The Korean daily media headlines and humor
Friday, June 16, 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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Korea Post Media
Thank you Madams for the prompt attention given to our Who’s Who among the Spouses of the Ambassadors in our next (June 2017) issue.
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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:
Seoul Ready for Talks if N. Korea Stops Provocations
President Moon Jae-in said Thursday that Seoul is willing to hold talks with no conditions attached if North Korea stops further nuclear and missile provocations. Speaking at an event marking the 17th anniversary of the historic inter-Korean summit in June 2000, Moon said said North Korea's decision to abandon its nuclear ambitions will demonstrate its determination to implement inter-Korean agreements. He said that if the North acts on this decision, South Korea will actively support it. The president also said that Seoul is urging a response from the North and is willing to discuss ways to implement previous cross-border agreements.
THAAD Among Major Agendas of Moon-Trump Summit
U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon has confirmed in an exclusive interview with KBS that the THAAD antimissile battery will be among the key agendas of the upcoming South Korea-U.S. summit.
During the interview held at the end of his three-day visit to South Korea Thursday, Shannon said it is important to deploy the U.S. missile defense system to South Korea in a way that satisfies both parties.
US Defense Secretary Emphasizes Diplomatic Solution to N. Korean Nuke Issue
The U.S. defense chief says Washington is trying to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue through diplomatic means in order to avoid a “catastrophic war” on the Korean Peninsula. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis relayed the position at a hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on Thursday. While suggesting that the U.S. would prevail in a war with the North, Mattis said it would be a war more serious in terms of human suffering than anything seen since the Korean War.
U.S. student released from N. Korea has severe brain damage
A comatose American college student released from North Korea this week has severe brain damage and is in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness," a doctor was quoted as saying Thursday. Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old University of Virginia student, returned to his Ohio home in a coma earlier this week after spending 17 months in the North on charges of stealing a political propaganda poster. North Korean officials claimed Warmbier fell into a coma in March last year due to botulism and a sleeping pill. "He has spontaneous eye opening and blinking," said Dr. Daniel Kanter, director of neurocritical care for the University of Cincinnati Health system, according to AP. "However, he shows no signs of understanding language, responding to verbal commands or awareness of his surroundings. He has not spoken."
U.S. exhausting all diplomatic efforts to resolve N.K. nuclear issue without using force
The United States is exhausting all possible diplomatic efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue without using force because war with the North would result in massive human suffering unseen since the Korean War, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday. "We will win. It will be a war more serious in terms of human suffering than anything we've seen since 1953. It will involve the massive shelling of an ally's capital, which is one of the most densely packed cities on earth," Mattis said during a House Appropriations Committee hearing. That's why President Donald Trump has directed one of the highest priority efforts to resolve the issue diplomatically, Mattis said. When Trump hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping in April, only two issues came up, and North Korea is one of them, he said. "We are working through China to ensure that China understands that North Korea is today a strategic burden for them, is not a strategic asset and China's actually responded in some ways positively," Mattis said.
S. Korea's export prices down 1 pct in May on strong won
South Korea's export prices fell slightly in May from a month earlier due to the strong won and a drop in oil prices, central bank data showed Friday. In local currency terms, overall export prices fell 1 percent month-on-month in May, according to preliminary data provided by the Bank of Korea (BOK). Still, year-on-year, export prices jumped 5.3 percent last month, marking the seventh consecutive month of gains.
The dollar came to an average of 1,125.28 won during the month, down 0.7 percent from April. For exporters, the won's gain means decreased income as dollar-denominated earnings from their overseas businesses fall in value when repatriated into the local currency.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Finance minister holds talks with head of China-led regional lender
Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon held talks on Thursday with Jin Liqun, president of a Chinese-led regional lender, during which the two sides agreed to step up cooperation, officials said. The talks between Kim and Jin were held a day before the annual meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in South Korea's southern island of Jeju. During the meeting, Kim told Jin that South Korea wants to develop "strategic cooperation" with the AIIB, Kim's ministry said in a statement.
Kim Jong-un nervous about assassination
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un seems to feel “extremely nervous” about the allies’ possible clandestine operation to eliminate him, South Korea’s intelligence agency told lawmakers Thursday. Due to concerns over potential airstrikes and assassination attempts, the young tyrant prefers to move at dawn and uses his subordinates’ cars, such as a Lexus car, not his own Mercedes-Benz 600, the National Intelligence Services told a closed-door parliamentary session, according to Rep. Lee Cheol-woo of the main opposition Liberty Party of Korea, who attended the meeting.
Moon says talks possible if North Korea halts tests
President Moon Jae-in said Thursday he would pursue talks with North Korea if it halts nuclear and missile tests, heralding a sweeping turnaround in Seoul’s policy that has long centered on sanctions and pressure. Marking the 17th anniversary for a watershed inter-Korean peace declaration in 2000, Moon made a first dialogue offer for the first time since taking office just about a month ago. He even displayed his willingness to hold parallel negotiations on denuclearization and a peace treaty --something Beijing has called for but Seoul has refused -- in return for a moratorium on weapons experiments.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
'Dialogue possible if N. Korea suspends nuclear program'
President Moon Jae-in said Thursday that he is open to dialogue with North Korea if the Kim Jong-un regime suspends its nuclear and ballistic missile provocations. In a speech to mark the 17th anniversary of the first inter-Korean summit in 2000, Moon also said the inter-Korean agreements made between the liberal Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, and North Korea's Kim Jong-il in the 2000s should be carried out regardless of any change in government. He cited a need to seek methods to legalize such agreements, while urging Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program and honor the inter-Korean accords.
Moon shrugs off opposition to appoint FM nominee
President Moon Jae-in indicated Thursday he will appoint Kang Kyung-wha as foreign minister despite the opposition parties' objections. "As far as I know, Kang is a wonderful, courageous woman. As a career diplomat, she is widely recognized in the United Nations and in the international diplomatic field," Moon said during a meeting with his senior secretaries. "I will respect the will of the people, and hope the opposition parties will do so as well." Moon requested the National Assembly yet again to approve Kang as foreign minister by Saturday. The nominee had failed to get parliamentary confirmation due to the objections from the opposition, which allege she is incompetent and unethical.
Family of 'rope-cut' murder victim gets outpouring of support
A fund has been launched to raise money to help the family of the high-rise apartment painter who died in a tragic "rope-cutting" murder on June 8. Citizens were heartbroken after they heard the painter had left a widow and five children, the oldest 18 and the youngest 27 months. Ungsang Story, an internet cafe for Yangsan residents, started the fund on Wednesday to help the family. "I was so heartbroken after I heard the story," one person posted on the fund's site. "We do not know where the five children and wife live, but hope we can be of help wherever they live."
Samsung starts mass production of 4G NAND flash memory
Samsung Electronics, a leader of global NAND flash market, has begun mass production of 4G (64 layer) 256 giga bit, 3 bit V-Nand Flash. This move is aimed at reaffirming their status as world leader in semi-conductor business. On Wednesday, the South Korean electronics giant announced that half the share of its total production will be dedicated to 4G V-NAND flash starting from this year. NAND flash is a type of memory semi-conductor, which automatically saves data when turned off unlike DRAM memories. Thanks to such attribute, NAND flashes are mainly used for mobile devices including smartphones as well as solid-state drives (SSD), a next-generation storing device. Samsung Electronics is also planning to expand the scope of products with V-NAND flashes, including servers and personal computers.
N. Korean leader reduces public activities for fear over ‘decaptation’ plan
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has beefed up personal security and reduced public activities for fears over the South Korea-U.S. joint plan to “decapitate” North Korean leadership. According to Lee Cheol-woo, chairman of the National Assembly’s intelligence committee and a member of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party of Korea, the National Intelligence Service (NIS), South Korea’s spy agency, had reported to the parliament that Kim Jong Un’s public activities decreased by 32 percent so far this year from a year earlier. “This indicates that he is very much concerned about the decapitation plan,” Lee said. The lawmaker added that Kim is desperately gathering intelligence on the “decapitation” plan by using his spy agency and that he even uses other senior officials’ vehicles to make visits to local areas, rather than using his own car.
US official visited Pyongyang to evacuate Warmbier
Joseph Y. Yun, the State Department’s special representative for North Korea and the U.S.’s chief representative for the six party talks, came back from his recent visit to North Korea per instructions given by U.S. President Donald Trump to evacuate Otto F. Warmbier (22), American college student who is in a comma after having been detained in Pyongyang. His return is drawing attention from the public with forecasts about a possible dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang over North Korea’s nuclear program as Yun is the first U.S. working level official in charge of policy toward North Korea to visit the reclusive nation since the inception of Trump’s administration, while the U.S. and South Korea are having their first presidential summit in Washington on June 29.
Should Big Trials Like Park's Be Televised Live?
A survey of 2,900 judges last week found that 73 percent of them believe trials of vital public interest like those of ex-President Park Geun-hye should be televised live, the Supreme Court said Wednesday.
Some 67 percent of the judges said the trials should be televised in part or in their entirety. But 35 percent said the final hearing, which encompasses the final defense of the accused, should be televised live only if the defendant agrees.
U.S. Announces Global Alert Against N.Korean Hackers
The U.S. government has issued a global alert against a group of North Korean hackers known as "Hidden Cobra," citing major global hacking incidents that have occurred since 2009. The Computer Emergency Readiness Team of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI in a joint statement warned of additional cyberattacks by the group of hackers targeting international media, and the financial, air transport and aerospace industries.
Huge Proportion of Assets Tied up in Real Estate
Real estate holdings accounted for a whopping 74 percent of net household assets here as of last year, according to the Bank of Korea on Wednesday. In the U.S., U.K. and Japan the ratio stands at only between 35 to 55 percent. The BOK said the total national wealth stood at W13.1 quadrillion as of the end of 2016, up 5.8 percent from the previous year (US$1=W1,127). Of that, household net assets stood at W7.54 quadrillion, state assets at W3.54 quadrillion, non-financial corporations at W1.72 quadrillion and financial corporations at W275.6 trillion.
American student released in a coma after 17 months in North Korea
Following an unexpected visit to Pyongyang, US State Department official Joseph Yun brought back American university student Otto Warmbier, 22, who had been detained in North Korea for 17 months, to his home in Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 13. Yun is the Special Representative for North Korea Policy and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Korea and Japan in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. This was the first time a high-ranking American official has visited North Korea since Donald Trump became president, but the news that Warmbier has been in a coma for more than a year seems to be worsening Americans’ view of North Korea.
Behind the scenes work by officials led to Otto Warmbier’s release
It turns out that US and North Korean government officials had been secretly working behind the scenes since last month for the release of American university student Otto Warmbier, 22, who had been detained in North Korea for about 17 months. The interaction between North Korean and American officials goes back to the 1.5 track dialogue (talks between figures from the government and the private sector) that took place in Oslo, Norway, on May 8 and 9. The only North Korean official known to have attended the talks was Choe Son-hui, chief of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s North America bureau, while reports indicated that the only Americans in attendance were experts in the private sector including Suzanne DiMaggio, a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, and Robert Einhorn, a former US State Department special advisor for nonproliferation and arms control.
Moon administration bringing back North Korea policy officials from the era of engagement
The nomination of Cho Myung-gyun as Minister of Unification on June 13 effectively marked the last of the Moon Jae-in administration’s foreign affairs and national security Cabinet appointments. While the position of National Security Office second deputy director remains vacant and National Assembly confirmation hearings still have to be completed for Minister of Foreign Affairs nominee Kang Kyung-wha and other nominees, the outline for the new administration‘s foreign affairs and national security policy appears to be in place.
Moon proposes talks with North
President Moon Jae-in said Thursday he was willing to “sit knee-to-knee, head-on-head” with North Korea to discuss ways to implement the joint inter-Korean declarations promoting peace and cooperation between the two countries, adding that on the key agenda could be normalizing ties between Washington and Pyongyang and the establishment of a “peace regime” on the peninsula. The statement was laid out in Yeouido, western Seoul, during his congratulatory remarks in a ceremony that marked the 17th anniversary of the June 15th North-South Joint Declaration, signed between former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong-il.
Protesters stop traffic to check for Thaad devices
Tensions are surging between police and residents of Seongju County, North Gyeongsang, who have been on edge since the furtive delivery of key components of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) battery to their neighborhood golf course. Residents and protesters against the deployment of the U.S. Thaad system have been stationed by the road in Soseong-ri in Chojeon-myeon, Seongju, leading toward the golf course around two kilometers (1.2 miles) away, stopping vehicles and inspecting them to check if they are carrying Thaad-related equipment, guarding against anymore secretive delivery of antimissile battery parts.
Toshiba’s pick for buyer of memory unit delayed
Toshiba’s choice of the winning bid for its valuable memory chip making unit, widely speculated to take place on Thursday, was postponed. Western Digital, which jointly operates Toshiba’s main chip plant, has filed a court injunction to avert the sale and Bain Capital of the United States joined in at the last minute, along with a Japanese government-led consortium that includes SK Hynix as an auction suitor. Western Digital on Wednesday asked a court in California for an injunction to block the sale of Toshiba’s memory unit without its agreement - for fear that its rival would acquire the company.
The KyungHyangShinmoon (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Ahn Kyung-hwan's "Distorted" Gender Awareness Stirs Controversy
Professor Emeritus at Seoul National University Ahn Kyung-hwan, nominated as the first justice minister in the Moon Jae-in government is stirring controversy with his distorted gender awareness displayed in his book. On June 14, Ahn met with reporters on his way to work at a temporary office in Jongno-gu, Seoul and said, "I will leave the judgment (on the controversy surrounding my book) up to the readers, who have read the full contents of my book."
First Moon Jae-in Government Puts Emphasis on Regional Integration
The Moon Jae-in government's appointment of its first cabinet and senior Cheong Wa Dae staff has entered the final stages. People who share the new government's philosophy on state administration were appointed to the cabinet and Cheong Wa Dae, revealing the government's determination for reforms. As for the vice ministers, the government mainly appointed bureaucrats, showing that they focused on stability. The government achieved a balance in the regional background of the appointed officials, and the proportion of women in the cabinet is about to reach 30%. This is the result of an analysis of 56 people who were appointed to vice-ministerial or higher positions announced until June 14.
Cho Myung-kyun, Deeply Involved in the Economic Cooperation Between North and South Korea, Returns in Glory. All Seek to "Restore Operations at the Kaesong Indu
The Moon Jae-in government selected Cho Myung-kyun (Jo Myeong-gyun), former Cheong Wa Dae secretary for unification, foreign affairs and security policies, as its first minister of unification. Cho is an expert on North Korean policies in the unification ministry. He oversaw the details of the North-South Korea summit in October 2007 along with Suh Hoon, the director of the National Intelligence Service.
The latest decision brought about the assessment that President Moon revealed his determination to improve relations with the North.
The Korea Economic Daily (http://english.hankyung.com/)
Samsung's Pyeongtaek NAND Plant to Go on Line without Pomp and Circumstance
The chip production line of Samsung Electronics in Pyeongtaek for which the company invested 16 trillion won (US$14.1 billion) will go on line within this month. This is the world's largest semiconductor plant on a 2.89-million-square-meter site that will hire several thousands of workers. Including workers in supplier firms, the plant will likely create jobs as many as 150,000. Samsung said on June 15 that it has completed pilot runs for the plant and will start producing 64-layer 3D NAND flash chips in earnest. With this move, the company has established the world's largest semiconductor cluster linking Kiheung-Hwaseong-Pyeongtaek. Thanks to the timely semiconductor super-cycle, Samsung's new plant will be able to contribute enormously to the local economy.
Hyundai Steel Succeeds in Producing Auto Steel Prototypes Based on AlphaGo AI Algorithms
Hyundai Steel has succeeded in producing next-generation auto steel sheet prototypes based on artificial intelligence algorithms used in AlphaGo, the AI computer program developed by Alphabet Inc.'s Google DeepMind to play the board game Go. With this program, the company has improved the performance of the steel sheets by more than 40 percent. The steel maker announced on June 14 that it has applied the AlphaGo algorithms to its steel-making process after three years of R&D. AlphaGo, which beat Lee Sedol and Ke Jie, both the world's Go champions, has found optimal mixture ratios for metals in producing automotive steel sheets. As optimal ratios may change depending on weight, price, and customer requirements, researchers had to spend a lot of time to experiment and test.
Otis Sets up Its First Production Base in Songdo
Otis, the world's largest manufacturer of elevators and escalators, will set up a large-scale R&D center and state-of-the-art production plant at Songdo in Incheon. Otis is not alone. Other major elevator manufacturers such as Japan's Mitsubishi and Germany's Thyssen Krupp are expanding their investment in Korea, indicating that the country is emerging as a key testbed in the competition of the global elevator industry. On June 13, Otis Elevator signed an agreement with the Incheon metropolitan city government for the construction of the Otis R&D Center and a manufacturing plant in Songdo. With a floor space of 15,600 square meters, these facilities will be completed by 2018.
Korean Construction Firms Expect AIIB Investments to Bring Second Middle East Boom
The Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is emerging as a new source of capital for Korean construction companies' overseas development projects. As the number of overseas development projects leveraging the AIIB's financial resources is increasing, expectations are growing that it could bring about a second overseas construction boom following the first one in the 1980s. According to industry sources on June 13, a consortium consisting of Daelim Industrial and SK Engineering & Construction, which won the bid to build the Canakkale Bridge in Turkey back in January, selected Standard Chartered Bank as its financial lead manager and sent a project proposal to AIIB.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
N. Korea leader prefers Lexus sedan to avoid possible 'decapitation'
Fearing a possible attempt to "decapitate", North Korean leader prefers Lexus, a luxury sedan produced by Japanese carmaker Toyota, to his official Benz 600 limousine for his trips to provincial areas, South Korea's spy agency said. The National Intelligence Service said in a report to parliament that Kim has strengthened security to save his life, using a Lexus sedan which has been distributed to cadres when he visits provincial areas. Kim is keen to collect intelligence on alleged operations by US and South Koreans troops to "decapitate" the North's leadership, lawmakers briefed reporters after participating in the closed session of a parliamentary intelligence committee.
N. Korea taekwondo team awaits approval for trip to S. Korea
A North Korean taekwondo demonstration team led by International Olympic Committee member Chang Ung awaits government approval after it applied for a landmark trip to South Korea, brightening hopes for the North's participation in next year's Winter Olympics. South Korea's government intelligence body testified in parliament that North Korea has agreed to send a taekwondo demonstration team at the invitation of the Seoul-based World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) which will host an international competition in Muju from June 24-30.
Ransomware hacker wins $1.1 million in war against S. Korean web hosting company
Hackers scored a final victory in their fight with security experts after a South Korean web hosting company attacked by a new ransomware called "Erebus" paid money in return for having its infected servers decrypted. Nayana head Hwang Chil-hong said in a notice posted on the company's website that he paid 1.3 billion won (1.1 million US dollars) in Bitcoins through negotiations overnight with hackers.
"To protect our customers, we have completed negotiations... We paid about 1.3 billion won in ransom and were promised to get a decryption key," he said, speculating it would take about two weeks to have the servers decoded. The servers host thousands of websites in South Korea.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korean Air President to resign from five executive posts
South Korea’s flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co. said on Thursday that its chief executive Cho Won-tae - eldest son of Hanjin Group Chairman Cho Yang-ho - will resign from executive positions of the group’s five affiliates in a move to enhance management transparency and efficiency. Cho and other family members of Hanjin Group will also dispose their shares in the affiliates as part of efforts to wipe out criticism against the group for favoring its own subsidiaries through alleged illicit profiteering.
Goldman Sachs, RBS, BBVA pulling out of Korean bank market
More European banks are pulling out of South Korea after suffering losses from the local-predominant market. On Wednesday, Korea’s Financial Services Commission granted U.K.-based Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Spain’s Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) to shutter their Korean operations. Goldman Sachs, RBS and BBVA have been operating in Korea since 2006, 2013 and 2011, respectively. Their retreat will reduce the number of foreign banks operating in Korea from 43 banks from 17 countries to 40 banks from 16 countries.
Samsung Elec to make 64-layer 50% or more of flash output this year
Samsung Electronics Co.,, a dominant leader in both volatile and nonvolatile memory, on Thursday that it has ramped up production of 64-layer 256Gb (gigabit per second) V-NAND flash memory to meet consumer demand for superfast and super-performing storage to power mobile devices and PCs with a goal to make it its mainstream flash within the year. Samsung, which accounts for 35.4 percent of the global flash market, in January began mass-production of the fourth-generation flash that is four time faster than a typical nanometer memory and beats its own 48-layer 256Gb V-NAND by 1.5 times to power solid-state drives for corporate clients. It was bumping up the production for supplies to consumers.
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