Friday, March 31, 2023
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
“Korea is now a key economic/development partner of Bangladesh”
“The Republic of Korea is now a key economic and development partner of Bangladesh and the bilateral trade crossed the US$2 billion mark for the first time in 2021 and then surpassed US$3 billion mark in 2022.” So said Ambassador Delwar Hossain of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Seoul in a speech he delivered at a gala reception he hosted at the prestigious grand ballroom of the Lotte Hotel in Seoul on the evening of March 27.
Bangladesh Embassy calls for global recognition of Genocide Day
On March 25, 2023, the Bangladesh Embassy in Mexico City observed Genocide Day with solemnity and gravity, in memory of the millions of innocent Bengali civilians who were brutally massacred by the Pakistani aggressors during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. The Embassy commemorated the day with a series of events aimed at highlighting the importance of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. The day commenced with the hoisting of the national flag at half-mast by Ambassador Abida Islam with the national anthem, followed by a minute of silence in the presence of all embassy officials.
Old house renovation project revitalizes traditional villages in China's Zhejiang
Zeng Ronghua lives in Yinyuan village, Sandu township, Songyang county, Lishui of east China's Zhejiang province. In his newly renovated old house, red Chinese couplets pasted up on the two sides of the gate, and freshly baked fried sugar cakes make the house full of sweet smell. This century-old house, surrounded by an atmosphere of happiness, was in disrepair two years ago. It was constantly buffeted by wind and rain. The project, aiming at conserving part of historical and cultural sites, as well as some heritage buildings with private property rights, was launched by the China Culture Relics Protection Foundation in Songyang county seven years ago. Zeng's ancestral house was included in the project.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Boys-Only High School Turns Co-ed as Population Dwindles
An all-boys high school in central Seoul turned co-ed this year for the first time in its 90-year history because there were not enough boys. Last year, 121 boys enrolled at Jangchung High School, but this year it accepted 73 boys and 78 girls as the school resigned itself to demographic change. The overall school-age population aged six to 17 has fallen from 6.58 million in 2013 to 5.31 million, and the ratio of baby boys to girls fell to 104.7:100, the lowest on record as Korean parents no longer prefer sons to daughters.
Retail Investors Still Flock to Flagging Bourse
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index plunged 25 percent and the junior Kosdaq 35 percent in 2022, but the number of small shareholders in listed companies rose 4.1 percent to more than 14 million. The most popular stock remained Samsung Electronics, whose small stockholders mushroomed 14 percent to 6 million. According to the Korea Securities Depository, 14.41 million Koreans held shares in 2,509 listed companies as of the end of last year. Some 14.24 million of them were retail investors, up 3.6 percent. On average they owned stocks in 5.85 companies, down 1.8 percent from 2021, while the total number of shares per investor edged down 0.8 percent to 7,688.
Kim Jong-un Calls for Nuclear Arms Use 'Anywhere'
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called for the country's nuclear weapons to be ready for use "any time and anywhere," state media said Tuesday. Kim "called for efforts to expand the production of weapons-grade nuclear materials and continue to produce powerful nuclear weapons in a bid to meet the goal of an exponential increase in the nuclear arsenal," according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency. "Only when we perfectly prepare the ability to use nuclear weapons at any time and from any place will we ensure that we will forever not have to use nuclear weapons," he said.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
North executes people for wide range of offenses: Report
North Koreans have been executed for a wide range of infractions against their government, ranging from pointing a finger at a portrait of regime founder Kim Il Sung to watching South Korean entertainment, according to a report due to be released Friday by South Korea’s Unification Ministry. The 2023 North Korean Human Rights Report, the first to be made public in a series of annual reports commissioned by the ministry since 2017, was compiled based on testimonies from 508 North Korean defectors residing in South Korea.
Motion allowing for arrest of PPP's Ha passes National Assembly
The National Assembly on Thursday approved a motion allowing prosecutors to arrest Rep. Ha Young-je, a lawmaker from the conservative People's Power Party. Ha has been under investigation by prosecutors on suspicion of receiving a 70 million won ($53,600) illegal political contribution from a South Gyeongsang provincial council candidate before local government elections held in June last year. The motion to allow Ha’s arrest passed 160 votes in favor, 99 opposed and 22 abstentions.
Recent shake-up no cause of concern: U.S. ambassador
The recent shake-up in President Yoon Suk Yeol's foreign policy and security team less than a month before his state visit to Washington is not a cause for concern, U.S. Ambassador to Korea Philip Goldberg said Thursday. “No, we’re looking very much forward to the visit of President Yoon,” Goldberg said when asked whether he was worried about the recent replacement of national security advisor, Kim Sung-han, by Korean Ambassador to the United States Cho Tae-yong.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Over 40% of Americans approve of NATO-style nuclear sharing with S. Korea
A recent survey showed that 42.6% of Americans support the idea of “NATO-style nuclear sharing” between South Korea and the United States, which is more than 10 percentage points higher than the 2% who oppose it. The concept of NATA-style nuclear sharing involves the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons by the United States in NATO member states, which could be used in joint nuclear attacks using bombers and other means in the event of a contingency.
'K-Chips’ bill passed at the National Assembly
South Korea’s “K-Chips” law, which increases tax deductions for investment in national strategic industries including semiconductors, was passed at the plenary session of the National Assembly on Thursday. The law, which offers tax benefits for individual national bond investments, was also approved on the same day. The Ministry of Economy and Finance announced Thursday that the revised “K-Chips” law, which expands tax benefits for companies’ investment in national strategic industries including semiconductors, was passed through the National Assembly.
Possibility of replacing national security advisor reportedly reviewed
South Korea's Presidential Office is reportedly considering replacing its National Security Advisor Kim Sung-han, who has been overseeing the policies of foreign affairs and national security for the Yoon Suk Yeol Administration. The news draws much attention as it is only a month away from the president’s summit meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden. Following Chief of Protocol Kim Il-bum, President Yoon replaced his secretary Lee Moon-hee, who managed working-level issues on foreign and national security. Yoon is purportedly considering reshuffling his foreign policy and defense aides lineup ore the U.S.-ROK summit meeting in April.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Samsung Electronics said to consider production cut on weak chip demand
Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s biggest memory chipmaker, is said to be mulling cutting production this year amid a deepening slump in the industry. Samsung Electronics, set to report its earnings for the first quarter next month, is considering future approaches to memory chip production, including an artificial cut, a measure already taken by Micron Technology Inc. and SK Hynix Inc., according to multiple industry sources.
Celltrion’s returning chief doubles down on novel therapy pipeline
Korean biosimilar developer Celltrion Inc. is aiming to increase the share of its original medicines to 40 percent of total revenue by 2030 to boost profitability from its copy and novelty product mix, according to the company’s chairman who returned to management after a two-year absence. “We will adjust the revenue ratio to 60 percent for biosimilars and 40 percent for original new drugs to compete with multinational players also in the novel therapy market,” said Seo Jung-jin during an online conference held on Wednesday, adding the company will develop new medicines based on a new drug delivery platform to change the public’s perception of Celltrion as a biosimilar-focused company.
Korean display manufacturers boost investments for survival after JOLED collapse
Uncertainty is looming over the global display industry after Japan’s organic light emitting diode (OLED) display manufacturer JOLED Inc. entered bankruptcy proceedings on Monday due to chronic losses amid market stagnation and fierce competition from China, sending shockwaves through South Korean players that are looking to increase investments for survival. According to industry sources on Tuesday, JOLED filed for rehabilitation proceedings with the Tokyo District Court on Monday as the company judged it was difficult to continue its business in the face of deteriorating financial soundness and debts totaling 33.7 billion yen ($257.3 million).
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Japan tries its luck on Dokdo after Yoon’s concessions on forced labor
Japanese government authorities have repeatedly expressed their intention to treat their claim to the South Korean territory of Dokdo as a “diplomatic issue” that must be resolved if the two countries are to improve their relationship. The weakness that President Yoon Suk-yeol revealed through his hasty diplomatic concessions to Japan appears to be impacting Dokdo, an issue on which Koreans will never bend.
Yoon’s foreign policy comes under fire after Japan forgoes good faith gesture
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol faces sharpening criticism over his foreign policy toward Japan after Tokyo approved social studies textbooks for elementary school students that downplay the compulsory nature of forced labor during its colonial rule of Korea and make a stronger territorial claim to the island of Dokdo. Yoon has already been savagely criticized for the sweeping concessions he made during a recent summit with the Japanese prime minister, and some see Tokyo’s latest historical distortions as amounting to a slap in the face.
Ma Ying-jeou’s welcome yet fraught visit to China
Ma Ying-jeou, former president of Taiwan, stepped foot on the Chinese mainland on Monday. That was the first time a former or current Taiwanese president has visited China in 74 years, since the Nationalists, known as the Kuomintang, fled to Taiwan after losing to the Communists in the Chinese Civil War in 1949. Ma described his trip to China as a personal visit during which he will pay respects at his ancestor’s graves in Xiangtan County, Hunan Province, for the Qingming Festival, during which Chinese clean the tombs of their forebears, and visit Shanghai, as well as Nanjing and Chongqing, former capitals of the Kuomintang government.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/ )
Court Denies Arrest Warrant for Communications Commission Chair Han Sang-hyuk. Fierce Criticism Expected for a “Targeted” Investigation
The arrest warrant for Han Sang-hyuk (62), chairperson of the Korea Communications Commission, was denied. Han was suspected of manipulating the scores of TV Chosun in the process of renewing the channel’s license. He is also the highest ranking official among those appointed by former President Moon Jae-in. The prosecutors were accused of recklessly conducting a “targeted” investigation to remove figures appointed by the previous government.
A Relaxed Escape from the Law: Kwon Do-hyeong Received VIP Treatment and Even Founded a Company
Kwon Do-hyeong, the CEO of Terraform Labs arrested in Montenegro, was at ease as he fled from the law, receiving VIP treatment throughout the world. In Serbia, he even founded a corporation with another Korean citizen. According to Coingape, an overseas media outlet covering cryptocurrency, on March 28 (local time) Filip Adzic, the interior minister of Montenegro, said that the arrested Kwon and his associate were used to receiving VIP treatment in other parts of the world. He explained that they had spent some time in a neighboring country before entering Montenegro, and that they were in the country illegally. However, the interior minister did not specify which country the two men had been in.
“Daughters” Disappear from “Daughters of a Revolution”: A Symbol of Lee Jae-myung’s Hardline Supporters, From Their Beginning to the Present
The word gaeddal, which refers to the strong supporters of Democratic Party of Korea leader Lee Jae-myung, comes from the TV drama “Reply” (1997, 1994, 1988) series. The word--which means “a bitch of a daughter”--was used to describe a daughter who appeared to be rough on the outside but who in her heart loved her father. The word gaeddal entered Korean politics as a Korean abbreviation for “daughters (ddal) of a revolution (gaehyeok)” during the presidential election on March 9, 2022. Some female voters in their twenties and thirties gathered to support Lee Jae-myung in opposition to Yoon Suk-yeol’s efforts to attract twenty-something male voters and began calling themselves gaeddal.
Feb. Sees Triple Rise in Industrial Output, Consumption, Investment
The nation witnessed a rise in industrial output and consumption as well as investment in February to post the first triple rise in 14 months. Statistics Korea said on Friday that the index of the nation’s overall industrial production came to 109-point-four in February, up zero-point-three percent from a month earlier. Industrial output declined in October and November and stayed flat in December before posting growth for two straight months.
White House: Russia Seeking Arms-for-Food Deal with N. Korea
The White House said on Thursday that Russia is again looking to acquire ammunition from North Korea in exchange for food aid. White House National Security Council(NSC) spokesperson John Kirby made the remarks during a telephonic press briefing, saying that the U.S. remains concerned that North Korea will provide further support for Russia's military operations against Ukraine.
Arrest Warrant Denied for Head of Broadcasting Watchdog
A local court has denied an arrest warrant for the chief of the nation's broadcasting watchdog, who is accused of being involved in the alleged manipulation of the broadcasting license renewal evaluation of a right-leaning cable TV channel in 2020. The Seoul Northern District Court on Thursday rejected the prosecution's warrant request for Korea Communications Commission(KCC) Chairman Han Sang-hyuk, citing room for contention on major charges. The court also said that the extent of evidence collected so far and the progress of the investigation renders the risk of destroying evidence unlikely, and placing Han under arrest may excessively limit his right to defend himself.
Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr )
N. Korea plans to send weapons, munitions to Russia in exchange for food: NSC
North Korea is working to send dozens of kinds of weapons and munitions to Russia to be used in the ongoing Russian war against Ukraine, a National Security Council (NSC) official said Thursday. John Kirby, NSC coordinator for strategic communications, said North Korea seeks to secure food supplies in exchange and that the potential arms deal is being arranged through a Slovakian arms dealer, identified as Ashot Mkrtychev.
4 lawmakers have over 50 bln won in personal wealth: data
Four sitting lawmakers have more than 50 billion won (US$38.4 million) in personal wealth, an annual parliamentary report showed Friday. The four included Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo of the ruling People Power Party, who was formerly a medical doctor and a software entrepreneur. Aside from the four, the remaining 292 lawmakers had declared an average of 2.52 billion won in personal assets as of the end of last year, according to the gazette compiled by the parliamentary ethics committee on public officials.
S. Korea set to host third Summit for Democracy in future: U.S. official
South Korea has agreed to host what will be the third Summit for Democracy, a senior administration official from the United States said, as the second summit was set to kick-start here later Wednesday with some 120 global leaders taking part. A formal announcement of South Korea hosting the third summit will be made later in the day, according to the official. "We are really pleased to share that the Republic of Korea has agreed to host a future third summit,"
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com )
Ahn Cheol-soo remains richest man in South Korean politics
South Korea’s National Assembly members have a net worth of 2.3 billion won ($1.77 million) on average, minus the richest four who own over 50 billion won each. The parliamentary public service ethics committee on Thursday published the list of the changes in the net worth of the 296 Assembly members over last year compared to the year before, which showed that 33 or 11.1 percent held at least 5 billion won respectively.
New security adviser feels grave responsibility
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol's newly appointed national security adviser said he feels a grave responsibility in assuming the role at a critical time, a day after he was appointed to replace Kim Sung-han who stepped down amid rumors of protocol blunders. Cho Tae-yong, who was a US ambassador, said he is given the mission of completing the Yoon administration's goal of turning South Korea into a pivotal state.
Arrest warrant denied for broadcasting watchdog chief over alleged score rigging in cable channel relicensing
A Seoul court on Thursday denied the arrest warrant for the chief of the state broadcasting regulator who is being investigated for suspected score manipulation during the 2020 broadcasting license renewal for a cable TV channel. Prosecutors requested the pretrial warrant last week to detain Korea Communications Commission Chairman Han Sang-hyuk, on charges of involvement in deliberately giving low scores to TV Chosun, a right-leaning cable channel, during its license renewal evaluation process three years ago.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr )
Children, pregnant women executed, tortured in North Korea: report
Extrajudicial executions, torture and state censorship of expression and media are some of the commonplace human rights violations in North Korea, according to a report unveiled by the South Korean Ministry of Unification, Thursday. It is the first time Seoul has disclosed its annual report on human rights issues in Pyongyang to the public, a move that is expected to infuriate North Korea. The dictatorial regime is highly sensitive to criticism from the outside world about its human rights issues.
National Assembly consents to arrest of PPP lawmaker Ha
The National Assembly on Thursday voted to give parliamentary consent to the prosecution's request to arrest ruling People Power Party lawmaker Ha Young-je on charges of receiving illicit political funds. The motion was approved in a 160-99 vote in the National Assembly. Ha has been under prosecution investigation on suspicion of receiving 70 million won ($53,602) from a South Gyeongsang provincial council candidate ahead of last June's local elections. According to law, sitting lawmakers are immune from arrest while the parliament is in session. The prosecution must obtain parliament's consent to detain lawmakers.
Yoon says Korea will work to firmly defend democracy
President Yoon Suk Yeol said Wednesday that Korea will partner with the international community to firmly defend democracy in the face of challenges from authoritarian forces. Yoon made the pledge while leading the first plenary session of the second Summit for Democracy, titled "Democracy Delivering Economic Growth and Shared Prosperity." Korea is one of five co-hosts for this year's summit, along with the United States, Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Zambia. "The democracy that led humanity's freedom and prosperity in the last century is faced with a significant challenge," Yoon said during the virtual gathering of dozens of leaders from around the world.
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