Tuesday, April 4, 2023
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
The 50th LA Korean Festival will take place on October 12 - 15
The 50th Los Angeles Korean Festival for 2023 will be held on October 12th-15th in Los Angeles, CA. This is a festival which is organized by the Korean community in Los Angeles and participated by many people of various nationalities in the city of LA. The Los Angeles Korean Festival is considered a symbol of thriving Korean communities in the United States, widely known for hard work, honesty and love for their adopting country and people.
President Yoon chairs the first session of Summit for Democracy on economic growth, prosperity
President Yoon Suk-yeol on March 29 chaired the first session of the second Summit for Democracy co-hosted by Korea and the United States on the theme of economic growth and shared prosperity. In the virtual event, President Yoon highlighted his intent to contribute to the promotion and protection of freedom and prosperity through solidarity with the international community. Led by Washington, the inaugural summit was held in December 2021 in response to the global decline of democracy. The second edition from March 29-30 was co-hosted by the U.S., Korea, the Netherlands, Zambia and Costa Rica.
The updated Constitution guarantees citizens receive continuous education
In the recent past, our society was not alien to the use of child labor. As a result of reforms carried out in recent years, child labor has been eradicated in our country. Under international labor instruments, our national laws prohibit the use of force and other worst forms of child labor. As a result, on April 1, 2019, in the report of the International Labour Organization, the World Bank announced that the use of child and forced labor in the cotton industry of Uzbekistan has been eliminated.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Eased Loan Restrictions Kindle Demand for Apartments
Eased housing loan restrictions have revived some demand among younger people to buy apartments. According to the Korea Real Estate Board, people in their 20s and 30s accounted for 34.7 percent of apartment buyers in Seoul in February, up from 26 percent in October last year. Across the country, their proportion rose to 31.96 percent of all apartment buyers. That was almost the same as December 2019, before prohibitive loan restrictions and surging interest rates depressed demand.
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.
Trade Deficit Narrows as Energy Imports Decline
Korea suffered a trade deficit of more than US$4.62 billion last month, the 13th negative balance in a row, while exports plunged for the sixth month running.
But the trade deficit is starting to narrow as energy imports decreased with warmer weather while car exports reached record highs. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said exports in March fell 13.6 percent on-year to $55.12 billion, while imports declined only 6.4 percent to $59.75 billion. That brought Korea's trade deficit for the first quarter to $22.54 billion, already surpassing half last year's total deficit. But the deficit narrowed from $12.65 billion in January and $5.27 billion in February.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Yoon says “Busan is ready” at banquet for BIE delegation
President Yoon Suk Yeol said Korea is ready to share its experiences with the world at a banquet welcoming a visiting delegation of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) overseeing Busan's World Expo 2030 bid on Monday. "The 2030 Busan World Expo will serve as an opportunity to share our various experiences and strengths, seek solutions to the challenges faced by mankind and create innovation," said Yoon in an address at the dinner event at the Blue House Sangchunjae in central Seoul.
Yoon supports Busan expo bid as BIE delegation visits Seoul
President Yoon Suk Yeol pledged full support for Busan's bid to host the World Expo 2030 Monday as a team from the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) started its mission in Seoul by meeting with the executives of the country's biggest corporations. The delegation had a luncheon with SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, who doubles as the head of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), and presidents and vice presidents of Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor and LG Corp.
Lawmakers pass resolution to support expo bid
Political parties have set aside their differences in hopes of helping Busan win its bid to host World Expo 2030. The 239 lawmakers present at Monday's plenary session of the National Assembly approved a parliamentary resolution to support Busan's bid to host World Expo 2030. “World Expo 2030 Busan will provide us with the opportunity to share our socio-economic development experience with the international community and play a leading role in key global agenda including climate change, digital transformation and social polarization,” the resolution stated.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Suffering continues even after ‘drifting in emergency room’ ended
Lee Joon-gyu in Ajou University Medical Center consoled his mom with an innocent smile on March 10. His mom, Choi Yoon-yeong, who is taking care of him while he receives rehabilitation therapy, was overwhelmed with sadness. She turned her head and wiped her tears. A 228-minute ‘drift’ Lee experienced in an emergency room after collapsing from a stroke on December 8 last year upended Lee and his family’s lives.
German semiconductor giants gather for ‘AI-electric vehicle speed battle’
The outskirt of ‘Silicon Saxony,’ a semiconductor industrial complex located in Dresden, Saxony, Germany on March 27 (local time). The vacant area situated in front of Infineon Technologies' semiconductor production facility, which is Germany's largest semiconductor company, was bustling with the sound of heavy machinery, such as excavators and trucks that were digging up and loading soil. “The 300-mm wafer clean room is set to commence operations in the autumn of 2026,” said Dianna Kasserer, the company's public relations manager.
The man blurred might be N. Korea's commander of tactical nuclear weapon unit
The man blurred in the picture of the nuclear strike simulation training attended by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on March 20 might be the commander of the country’s military unit in charge of operating tactical nuclear weapons, according to a member of the National Intelligence Service. This was the analysis by the National Intelligence Service of the man blurred in the materials submitted by the office of Yoo Sang-beom of the People Power Party, according to Yoo’s office on Sunday.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korea’s top 50 companies saw borrowing costs soar 44% in 2022 on high interest
South Korea’s largest companies saw their borrowing costs surge 44 percent last year due to rising interest rates, raising concerns about worsening financial soundness as the economy remains weak. According to an earnings statement analysis by Maeil Business Newspaper on Sunday, the combined interest cost of the country’s top 50 companies by market capitalization listed on the main Kospi bourse, excluding financial companies, reached 13.3 trillion won ($10.2 billion) in 2022, up 44 percent from a year earlier. It is also 34.4 percent higher than in the pandemic-driven year of 2020.
Samsung Electronics gaining attention on whether it will cut output
As Samsung Electronics Co. will announce preliminary first-quarter earnings Friday, all attention are on whether the world’s biggest memory chip maker will change its stance on an earlier comment that there will be no artificial production cut as the industry struggles with high inventory due to a slump in demand. The company is expected to post an operating loss of around 4 trillion won ($3.03 billion) at its chip division due to sluggish demand in the memory industry, according to industry sources on Monday.
Hanwha Group gets nod from EU to buy Daewoo Shipbuilding
Hanwha Group received approval from the European Union on its plan to buy Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., one of South Korea’s three biggest shipbuilders, bringing the conglomerate closer to completing the deal. According to multiple sources in the industry on Monday, the European Commission approved the acquisition on March 31. The decision was made earlier than expected as the preliminary review results were originally slated to be notified on April 18.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
N. Korea rattles nuclear saber as US continues joint drills in region
North Korea’s state news agency lambasted the joint military drills between South Korea and the US that have been taking place since March in a commentary titled “War Maniacs’ Reckless Moves,” which was published by the Korean Central News Agency on Sunday. The US, South Korea, and Japan are scheduled to hold naval drills as early as Monday, which are expected to further escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The KCNA criticized the current situation, saying, “The U.S. and South Korea staged large-scale joint military exercises, Freedom Shield, simulating an all-out war against the DPRK for 11 days from March 13, the longest-ever period.
For survivor, Jeju April 3 massacre is a living reality, not dead history
“I can still see it clearly. I saw what happened and experienced it first-hand when I was just 6 years old, how could I forget it? It’s seared into my eyes.” These were the words spoken in a trembling voice by Yang Su-ja, 81, whom I met at her house in Ildo No. 2 neighborhood in Jeju City on March 27. Every time she thinks of that day, she becomes breathless. For her, the events touched off in Jeju on April 3, 1948, are not dead history from 75 years ago, but a living fact that shapes her present reality.
How must Korea and Japan develop ties?
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s unilateral announcement on March 6 of a plan to compensate forced labor victims has plunged Korean society into confusion. The three surviving forced labor victims who prevailed at the South Korean Supreme Court in 2018 have adamantly refused to accept the government’s plan for third-party repayment, in which a Korean foundation pays the money owed by Japanese companies. Rallies against the government continue to be held every weekend at Seoul Plaza, in front of Seoul City Hall.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/ )
On the Brink, 60% of Self-employed People Have Multiple Loans
The volume of loans--personal loans and business loans--taken out by self-employed people were estimated at over one quadrillion won. Six out of ten self-employed people with loans had multiple loans, drawing funds from three or more banks and loan products. The annual interest they must pay is estimated to have increased by an average of nearly ten million won in the past year and a half. Self-employed businesses faced tougher challenges after they were hit hardest by distancing measures against COVID-19 and struck by higher costs due to the recent high prices and interest.
South Korea, U.S. and Japan to Conduct Joint Naval Drill: ASW Exercise in International Waters South of Jeju on April 3-4
On April 3, the Republic of Korea Navy announced that it would conduct a joint exercise with the United States and Japan in the open sea south of Jeju from April 3 to 4. The naval drill will include anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercises and search and rescue operations. he commander of the latest drill will be Christopher Sweeney, U.S. commander of the Carrier Strike Group Eleven. The Aegis destroyer ROKS Yulgok Yi Yi (DDG-992), the destroyer ROKS Choe Yeong (DDH-981), the ROKS Dae Jo-yeong (DDH-977), and the combat support ship ROKS Soyang (AOE-51) will take part in the latest drill from South Korea. From the U.S. Navy, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz (CVN-68), the Aegis destroyer USS Decatur (DDG-73), and the USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108) will join the drill.
Non-Regular School Cafeteria and Care Workers Go on Strike Today
Non-regular workers in schools will go on a one-day strike on March 31 demanding improvements to their wage system and specific measures to resolve the lung cancer issue among cafeteria workers. Care workers and workers who work to provide school meals will also take part in the strike, so the education authority has prepared convenience foods. According to the National Solidarity of Non-regular Workers in Schools (Solidarity), which organized the strike, over twenty-thousand union members are expected to take part in Friday’s strike. In the strike on November 25, 2022, 21,470 workers who accounted for 12.7% of all non-regular workers in schools (168,625) took part in the strike.
Court Denies Arrest Warrant for PPP Lawmaker
A local court has denied an arrest warrant for ruling People Power Party(PPP) lawmaker Ha Young-je on charges of receiving illicit political funds. The Changwon District Court on Monday rejected the prosecution's request for a pretrial detention warrant for Ha, saying the suspect is unlikely to flee or destroy evidence as he has owned up to most of his wrongdoings and sufficient evidence appears to have been secured. The prosecution requested an arrest warrant for Ha on charges of violating the anti-graft law.
Pentagon: No Indication of Imminent Nuclear Test by N. Korea
The U.S. Department of Defense said there has been no clear indication that a nuclear test by North Korea is imminent. Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh conveyed the assessment in a press briefing on Monday when asked if North Korea may conduct a nuclear test in the near future. The spokesperson said that the U.S. continues to monitor testing and activities of North Korea, reaffirming that the U.S.' goal is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
FTC Requests Hanwha to Devise Measures to Address Monopoly Concerns
The country's antitrust regulator has reportedly asked Hanwha Group to produce measures to address concerns of possible monopoly in relation to its plan to acquire Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering. An official at the Fair Trade Commission(FTC) said on Monday that the merger may result in restricting competition in the market, adding certain measures are needed to address these concerns. The official reportedly said that affiliates of Hanwha Group have significantly large shares in the market of weapons systems mounted on warships, indicating that they have market dominance.
Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr )
Yoon likely to veto grain bill Tuesday
President Yoon Suk Yeol is expected to use his veto power this week against a contentious bill requiring government purchase of surplus rice, an official said Monday, in what would be his first veto of a bill since he took office. A veto has been widely expected after the opposition-controlled National Assembly passed a revision to the Grain Management Act on March 23, requiring the government to buy excess rice if production exceeds estimated demand by 3-5 percent, or if prices fall by 5-8 percent or more compared with the previous year.
New national security adviser hopes for close communication with U.S. counterpart
National Security Adviser Cho Tae-yong voiced hope for close communication with his U.S. counterpart, Jake Sullivan, as they held their first phone conversation since Cho took office last week, the presidential office said Tuesday. During Monday's call, Cho noted that the two countries' National Security Councils have maintained close communication and cooperation in the process of restoring the South Korea-U.S. alliance since the inauguration of the Yoon administration.
Yoon tells Expo inspection team 'Busan is ready'
President Yoon Suk Yeol welcomed an inspection team of the international body in charge of overseeing the World Expo on Monday and told the officials the city of Busan is ready to host the 2030 event, his office said. Yoon hosted a dinner for the team sent by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) at the former presidential complex of Cheong Wa Dae as the inspectors were in the country to evaluate its bid to host the 2030 World Expo.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com )
Yoon tells BIE delegation, 'Busan is ready'
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Monday told a delegation dispatched by the Bureau International des Expositions that the country's southeastern port city of Busan "is ready" to host the World Expo in 2030. During a private dinner he hosted in the evening, the president said South Korea and its port city Busan have the capacity to host the international event and that the delegation team are going to see that.
A walk through 130 years of Korean history with World Expo
South Korea promoting its southern port city of Busan as the host city for the 2030 World Expo marks the culmination of 130 years of the country's participation in the world's largest international exposition. Korea, then the Joseon Kingdom, first participated in the World's Fair in 1893 in Chicago, in honor of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' voyage to the American continent.
S.Korea, US, Japan stage anti-submarine drills amid escalating NK underwater threats
South Korea, the United States and Japan kicked off their two-day large-scale combined maritime exercises, mobilizing the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz, and its strike group to enhance combat readiness and interoperability against North Korea’s continued threats, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said Monday. The South Korean and US navies along with Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force started conducting anti-submarine warfare exercises and search and rescue exercises in international waters south of Jeju island on Monday morning.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr )
BIE delegation starts Expo inspection in Korea
A delegation from the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) began a weeklong inspection in Korea, Monday, as the nation's top government officials, including President Yoon Suk Yeol, are anxious to impress the visitors, whose evaluation will decide whether Busan will get to host the World Expo in 2030. On Monday evening, the president hosted a dinner banquet for the BIE delegation at Sangchunjae, a traditional hanok style guesthouse located inside Cheong Wa Dae, the country's former presidential office and residence.
Woori's new chairman to accelerate bid for SK, eBest, Yuanta Securities
Woori Financial Financial Group is forecast to accelerate a bid for the acquisition of a mid-tier securities firm ― either SK Securities, eBest Investment & Securities or Yuanta Securities ― under the leadership of the group's new Chairman Yim Jong-ryong, industry officials said Monday. eBest and SK Securities are owned by private equity funds (PEF) that are specialized in the sale of acquired companies. Yuanta Securities has also long been considered Woori's best target for acquisition due to its competitiveness in retail finance, but the company denied the rumor late last year, saying it "does not have plans to sell its stake."
Two Koreas take opposing sides in Ukraine war
South Korea and North Korea have positioned themselves on opposite sides of the protracted war in Ukraine, with the South supporting Kyiv and the North siding with Moscow. The calculated involvements of the two Koreas in the war taking place more than 6,500 kilometers away from the Korean Peninsula reflect their own geopolitical interests, according to analysts. The Ukraine war seems to have served as an opportunity for North Korea to deepen its alignment with the Kremlin. Throughout last year, the two countries have drastically strengthened their bilateral ties that have had their ups and downs since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
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