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The Korean daily media headlines and humor

The Korean daily media headlines and humor

Tuesday April 5, 2017

Your Excellency:

Here are The Korea Post notices and a roundup of important headlines from all major Korean-language dailies, TV and other news media of Korea today:

Very Respectfully Yours

/s/

Lee Kyung-sik

Publisher-Chairman

Korea Post Media

New photos and additional details were added to our article on the Myanmar Armed Forces Day reception at the Korean Army Club in Seoul March 28, 2017 (www.koreapost.com).

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U.S. senators urge Trump to use summit with Xi to end Beijing's retaliation against S. Korea over THAAD

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Tuesday urged President Donald Trump to use his upcoming summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping to bring an end to "unwarranted and unfair" retaliatory measures Beijing has taken against South Korea for hosting the U.S. THAAD missile defense system.

A total of 26 senators, led by Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), made the appeal in a joint letter to Trump just two days before he is set to host China's Xi for high-stakes talks expected to cover all-important security and economic issues, including the North's nuclear and missile threats.

The Trump-Xi meetings, set for Thursday and Friday at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, will also be watched closely as to whether the U.S. stands up to China for bullying South Korea for hosting a THAAD battery, designed to defend against missile threats from North Korea.

"While China continues to aggressively oppose a missile defense system on the Korean Peninsula, China has done little in recent years to slow or halt North Korea's missile and nuclear programs — the only reason this system is needed," the senators said in the letter.

"Mr. President, we hope you will call upon President Xi to reexamine his view of the THAAD deployment and encourage his country to cease its unwarranted and unfair economic retaliation against South Korea," they said.

They also said China should use its "considerable influence" over Pyongyang for the North's denuclearization.

"As President Xi knows well, THAAD is a defensive missile system critical to protecting the Korean people and, just as importantly, the tens of thousands of American troops and their families stationed in Northeast Asia from evolving North Korean capabilities," the senators said.

"In your discussions with President Xi, we hope you will underscore that the United States and the Republic of Korea's joint decision to deploy THAAD is entirely a result of North Korea's continued aggressive behavior," they said.

South Korea's foreign ministry viewed the latest U.S. senators' action toward China's retaliation against the THAAD deployment as "very meaningful" in that it came right ahead of the summit and that it directly urged President Trump to send a "clear message" on that issue when he meets the Chinese leader.

The ministry added that the Seoul government will continue to prepare diverse countermeasures and take necessary steps in close coordination with the U.S.

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What’s ticking in Korea today? Here is a quick roundup of important news stories from the major Korean news media today:


KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)

N. Korea Fires Ballistic Missile into East Sea

North Korea has fired a ballistic missile into the East Sea. The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff(JCS) said that the missile was launched from the Sinpo region near the East Sea coast in South Hamgyong province at 6:42 a.m. Wednesday. The missile flew around 60 kilometers. Given the short trajectory, the missile is not believed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile(ICBM) or submarine-launched ballistic missiles(SLBM). The latest launch came ahead of the planned U.S.-China summit scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

Ahn Cheol-soo Elected as People's Party's Presidential Candidate

Former chief of the People’s Party Ahn Cheol-soo has been elected the party’s candidate for the May ninth presidential election. Ahn won 75 percent of the votes in the seven rounds of the party’s primary which started on March 25th, clinching the party’s nomination for the upcoming presidential election. Former opposition leader Sohn Hak-kyu came in second with 18 percent, followed by Deputy National Assembly Speaker Park Joo-sun with six-point-nine percent.

Special Guard Unit Launches to Crack down on Illegal Chinese Fishing

South Korea's Ministry of Public Safety and Security held a ceremony Tuesday to launch a special unit to crack down on illegal Chinese fishing operations in the Yellow Sea. The special unit, composed of 444 coast guard personnel and 12 patrol vessels, will protect South Korean fishermen in the near the northern sea border Northern Limit Line(NLL). It's carrying out special operations during the crab fishing season from April to June, when illegal Chinese vessels tend to be on the increase.

Seoul Dismisses Expanding Exchanges with N. Korea Beyond Sports

The Unification Ministry has dismissed the possibility of expanded inter-Korean exchanges saying that other than exchanges in sports, it is not possible to hold meaningful dialogue with North Korea at the current state. A ministry official revealed the view on Tuesday when asked by reporters if the South is holding any other contact with the North other than in sports. He said it should be understood that sports events are simply taking place in Pyongyang and Gangneung amid difficult conditions between the two Koreas. He went on to say that international sports competitions are held at a private level and therefore there are no channels through which the two Koreas can communicate.

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Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)

S. Korea's current account surplus increases to US$8.4 bln in Feb

South Korea's current account surplus rose in February from a year earlier due to an increased surplus in the goods account, central bank data showed Wednesday. The country's current account surplus reached US$8.4 billion in February, compared with a surplus of $7.62 billion a year earlier, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK). The figure represents a surplus for 60 months in a row. The current account is the biggest measure of cross-border trade. The BOK said the goods account surplus widened to $10.55 billion, up from $7.93 billion a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the services account deficit widened to $2.23 billion from a deficit of $1.16 billion a year earlier due to a rise in overseas trips.

N. Korea fires ballistic missile: S. Korea

North Korea launched a ballistic missile Wednesday into the East Sea, South Korea's military said, as the country's presidential office convened an emergency National Security Council (NSC) meeting to discuss the provocation. "North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the East Sea from a site in the vicinity of Sinpo, South Hamgyong Province, at around 6:42 a.m.," the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. The projectile flew about 60 kilometers, and South Korea and the United States are analyzing additional information, it added, with the exact type of the projectile not confirmed yet.

U.S. Pacific Command identifies N.K. projectile as KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile

The ballistic missile North Korea recently fired is believed to be "a KN-15 medium range ballistic missile," the U.S. military said Tuesday. "The U.S. Pacific Command detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch" at 6:42 Korea time, Cdr. Dave Benham, a spokesman for the command, said in a statement. "The launch of a single ballistic missile occurred at a land-based facility near Sinpo." The missile was tracked until it landed in the East Sea at 6:51 a.m., he said. "Initial assessments indicate the type of missile was a KN-15 medium range ballistic missile," the spokesman said. "U.S. Pacific Command is fully committed to working closely with our Republic of Korea and Japanese allies to maintain security."

Samsung's, LG's marketing costs rise in 2016 amid heightened competition

Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc., South Korea's two leading tech giants, expanded their spending on marketing last year amid increased competition, data showed Wednesday.

According to industry data, Samsung spent 11.5 trillion won (US$10.2 billion) on marketing in 2016. The figure included 4.4 trillion won on advertisements, which advanced 15 percent on-year.

LG Electronics also spent 1.3 trillion won on advertisements last year, a 21.4 percent increase over the cited period.

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The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)

Ahn clinches candidacy for May 9 election

Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo of the People’s Party on Tuesday confirmed his candidacy for the upcoming May 9 presidential election by achieving a much-anticipated victory in the party’s final primary.

Ranking second in polls among candidates from all parties, he has now to face down front-runner Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party of Korea. In a humble heart and solemn determination, I hereby accept the candidacy of the People’s Party for the 19th presidential election,” Ahn said, after being announced the final winner in the party’s convention to finalize its presidential candidate.

NK SLBM is ‘years away’ : US commander

Despite North Korea’s accelerating efforts, Pyongyang is still “years away” from mastering the submarine-based ballistic missile technology, a top US Navy official said Tuesday, calling for the greater attention on the communist country‘s progress on land-based ballistic missiles and warhead miniaturization development. Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the US Pacific Fleet also expressed skepticism toward additional deployment of US strategic assets to the Korean Peninsula, although he did not rule out the possibility for such a measure should North Korea’s military threats evolves further.

Hyundai Motor’s China sales halve amid THAAD row

Hyundai Motor, the world’s fifth-largest carmaker headquartered in Seoul, saw its sales in China tumble by half last month, amid intensifying anti-Korean sentiment there over the South Korean government’s decision to host an US anti-missile system. Hyundai Motor and its sister company Kia Motors sold a total of 72,032 vehicles in China in March, a 52.2 percent decrease from a year ago. Separately, Hyundai Motor saw its sales fall 44.3 percent, while Kia suffered a 68 percent decline in sales, according to industry sources. Hyundai officials in Seoul confirmed the figures were correct.

Facebook looks for tie-ups with VR, AR startups

Facebook will help promising augmented reality and virtual reality startups expand abroad in partnership with the South Korean government, it announced Tuesday. The California-based mobile social networking service operator signed an agreement with Korea Innovation Center of the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and Institute for Information & Communications Technology Promotion to support AR and VR startups at Facebook Korea Office in southern Seoul.

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The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)

Ahn Cheol-soo clinches party nomination

Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo grabbed the presidential ticket of the minor liberal People's Party for the May 9 election, Tuesday, becoming a serious rival to the presidential frontrunner, Moon Jae-in of the largest Democratic Party of Korea (DPK). In on-site votes at seven regional primaries and a public opinion survey, the entrepreneur-turned-politician swept the poll with support of 75.01 percent, the party said after the last primary at Hanbat Stadium in Daejeon.

Park loyalists won't be purged: Hong Joon-pyo

Hong Joon-pyo, the presidential candidate of the Liberty Korea Party (LKP), called for an end to factional infighting so the party can prevail over liberals in the May 9 election. He dismissed the idea of "purging" loyalists to former President Park Geun-hye, saying they were an integral part of the conservative party. "They earned parliamentary seats through elections. They were chosen by the people," Hong said during a recent interview with The Korea Times and its sister paper the Hankook Ilbo.

Korea Tour Cards flying off shelves

The Korea Tour Card, which offers many benefits exclusively for foreign tourists, has been flying off shelves since its release late January. According to the Visit Korea Committee, Tuesday, more than 10,000 tourists have purchased the card, which offers discounts and special gifts at major tourist attractions and shopping malls. Tourists can use the card for public transportation, including taxis, and almost all convenience stores across Korea. Benefits include a fifty percent discount for admission to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) and a 10 percent discount for all products at Shilla I'Park Duty Free. These are just two of a plethora of benefits 25 partner companies offer.

Controversial lawmaker proposes bill for foreign workers' children

A Bareun Party lawmaker, who allegedly rebuked a policeman who caught his driver allegedly breaking traffic law, has proposed a revision bill to strengthen Korea's multicultural family welfare service. Rep. Park Seong-joong's bill is aimed at the Multicultural Families Support Act, enacted in December 2014, according to the Kyunghyang Daily Tuesday. The original act does not define foreign workers' children as part of multicultural families, stopping them from receiving government support.

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DongAIlbo (http://english.donga.com)

U.S. House approves legislation designating N. Korea as a terror state

As the U.S.-China Summit is scheduled on April 6 to 7, the U.S. started to put pressure in full range toward the public. The House of representative overwhelmingly passed a bill calling for relisting North Korea as a terror sponsor in 9 years and a resolution condemning the ICBM development of the North and retaliatory actions of China. It will be a meaningful action to block North Korea’s nuclear ambition.” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said after passing the legislation, The Korean Interdiction and Modernization Sanctions Act” that is known to as the toughest-ever sanctions on Pyongyang passed through the House Foreign Affairs Committee and will be introduced in the regular session.

S. Korea, U.S. aim at N. Korean leadership with 3 tactical weapons

South Korea and the United States are shaping up their plan to remove the North Korean leadership as quickly as possible in the event of a war with their unmanned aerial vehicles, special forces, and stealth fighter jets, as the two allies are drawing up a concrete military operational plan targeting North Korea’s wartime command including its leader Kim Jong Un who has the North’s “nuclear button.” It seems to be part of efforts to test the effectiveness of the “decapitation” operation for removing the North Korean leadership that the U.S Special Forces units participated in the Foal Eagle joint military exercise in the largest scale ever and the U.S. F-35B steal fighters conducted a surgical strike drill.

Tesla exceeds Ford’s market value

Tesla now exceeds 114-year-old Ford’s market capitalization. The Detroit News and other American news media reported on Monday (local time) that shares of Tesla closed up sharply Monday, rallying 7.27 percent to 298.52 dollars, the highest record in its own statistics. Tesla’s previous record was 291 dollars on Sept. 4, 2014. The skyrocketing stock price pushed its market value to reach 48.7 billion dollars (about 53.41 trillion won).

Acting President Hwang stops posting on Facebook for 10 days

No new posts have been updated on Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn’s Facebook for 10 days and Mr. Hwang is known to manage his account by himself. Some observe that not to posting an update may indicate his disappointment on the arrest of ex-president Park Geun-hye. Mr. Hwang have not posted any updates in his Facebook page until today since he posted a message titled, “We will remember you forever” at 3:00 a.m. on March 24 after his visit to Daejeon National Cemetery on West Sea Defense Day.

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ChosunIlbo (http://english.chosun.com)

Brother's Wife Tries to Visit Park in Jail

Park Geun-hye's sister-in-law visited her in jail on Monday but did not get to see the ex-president. The visit by Seo Hyang-hee, the wife of Park's brother Ji-man, marks a further baffling installment in the saga of the dysfunctional Park family. The Parks fell out decades ago over Park Geun-hye's alarming closeness to her confidante Choi Soon-sil, who has now proved the engine of her downfall. Park Ji-man also visited his sister at home just before she was jailed last week and shed some tears as he left.

Korea's 1st Online-Only Bank Opens for Business

Korea sees the first opening of new bank in 25 years on Monday with an online-only bank owned by telecom KT, while another run by dotcom giant Kakao is in the pipeline. K-Bank which won regulatory approval in December, has no offline branches and instead handles most of its business via mobile phone app or online. It will be open year-round, 24 hours a day. K-Bank pays higher interest on savings than other commercial banks by cutting overheads for offline branches, and charges lower rates on loans. It is offering a maximum two percent interest on deposits, compared to 1.44 percent at offline banks.

Hyundai-Kia's Sales Drop Amid Chinese Boycott

Hyundai and affiliate Kia's combined sales dropped last month largely due to sluggish sales in China. Hyundai sold 342,164 cars overseas in March, down 7.8 percent on-year, while Kia sold 190,601, down 12.5 percent, the automakers said Monday. "Overall overseas sales fell because we suffered a double-digit slump in China last month," they said in a press release on Monday. "We have trouble doing business in the country because of the boycott" over Korea's decision to deploy a Terminal Higj-Altitude Area Defense battery from the U.S.

Over 20,000 Sign up with Korea's 1st Online-Only Bank

Korea's first online-only bank reported a flurry of subscribers on its first day of business on Monday, ushering in a new age of competition spurred by new technologies. According to K-Bank, more than 20,000 new accounts were opened on Monday, far outpacing the monthly average of 12,000 new online accounts at the country's 16 established commercial banks. K-Bank is promising higher interest rates on savings and lower rates on loans because it saves money on offline branches.

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HanKyoRehShinmoon (http://english.hani.co.kr)

Who is Moon Jae-in?

Moon Jae-in, the former Minjoo Party leader named as the party’s presidential candidate on Apr. 3, is someone who in the past tended to be far more comfortable standing a step behind someone else. While he consistently took on leading roles in social reforms - from his days as a university student spearheading opposition to the Yushin government to his activities as a human rights lawyer - he also always yearned for the life of a “free man” instead of the political center stage. Having heard the calling to pursue his “destiny” in politics after former President Roh Moo-hyun’s death ahead of the 2012 election, the now 64-year-old Moon has since transformed into a practical politician, presenting himself as the person to achieve a change in administrations. 

Ahead of summit, US pushing China to join sanctions on North Korea

US President Donald Trump has been ratcheting up pressure on China to join in on stiff sanctions against North Korea ahead of his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Apr. 6-7. With Beijing similarly not backing down in its insistence on a dialogue- and negotiation-based resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue, many are predicting the summit will turn into a taut tug-of-war.

When Trump said in an Apr. 2 Financial Times interview that “if China is not going to solve North Korea, we [the US] will,” it rang as a bluff ahead of his summit with Xi. Trump tweeted support on Mar. 17 during Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to China, writing, “[North Korea has] been ‘playing’ the United States for years. China has done little to help!”

After flap over comfort women statue, Japan to return ambassador to South Korea

The Japanese government announced that Yasumasa Nagamine, Japan’s ambassador to South Korea, would be returning to Seoul 85 days after being recalled to Japan in protest of the setting up of a comfort woman statue in Busan. While Japan had held to the hardline stance that Nagamine would not return unless South Korea removed the statue in Busan, it has abruptly changed course on the eve of a new government in South Korea.

If only parents gave DNA samples when they put children up for adoption

Bella Siegel-Dalton is back in South Korea for the first time since being adopted by a family in the Napa Valley of northern California in 1966. When Bella Siegel-Dalton, 56, met a Hankyoreh reporter in a coffee shop on the first floor of the Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Apr. 1, her face was pallid. Because of kidney trouble, she needs to receive a transplant within two years. She’s also receiving chemotherapy after being diagnosed with leukemia.

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JoongAngIlbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)

Recalled Japanese ambassador returns to Seoul after 85-day absence

Tokyo's top envoy to South Korea returned to Seoul Tuesday, nearly three months after he was called in home due to diplomatic friction over a girl statue symbolizing the victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery of Korean women. The Japanese government recalled Amb. Yasumasa Nagamine in January in protest over the statue that civic groups erected in front of its consulate in the southern port city of Busan.

Ahn coasts to People’s Party nomination

Ahn Cheol-soo won the People’s Party primary Tuesday by a landslide, placing him in direct competition with Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party in the presidential election on May 9. Ahn won an overwhelming 75 percent of votes in seven rounds of the primary rounds, 50 percent more than runners-up Sohn Hak-kyu and Park Joo-sun combined. Sohn won 18 percent and and Park 6.9 percent.

Citibank is closing 101 branches

Citibank is set to drastically shrink its branch network in Korea by closing 101 retail branches or nearly 80 percent, the bank confirmed Tuesday. The bank’s Seoul office, however, claimed that this is not a restructuring to lay off employees but a move targeted at raising its efficiency through IT convergence. The U.S.-based bank said it will reorient its resources and focus on wealth management centers and digital banking services starting in July.

Hackers in North Korea got access to Oplan 5027

When South Korea’s defense intranet was hacked for the first time ever last September, the military was swift to point the finger at the North, accusing Pyongyang of contaminating 3,200 computers with malware, including that of National Defense Minister Han Min-koo. Briefing lawmakers in the parliamentary National Defense Committee in December, Han admitted that confidential data was leaked but said it wouldn’t have any “serious implications.”

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The KyungHyangShinmoon (http://english.khan.co.kr/)

Moon, "Put Dichotomy in the Trash. Will Achieve Just Integration"

On April 3, the Minjoo Party of Korea's presidential candidate Moon Jae-in (64) stressed integration and a new government in his acceptance speech. He asked his party to overcome the side effects of the primaries and unite, and he expressed his determination to show a leadership of integration―one that could embrace the people, who stand divided after the impeachment. He emphasized the need for him to put a new government in office in order to eradicate deep-rooted evils and old practices fully exposed by an unprecedented scandal.

"Seventy-seven More Oil Spills in the Yongsan Base"

The U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) concealed five "worst-level" oil spills - over 1,000 gallons of oil spilled - that occurred within the Yongsan base from the South Korean government. After nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) released the accident records of the USFK, the government belatedly launched an investigation. Green Korea, Lawyers for a Democratic Society, and Residents to Recover U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan held a press conference on April 3 and announced that there were 84 oil spills from 1990 to 2015 according to the records of oil spill accidents within the Yongsan base.

"Candlelight vs. Taegeukgi, Not a Conflict Between Generations or Ideologies, But the Division of the 5070 Generation"

A recent study argues that the confrontation between the candlelight demonstrations in favor of the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye and the Taegeukgi rallies against the impeachment cannot be simplified as conflicts between generations or between conservatives and progressives. According to the study, the 5070 generation (people aged 50~70), once classified as the conservative stronghold, took part in the candlelight demonstrations in large numbers differentiating themselves from the stereotype, and the politically and economically isolated senior citizens joined the Taegeukgi rallies.

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The Korea Economic Daily (http://english.hankyung.com/)

Hyundai and Kia See Their March Car Sales Down 52% in China

The sales of Korean-made cars sold in China have declined by a half due to the China-Korea row over the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. According to automobile industry sources on April 4, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors sold a total of 72,032 cars in the Chinese market in March, down 52.2 percent from the same month last year. Hyundai saw its sales figure drop 44.3 percent to 56,026 and Kia fell short of selling 16,006 units, down 68.0 percent year on year.

Upcoming Presidential Election Is Confrontation between Justice and Injustice...Moon

Former head of the opposition Minjoo Party Moon Jae-in has won the ticket on April 3 to challenge Presidency in an election scheduled on May 9. In a primary for the Seoul metropolitan area held at the Gocheok Sky Dome in southwest Seoul, Moon won with cumulative votes of 57.0 percent for all regions and cities. Other rivals including Ahn Hee-jung, Governor of South Chungcheong Province and Lee Jae-myung, Mayor of Seongnam City, gained support of 21.5 percent and 21.2 percent, respectively, in four rounds of primaries.

HHI Group to Boost Design and R&D Staff Up to 10,000 Within 5 Years

Hyundai Heavy Industries Group decided to invest 3.5 trillion won in R&D over the next five years until 2021. This figure is about three times higher than the R&D spending it made over the past five years from 2012 to 2016 (1.2 trillion won). Hyundai Heavy Industries also intends to increase the number of its design and R&D staff from current 4,000 up to 10,000 by 2021. The group unveiled the aggressive R&D plan despite the prolonged slump of the global shipbuilding market.

1Q Exports Jump 15%...Highest Level in 66 Months

As exports increased for three months in a row, the overall economy is also showing signs of recovery. The 15-percent growth in the first-quarter export volume is the highest level in 22 quarters. The Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy said on April 2 that last month's exports were US$48.9 billion, up 13.7 percent from the same month last year. This is the third consecutive month in which year-on-year export figure rose from January (11.2%) and February (20.2%).

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AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)

Moon Jae-in is former human rights lawyer and pro-democracy activist

Moon Jae-in is a former human rights lawyer and pro-democracy activist who inherited the political creed and philosophy of former liberal president Roh Moo-hyun known for pushingf for economic justice and inter-Korean reconciliation. In a speech Monday to mark his nomination as the presidential candidate of the main opposition Democratic Party, Moon said that if elected, he would work for economic prosperity and security while eradicating injustice and corruption.

N. Korea's failed launch in March related to Musudan development: 38 North

Satellite imagery revealed evidence of a massive circular explosion scar last month in an airport that appeared to be related to the development of North Korea's intermediate-range Musudan ballistic missile, according to 38 North, the website of a US research institute. US and South Korean military authorities said that a North Korean missile launched near an air base in the eastern port city of Wonsan on March 22 appeared to have exploded within seconds of take-off.

'Solo Tribe' triggers boom in S. Korea's convenience store industry

The history of convenience stores in South Korea dates back to 1989 when 7-Eleven opened its first outlet in Seoul. Back then, there were consumer doubts whether this country needs a store which is open for 24 hours, but the industry is now thriving thanks to the increasing population of the so-called "Solo Tribe". Data released by the Korea Association of Convenience Store Industry (KACSI) showed that the convenience market in 2016 was estimated at 20.4 trillion won (1.8 billion US dollars), up 18.6 percent from 17.2 trillion won in 2015. At the end of last year, 32,611 convenience stores were counted as operating nationwide.

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Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)

Korea’s car shipments to China tumble on THAAD spat

Sales of South Korean car brand plummeted in March in China amid growing antagonism toward Korean-made goods following the decision to install U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) antimissile battery in Korea. Combined sales of Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. vehicles in China last month reached 72,032 units, down 52.2 percent from a year earlier, the companies said Monday in a statement.

Hyundai’s domestic sales up in March thanks to new Sonata

Domestic sales by South Korea’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor Co. grew in March despite overall depressed car sales thanks to its face-lifted midsized sedan Sonata New Rise. The automaker said Monday its steady selling Sonata sedan sold 7,578 units, up 7.4 percent on year and a whopping 70.7 percent on month after the release of its facelift version. Sonata became the country’s second best-selling car in March for the first time this year following Grandeur, which has remained top-seller in Korea for four months in a row with total shipments of its old and new models reaching 13,358 units.

S. Korea’s national debt tops $1.25tn due to growing pension burden

South Korea’s national debt added about 140 trillion won ($125 billion) last year, surpassing the 1,400 trillion won for the first time mainly due to a surge in the current value of future pension payments to public officials, according to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance on Monday. Central and local government debt, dubbed D1, totaled 627.1 trillion won last year, representing 12.24 million won per person.

Financially-stricken DSME wins $250mn order to build 3 VLCCs

South Korea’s cash-strapped Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (DSME) secured a new order worth $250 million to build three crude carriers, while the country’s financial authorities and state lenders have been trying to put together another multibillion-dollar bailout package through the help of private lenders since two weeks ago. DSME announced on Tuesday that it signed a contract to construct three 318,000-ton very large crude-oil carriers (VLCCs) with Maran Tankers Management Inc., a subsidiary of Greek shipping giant Angelicoussis Shipping Group.

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What’s ticking around the world at this second?

See what the world media around the world have to report:

USA Today www.usatoday.com aallman@gannett.com

The New York Times www.nytimes.com inytletters@nytimes.com

Wall Street Journal www.wsj.com support@wsj.com ,service@wsj-asia.com

Financial Times www.ft.com ean@ft.com

The Times www.thetimes.co.uk help@timesplus.co.uk

The Sun www.thesun.co.uk talkback@the-sun.co.uk

Chinese People's Daily www.people.com.cn kf@people.cn

China Daily www.chinadaily.com.cn circulation@chinadaily.com.cn

GwangmyeongDaily www.gmw.cn webmaster@gmw.cn

Japan's Yomiuri www.yomiuri.co.jp japannews@yomiuri.com

Asahi www.asahi.com customer-support@asahi.com

Mainichi www.mainichi.jp

Lemonde www.ilemonde.com

Italy rarepupeul Rica www.quotidiano.repubblica.it vittorio.zucconi@gmail.com

Germany Frankfurter AllgemeineZeitung www.faz.net anzeigen.ausland@faz.de

SüddeutscheZeitung www.sueddeutsche.de forum@sueddeutsche.de

Australia Brisbane Times www.brisbanetimes.com.au syndication@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Sydney Morning Herald www.smh.com.au

Colombia Reports http://colombiareports.com

Bogota Free Planet http://bogotafreeplanet.combfp@bogotafreeplanet.com

El Universal http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english

ANDES http://www.andes.info.ec/en

ECUADOR TIMES http://www.ecuadortimes.net

The Jordan Times https://www.jordantimes.com

LSM.lv http://www.lsm.lv/en

The Baltic Times http://www.baltictimes.comlithuania@baltictimes.com , estonia@baltictimes.com, editor@baltictimes.com

El Pais http://elpais.com/elpais/inenglish.html

PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER https://www.inquirer.net

Daily News Hungary http://dailynewshungary.com

Budapest Times http://budapesttimes.hu

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To preserve the local culture as an outstanding world cultural asset

Gimhae City hosts a gala Gaya Culture Festival on April 9

Invites Ambassadors and Madams to grace the Opening Ceremony on April 9, 2017

As the suzerain state of six Gaya Kingdoms and royal capital of Geumgwan-Gaya founded in 42 A.D., Gimhae is the cradle of the Gaya culture. These small ancient states include Ara Gaya, Goryeong Gaya, Dae Gaya, Seongsan Gaya, Bihwa Gaya and Geumgwan Gaya, which formed a confederation dominated by Geumgwan Gaya. With a 500-year long history, Gaya Kingdoms created ingenious and brilliant pottery and ironware culture based on affluent iron products and outstanding iron-making technology. Taking geographical advantages, these Gaya Kingdoms actively traded with China, Japan and Nakrang as the center of international trade in Northeast Asia. Active international marine trade and exchange of these ancient states with foreign countries can be well explained by the international marriage between King Suro, the founding king of Geumgwan-Gaya, and Princess Heo Hwang-ok of Ayodhya Kingdom in India.

Royal procession of King Suro of the Gaya Kingdom

In an effort to preserve the Gaya culture as one of world cultural heritages and widely publicize excellence of the ancient culture, the Gimhae City government has been hosting the annual Gaya Culture Festival since 1962 on the occasion of the memorial service for King Suro in spring. As ever, the municipal government will host the 41st Gaya Culture Festival for 5 days from April 7th to 11th, 2017 to include the memorial service for the King set to be held on the last day of the Festival. With the concept of ‘Gaya in the World and United Gimhae’, the Festival will be highlighted by the ‘tug-of-war’ game and ‘procession parade of King Suro’.

Different teams of the Gaya farmers’ bands are reading to present demonstrations.

Colorful programs will be provided during the Festival at the Daeseong-dong Ancient Tombs, Gimhae National Museum and Tomb of King Suro. In addition to the tug-of-war game and king’s procession parade, programs will include folk art performances, experiences of ancient ironworks, voyage routes sailed by King Suro and Princess Heo Hwang-ok, excavation of historical relics and riding on rare horses, as well as art installation events, performance of martial arts on horseback, wish lamps with Gaya patterns, and multi-cultural social gatherings of youths. Among others, visitors will have an exotic experience of boarding a traditional Indian boat ‘Dhoni’ by sailing the voyage routes taken by King Suro and Queen Heo.

A tug of war joined by hundreds of citizens.

In connection with the Festival, a number of other events will also be held simultaneously, including a local foods fair, international conference on Gaya history, contest of native foods, and folk arts festival of Gyeongsangnam-do region. The regional folk arts festival will include performances of intangible cultural property holders and performances of traditional art troupes from sister cities in Korea and other countries.

Gimhae Stone Fight is now a favorite game of merriment.

To help visitors have more enjoyable and exciting experiences, the festival organizing committee will deploy advanced information and communication technology installations in the venue. Using their smart phones or tablet PCs, visitors and tourists can get access to detailed information, statistical data, publicity materials and results of survey on the Festival by searching its QR code at information centers. It will also introduce an augmented reality (AR) game ‘Royal Capital of Gaya GO’, similar to ‘PocketMon Go’ game. If any visitors find out various historical treasures or relics through the game, they will be rewarded with due gifts.

Grand Rite of Chaste Woman Chunhyang offered to King Suro of the Garak State and his Queen Heo

The 40th Gaya Culture Festival held in April last year attracted as many as over 1.45 million visitors from Korea and other countries, and the Festival in this year is expected to attract even more visitors thanks to addition of varied new programs. The Gimhae City government seeks to register these cultural heritages as UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritages.

Night view of the Old Tombs in Daeseong-dong Village and the Daeseong History Museum. A grand opening ceremony is held at a special stage at the Daeseong-dong Tumuli.

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INVITATION

Your Excellency and Madam are cordially invited to the 2017 Grand Gaya Culture Festival on Sunday April 9

Your Excellency and Madarm are cordially invited to the above festival.

For details of the Festival, please visit: http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=3007.

It is a bit far, but a deluxe KTX Train travel is much more comfortable than bus ride. Here is the schedule:

0845 hours: Meet at the Seoul Railroad Station VIP Room, 3rd Floor of the Main Building.

0905-1147 hours: Move by Deluxe KTX train from Seoul to Gimhae.

1200-1230 hours: Move to the Ice Square Hotel for luncheon.

1230-1400 hours: Attend welcome ceremony, presentation of Plaques of Appreciation.

1400-1430 hours: Watch mounted Gaya Warrior performances, have personal experience in horse-riding.

1510-1700 hours: Join the Gimhae Tug-of-War match.

1700-1800 hours: Watch traditional Korean music-dance performances based on Intangible National Cultural Properties

1800-2040 hours: Move from Gimhae back to the Seoul Railroad Station.
(A slight change could occur to the schedule depending on the traffic situation of the day.)

Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

<저작권자 © 코리아포스트, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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