The Korean daily media headlines and humor
Wednesday, July 26 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
What’s ticking in Korea today? Here is a quick roundup of important news stories from the major Korean news media today:
President Moon Orders Prosecutor General to Advance Reforms
President Moon Jae-in formally appointed new Prosecutor General Moon Moo-il Tuesday, ordering him to take steps to push forward efforts toward prosecution reform.The president told Moon to form an outside advisory committee on key reform agenda items, including the separation of investigative and prosecution authority. President Moon is also seeking to create an independent body tasked with investigating corruptions by senior public officials including the members of the prosecution.
S. Koreans' Tax Burden to Reach 340 Tln Won This Year
South Koreans' tax burden is expected to reach about 340 trillion for the first time this year. The government expects the national tax income to reach 257 trillion won this year, a six percent increase. The local tax income is likely to rise from 75-point-five trillion won last year to 80 trillion this year. The combined tax revenue is expected to reach a record 337 trillion won this year, up about 20 trillion from a year ago.
The ratio of tax to gross domestic product is projected to post 19-point-seven percent, possibly breaking the current record of 19-point-six percent set in 2007.
This Summer so far Second Hottest One for S. Koreans on Record
outh Korea is going through its hottest summer in 23 years. The Korea Meteorological Administration(KMA) said Tuesday the average daytime high recorded nationwide between June first and Monday stood at 29-point-one degrees Celsius. That's the second highest average since the weather agency began compiling data in 1973. 1994 was only slightly hotter during the same period at 29-point-eight degrees. Nationwide average daytime highs were at least 33 degrees seven-point-two days this year, again trailing 1994 which had 15-point-three heat wave days.
U.S. House passes new sanctions on Russia, Iran, N. Korea
The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a package of sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, in a possible blow to President Donald Trump. The House voted 419-3 in support of the controversial bill that seeks to prevent Trump from unilaterally lifting sanctions on Russia. The legislation also calls for fresh sanctions on Russia for its alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Trump objected to the bill as he insists he received no help from Moscow to win the presidential race and underscores the importance of bilateral cooperation on issues such as counterterrorism and the war in Syria. The package includes sanctions that passed the House in May to choke off money flows to North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.
Park Tae-hwan finishes eighth in 200m freestyle at swimming worlds
South Korean swimmer Park Tae-hwan has finished eighth in the men's 200m freestyle at the ongoing world championships. With a time of 1:47.11, Park came in last among eight finalists at the 2017 FINA World Aquatics Championships at Danube Arena in Budapest, Hungary, on Tuesday (local time). Park squeezed into the final by finishing eighth in Monday's semifinals, despite setting his season-best with 1:46.28. In the heats held earlier Monday, Park ended up 14th among 16 qualifiers for the semis. Park swam in the eighth lane in the final, and never really came close to a medal despite tying James Guy of Britain for the fastest reaction time with 0.64 second.
S-Oil's Q2 net drops on currency, low oil prices
S-Oil Corp., the No. 3 oil refiner in South Korea, said Wednesday that its second-quarter profit dropped 85 percent from a year earlier, as the strong local currency and low oil prices dented its bottom line.
Net profit reached 66.9 billion won (US$59.8 million) in the April-June period, compared with 444 billion won a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing. Operating income dropped 82 percent on-year to reach 117 billion won over the cited period, while sales rose 11.1 percent on-year to reach 4.67 trillion won. S-Oil said its operating income dropped due to the strengthening of the local currency against the U.S. dollar and low oil prices.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Top US lawmaker calls for 'forceful' steps to stop N. Korea
A top Republican congressman on Tuesday called for "forceful, swift" steps to stop North Korea's missile and nuclear development. Rep. Mac Thornberry made the call after the House Armed Services Committee held a closed-door briefing on the North's pursuit of intercontinental ballistic missiles. The session followed the communist nation's first test of an ICBM on July 4, which experts say could reach parts of the US, including Alaska.
US initially proposed 9 THAAD launchers
The US initially proposed deploying nine launchers of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile shield, instead of the typical six for one battery, during its consultations with South Korea last year, a government source told The Korea Herald on Tuesday. The official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose details of the negotiations, said Washington floated the idea in the run-up to the two sides’ launch of a joint working group on the matter in March 2016.
Korea ups economic growth forecast to 3% for 2017
South Korea on Tuesday raised its economic growth forecast for this year to 3 percent, pledging to create inclusive growth with its four major economic policy pillars of income-led growth, job creation, a fair economy and innovative growth. The Ministry of Strategy and Finance on Tuesday drew up the Moon Jae-in government’s economic policy directions, in which it raised the nation’s growth forecast from 2.6 percent to 3 percent on the back of an uptrend in exports and an incoming fiscal injection. The corresponding forecast for next year will also likely be 3 percent, according to the ministry.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Boosting households' income top priority
Increasing household income and creating more jobs will be two pillars of the government's policy to promote economic growth. Also, it will support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to rise as major economic players, and promote domestic consumption's contribution to growth. The Moon Jae-in administration announced these key economic policy directives Tuesday. "The quantitative growth strategies of the past are not valid anymore," Strategy and Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said. "The economy needs a paradigm shift, and the starting point of economic policy should be people."
Will ex-President Lee Myung-bak face investigation?
Former President Lee Myung-bak may face investigation for possible involvement in the spy agency's election-meddling scandal in 2012. New evidence submitted Monday at the trial of former National Intelligence Service (NIS) chief Won Sei-hoon pointed to the spy agency's active attempts to intervene in politics and elections and to control the media. Critics say such activity would have been impossible without orders from former President Lee. Rep. Hong Ihk-pyo of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) called for an investigation into Lee, saying that the evidence indicated that the NIS carried out political maneuvering under his administration. He said that such activities were a clear violation of the Election Law and the law on the NIS which requires the agency to stay politically neutral.
Three typhoons heading for Korean Peninsula
Three typhoons are heading across the Pacific Ocean toward the Korean Peninsula, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), Tuesday. Typhoon Noru is moving northwestward at 13 km/h from 1,600 kilometers southeast of Japan. Typhoon Kulap is moving westward at 25 km/h following Noru. Typhoon Sonca is off Vietnam, moving northward at 17 km/h. It is rare for three typhoons to head toward the peninsula at the same time, say KMA meteorologists. It is uncertain how close they will come to Korea because their direction and intensity are changeable.
'N. Korea is preparing another missile test Thursday,' say military sources
While the South Korean government extended the deadline of North Korea's reply on its military authorities summit proposal to Thursday (truce agreement anniversary day), another provocation signs of missile firing by the North has been identified. Observations are that the North would fire the missiles around Thursday to which the South Korean military authorities are closely monitoring the situation.
According to military sources Tuesday, South Korea-U.S. intelligence authorities have spotted the movements of transporter erector launcher (TEL) loaded with missiles at Kusong in North Pyongan Province. Concrete pads are reportedly installed for transporter erector launchers in this area. Military authorities believe the missiles will be unloaded from the TEL to load them to missile launcher on land.
Richard Marx’s unpredictability creates the buzz in Korea
American singer Richard Marx, who is famous for “Right Here Waiting” and “Now and Forever,” has been the talk of the town in the Korean music industry. The story began at the end of April when he cancelled his trip to Korea only two days before a promotional event citing escalating military tensions on the Korean peninsula. It was a three-day visit from May 1 to promote his concert in early June. As British rock group Coldplay and singer Norah Jones successfully held concerts in Korea at the time, Koreans began to turn their back to Marx.
Ryu Hyun-jin leads Dodgers' 1st win over Minnesota without Kershaw
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin of the U.S. Major League Baseball helped his team win a game against the Minnesota Twins even without his team’s ace Clayton Kershaw on Monday local time.
A lot was at stake in the game for both the Dodgers and Ryu. It was the first game for the Dodgers to play after losing ace Kershaw. It is uncertain when Kershaw will be able to take the mound due to his waist pain. It was the first game for Ryu to play since making the disabled on June 28. For Ryu, who has been competing with Kenta Maeda to become the starting pitcher since the early days of this season, now is an opportunity to emerge as a hero for his team facing difficulties as both Kershaw and Brandon McCarthy have vacated the mound due to injuries.
China Fortifies Border with N. Korea
China has strengthened border security to prepare for a potential crisis in North Korea, including a possible U.S. strike on North Korean nuclear facilities, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
"Recent measures include establishing a new border defense brigade, 24-hour video surveillance of the mountainous frontier backed by aerial drones, and bunkers to protect against nuclear and chemical blasts," the daily said.
Door 'Still Open' for N.Korea Joining Pyeongchang Olympics
President Moon Jae-in on Monday renewed an invitation for North Korea to take part in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province. Moon said the South will keep the doors open "until the very last minute." "I again urge North Korea to decide," he said. "We will not rush it or be pessimistic but keep the doors open until the very last moment." Moon invited the North at the opening ceremony of the World Taekwondo Championships in Muju, North Jeolla Province last month. He reiterated the offer during the G20 Summit earlier this month. North Korea has yet to respond.
Big Data Shows Worries Over Minimum Wage Hike
Big data analysis of online searches suggests that Koreans are more concerned than hopeful about the minimum wage being raised 16.4 percent next year to W7,530 (US$1=W1,115). Daumsoft analyzed key words from 23.2 million blogs, 707 million Twitter accounts and 1.17 million news articles from 2015 until July 19 of this year. It found that 71 percent of words that appeared from July 15 to 19, when the minimum wage hike was decided, reflected pessimism on the issue.
China-Russia Baltic Sea naval drills suggest growing power competition with the US
The Chinese and Russian navies are launching full-scale naval drills on July 25 as part of their first-ever joint exercises in the Baltic Sea. The drills, which included previous land-based exercises, suggest an intensifying naval power competition with the US, which held a commissioning on July 23 for the USS Gerald R. Ford, the world’s largest aircraft carrier. The commanding officers of the Chinese and Russian navies held land-based exercises on July 23 at Baltiysk Naval Base in the Russian city of Kaliningrad, the Chinese newspaper People’s Liberation Army Daily reported on July 24. The exercises lasted for several hours, during which the Russian military command delivered an explanation on the installation status of a combined command and the two sides formed teams to hold discussions according to their combat organization, the newspaper said.
In summit with US, Moon administration requested increase of maximum warhead weight
The Moon Jae-in administration made a request during its late June summit with the US to amend the two sides‘ New Missile Guidelines (NMG) to increase the maximum permissible warhead weight on a 800-km ballistic missile from its current 500kg to one ton, it was learned on July 24. Seoul proposed the idea to the US at the time, with plans to discuss the details with the US during the two sides’ Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) and Korea-US Integrated Defense Dialogue (KIDD) scheduled for the second half of the year, sources said. The proposal indicates that Seoul is attempting to amend the NMG for the first time in roughly five years.
South Korea sends official response to US call for KORUS FTA renegotiation
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) sent an official response to the Donald Trump administration’s proposal to hold Joint Committee talks toward negotiating an amendment of the South Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). With its proposals to “jointly investigate the effects since the FTA took effect” and hold the talks in Seoul rather than Washington, MOTIE‘s response hinted at a blinking contest to come in the upcoming discussions. MOTIE announced on July 24 that it had “sent a response to the US expressing our agreement to their request on July 12 to hold a Joint Committee special session on negotiating an amendment of the KORUS FTA.”
Moon tries for a new paradigm on the economy
The government said it will rely on an expansion of the budget to boost sluggish growth and restore it to 3 percent. The Ministry of Strategy and Finance said a new paradigm is needed and economic policies of the Moon Jae-in administration will focus on the livelihoods of the people. “The domestic economy faces various complex structural problems such as slow economic growth and wealth polarization,” said Kim Dong-yeon, Minister of Strategy and Finance at a press briefing at the Central Government Complex in Seoul on Tuesday. “Other countries in the world are changing their policies to solve such issues through wealth distribution and diversifying their growth engines after the global financial meltdown.
NIS chief called for domestic political psy-ops
Transcripts of meetings at the country’s top intelligence agency discussing political operations were made public Monday as evidence in the trial of the agency’s former head, Won Sei-hoon, who is accused of meddling in the 2012 presidential campaign to help the ruling party candidate Park Geun-hye. In one, Won urges his officers to practice “psychological warfare against the South Korean people.” The Seoul High Court accepted the prosecution’s requests to accept the transcripts of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) meetings and an internal report of the service’s attempts to flood social networks with pro-Park propaganda before the election.
North may be preparing another missile test
North Korea appears to be preparing for another missile launch, possibly to coincide with a Thursday celebration to mark the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, according to U.S. reports. Transporter vehicles carrying ballistic missile launching equipment were seen arriving in Kusong, North Pyongan Province, in North Korea on Friday, an unnamed U.S. official told CNN Tuesday, saying such movement usually indicates that a test could happen within six days.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
President Moon, "North Korea's Participation in the Pyeongchang Olympics Is Now up to Pyongyang"
On July 24, President Moon Jae-in said, "It is now up to North Korea. We urge them once again to make a decision," and invited the North to take part in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. At an event wishing for the successful Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and Paralympics under the heading, "G-200, 2018, the People Organizing the Pyeongchang Games" held at the Alpensia Resort in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do, President Moon asked North Korea to take part and said, "We will neither hastily expect an answer nor expect a negative response. We will simply wait until the last moment." The president repeatedly stressed, "Our door is wide open, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has also opened the door for North Korea to join us. I hope that the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics can be a festival of the Korean people, where the potatoes of Kaema Plateau meet the potatoes of Gangwon-do."
A Sign of Stronger Pressure on North Korea, Will It Block the Channel for Inter-Korean Dialogue?
The U.S. Department of State banning the entry of all its citizens into North Korea on July 21 drew the most attention among recent measures the U.S. took against North Korea. It was a good example of how serious the U.S. considers the North Korean issue, and so the latest measure has considerable implications for South Korea, which is trying to accelerate efforts to improve inter-Korean relations. With the latest measure, beginning at the end of August, if a U.S. citizen passes through or enters North Korea, her passport will be suspended. The biggest reason that the U.S. government banned its citizens from entering North Korea was because of serious risks of arrest and concerns of long-term detention. However, since a travel ban restricts the basic rights of the citizens, it is highly unusual for the U.S., which cherishes the freedom of the individual as a key national value, to take such measures.
Complaints from All Sides, More Taxes on the Super Rich Is No Simple Matter
After President Moon Jae-in officially mentioned “more taxes on the super rich” at a meeting on the nation’s financial strategy on July 21, criticism has been pouring out from both the conservatives and the progressives. The Liberty Korea Party attacked the government for throwing a “tax bomb,” a favorite card played by the party, while progressive civic groups pointed out, “It is a serious problem to limit those subject to the tax hikes within the president‘s term in office to the super-high income earners and the super-large companies.” Just two months since they entered office, the Moon Jae-in government is now facing “tax politics,” a task that requires the government to perform a fine balancing act on a realistic wall between the need for more taxes to implement their welfare pledges and tax resistance.
The Korea Economic Daily (http://english.hankyung.com/)
Daewoo Shipbuilding Finally Gets out of the Red
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering is finally getting out of the funk after years of poor results by posting an earnings surprise for the first half. It was thanks to the belt-tightening measures for the past two years including asset sales worth 2 trillion won and the downsizing of more than 3,000 employees. According to shipbuilding industry sources on July 23, the first-half operating profit for the company is estimated at 700-800 billion won. In particular, its second-quarter operating profit is expected to double that of the first quarter (223.2 billion won). The biggest factor for the turnaround was a large amount of the allowance for bad debts last year that now turned into a profit.
2Q Oil Refiners' Operating Profit Cut in Half
As the international oil prices move below the US$50 level, the results of oil refining industry have retreated in the second quarter. The nation's top-four oil refiners had enjoyed high operating profits for two quarters since the fourth quarter last year with more than 2 trillion won. The industry is expected to see improvement in their operating profit in the next quarter. According to oil refining industry sources on July 23, the combined operating profit of SK Innovation, GS Caltex, Hyundai OilBank, as well as S-Oil that will announce its second-quarter results on July 26 will likely be 1.2 trillion won. This is only a half of what they earned a year ago when they posted 2,270.5 billion won.
Self-employed without Employees Face Dilemma
Concerns are growing among the self-employed without employees in Korea. Amid hikes in crimes targeting stores run by the self-employed without employees, they hope to hire part timers to protect themselves from crime but remain hesitant due to the burden arising from the increase in minimum wages. The number of the self-employed with no employee has been on a steady rise. According to the National Statistical Office on July 23, the number of the self-employed without employees stood at 3,966,000 as of the first quarter of this year, up by 104,000 from a year ago.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Nuclear-exit must be reconsidered for successful 'Moonlight Policy'
It is regrettable that discussion on phasing out nuclear power plants is proceeding only in terms of the environment, safety, and cost. I wonder if we should look at least once into the big framework of inter-Korean relations. North Korea is suffering from a serious power shortage. There is a famous anecdote that our delegation to the North had to hold talks with a candle lit up because of a blackout. In the winter, hotel guests used to have trouble with no hot water. North Korea is losing in system competition with South Korea due to the stagnation of national development caused by chronic energy shortages, and it picked nuclear weapons as a means to catch up at a single stroke.
Chainsaw attacker still at large in Switzerland
It was a peaceful Monday morning at CSS, a Swiss health insurance company, in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. At 10:30 a.m., a man entered the office and started attacking people with a chainsaw. After injuring five people, he fled the building with the chainsaw. One of the employees was seriously injured but later declared to be in more stable condition. Four others were treated in the hospital and were discharged on the same day.
SK group unit to buy stake in Chinese logistics developer ESR
SK Holdings Co., the holding firm of South Korean energy and telecoms conglomerate SK Group, said Tuesday that its board of directors decided to buy a stake in a Chinese logistics developer for 372 billion won (333 million US dollars). In a regulatory filing, SK said it will buy some 262 million shares of ESR to be sold later, which represents an 11.77 percent stake in the Chinese firm established in 2011. ESR, China's No. 2 logistics firm, operates 112 logistics centers in China, Japan, Singapore and other nations, and has some 200 customers around the globe, including Alibaba and Amazon.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
LG Display vows $13.5 billion investment in OLED production
South Korea’s LG Display Co. pledged to invest total 15 trillion won ($13.5 billion) in organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display production by 2020 in a bid to meet burgeoning demand for OLED screens from not only the TV sector but also mobile device manufacturers. The company said on Tuesday that its board approved its plan to invest 7.8 trillion won in local OLED production facilities located in Paju in Gyeonggi Province. It will spend 2.8 trillion won to add 10.5-generation OLED lines for large TV panels and another 5 trillion won to build 6-generation plastic OLED (POLED) lines for small- and mid-sized screens. Both lines will be added to the company’s P10 fab currently under construction in Paju, which is expected to emerge as the company’s OLED production hub for televisions and mobile devices.
S. Korea govt ups growth outlook for this year and next to 3.0%
The South Korean government turned upbeat about the economy for this year and next, predicting annualized growth of 3.0 percent in 2017 and 2018 - the fastest since 3.3 percent in 2014 - on the back of improved global economy and aggressive fiscal spending. In the revised economic policy outline announced on Tuesday, the government predicted a growth of 3.0 percent for 2017 - compared with 2.8 percent last year - and the same rate for 2018.
Seoul to remodel public sites to rented homes, give away vacation money
The South Korean government came up with inventive and generous ideas to augment its economic slogan of “people-led growth” under liberal President Moon Jae-in through increased hiring and income such as refurbishing old public buildings to apartments to rent out to young people and giving out cash to encourage salary workers to go on vacation trips. Under the action plans in the economic policy outline released on Tuesday aimed to narrow income disparity and improve quality of life, the ministry of land would turn public sites housing police stations, community centers and post offices that are 30 years or older into residential complex to make 20,000 homes available for young singles or married couples. By 2022, such public rent supplies will reach 50,000 units.
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