The Korean daily media headlines and humor
Thursday, July 20, 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
What’s ticking in Korea today?Here is a quick roundup of important news stories from the major Korean news media today:
Parties Agree to Pass Gov't Reorganization Bill Thursday
The rival parties have agreed to hold a plenary parliamentary session on Thursday to handle a government reorganization bill. The vice floor leaders of the ruling Democratic Party and three opposition parties reached the agreement in a meeting on Wednesday afternoon. The rival parties agreed to meet on Thursday morning to continue fine tuning the revision bill, before holding a session of the parliamentary committee on security and public administration at 10 a.m. and a plenary parliamentary session at 2 p.m.
Parties Clash over Moon's Nuclear Energy Policy at Confirmation Hearing
Rival parties clashed over the Moon Jae-in government’s policy to phase out nuclear power plants during a confirmation hearing of Trade, Energy and Industry Minister nominee Paik Un-gyu on Wednesday.
Opposition parties criticized that the government was too rash and undemocratic in the process of suspending the construction of two nuclear plants. However, the ruling Democratic Party claimed that the government’s nuclear power phase-out policy is an inevitable shift in the energy policy to protect the environment and public safety.
Defense Minister Song, US Commander Brooks Discuss N. Korea
Defense Minister Song Young-moo has met with Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command(CFC) chief Vincent Brooks for the first time to discuss North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats and the situations on the Korean Peninsula. During their meeting at the ministry in Yongsan, central Seoul Wednesday, Song said the North is posing a threat to the security of the Korean Peninsula and the world through provocative acts, including the recent test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile(ICBM).
S. Korea, U.S., Japan reaffirm importance of coordination on N. Korea
Senior diplomats of South Korea, the United States and Japan met here Wednesday and reaffirmed the importance of trilateral cooperation in resolving North Korea's nuclear conundrum, the State Department said. The meeting involved Ma Sang-yoon, director-general of the South Korean Foreign Ministry's policy planning bureau, Brian Hook, senior policy adviser to the U.S. secretary of state and director of policy planning, and Satoshi Suzuki, Japan's deputy foreign minister for foreign policy. "During the meeting, the participants exchanged views on a wide range of regional and global concerns and reaffirmed the importance of trilateral coordination to resolve the threat posed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," Alicia Edwards, spokesperson for the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau, told Yonhap.
Choi Ji-man designated for assignment by New York Yankees
South Korean first baseman Choi Ji-man has been designated for assignment by the New York Yankees, with a demotion to the minors or free agency now a possibility. The Yankees made the move Wednesday (local time) after acquiring three players in a trade with the Chicago White Sox in exchange for four players. One of the new faces is Todd Frazier, a veteran slugger who can play both third base and first base, where Choi has played six games this year. The Yankees have removed Choi from the 40-man roster to clear space for Frazier and other new faces. Choi, who made his major league debut with the Los Angeles Angels last season, must now wait and see if any other team claims him off waivers over the next seven days. If he clears waivers -- meaning, if no club picks him up -- Choi may then be sent outright to the Yankees' minor league affiliates or released.
'Comfort women' monument unveiled in New Jersey
A monument was unveiled in New Jersey Wednesday to commemorate the Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops during World War II. The marble tablet was erected by the local Korean community in front of Trinity Episcopal Church near Cliffside Park during a ceremony attended by members of the Korean community, American veterans of the Korean War, and local officials. It marked the fourth such monument in New Jersey and the eighth in the United States. Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women, mostly from Korea, were mobilized by the Japanese military to work in front-line brothels during the war. Korea was a colony of Japan from 1910-45.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Moon Jae-in’s five-year road map unveiled
President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday announced his administration’s five-year plan, presenting democracy and justice as overarching values. “The five-year plans for state affairs announced today will be the blueprint and compass for a new Korea,” Moon said, unveiling five goals, 20 strategies and 100 tasks to overhaul all major aspects of the country. In the plans, the Moon Jae-in administration set its vision to create a “people’s country, a just Korea.” In order to achieve the vision, goals concerning five major areas – political and social issues, economy, welfare, balanced regional development and defense and foreign affairs – have been set.
New visa scheme to allow skilled foreign workers’ long-term stay
Skilled foreign workers in the fields of manufacturing, fishing and agriculture may apply for a new visa scheme to extend their stay here, the government said Wednesday. As part of efforts to secure experienced workers in the sectors facing chronic labor shortages, the Justice Ministry has created the E-7-4 visa for those with proven skills. “The ministry believes that the system will greatly contribute to stable supply of skilled laborers for employers facing labor shortages,” an official from the Justice Ministry told The Korea Herald.
Korean man mistreated for ‘foreigner-like’ looks
A Korean man recently shared stories of discrimination he has faced because of his “foreigner-like looks” on KBS2 talk show “Hello Counselor.” On Monday’s episode, a Korean man talked about discriminatory comments and treatment he received because of his dark skin and “foreigner-like” facial features. In addition to being stared at, he has even heard derogatory comments like “Foreigners like you are the ones who drive our country into this mess.” Despite his appearance, however, he is native-born Korean, raised in North Jeolla Province. He said he couldn’t find anyone of foreign origin in his family tree.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Moon unveils five-year policy roadmap
The Moon Jae-in administration unveiled its policy roadmap for his five-year presidency Wednesday. With a state management philosophy of "The People's country, just the Republic of Korea," the new government's policies will be carried out based on the principles of reflecting citizens' opinions in state affairs, and providing a just and fair economic and social system, according to the presidential advisory committee. The State Affairs Planning Advisory Committee, the de facto transition team for the Moon administration which was inaugurated without a transition period, presented 100 tasks under five main policy goals, each dedicated to political reform, a fair economic system, expanded welfare, balanced regional development and peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Rape probe expands to Korean Ambassador to Ethiopia
Korean Ambassador to Ethiopia Kim Moon-hwan is suspected of sexually abusing a female embassy staffer, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday. It said Kim is also accused of sexually harassing several volunteers at Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), an aid organization under the ministry's wing. The ministry will send a team of internal inspectors to Ethiopia, Thursday, after investigating the cases on its own. The revelation comes after a series of sexual offenses committed by diplomats over the past few years and a call for Kang Kyung-wha, the country's first female foreign minister, to better protect the increased number of female officers.
Sri Lankan freed over aggravated rape
The Supreme Court on Tuesday acquitted a Sri Lankan man, 51, who was identified as the culprit in an aggravated rape that happened 19 years ago. The man stood trial after the prosecution re-opened its investigation of the case based on new evidence. But the man was freed because the crime exceeded the statute of limitations and because of the prosecution's lack of evidence to support the new allegations.
The case was based on an incident in Daegu on Oct. 17, 1998, when a college student, surnamed Jung, died after being hit by a 25-ton dump truck. Police put it down to a simple traffic accident. But the family insisted that police continue their investigation. This led to finding the culprit's DNA in Jung's underwear.
‘N. Korean missiles lack capacity to hit U.S. with accuracy,' says U.S. official
The U.S. Department of Defense said on Tuesday that North Korea’s July 4 missile test shows that Pyongyang still lacks accuracy in guiding the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to precisely hit a target after re-entry into the atmosphere. Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee that North Koreans “clearly have the capability” for launching its ballistic missiles to the mainland U.S. but noted, “What the experts tell me is that the North Koreans have yet to demonstrate the capacity to do the guidance and control that would be required.”
LG Chem posts its biggest half-yearly sales record at 11.46 billion dollars
LG Chem has reported its strongest earnings performance on a half-yearly basis, posting sales of 11.46 billion U.S. dollars for the first half of 2017. This is the first time that the Korean chemical company turned in half-yearly sales over 10.68 billion dollars. The company’s operating profits amounted to 1.36 billion dollars over the same period, recording its highest half-yearly operating profits after 1.43 billion dollars in the first half of 2011. LG Chem plans to increase sales from its high value-added product line-ups in the basic materials and chemicals division, aiming at sales growth to 6.231 billion dollars by 2020 from 2.67 billion dollars in 2016. “The company has set a clear approach going forward to make more aggressive investment in expansion of production plants for high value-added products for the next two to three years,” LG Chem CFO and President Chung Ho-young said during the earnings conference call.
Tropical storm called Don weakens as another named Hillary gathers strength
“While a weakening Tropical Storm Don disintegrates as it nears the Caribbean, meteorologists are eyeing a potential storm in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The Pacific system is forecast to become a named storm later Tuesday, and the next name on the Pacific list is.... Hillary,” the USA Today reported on Tuesday. The storms’ names are strikingly similar to those of the 2016 U.S. presidential candidates.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said that Don was not expected to last beyond Wednesday. However, the agency forecast that a tropical depression would develop into a storm later Tuesday. If it does, it will be given a name from a predetermined list. The next storm, which will be named “Hillary,” was not forecast to affect any land areas, though the remnants of Hurricane Fernanda could bring rain to Hawaii over the weekend or early next week.
Hundreds of N. Korean Ghost Ships Wash up on Japan's Shores
Hundreds of North Korean fishing boats have washed up on Japan's shores in the last five years after fishermen got lost at sea and died. Japanese media quoted maritime police as saying 227 North Korean fishing boats have washed up there since January 2013. One Japanese government official said, "We can't reveal the number of dead North Koreans who have been discovered considering diplomatic repercussions." Yoshihiko Yamada at Tokai University, said the ghost ships wash up mostly in winter, when the wind blows from Siberia toward Japan. Many more are believed to have been lost at sea, and very few fishermen reach Japanese shores alive. If they set off from the North Korean ports of Hamhung or Wonsan, they drift for 1,000 km over a period of more than two months before their vessel gets stranded on Japanese shores.
U.S., Japan Not Keen on Seoul's Attempts at Engaging N. Korea
The U.S. on Monday put a dampener on the South Korean government's eager attempts to engage North Korea in talks. "I think the president has made clear in the past with respect that any type of conditions that would have to be met are clearly far away from where we are now," White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters. Spicer added any questions should be referred to the South Korean government. The U.S. State Department and Defense Department pointedly declined to comment.
Cheong Wa Dae Dismantles Gate Guarding Park-Era Secrets
Cheong Wa Dae has belatedly revealed that it dismantled a security gate in front of the office of the presidential secretary for civil affairs guarding sensitive documents during the Park Geun-hye administration.
In a Facebook on Monday, Cheong Wa Dae said a "suspicious checkpoint" equipped with hi-tech sensors guarded one of the two stairways leading up to the third floor, while the other was blocked with screens and steel bars. According to Cheong Wa Dae, the bottleneck was set up at the orders of the presidential secretary, Woo Byung-woo, to prevent sensitive documents from being taken out of the presidential office.
Dogs raised for meat find families after being rescued from their filthy, rusty cages
A foul stench of animal odor and urine assaulted my nose. Dozens of black flies alternately settled on and flew off of the remains of food in a dish and the bodies of dogs tethered next to it by metal chains. Around the dish, the air stank of rot. My feet kept sinking into the ground -- perhaps mud from the intermittent rain, perhaps overflowing waste. With over 100 dogs shaking at the rusted bars and barking with all their might, it was difficult even to talk to the person next to me. It was 7:30 am on July 18 at a farm in Yesan, South Chungcheong Province, where dogs are raised for meat. The animals seen there ranged from a lion-sized Tosa the size of a lion to a handful of Baekgu pups. In a round cage for the training of fighting dogs, one to three large Tosa mixes sat in the corner on metal chains.
White House and State Dept. with subtly differing responses to inter-Korean dialogue overture
The White House and US State Department showed a subtle difference in their responses to Seoul‘s July 17 proposal of inter-Korean military talks and Red Cross talks toward divided family reunions for the Chuseok holiday in October. When asked by the Hankyoreh on July 17 for the US’s position on the South Korean proposal, State Department East Asia-Pacific spokesperson Katina Adams curtly suggested the reporter “ask the South Korean government.” A diplomatic source in Washington interpreted this as a “neutral expression” - indicating neither active support and welcoming nor opposition.
Experts say Seoul should be patient and proactive in restoring inter-Korean relations
North Korea has not yet responded to offer for military and Red Cross talks, and South Korea now must wait calmly In regard to Seoul’s simultaneous proposals for military talks and Red Cross talks with North Korea on July 17, experts on July 18 said that this was not a time to rush but to calmly wait and prepare. In particular, it’s only when the government demonstrates its willingness to restore inter-Korean relations not only through words but also through actions that the North is likely to engage in inter-Korean dialogue on friendly terms, these experts said. Now that Seoul has proposed dialogue with Pyongyang, it needs to wait calmly, many think. “I don’t think we should be rushing things right now. We should respond after we see North Korea’s reaction,” said Gu Gab-woo, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies. Making a false step out of nervousness about North Korea delaying its response might be counterproductive for restoring inter-Korean relations, Gu said.
President briefs party leaders on future plans
President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday met with leaders of major political parties and discussed thorny issues, including the conservatives’ concerns about his administration’s engagement policy toward North Korea and a plan to relieve the United States of wartime operational control of South Korean forces on the peninsula. Moon and leaders of four political parties met for about two hours including a luncheon. Chairwoman Choo Mi-ae of the ruling Democratic Party, Chairwoman Lee Hye-hoon of the Bareun Party, Acting Chairman Park Joo-sun of the People’s Party and Chairwoman Lee Jeong-mi of the Justice Party joined the president at the Blue House. Chairman Hong Joon-pyo of the Liberty Korea Party, Moon’s main rival in the May 9 presidential election, turned down the invitation.
Moon’s Blue House releases a 100-point agenda
The Moon Jae-in government has announced an ambitious policy to get North Korea to freeze its nuclear program and ultimately terminate it by 2020. The policy was described in a 100-point agenda for the next five years unveiled on Wednesday. “In order to draw an agreement [with North Korea] for complete termination of the nuclear program by 2020, the government will come up with comprehensive measures for the North’s denuclearization that will start with putting a freeze on its nuclear programs,” said the Moon government.
SK Telecom gets approval to test driverless cars
SK Telecom will be the nation’s first mobile carrier to test a driverless car on public roads. According to the company on Wednesday, it obtained approval to test a driverless car equipped with its so-called vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The V2X technology is supposed to allow cars to communicate with sensors, cameras, traffic systems and other cars via fast internet networks such as the upcoming 5G networks. “We are not a complete auto maker,” a spokesperson from SK Telecom said. “But we are utilizing 5G networks to enable various internet-connected services on cars and to enhance the safety of autonomous driving as the internet can help cars better monitor and respond to traffic situations.”
Moon’s initiatives aim to be wealth equalizers
The focus of President Moon Jae-in’s economic policies has been even wealth distribution, and to do that, the government wants to create more jobs and level the playing field for small businesses and the self-employed. The increased income, the government hopes, will translate into bigger spending. This is essentially the basis of Moon’s five-year plan for the economy unveiled on Wednesday by the Presidential Advisory Committee for State Affairs Planning, his de facto transition team.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Documents Including Orders to Disable the Sewol Special Committee Discovered
On July 18, allegations were raised that the Park Geun-hye government had given orders to neutralize the special committee on the investigation of the April 16 Sewol accident. Reportedly, documents with such orders were discovered when Cheong Wa Dae checked the documents, which the former government had left behind in some of the offices of the senior secretaries. If these allegations are confirmed, it could send ripples through the nation since it would mean that Cheong Wa Dae directly tried to neutralize attempts to identify the truth concerning the Sewol accident. This day JTBC reported that Cheong Wa Dae confirmed documents including orders to disable the Sewol special committee, among the minutes of senior secretary meetings held by the chief of staff in the Park Geun-hye government. The documents were recently found in the office of the senior secretary for political affairs.
NK Expected to Demand Suspension of ROK-US Military Exercise
On July 18, the defense ministry reviewed a number of follow-up measures to prepare for North Korea's response to the latest proposal for military talks. If the talks follow through, the Ministry of National Defense suggested that they could discuss the suspension of various hostile activities that the North had criticized. When asked, "If North Korea does not respond by July 21, the date set for the talks, then will our military alone cease hostile activities?" this day, Moon Sang-gyun, the defense ministry spokesperson said, "We will take additional measures according to the response from North Korea." Another official from the defense ministry said, "The suspension of hostile activities presented by Vice Minister Suh Choo-suk can be a comprehensive issue." He implied that various issues could be the subject of the talks.
Restore Channel for Dialogue with 1+1 Talks: Government Embarks on "Berlin Initiative"
On July 17, the government simultaneously suggested that the two Koreas engage in military talks to cease hostile activities and Red Cross talks for a reunion of separated families this chuseok. This is the first time since the launch of the Moon Jae-in government that South Korea has proposed inter-Korean talks to Pyongyang. This is the first follow-up measure to implement the ideas that President Moon Jae-in presented in his "Korean Peninsula Peace Initiative (Berlin Initiative)" in Germany on July 6.
The Korea Economic Daily (http://english.hankyung.com/)
Fair Trade Commission Sets out to Investigate Essential Item Costs of Franchise Businesses
The Fair Trade Commission will investigate profit margins of essential items sold to franchisees by franchise companies. In addition, all franchisers will from now on disclose whether they take rebates from suppliers when they receive such items. Kim Sang-jo, Chairman of the competition watchdog, announced on July 18 measures to keep unfair practices of the franchise business to a minimum in a press briefing held in the Sejong government complex. This is in line with his remarks upon taking up the top job that he would make sure to rectify high-handed manners of franchisers.
More Gas Station Owners Show Willingness to Switch to Self-service Stations
After the government decided to increase the minimum wage growth rate for the next year by 16.4 percent, the number of gas stations that intend to switch to self-service stations is fast on the rise. An official with the Korea Oil Station Association said on July 18, "We have been getting a lot of inquiries from gas station owners whether they can get the association's subsidies if they switch to a self-service one." On average it costs 100 million won for a full-service filling station to turn into a self-serve one. Nonetheless, more and more gas stations are moving toward self-service ones due to higher labor cost.
Samsung Pay Joins Hands with PayPal
Samsung Electronics forged a business tie-up with the world's largest online payment service PayPal as a way to promote the uptake of its mobile payment service Samsung Pay. Samsung announced on July 17 that it will expand the Samsung Pay service under the partnership with PayPal which is used by more than 200 million people worldwide. The Samsung Pay users who register their PayPal accounts with Samsung Pay, can make online and offline payments just like those who register their credit cards or debit cards. When making offline payments through a PayPal account, users should select PayPal instead of credit or debit cards for payment on the list of payment methods.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Presidential advisory group proposes tough anti-nuclear policy
A presidential advisory panel put the proportion of clean and renewable energy in generating South Korea's total electricity at 28 percent by 2030 to support President Moon Jae-in's campaign aimed at reducing the use of fossil and nuclear energy. By 2023, power utility firms are required to generate 10 percent of their electricity with solar and other renewable energy, the State Affairs Planning Advisory Committee said in policy recommendations which set the course of policy for Moon's government. The panel proposed that power utility firms should generate a certain amount of electricity with renewable energy while government and public organizations are required to build in-house solar energy storage systems by 2020.
Korean hackers suspected of developing JigSaw Ransomware variant
A JigSaw ransomware variant, believed to be produced by South Korean developers, has been discovered, according to a security firm. The variant is similar in character to most existing JigSaw ransomware viruses except for the exposure of the clown mask image, according to ESTsecurity Corp., a software developer and security firm based in Seoul. JigSaw not only encrypts files but also deletes them every hour and each time the infection starts until the ransom payment is made. The security firm noted that the Korean-language (Hangul) message used in the ransomware variant was written in perfect colloquialism almost like a native speaker, such as the appropriate use of admiration and emoticons. Analysis of the source code suggested it was developed by Korean hackers as a large amount of Hangul was found in comments and folder paths.
Ambassador to Ethiopia faces probe over sexual harassment
A team of foreign ministry investigators will visit Ethiopia soon for a probe into allegations that South Korea's ambassador there was involved in sexual harassment while drinking with female interns.
Ambassador Kim Moon-hwan will be probed over allegations that he had sexually harassed female interns from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), a state organization which implements South Korea's grant aid programs for developing countries, a ministry official said.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Hyundai Motor vice chairman in China for recuperation campaign
South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun flew to China this week in hopes to find ways to revive the sagging sales in the world’s largest automobile market. Formally, he attended a ceremony marking the completion of Chongqing plant in southwest China on Wednesday. Chongqing plant furbished with cutting-edge equipments is located in one of the strategic cities of China under the banner of Beijing’s One Belt, One Road infrastructure drive, said Chung at the ceremony as he vowed to deliver new and high-quality cars for Chinese consumers from the new plant.
S. Korea toughens quarantine inspection on U.S. beef on BSE detection
South Korea is sharply toughening quarantine check on U.S. beef imports upon report of the first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) - a type of mad cow disease - in five years from an Alabama animal The Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs on Wednesday said it requested its U.S. counterpart to be accurately and timely briefed on the situation and development. In the meantime, the government would make 30 percent of the U.S. produce subject to sampling physical check - opening up the package, defrosting, and cutting to check in detail -., up sharply from 3 percent share.
LG Chem Q2 OP up 18.7% on year, beats market consensus
Thanks to heated demand in electronics components, South Korea’s battery and material maker LG Chem Ltd. turned out better-than-expected income - its third largest three-month performance - in the second quarter ended in June. In its release of preliminary figures, LG Chem reported an operating profit of 726.87 billion won ($647.3 million), down 8.8 percent from the record-high in the previous quarter but up 18.7 percent on year. The figure beat market consensus of between 670 billion and 700 billion won. Shares of LG Chem that closed before the earnings release ended Wednesday at318,500 won, down 8,000 won or 2.45 percent from the previous session.
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