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The Korean daily media headlines and humor

The Korean daily media headlines and humor

Friday May 26, 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

From the Publisher-Chairman of The Korea Post media:

There are only 3 days left to the Food Festival!

It is on Tuesday 30 May 2017 at the Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul in front of the Central Government Building Complex.

Why not captivate the gourmet Seoulites (as well as the ambassadors and spouses and other distinguished international guests) with the culinary wonders of your country!

For details, call English-speaking Jean Kim at 010-9205-0200 or have your Korean secretary call Mrs. Kim Jung-mi at 010-3388-1682—for full details.

Please scroll down to the bottom for additional information.

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Trump finalizes 4-point strategy on N. Korea: lawmaker

U.S. President Donald Trump has approved a four-point policy plan on North Korea revolving around using "every possible pressure" while looking for a diplomatic solution, a South Korean lawmaker said Thursday.

A bipartisan group of South Korean politicians met with Joseph Yun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, in Washington D.C.

Yun briefed the lawmakers on the Trump administration's approach toward Pyongyang.

Trump signed a comprehensive policy report by the State Department about two weeks ago, Yun was quoted as saying by Rep. Kim Kwan-young of the opposition People's Party.

It includes four main strategies - not recognizing North Korea as a nuclear state, imposing every possible sanction and pressure, not seeking a regime change and resolving the problem with dialogue in the end.

It means the Trump administration may have ruled out a military option for the Kim Jong-un regime, which has ratcheted up military threats with a series of ballistic missile launches and nuclear testing.

In general, it appears to be in line with the Obama government's strategy.

A composite photo of U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

In the early weeks of the Trump administration, U.S. officials talked tough about North Korea.

On a trip to Seoul in March, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated that the era of so-called strategic patience with Pyongyang is over. He added "all options" were on the table.

Trump, speaking in an interview with the Financial Times later, suggested his willingness to take unilateral military action, saying, "If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will."

He then dispatched the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier to Korea in a show of force, triggering public worries about a possible pre-emptive strike.

But Trump suddenly shifted to a rather soft tone, briefing members of U.S. Congress about North Korea in late April.

The maverick president even said he would be "honored" to meet the North's leader under the "right circumstances."

South Korea is expected to figure out more details of Trump's North Korea policy, which has been confusing, when President Moon Jae-in holds summit talks with him in the U.S. capital late next month.

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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:


The Korea Post media (www.koreapost.com) in English, (www.koreapsot.co.kr) in Korean.

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

Presidential Office to Reduce 'Special Operation Expenses'

The presidential office has introduced plans to reduce its ‘Special Operation Expenses,’ a budget allocated to cover its expenditure in undisclosed activities. Presidential general affairs secretary Lee Jeong-do told reporters Thursday that the top office will cut 42 percent of the remaining 12-point-seven billion won, or eleven-point-three million dollars, budget that can be spent without filing receipts. The saved amount will be put into job creation and assisting low income households.

KOSPI Hits New High Thursday

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index(KOSPI) has again renewed an all-time high on Thursday on the back of purchases by institutions and foreign investors. The KOSPI added 25-point-59 points or one-point-10 percent onto its record high from the previous day, to close at two-thousand-342-point-93. At one point during trading, the index surged to two-thousand-343-point-72, also a record intraday high. The tech-heavy KOSDAQ fell three-point-02 points, or point-47 percent, to close at 643-point-02.

BOK Keeps Key Rate at 1.25% amid Higher Growth Expectations

The Bank of Korea(BOK) has decided to keep the benchmark interest rate steady at one-point-25 percent. The BOK monetary policy board on Thursday held a monthly meeting to freeze the lending rate at the record low level. The South Korean central bank has kept the rate steady since slashing it by a quarter of a percentage point to the current level in June of last year. The decision comes as the Korean economy is showing signs of recovery with increasing exports and higher consumer prices. The central bank projected that the nation’s economy will post slightly higher growth than the two-point-six percent growth it had initially projected last month, hinting a revision to the growth outlook in its upcoming July report.

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

PM nominee grilled over policy, ethics, credentials

Prime Minister-nominee Lee Nak-yon was grilled Thursday over his policy orientations, leadership credentials and ethical issues during the last session of the two-day parliamentary confirmation hearing. Opposition lawmakers bombarded him with pointed questions about allegations against his family members, but many others zeroed in on his stances on key policy issues to see whether he is fit to take the government's No. 2 post at a time of security and economic challenges. The opposition-led National Assembly is set to adopt a report on the results of the hearing Friday. Major political parties have agreed to vote on Lee at a plenary session next Monday at the earliest.

Trump finalizes 4-point strategy on N. Korea: lawmaker

U.S. President Donald Trump has approved a four-point policy plan on North Korea revolving around using "every possible pressure" while looking for a diplomatic solution, a South Korean lawmaker said Thursday. A bipartisan group of South Korean politicians met with Joseph Yun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea policy. Yun briefed the lawmakers on the Trump administration's approach toward Pyongyang. Trump signed a comprehensive policy report by the State Department about two weeks ago, Yun was quoted as saying by Rep. Kim Kwan-young of the opposition People's Party.

Consumer sentiment hits record 3-year high on improved exports

South Korea's overall consumer sentiment hit the highest level in more than three years helped by a rise in exports and expectations of the new government's economic policies, central bank data showed Friday. The composite consumer sentiment index for May came to 108.0, up from 101.2, a month earlier, according to data from the Bank of Korea (BOK). The May figure marked the highest since April 2014 when the index stood at 108.4. A reading above 100 means optimists outnumber pessimists. A BOK official said increased exports and public expectations for new economic policies helped push up the sentiment index.

Maritime police raid offices of operator of ill-fated cargo ship

Local maritime police said Thursday that it raided the offices of the operator of an ill-fated cargo ship that sank months ago in the Atlantic Ocean to collect information that could shed light on what caused the deadly incident. The Stellar Daisy, a 266,000-ton ore carrier with eight South Korean and 16 Filipino sailors, departed Rio de Janeiro on March 26 and was sailing off Uruguay when it made the distress call. Only two Filipino crew members have been rescued. No cause for the sinking has been found. The raid is focused on discovering any information related to what could have possibly led to the deadly incident.

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

Expats decry military for gay sex conviction

Following the military court‘s conviction Wednesday of a gay soldier for having sex, many expatriates living in South Korea reacted with a mixture of shock, disappointment and anger toward what they said was a violation of basic human rights. “These men are serving their country and their country repays them with prison?” said Amanda Melgarejo Bastos, a 28-year-old English teacher from the United States. “Seeing how racism and sexism are big issues here, I can’t say I am surprised, but I am still angry about it. Shame on the Korean military,” she said.

Opposition condemns ‘text bombing’ as terrorism

The first confirmation hearing of President Moon Jae-in’s personnel choices has taken on a new twist, with so-called “text bombs” taking center stage. During the two-day confirmation hearing on Prime Minister nominee Lee Nak-yon, which began Wednesday, opposition lawmakers revealed that they were being bombarded with text messages from the public. The majority of the messages were attacks on the recipients, with many accusing the lawmakers of the same wrongdoings they alleged that Lee carried out. The development has even prompted some in the opposition bloc to call for President Moon Jae-in’s intervention.

Top US commander calls THAAD as unprecendented opportunity for area defense

The top US commander in South Korea on Thursday stressed that the US advanced anti-missile system deployed here will bring a critically important and unprecedented opportunity to boost area defense capability against North Korea‘s ballistic missiles. Speaking at a forum in Seoul, Vincent K. Brooks, commander of US Forces Korea, pointed out allies’ “vulnerability” against the communist regime’s escalating missile and nuclear threats.“North Korea is not yet deterred in the direction it is heading and the pressure is not high enough to cause the change of the direction,” said Gen. Brooks in a security seminar in Seoul, adding that North Korean leader’s continued defiance of international sanctions could constitute a “very dangerous condition.”

FM nominee calls for humanitarian aid to North Korea despite tension

Foreign Minister nominee Kang Kyung-wha on Thursday called for humanitarian assistance to North Korea irrespective of the political situation, while stressing the need for stronger sanctions in the event of additional provocations. The former UN diplomat also said she is keen to meet with the victims of the Japanese military’s sexual enslavement during World War II, which has beleaguered relations between the two countries. “In fact, I reached out to one of them when I was here on vacation last time but could not meet her because she fell ill, but I will definitely go if I get the chance,” Kang said, when reporters asked if she would visit the sex slavery victims.

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

Holt criticized for 'irresponsible' funeral for ill-fated adoptee

Holt Children's Services in Korea is being criticized by the Korean adoptee community, after the funeral service it held for Phillip Clay — a deported Korean adoptee — Tuesday and Wednesday. The remarks made by its chairwoman, Molly Holt, about Clay are at the height of the criticism; adoptees have described her comments as "insensitive" and "irresponsible," and they highlight the agency's disregard of the adoptee community. Adoptees, at the service Wednesday, raised issues with Holt regarding its handling of Clay's funeral, which may be summed up in three arguments.

Humanitarian aid to N. Korea should be UNCONDITIONAL: FM nominee

Kang Kyung-wha, President Moon Jae-in's pick for foreign minister, said Thursday humanitarian aid to North Korea should come with no strings attached. Still, she called for taking "stern measures" against Pyongyang if it continues with its military provocations. Her view is in line with Moon's pursuit of sanctions and dialogue simultaneously in resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis. "Humanitarian aid for those who suffer is something that is related to universal values and should be dealt with separately from political considerations," Kang told reporters upon her arrival at Incheon International Airport. "This is also a principle of the U.N. and I think we should act accordingly."

Mercedes owner stages 'excavator protest' at poor after-sales service

Police have booked a man for parking his luxury Mercedes-Benz sedan and an excavator in front of the brand's dealership in Changwon and blocking the street in protest at the automaker's alleged poor after-sales service. "After buying the car on Oct. 14, 2015, various problems occurred repeatedly," the owner of the S500 Maybach told Yonhap News Agency. "The 360-degree camera, airbags and various sensors inside the vehicle did not work." He argued that he repeatedly went to the dealership to ask for repairs worth over 240 million won ($210,000). But the dealership said it could not find the source of the problems the man claimed and told him they could not fix them.

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

Manchester suicide bomber’s brother confesses ties with IS

Hashim Abedi, an 18-year-old younger brother of the suicide bomber of Manchester Arena Stadium in England confessed that “my brother and I had ties with the Islamic State (IS),” told AP News on Thursday. After being arrested in Tripoli, Libya immediately after the terror attack, it was known that Hashim had knowledge of his brother Salman Abedi’s alleged plans for the Manchester attack, and had been planning to launch an attack of his own during the interrogation. The Libyan anti-terrorism forces are also detaining the Abedi brothers’ father Ramadan for questioning.

GA Korea’s golf course in Japan ranks first in resort rating

GA Korea Chairman Lee Dong-jun, who runs Gold Country Club in Yongin, Gyeonggi, and Korea CC, turned his eyes to the overseas market in 2007 and acquired Spring GA Resort located on Awaji Island near Kobe. However, this resort seemed to become a headache when the Japanese economy was hit directly by depression. “I had a hard time back then. I couldn’t afford to pay for the employees because there were no resort guests,” Lee recalled. Despite the crisis, the chairman has made an effort in service improvement and course management for almost 10 years. As a result, his resort is named the best golf resort in Japan.

Designing of new nuclear power plants put on ice under Moon administration

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) said Thursday that it postponed a plan to design two new nuclear power plants to be built in Uljin, North Gyeongsang Province. The state-run nuclear power plant operator said that it had asked KEPCO Engineering & Construction Co. (KEPCO E&C) to halt the designing of Units 3 and 4 of the Shin Hanul Nuclear Power Plant in Uljin. KHNP signed a design contract with KEPCO E&C in March 2016, before obtaining a license for power generation. Under the original plan, Shin Hanul Units 3 and 4 would be completed by December 2022 and December 2023, respectively.

Google’s artificial intelligence defeats Chinese Go master

“One of the innovations of AlphaGo Master is that it actually relies much more on learning from itself. So in this version, AlphaGo has actually become its own teacher, learning from moves which are taken from examples of its own searches. That relies much less actually on human data than previous versions.” Demis Hassabis, the founder and chief executive of Google’s DeepMind who developed the AlphaGo Master, an upgraded version of the AlphaGo artificial intelligence (AI), made the remarks at the Internet International Conference and Exhibition Center in the ancient Chinese city of Wuzhen on Thursday.

Nuri curriculum to be fully covered by government budget

The central government will fully bear the cost of Nuri curriculum at kindergarten (free education for kids aged three to five) from next year. The political circle has repeated debates about the budget sharing ratio of Nuri curriculum between the central and local governments over the past few years and for this year, the central government shall take 41.2 percent (some 860 billion Korean won or approx. 768 million U.S. dollars) of the budget. President Moon’s Advisory Committee said that the Ministry of Education reported so on Thursday. Committee spokesperson Park Kwang-on said, “(The Ministry of Education) reported their plan to increase the unit cost to support Nuri curriculum by stages.”

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

Trump in Volte Face Over 'Madman' Kim Jong-un

U.S. President Donald Trump has performed a typically abrupt volte face by calling North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a "madman with nuclear weapons." Trump earlier displayed unusual sympathy for Kim and his "tough" role as a young dictator, adding he would be "honored" to meet him. But he changed his tune in a phone call with fellow hip-shooter President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines on April 29, according to a transcript published by the Washington Post on Tuesday. The transcript was leaked by the government of the Philippines.

Passengers on Overbooked Flights No Longer Bumped for Airline Staff

Passengers can no longer be bumped off overbooked flights to make room for airline staff under new rules introduced in the wake of the United Airlines scandal. The new regulations for domestic flights on Korea's seven airlines come into effect next month, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said Wednesday. They follow global outrage after security staff violently removed a man from an overbooked United flight who was merely sitting in a seat he had booked and paid for. If a flight is still overbooked, the first to be asked to leave will be standby passengers who have for some reason been allowed to board, the ministry said. And airlines can no longer bump passengers accompanying children, people with disabilities or pregnant women.

Hotter Weather Expected This Summer

It will be hotter and drier this summer, the Korea Meteorological Administration said on Tuesday in its forecast for the upcoming months. Temperatures in June will be higher than the annual average for the last 30 years, leading the hotter summer months in July and August. With summer temperatures steadily rising each year, the number of days affected by a heat wave and tropical night are also expected to rise. "But there will be less rain this summer with the monsoon season beginning later than usual," said the KMA.

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

China asks South Korean envoy to completely remove THAAD system

The Chinese government reportedly asked the special envoys sent by President Moon Jae-in to halt the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system and to completely remove THAAD, insisting that South Korea should fix its own mistakes. This was part of the briefing Moon received from his delegation to China, composed of Minjoo Party lawmakers Lee Hae-chan, Kim Tae-nyeon and Shim Jae-kwon, during a meeting with the envoys to the US, China and Japan that was held at the Blue House on the afternoon of May 24. The envoys reported that during their meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Xi had indicated that he trusts President Moon and expects a lot from him and had expressed his opposition to the THAAD deployment in a relatively moderate tone of voice.

President Moon’s appointments indicate determination to improve inter-Korean relations

President Moon Jae-in’s appointment of two senior officials to the Blue House National Security Office (NSO) on May 24 appears to show his commitment to improving relations with North Korea and with South Korea‘s other neighbors through dialogue and negotiations, rather than through pressure and confrontation. Moon named Lee Sang-chul, a professor of security studies at Sungshin Women’s University, as first vice chief of the NSO, and Kim Ki-jung, a professor of political studies and international relations at Yonsei University, as second vice chief. Both Lee and Kim are regarded as doves who support resolving the North Korean nuclear issue through dialogue and peaceful cooperation.

Moon Chung-in alludes to adjusting May 24 sanctions on North Korea

After Moon Chung-in, President Moon Jae-in’s special advisor on unification, diplomacy and security, suggested that it would be “practically necessary to adjust” the May 24 measures seven years after the measures were first imposed, conservative criticism of unconditional concessions to North Korea appears to be making a comeback. “In order for the newly launched administration to take the initiative in inter-Korean relations, it needs to recognize the limitations of the May 24 measures and to resolve these in a forward-looking manner,” Moon said during a media interview on May 24, with the caveat that he was expressing his personal opinion.

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

Trump finalizes 4-point strategy on N. Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump has approved a four-point policy plan on North Korea revolving around using "every possible pressure" while looking for a diplomatic solution, a South Korean lawmaker said Thursday. A bipartisan group of South Korean politicians met with Joseph Yun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea policy. Yun briefed the lawmakers on the Trump administration's approach toward Pyongyang. Trump signed a comprehensive policy report by the State Department about two weeks ago, Yun was quoted as saying by Rep. Kim Kwan-young of the opposition People's Party.

Putin tells Seoul’s envoy he will mediate with Pyongyang

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he is willing to play a mediating role between the two Koreas by dispatching an emissary to Pyongyang to help relieve the state of crisis on the Korean Peninsula, according to President Moon Jae-in’s special envoy to Moscow. Ruling Democratic Party Rep. Song Young-gil, Moon’s special envoy to Russia, said Putin during their 45 minute meeting on Wednesday evening also conveyed his willingness to call U.S. President Donald Trump to try to make an atmosphere conducive to dialogue between the United States and North Korea. Song, a fourth-term lawmaker, said when he asked Putin whether he would consider sending a special envoy to Pyongyang to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to discern his intentions, the Russian leader replied, “I am willing.”

Committee instructs FSC to get tougher

The new government’s policy advisory committee pressed the country’s top financial regulatory agency to more strictly regulate conglomerates with financial affiliates on Thursday. The Financial Services Commission reported the progress of its policy initiatives to the advisory committee for state affairs planning, a de facto power transition team under the Moon Jae-in administration. “Along with the market distortions and protection needed for financial consumers, the construction of a comprehensive oversight system is critically important,” said Lee Han-joo, head of the economy division of the committee. The committee is governed by Rep. Kim Jin-pyo of the Democratic Party.

Moon will pay for his own groceries in Blue House

President Moon Jae-in has decided he will not use the Blue House budget to pay for his private expenses, including groceries for his wife and himself and even food for his pets. “From now on, meals that are not parts of official meetings will be paid from the president’s own money,” said Lee Joung-do, general affairs secretary of the Blue House. “We will stop using the state budget to pay for meals and personal purchases of the presidential family. It is the president’s strong will to clearly distinguish what should be paid with tax money and what should not.”

Lotte chairman reiterates plan for more jobs

Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin reaffirmed his intent to expand the company’s employment and improve corporate culture on Thursday. Shin’s promise at a ceremony Thursday comes at a time when the new government under President Moon Jae-in is aggressively releasing plans and pledges to create jobs and shift temporary workers to full-time status. The Lotte ceremony marks the second anniversary of the group’s proclamation to create a favorable labor-management culture under which labor unions of all affiliates and management leaders would promote cooperation.

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

President Moon, "We Said What We Had to Say about THAAD and the Comfort Women"

On May 24, President Moon Jae-in said, "I think we said what we had to say about the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and the comfort women agreement." Moon spoke these words after receiving a report from the special envoys to the U.S., China and Japan at Cheong Wa Dae this afternoon. He further said, "I think we achieved a lot despite the rushed decision, hasty preparations and quick departure." "We will have to hold a summit meeting with these countries in the future, and I think the visits were significant as preparation for such meetings. The nation's diplomacy had been non-existent due to the long chaos in our political situation, but I think the latest visits filled that gap and sutured wounds," Moon said.

A Soldier Found "Guilty" for Loving Another Man

Army Chief of Staff Jang Joon-kyu was accused of ordering officers to "Seek out and criminally punish homosexual soldiers," and in the midst of such controversy, the military court convicted a homosexual officer, who was subject to the investigation. Human rights groups condemned the latest decision saying, "It is an act that fuels hatred and discrimination," but the Army argued that punishment was inevitable for the officer "had sex with another man in the quarters for single officers located within the unit and not in a private space."

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

Samsung Electronics to Create 500 Bil. Won Fund for Secondary Suppliers

Samsung Electronics will create a fund worth 500 billion won from next month so that 3,000-or-so secondary suppliers could be paid in cash. This is a break from a long-held practice of large corporations that have avoided giving support to secondary and tertiary suppliers. The company said on May 25 that it would form a 500-billion-won fund by which its primary suppliers pay their partner firms in time and start running the fund from June 1. The fund is available to any primary supplier of Samsung Electronics in the form of no-interest loan for up to one year when it applies for a loan to pay for bills.

Nonghyup to Switch 5,200 Temps into Regular Workers

Nonghyup, or the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, has decided to convert 5,200 contract-based workers out of its 20,000 employees into full-time ones. In the long run, it plans to eliminate all temporary workers in its vast network of affiliates including Nonghyup Bank and Hanaro Mart. Given Nonghyup's size and impact on the financial service industry, it is likely that other service providers will follow suit. Kim Byung-won, chairman of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, said on May 25, "We have formed a group-wide job creation commission in order to address the temporary worker issue. We will review the issue for all affiliate organizations."

Small Business Loan Cosigning to Disappear from Next Year

Starting next year, companies whose number of years of operation are long than seven years won't have to put up a cosigner when getting a loan from banks. Others, however, cautioned that with cosigning eliminated the banks might reduce their loans or increase the interest rate. The Special Advisory Committee for State Affairs said this at the training center for the Financial Supervisory Service on May 25. Park Gwang-on, spokesperson for the committee, said, "In order to increase the competitiveness of the financial service industry, we need to strengthen 'incubating financing' and encourage entrepreneurs to create new ventures."

Shares of Samsung Electro-Mechanics and Samsung SDI Shoot up

The market paid keen attention to Samsung Electronics when its stock hit an all-time high at 2,351,000 won on May 8. The share prices of Samsung affiliated equipment makers, however, rose more steeply. Samsung Electro-Mechanics and Samsung SDI, which supply parts and components for Samsung Electronics, saw their share prices reach one-year highs on May 24. Samsung Electro-Mechanics was closed at 83,100 won, up 2.59 percent or 2,100 won from the previous day, while Samsung SDI rose 0.32 percent or 500 won to 158,000 won.

Virtual Currency Market Expands at a Rapid Pace

Rumors are spreading among Korea’s IT industry, fintech-related communities, and social networking sites that the investment in Ethereum generated a return of five-fold profits within a month.

The world’s virtual currency market is expanding at a torrid pace this year. The size of this market is estimated at about 95 trillion won as of May 24, a five-fold jump from 19.83 trillion won early this year. Daily trading volume marked more than a 30-fold increase, rising from about 100 billion won last year to 3.76 trillion won this year.

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

Economic aid to N. Korea becomes complicated issue in S. Korea

Providing rice or economic aid to hungry North Koreans has become a complicated political issue in South Korea as tensions still run high despite high expectations for a new era of engagement and inter-Korean reconciliation pushed by a liberal president in Seoul. North Korea has long been suspected of diverting foreign aid and economic assistance to war goods or showpiece state projects. Nevertheless, President Moon Jae-in, a former human rights lawyer, pledged a "two-track" approach: tough sanctions against provocations but engagement and dialogue otherwise.

N. Korea accuses S. Korean troops of opening fire at birds

North Korea's military accused South Korea of opening fire at birds flying across the heavily guarded inter-Korean border, refuting charges that the launch of balloons carrying propaganda leaflets sparked gunfire. The accusation came from a General Staff spokesman who claimed South Korean soldiers fired about 450 shots after mistaking a flock of birds for "flying" objects Tuesday. "The recent military provocation is a stopgap measure to check the war-weariness sweeping the puppet army in the face of (North Korea's) rapidly developing nuclear and ballistic rocket technology," the spokesman said in a statement carried Thursday by Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency.

Moon orders economy drive to reduce presidential expenses

South Korean President Moon Jae-in declared an unprecedented economy drive at his office and residence, saying he would not waste taxpayers' money on family meals, private activities, and personal commodities such as toothpaste. The president's office said it was ordered to cut down on this year's special funds and save 5.3 billion won that would be funneled into job creation and marginalized citizens. Moon would take the initiative and set an example for thrift and saving by using his own money on private activities and items. "I will use my salary to cover expenses on my family living," he said, calling for a clear line between official and private expenses like family meals and feed for pets.

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

BOK more upbeat on this year’s economy and keeps rate steady at 1.25%

The Bank of Korea (BOK) on Thursday predicted that this year’s economic performance will “exceed” 2.6 percent growth recently revised up by the central bank on stronger-than-expected exports and capital investment. “The trend of domestic economic growth has expanded, as exports and investment have improved,” said the central bank in a statement after a monetary policy meeting that kept the policy interest rate unchanged at 1.25 percent since its last cut in June last year.

Korea’s income disparity worsened by the fastest pace last year

Income inequality in South Korea worsened significantly last year, with the Gini coefficient rising at the fastest-ever pace since the data has been kept record in 2006, the government data showed on Thursday. According to data on income distribution status in 2016 released by the Statistics Korea on Thursday, the Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality for a country, jumped to 0.304 in 2016 from 0.295 in 2015, the highest figure since 2012 with 0.307. A reading of zero indicates complete income equality between the rich and poor while one means perfect inequality. The nation’s income distribution ratio stood at 5.45 last year, up 0.34 from 5.11 in the previous year.

SK Hynix to complete spinoff of foundry business SK Hynix System IC by next month

South Korea’s second largest memory chipmaker SK Hynix Inc. formerly announced starbusting its foundry business and named the new independent subsidiary SK Hynix System IC and its chief executive Kim Jun-ho, current SK Hynix President. In a regulatory filing on Wednesday, SK Hynix said the foundry will be wholly owned by SK Hynix. SK Hynix System IC will officially start operation on June 30 in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, where SK Hynix’ manufacturing facilities are located.

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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 Timeswww.nytimes.com inytletters@nytimes.com

Wall Street Journalwww.wsj.com support@wsj.com,service@wsj-asia.com

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

The Timeswww.thetimes.co.uk help@timesplus.co.uk

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

Chinese People's Dailywww.people.com.cn kf@people.cn

China Dailywww.chinadaily.com.cn circulation@chinadaily.com.cn

GwangmyeongDailywww.gmw.cn webmaster@gmw.cn

Japan's Yomiuriwww.yomiuri.co.jp japannews@yomiuri.com

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

Mainichiwww.mainichi.jp

Le Mondewww.ilemonde.com

Italy LaRepubblica www.quotidiano.repubblica.it vittorio.zucconi@gmail.com

Germany Frankfurter AllgemeineZeitungwww.faz.net anzeigen.ausland@faz.de

SüddeutscheZeitungwww.sueddeutsche.de forum@sueddeutsche.de

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

Sydney Morning Heraldwww.smh.com.au

Colombia Reportshttp://colombiareports.com

Bogota Free Planethttp://bogotafreeplanet.combfp@bogotafreeplanet.com

El Universalhttp://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english

Andeshttp://www.andes.info.ec/en

Ecuador Timeshttp://www.ecuadortimes.net

The Jordan Timeshttps://www.jordantimes.com

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

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

El Paishttp://elpais.com/elpais/inenglish.html

Philippine Daily Inquirerhttps://www.inquirer.net

Daily News Hungaryhttp://dailynewshungary.com

Budapest Timeshttp://budapesttimes.hu

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INVITATION

Chairwoman Ryoo Hyun-mi of the World Culinary Culture Exchange Association with the support of The Korea Post media, cordially invites the Madam and Family Members of Your Excellency, as well as Your Excellency, to participate in the 2017 World Cooking Festival at the Gwanghwamun Square in front of the Central Government Building Complex in Seoul

On Tuesday May 30, 2017. (Basically, a tent booth, one table and three chairs are provided.) Details follow:

1. Each Embassy is invited to display ready-made food and beverage and other national items of interest at its own Country Booth at the above venue for the visitors to buy and enjoy.

2. All proceeds from the sale belong wholly to the providing Embassy.

3. For related details and photos, please visit:

http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=3736 or

http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=3568

5. For inquries, please call 2298-1740, 010-9206-0200 (English), or 010-3388-1682 (Korean)

6. Ambassadors, Peers and Spouses attend the opening ceremony

10:40 hours, May 30, 2016: Arrive at the venue of the opening ceremony

11:00-11:30 hours: Attend Opening ceremony.

11:30-12:00 hours: Opening ceremony and performances

12:00 hours: Ambassadors and Madams invited to Luncheon at Sejong Hall hosted by Chairperson Madam Ryoo Hyun-mi of the Organizing Committee.

Note: Luncheon will be followed by presentation of Plaques of Citation for the winning teams and a tour of the different booths.

Drivers of the ambassadors may park their cars free of charge at the Public Parking Lot of the Sejong-no at the Sejong Daero 189.

*Free parking support (only for embassy vehicle) at the Public parking lot in Sejong-ro(189, Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu)

7. Booth participation by each country

Traditional food and traditional goods can be put on exhibition and for sale possible from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Booth for each country is 3 meters by 3 meters, which is offered free of charge together with a long table, three chairs, electricity, potable water.

Each participating Embassy will be presented with gifts worth 150,000 won.

8. Traditional cooking contest

Ginseng will be distributed to each participating Embassy free of charge in advance which the participating Embassy can use in the preparation of their traditional foods to be displayed and sold at their booth.

At 2 p.m., there will be an awarding ceremony for the outstanding country booths and they will be offered in the name of the National Assembly Speaker, the Seoul City Mayor, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Minister of Women and Family, the National Assembly Standing Committee Chairman’s Award, and the Festival Organizing Committee Chairman’s Award.

Personnel of the Embassy at the National Booths are encouraged to wear their traditional clothes for the promotion of their culture to the Korean people.

Offer of the Ginseng to each Embassy for inclusion in the preparation of the traditional foods of the participating countries will be offered at an appropriate time to insure freshness of ginseng.

Ginseng offered to each participating Embassy to be used in mixture of their traditional foods for display and sale at their booth will consist of raw ginseng, red ginseng, ginseng powder, and ginseng liquid.

9. Traditional cultural performances

Each cultural performance team from the Embassy presenting performances from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. will be paid 300,000 won in preparation and performance cost.

For any inquiries, please call Mr. Kim Sung-min at 010-9205-0200 (English) or Ms. Kim Jung-mi at 010-3388-1682 (Korean).

Very Respectfully Yours

/s/

Lee Kyung-sik

Publisher-Chairman

The Korea Post media

이경식  edt@koreapost.com

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