The Korean daily media headlines and humor
Thursday April 6, 2017
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
Korea Post Media
Who rules the country? The King! Who controls the King? The Queen!
It may not be the case with some of the countries in the world, but in many countries, including Korea (of course), the Madam controls the Head of Family in reality though perhaps not outwardly.
In this respect, the role played by the Association of the Spouses of the Ambassadors in Seoul (ASAS) is very important.
Here is an expanded and revised edition of The Korea Post interview with the chairpersons of the ASAS.
Excellency, please kindly expose this information to the madam. Thank you.
What’s ticking in Korea today? Here is a quick roundup of important news stories from the major Korean news media today:
N. Korea Launched Scud-ER Missile, not KN-15
AFP said on Wednesday that the ballistic missile launched by North Korea early in the day was a medium-range Scud-Extended Range(ER) missile. AFP quoted an unnamed Pentagon official, who said the Scud-ER missile flew about 60 kilometers before suffering an in-flight failure and crashing into the sea. The military authorities of South Korea and the U.S. had said earlier that it appeared to be a KN-15 intermediate-range missile, or Pukguksong-2 as the North calls it.
N. Korea 78% Likely to Conduct Another Missile Test Within 30 Days
A U.S. think tank has said there is a 78 percent likelihood North Korea will conduct another missile test within a month. The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies(CSIS) made the prediction in a report on Wednesday, based on its big data analysis of the regime’s previous nuclear and missile tests. In the report, which was released after the North’s missile launch on Wednesday, the CSIS also said the chance the regime will test a missile in the next 14 days is 55 percent.
'N. Korea's Missile Launch Won't Affect China-US Summit'
China says that North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch will not affect the summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump set for this week. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Wednesday, during a regular briefing, that the North’s latest provocation is not necessarily related to their meeting. North Korea fired a ballistic missile from South Hamgyeong Province on Wednesday morning.
Deloitte Anjin Suspended for One Year over Accounting Fraud
The Financial Services Commission(FSC) confirmed on Wednesday a one-year suspension of new audits by Deloitte Anjin, one of the four largest accounting firms in South Korea. As Deloitte Anjin is barred from signing new audit contracts, the three other majors --- Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers(PwC), Samjung KPMG and Ernst and Young Han Young --- will likely handle increased demand, which may result in incomplete audits. To prevent confusion in the audit market, the financial regulator decided the suspension will take effect early this month after the deadline for submitting audit reports ends.
UK Seeks KEPCO's Participation in Nuclear Project
The UK's energy minister has effectively offered South Korea’s state-run Korea Electric Power Corporation(KEPCO) to participate in a massive nuclear power plant project. Greg Clark, British Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy told reporters at the British Embassy in Seoul on Wednesday that his government has watched with great interest how KEPCO successfully constructed nuclear reactors for the United Arab Emirates(UAE). He added that he is positively considering KEPCO as a potential investor in the UK's project to build nuclear reactors in Moorside, northwest England.
Secondary sanctions 'early topic' for Trump-Xi summit
Secondary sanctions aimed at cutting off business links to North Korea will be an "early topic" when U.S. President Donald Trump holds summit talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, a senior White House official said Wednesday. "I'm not going to go into specifics of our approach on North Korea, but I will say this is going to be an early topic in our conversation during the summit," Matt Pottinger, senior National Security Council director for Asia, told reporters in response to a question whether secondary sanctions will be discussed during the upcoming summit. "We will not sort of broadcast talking points of the president in advance but of course the question of sanctions generally is very much a live one," the official said during the Foreign Press Center briefing to preview the Trump-Xi meetings set for Thursday and Friday.
N. Korea 78 pct likely to conduct more missile tests in next 30 days
North Korea is 78 percent likely to conduct missile launches in the next 30 days, a U.S. think tank has predicted based on analysis of big data on the communist nation. "Beyond Parallel," a North Korea analysis project of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), made the prediction together with big data firm Predata after analyzing how often the North is discussed on the Internet in an effort to predict future possibilities, with a higher frequency meaning stronger "signals." "A Predata-Beyond Parallel prediction indicates there is a 55 percent chance of North Korean missile tests taking place in the next 14 days. In the next 30 days, there is a 78 percent chance of North Korean missile tests," CSIS said in a report.
S. Korea succeeds in test of 800 km-range new missile
South Korea has successfully test-launched a new 800-kilometer range ballistic missile that can reach anywhere in North Korea, defense sources said Thursday. It could send another strong warning message to North Korea, which is continuing its nuclear and missile development in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, they said. "There was a test-firing recently of a Hyunmoo-type ballistic missile with a range of 800 km at the Anheung test site of the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) under the wing of the Defense Ministry," an informed source said. "It's assessed that it was successful." Defense Minister Han Min-koo inspected the test, in which the missile met the key requirements of normal blast, flight and the accuracy of hitting a target, added the source.
U.S. assesses N.K. missile as Scud ER
The ballistic missile that North Korea fired Wednesday is believed to be a medium-range Scud ER, a U.S. defense official was quoted as saying. "A Scud ER (extended range) flew about 60 kilometers before suffering an in-flight failure and crashing into" the East Sea, the official was quoted as saying by AFP. The U.S. Pacific Command had earlier identified the missile as a medium-range KN-15. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff also said it was believed to be "a type of KN-15," also known as Pukguksong-2, and the maximum altitude of its flight was 189 km.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
NK seeks to steal show ahead of Trump-Xi summit
With its latest missile test, North Korea appears to be seeking to overshadow a summit between the leaders of the US and China, putting their relationship to a first, crucial test. Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping are set to meet in Florida from Thursday, and how to deal with the North’s nuclear and missile programs is expected to take center stage. The timing could be particularly troubling for Xi, who would not want to be seen as protecting mercurial young leader Kim Jong-un in the face of mounting pressure from Washington.
Hyundai Motor solely developing EV batteries
Hyundai Motor is developing solid-state batteries that are safe from explosions for its electric vehicles, and reportedly owns pilot-scale battery production facilities, sources close to the matter said, comparing the move to a similar approach taken by the automaker’s Japanese rival Toyota. “Hyundai is developing solid-state batteries through its Namyang R&D Center’s battery precedence development team and it has secured a certain level of technology,” the source told The Korea Herald.
Park supporters launch new Saenuri Party
Die-hard supporters of former President Park Geun-hye created their own political party on Wednesday, pledging to revive what they call a bona fide conservative movement that would vindicate the ex-leader jailed in a corruption scandal. The preparatory committee for the establishment of the Saenuri Party held an inaugural ceremony at Jangchung Gymnasium in Seoul and appointed two representatives of a civic group supporting Park as the co-chiefs.
NuGen consortium to hold talks with KEPCO on nuclear project in UK
A consortium in charge of building a nuclear power plant in Britain will hold talks with South Korea's state-run utility firm Korea Electric Power Corp. to examine a potential partnership, a senior British official said Wednesday. The NuGen consortium will discuss with KEPCO the Moorside nuclear power plant project in Cumbria, northwest England, Greg Clark, U.K. business secretary, said in a meeting with South Korean reporters at the British Embassy in Seoul, without providing a specific time frame. "If KEPCO do agree to become part of the consortium, then they will have the full rights in terms of the relationship with the U.K. Government and the U.K. authorities that other members of the consortium have," Clark said.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Activist sues Korean, Chinese authorities over air pollution
An environmental activist and a lawyer filed a compensation suit against the governments of Korea and China, Wednesday, claiming their inaction on fine dust puts people's health at greater risk.
In the complaint lodged with the Seoul Central District Court, Choi Yul, president of the Korean Green Foundation, said, "The extent of air pollution caused by fine dust has reached unbearable levels. As a member of the international community, China bears responsibility to keep air pollutants under control. But, it has failed to do so."
Sewol to be moved to dry dock Thursday
The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries plans to test modular transporters that will move the ferry Sewol into a dry dock today. "We will run a test operation after maneuvering 480 transporters, which can carry up to 40 tons each, under Sewol," said Lee Cheol-jo, the ministry official overseeing the salvage operation. The ministry had only 456 transporters but added 24 more following an assessment by the special committee investigating the ferry Tuesday that concluded the ferry weighed 14,592 tons, 1,100 tons more than the ministry's earlier estimate of 13,460 tons.
No candidate respects 'comfort women' deal with Japan
The diplomatic row between Korea and Japan over "comfort women" may deepen in the years to come because no presidential candidate here respects a bilateral agreement signed in December 2015.
All five major presidential nominees ― Moon Jae-in, Ahn Cheol-soo, Hong Joon-pyo, Yoo Seong-min and Sim Sang-jung ― are pledging to either renegotiate or scrap the deal. Their diplomatic principles are contrary to Japan's plan to ensure that the next Korean government will carry out the deal as promised by the outgoing conservative administration.
Illegal 'ghost marriages' still linger in China
By Sidney Leng As Chinese across the nation honour their ancestors by visiting their graves this week, state media has drawn attention to one ugly side of traditional views about death. Xinhua ran a report about the black market trade in corpse-stealing, in which families obtain a dead woman to bury alongside an unmarried male so he will not be alone in the afterlife. The practice, known as "ghost marriages", was banned by the government in 1949 but continues to exist in remote villages, especially in the north.
'Tea person' has work promotion in the bag
A "tea person" ― someone who drinks tea more than other beverages ― is more likely to be promoted at work, according to a Japanese survey. Kirin Company, the Japanese beverages firm that conducted the survey, said tea people are less stressed, more concentrated, productive and quality oriented, according to Nico Nico News. Kirin's online survey ― on the "correlation between tea intake and work accomplishment" ― asked 1,000 workers in their 20s to 50s from Mar. 9 to 10 about their favorite beverage and important values at work.
North Korea launched missile ahead of U.S.-China summit
North Korea tested its missile as a new provocation ahead of the first talks between the U.S. and China taking place in the U.S. on Thursday (local time) since the launch of Donald Trump’s administration. According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the U.S. Pacific Command on Wednesday (Seoul time), North Korea fired its new mid-range ballistic missile “KN-15 (Polaris-2)” from Sinpo, South Hamgyong Province at around 6:42 a.m. Wednesday.
Masters to kick off at Augusta National Golf Club on Thursday
The Masters Tournament, a race among golf grandmasters, is the kind of event that golfers take pride merely in their participation. This year’s championship, which kicks off at Augusta Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia in the U.S. on Thursday, only invites 94 elite golfers who passed the strict eligibility requirements. For a golfer to receive invitation to the Masters Tournament, which is the first event to happen among the four major annual PGA championships, he should meet one of the 19 eligibility requirements including acquisition of the title at least once in the past, and ranking within the top 50.
Global inbound travelers offset less youkes
As a punitive measure against the recent deployment of Theater of High Altitude Area Defense Missile (THAAD), the number of Chinese group tourists (or youke) fell in recent weeks. Nonetheless, the number of overall foreign visitors rather increased as of March, thanks to higher influx of tourists from Japan and Southeast Asian countries. Still, action plans are urgently required to buffer the significantly rising aftermath of fewer youke since last month.
U.S. may require visitors’ mobile phone number, social media passwords
The United States will likely make its entry and employment visa review process more stringent. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is drawing up measures to implement President Donald Trump’s election promise of “extreme vetting.” The measures include requiring foreigners wanting to visit the U.S. to hand over contacts on their mobile phones and social media passwords.
Hyundai's China Sales Plummet Amid THAAD Boycott
Hyundai and affiliate Kia said Tuesday that their sales in China plummeted 52.2 percent on-year to 72,032 cars. The dismal performance seems to be due to an unofficial boycott over Korea's decision to deploy a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery from the U.S. here. The two carmakers' factories were hit hard by the poor sales. Hyundai stopped the night shift at its plant in Beijing, while production lines in Hebei and Cangzhou sat idle for 12 days from March 24.
Choi Soon-sil Blames Falling into Wrong Company
Ex-President Park Geun-hye's crony Choi Soon-sil appeared in court on Tuesday to answer a fresh criminal charge of colluding with Park in soliciting W43.3 billion in bribes from Samsung (US$1=W1,124). Choi and her lawyers retreated behind rhetorical smokescreens as they denied the charge. Her attorney Lee Kyung-jae said Choi "accepts the reality that her mistakes are responsible for Park's indictment" and is "deeply sorry to Samsung, which showed such good will."
Overreach Plunges Caffè Bene into Crisis
Coffee franchise Caffe Bene is in crisis due to excessive expansion and poor management of overseas branches. According to the Financial Supervisory Service on Tuesday, Caffè Bene last year posted W81.7 billion in sales, an operating loss of W13.4 billion, and net loss of W33.6 billion last year (US$1=W1,124). Sales plunged 32 percent while the operating loss soared 18 percent and the net loss 25 percent compared to the previous year. Total liabilities have swollen to W14.8 billion.
Korea's Popularity Among Chinese Travelers Plummets
Korea's popularity as a travel destination among Chinese tourists has plummeted sharply amid an unofficial boycott over Seoul's decision to deploy a U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery.
Korea came a poor 16th with a mere 1.4 percent in a survey of favored travel destinations by Ctrip, China's largest online travel agency. That was down a whopping 13 notches from third place last year, according to the Korea International Trade Association.
Who is Ahn Cheol-soo?
Presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo, 55, had been a wunderkind in various fields - as a medical doctor, computer programmer, entrepreneur and university professor. But for some time after Ahn entered politics in 2011, his name “Cheol-soo” was used sarcastically to mean “back out” (since the two are homophones in Korean). This joke was based on a series of capitulations during a few rocky years when Ahn withdrew from the presidential race in 2012 and then gave up on his efforts to set up a new political party.
In four years, Park government accomplished no fiscal goals, left behind debt
After promising to increase welfare without raising taxes, the administration of former government Park Geun-hye used fiscal policy to stimulate the economy and to expand welfare, but this ultimately increased debt while only achieving mediocre results. While the balance of accounts was improved thanks to a record rise in tax receipts last year, financial conditions for the public are not improving, experts say.
Park Geun-hye’s structural reforms “unilateral, uncommunicative and massively corrupt”
Unilateral, uncommunicative and massively corrupt - these were some of the stinging assessments of structural reforms by the administration of former president Park Geun-hye made by experts from various fields who participated in a debate organized by the government-funded Korea Development Institute (KDI) on Apr. 4 called “Structural Reform over the Past Four Years: Results and Reflection.” In Jan. 2014, Park announced her three-year plan for economic innovation, along with what she called the “474 Vision” of using four major structural reforms in the public sector, labor, finance and education to achieve an economic growth rate of 4%, an employment rate of 70% and per capita income of US$40,000.
More THAAD effect as Hyundai and Kia sales tumble in China
Sales of Hyundai and Kia cars in China plummeted last month among China’s intensifying economic retaliation over South Korea’s THAAD missile defense system deployment.
The entire automotive industry is now on edge as the THAAD conflict begins to spill over from retail into manufacturing. Hyundai Motor reported on Apr. 4 that it had sold 56,026 automobiles in the Chinese market the previous month, a 44.3% drop from Mar. 2016. Kia Motor reported 16,006 vehicles sold over the same period, down by 68%. Together, the companies sold 72,032 vehicles, with a decrease of 52.2% from the same period last year.
All eyes on Trump-Xi summit
The White House declared that time has run out on the North Korea nuclear issue and “all options are on the table” ahead of a key summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida Thursday and Friday. This assertion came as North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile toward the East Sea Wednesday morning just ahead of the first meeting between Trump and Xi at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, which is expected to be dominated by the issue of how to deal with Pyongyang and its threats.
Ahn’s eloquence owed a lot to Barack Obama
In his acceptance speech for the People’s Party presidential nomination Tuesday, Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo spoke of political principles in words that were almost identical to those of Barack Obama at the Democratic Convention in 2004. “There’s not a liberal Korea and a conservative Korea; there’s Korea of the people,” proclaimed Ahn upon winning the nomination in his second bid for president. “There’s not a young-men Korea and an old-men Korea; there’s Korea of the people. There’s not a male-dominated Korea and female-dominated Korea; there’s Korea of the people.”
Companies horde their carbon emission credits
The government will pressure companies to actively trade their carbon emission rights as some are stockpiling them, depriving companies that need them. The Ministry of Strategy and Finance on Wednesday said companies that have accumulated too many carbon emission rights during the 2015 to 2017 period will see a significant amount of their quotas reduced from 2018 through 2020. Companies should stockpile less than 10 percent of the annual average quota that received from the government plus 20,000 tons. For example, a company with an annual average carbon emission quota of 1 million tons should not save more than 120,000 tons.
Benz E-Class sedan catches fire on highway
A Mercedes-Benz sedan burst into flames in the middle of a highway in Changwon, South Gyeongsang, Wednesday morning. The incident occurred at 3 a.m. on the Namhae Expressway, according to local firefighters. A 51-year-old driver surnamed Kim pulled over his 2008 E-Class sedan when he noticed smoke coming out of the engine and quickly exited the vehicle. There were no casualties - other than 45 million won ($40,000) in reported damages. The fire burned up half the vehicle’s body and was put out in 10 minutes. Firefighters suspect the car’s engine overheated but said they are still investigating the incident.
The KyungHyangShinmoon (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Prosecutors Visit the Detention Center and Question Park on Bribery Charges
Prosecutors investigating the Park Geun-hye, Choi Soon-sil scandal visited the Seoul Detention Center, where former President Park Geun-hye (65, photo) is currently detained, and questioned her as a suspect on April 4. This was the first interrogation, which took place four days after the former president was arrested on March 31. The Special Investigation Division of the Prosecution Service arrived at the detention center in Uiwang-si, Gyeonggi-do at around 9:20 a.m. this day.
No Stepping Back This Time in the Battle Against Moon Jae-in
Ahn Cheol-soo (55), the presidential candidate of the People's Party has constantly accepted challenges as he started out as a doctor and changed career paths to a developer of vaccines for computer viruses, a chief executive officer, a professor and a politician. He was recognized in all the fields he newly entered before embarking on a new path. Despite his changes in occupation, one thing did not change: his principle in life, to put public interest first. He distributed his vaccines for free, handed out company stocks to his employees, and donated 150 billion won of his own property. This Ahn Cheol-soo-style noblesse oblige swept South Korea in the last presidential election as the “Ahn Cheol-soo phenomenon.”
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.
The Korea Economic Daily (http://english.hankyung.com/)
March 2017 Consumer Prices Rise 2.2%...Highest Level in 57 Months
Last month's consumer prices rose 2.2 percent, the highest level in four years and nine months. It was largely because of the base effect due to unusually low oil prices last year. As the monthly inflation rate moved above the 2.0-percent target rate, economists wondered whether this is the sign that inflationary pressuring is rising. According to a report "March 2017 Consumer Price Trend" published by the National Statistical Office on April 4, consumer prices in March inched up 2.2 percent from the same month last year. This is the highest level since June 2012 when the rate was the same 2.2 percent.
Export-oriented Economies to Benefit from Rising Pace of Global Trade
As global trade is moving upwards, Korea's economic growth will also likely benefit from it. The International Monetary Fund recently put out an outlook that the global trade growth rate would double this year from last year's below 2-percent level. If it indeed materializes, it would be the first time for the global trade growth rate to recover the 2014 level. The higher growth pace in major economies such as the United States, Europe, and Japan is great news for an export-led economy like Korea. The question for Korea is whether it can overcome the wave of protectionism and China's retaliation in the wake of THAAD.
Feb. Current Account Surplus Hits $8.4 Bil.
Korea's current account surplus has increased by a large margin in February this year thanks to good performance in the export front. According to the February 2017 Balance of Payments published by the Bank of Korea on April 5, the current account balance that includes the goods and services balance for the month was a surplus of US$8.40 billion. The nation's current account balance has been in a surplus for 60 months in a row since March 2012.
Foreign Direct Investment in Korea Remains Stagnant
Foreign direct investment in Korea fell for two straight quarters primarily due to the strengthened protectionism and the conflict arising from Korea's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) deployment. The Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy announced on April 4 that inbound FDI in Korea amounted to US$3.85 billion in the first quarter of this year, down 9.2 percent from a year ago. The reported amount of FDI fell for two consecutive quarters following the 18.2-percent plunge in the fourth quarter of last year. The arrival-based amount of FDI, however, rose 38.1 percent to $2.77 billion due to an increase in M&A type investment.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Former IT software mogul portrays himself as best fitted for reforms
Ahn Cheol Soo, a former IT software tycoon, portrays himself as a centrist who can achieve a better change of government and lead social and economic reforms as he makes his second presidential bid. Ahn, who regards former US president Franklin D. Roosevelt as a role model, thinks he is the strongest enemy to compete equally with front-runner Moon Jae-in of the main opposition Democratic Party in a presidential election on May 9.
N. Korea's failed launch in March related to Musudan development
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.
S. Korean scientists develop new lithium-oxygen battery
A group of South Korean scientists has developed a new lithium-oxygen battery that can be charged faster and last longer, the science ministry said in what could bring about meaningful changes for electric vehicles (EV). The team led by Kim Dong-wan of Korea University discovered that oxygen vacancies on an oxygen electrode are an effective strategy to achieve high reversibility and high efficiency for lithium-oxygen batteries.
S. Korea's first online bank launches service targeting young smartphone users
South Korea's first internet-only banking firm K bank launched its service Monday, opening the era of low-cost mobile banking that does not require any branch networks or paperwork. K bank is a consortium led by South Korea's top telephone operator KT and 20 other companies including GS Retail, Hanwha Life Insurance and Alipay, the payment platform of China's e-commerce giant Alibaba. For its growth, K bank relies heavily on young smartphone users.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Samsung Elec-led quantum dot TV alliance to set sail next week
The world’s leading television manufacturer Samsung Electronics Co. has decided to form an alliance that will promote its quantum dot-based TV, dubbed QLED TV, technology with Chinese peers and retailers in a move to take a hold in the rapidly growing premium TV market. According to multiple sources from the TV industry on Wednesday, Samsung Electronics next week will officially launch the so-called “quantum dot-based light emitting diode (QLED) TV” alliance with nine other firms including China’s TV manufacturers TCL Corporation and Hisense Co., as well as major retailers GOME Electrical Appliances Holding Ltd., Suning Group, and JD.com at an international forum on QLED technology in Beijing, China.
Corporate Korea still stingy on dividend payouts despite stellar earnings in 2016
In spite of a sharp surge in corporate earnings last year, South Korean companies are still reluctant to return their profits to shareholders. According to sources from the financial and investment industry on Tuesday, Korean firms listed on the country’s main Kospi market paid out just 24.2 percent of their last year’s profit to shareholders. It is a slight increase from 2015 when their average dividend payout ratio reached 21.9 percent, as they raked in 18.5 percent more net profits last year than a year ago, according to data from the Korea Exchange. But they are still far behind other overseas companies in paying out dividends.
S. Korea’s first online-only bank K Bank opens 60,000 accounts on first day
South Korea’s first online-only bank K Bank opened more than 60,000 accounts on its first day in business on Monday, according to the bank formed by a consortium of KT Corp., Woori Bank and 19 other companies. The first-day performance overwhelmed 12,000 monthly average of electronic account openings at 16 brick-and-mortar banks. K Bank issued a total 53,960 debit cards and extended 4,123 loans. Applicants surged at after-work night time for the around-the-clock bank.
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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.
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.)