the annual general meeting of shareholders this year. According to the results of the analysis on March 19, forty-five were former government officials, accounting for 38.8% of the directors newly appointed this year.
President Yoon Suk-yeol’s Approval Rating Drops to Mid-30%
President Yoon Suk-yeol’s job approval rating fell for the second consecutive week to 36.8% in the results of a poll released on March 20. In a Realmeter-Media Tribune survey of 2,505 voters ages eighteen and older nationwide conducted for five days from March 13 to 17, the approval rating for President Yoon’s handling of state administration dropped 2.1% from the previous week to 36.8%. His approval rating, which had remained over 40% until early this month, dropped for two consecutive weeks (42.9% 38.9% 36.8%).
Lee Jae-myung Accuses President Yoon of “Selling the Country” by Accepting a Collusive Agreement with Japan that Could Ruin Korea
On March 17, Democratic Party of Korea leader Lee Jae-myung spoke on the summit between South Korea and Japan and asked, “The salesman ended up selling the country, didn’t he?” He quoted President Yoon Suk-yeol, who promoted himself as the number one salesman of the Republic of Korea. Lee defined the government’s third-party payment solution to forced mobilization under Japanese occupation as a “collusive agreement that could destroy the nation” and suggested stronger protest against the government.
Yoon Evaluates Kishida's Invitation to G7 as 'Positive Measure'
President Yoon Suk Yeol has evaluated Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's invitation to the Group of Seven(G7) summit as a positive measure in line with the results of their summit. Presidential spokesperson Lee Do-woon said on Monday that President Yoon made the assessment after Prime Minister Kishida invited him to the G7 summit set for May in Hiroshima. Yoon's remarks appear to indicate his intention to attend the gathering, where he may hold separate bilateral and trilateral summit talks with the leaders of Japan and the U.S.
US Report Sheds Light on N. Korean Human Rights Violations
The U.S. has highlighted human rights violations in North Korea in an annual report, saying arbitrary arrests, torture, killings, human trafficking and child labor are rampant. In the 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices released on Tuesday, the third of its kind under the Joe Biden administration, the U.S. Department of State assessed that the North maintained “effective control” of society through various apparatuses including the Ministry of Social Security.
UNSC Meeting on N. Korea ICBM Ends without Result
The UN Security Council has failed to adopt a resolution on North Korea’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile(ICBM) launch during an open session on the matter. In the UNSC meeting held on Monday, local time, South Korea, the U.S., Japan and western countries strongly condemned the North's recent missile provocations, calling for an official response by the Security Council. China and Russia, however, again defended North Korea, blaming South Korea-U.S. military drills for the North's missile launches, resulting in a deadlock.
Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr )
S. Korea expresses regret over 'distorted' reports on Yoon-Kishida summit
South Korea has expressed regret to Japan over a series of "distorted" reports on last week's summit between President Yoon Suk Yeol and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and asked that such reports not be repeated, a presidential official said Monday. Japan's Sankei Shimbun reported the same day that Kishida asked Yoon to faithfully implement a 2015 agreement on the issue of Korean women forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops during World War II, as well as the lifting of restrictions on imports of seafood from Fukushima.
Impunity for human rights violations, corruption remains widespread in N. Korea in 2022: U.S. report
North Korea continued to show no respect for basic human rights and freedoms of its people in 2022 while impunity for corruption continued to remain widespread, an annual U.S. report said Monday. The 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices said the country had dozens of other human rights issues, ranging from unlawful or arbitrary killings by the government, torture, total state control of expression and media and serious restrictions on freedom of movement and residence to trafficking in persons and punishment of family members for offenses allegedly committed by an individual.
Japan invites Yoon to upcoming G-7 summit: report
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida invited South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol to a G-7 summit to be held in Hiroshima in May, a news report said Monday. According to Japan's Kyodo News Agency, Kishida told reporters he invited leaders of South Korea, Brazil, India, Vietnam and four other countries to the upcoming G-7 summit during his ongoing visit to India. Japan has the authority to invite countries to the G-7 summit this year as the host nation.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com )
Innospace launches world’s 1st hybrid rocket
Innospace, a South Korean startup specializing in developing hybrid space rockets, said it has launched the Hanbit-TLV -- an 8.4-ton single-stage thrust hybrid rocket standing at 16.3 meters tall -- from the Alcantara Space Center in Brazil at 2:52 p.m. on Sunday local time. “We will announce the results of the engine’s flight performance and whether the payload’s mission ends up in a success after a comprehensive analysis of the flight data,” said Innospace in a text to reporters.
Indiana lures Korean businesses with skilled workforce, hefty incentives
The US state of Indiana is seeking to set up a liaison office in South Korea to reach out to Korean businesses that are investing heavily to expand their presence in the burgeoning electric vehicle market there. “We are excited about opening a liaison office here that will focus on helping Indiana secure investment from Korea-based companies,” Indiana’s Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers told The Korea Herald in an interview in Seoul Friday. “We are actively working to confirm Korean representation, as it is our top priority this year to strengthen international engagement," he said.
LG Energy Solution continues aggressive US expansion
LG Energy Solution is looking to keep ramping up its battery businesses in the US as the North American electric vehicle market is projected to see a compound annual growth rate of 33 percent through 2030. According to the South Korean battery maker, the company’s backlog orders reached 370 trillion won ($284 billion) as of September last year, an increase of over 100 trillion won from the end of 2021. Of the backlog orders, 70 percent were due for the North American market.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr )
Japan invites Yoon to upcoming G-7 summit: report
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida invited South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol to a G-7 summit to be held in Hiroshima in May, a news report said Monday. According to Japan's Kyodo News Agency, Kishida told reporters he invited leaders of South Korea, Brazil, India, Vietnam and four other countries to the upcoming G-7 summit during his ongoing visit to India. Japan has the authority to invite countries to the G-7 summit this year as the host nation. The report came less than a week after Yoon and Kishida held a bilateral summit in Tokyo, signaling a significant warming of long-strained relations between Seoul and Tokyo.
Putin meets 'dear friend' Xi in Kremlin as Ukraine war grinds on
Vladimir Putin and his "dear friend" Chinese leader Xi Jinping planned more talks on Tuesday after a Kremlin dinner where the isolated Russian president showcased his most powerful ally in the face of Western opposition to the war in Ukraine. Washington denounced Xi's visit, saying the timing just days after an international court accused Putin of war crimes indicated Beijing was providing Moscow with "diplomatic cover" to commit additional crimes. It was Xi's first trip abroad since he obtained an unprecedented third term last month.
US strategic assets limited to stop NK provocations: experts
The United States' strategic assets deployed to South Korea seem to be having a limited effect in deterring North Korea's evolving nuclear threats, according to experts on Monday, as seen by Pyongyang's latest provocation that came just minutes before U.S. strategic bombers entered South Korean skies. North Korea test-fired yet another ballistic missile on Sunday, the same day U.S. strategic bombers took part in joint air drills with the Republic of Korea Air Force. According to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSC), a short-range ballistic missile was launched from the North's northwestern Tongchang-ri area around 11:05 a.m. and flew about 800 kilometers over land before falling into the waters off its east coast.
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