The Korean daily media headlines and humor
Thursday, August 3 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
Cartoon by Bae Gye-gyu, Hankook Ilbo
(Korean-language daily newspaper), dated August 3, 2017
The wife of a four-star general, namely Gen. uses an enlisted man at her private home like a slave with a steel chain
On the next of the man. The enlisted man says, “My master and madam have a good sleep because of me.”
Cartoon by Park Yong-suk, Joong Ang Ilbo
(Korean-language daily newspaper), dated August 3, 2017
The wife of one of the commanding generals of the Korean Army (General Park Chan-ju of the Second ROK Army) thinks the enlisted personnel assigned to the security of her house are nothing but a bunch of rats. She is riding on the back of a ‘mouse’ and yells, “Now move to the kitchen! I have to cook breakfast for my son!”
What’s ticking in Korea today? Here is a quick roundup of important news stories from the major Korean news media today:
Gov't Unveils Additional Real Estate Market Measures
Sejong, a newly built administrative city in South Chungcheong Province, and eleven districts in Seoul considered to be the source of rising housing prices were additionally designated as speculative investment zones. With the double designation, the areas will be subject to additional regulations. The measures came around 40 days after the government first announced plans to prevent the real estate market from overheating. A total of 14 rules will be applied on overly-speculative investment zones, including toughening the loan-to-value(LTV) ratio and debt-to-income ratio(DTI) to 40 percent. Such zones will also see tougher rules on reconstruction and redevelopment. Meanwhile, in speculative investment zones, giving out housing loans will be restricted to one household.
US Demonstrates Military Might against N. Korea in ICBM Test Launch
Carrying an empty test warhead, an intercontinental ballistic missile was fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California early morning Wednesday. The Minuteman III's re-entry vehicle traveled around six-thousand-800 kilometers across the Pacific and hit the preset target near Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The U.S. Air Force said that the test was to prove that the U.S.’ nuclear enterprise is safe, secure, effective and ready to defend against attacks on the U.S. and its allies. It said that the test was not in direct response to the recent North Korean missile activities.
President Moon Promotes Defense Cooperation with Indonesia
President Moon Jae-in has hosted Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu at his summer vacation resort in the southern coast to discuss security matters of mutual interest. Presidential press secretary Yoon Young-chan told reporters that Ryacudu visited Moon in Jinhae, South Gyeongsang Province on Wednesday and talked about bilateral cooperation on defense acquisition. Yoon quoted Moon as saying that he was pleased to see progress and expansion of defense cooperation with Indonesia, and expressed hope that it will help the two countries strengthen their defense forces.
S. Korea's current account surplus narrows to US$7.01 bln in June
South Korea's current account surplus narrowed in June from a year earlier due to a hike in imports and an increased deficit in the travel balance, central bank data showed Thursday. The country's current account surplus reached US$7.01 billion in June, compared with a surplus of $12.09 billion a year earlier, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK). The figure represents a surplus for 64 months in a row. The current account is the biggest measure of cross-border trade. The BOK said the widened deficit in the travel balance and increased imports of machinery were to blame for the narrowed current account surplus.
Trump signs N. Korea, Russia, Iran sanctions into law
President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed new sanctions on North Korea, Russia and Iran into law, insisting that the legislation remains "seriously flawed." Trump signed the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act despite his earlier opposition to it in the face of overwhelming support for the bill in both the House of Representatives and Senate. "Despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity," the president said in a statement released by the White House. "It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues so that these sanctions will no longer be necessary."
Lotte units suffer earnings setbacks on THAAD fallout
Subsidiaries of South Korean retail giant Lotte Group saw their earnings tumble in the second quarter, data showed Thursday, stung by China's retaliation over Seoul's decision to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system. In early March, Lotte agreed with the Seoul government to swap its golf course in the southeastern county of Seongju for a land lot near Seoul in order to allow the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery, which China suspects could be used to spy on its military. Days later, Beijing banned its travel agencies from selling package tours to South Korea in a big blow to Lotte, which depends on Chinese tourists for a considerable part of its revenue. According to the data by the Financial Supervisory Service, the consolidated operating income of Lotte Shopping plunged 49 percent on-year to 87.3 billion won (US$78 million) in the April-June period.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Korea moves to hike tax rates for superrich, conglomerates
The government on Wednesday unveiled its plan to impose higher taxes on rich individuals and large businesses, seeking to fund President Moon Jae-in’s plans to boost employment and to support small-sized businesses. “We have decided that an adjustment in tax rates is needed to secure the nation’s tax revenues,” Deputy Prime Minister for economic affairs and Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said in a ministry-led taxing policy meeting Wednesday. But considering financial circumstances and taxation equity, the tax rate hike will be limited to people on high incomes and the most profitable conglomerates, the minister underlined.
Conservatives bring Moon’s national security stance into question
Conservative opposition parties are turning up the heat on President Moon Jae-in, attacking the administration’s North Korean policies and accusing him of complacency on security issues. On Wednesday, the floor leader of the minor conservative Bareun Party, Rep. Joo Ho-young, urged Moon to cut his vacation short, saying that the international community is leaving Seoul out in dealing with North Korea. “(The current situation) is the worst security crisis since liberation (from Japan in 1945). North Korea has developed an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting continental US, and China and US are clashing (over Pyongyang’s provocations),” Joo said, adding that Moon should return to work.
South Koreans yet to discover true joy of volunteering
When Ahn Seung-hwa started her career in volunteer management as chief program manager of South Cheungcheong Volunteer Center in 1999, she had no office or budget to run. “Me and two other colleagues literally started from scratch,” Ahn recalled in a recent interview with The Korea Herald. The center was among several community-level facilities that opened in 1997, as part of the government’s campaign to promote and nurture volunteerism in South Korea, after rapid urbanization and industrialization destroyed communities.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Trump willing to go to 'war' with N. Korea
In a stunning revelation, U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told NBC's Today program, Tuesday (local time), U.S. President Donald Trump told him he was "willing to go to war with North Korea if they (North Korea) continued to try to hit America with an ICBM." Graham said: "He's told me that. I believe him... There is a military option: To destroy North Korea's program and North Korea itself. I prefer the diplomatic approach. But they will not be allowed to have a missile to hit America with a nuclear weapon on top." He continued: "He's not going to allow (President Trump) the ability of this madman (Kim Jong-un) to have a missile that could hit America.
Should English be a mandatory subject at school?
English has been a "fixture" of the curriculum at primary and secondary schools for many years. Students have to learn English as a mandatory subject to graduate and nobody has challenged the policy amid globalization in which English is increasingly considered another primary language. A provincial education office recently challenged the policy, arguing that studying English should be optional, at least in rural areas where more students were in multiracial families. The Daegu Office of Education suggested last week that the Ministry of Education remove English from the list of mandatory subjects -- English, Korean and math. The office said the removal, if implemented, will make it easier for students, especially from multiracial families, to learn other languages at school, which will help bolster the nation's linguistic diversity and international competitiveness.
Pastor is patron for sexual minorities
Reverend Lim Bo-rah is among the few exemplary religious leaders in Korea seeking to implement the true meaning of religion: God teaches us to love, not hate each other, and certainly not to persecute or discriminate against a group of people for "who they are." The pastor at Sumdol Presbyterian Church in Mapo-gu, Seoul, has been a vocal supporter of equal rights protections for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Given that the Christian groups — mostly those on the far-right — are known for their fierce opposition to homosexuality, which they call "an ungodly abomination," Lim's minority stance is drawing admiration from those offended by such bigoted views including the younger generation and liberal civic groups.
Washington sends mixed signals to Pyongyang
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday (local time) that the United States "would like to sit and have a dialog with them (North Korea)." While Tillerson made his comment on "a condition of those talks is there is no future where North Korea holds nuclear weapons or the ability to deliver those nuclear weapons to anyone in the region, much less the (U.S.) homeland," he suggested an exit strategy by opening possibilities of dialogues with the North, which tested its second Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Hwasong-14.
Cure to end 'hereditary disease' developed by researchers
Parents with hereditary diseases are indeed anxious whether their children may inherit their own illness. However, that anxiety outdoors be eased in the near future, thanks to the recent findings. According to a joint group of researchers from Korea and the U.S., the team has succeeded in normalizing a mutant gene that causes "hypertrophic myocardiosis" inside human embryo. The findings came as the first successful outcome in curing genetic mutation from a human embryo without side effects.
Opposition criticizes gov’t plan to increase taxes, curb property prices
Conservative opposition parties on Wednesday expressed concerns over the government’s plan to raise taxes for rich people and large businesses and to curb rising property prices. Although the government says that the measures target ultra-high-income earners, ultra-large corporations and real-estate speculators, the opposition parties claim that the ripple effects on the market could be far-reaching. The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) warned that the planned tax hike would be the beginning of a tax increase on the entire people, calling it a “tax bomb.” Saying that although the tax hike will start with large corporations and the wealthy who shows less tendency of tax resistance, the amount of tax money collected from them will not be large enough to prevent the government from implementing a large-scale tax increase on the entire population.
N.Korea Silent on Seoul's Talks Proposals
North Korea never responded to Seoul's proposals for military talks on July 21 and Red Cross talks on Aug. 1, making it increasingly clear that it wants to freeze South Korea out of any negotiations on its nuclear and missile programs. A Unification Ministry spokesman told reporters on Tuesday the North "hasn't made any response to the offers yet." "Seoul will continue to make multifaceted efforts to solve humanitarian issues" like the reunion of families separated by the Korean War "and to ease military tensions along the border area," the spokesman added. "We're not going to be overly optimistic or pessimistic about any response or lack thereof."
Is Military Strike Against N. Korea Feasible?
The U.S. and South Korean chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff discussed a military response after North Korea's latest missile test over phone, Pentagon spokesman Greg Hicks said last Friday.
But is a "surgical strike" on the North's nuclear facilities or leader Kim Jong-un's residence in Pyongyang or a preemptive strike on missile launch vehicles a realistic option? Some people claim that it would be possible to reduce North Korea to ashes in a single day given the formidable military power the U.S. has. But South Korean and U.S. military strategists say this would require at least three aircraft carrier strike groups, and their presence would alert North Korea as well as China and Russia well in advance.
Korea to Tone Down Anniversary of Diplomatic Ties with China
The government is toning down celebrations of the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations with China at the end of this month as the spat over the deployment of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery here has soured ties. A government official here said, "China continues to repeat its demand for us to withdraw the THAAD even after North Korea conducted a second test launch of its Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile. There's been a cold response no matter what Seoul says, so this year's event can't be the same as in previous years." The Chinese Embassy in Seoul has invited officials from Beijing to a reception marking the anniversary, but it has not so far told Seoul who will attend. China continues an unofficial boycott of South Korean goods and services that has seen tourist numbers from the world's most populous country dwindle and drastically reduced South Korean exports.
Nuclear power more expensive than gov’t claims, as spent fuel storage exceeds $57 billion
The cost of managing the “spent nuclear fuel” irradiated in nuclear plants has steadily increased and now exceeds 64 trillion won (US$57.2 billion), a new report confirms. If the government implements its policy of a nuclear phaseout, it could reduce this maintenance cost by as much as 19 trillion won (US$16.9 billion), according to the report. A report on the current maintenance cost for spent nuclear fuel that Minjoo Party lawmaker Lee Hun, a member of the National Assembly’s Industry, Trade, Resources and SME Committee, received from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on July 25 states that as of 2016 the cost needed to maintain the spent nuclear fuel for 36 nuclear reactors (including one that is permanently shuttered, 24 that are operational, five that are under construction and six whose construction is planned) is 64.13 trillion won.
Needing to cover living costs, 62% of retirees wish to keep working
Six out of ten South Koreans over 55 hope to keep working in the future, survey findings show. Respondents who said they want to keep working reported that they hoped to continue until an average age of 72. Over half of them cited living costs as their reason for wanting to keep working. Findings released on July 25 from a Statistics Korea supplementary survey on senior citizens from its 2017 survey of the economically active population showed 7,084,000 out of 12,916,000 South Koreans aged 55-79 to be employed, for an employment rate of 54.8%. Members of the economically active population who are currently looking for work came out to a slightly larger 7,253,000. Among those aged 55-79, 15.8% said they had looked for work over the past year.
South Korea effectively gives up on getting US to clean up returned military base in Wonju
The South Korean government has decided to effectively give up asking the US military to clean up contamination at Camp Long, a base in Wonju, Gangwon Province, that remains “US land” seven years after its closure, as environmental talks with the US have dragged out. The situation means South Korea is more likely to be on the hook for the costs of cleaning up the 340,000 square meters of the camp, which is to be the first US base returned to South Korea under the Moon Jae-in administration. “During the next round with the US military [currently planned for mid-August], we plan to halt environmental discussions on Camp Long in Wonju and refer the issue to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ special joint committee as ‘unresolved,’“ explained Kim Ji-yeon, head of the Ministry of Environment’s land and underground water division and the South Korean chairperson on the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) environmental subcommittee, in a recent telephone interview with the Hankyoreh.
Gov’t tries cooling off real estate
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and other parts of the government announced Wednesday curbs on mortgage lending and regulations on the real-estate market to crack down on speculation.
Some of the plans include raising the transfer tax on transactions by investors who already own two or more residences. “The real-estate market seems a little unstable due to the expanded speculative sentiment in the country,” said Kim Dong-yeon, finance minister and deputy prime minister for economic affairs, on Wednesday.
Senator warns of U.S. war with North Korea
U.S. President Donald Trump said that there will be war with North Korea if the regime continues to aim an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) carrying a nuclear warhead at the United States, according to a Republican senator on Tuesday. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on NBC’s Today show on Tuesday that President Trump told him in person, “There will be a war with North Korea over their missile program if they continue to try to hit America with an ICBM.”
Wealthy, big business will pay more in taxes
Korea’s wealthiest people and biggest companies will pay more in taxes and the government will cut back on tax breaks for businesses, including those given for new investments and research and development.
A higher capital-gains tax will also be charged to major stakeholders in companies when they sell shares. The government estimated that 93,000 wealthy individuals will be affected by the higher tax rates, and the biggest brunt will be felt by 20,000, 0.1 percent of the nation’s company employees.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Moon Jae-in Government Takes Time Out Amidst U.S.-China Conflicts
The U.S. and China show signs of a clash as North Korea test launched a couple of Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the situation has triggered changes in the South Korean government‘s policies on foreign relations and inter-Korean relations. The government is refraining from aggressively seeking dialogue with the North and is laying low on North Korea’s nuclear issue, while keeping an eye on the relationship between the U.S. and China. This follows the realization that South Korea has less room to make an independent diplomatic move due to conflicts between the U.S. and China.
Internet Banks, the Problem is the Separation of Banking and Commerce
Yim Jong-yong, former chairman of the Financial Services Commission paid an unprecedented visit to each lawmaker in the parliamentary Committee for Political Affairs ahead of his retirement on July 13. He asked the lawmakers to pass a bill that would ease regulations on the separation of banking and commerce in order to stimulate the Internet banking industry. The success of Kakao Bank, which had not received much attention at the time, has reignited the debate on easing regulations on the separation of banking and commerce. One side argues that regulations need to be eased, while the other wants to maintain the regulations in order to prevent Internet banks from becoming the private safes of large companies. Some suggest that the regulations should be applied more leniently to ban corporate loans or to restrict them up to a certain amount.
President Moon Clarified Position on THAAD, But Lost a Diplomatic "Card"
President Moon Jae-in decided to complete the deployment of four Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile launchers, which he had planned to postpone in order to follow a legitimate process, in response to North Korea's test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). With this decision, the president has given the "green light" to an issue on which he had maintained a "yellow light" up to this point. Moon had maintained an ambiguous stance on this issue, neither supporting the placement of the missiles nor sharing any plans to withdraw them, between the U.S. and China, but as Pyongyang advanced in its development of the ICBM, the president thrust away the strategic ambiguity and sided with the U.S. The president also abandoned the strategy of buying time with the environmental impact assessment and creating a security environment that would no longer need the THAAD system.
The Korea Economic Daily (http://english.hankyung.com/)
July Exports Rise 19.5%...Only 2.8% If Semiconductors and Ships Are Excluded
The export growth rate in July this year turned out 19.5 percent from the same month last year. This is a surprise performance after two consecutive slow months followed by a 24-percent year-on-year growth in April. Still, the growth rate except those for semiconductors and ships was mere 2.8 percent. In particular, the growth in ship exports may not be so sustainable as the growth came mostly from one-time factors.
SK Innovation to Separate Battery Unit and Put It under Direct Report of CEO
SK Innovation, the holding company of SK Group's energy affiliates, has on August 1 undertaken an organizational reform focusing on battery and chemical businesses. This is an unusual move given most large conglomerates announce their personnel reshuffle results at the end or beginning of the year. This is intended to find future growth engines away from the current core business areas such as oil refining and lubricant. Through the reorganization move, the group hopes to raise its corporate value from current 16 trillion won from 30 trillion won by expanding its business in batteries and chemicals.
GS25 Makes Forays into Vietnam
An increasing number of Korea's convenience store chains are creating a presence in overseas markets. As the domestic convenience store market is reaching a saturation point, local companies are knocking on the doors of foreign markets as a way to secure a new growth engine. GS Retail, which runs a convenience store chain GS25, announced on July 31 that it will set up a joint venture in Vietnam in collaboration with Vietnam's Sonkim Group. The joint venture will be owned on a 70:30 basis by Sonkim and GS Retail. This would be the first time among Korean convenience store chains to launch into the Vietnamese market. This move is led by Huh Yeon-soo, CEO of GS Retail who has stressed the importance of overseas markets. Huh said, "To get ourselves better prepared for the future, we have to move actively to get the upper hand in the overseas markets."
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
N. Korea missile test sokes calls for nuclear subs in S. Korea
North Korea's fresh long-range missile test stoked a public debate in South Korea on indigenous nuclear-powered submarines that could raise concerns about proliferation in Northeast Asia. It's almost hard to find negative posts on South Korea's two major search portals, Naver and Daum, over the idea of reviving a stalled nuclear submarine program, although military officials are cautious. "(We) are ready to take it into consideration," Defense Minister Song Young-moo testified at a parliamentary committee on Monday, referring to nuclear submarines, after he flatly ruled out any nuclear armament.
Trump endorses new sanctions
President Donald Trump signed new sanctions on North Korea, Russia and Iran into law, insisting that the legislation remains "seriously flawed." Trump signed the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act despite his earlier opposition to it in the face of overwhelming support for the bill in both the House of Representatives and Senate. "Despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity," the president said in a statement released by the White House. "It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues so that these sanctions will no longer be necessary."
S. Korea raises tax for high-income earners and big companies
South Korea will collect more taxes from high-income earners and big companies to support new policies adopted by President Moon Jae-in to increase welfare, create jobs and address income polarization.
The finance ministry said the hike in income tax would affect some 93,000 rich people and 129 large companies with substantial taxable income. Presidential advisors have proposed a tax hike, saying the government needs more money to implement Moon's election pledges that focused on welfare and economic justice.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korean govt proposes to up income tax rates for superrich, tax incentives for hiring
The South Korean government under liberal President Moon Jae-in in its first tax code revision proposed to increase levies on super-rich individuals and companies - mostly chaebols - to help finance its increased social welfare programs. At the same time, tax incentives will be provided to employers complying with the new government’s economic slogan of bolstering hiring and income and improving working terms for employees. The tax code revision is designed to increase levies on the top-income bracket and lower burden on the working class and low-income earners to ease inequalities in wealth, improve redistribution and promote “sustainable growth” for the entire population, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said in a statement.
Govt places Seoul and nearby cities on special watch to rein in runaway home prices
In an aim to cool the sizzling housing market, the South Korean government announced a fresh set of tougher actions Wednesday by labeling Seoul, Gyeonggi Province, Gwacheon and Sejong City as speculative zones requiring multiple scrutiny and restrictions in loans and trade. The government’s move to designate overheated speculative areas for the first time in six years comes as part of efforts to stabilize soaring housing prices through clampdown on speculative transactions.
Samsung and Apple chased closely by Chinese rivals
The world’s two largest smartphone makers Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc. would have to look over their shoulders from the pace of ascension by Chinese rivals. According to data from market research firm Strategy Analytics (SA) on Wednesday, Samsung Electronics maintained its lead in the global smartphone market in the second quarter as its shipment of 79.5 million units commanded a share of 22.1 percent. Its second-quarter shipment was up 2 percent on year while its share edged down 0.6 percentage point.
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