The Korean daily media headlines and humor
Friday, July 14, 2017
Here are The Korea Post notices and a roundup of important headlines from all major Korean-language dailies, TV and other news media of Korea today:
Very Respectfully Yours
Korea Post Media
Kyunghyang Shinmun cartoon, July 14, 2017
Former President Madam Park Guen-hye was absent from the court recently saying that she was not well.
Ill? Yes. She had a very sore big toe! She had just kicked the picture frame of popular handsome Actor Song Jung-gi.
Song had recently married an equally beautiful Actress Song Hye-gyo.
The man in the picture frame on the wall is the late former President Park Chung-hee, the father of Geun-hye.
What’s ticking in Korea today?Here is a quick roundup of important news stories from the major Korean news media today:
Moon Appoints Defense Minister, Labor Minister Nominee Withdraws
President Moon Jae-in presented a letter of appointment to controversial Defense Minister nominee Song Young-moo Thursday evening at the presidential office. Presidential spokesman Park Soo-hyun said Song's appointment could not be delayed any further, citing the grave security situation on the Korean Peninsula. Another controversial figure, Labor Minister nominee Cho Dae-yop, has withdrawn himself from consideration for the job.
US Mulls New Sanctions on Small Chinese Banks
The U.S. is reportedly considering imposing new sanctions on small Chinese banks and other firms doing business with North Korea. Reuters on Friday quoted senior U.S. officials as saying that the Trump administration, frustrated by China’s insufficient efforts to rein in North Korea, could impose new sanctions within two weeks. While refusing to name specific targets, one of the officials said that the new measures would initially hit "smaller financial institutions and shell companies" linked to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
Bucheon Film Festival Opens
The 21st Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival kicked off on Thursday. Culture Minister Do Jong-hwan, Gyeonggi Governor Nam Kyung-pil and about three thousand people attended the opening ceremony at the lawn square in front of Bucheon City Hall. The country’s largest genre film festival will screen 289 films from 58 countries this year, which is similar to 302 of last year. But the number of South Korean films sharply increased from 65 last year to 109 this year.
Trump praises China's Xi as 'great leader,' 'terrific guy'
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday praised Chinese President Xi Jinping as "a great leader," "a very talented man, "a very good man," and "a terrific guy," saying he looks forward to Xi doing more to rein in North Korea. "Well, he's a friend of mine. I have great respect for him. We've gotten to know each other very well. A great leader. He's a very talented man. I think he's a very good man," Trump said during a joint news conference in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron. "He loves China. I can tell you, he loves China. He wants to do what's right for China. We've asked him for some assistance with respect to North Korea. Probably he could do a little bit more, but we'll find out," Trump said.
N. Korea likely developing more accurate close-range ballistic missiles
North Korea is likely developing close-range ballistic missiles with increased accuracy, range and lethality, a U.S. military intelligence report showed Thursday. The report by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center disclosed recent developments in the missile programs of North Korea, Russia, Iran and China before the North test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile last week. In the report titled "Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat," NASIC said North Korea appears to be improving its CRBMs with a maximum range of just under 300 kilometers. "Iran and North Korea are likely progressing towards producing the Fadj-5 Aero CRBM and KN-SS-X-9, respectively," it said. "If the Iranians and North Koreans use satellite navigation systems (such as GPS) onboard their CRBMs, then the miss distance of these CRBMs could be reduced to tens of meters."
Efforts intensifying to bring U.S. ship involved in Heungnam evacuation to Korea
Efforts are expected to accelerate in South Korea to secure a U.S. ship involved in the rescue of thousands of people during the 1950-53 Korean War and turn it into part of a monument park that would help remind younger generations of the cruelty of war and the importance of peace. A private group was launched in South Korea in 2013 to get the S.S. Lane Victory handed over from the U.S. It recently convened a meeting and decided to intensify its push by launching a nonprofit entity exclusively working on the objective. "I hope that our younger generations will renew their recognition of history by looking at the Lane Victory," said Yun Kyung-won, a retired Marine Corps general who leads the group.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Korea cautious on US’ request for FTA amendment
The South Korean government on Thursday reacted cautiously to the US’ formal request to hold a joint meeting to revise the Korea-US free trade agreement within the next month, saying the timeline may not be realistically possible and that searching for the real cause of the US’ trade deficit was a priority. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy also said that it would call on its US counterpart to first review the root causes of the trade imbalance between the two countries. The ministry will send a senior official to the US to discuss the agenda and timing of the special committee meeting, it said in a statement.
On Thursday, under the direction of US President Donald Trump, Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer formally notified Korea that the US was calling a special joint committee meeting within the next 30 days to start revising certain parts of the Korea-US FTA. The notification did not use the term “renegotiation.”
Labor minister nominee quits as parliament deadlock continues
Labor Minister nominee Cho Dae-yop stepped down on Thursday while Song Young-moo has been confirmed as the new minister of defense. “If my appointment is an obstacle in resolving political situations, I will gladly quit as the labor minister nominee. I hope this decision goes toward the success of the Moon Jae-in government,” Cho said in a statement. Cho’s resignation came amid rumors that President Moon Jae-in might push through with his and Song’s appointments.
Greenpeace encourages South Korea to aim higher at 100% renewable
South Korea should aim to generate 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources, phasing out nuclear and coal power plants simultaneously, Greenpeace executive director Jennifer Morgan said. Praising the local government’s decision to retire old nuclear reactors and stop building new ones, the top environmental activist also stressed the importance of a national effort to save energy and the need to craft polices in a clear and transparent manner to benefit all, not a select few with vested interests.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Presidential adviser calls for N. Korea to accept dialogue overture
North Korea should show flexibility regarding President Moon Jae-in's forward-looking proposals aimed at resuming inter-Korean ties and finding solutions to the nuclear standoff, according to his special security adviser. "The ball is in Pyongyang's court. Pyongyang needs to make a wise choice," Moon Chung-in, a distinguished professor at Yonsei University, said in an interview, Monday. The professor, who helped create inter-Korean rapprochement policies under the previous liberal governments, is now serving as a special adviser for unification and national security affairs to President Moon.
Farmers' hearts sink over dumped 8,000 tons of melons
Farmers faced heartbreaking scenes in Seongju this week, where the U.S. missile defense system awaits full deployment amid North Korea's military provocations. The bitterness of having to dump over 8,000 tons of oriental melons overshadowed the controversy surrounding the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery. The city in North Gyeongsang Province dug a large hole to take more than 500 truckloads of melons from farmers who queued for up to three hours to dump them. The low-grade melons were excess production following this year's prolonged hot summer and delayed monsoon.
If North Korean leader goes missing from media for more than a week
Should the world be worried if North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "disappears" from the reclusive state's media for more than a week? Korean news outlet the JoongAng Ilbo's recent report suggests it should.
The report showed that when Kim disappeared from North Korean media for more than a week a major provocation, or "jaw-dropping" incident, tended to happen. Related events were the surprising execution of Kim's uncle Jang Song-thaek and military top brass, ballistic missile firings and an underground nuclear test.
KHNP fails to hold board meeting on suspension of plants construction
Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) failed to hold its board of directors’ meeting to discuss the temporary suspension of planned construction of Shin-Kori Nuclear Power Plant Units 5 and 6 in Ulju County in Ulsan City due to strong objection by KHNP’s labor union and local residents. Although the board has decided to discuss whether to hold another meeting, it appears that the current controversy will continue for the foreseeable future as voice of objection against planned construction is only growing.
U.S. Congressman introduces first article of Trump’s impeachment
A member of the U.S. House of Representatives has introduced the first formal article of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Democratic Party Congressman Brad Sherman from California introduced the measure on the House floor on Wednesday (local time), accusing Trump of committing obstruction of justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey, who was investigating Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election in Trump’s favor. There have been calls for Trump’s impeachment, but it was the first time that a formal article of impeachment was introduced.
The U.S. files an FTA bill, two weeks after Washington summit
The U.S. has filed an official request for a negotiation to revise the free trade agreement with South Korea five years after the trade pact went into effect under the slogan “Leveling the playing field.” Effectively, the U.S. has filed a bill against South Korea, merely two weeks after the two heads of state had a summit meeting in Washington. The U.S. has filed an official request for a negotiation to revise the free trade agreement with South Korea five years after the trade pact went into effect under the slogan “Leveling the playing field.” Effectively, the U.S. has filed a bill against South Korea, merely two weeks after the two heads of state had a summit meeting in Washington.
Seoul Sees 1st Tropical Night of the Season
Temperatures never fell below 25 degrees Celsius in Seoul on Tuesday night, bringing a tropical night 10 days earlier than last year, the Korea Meteorological Administration said Wednesday. Humidity played a big role in the sweltering weather. The KMA said a lot of water vapor is being formed near Taiwan because the sea surface temperature there is one to two degrees higher than normal and was driven to Korea on southwesterly winds.
KAIST, POSTECH Fare Well in Young University Rankings
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Pohang University of Science and Technology have been rated in the top 5 in global rankings of universities under 50 years. The 46-year-old KAIST came third in this year's tally by U.K. ranking firm Quacquarelli Symonds published Thursday. The 31-year-old POSTECH finished fifth. QS has published rankings of universities under 50 separately since 2013. Three other Korean universities were also in the top 100 -- Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (opened in 1993), the University of Ulsan (opened in 1970), and Ajou University (opened in 1973).
12 Ex-Park Aides Indicted for Dodging Parliamentary Inquiry
Prosecutors on Wednesday indicted 12 former Cheong Wa Dae officials for dodging a National Assembly inquiry, including ex-presidential secretary Woo Byung-woo, who has shown a mysterious ability to slip the noose. People disobeying summonses to appear before National Assembly inquiries face up to three years in jail or a maximum fine of W10 million (US$1=W1,145). The National Assembly held seven hearings over the scandal from December last year until early January.
US Forces Korea got $59.4 million in tax breaks over the last five years
US Forces Korea had at least 67.6 billion won (US$59.4 million) in local taxes waived by Gyeonggi Province and Seoul in the last five years, it was recently learned. From 2012 to 2016, USFK received 14.4 billion won (US$12.6 million) in property tax, vehicle tax, and regional educational tax exemptions from Seoul Metropolitan Government. The estimable portion of the USFK local taxes waived by Gyeonggi Province over the same time comes out to around 53.2 billion won (US$46.7 million). Since that amount does not include automobile taxes, which account for a large portion of Gyeonggi’s local tax revenue, the actual tax breaks are almost certainly much larger.
Debate on nuclear power is not technical, but about values
“I’m thrilled at how they’ve decided in South Korea to hold a public discussion on people’s health, their children, and the issues that impact them directly. That kind of approach is common around the world.” Greenpeace International executive director Jennifer Morgan, 51, spoke to the Hankyoreh on July 12 at the organization’s office in Seoul. “President Moon Jae-in is right. People taking part in the discussion [of nuclear power plant and energy issues] with confidence and making their voices heard is the cornerstone for the future of democracy, the country, and the Earth,” she said.
Comfort women issue shouldn’t be a diplomatic matter between governments
“The comfort women issue shouldn’t be approached as a diplomatic issue between South Korea and Japan. It should be approached as an issue pertaining to the universal value of women’s rights,” said Kim Dong-suk, chairman of Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE), while discussing a resolution about the comfort women that was passed 10 years ago by the US House of Representatives. Kim was visiting South Korea to prepare for the Korean American Grassroots Conference (KAGC), which will be held in Washington from July 24-26. On July 30, 2007, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed House Resolution 121, which urged the Japanese government to apologize to those forced to serve as comfort women for the Japanese army and to address the issue in Japanese textbooks.
U.S. formally asks for changes to FTA
The Office of the United States Trade Representative sent a letter to the Korean government on Wednesday local time calling for a Joint Committee meeting to discuss revisions to the countries’ free trade agreement. It didn’t use the term “renegotiation” but said it wants to consider changing the deal. “I request the convening of a special session of the Joint Committee soon in Washington, D.C., to consider matters affecting the operation of the Agreement, including possible amendments and modifications,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer wrote in the letter delivered to the Korean embassy in Washington.
Protesters foil a KHNP vote on 2 nuclear plants
Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Corporation, which operates the country’s nuclear power plants, planned to hold a board meeting on Thursday to decide on whether construction of the Shin Kori 5 and 6 reactors should be halted. But a backlash from their labor union and people living near the construction sites forced them to call it off. The board meeting was supposed to begin at 3 p.m. at KHNP’s headquarters in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang.
Extra budget may pass with People’s Party help
The opposition People’s Party decided to return to parliamentary activity Thursday and review a $10 billion supplementary budget bill, raising hopes in the Moon Jae-in government that the bill could be passed by Tuesday, the last day of July’s extraordinary session. The People’s Party’s decision put an end to its boycott of all parliamentary activities as its relations with the ruling Democratic Party (DP) soured in recent weeks. The turnaround came hours after the Blue House sent Im Jong-seok, presidential chief of staff, to express President Moon’s regrets over verbal brawls between ruling DP Chairwoman Choo Mi-ae and the People’s Party leadership.
The KyungHyangShinmoon (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Chung Yoo-ra, "There's No Way Samsung Did Not Know About the 'Horse Laundering'"
On July 12, Chung Yoo-ra (21), the daughter of Choi Soon-sil (61) appeared as a witness in the trial of Lee Jae-yong (49), vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, and poured out a stream of testimonies that drove Samsung, Choi, and former President Park Geun-hye (65) into a corner. Chung said, "I thought that I owned the horse that Samsung gave me," and insisted, "There's no way Samsung did not know," about the alleged 'horse laundering.' On July 11, Chung's lawyer had submitted a letter of reasons for Chung's refusal to appear in court, but Chung appeared without consulting her lawyers.
"Decades-Long Dispute over Nuclear Power Plants, Three Months of Public Discussions Are Enough Even in Korea"
"Nuclear power plants are not an issue that should be discussed on a technical level. It is a discussion about our health, our children and our values." A public discussion on nuclear power plants of the people, for the people and by the people was held. This followed after President Moon Jae-in temporarily suspended the construction of Shin Kori nuclear power plants unit five and six on June 27 and decided to run a public discussion committee for three months to ask the thoughts of the "citizen jury." However, scholars specializing in atomic energy argue that "Citizens are not experts" and that the decision should be left to the experts. The "experts" the academia refers to are dominantly pro-nuclear power, yet the scholars continue to press the citizens considering a nuclear phase-out by arbitrarily drawing a line between citizens and experts.
Within an 18.5km Fence Lies a U.S. Military City. Possible Hub for Land, Water, and Air Forces in Northeast Asia
The US 8th Army opened Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek to the press at an opening ceremony for its new headquarters on July 11. Camp Humphreys is a new military-style city with its own airfield. An official from the US Forces Korea base relocation project introduced the base and said, "It is modeled after the U.S. capital, Washington D.C." This day, there were over twenty U.S. helicopters including the Chinook and the Apache at the airfield with a 2km-long airstrip, which allows the massive C-130 transport vehicle to transport various military supplies at any time.
The Korea Economic Daily (http://english.hankyung.com/)
June Shutdown of Old Coal Power Plants Cost Power Generators 110 Bil. Won
As the government decided to shut down eight old (30-year-old or up) coal-fired power generators for a month in June as part of a measure to reduce the fine dust level, the sales and net profit of the power plants fell more than 100 billion won and 10 billion won respectively. If the government keeps shutting down the power plants during the four spring months between March and June next year and beyond, the power plant operators' will see their sales and net profit decline more than 1 trillion won and 250 billion won each until 2022. Accordingly it is highly likely that electricity rates would rise and consumer backlash ensues.
Bank Deposit Balance Increases by 3 Tril. Won a Month...Bank of Korea
The balance of bank deposits is at a record-high level. Despite the super-low interest rate, investors tend to prefer parking their money in safe instruments rather than risking it in the stock market. The bank deposit balance (savings and demand deposits) has increased by about 3 trillion won a month since early this year. The time at which the deposit balance started rising at a rapid pace coincides with the Bank of Korea's decision to lower its benchmark interest rate below 2 percent in March 2015. At the time, commercial banks followed suit by cutting their deposit rates at about the early or mid-1-percent level. This is in effect a negative interest if one takes into account the inflation rate.
CJ CheilJedang Sells off All Its Holdings in Samsung Life
CJ CheilJedang is set to undertake a demand forecast with institutional investors as part of an effort to sell off all its 1.49-percent stake (2,985,850 shares) in Samsung Life. This is worth 368.8 billion won based on July 11 closing price of 123,500 won. The company is pushing forward with a plan to sell the stake with a 2-4 percent premium. Citi Global Market and BNP Paribas are responsible for handling the underwriting. CJ has sold its Samsung Life shares in stages after taking 8.98 million shares in April 1997. Back in October 2011, it sold off 3 million shares at the price of 256.5 billion won in a block deal. In September 2013, it also sold Samsung Life's 3 million shares at 303.8 billion won.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
SK Telecom successfully tests ultra-fast data speed on LTE network
Users of SK Telecom, South Korea's largest mobile carrier, will be able to experience an ultra-fast data communication network, helped by the successful test of its new commercial network in a joint operation with Sweden's telecom company Nokia. SK Telecom said it has succeeded in testing a wireless network with a speed of more than 1Gbps over five LTE frequency ranges. It's fast enough for users to download a full-HD movie in 10 seconds and a multi-antenna was used to double the speed of transmitting data. SK Telecom's new technology was seen as the last phase of LTE ahead of 5G. The company would gradually expand its ultra-fast service accordingly for new devices.
Workers block board members from endorsing suspended reactor construction
Hundreds of power plant workers sealed off a conference hall at their headquarters to foil a board meeting aimed at endorsing a government decision to suspend the construction of two nuclear reactors under President Moon Jae-in's "nuclear exit" policy. Pictures showed hundreds of workers occupying the lobby of a building used by Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP), which operates nuclear power plants, as its head office in the southeastern city of Gyeongju. KHNP President Lee Kwan-sup and six other board members were seen being pushed out.
Two brokers indicted for trying to fix 2015 UFC match in Seoul
Prosecutors indicted two gambling brokers for trying to fix a 2015 match hosted by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), an American mixed martial arts promotion company, for the first time in South Korea. The "UFC Fight Night" on November 28, 2015, at a gym in Seoul sparked allegations about a failed fix in a lightweight fight between Bang Tae-hyun of South Korea and Leo Kuntz of the United States. Bang defeated Kuntz by split decision. Originally, Bang took a down payment of 100 million won (87,720 US dollars) from brokers in return for throwing the bout, but he changed his mind at the last moment after being warned by UFC officials who pointed out a wild pre-fight swing in betting lines.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
S. Korea’s main bourse breaks 2,400 mark
South Korea’s benchmark Korean Composite Stock Price Index, or Kospi, passed a new threshold of 2,400, closing Thursday at 2,409.49, up 17.72 points or 0.74 percent from the previous session. The Korean main bourse rose nearly 19 percent this year, the third-highest gain among the G-20 stock markets following Argentina and Turkey. Foreigners net bought 372.6 billion won, sending the Korean won to close 8.80 won or 0.77 percent higher at 1,136.3 against the U.S. dollar.
U.S. formally proposes talks to renegotiate Korea
The United States formally notified South Korea of a timetable to launch the process of revisiting the free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries that went into force in 2012. The move comes as the world’s largest economy under President Donald Trump has been seeking to redesign trade deals as to further protect domestic industry and jobs. In a statement on Wednesday, local time, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer acting on behalf of President Donald Trump, announced that a joint committee under the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement called KORUS would meet in Washington next month, without specifying the date.
BOK ups ’17 growth outlook, hints “moderation” in loose policy
Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol formally alerted “moderation” in loose monetary policy, or lift in interest rates, on more evident signs of economic recovery while keeping the benchmark rate unchanged at the record-low level for more than a year. The monetary policy meeting on Thursday held the base rate at 1.25 percent that was last cut to the level in June 2016. But Lee in a press conference said there is a need to “moderate” the monetary easing pace upon clearer signs of economic strength while claiming that the move does not necessarily mean “tightening.”
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