The Korean daily media headlines and humor
Thursday, August 24, 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:
S. Korea-China Ties Frayed on 25th Anniversary
China held its own event in Beijing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations with South Korea which falls on Thursday. The event on Wednesday evening was not attended by a high-ranking official, but Chen Zhu, the vice chief of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. South Korea sent Ambassador Kim Jang-soo to China for the event. The much subdued event ended in an hour and a half after congratulatory messages and a dinner. In August 2012, the two nations held a joint ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary. Then Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and other senior Chinese officials were in attendance.
Moon Stresses S. Korea's Leadership over N. Korean Issues
President Moon Jae-in has emphasized South Korea’s leadership on issues concerning the Korean Peninsula. During a policy briefing from the Foreign Ministry at the government complex in Seoul on Wednesday, the president said North Korea's nuclear and missile programs are the biggest challenges and threats to South Korean diplomacy. Moon said the country should actively work to resolve the issue based on the strong alliance with the U.S. and through cooperative diplomacy with China, Japan, and Russia.
Household Debt Managed at Stable Level
South Korea's financial watchdog says the country's household debt is being managed at a stable level amid growing concerns. Vice Chairman of the Financial Services Commission(FSC) Kim Yong-beom explained Wednesday that the pace at which household debt is growing is slower than the previous years. Noting the FSC's continued efforts to keep the debt problem under control, Kim said the government’s recent measures to reduce speculative real estate transactions will also begin to have an impact on household loans.
Leaders of S. Korea, China exchange congratulatory messages to mark 25th anniv. of diplomatic relations
Leaders of South Korea and China exchanged congratulatory messages Thursday to mark the 25th anniversary of normalizing diplomatic ties between the two countries, the foreign ministry said. In the message, President Moon Jae-in assessed that their bilateral relations have seen significant advance and expressed hopes that the Seoul-Beijing ties that he cherishes will further develop into a "substantial" strategic cooperative one, according to the ministry. Chinese President Xi Jinping also said he regards China-South Korea relations as important, hoping that the two neighbors will "appropriately" deal with their differences and further advance the ties in a "stable and healthy manner," the ministry said. Separately, the foreign ministers of the two countries also exchanged messages to mark the anniversary.
Samsung unveils 6.3-inch Galaxy Note 8 with dual lens camera setup
Samsung Electronics Co. on Thursday showcased the much-awaited Galaxy Note 8 with a 6.3-inch display and a dual lens camera setup, announcing the return of its flagship phablet line after production of its predecessor was suspended last year due to battery issues. As was widely expected, the Galaxy Note 8 is slightly larger than the 6.2-inch Galaxy S8 Plus released earlier this year, making it the largest-screened Note to date. The latest Galaxy handset sports a Quad HD+ Super AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9. With this Infinity Display, the company has almost eliminated side bezels to give the device a simple yet immersive design up front. Taking safety into consideration, the capacity of the new phablet's battery stands at 3,300 mAh, which is lower than the 3,500 mAh pack used in the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7.
Investment by global chipmakers soar in Q2 on Samsung
The combined investment rolled out by global chipmakers in the second quarter reached record-high levels fueled by efforts made by Samsung Electronics Co., data showed Thursday. According to industry tracker IC Insights, global chipmakers made a facility investment worth US$23.5 billion in the April-June period. The total is the highest figure to date. Over the first half, the companies made an investment worth $42.5 billion, rising 48 percent from $28.7 billion tallied a year earlier. The increase apparently came as Samsung invested $11 billion in the chip segment over the January-June period.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Samsung unveils Galaxy Note 8 with smarter S Pen
Samsung Electronics launched its much-awaited flagship smartphone Galaxy Note 8, the first Note model after its predecessor Note 7 fiasco last year. The Korean tech giant debuted its 6.3-inch Note 8 with smarter S Pen stylus, a bigger infinity display and a bolstered camera on Wednesday (local time) in New York. “From the infinity display to the enhanced S Pen and a powerful dual camera, the Galaxy Note8 lets people do things they never thought were possible," Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung's mobile communications business, said at the launch of the Note 8 in New York.
Leaders of Korea, China exchange congratulatory messages to mark 25th anniv. of diplomatic relations
Leaders of South Korea and China exchanged congratulatory messages Thursday to mark the 25th anniversary of normalizing diplomatic ties between the two countries, the foreign ministry said. In the message, President Moon Jae-in assessed that their bilateral relations have seen significant advance and expressed hopes that the Seoul-Beijing ties that he cherishes will further develop into a "substantial" strategic cooperative one, according to the ministry.
Kim Jong-un’s orders for more ICBMs raise alarms
Concerns are rising that North Korea may be planning more missile provocations over reports Pyongyang has ordered the production of intercontinental ballistic missile components to be increased.
According to Pyongyang’s state media, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un placed more orders for solid-fuel rocket engines and warhead tips for ICBMs during his visit to a state chemicals institute. “(Kim Jong-un) instructed the institute to produce more solid-fuel rocket engines and rocket warhead tips by further expanding engine production process and the production capacity of rocket warhead tips and engine jets by carbon and carbon compound material,” the (North) Korean Central News Agency reported.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Samsung unveils Galaxy Note 8
Samsung Electronics finally took the wraps off the much-touted Galaxy Note 8 smartphone, Wednesday, which comes with powerful dual cameras, an enhanced stylus pen and the largest-ever screen.
Samsung held the Note 8 "unpacked event" at New York's Park Avenue Armory, with more than 1,500 people participating. It was live-streamed globally. The Galaxy Note 8 will be available starting Sept. 15 across the world and will be offered in Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Deepsea Blue and Maple Gold — the lone color that will not go on sale in Korea.
Moon reaffirms Seoul's leading role in N. Korea issue
President Moon Jae-in reaffirmed Wednesday that South Korea would take initiative in resolving North Korea's nuclear and missile threats and bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula. "We should have a sense of ownership when it comes to related issues and make sure that we protect the peninsula for ourselves," the President said while being briefed on policy plans from the foreign affairs and unification ministries at the Government Complex in Seoul. But he also stressed that the nation should address North Korea issues through its rock solid alliance with the United States and with cooperation from China and Russia.
Lotte Hi-Mart president attacked over alleged worker abuse
The president of Lotte Hi-Mart is under fire for verbally abusing an employee over the color of the worker's hair when he was Lotte World president in 2012. According to reports on Wednesday, Lee Dong-woo had criticized the employee, Kang Dong-seok, for not dyeing his white hair. "Is having white hair something to brag about?" Lee said in an audio file Kang recorded and sent to YTN. "If you are going to work for a conglomerate, act like someone who does. What do you think you are doing?"
DongA Ilbo (http://english.donga.com)
U.S. confiscates 11 million dollars in Pyongyang’s money laundering
North Korea cannot use international financial networks due to sanctions by the U.S. and the United Nations Security Council. But an investigation by the U.S. prosecution has found that the North has sold coal and imported crude oil through a money laundering method, which used several disguised firms and collaborated companies overseas including those in China, Russia and Singapore.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed lawsuits Tuesday local time through federal prosecutors in Washington to seize 11 million U.S. dollars in assets of three companies namely Velmur Management Pte. Ltd.,
LG Electronics to produce EV components from new factory in Detroit
LG Electronics plans to invest 25 million U.S. dollars on building a new factory in the U.S. to manufacture electric vehicle components, while major electronic companies have been pushing for EV component business as its new growth driver. LG aims to secure a dominant lead against its rivals by making inroads into the EV market in North America. LG announced on Wednesday that it would construct an EV component plant in the Detroit suburb of Hazel Park in the U.S. LG's new plant will focus on production of battery pack in the first phase and diversify its portfolio later to supply motor and other major EV components. The factory will be constructed on a 215,000-square-meter lot by the first quarter of 2018.
Ichiro’s third homer to lead the Marlins to a win
Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (43), who is the first Asian player to rack up 3,000 hits in the Major League, has seemed to be affected by the passing of the time. He has been on the field as a backup outfielder of the Marlins this year and only started 17 games. However, though he has not been appeared often in the games, he is breaking new records with more hits. In the seventh inning of a doubleheader opener game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday local time, Ichiro, who was pinch hitting, hit a three-run homer into the stands in right center against Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola and broke a 3-3 tie, while two other teammates reached to the first and second bases with zero outs. Thanks to Ichiro’s third homer this season, the Marlins won the game 12-8.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Ex-USFK Chiefs Say U.S. Doesn't Need Seoul's OK for Military Action
Former chiefs of the U.S. Forces Korea insist Washington would not need Seoul's approval to strike North Korea with its "offshore military assets," the Voice of America reported on Wednesday.
They were contradicting President Moon Jae-in, who said in his speech marking Liberation Day on Aug. 15, "Without the consent of [South Korea], no country can determine to take military action."
Burwell Bell, the USFK commander from 2006 to 2008, said, "In accordance with international law, the United States would not need South Korean approval, cooperation to strike the North with our own offshore military assets." "These assets could be launched from the continental United States, Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, and on the high seas near North Korea," he added. "Other allied partners such as Japan, Australia, etc. could participate in combat operations without receiving approval from [South Korea] as long as they remained offshore."
Single Households Could Be the Norm Within a Decade
Single households are expected to be the most common domestic setup in Korea within a decade. According to Statistics Korea on Tuesday, the most common domestic setup in 2015 was a couple and children, making up 32.3 percent of total households. But already single households were next with 27.2 percent. Now one-person households are multiplying and are expected to overtake nuclear families by 2026. By 2045, they are expected to account for 36.3 percent of households or 8.09 million. By then nuclear families will make up only 15.9 percent or 3.54 million. Lee Ji-yeon at Statistics Korea said, "The population is declining due to a low birthrate, and as life spans increase due to an aging population, more people will live alone."
11,000 Koreans Went to Work in Japan Last Year
A growing number of Korean jobseekers are finding employment in Japan. According to Japanese government figures on Tuesday, 11,025 Koreans were given work visas for Japan last year, surpassing the 10,000 mark for the first time and almost twice as many as in 2006. Japan has seen surging corporate investments thanks to Abenomics, resulting in an explosive growth in job opportunities. The country's unemployment rate stood at 2.8 percent in June, which is considered full employment, and companies are hungry for more workers. The government has opened doors to foreigners to fill the shortage, and IT experts from Korea are in high demand.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
THAAD issue pushes South Korea-China relations to new lows
The deployment of the THAAD missile defense system with US troops in South Korea has brought a chill to the air as South Korea and China mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. While former president Park Geun-hye, who decided to deploy THAAD, has been replaced by President Moon Jae-in, the two sides remain at odds, unable to reach a compromise.
Though the two countries upgraded their ties in 2008 to a “partnership for strategic cooperation,” experts say that these current developments only confirm the weakness of their relationship. There are also concerns that if the Moon administration continues to do nothing about South Korea-China relations, which are said to be at their worst point since diplomatic relations were established in 1992, no breakthrough will be forthcoming.
First meeting on possible KORUS FTA revisions ends in stalemate
Trade authorities from Korea and the US engaged in a marathon discussion about whether to begin negotiations to amend the Korea-US FTA, but were unable to come to an agreement. The negotiations ended without setting a date for the next meeting. Instead, there was a clear difference of opinion between the two sides, with the US seeking to amend the agreement immediately while Korea wishes to first analyze the FTA’s effectiveness over the five year period it has been in force. It is now likely that further negotiations will take place through closed working level meetings.
Last US defector to North Korea reported to have died last year
James Dresnok, the last US defector believed to be living in North Korea, died last year, according to a CNN report on Aug. 22 that quoted Uriminzokkiri, the website of North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland. In a video titled, “A special interview with American officers in the Korean People’s Army” that was posted to Uriminzokkiri on Aug. 19, Dresnok’s two sons said that their father had died of a stroke last year at the age of 74. The sons, Ted Dresnok and James Dresnok, Jr., reside in North Korea.
JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
LG to build EV parts plant in Detroit suburb
LG Electronics announced Wednesday it will spend $25 million on a factory for advanced electric vehicle components in the U.S. state of Michigan. The 250,000-square-foot facility in the Detroit suburb of Hazel Park will begin mass production of renewable battery packs in the first quarter of next year and expand into other EV components including motors for local carmakers. “LG’s initiative to develop and produce world-class EV components in the United States represents a key pillar of our strategy to be the best technology partner to U.S. automakers,” said Ken Chang, senior vice president at LG Electronics USA.
Moon orders probe on Gwangju
President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday instructed Defense Minister Song Young-moo to conduct a special investigation into whether the Air Force had a fleet of fighter jets on standby ready to fly to Gwangju to drop bombs on protesters during the democracy uprising in May 1980. Moon’s order came two days after JTBC, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily, exclusively reported Monday that pilots were placed on a standby with their fighter jets loaded with air-to-ground bombs right after the uprising began on May 18, 1980, against the Chun Doo Hwan military junta, which took control of the government six months earlier.
U.S. slaps sanctions on more Chinese, Russians
Less than a month after U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law a bill that strengthened sanctions against North Korea, Russia and Iran, the U.S. Treasury Department placed 10 more entities and six individuals on its North Korea sanctions list Tuesday, accusing them of financing the regime’s weapons of mass destruction. In a sign of further diplomatic muscle-flexing, the list primarily targeted companies and nationals of China and Russia, Pyongyang’s staunchest allies.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Exercises “Low Key,” North Korean Response Uncertain: Ten Crucial Days for the Political Situation on the Korean Peninsula
With military tension on the Korean Peninsula at its peak, the ROK-US joint military exercise, Ulchi-Freedom Guardian began on August 21. What happens until August 31, when the exercises end, is expected to determine the political situation on the Korean Peninsula. At what level South Korea and the U.S. will conduct the military exercises in the next ten days and how North Korea will respond will be crucial.
South Korea and the U.S. stressed that the level of training would be similar to previous years, yet at the same time, it is obvious that the two countries are trying to technically adjust the level of the exercises to prevent North Korea's provocation. The two countries are aiming to peacefully pass August, by showing that they are not backing down to North Korean threats, but also by trying not to irritate North Korea unnecessarily.
Announcing a Wind of Change in the Judiciary
On August 21, President Moon Jae-in nominated Kim Meong-su (58, 15th class of the Judicial Research and Training Institute), chief justice of the Chuncheon District Court and a progressive judge with strong beliefs for reforms in the judiciary, as the new chief justice of the Supreme Court. Kim was highly critical of the Supreme Court’s alleged attempts to hinder judicial reforms when they were recently revealed, thus his nomination is expected to bring about a wind of reforms in the judiciary.
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 Korea Economic Daily (http://english.hankyung.com/)
LG Electronics to Invest $25 Mil. to Build New EV Parts Plant in Michigan
LG Electronics said on August 23 that it would establish an electric car parts plant in Hazel Park, outside Detroit, Michigan, by investing about US$25 million. The proposed plant will be built in a 215,000-square-meter site within the first quarter of 2018. The company will produce battery packs for electric cars, with plans to expand the line-ups to other electric car components in the future. LG explained that the locational decision was based on the proximity to the Vehicle Components North America Business Center in Troy, Michigan, as well as the incentive package offered by the state government of Michigan.
Samsung Life Turns to the Black in Thailand after 20 Years of Investment
The Thailand unit of Samsung Life, which has continued its presence in the Southeast Asian country even after most Korean financial service firms had withdrawn, turned to the black for the first time in 20 years. Samsung Life said on August 22 that Samsung Life Thailand's net profit for the second quarter was 340 million won. Given the Thai subsidiary is doing quite well in the third quarter, it is expected to post a positive net profit for the whole year.
LG International Expands Its Palm Oil Capacity in Indonesia
LG International will expand its palm oil operations in Indonesia for the first time in six years. This is a move for the trading company to focus more on the food resource business.
The company recently broke the ground for the palm oil plant. It plans to complete the construction by the end of the first half of next year and start producing 110,000 tons of palm oil a year. This is an increase of 30,000 tons from the current capacity. Back in 2009, LG International jumped into the food resource business by acquiring 20,000-hectare farms in Sekadau, Kalimantan. Since then, it has established in 2012 a palm oil processing plant. Despite skepticism within the industry, the company succeeded in breaking even in 2014, only three years after it began producing palm oil.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Auto companies anxiously await court ruling on wage definition
Helped by strong labor union activities, auto company workers are relatively well paid, along with good fringe benefits and welfare, but concerns are growing about low productivity and frequent strikes more than ever as South Korean cars are losing their competitiveness abroad. At the end of 2016, the average income of workers at five car manufacturers stood at 92.13 million won (81,387 US dollars), which is higher than that of Volkswagen and Toyota, according to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA), a lobby group for auto companies.
ASEAN coming back as S. Korea's real alternative market
For Southeast Asian nations, there is a similar dark period like the 'lost 20 years' which usually refers to Japan. For about 10 years from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, Southeast Asia had a golden era, absorbing global corporations, funds, and talent. Most ASEAN members have been gradually out of the limelight from 1997 when they were thrown into the IMF economic crisis. Since then, China has become a 'global factory', taking the baton as a global growth engine. Until 1997, most ASEAN members were our key markets but they had disappeared from our view until recently. Companies, investors and people all flocked to China, pushing the Southeast Asian market into the backstroke.
Busan city to draw 3D map of underground space to prevent accident
An apartment complex in the southern city of Busan experienced a total blackout when a forklift mangled an underground power line at a subway construction site last month. Thousands were left in the mid summer's heat wave without electricity. To prevent such accidents, Busan has launched a project to draw a vast integrated 3D map database of underground space. "Through this project, the 3D map of Busan's underground space will be developed and when it's done, we will be able to prevent safety accidents very effectively," the Busan city government said in a statement on Tuesday.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korea’s household credit hit record high of $1,227.7 bn in H1
South Korea’s household credit reached a fresh record- high of 1,388.3 trillion won ($1,227.7 billion) as of the end of June upon adding nearly 10 trillion won per month in the second quarter amid housing boom. Household credit, which includes household loans from banks and non-banks as well as outstanding credit card balance, surged 2.1 percent in the past six months to a historic high of 1,388.3 trillion won as of June 30, showed preliminary data released by the Bank of Korea on Wednesday.
China’s Doublestar Tyre demands 16% cut in Kumho Tire acquisition price
China’s Doublestar Tyre Co. that signed an agreement with creditors of Kumho Tire Co. earlier this year to buy a majority stake in South Korea’s second-largest tire maker has officially amended terms for buyout, asking for 16 percent in acquisition price to 800 billion won ($707.2 million), citing contingent liability risks including operating losses. According to Korea Development Bank (KDB) on Wednesday, creditors of Kumho Tire including Woori Bank and KB Kookmin Bank held a shareholder council meeting and discussed whether to accept Doublestar’s request to lower the sales price.
Naver founder sells stake to lower holdings to 4.3 percent
Lee Hae-jin, founder and former chairman of South Korea’s internet portal giant Naver Corp., has sold off 0.33 percent of his stake in the company ahead of its joining the state regulatory list of conglomerates that would place the firm under tougher scrutiny and regulations. According to Naver on Wednesday, Lee sold 110,000 share holdings in the company at 81.8 billion won ($72.3 million) or 743,990 won per share in a block trade, 3 percent discounted from Tuesday’s closing price. He had tried to sell them at a 2.3 percent discount from Monday’s closing price but failed.
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