The Korean daily media headlines and humor
Tuesday, June 13, 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:
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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:
President Moon Presses Main Opposition to Pass Extra Budget for Jobs
"If we leave the current unemployment situation unattended, it could become an economic crisis at a national disaster level." President Moon Jae-in said that the current job situation could turn into a national economic disaster. The South Korean president on Monday spoke before the National Assembly, asking for the rival parties' swift passage of his administration's extra budget request. He argued that the proposed eleven-point-two-trillion won or nine-point-95 billion dollar spending will create around 110-thousand jobs.
Bank of Korea Hints Exit from Expansive Monetary Policy
The Bank of Korea(BOK) has hinted at wrapping up its expansive monetary policy. In his speech marking the 67th founding anniversary of the central bank on Monday, BOK Governor Lee Ju-yeol discussed the possible policy shift. While noting the still low inflationary pressure, Lee said that the central bank must review the possible need for adjusting the extent of its monetary easing should the economy continue to improve. The BOK chief predicted that this year’s economic growth will exceed an outlook announced in April due to increased exports and investments and the gradual recovery in domestic consumption.
Japanese Car Sales Grow in S. Korea
Sales of Japanese cars are growing in South Korea’s import car market. Data by the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association show Japanese automakers Lexus, Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Infiniti accounted for 17-point-two percent of the country's import car market in May. The figure represents an increase of about six percentage points from 2014, a year before German automaker Volkswagen's massive emissions scandal.
IAEA chief expresses serious concern about N.K. nuclear program
The chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog expressed serious concern Monday about North Korea's nuclear program and urged Pyongyang to come into compliance with its international obligations. "I remain seriously concerned about the nuclear program of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano told a meeting in Vienna of the agency's Board of Governors, according to the U.N. website. "It is deeply regrettable that the DPRK continues to show no sign that it is willing to comply with relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions," he said.
S. Korea coach vows to end away drought in World Cup qualifier
South Korea men's football head coach Uli Stielike has said his team is ready to end an ongoing away drought in the World Cup qualifying stage this week. South Korea will take on Qatar at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha on Tuesday in a key qualifying match for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The kickoff is 10 p.m. Tuesday (local time) and 4 a.m. Wednesday in Seoul. At a press conference held on the eve of the contest, Stielike said his players are prepared for a victory.
S. Korea's reversal on THAAD could give Trump pretext for troop withdrawal
South Korea could end up giving U.S. President Donald Trump a pretext to pull American troops out of the country if it reverses the decision to host the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system, a U.S. expert warned. Scott Snyder, chief Korea analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations, made the case in an article in Forbes magazine after Seoul suspended the deployment of an additional four THAAD launchers pending an environmental assessment.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Moon urges parliament to approve supplementary budget
President Moon Jae-in on Monday urged lawmakers to approve supplementary budget plans, stressing the government’s role in job creation in his first parliamentary address. “Today, I stand here to explain the reasons for drawing up the supplementary budget plans and its content, to ask for the understanding and cooperation of lawmakers,” Moon said at the National Assembly’s main chamber in Yeouido, Seoul. Cheong Wa Dae said he was the nation’s first president to address the legislature over an extra budget.
Liberty Korea Party leadership race shapes up
The main opposition Liberty Korea Party is preparing to elect its new party leadership in early July, with the race widely expected to be a showdown between supporters and opponents of the party’s previous presidential candidate, Hong Joon-pyo. The former South Gyeongsang Province governor remains a divisive figure among party lawmakers. While he is credited for the party’s better-than-expected performance in the election -- Hong landed in second place despite the blow of President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment -- some party members worry that Hong’s hard-line stance and sharp rhetoric scares away moderate voters.
Korean actress donates to Sri Lanka flood relief
Korean actress Lee Young-ae donated roughly $50,000 to Sri Lanka to help support flood relief in the country. Flooding was caused by a heavy monsoon in the latter half of May. The money was handed over to the Sri Lankan Embassy in Seoul on June 5 through the Korea Foundation for Persons with Disabilities, where Lee is an advisory chairperson. The actress said she was “deeply saddened by the lost lives and homes from the severe flooding” and that she wanted to help with the recovery in any way she could. Lee is famous and beloved in Sri Lanka for her role “Changumi” in the 2003 historical drama series “Jewel in the Palace,” which was hugely popular when it aired on Sri Lankan television.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
President calls for bipartisan support for job creation
President Moon Jae-in called for bipartisan passage of an 11.2-trillion-won ($9.95 billion) supplementary budget bill drawn up for the creation of jobs for young people in a speech to the National Assembly, Monday. This is the first time that a president has given a parliamentary speech regarding an extra budget. His visit to the Assembly comes as his reform measures and personnel affairs face a deadlock just a month after the start of the new government mainly due to protests from the opposition-dominated parliament. The government submitted the budget bill Wednesday, hoping for its passage during the Assembly's June session.
False address issue haunt minister nominees
Several of Moon Jae-in government's top official nominees have been embroiled in false residence registration allegations. Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, Foreign Minister nominee Kang Kyung-wha and Fair Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman nominee Kim Sang-jo had falsely registered their addresses in the past and they admitted it. The false residence registration has become a hot issue in their qualification during last week's confirmation hearings, while it used to be a minor problem in the previous administrations, where government official nominees were caught in much more serious irregularities.
More court rulings siding with conscientious objectors
A local court ruled in favor of three conscientious objectors who refused to serve in the Korean military, Thursday, bringing the number of people acquitted to 30. Amnesty International and human rights activists welcomed the verdict, calling it significant progress. They also expect alternative service to become available under the Moon Jae-in administration, one of Moon's pledges during his presidential campaign. A district court in Daegu ruled Thursday that "conscientious objection is just" as denying this would be a "violation of conscientiousness," a right protected by the Constitution.
LG Chem signs 7 trillion won battery deals with Volkswagen
LG Chem has agreed to supply electric-vehicle batteries to Volkswagen. The 7 trillion won worth contract is the largest deal to supply battery cells between the company and a sole provider.
According to the report of the Dong-A Ilbo on Monday, LG Chem signed a massive battery contract with Volkswagen for its Modular Electric Drive (MEB) project, replacing China’s CATL, the last competitor.
Volkswagen unveiled its MEB project and announced to switch to electric vehicle (EV) by 100 percent at the Paris Motor Show in last October. The German auto company plans to release 30 types of EVs by 2025.
Pyongyang sheds unusual light on 2000 inter-Korean summit
Uriminzokkiri, the state-controlled news website of North Korea, introduced an article on Monday about the inter-Korean summit meeting in 2000 between then South Korean President Kim Dae-joong and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Il, with the title “And He Said There Wouldn’t Be Any Disappointment.” “Overwhelmed by the long-cherished dream of visiting the North for the first time as well as our utmost hospitality, President Kim and his entourage appeared a little wooden,” the article recounted. “Then, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il broke the ice, quipping that he was wondering if they had a small meal for breakfast to feast on the luncheon that Pyongyang had to offer.”
Stielike-led S. Korean team to face off Qatar
Qatar, which will face off South Korea in the eighth game in Group A of the Asian qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, is the lowest-ranked team in the group at 6th place (score point of 4, one win, one draw and five losses). South Korea is overwhelming the Middle East country by posting five wins, two draws and one loss in past A matches between the two teams. The only loss that Korea incurred was 0-1 defeat in the finals of the Asian Cup in 1984.
BAI to focus probe on suspected avoiding of environmental impact assessment
The Board of Audit and Inspection plans to focus its inspection on the suspicion that the Defense Ministry might have sought to avoid environmental impact assessment in the process of deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system, it was confirmed Sunday. Judging that the ministry’s own inspection will only have limited effect, the board, primarily its defense inspection bureau, is monitoring the process through which the THAAD was deployed. “The senior presidential secretary for civil affairs completed its own probe, but a probe into the entire process of THAAD deployment including suspected avoiding of environmental impact assessment has not been completed,” a senior official at the presidential office said, before mentioning the need for additional inspection into defense ministry officials’ duties and work by the Board of Audit and Inspection.
Savings Rate Soars to Highest in 19 Years
Korea's savings rate has reached the highest level in almost 20 years amid fears that consumption is drying up even further. Less private spending means slower production of goods and a decline in new hires.
Korea's savings rate in the first quarter of this year reached 36.9 percent, the highest since 37.2 percent in the third quarter of 1998, at the height of the Asian financial crisis. In the first quarter of 1998, the rate soared to 40.6 percent as banks paid up to 17.71 percent interest. But now banks pay at best 1.45 percent and buoyant exports point to a gradual emergence from the slump.
Young Consumers Spend Less Amid Soaring Rental Costs
Private spending has declined even among Koreans in their 20s, who have traditionally been the most avid consumers. According to Hyundai Research Institute on Sunday, average monthly spending by people in their 20s fell from W1.7 million in 2007 to W1.5 million last year (US$1=W1,125). Private spending in their 30s and over 60 also declined slightly, but it rose by W200,000 a head among people in their 40s and 50s.
Search of Ferry Wreck to Wrap up by August
The search for the remains of missing passengers inside the wreck of the ferry Sewol will be wrapped up by the end of August. Search workers on Sunday said they hope to complete the initial search of the passenger decks by this week and then conduct a second detailed probe by the end of this month. They will start combing through the cargo bay in July. The remains of four out of nine missing passengers have been found inside the salvaged wreck.
Pres. Moon proposes “grand societal consensus” to address growing polarization
Newly formed dialogue body will work toward economic democracy, with the president playing a direct role “I am convinced that a future leap forward for us lies in a grand societal consensus of giving a little, sharing burdens, and narrowing the gap. I would like to ask all economic actors to participate toward a true tripartite grand consensus, among labor, business and government.” President Moon Jae-in has put achieving a “grand societal consensus to achieve economic democracy” front and center among the governance projects for his new administration. In a June 10 address for the 30th anniversary of the June 1987 democratization movement, Moon stressed that a consensus would “not be easy, but it is something we must accomplish.”
Three more conscientious objectors found not guilty
On June 8, the Gimcheon branch of the Daegu District Court found three men who had been indicted not guilty for their conscientious objection to military service. That makes 13 conscientious objectors who have been found not guilty this year. Of the 30 cases in which conscientious objectors have been cleared of charges since the first such case in 2004, close to half have occurred this year. With the Constitutional Court delaying its decision on conscientious objection and the government and lawmakers hesitating to introduce an alternative military service system, judges at district courts appear to be using not guilty verdicts to emphasize the need for a social consensus.
A young man who lost his vision making Samsung smartphones testifies before UN
In testimony before UN Human Rights Council, Kim Yeong-shin seeking justice from the government and Samsung “What you’re holding in your hand right now contains my life,” the young South Korean man said, pointing to Samsung and LG smartphones. Kim Yeong-shin, 29, was standing at the microphone during the 35th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland, on the morning of June 9. After working at a mobile phone supplier for Samsung in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province, for just two weeks in Jan. 2015, Kim suffered methanol poisoning and loss of vision.
Japanese politician calls for “extermination” of groups opposed to comfort women agreement?
During a visit to South Korea as the special envoy of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, stirred up controversy with a series of gaffes about South Korea and Japan’s Dec. 28 2015 agreement about the comfort women. Considering that Nikai is aligned with a relatively moderate and reasonable faction in the Japanese political establishment, this shows once again that there is a major gap between South Korean and Japanese attitudes toward the agreement.
President asks to normalize state affairs
President Moon Jae-in asked the National Assembly on Monday to support his efforts to normalize state affairs, but his appeal to end the deadlock over his nominees was snubbed by the main opposition party.
Moon went to the legislature in the afternoon and gave a policy speech to ask the ruling and opposition parties to pass his proposal to spend a supplementary budget to create jobs. He was the first president ever to give a policy speech at the legislature to explain a supplementary budget plan.
BOK chief hints at possible rate increase
The head of Korea’s central bank on Monday hinted at the possibility of an interest rate increase for the first time in a year, citing economic recovery from brisk exports and a new fiscal spending plan under President Moon Jae-in, who was elected last month. “It’s necessary to keep the current monetary easing policy due to uncertainties from both domestic and abroad,” Lee Ju-yeol, governor of the Bank of Korea, said at an event celebrating the bank’s 67th anniversary in Seoul. “However, should it become more conspicuous that economic conditions will continue to improve, we may need to adjust the degree of monetary easing.”
Moon tells Nikai ‘Let’s face reality’
While stressing the public’s dissatisfaction toward the 2015 agreement between Seoul and Tokyo to settle Japan’s wartime sexual slavery of Korean women, President Moon Jae-in presented Monday a two-track approach to separate the issue from efforts to improve bilateral relations in other areas. Moon met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s special envoy at the Blue House. Toshihiro Nikai, secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, made the visit with other senior officials and delivered Abe’s letter, which Moon commented on, presidential spokesman Park Soo-hyun said.
The KyungHyangShinmoon (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
President Moon, "Our New Challenge Is Economic Democracy"
President Moon Jae-in presented "economic democracy" as an issue on the 30th anniversary of the June 10 Democratic Uprising. He made it clear that economic inequality had reached a level that threatened South Korea's democracy, which celebrated its thirtieth year, and suggested a grand social agreement as the solution. At the ceremony celebrating the 30th anniversary of the June 10 pro-democracy movement held at Seoul Plaza on June 10, the president said, "Democracy as an institution will no longer shake or retreat," and stressed, a "broader, deeper, and firmer democracy." At the same time, he also said, "Our new challenge is to establish democracy in our economy."
"Watching the Candlelight 30 Years Later, I Knew that the Sacrifice of That Day Was Not in Vain"
An American photographer came to South Korea for the first time in 1986 at the age of 33. It was a time prior to the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, when interest in traveling to South Korea grew. At first, foreign visitors to Korea mostly took tourist photos of Jeju-do Island. Then when the pro-democracy movements intensified, the streets where students and citizens shouted, "Out with the dictator" became the topic of interest for the foreign press. When the year 1987 came along, the American photographer also began walking down the streets of Seoul.
Failure by Taking Too Much Time Was a Lesson Learned from the Participatory Government
With the Moon Jae-in administration making some massive demotionary appointments of high-ranking prosecutors on June 8, the reshuffle of the prosecution initiated by the so-called ‘dinner with cash envelopes’ is advancing rapidly. Circles in and out of the prosecution interpret this as a sign of strong will by President Moon Jae-in: he is determined to not repeat the same failure to reform the prosecution as in the case of the participatory government, and he will start the reform based on an extensive shake-up of the organization. It is expected that institutional reform will soon be in full stride when the minister of justice and the prosecutor general are selected: the reform measures will include the establishment of Investigation Office Against Corrupt Practices by High-Ranking Officials (the “Investigation Office”) and the dispersion of prosecution’s power through the adjustment of investigation authorities.
The Korea Economic Daily (http://english.hankyung.com/)
Korea's Exports on the Verge of Downturn After Seven Months of Growth
Korea's exports are showing a sign of downturn after enjoying a robust growth for seven straight months. During the first ten days of this month, the nation's exports registered a negative year to year growth of 12.2 percent. Some analysts blamed the negative growth on the base effect resulting from the extraordinary surge in ship orders seen a year ago. Despite the negative signal, however, it's unlikely that the nation's shipments would continue a downward movement, particularly given that the growth of its flagship export items such as semiconductors and petrochemical products remains strong.
LG Chem's Water Treatment Filter Business on the Rise
LG Chemical clinched an exclusive order to supply water treatment filters for Egypt's largest desalination facility. This order followed LG Chemical' previous success in winning an 250,000 ton order from Oman last year. LG Chemical which jumped into the desalination filter business by acquiring the US tech start-up Nano H20 in 2014, is establishing a clearer profile in this business. LG Chemical announced on June 11 that it was chosen as a sole supplier of Reverse osmosis (RO) filters for a 300,000 ton desalination plant which is now being built by a global water treatment company Metito. The plant is located between El Galalah and Port Said.
Gas Stations in Crisis...Due to Gov't-Supported Low-cost Filling Stations
The nation's gas stations are going out of business in droves due to excessive competition and increasingly declining oil prices. There are more "ghost" filling stations than ever before on major local roads. Many gasoline station owners complained about government-supported low-cost service stations for causing the current state of affairs. According to the Korea Oil Station Association, the number of petrol stations shrank to 12,010 as of the end of last year from 12,901 in 2011. Last year alone, 763 locations were closed for business while only 66 were opened for business.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Venezuela, anti-government protest continues
Emergency personnel treat an injured man during a protest near to the Supreme Court (TSJ) in Caracas, Venezuela, 12 June 2017. Venezuela's Supreme Court has rejected the chief prosecutor's motion to stop President Nicolas Maduro's push to rewrite the constitution. The decision follows over two months of sometimes violent anti-government protests that continue to rock the nation.
Syrian army gains control over border from ISIS
Syrian soldiers flash a V-sign atop a tank at the frontlines near the Syrian-Iraqi border in Al-Tanf, Homs province, Syria, 12 June 2017. The Syrian army on 12 June said it had gained control over the Iraq-bordering area bordering from the jihadist militia referring to itself as Islamic State (IS).
CJ Group resumes active investment to expand at home and abroad
CJ Cheiljedang, a key subsidiary of South Korea's food and entertainment conglomerate, CJ Group, will resume its aggressive business expansion under chairman Lee Jay-hyun who came back to his office last month after four years of absence. Cheiljedang, a major food and food service company, earmarked some 900 billion won (799 million US dollars) in building a new plant at home and acquiring Selecta, a Brazilian company that manufactures soy protein concentrate. Some 540 billion won will be spent on building South Korea's largest processed food production facility capable of producing 120,000 tons of products annually in the southern city of Jincheon by 2020. The company will use 360 billion won to buy Selecta, a major producer of sustainable vegetable proteins.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
CJ Cheil Jedang to invest $796 mn in food processing facility, buyout deal
CJ CheilJedang Corp., the core and food manufacturing unit of South Korea’s CJ Group, will invest a total of 900 billion won ($796.5 million) to build the country’s biggest food processing factory and acquire world’s leading soy product supplier Sementes Selecta S.A. The company’s bold investment decision comes a few weeks after Lee Jae-hyun, chairman of the country’s leading retail, food, and entertainment conglomerate CJ Group, returned to the helm following his absence for four years, which had led the group companies to restrain themselves from any major investment.
BOK chief indicates shift in loose monetary policy depending on growth pace
Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol for the first time indicated Monday that the central bank may consider ending its loose monetary policy on more convincing signs of pickup in the economy. “The economy has been progressing, but the growth path is still highly uncertain and demand-end inflationary pressure not that great,” Lee told a bank ceremony marking its 67th anniversary of establishment. “If the economic conditions show clear improvement, there may be a need to adjust our monetary policy. We would have to closely study the option,” he said.
LG Display shifts new fab design to mass-produce small-sized OLED panels
South Korea’s LG Display Co. plans to mass-produce organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels for smartphones from 2019 at an estimated cost of 4 trillion won ($3.5 billion) at its new P10 fab under construction in Paju, Gyeonggi Province originally designed for OLED TV panels. According to industry sources on Sunday, LG Display briefed the plan to transform the new P10 fab function to turn out small- to mid-sized panels to LG Group Vice Chairman Koo Bon-joon during the group’s regular strategic meeting held last week discussing mid- to long-term business plans. The P10 production line will be capable of turning out 30,000 substrates a month, supplies enough to mount on 50 million to 60 million 6-inch phones a year. An official from the company said that LG Display Vice Chairman Han Sang-beom recently visited Japan to meet panel equipment makers including Canon Tokki to order equipments for the P10 production line.
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