The Korean daily media headlines and humor
Monday, June 19, 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:
Moon Appoints New Foreign Minister
President Moon Jae-in has appointed his new foreign minister later Sunday despite objection from opposition parties. An official at the presidential office said that a ceremony for the appointment of Kang Kyung-wha as the new top diplomat will be held at 2 p.m. at Cheong Wa Dae. The appointment comes after the parliamentary hearing committee failed to adopt a report on the results of its confirmation hearing for Kang, held June 7. President Moon asked the committee to issue the report by Saturday, but was rejected.
Former US Ambassador to UN Criticizes N. Korea over Warmbier Case
A former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. says that the treatment of Otto Warmbier, who was returned to the U.S. in a coma after being imprisoned in North Korea, does not make a good situation for improving the U.S.’ relationship with the North. Bill Richardson made the remarks on Sunday on a radio program in New York, predicting the Warmbier incident will significantly complicate relations between Washington and Pyongyang.
Heat Wave Alerts Issued for Third Day
South Korea issued heat wave alerts nationwide for the third straight day Sunday. The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) issued heat wave advisories in 22 cities and counties in Gyeonggi, Gangwon and Gyeongsang Provinces as of 11 a.m. Sunday. Twelve areas in Gyeongsang Province including Gumi, Yeongcheon, Milyang and Daegu were placed under heat wave warnings. Heat wave warnings are issued when the daily high is expected to stay above 35 degrees Celsius for two consecutive days. An advisory is put in place when the daily high is forecast to sit higher than 33 degrees Celsius for two days in a row.
Three Lawmakers to Vie for LKP Leadership
Three lawmakers will vie for the leadership of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party. The party said that former South Gyeongsang Province Governor Hong Joon-pyo, five-term lawmaker Won Yoo-chul and four-term legislator Shin Sang-jin completed their candidacy registration on Saturday ahead of the party's convention and leadership election slated for July 3. The candidates are scheduled to engage in campaigning for two weeks from Monday.
Trump expresses fury over S. Korea's decision to delay THAAD deployment
U.S. President Donald Trump expressed fury over South Korea's decision to delay the full deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system pending an environmental assessment, a senior official said Sunday. Trump showed the reaction when he discussed the matter with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the White House on June 8, the official told Yonhap News Agency on condition of anonymity. The revelations, if true, raise concern that the issue could affect the first summit meetings between President Moon Jae-in and Trump set for June 29-30 at the White House, though it is not clear if it would be on the agenda.
Warmbier's comatose return bad for improving U.S.-N. Korea relations
The comatose return of an American college student from North Korea is bad for improving relations between the two countries, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson said Sunday. "This is not a very good situation to try to improve the relationship with North Korea when they treat our people like this," he said in an interview with a New York-based radio station, according to the Hill newspaper.
Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student, returned to his Ohio home in a coma 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.
N.K. claims U.S. seized its diplomatic package, demands explanation
North Korea has claimed that the United States recently mugged its delegation carrying a diplomatic package in New York, calling on Washington to provide an explanation on what it calls a provocation. According to the (North) Korean Central News Agency on Sunday, which quoted its foreign ministry, a group of government officials and police officers from the U.S. took a diplomatic package from its delegation Friday at John F. Kennedy International Airport before it was about to board a flight home. The delegation was in New York to attend the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, it added.
Presidential adviser's remarks about scaling back exercises could exacerbate U.S. concerns
U.S. concerns about President Moon Jae-in's policy could worsen after one of his special advisers suggested a willingness to consider scaling back joint military exercises with the U.S. if North Korea freezes its nuclear and missile programs, experts said Sunday. Moon Chung-in, a Yonsei University professor serving as special presidential adviser for foreign and security affairs, made the remark during a Wilson Center seminar in Washington on Friday, saying President Moon has proposed the idea as part of an incremental solution to the nuclear standoff.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Moon appoints Kang Kyung-wha despite resistance
President Moon Jae-in on Sunday pushed ahead with the appointment of Kang Kyung-wha as foreign minister, despite fierce resistance from opposition parties over his choice of Cabinet members. The decision put the liberal leader on a collision course with the opposition holding an outright majority in the unicameral parliament when key agendas are pending, including the supplementary budget and government reorganization plans. “It is regrettable that the parliament (continued to oppose the appointment), but with the imminent Korea-US summit and the Group of 20 summit to follow, we could no longer leave the Foreign Ministry post unfilled,” Moon told Kang, after presenting her with a certificate of appointment.
AIIB may finance projects for North Korea
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank may finance infrastructure projects for North Korea, if its board of directors agree to it, the head of the China-led multinational lender said Saturday. According to the bank’s articles of agreement, it will invest in its member countries, and whether there is any need or necessity to invest in a nonmember country is the decision of the board of governors, said AIIB President Jin Liqun at a press conference held to wrap up the second annual meeting of the bank’s board of governors on Jeju Island. North Korea is not a member of the bank. The AIIB chief was answering to a question by The Korea Herald on whether the lender had any plan to provide loans for infrastructure projects in the North, including South Korean leader Moon Jae-in’s proposal of linking the South and North by a railroad.
Differences over North Korea to complicate Moon-Trump summit
With President Moon Jae-in and his US counterpart Donald Trump scheduled to hold their first summit at the end of this month, concerns are mounting over the allies’ contrasting views on how to resolve North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats. Such worries intensified after Moon’s special adviser Moon Chung-in said on his trip to Washington on Saturday that South Korea would consult with the US on whether to scale back the scope of annual joint military drills and US deployment of strategic assets in exchange for “suspension” of the North’s nuclear and missile activities. The Trump administration has maintained that the North’s “complete removal” of its nuclear arsenal is a prerequisite to any dialogue.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Nation's first nuke reactor Kori 1 shuts down
Korea's first commercial nuclear reactor, Kori 1 in Busan's Gijang County, shut down at midnight Sunday, 40 years after it went online. The reactor, which began temporary operations in 1977 and started commercial operations in 1978, has been shut down due to safety issues due to frequent breakdowns. The reactor's operations were halted at 6p.m., Saturday. Its power supply line has been cut off and the reactor is undergoing a cooling process. The reactor's 30-year design life expired in 2007, but it received a 10-year extension in operations from the government until June 18 this year.
Ozone warnings follow fine dust threat
Shortly after foggy fine dust across Korea subsided towards spring's end, with contamination level staying "normal" for weeks, ozone warnings are increasing. On June 16 and 17, the warnings were issued in Seoul and Gyeonggi, Gangwon and Chungcheong provinces, where ozone density was 0.12 parts per million (ppm) or above per hour. An alert is issued when reading reaches 0.3 ppm, while a serious alert is issued when the level reaches 0.5 ppm or higher.
Citizens fear that misplaced fine dust detectors may be inaccurate
More than 80 percent of fine dust detectors in Gyeonggi Province are installed wrongly, with citizens fearing the readings may be unreliable. Of 73 detectors, including seven ground-level ones next to roads, 52 are at heights between 11 and 20 meters and seven are between 21 and 30 meters, according to the Gyeonggi Health and Environment Research Center. The Ministry of Environment stipulates that the detectors must be installed at heights between 1.5 and 10 meters, the heights at which people usually breathe in the air.
Pres. Moon calls 'opposition's battle cry not appropriate'
President Moon Jae-in pushed forward his plans to appoint Kang Kyung-hwa as his Foreign Affairs ministrr, regardless of the objection to adopt the hearings report by the National Assembly on Sunday. In addition, he criticized the opposition parties, which objected his plan, saying, "It is not appropriate to depict a disagreement between the president and the opposition parties as a showdown or a warfare." Meanwhile, President Moon expressed his "regret" as the former shadow of Justice Minister-nominee Ahn Kyung-hwan was unseated after the hasty appointment.
Grad students present professors refreshment gifts to curry favor in thesis review
The anti-graft act is already in effect but the practice in which students present gifts to reviewers of their degree theses is still rampant. Of course, providing expensive entertainment service such as dining at a luxury hotel is impossible to find. Instead, students are giving professors refreshment giftsets en masse during the thesis review period. Professors who give students grade points or review dissertations for academic degrees are not allowed by law to receive a gift, regardless of its value, from the students.
7 sailors found dead after collision of USS Aegis
Seven crew members of USS Aegis were dead following a collision with a Philippine container ship in waters off Japan. The U.S. guided missile-destroyer had suffered considerable damage to its right side as well as its radar, core defense system against North Korean missiles. Hence, it appears that it would take much time for the U.S. destroyer to fulfil its mission as usual. The USS Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with the Philippine container ship (he ACX Crystal) off the sea 20 kilometers away from Shizuoka Prefecture, Izu Peninsula early on Saturday.
More Married Couples Opt to Have Just 1 Child
One in three elementary school kids in Korea is an only child as the birthrate dwindles and the country settles into First-World family patterns. According to Statistics Korea, the proportion of married women without children rose from 6.4 percent in 2005 to 6.6 percent in 2015, and the ratio of married women with one child soared from 15.6 percent to 18.5 percent. As more and more women opt to tie the knot later in life, the gap between one generation to the next has risen from 20 to 25 years to 30 to 35 years. Surviving great-grandparents and grandparents now outnumber grandchildren, and there has also been a marked rise in the number of twins as more older mothers resort to IVF, which is more likely to result in twins.
Gyeongju Recovering from Last Year's Earthquakes
The historic city of Gyeongju in North Gyeongsang Province is slowly recovering in the wake of a 5.8-magnitude earthquake last September and a subsequent typhoon. That meant that 1 million fewer tourists than the previous year visited the city in October, which hurt the battered city's economy seriously. By the end of the year there were still 300,000 fewer tourists per month than in previous years. But now things are looking up. The Gyeongju city government on Monday said 4.72 million tourists visited the city in the first five months this year, which was almost back to normal at 94 percent of the numbers during the same period last year. And in April, the cherry blossom season, 2.47 million tourists came, and a healthy 1.18 million arrived in May.
Moon Urges N.Korea to Stop Provocations
President Moon Jae-in on Thursday offered dialogue without further conditions to North Korea if it stops its nuclear and missile provocations. He was speaking at a ceremony in Seoul on Thursday to mark the 17th anniversary of the historic inter-Korean summit in 2000. "Despite continued antagonism and confrontation, the two Koreas have achieved progress in relations," listing several landmark agreements that have largely gone up in smoke since. "Seoul's North Korea policy would not have been inconsistent under successive administration if the two sides had abided by these agreements," he added.
With two million foreigners, refugees and migrants still on the outs in South Korea
Refugees and migrant workers are the two groups facing the largest barriers among South Korea’s immigrant population, which passed two million in 2016. The two groups each face different obstacles. For refugees, the biggest issue is the entry barrier. An annual report of immigration and international resident policy published in Apr. 2017 by the Korea Immigration Service (KIS) calculated 15,947 refugees for whom review decisions had been made between 1994 and late April of this year. Refugee status was acknowledged in just 688 of the cases, or 4.3%. The number is especially tiny compared to the 37% refugee status acknowledgement rate average around the world as of 2015 as calculated by the UN Refugee Agency.
How outsiders found a home as guardians of Jeju’s Gangjeong Village
“Bandi” and Choi Hye-yeong, the secretary-general of Gangjeong Friends (who goes as “Choi*Hye*Yeong” on social media), are the guardians of Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island. I couldn’t bring myself to ask them their age for this article. When they told me they had the same sign on the Chinese zodiac, I got the feeling I should let the question drop. In order to get to know these people, who have been part of the struggle at Gangjeong Village for a long time, I wanted to try something different from the usual approach. So this article is based not on an interview with the two people, but on my observations of them.
Another North Korean defector says he’s stuck in South Korea, wants to go home
Another North Korean defector has come forward claiming he was tricked into coming South by a defection broker and demanding to be sent back. It’s the second case of a defector identifying themselves by name as demanding repatriation, after Kim Ryon-hui, 48. The group Christian Ministers for Peace Action held a press conference in front of the UN North Korean human rights office in Seoul’s Jongno district on the morning of June 15 to issue a “declaration of conscience” on behalf of defector Kwon Chol-nam, 44, and demand his return to North Korea.
Large-scale building dock and waterside facilities coming back to the Han River
Construction of a dock and waterside facilities for large cruise ships on the Han River in Seoul appears poised to go ahead. The project is raising concerns that large-scale building efforts on the river’s banks, which had come to a halt after the end of former Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon’s “Han River Rennaissance,” are making a comeback under current Mayor Park Won-soon, who has called for “urban renewal.”
Seoul Metropolitan Government released a detailed design on June 15 for a large dock to be built on the Han between Mapo and Wonhyo Bridges in 2019. The 2,100 square meter dock called Yeouinaru, which will accommodate private and public vessels ranging from 700-ton ships to private yachts, has a target completion date in the second half of 2019.
Moon, Trump could disagree on North Korea
With the U.S.-Korea leaders’ summit just around the corner, the two governments may find themselves at odds over North Korea policy, especially after President Moon Jae-in’s adviser suggested dialing down joint Korea-U.S. military exercises to hold talks with Pyongyang - if it suspends its nuclear and missile tests. “If North Korea suspends nuclear and missile activities, then we may consult with the United States to scale down ROK-U.S. joint exercises and training,” said Moon Chung-in, presidential special advisor for unification, foreign and national security affairs, in a forum on the U.S.-Korea alliance at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C. Friday.
Opposition ignored, Kang appointed top envoy
President Moon Jae-in Sunday defiantly appointed Kang Kyung-wha foreign minister over the bitter objection of opposition parties, raising the prospect of war between the Blue House and ruling Democratic Party and the opposition going forward. Following weeks of controversy over Kang’s ethical breaches, especially a fake residential registration to allow her daughter to attend a school of her choice 17 years ago, Moon officially named the former United Nations official as foreign minister, making Kang the first female and non-career diplomat ever to lead the ministry responsible for foreign affairs.
Gov’t crackdown on real estate picks up steam
New real estate regulations set to be unveiled today could pour some icy water on property sales. The regulations are expected to include tightened loan-to-value (LTV) and debt-to-income (DTI) ratios for mortgage applications, stricter lending criteria and the prohibition of transfer of purchase rights in selected areas. Realtors in overheated regions such as Gangnam District and Jamsil District, both in southern Seoul, have put their deals on hold as financial authorities ratcheted up their monitoring of speculative property investments and illicit transactions last week.
The KyungHyangShinmoon (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
"Unconditional Talks If North Korea Ceases Further Provocations"
On June 15, President Moon Jae-in said, "I clearly state that we can engage in unconditional dialogue if North Korea ceases further provocations with its nuclear program and missiles."
This day, President Moon attended a ceremony commemorating the seventeenth anniversary of the June 15 North-South Korea Joint Declaration held at the 63 Building in Yeouido, Seoul and delivered the message in his congratulatory address and added, "I urge North Korea to respond." This was practically the first message President Moon gave concerning North Korea since his inauguration.
Moon, "The Opposition Parties Should Also Respect the People's Judgment." Willing to Face Off Opposition and Charge Straight Ahead
In a meeting with the Cheong Wa Dae senior secretaries and advisors on June 15, President Moon Jae-in expressed his determination to soon appoint Kang Kyung-wha as foreign minister arguing that it was the president's discretion to appoint his minister. He pressured the opposition parties after giving the National Assembly three more days to adopt the confirmation hearing report of Kang뾲he deadline had passed the previous day.
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.
The Korea Economic Daily (http://english.hankyung.com/)
EV Battery Makers Move to E. Europe in Droves
Korea's major electric vehicle battery makers such as LG Chem, Samsung SDI, and SK Innovation are moving to Eastern Europe as a way to find outlets for better financial results. This is based on the judgment that the region has several large-scale automobile assembly plants of Volkswagen, BMW, and the like while wage levels are relatively lower than those in other European regions. Another advantage that Eastern Europe offers is there is no trade barriers found elsewhere including China.
SK Chairman Eyes Top 3 Rank in Biomedicine Business
Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group, made a big bet in establishing a stronger presence in the biomedicine market. SK Biotek, a 100-percent-owned subsidiary of SK Corp., acquired the Ireland plant of a multinational pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb on June 18, gaining a foothold to create a presence in the European market. Chey, who had started investing in the biomedicine business 20 years ago, has beefed up related businesses thereafter.
LPG Industry Looks to Find a Breakthrough in LPG Ships
Korea's LPG industry, which is suffering from sluggish sales due to the declining demand for liquefied natural gas as an automobile fuel, is looking to find a breakthrough in shipbuilding. According to industry sources on June 18, the LPG association and General Electric have completed the process of having a classification society to review the safety of a ferry using LPG fuel. The new ship development process consists of R&D, design, a classification society's safety review, and new building contract.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Pyongyang condemns seized diplomatic package at US airport
Pyongyang has warned of unspecified consequences unless the United States apologizes for making a "malicious provocation" to seize a diplomatic package from North Korean diplomats who were en route home last week after attending an international conference in New York. North Korea is accusing Washington of violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations under which a diplomatic package cannot be seized or seen without consent from the owner government. Three North Korean diplomats were reportedly involved.
Tonga, Argentina and Madagascar join AIIB
The second annual meeting of the China-initiated Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) closed on South Korea's southern resort island of Jeju. The multinational lender, set up in 2016 to fund infrastructure projects in Asia, adopted resolutions accepting three new members -- Tonga, Argentina and Madagascar -- bringing its total approved membership to 80. The bank said the three prospective members will officially join AIIB once they complete the required domestic processes and deposit the first installment of capital with the bank. The three-day meeting at the International Convention Center was attended by about 2,000 including delegations from both 57 founding members and 20 new members, international organizations and academia, as well as businessmen, financiers and journalists.
President Moon's government scraps performance-based incentive wage system
The government of South Korea's new liberal President Moon Jae-in took crucial pro-union steps to abolish a performance-based incentive wage system which was pushed by Moon's conservative predecessor to introduce labor market flexibility in the public sector. Under an order from expelled ex-president Park Geun-hye, 135 of South Korea's 143 public entities and state-run financial companies have introduced the incentive wage system despite protests by labor groups.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
SK Biotek to buy BMS’s manufacturing facility in Ireland
SK Biotek Co., a manufacturer of raw materials for medicines wholly owned by SK Holdings, the holding company of South Korea’s SK Group, will acquire a global pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS)’s manufacturing facility located in Ireland. SK Holdings said on Sunday that SK Biotek decided to buy BMS’s small molecule active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing plant in Swords, Ireland. The company did not disclose the value of the deal.
S. Korea’s 3 biotech firms eyed closely with growing earnings momentum
South Korea’s leading biotechnology companies Samsung BioLogics Co., Hanmi Pharmaceutical Co., and Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical Corp. are in the limelight on growing expectations for improvement in their earnings this year. Samsung BioLogics, a biopharmaceutical business arm of Samsung Group, is expected to make a turnaround this year and raise about 10 billion won ($8.82 million) in operating income. Last year, the company posted an operating loss of 30.4 billion won, narrowing from a deficit of 203.6 billion won in 2015.
Doosan Heavy to support partners to start business in Vietnam
South Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with its five partners at its Vietnamese operation Doosan Heavy Industries Vietnam Co. (Doosan Vina) to help them enter the Vietnamese market, the company said on Sunday. Doosan heavy will provide consulting on administration, financial management and business management to support the partners to establish their subsidiaries or manufacturing facilities at the site of Doosan Vina plant.
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