The Korean daily media headlines and humor
Tuesday, August 22, 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:
Moon to Receive Policy Briefings from Ministers
Ministries will brief the president on key policy issues during the ten days of sessions which will start Tuesday with the Ministry of Science and ICT, and the Korea Communications Commission(KCC).
The science ministry and the KCC are expected to report their plans to expand the discount rate of mobile phone fees for subscribers and to recover broadcast impartiality. The plans are in line with Moon’s campaign pledge to reduce household communications expenses by abolishing the basic monthly mobile phone rate. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Unification will report on Wednesday, followed by the Finance Ministry, the Financial Services Commission and the Fair Trade Commission on Friday.
Gov't Assures Public of Insignificant Health Impact of Tainted Eggs
The government is seeking to calm public fears sparked by the ongoing pesticide egg scandal, saying tainted eggs found so far have little impact on the human body. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety released a statement on Monday that five types of excessively used insecticides were found in eggs at 49 layer farms across the country, however, they were found to be insignificant in amount with no considerable impact on the health of those who eat them. The ministry said even if an adult eats an egg with the highest level of fipronil that was found, that person will be okay as long as they do not consume more than 126 eggs in a single day.
Moon Nominates Local Court Chief as Head of Supreme Court
President Moon Jae-in has nominated a local court head as the new chief justice of the Supreme Court. Presidential Spokesman Park Soo-hyun announced Moon’s selection of Kim Myeong-su of the Chuncheon District Court during a regular briefing on Monday. Park pointed out that Kim helped democratize the judiciary as a district court chief in Gangwon Province, and portrayed him as the right person to enhance the court’s public services and regain public trust by making the country’s judicial system more fair and just.
N.K. threats call for 'game-changing' missile defense system
A Democratic lawmaker urged the Pentagon Monday to boost its missile defense system before North Korea develops the capability to strike the U.S. mainland with nuclear weapons. In a contribution to The Hill, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) underscored the urgency of tackling North Korea's missile and nuclear threats with action, not words. "President Trump's lack of a comprehensive strategy and reckless war of words with North Korea has sent the world into a panic," he wrote. "But all the provocative talk in the world won't change the fact that the Hermit Kingdom is a nuclear power and will soon have the nascent capability to strike the U.S. mainland. We need to dramatically shift our thinking as to how to tackle this new reality."
Guam remains safe despite N.K. threats
Guam, a U.S. territory in the western Pacific, continues to be safe despite North Korea's threats to launch ballistic missiles towards it, the island's No. 2 official said Monday. Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio met with media in Tokyo to reassure people there that Guam remains unaffected by the communist nation's bellicose rhetoric, according to an official news release. "I know many of you have questions about the threat from North Korea," Tenorio was quoted as saying. "Let me reassure you that first of all, the entire time that the media has been talking about this issue, our island has been safe. We remain in a state of normalcy, our beaches are filled with tourists, and it continues to be business as usual on Guam."
Visiting U.S. military commanders to issue warning to Pyongyang
Three top U.S. military commanders plan to issue a strong warning message to North Korea in a rare joint press availability here later Tuesday, officials said. Pacific Command chief Adm. Harry Harris, Strategic Command head Gen. John Hyten and Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves are scheduled to hold a press conference at a local U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) base. It's quite unusual for the U.S. commanding generals serving abroad to gather in South Korea and release public statements together.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
S. Korea-US military drill starts amid NK missile strike concerns
Concerns of a possible attack by North Korea continue to haunt the Korean Peninsula, as the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian drill kicked off Monday. The annual South Korea-US drill is beginning as tensions rise to a new high, with Washington raising the pressure on several nations to sever ties with the hermit state. Military tensions are expected to peak during the annual exercise after North Korea openly lambasted the drill as “the most explicit expression of hostility” against its regime, via the North’s official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun on Sunday.
Activists call for end to factory farming amid egg scandal
The pesticide-tainted egg crisis is only a prelude to bigger threats to the food safety and public health unless the practice of cramming chickens into battery cages to maximize profits is stopped, they said.
“It is a consequence of industrialized livestock production and it poses a threat to our food security,” said Jeon Jin-kyung, executive director at Korea Animal Rights Advocates, during a press briefing.
“President Moon Jae-in promised to overhaul the industrial livestock production, but the question is how he will specifically do so,” she said, criticizing the past governments’ lukewarm efforts to tackle the “fundamental” problem.
Seoul City’s use of W1b for two-day event stirs controversy
Public criticism is mounting over the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s 1 billion-won ($878,000) event in Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul to promote the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics. As part of the event, a 300-meter-long and 22-meter-high “bobsleigh waterslide” was open to the public Saturday to draw public attention to the 2018 Winter Olympics. At least 5,000 citizens gathered Saturday and waited for an average of two hours, Seoul City said. The ride was free of charge. However, the operation of the waterslide only lasted 12 hours Saturday from 10 a.m., after Seoul City officials canceled the operation Sunday following a forecast of sudden downpours in the capital on Sunday.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Allies focus on deterring nuclear threats
The South Korea-U.S. joint exercise that started Monday is focused on bolstering a tailored deterrence against North Korea's possible use of nuclear arms or other weapons of mass destruction, according to officials. The Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) drill, which will run until Aug. 31, is following Operational Plan (OPLAN) 5015 of the Combined Forces Command (CFC). Seoul and Washington have established a bilateral tailored deterrence strategy which outlines three military steps they will take in response to the North's escalatory nuclear threats _ the threat of nuclear attack, the imminent use of nuclear weapons and an actual nuclear strike.
'Tainted eggs pose no major health concern'
The government said Monday that five insecticides it has identified so far in the contaminated egg scandal do not pose health problems as if ingested they are removed from the body within a month.
The five chemical agents fipronil, bifenthrin, flufenoxuron, etoxazole and pyridaben are used to kill pest infestations. This is in line with doctors' assessments last Friday that the maximum level detected in a single egg was not enough to cause problems and so people should not panic. "People who have eaten contaminated eggs need not worry too much as they do not stay in the body as organs excrete them," an official from the Ministry of Food Safety said at a press conference.
Moon sheds light on dark history
The southern part of the Korean peninsula, once trampled by Japanese imperialism from 1910 to 1945 and ruled with an iron hand until 1993, has innumerable unresolved cases of human rights atrocities.
The 1950-53 Korean War drenched the soil with blood. Researchers estimate that around 1 million civilians were killed by the government-led massacres during the war. As depicted in this year's box-office hit movie "The Battleship Island," directed by Ryoo Seung-hwan, around 8 million Koreans were either forced into slave labor or to fight in the imperialists' battles in Southeastern Asian countries and at least 600,000 them were missing. The tragedies continued after the country's independence on Aug. 15, 1945. As the Korean War loomed, civilians branded as pro-North Korea were shot to death or buried at sea without judicial process by government-sponsored forces. Some of them were actually anti-colonialists who argued against the possible division of the peninsula amid the Cold War.
DongA Ilbo (http://english.donga.com)
Annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise begins on Monday
The Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercise is commonly referred to as the two major Korea-U.S. military drills along with Field Training Exercise and Key Resolve exercises held in March and April every year. UFG is a military training held to enhance warfare competency in light of a total war in the Korean Peninsula, and also done to master reinforcement of U.S. military troops from the main land. One of the key goals of these exercises is to shore up readiness on local provocations from North Korea, such as the shelling at the Yeonpyeong Island. As a computer-simulated Command Post Exercises, the military drills are quite different compared to field maneuvers, which required actual equipment.
Wreckage of USS Indianapolis found in 72 years
The remains of the second world war cruiser USS Indianapolis have been found on last Friday on the floor of the Pacific Ocean near the Philippines, 5,500 meters below the surface after it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the final days of the war. The ship was hit on July 30, 1945 while sailing to the next operation area after delivering parts of an atomic bomb to the Tinian Island, the launching point for the atomic bomb attacks against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. The 9,800-ton heavy cruiser sank in 12 minutes after two torpedo attacks. Some 900 of the ship’s 1,197 sailors and marines initially survived the maritime disaster, but only 317 ultimately survived. It was the worst disaster with the highest casualties of 880 as a single vessel sink in the history of US Navy.
Biosimilar companies export over 1 trillion won worth of goods
While traditional pharmaceuticals are contracting due to continuous repercussions, new biosimilar companies are expediting their inroads to overseas. According to the export results recently announced by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, exports of biosimilars jumped by 31.5 percent from 892 million dollars (or 923.7 billon won) in 2015 to 1.63 billion dollars (or 1.23 trillion won) in last year, which saw Biosimilars' export excel the 1 trillion Korean won levels for the first time. Their Compound Annual Growth Rate for the last five years showed a clear uprising trend at 29.8 percent. Now, biosimilars take up one third of the total medicine and medical exports.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
THAAD Radar Positioned to Rule out Monitoring of China
A powerful X-band radar that comes with the THAAD missile defense battery set up in southwestern Korea has been positioned in a way that makes it impossible to monitor China. One government official who took part in an environmental assessment of the battery earlier this month said Friday, "The area is surrounded by mountains and the battery was placed at the foot of a mountain to the west. That makes it impossible to monitor China." The move aims to allay Chinese fears that the radar will be used to spy on its military movements, which have already led to a wide-ranging boycott of Korean goods and services.
Top U.S. Brass Arrive in Seoul for Joint Drills
U.S. military leaders are arriving in South Korea ahead of the annual joint exercise that kicks off on Monday. Adm. Harry Harris, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, and Gen. John Hyten, the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, arrived on Sunday. They are followed by Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, the director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. They will stay for a few days and watch the exercises in a rare show of determination by such senior brass. "This is a warning to the North not to miscalculate the situation and act recklessly" after it threatened to attack the U.S. territory of Guam, a government source here said.
Egg Contamination Scandal Deepens
Health officials are conducting additional tests after revelations that authorities failed to thoroughly check eggs produced at 420 farms across the country for insecticides. One-third of the 1,239 egg farms the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs claimed had been screened were not in fact thoroughly inspected, and one farm in North Jeolla Province was caught selling eggs even as its products were being tested. The ministry on Sunday admitted that it failed to screen eggs for some of the 27 insecticides in use, saying that the number only increased from 19 to 27 in April and provincial governments still lacked the necessary chemical reagents for tests.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
On 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations, South Korea and China in “relationship adjustment phase”
On Feb. 17 of this year, a 49-year-old South Korean actor opened a restaurant in Beijing with a well-known chef. The restaurant was haute cuisine on a grand scale, with Korean entrees and Japanese and Western appetizers and desserts. But the restaurant had to shut down in May, not even three months after opening. This was at the height of China’s boycott on South Korean products in response to the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system.
Chinese academic says Korea, “needs to take a more realistic and objective view toward China”
Xu Yongbin (56) is the Dean of Foreign Language Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in China. He is the first professor from the Korean Department to be promoted to the position of Dean. However, the fact that there was not a single applicant to the Korean Department this year is weighing heavily on his mind. On August 14, the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Korea and China, we interviewed Xu to get a Chinese perspective on Sino-Korean relations.
Military exercises take place at time of receding tensions between US, North Korea
South Korea and the US began the Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military exercises on Aug. 21, a move that was expected to cause tensions on the Korean Peninsula to soar. It appears that the US and North Korea have both taken a step back, but officials both inside and outside the military have not ruled out the possibility of a provocation taking place before the joint exercises finish on Aug. 31. Against this backdrop, there has been a great deal of interest in the visits to Korea paid by key US military officials on Aug. 20, including Harry Harris, Commander of the US Pacific Command and John Hyten, Commander of the US Strategic Command.
JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
After declaring eggs safe, gov’t notes DDT traces
The government confirmed on Monday that eggs from two environmentally friendly farms in North Gyeongsang contained dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), causing concern after it announced last week the final inspection results on every farm in the country. DDT was a once widely used pesticide that is now banned in most countries, including Korea starting in 1979, because it is a highly toxic substance that can cause various diseases.
Moon says North is reason for Korea-U.S. drills
President Moon Jae-in on Monday said North Korea’s continued provocations led to the joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises, forming a “vicious cycle.” In an opening remark at a cabinet meeting to mark the first day of the joint Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercise, the president emphasized that the North’s provocations in protest of the joint drills only “lead to another round of joint military action.” He reiterated his demand that Pyongyang stop its provocations, while calling the annual drill “defensive in nature,” refuting Pyongyang’s criticism that the annual drill is in fact aimed at training joint forces to topple its regime.
Human rights defender nominated chief justice
President Moon Jae-in on Monday tapped Kim Meong-su, head of the Chuncheon District Court, as the next chief Supreme Court justice, underscoring the president’s resolve to reform the judicial branch.
“Always taking human rights as his mission as a judge, he has strived to look after the powerless,” said Park Soo-hyun, the Blue House spokesman, during a press briefing at the Blue House. Park added that the nominee led efforts within the judicial branch in making the judicial administrative process more “democratic,” saying he was the “right person” to serve the public and further expand public trust in the institution.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
ROK-US Launch Ulchi Joint Exercises: The Korean Peninsula Faces Another Critical Moment Amidst Heightened Tensions
The ROK-US Combined Forces began the 2017 Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercise on August 21. This exercise is expected to be a turning point for heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula due to North Korea's repeated test launch of its intercontinental ballistic missile, Hwasong-14 and its threats of enveloping fire over Guam. The ROK-US Combined Forces plan to conduct the training while strengthening their surveillance of North Korea as well as their defense posture to prepare for possible provocation by the North during the exercises.
The Desire to "Correct" History Drew in a Crowd of an Audience
A Taxi Driver, a film depicting Gwangju in May 1980, has sold over 10 million tickets at the box office. According to the film's distributor, Showbox, the film sold a total of 10,068,708 tickets as of 8 a.m. August 20. This is the first film released this year to sell over ten million tickets and is the fifteenth Korean film to achieve this record. A Taxi Driver is notable for its political and social significance, not to mention its success in the box office. After a new government entered office with the help of the “candlelight revolution,” society has yearned to correct history, distorted in the past, and the film fit such aspirations perfectly.
In the Case of a Fatal Industrial Accident, the Main Contractor Will Also Be Subject to Up to 7 Years in Prison and 100 Mn Won in Fines
In the future, when a major industrial accident occurs due to a failure to follow safety measures, the main contractor, as well as the subcontractor, will be subject to a maximum of 7 years in prison or a fine of up to 100 million won. A new bill will also have the main contractor, which caused the serious industrial accident, receive disadvantages when bidding for construction contracts, and protect emotional laborers such as the employees working at call centers from industrial accidents. On August 17, the government accepted the "Measures to Prevent Serious Industrial Accidents" including these details at a meeting to review and adjust current state tasks chaired by Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon.
The Korea Economic Daily (http://english.hankyung.com/)
Hyundai Merchant Marine Seeks 1 Tril. Won Investment from BlackRock
Hyundai Merchant Marine is pushing forward with a plan to attract an investment of up to 1 trillion won from BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm. According to investment banking industry and shipping industry sources on August 20, the company is currently in talks with BlackRock to bring in an investment of 600 billion won to 1 trillion won. The investment will be made in the form of BlackRock taking part in a capital increase by Hyundai. Once the deal is successful, the equity of Hyundai Merchant Marine would rise to more than 2 trillion won from 701.5 billion won as of the end of June this year, with BlackRock becoming the second largest shareholder after Korea Development Bank.
Samsung Pay Sees Its Transaction Volume Surpass 10 Tril. Won in 2 Years
Samsung Electronics said on August 20 that its Samsung Pay service has surpassed the 10-trillion-won milestone in payment volume within two years since launch. Introduced in August 2015, Samsung Pay exceeded the 1-trillion-won level in August last year. Since that time on, the service volume quadrupled for one year's time. An official with Samsung Electronics said, "The volume of out online transactions has taken off since last year, accounting for 30 percent of the total online transactions." Although other payment services require several steps of authentication, Samsung Pay needs only one step of user identification through biometric verification such as iris recognition or fingerprint sensing.
Samsung Engineering Hits 550 Bil. Won Jackpot in Thailand
Samsung Engineering said on August 16 that it won two petrochemical power generation projects worth 550 billion won jointly with PTT Public Company Ltd., a Thai state-run oil company. This has been less than a week since the Korean company announced a large-scale oil refinery building project in Oman worth more than 1 trillion won. The project calls for building a petrochemical plant and an electricity generation plant in Rayong, Thailand's largest industrial city 150 kilometers southeast of Bangkok. The project will be undertaken under an EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) basis. The projects will be completed by 2019 and 2022 respectively.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Health officials dismiss any serious risks by insecticides
South Korea is collecting more than four million eggs tainted with insecticides for destruction, but food safety officials dismissed any serious health risks and urged citizens not to avoid the daily consumption of eggs due to an overblown health scare. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said government and health officials have retrieved some 4.51 million eggs produced by farms accused of using banned substances such as fipronil, or other authorized insecticides exceeding permissible levels. School meals are safe, it said, adding some 350,000 eggs have already been consumed by the producers of bread and other processed food and sold at restaurants and retailers. At 52 farms, five types of insecticides have been used such as fipronil, bifenthrin and flufenoxuron.
President Moon sparks argument over cage-free livestock farming
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, an animal lover, fueled arguments about cage-free livestock farming and apologized for a widespread health scare caused by the presence of eggs tainted with banned insecticides. Demand for cage-free eggs is on the rise among South Korean consumers who have seen a steady rise in egg prices promoted by the perennial outbreak of bird flu that left a record number of chickens culled this year.
Call for bravery and real vision in face of reckless militarism
China and Korea have seen a tremendous flowering of economic, cultural and educational exchange and cooperation since the normalization of relations on August 24, 1992. My students today include a new generation of young people from China and Korea who sincerely want the countries to work together closely and many of them have a command of Chinese language, or of Korean language, that goes beyond anything that could be found in the previous generation. Also, my Korean and Chinese students have a global vision for what is possible in the region that is inspiring and suggests that they offer us tremendous potential. I am constantly impressed by their efforts and I hope that they can create a more secure, and a brighter, future for all of us.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Samsung Bioepis links up with Takeda to make original drugs
South Korea’s Samsung Bioepis Co., still-fledgling bioengineering unit of Samsung Group specializing in biosimilars or cheaper copy versions of biological drugs, is out to develop original drugs with the help of Asia’s largest drug maker Takeda Pharmaceuticals Co. Samsung Bioepis Monday said the two companies will jointly fund and develop multiple novel biological therapies and has already begun working on their first therapeutic candidate TAK-671 to treat severe acute pancreatitis.
S. Korea’s exports up 11.6% on yr in first 20 days of August
South Korea’s exports kept up growth pace in August for the ninth month in a row and grew 11.6 percent on year to reach $25.1 billion in the first 20 days, according to the Korea Customs Service on Monday. Exports have maintained double-digit growth since January. At this pace, Korean exports could end the month in the longest winning streak - 10 months in a row - since December 2011. Daily volume of exports averaged $1.73 billion, up 19.3 percent from a year ago. The main growth drivers were semiconductors and petroleum products, which jumped 42.4 percent and 41.8 percent, respectively. Automobile shipment also rose 21.0 percent on year.
LG Chem to reclaim No.1 from Lotte Chemical in 2017 thanks to battery business
South Korea’s two leading petrochemical players LG Chem Ltd. and Lotte Chemical Corp. have been in a horserace over the top place, and the industry is betting that LG Chem will come in first this year due to its edge in battery business. According to market data provider FnGuide on Sunday, LG Chem is expected to report an operating profit of 2.801 trillion won ($2.5 billion) this year versus Lotte Chemical’s 2.799 trillion won. They have been in a tight race over the recent years and the ranking can change any time depending on sales results of their petrochemical products. But market analysts took LG Chem’s side this year, citing the firm’s diversified business portfolio that can generate higher profitability.
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