The Korean daily media headlines and humor
Thursday April 20, 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
What’s ticking in Korea today? Here is a quick roundup of important news stories from the major Korean news media today:
Contenders Collide over THAAD, N. Korea
Bareun Party candidate Yoo Seong-min asked Democratic Party's Moon Jae-in if North Korea is the primary enemy. Moon responded that presidents should not label the North as such given that their main role is to solve inter-Korean problems. As Moon avoided answering the question, Yoo said it was nonsense that a candidate for commander in chief cannot identify North Korea as an enemy.
On the issue of THAAD deployment, candidates also focused on criticizing leading contender Moon.
Seoul Capital Region Marks First Population Decrease
The population of the Seoul Metropolitan region has decreased for the first time. According to data on population mobility by Statistics Korea on Wednesday, two-point-39 million people moved into the Seoul metropolitan area in 2015 from five years before, while over two-point-five million people moved to other regions. As a result, a net 163-thousand people moved out of the capital region over the cited period.
Japan Denies Wartime Forced Sexual Slavery Despite Court Documents
Japan has again denied its wartime forced sexual slavery despite the release of court documents revealing that the Japanese army brought hundreds of women to Indonesia as sex slaves and that they were threatened through violent means. Japan’s Kyodo News said Monday that the nation's National Archives and the Ministry of Justice submitted documents to the Cabinet disclosing that the Japanese army was involved in the forced mobilization of sex slaves during World War Two.
Alarming Level of Benzene Found in Underground Water of Yongsan Garrison
It has been revealed for the first time that a joint South Korea-U.S. inspection conducted two years ago found high levels of carcinogens in the underground water of the Yongsan Garrison in Seoul.
The Environment Ministry disclosed the results of the joint inspection on Tuesday. The level of benzene in seven out of 14 water samples taken from 14 wells drilled inside the headquarters of the U.S. military forces stationed in South Korea was higher than the permissible standard. Benzene is a carcinogen classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as Group 1.
Tillerson says U.S. reviewing possibility of relisting N.K. as terror sponsor
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday the U.S. is looking into the possibility of adding North Korea back to the list of states sponsors of terrorism as a way to bring pressure on the communist nation. "We're reviewing all the status of North Korea both in terms of state sponsorship of terrorism as well as all the other ways in which we can bring pressure to bear on the regime in Pyongyang to reengage with us on a different footing than the past talks have been held. So yes, we're evaluating all of those options," Tillerson told reporters.
Little activity at N. Korea's nuclear test site
Satellite imagery shows little activity at North Korea's nuclear test site, though one of its tunnels is ready for the communist nation's sixth nuclear test at any time, the monitoring website 38 North said Wednesday. Commercial satellite imagery on April 16 of the Punggye-ri test site showed what may be three volleyball games underway at different locations throughout the facility, but little activity was shown at the North Portal, where test preparations had been under way.
Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi ordered to recall over 8,000 cars
Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and two other carmakers have been ordered to recall more than 8,000 models in South Korea for faulty parts, the country's transport ministry said Thursday.
This is part of a broader recall order recently delivered by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport against the carmakers. Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, FCA Korea and Volvo Group Korea plan to recall 41 different models totaling 8,020 units. These include the E200 sedan, RVR sedan and the Jeep Wrangler, with problems ranging from faulty control unit software, wiper motors, and drive shaft problems, the ministry said in a statement.
U.N. chief says everything must be done to confront N.K. threats
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called Wednesday for all-out efforts to curb North Korea's nuclear and missile threats. "We believe that it is absolutely essential that everybody is involved in order to make sure that everything is done so that the threat represented by the development in relation to missiles and in relation to nuclear capability not become a threat to the international community," Guterres told reporters.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Moon grilled over THAAD, NK in TV debate
Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party of Korea, the front-runner in the presidential race, came under heavy fire from his rivals during a live televised debate Wednesday. While conservative candidate attacked Moon over his alleged contact with North Korea about a restrictive United Nations resolution, a progressive contender accused him of being ambiguous about the deployment of a controversial US antimissile battery. The top five presidential aspirants in the May 9 election engaged in their second televised debate since formal campaigning began and the first one to be broadcast live. The previous debate was pre-recorded. The two-hour debate, hosted by KBS, was marked for its unscripted format, allowing all participants to engage in a free-for-all debate.
No negotiations with NK 'at this time'
US Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday he doesn't expect the US to hold direct negotiations with North Korea any time soon. Pence made the remark in an interview with CNN aboard the USS Ronald Reagan at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, saying the focus is now on increasing pressure on the North. "The policy of President Trump is to marshal the support of our allies in the region -- Japan, South Korea, nations around the world, and China," he said.
Who are Moon, Ahn’s supporters?
With less than three weeks to go to the presidential election, voters in South Korea are being bombarded with public opinion polls providing updates on the state of the race. From the way things look now, the contest is a duel between liberal standard-bearer Moon Jae-in and centrist Ahn Cheol-soo, with the former leading by a 4-14 percent margin. (Moon garners 40-44 percent of support while Ahn posts 36-37 percent.) The Korea Herald has taken a look at the latest poll results to identify the core supporter bases of Moon, Ahn and other mainstream party-backed candidates in terms of political inclination, gender, age and occupation.
Trump’s ‘prudent’ measure
To many, for the past 10 days the Korean Peninsula appeared to have been edging toward the brink of war. Soon after bombarding Syria and Afghanistan with missiles and a gigantic bomb, the US said it had ordered its flagship aircraft carrier strike group, which was already here last month for a joint drill with the South Korean military, to head back toward the peninsula. The announcement triggered a frenzied chain reaction throughout the region.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Seoul must be 'part of solution to nuke issues'
Joseph DeTrani, a former U.S. special envoy for the six-party talks with North Korea, said South Korea should not be sidelined in the Trump administration's move to address North Korean nuclear issues. "South Korea has to be part of the solution to the North Korea nuclear issue," DeTrani, president of the Daniel Morgan Academy in Washington, said in an interview. "There should be no space between the U.S. and South Korea on an approach to resolving issues with the North."
US lied about carrier strike group
The Donald Trump administration is causing a stir for a false narrative — intended or not — that a U.S. Navy strike group led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson was ordered to waters off the Korean Peninsula from Singapore, April 8. Since then, expectations were that the carrier group would arrive near the peninsula around April 15 when North Korea was scheduled to celebrate the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il-sung. At that time, the North was expected to conduct a major provocation such as a nuclear test.
'Korea used to be part of China'
U.S. President Donald Trump's false claim that "Korea used to be part of China" is disturbing Koreans. Trump made the claim during an interview with The Wall Street Journal after meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping on Apr. 12. Trump said in the interview, "(Xi) then went into the history of China and Korea. Not North Korea, Korea. And you know, you're talking about thousands of years and many wars. And Korea actually used to be a part of China."
Xi Jinping says Korea was a part of China
It has been reported that during a two-day summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on April 6 and 7, Xi said Korea had been a part of China and Trump showed a gesture of consent. After the news was delivered, it has provoked a controversy in South Korea. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on April 12, Trump reportedly said, “(Xi) then went into the history of China and Korea. Not North Korea, Korea. And you know, you’re talking about thousands of years …and many wars. And Korea actually used to be a part of China.”
Inspiring life of the godmother of orphans and lepers
A documentary movie of German-American missionary “Suh Suh-pyoung, Slowly and Peacefully” co-directed by Hong Joo-yeon and Hong Yeon-jeong will premiere on April 26. As a medical missionary of Presbyterian Church in the United States, Elizabeth J. Shepping came to Korea in 1912 and received her Korean name “Suh Suh-pyoung” and died in 1934. Arriving in Joseon at the age of 32, Suh fed and taught orphans, widows, and lepers who even the Joseon people disregarded at that time. Even in her last moments when she suffered from endemics and malnutrition, she donated her corpse for medical science purposes.
Korea shaken up by destination of U.S. strike group
It has turned out that the USS Carl Vinson, a nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier, which U.S. President Donald Trump recently said was headed toward the Korean Peninsula to respond to North Korea’s strategic provocations such as a nuclear test or the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, actually moved to the Australian waters. What fueled the rumors of an “April crisis” on the Korean Peninsula was not true in the first place.
Kumho Tire likely to be sold to a Chinese company
Kumho Tire, Korea's No. 2 tire maker and the 14th in the world, is likely to be acquired by a Chinese investor. Kumho Asiana Group Chairman Park Sam-koo said Tuesday that he would not exercise his right to buy back its tire making affiliate currently under creditors' control. Creditor banks therefore will move forward with the sale of Kumho Tie to Chinese tire maker Doublestar, the preferred bidder. Yet, trademark right disputes can happen, meaning that Kumho Tire's fate has not been completely decided.
Workers Start Combing Ferry Wreck
Workers began searching the salvaged wreck of the ferry Sewol on Tuesday after it had been safely brought to dry land last week. The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said nine eight-man teams will be searching the ferry and aim to complete the work within three months. The ferry sank in April 2014 with over 300 people, mostly high-school students, aboard. Nine passengers remain officially missing. Korea Salvage has drilled several square entry points into the ship and is cutting out more.
Mourners Mark 3rd Anniversary of Ferry Disaster
Mourners on Sunday observed the third anniversary of the 2014 ferry disaster that killed over 300 mostly young people. They paid their respects at an altar in Ansan south of Seoul, where most of the victims attended high school. Mourners wore yellow ribbons, yellow clothes or carried yellow balloons as a sign of respect for the dead. Mourners on Sunday observed the third anniversary of the 2014 ferry disaster that killed over 300 mostly young people. They paid their respects at an altar in Ansan south of Seoul, where most of the victims attended high school. Mourners wore yellow ribbons, yellow clothes or carried yellow balloons as a sign of respect for the dead.
USFK Forced to Reveal Contamination of Yongsan Garrison
The water under the old U.S. Forces Korea headquarters in Yongsan, Seoul is heavily contaminated with benzene and other toxic substances, the U.S. and Korean governments have been forced to admit. The Environment Ministry on Tuesday finally published the findings of a joint Korea-U.S. inspection of the site, which still serves as the garrison for the 8th U.S. Army, in May 2015. The U.S. refused to disclose the findings, but civic group Lawyers for a Democratic Society filed a freedom of information suit later that year, and the Supreme Court finally found in its favor on Tuesday.
Elderly to Play Key Role in Presidential Election
Older Koreans are expected to play a decisive role in electing the next president as most young people seem to have rallied behind a liberal contender. While the traditional regional bias has disappeared from this race since both frontrunners come from the same part of the country, older people seem to lean toward Ahn Cheol-soo of the People's Party. Ahn is also on the liberal side of the spectrum but seems to be more palatable to people over 50 and more centrist in his views.
Is it feasible to amend KORUS FTA?
US Vice President Mike Pence’s reference to reforming the South Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) is raising the possibility that the agreement, like NAFTA before it, could face renegotiation or amendment. Speaking before the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AMCHAM) at the Seoul Hyatt Hotel on the last leg of his South Korea visit on the morning of Apr. 18, Pence said the US believed South Korea could “help us . . . move toward a system that maximize jobs and growth and a brighter future for the people of the U.S. and people of South Korea.”
Trump administration broadening its approach to North Korea
The US government appears to be broadening its horizons toward negotiations even as it moves to step up its sanctions against North Korea. The signs of change have been apparent since the Donald Trump administration put the finishing touches on its North Korea policy and held a summit with China (Apr. 6-7). In a conference call on Apr. 17, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton responded to questions about possible actions the US could take multilaterally or bilaterally with North Korea to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula. “[W]e‘re really looking for some kind of signal that [North Korea has] realized that the current status quo is unsustainable,” Thornton said.
Shinzo Abe using Korean tensions to push Constitutional revision
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seems intent on raising tensions on the Korean Peninsula with his recent comments about the possibility of North Korea already having the potential to launch missiles loaded with sarin gas without offering any evidence to back up his claim. Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has asked the government to acquire the capability to strike enemy bases - in particular, North Korea’s missile bases.
More youths feel like marriage is optional, cohabitation OK
Statistics show that youths are breaking out of stereotypes about the traditional family, composed of mom, dad, and the kids, according to the results of a survey by Statistics Korea and the Ministry of Gender Equality on youths’ attitudes about marriage, which was released on Apr. 18. The statistics focus on youths’ attitudes toward marriage and family life from the “social statistics” released each year. Youths (defined as those between 13 and 24 years of age) are surveyed every other year.
China girds for new provocation by Pyongyang
China appears to be preparing measures in case North Korea tests a nuclear device or performs another provocation, including possibly suspending oil to the regime. And relations between Beijing and Pyongyang seem frostier than ever before. Analysts think there’s a high likelihood of a provocation on the 85th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean People’s Army next Tuesday and the days leading up to the South Korean presidential election on May 9. U.S.-based Chinese-language Boxun News, citing a Beijing source, said that Chinese President Xi Jinping attempted to send Wu Dawei, China’s special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs, to Pyongyang after his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.
NEC says it will look into vote rigging
The state-run election watchdog said Wednesday it was willing to verify the votes cast in the 2012 presidential election to clear up any suspicion of voting fraud raised by a documentary released last week, stressing it would take all responsibility if any wrongdoing is found. The National Election Commission(NEC), which takes charge of all electoral processes, including vote counting, added that the filmmakers of the documentary, titled “The Plan,” must be held accountable for spreading groundless allegations if the verification finds nothing.
Defying U.S. warning, North tests a missile
North Korea fired a ballistic missile off its east coast Sunday morning hours before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Seoul for his first trip in office to the Asia-Pacific region, sending another message that the Kim Jong-un leadership will not back down in the face of Washington’s hardline policy against its nuclear and missile development program. But the test, North Korea’s fifth this year, ended in complete failure, as the missile blew up almost immediately after take-off, said South Korean and U.S. military officials.
Chinese overstayers on Jeju are heading home
Chinese living and working illegally on Jeju Island are leaving in droves, the Jeju Immigration Office said, after Beijing choked off the flow of its outgoing tourists. “From March 1 to April 10, 1,386 Chinese who were staying illegally on Jeju Island left the country,” the office said. That was nearly 10 times higher than the 149 Chinese who left Jeju Island after overstaying their visas in the same period last year. Many of the overstayers traveled to Jeju as tourists and decided to stay to work as tour guides or in restaurants that cater to Chinese tourists. Jeju Island has been welcoming Chinese tourists visa-free since 2002.
The KyungHyangShinmoon (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
What Happened to the Rookie Producer of Drinking Solo? "Excessive Work Load and Personal Insult Led to His Death"
The death of a rookie producer of the tvN drama Drinking Solo may have been the result of an excessive work load, personal insults, and the authoritarian culture in the company. The Youth Union and the bereaved family members formed a "committee to resolve the death of the rookie assistant producer of Drinking Solo.” The committee held a press conference on April 18 and demanded that the broadcasting company release the investigation results of the suicide of Lee Han-bit, who died last year, along with an apology and measures to prevent recurrence.
Hong Seok-hyun, “The President Twice Coerced Me into Replacing Sohn Suk-hee”
Hong Seok-hyun (photo), former chairman of the JoongAng Daily and JTBC personally made a statement claiming that the president pressured him to replace the JTBC anchor, Sohn Suk-hee, stirring controversy. In a video titled, “The Facts about Outside Pressure on JTBC: Now We Can Talk,” posted on YouTube on April 16, Hong said, “The president (former President Park) coerced me twice.” “After the report on the tablet, the government weakened and there was no direct pressure, but we were condemned by the conservatives who argued that our coverage of the tablet PC was fabricated.
Till the End Park Argued, "I Didn't Receive Any Bribes," "I Didn't Know." Case to Be Judged in Court
On April 17, the case of former President Park Geun-hye (65, arrested) was handed over to the court, where she will stand trial on fifteen charges including bribery of 36.8 billion won (59.2 billion including the amount promised and requested). This makes Park the third former president to be prosecuted for corruption following former presidents Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo. However, Park has constantly denied all her charges saying, "It was the work of the Cheong Wa Dae staff," and "I didn't know," from shortly after the allegations of such abuse of power surfaced until she was interrogated at the detention center.
For College Students, Half of the Friends on Social Networking Sites Are Not "Real Friends"
Research showed that in real life, the majority of college students hardly interacted with more than half the friends on social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook and Instagram. The more the person was addicted to such sites, the more serious her interpersonal problems. This was the result of a study, "The Relationship between College Students’ SNS Addiction Tendency and Their Interpersonal Problems: Focused on the Moderating Effect of Social Support" published in the recent issue of Health and Social Welfare Review. The researchers conducted a survey of 356 university students in the Seoul, Gyeonggi and Gangwon region in March-April 2016 and analyzed their usage of social networking sites and addiction tendencies.
The Korea Economic Daily (http://english.hankyung.com/)
Presidential Candidates Focus on Free-for-all While Keeping Mum about How to Pay for It
Candidates to the 19th Presidential election scheduled on May 9 are putting out a barrage of promises to increase handouts to people. No one, however, says anything about how they will finance such outlays. The reason is simple. That's because all of them are loath to lose votes for being honest. A tax expert said, "The candidates talk about raising taxes such as those on corporations and high-income earners instead of those affecting millions of people. Their promises are empty from the beginning or they are just cowardly."
Energy Think Tanks Call for Increasing Share of LNG Power Generation
A new research report claimed that eco-friendly liquefied natural gas can serve as a stop-gap energy source during the transition from nuclear and thermal power generation and increasing toward new renewable energy sources. LNG power generation is claimed to be the most realistic means to ensure stable power supply, while reducing emissions of fine dust and greenhouse gases. Korea's 11 major energy industry groups, including the Climate Change Center, the Korea New & Renewable Energy Association and the Korea District Heating & Cooling Association held a public discussion in Yoido in Seoul on April 19.
Presidential Candidates Pledge Bio-health Control Tower
Minjoo Party presidential candidate Moon Jae-in and People's Party contender Ahn Cheol-soo promised that they would establish a control tower for nurturing the bio-health industry directly under the president. They said this in a meeting held on April 19 at the Sheraton Seoul Palace jointly by the Korea Biotech Economics Association, the Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-Pharma Manufacturers Association, the Korea Biotechnology Industry Organization, and the Korea Economic Daily.
March Producer Price Index Down 0.1% to 102.59
The producer prices have fallen for the first time in eight months due to lower international oil prices. According to the Bank of Korea on April 19, the preliminary producer price index for March was 102.59 (with 2010 prices set at 100). This is down 0.1 percent from 12 months ago when the figure was 102.70. The producer prices have been on a downward trend first in eight months since July last year.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Samsung breaks sales record with Galaxy S8 amid 'Redgate' controversy
Samsung set a new record by selling more than 260,000 units of Galaxy S8 and S8+ models at home on its release day this week, raising hopes of recouping losses caused by faulty batteries that prompted a humiliating global recall of its previous premium smartphone Note 7. S8's brisk sales have been anticipated in view of the gap in Samsung's premium flagship smartphone lineup that forced users to wait for almost eight months. In unveiling S8, Samsung has pledged a perfect and flawless device to regain confidence from consumers, but it was engulfed in a fresh controversy from the outset after some users from online IT communities reported "Redgate" claiming the new smartphone's screens got more reddish than other smartphones.
Volleyball play at N. Korea nuclear test site could be deception plan
After almost eight weeks of elevated activity, North Korea's nuclear test site has been put on "stand-by" with personnel being allowed some downtime for recreation like volleyball games, according to 38 North, the website of a US research institute. That could be a tactical pause as part of an "overall deception plan" as North Korea is aware of when satellites will fly overhead, 38 North said.
S. Korea temples bustle with preparations for Buddha's birthday
The solemn ground of Chogyesa, the Buddhist head temple of South Korea's largest Jogye order in central Seoul, was filled with giggles of children having their head shaved. Some kids burst into tears after seeing their shaved head reflected on the mirror. Probably under pressure from their parents, eight boys aged from six to seven were ready to stay in the temple as temporary monks over a two-week period to mark Budda's birthday which falls on May 3 this year.
Kia still in search of first auto plant site in India
Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-largest carmaker, said it is still in search of a place for its first plant in India, refusing to confirm a new report that the company would invest about 1.6 billion US dollars on the construction of plants in Penukonda in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Kia, an affiliate of South Korea's leading Hyundai Motor group, has been in talks on building its factory in India, a fast-growing auto market, and India's Economic Times reported that the company had selected Penukonda for its first plant.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Hyundai Motor unveils facelifted models tailored for China at Shanghai motor
South Korea’s largest carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. on Wednesday unveiled a new sport utility vehicle (SUV) designed exclusively for the China market, pinning hope that its localization strategy would help lift slacking sales in the world’s biggest auto market. The automaker showed off its all-new ix35 SUV at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai. It also premiered its all-new Sonata - a face-lift version of Sonata sedan designed to appeal to Chinese drivers.
LG Chem’s Q1 OP beats market expectation on 74% on-year jump
South Korea’s leading chemical and battery making company LG Chem Ltd. raised 796.9 billion won ($698.9 million) in operating income in the first quarter of this year, beating the market expectation on brisk sales in basic materials. LG Chem said on Wednesday that its operating profit for the first three months of this year surged 74.1 percent to 796.9 billion won year on year, the highest quarterly profit since the first quarter of 2011 when it earned 831.3 billion won. The result was higher than the market consensus of 690.2 billion won. Net income came at 548 billion won compared to a profit of 338 billion won a year earlier.
S. Korea’s cash-rich oil and chemical firms ready to invest big in 2017
South Korea’s major oil refiners and petrochemical companies richer through leverage on cheap oil prices will dig into their record earnings of last year to invest around $9 billion to expand capacity.
According to industry sources on Tuesday, the total capital expenditure pledged by local oil refiners and petrochemical firms for this year comes to 9.6 trillion won, but the figure would exceed 10 trillion won ($8.8 billion) when including investment by Lotte Chemical Corp. and Hanwha Total Petrochemical Co. yet to be disclosed.
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