The Korean daily media headlines and humor
Thursday, July 27 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:
Pentagon Assesses N. Korea Could Cross ICBM Threshold Next Year
The Post cited a confidential assessment by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency(DIA) as projecting that North Korea will be able to field a reliable, nuclear-capable ICBM as early as next year. The latest assessment shaves a full two years off the previous consensus forecast for when Pyongyang could strike North American cities with nuclear weapons. The report said the new assessment was prompted by recent North Korean missile tests showing surprising technical advances by the country’s weapons scientists at a pace beyond what many analysts believed was possible for the isolated communist regime.
Gov't Gets Reset With Ministry Reshuffle
Eight ministries have been launched or relaunched in line with the government’s reorganization plan endorsed earlier this week by the Cabinet. Changes took effect Wednesday with the start of the newly created Ministry of SMEs and Startups, while fire service and coast guard operations were reborn as independent, vice minister-level organizations, now called the National Fire Agency and the Korea Coast Guard, respectively.
No. of Newborns Declines for 18th Consecutive Month
According to a report on May population trends released by Statistics Korea on Wednesday, 30-thousand-300 babies were born in May, down nearly 12 percent from a year ago. Since posting growth of three-point-four percent in November 2015 from a year before, the number of newborns has seen a continuous decline for 18 months up until May of this year. In particular, since last December, the number of newborns is seeing a steeper drop, slipping more than ten percent. Between January and May of this year, 159-thousand-600 babies were born, down 12-point-four percent from the same period last year.
S. Korea's economic growth slows in Q2 on weak exports
South Korea's economic growth slowed in the April-June period from a quarter earlier due to decreased exports, central bank data showed Thursday. In the second quarter the country's gross domestic product (GDP) increased 0.6 percent, down from the previous quarter's 1.1 percent gain, the Bank of Korea (BOK) said in a statement. Exports fell 3 percent in the second quarter compared with three months earlier and declined 0.1 percent from the previous year, which weighed on Asian's fourth-biggest economy, the statement said.
President to meet top business leaders for beer, candid discussions
President Moon Jae-in was set to meet with the country's top business leaders Thursday for beer and frank discussions that may help fine-tune his economic policies, officials at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. with what the officials called a 20-minute beer time. The rare meeting involving beer comes at a suggestion from the president himself, according to the officials.
"It will mark the first meeting with business leaders since the president's inauguration and will mark an unprecedented meeting that defies all formalities," said Hong Jang-pyo, the chief presidential secretary for economic affairs.
U.S. Senate takes issue with N.K. sanctions in House-passed bill
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday took issue with the inclusion of North Korea sanctions in a broader bill aimed mainly at punishing Russia for its alleged meddling in last year's presidential election. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters the penalties against North Korea should be reviewed separately and taken out of the legislation that passed through the House Tuesday with overwhelming support of 419-3. "Not a word of the North Korea bill has been looked at over here. Not a word," Corker said, according to the Associated Press. He assured, however, that the original bill targeting Russia and Iran will still become law. "It's not going to become a calamity. We will work out a way to get through this," Corker said.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Growing signs of NK missile test deal blow to engagement approach
Tension is rising on the Korean Peninsula, as North Korea shows growing indications of another missile test despite President Moon Jae-in’s engagement approach of resuming inter-Korean talks and suspending cross-border hostilities. According to reports by Agence France-Press and CNN, US officials said that if a test is carried out, it would be the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile or intermediate-range one. Liftoff would probably occur Thursday, the 64th anniversary of the signing of the armistice agreement that halted the Korean War, the officials added. The development would put a damper on Moon’s call for an end to hostile military activities starting Thursday. The government had asked the North to answer the South’s call by Thursday, but the North has yet to respond.
UN says Japan backpedaling on sex slavery
The UN has downgraded its assessment on Japan’s efforts to resolve the issue of wartime sex slavery, citing its failure to provide recognition of responsibility, a public apology and full reparations, documents showed Wednesday. The UN Human Rights Committee released a report monitoring Tokyo’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights for its regular session, scheduled for July 3-28 in Geneva, Switzerland.
Samsung, LG battery arms on alert on cobalt shortage
In response to a supply shortage of cobalt, a key ingredient used in lithium-ion batteries, South Korean battery makers Samsung SDI and LG Chem are stepping up development of new batteries and diversifying their material suppliers. Amid growing demand for the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles and smartphones, cobalt, the key energy metal, has seen a decline in production this year driven mainly by the unstable political situation of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which accounts for more than half of global cobalt production.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
N. Koreans seeking to return home pin hopes on Moon government
Kim Ryen-hui, 48, has never been more hopeful that she will finally have her wish to return "home" to North Korea granted than now, since she first set foot in South Korea in 2011. "I am living day by day with the hope of good news," Kim said in a recent interview with The Korea Times. The "title" on her name card is "Pyongyang resident," and together with her Seoul address it also bears her home address in Pyongyang where her husband and daughter live.
Human, AI translators complement each other', says Flitto CEO
Earlier this year, human translators beat artificial intelligence (AI)-powered translation programs at a competition held at Sejong University. But there are still concerns that AI translators will someday outplay their human counterparts, painting a bleak future for the profession. After all, last year, Google's computer program AlphaGo defeated Go master Lee Se-dol in a historic match that signaled the possibilities of AI outperforming humans in various fields in the near future.
Teachers accused of molesting 80 students
Two high school teachers were arrested for alleged sexual harassment of nearly 80 students in Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province, police said Wednesday. The two men were accused of touching students' buttocks during physical education classes or on other occasions. Some of the alleged victims reported it to a teacher who asked for a police investigation in mid-June. An alleged victim told police the teachers "used to greet students with touching their buttocks."
U.S. to step up sanctions on individuals, entities aiding N.K.’s missile program
Despite continued media reports on North Korea’s possible launch of a medium- to long-range missile on July 27, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice agreement that ended the 1950-1953 Korean War, the Amnokgang Railroad Bridge linking North Korean city of Sinuiju and Dandong in China was busy with cargo trucks operating across the border. Although it seemed business as usual on the surface, there was an atmosphere of people being mindful about what was going on in the North.
Trump nominates B.J. Pak to for U.S. attorney post
According to the U.S. Atlanta Journal Constitution and other local media, U.S. President Donald Trump has recently nominated 43-year-old Korean-American attorney Pak Byung-jin (B.J. Pak) as the head of the U.S. Attorney's office for the Northern District of Georgia. Trump said Pak shared his vision for “Making America Safe Again.” Once Pak is ratified by the U.S. Senate, he will lead the federal law enforcement that oversees 46 counties in northern Georgia for four years. Among those counties include Atlanta, the largest Southeast U.S. city.
Junior golf competition under Pak Se-ri name to be held in the U.S.
A golf competition under the name Pak Se-ri, the legendary Korean golfer, will be held in the U.S. Starting in August 21, Pak Se-ri Junior Championships will be held for four days at the Butte Creek Country Club in Chico, California. The Pak Se-ri Hope Foundation and AJGA are the hosts, and 96 players aged 12-19 around the world, including from Korea, U.S., Canada and China, will participate, engaging in 54 holes for a stroke play to determine both boy and girl winners.
Changing Routine Can Help You Resist Late-Night Snacking
The long summer days leave many people feeling peckish well past dinner time. But late-night snacking poses serious health risks, as it usually involves high-calorie, greasy foods such as fried chicken and pizza, which cause obesity and increase levels of lipids in the blood. This can result in cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Eating large meals just before going to bed is bad for the digestive system. Lying down after eating can cause reflux esophagitis or gastritis, as gastric acid flows upward into the throat.
Rule Change Opens Way for Park Verdict to Be Shown Live
The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to permit live broadcasts of major trials from next month, paving the way for the verdict in the corruption trial of ex-President Park Geun-hye to be shown on TV.
The country's highest court said it revise rules on televising trials in lower and appeals courts "to further meet the public's right to be informed and improve understanding of trials of vital public interest." Only divorce trials will be exempt.
Lee Myung-bak-Era Documents 'Found at Cheong Wa Dae'
Potentially damaging documents dating back to the 2008-2013 Lee Myung-bak administration have been discovered at Cheong Wa Dae, press reports said Tuesday. They reportedly include information related to approval of the Lotte World Tower skyscraper, which drew suspicions of irregularities. Some reports said the documents were found in a filing cabinet in the national security office and contain information about the Lotte World Tower and STX, a shipbuilding company that went belly-up last year. The government approved the construction of the Lotte World Tower in 2009 after the runway of a military airport south of Seoul was realigned to avoid Air Force jets crashing into the skyscraper during takeoff and landing. STX was mired in a corruption scandal involving a Navy chief of staff.
Moon administration pushing for innovative, income-driven growth
The Moon Jae-in administration called for an economic paradigm shift centering on “income-driven growth,” or increasing household incomes to a suitable standard to serve as a growth driver, and an “innovative growth” approach using small and medium-sized businesses as growth engines. But critics said the specific blueprint for structural reform and innovative growth still falls short of what is needed to achieve the ultimate policy goals of overcoming both low growth and polarization and achieving an economy with higher productivity. The “new administration economic policy direction” announced by the Moon administration on July 25 starts from the conclusion that the large corporation-centered growth paradigm of the past is no longer valid - and that it is time to abandon growth strategies based on imitation and pursuit, where large amounts of physical capital were channeled into corporations for the sake of fast growth, with an emphasis on quantitative growth indicators.
Could South Korea’s economic growth rate top 3% for first time since 2014?
The Moon Jae-in administration projected an economic growth rate of 3% for its first year in office. The figure takes into account the recovery in the global economy and the effects of a supplementary budget for jobs. To achieve income-driven growth, the administration plans to manage the rate of increase in fiscal expenditures to keep it above the current growth rate at 5% or more. The Ministry of Strategy and Finance predicted a 2017 growth rate of 3% with the release of its “new administration economic policy direction” on July 25. If the projection comes to pass, it will be the first time the South Korean economy has experienced growth rate at or above 3% since 2014 (3.3%). In late 2016, the South Korean government predicted a 2017 growth rate of 2.6%.
Revealed text messages Samsung seeking favors from the NIS
On July 25, the investigative team of Special Prosecutor Park Young-soo made public a large number of text messages found on the mobile phone of Jang Choong-gi, former head of Samsung’s Future Strategy Office. The messages were released in the trial of Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, which is being held by the 27th criminal division of the Seoul Central District Court. Jang was the person in charge of government lobbying for the Samsung Group. These text messages illustrate the overall way that Samsung handled the National Assembly, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and other parts of the government.
U.S. reps try blocking oil to North
The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed legislation that authorizes measures against exports of crude oil to Pyongyang as well as North Korean forced labor overseas and online gambling as part of a larger package of sanctions bills also targeting Iran and Russia. The House voted 419-3 in support of bipartisan legislation referred to as the “Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act,” against Russia, Iran and North Korea. This legislation encompasses the “Korean Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act” on Pyongyang, passed in May by the House in vote of 419-1, which seeks to bolster the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions and cut off cash used for the regime’s weapons of mass destruction programs.
Crackdown in embassy in China over a drama
The North Korean Embassy in Beijing was recently raided by officials flown in from Pyongyang after a senior diplomat was caught watching a South Korean TV drama, frightening diplomats barely recovered from last year’s headline-grabbing defection of Thae Yong-ho from the embassy in London. According to a source who spoke exclusively to the JoongAng Ilbo, a team of North Korean officials from the State Security Ministry and the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea arrived in Beijing “immediately” after they learned of the drama-watching diplomat in late June. They were alerted by a ministry official whose job is to keep an eye on the embassy staff.
Beijing’s exports to Pyongyang swell 18%
China’s exports to North Korea grew nearly 20 percent in the first half of the year, according the Korea International Trade Association on Wednesday, despite its promises to crack down and impose international sanctions. China’s exports to the North in the first six months of 2017 totaled $1.66 billion, 18 percent higher than the corresponding period in 2016. Its imports, however, showed a significant dip. Imports from North Korea in the first half of the year were $844 million, down 24.3 percent from the previous year.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
"Political Prosecutors Must Be Held Responsible" President Moon Asks Prosecutor General Moon Moo-il for Reforms
On July 25, President Moon Jae-in mentioned the adjustment of investigative authority between the Prosecution Service and the police and said, "We need a debate to seek a reasonable adjustment, but I ask that we gather our wisdom and establish a third discussion panel with members who agree to the need for such adjustments." As for establishing an agency to oversee corruption cases involving senior-level officials, the president said, "We are not just trying to keep the Prosecution Service in check. All senior officials with power including the president will be subject to this agency’s activities, and the Prosecution Service will be amongst these subjects." He further said, "When we first began to discuss this issue, it started out as an anti-corruption agency, and we should adhere to this initial purpose."
Court's Ruling on Park Geun-hye to Be Broadcast Live on TV
The Supreme Court has revised the court’s regulations to allow broadcasts of rulings in the first and second trial of major cases beginning next month. Thus it appears the rulings in the first trials of Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong (49), scheduled in the second half of August, and of former President Park Geun-hye (65), scheduled in October, will be broadcast live. On July 25, the Supreme Court held a meeting of the court's justices and amended the "Regulations on Court Audiences and Broadcasting" to allow such broadcasts.
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 Korea Economic Daily (http://english.hankyung.com/)
LG Display Set to Invest 17 Tril. Won for Next 3 Years
LG Display is set to invest 17 trillion won in Korea and elsewhere by 2020. This is in response to the fast-growing market for organic LEDs. The company also announced plans for investment in preparation for the 10.5th-generation display panels. The company unveiled the long-term investment plan on July 25 after holding a board of directors meeting. The centerpiece of the plan was the P10 plant it is currently building in Paju in the northwest of Seoul, including 2.8 trillion won in the 10.5th-generation panels and 5.0 trillion won in small- and medium-sized organic LEDs. Including the 5.0 trillion won being spent on the E5 and P9 plants, the total sum of investment in small- and mid-sized organic LEDs is more than 10 trillion won.
Fine Dust Level Down only 1% Even after Coal Power Plant Shutdown
Even though the government ordered eight old coal-fired power plants to be shut down for the month of June as part of a measure to reduce the fine dust level, the dust level has been decreased by only 1 percent during the period. Due to the measure, however, the power suppliers' sales ended up declining by 115.2 billion won. If the power generators stop operating the eight plants next year for the four spring months, their sales revenue is likely to be cut by more than 1 trillion won for the next five years.
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)
Hyundai Motor posts continued drop in Q2 profit and sales
Hyundai Motor was in deep trouble this year due to poor sales caused by a missile dispute between Seoul and Beijing as well as poor sales in the United States while domestic sales were stagnant following a series of recalls. Hyundai's second-quarter net profit nosedived 48.2 percent on-year to 914 billion won (816 million US dollars). Operating profit fell 24 percent to 1.34 trillion won and sales showed a 1.5 percent drop to 24.3 trillion won.
Pyongyang warns of preemptive nuclear strike on US
North Korea warned of an unheralded pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States amid reports on preparations for a fresh missile test, three weeks after the nuclear-armed country launched what it claimed to be a workable intercontinental ballistic missile. The North's apocalyptic threat was contained in a speech from North Korea's defense minister Pak Yong-sik at a rally in Pyongyang to mark the 64th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War. North Korea is ready to stage a nuclear attack on the heart of the US "without warning or prior notice" if Washington misjudges Pyongyang's strategic status and sticks to the option of staging a pre-emptive nuclear attack, Pak was quoted as saying by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
SK hynix discloses $8.l5 bln investment in chip facilities
SK hyinx Inc. said it plans to allocate some 9.6 trillion won (US$8.5 billion) this year to expand its production facilities for dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) and NAND chips. Through a regulatory filing, the South Korean chipmaker said it expanded the amount of investment originally estimated at 7 trillion won this year. SK hynix said the investment is aimed at actively coping with changing market conditions while laying a firm foundation for its future growth. The investment will be used on building new clean rooms as well supporting various research and development projects, the company said. The increased investment is also expected to help the company meet the rising demand for DRAM chips and expand production capabilities for 3D NAND products, it added.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Hyundai Motor Q2 OP dips 23.7% on sharp sales fall in China
South Korea’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor Co. posted a 23.7 percent on-year drop in operating profit for the second quarter this year as its sales in China sharply declined amid growing negative sentiment towards Korean brands following Seoul’s decision to deploy a U.S. antimissile system. The company said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that its operating profit in the April to June period fell 23.7 percent to 1.34 trillion won ($1.2 billion) from a year ago period. Its net profit plummeted 48.2 percent on year to 913.6 billion won with drastic sales decline in the world’s largest auto market. Sales contracted 1.5 percent on year to 24.3 billion won.
LG Display will see through $14bn OLED invest with lending if necessary
To ensure its dominant position in the display industry, South Korea’s top display maker LG Display said it will seek debt if necessary to finance its 15 trillion won ($13.5 billion) spending to ramp up capacity and advance organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology. “The investment would be basically made with our profits. But if we are short, we will find other ways to raise the money as timing is crucial in making investment,” said Kim Sang-don, chief financial officer and senior vice president of LG Display in a conference call after release of second-quarter income.
Korea’s new financial chief scorns banks for not taking risks
The new chief of South Korea’s Financial Service Commission (FSC) scorned domestic lenders for complacency, or making easy and safe money through lending to consumers instead of companies that require more risk-taking. “Risk-prioritizing should the key role of the financial sector. But domestic banks tend to dump the risk on the borrowers or hide behind state lenders,” said FSC Chairman Choi Jong-ku in his first press conference on Wednesday since his inauguration. Since the financial crisis in late 1990s, banks have been focused more on safe targets like households and mortgage or property-backed lending instead of incubating and investing in promising enterprises, he said.
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