The Korean daily media headlines and humor
Friday, August 25, 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 Video
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. The South Korean Embassy in China will hold its own event to mark the anniversary on Thursday.
Moon Reports Wealth of 1.8 Billion Won
President Moon Jae-in has reported his personal property is about one-point-82 billion won. The Public Officials Ethics Commission on Friday released the assets and property reported by the Moon government’s senior public officials, including the president. Moon’s reported amount includes financial assets, properties such as his house in Seoul and land in Yangsan, and royalty income from his memoir “Moon Jae-in: The Destiny.” The assets of Moon’s son Joon-young were not included in the amount.
Engineering Professor Nominated as Venture Policy Chief
The Moon administration has nominated an engineering scholar as the head of the newly created Ministry of SMEs and Startups aimed at nurturing small ventures by young entrepreneurs. Forty-nine-year-old Park Seong-jin received Master's and Doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering from Pohang University of Science and Technology(POSTECH), where he is a professor now. He worked with the university in 2012 to establish POSTECH Holdings Co., a startup venture accelerator.
Court to hand down verdict on Samsung's heir Lee in 'trial of century'
A court in Seoul was to hand down its verdict on Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong on Friday in what is billed as the "trial of the century" that could have deep repercussions on the image of the global electronics giant and affect the fate of ousted former President Park Geun-hye. Prosecutors have demanded a 12-year jail term for Lee on charges that he offered or pledged 43.3 billion won (US$38 million) at the request of Park to organizations under control of her longtime friend and confidante Choi Soon-sil. In return for the bribes, prosecutors allege, Lee won the government's blessing for a merger between two Samsung subsidiaries under terms designed to increase his control over the entire Samsung empire so as to cement a power transfer from his ailing father Lee Kun-hee.
Majority of Americans disapprove of Trump's approach to N. Korea
More than half of Americans disapprove of U.S. President Donald Trump's approach to relations with North Korea, a survey showed Thursday. The survey commissioned by George Washington University found that 53 percent of Americans disagreed with Trump's way of handling the recalcitrant regime, while 43 percent approved. Early this month, Trump threatened to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea if it continued to threaten the U.S. or it allies. The regime in Pyongyang responded with threats to fire ballistic missiles toward the U.S. territory of Guam. The poll, which had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, surveyed 1,009 registered voters nationwide from Aug. 13 to 17. In that period, tensions were high and then eased after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un backed down from his threats.
President and aides report average 2 bln won in personal assets
President Moon Jae-in may be the most powerful person in South Korea, but he apparently is not the most well-off person even among a handful of officials working at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, a report showed Friday. According to the annual report from the Government Public Ethic Committee, the president had some 1.82 billion won (US$1.61 million) in family assets that included a 322 million-won bank deposit held by his wife, Kim Jung-sook, and a 23 million-won deposit that belongs to his mother.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Seoul, Beijing mark 25th anniversary of ties amid strained relations
South Korea and China marked 25 years of diplomatic ties on Thursday with celebrations being toned down by strained relations. According to Seoul’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping exchanged congratulatory remarks. “(Korea-China relations) have been developed into a more mature relationship from the foundation of trust and understanding built by the people and governments of the two countries through communication, exchange and cooperation,” Moon was quoted as saying by Seoul’s Foreign Ministry.
Religious tax brawl disrupts Moon’s fiscal blueprint
President Moon Jae-in’s vision of improving economic equity may suffer some setbacks due to a group of Christian lawmakers’ resistance to an incoming taxation bill on religious leaders. While the administration and the parliamentary cluster remained at odds over the issue, a public poll showed a majority of the public consider religious taxation necessary. Civic groups, led by the Korea Taxpayers’ Association, on Thursday held a press conference in front of the National Assembly, demanding the resignation of lawmakers who motioned the postponement of the tax bill.
Fears mount over 'toxic' sanitary pads
Thousands of women plan to file a class action suit against a South Korean firm after civic groups found harmful chemicals in sanitary pads and a growing number of women reported health problems after using them. As of Thursday afternoon, more than 15,000 expressed their intention to join the legal action, claiming that they have suffered negative effects, such as reduced menstrual bleeding, skin rashes and painful cramps after using Lilian brand pads produced by Klean Nara. A local law firm, which is currently recruiting plaintiffs, said the suit will be filed in coming days.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Moon's policies feared to stifle growth
Just 100 days after his inauguration, President Moon Jae-in and his aides may still feel euphoria with approval ratings hovering over 80 percent and strong public support for his policies. Statistics might make them believe everything is on the right track but experts warn that South Korea faces a "paradox of reform" as Moon's policies are destined to constrain future economic growth. Many of his new measures aimed at fixing ongoing problems, ironically, go against key values that ensure future economic success, namely competition, productivity and innovation.
Foreign students face big tuition fee hike
International students in Korea can expect tuition fee increases up to 8 percent this semester, while Korean students face a much lower rise. With universities' fall semester just around the corner, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) has imposed an additional 8 percent charge -- from 268,000 won ($237) to 337,000 won -- on 800 international students, on top of the fees they have already paid. The move will give the school an additional 250 million won for the second semester that starts next month.
Creating fake news for Kim dynasty
Believe it or not, North Korean founder and dictator Kim Il-sung, the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un, is portrayed particularly by older North Koreans as a superhero. According to them, the older Kim, who died of cardiac arrest in 1994, had the miraculous power to make bullets from sand dust, had the magical power to contract distances, and had crossed the Yalu River at the Chinese-North Korean border by riding on nothing but a withered leaf. For decades, North Korea's state-controlled media have produced what people now call "fake news" for the Kim dynasty.
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., Transatlantic Partners of Singapore and Dandong Chengtai Trade of China for allegedly being involved in North Korean financial institutions’ money laundering. The value of the assets to be seized this time is the largest ever among suits for confiscation related to Pyongyang that has been filed by the U.S. government.
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)
More Koreans Trade Friday Revels for Good Night's Sleep
Koreans increasingly spend Friday nights catching up on some badly needed sleep rather than going out for a stiff drink, a poll suggests. SK Planet surveyed 1,017 adults in early August, and 44.2 percent said Friday night is the best time of the week to catch up on lost sleep. According to OECD data last year, Koreans sleep just seven hours and 41 minutes a day, compared to the average eight hours and 22 minutes in the rich nations' club. Koreans sleep even less than in 2014 (seven hours and 49 minutes), and the number of people suffering from sleep disorders rose a whopping 60 percent from 2010 to 2015.
Korea's Birthrate Plunges to New Record Low
Korea's birthrate fell to a record-low 1.04 children per woman during the second quarter of this year, according to Statistics Korea on Wednesday. Couples must have at least 2.1 children to sustain the current population level, but at this rate Korea faces a precipitous decline. The number of babies born in the first half of this year fell below 200,000 for the first time ever. Some 28,900 children were born in June, down 12.2 percent from the same month last year and the lowest figure since Statistics Korea began tallying such data in 1970.
Lilian Sanitary Pads Taken off Shelves Amid Health Scare
Contamination fears have spread from eggs to sanitary pads. Reports say Klean Nara's Lilian pads are contaminated with harmful substances. Some users of Lilian pads complained of reduced bleeding and increased menstrual cramps. A consumer group has asked the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety for a survey of all disposable sanitary pads sold in Korea, and a law firm is preparing a class action suit with more than 3,000 customers. Superstore chains E-Mart and Lotte Mart stopped selling Lilian pads as of Wednesday. This issue dates back to about a year ago, when some consumers said on online forums that they experienced irregular menstrual cycles and other problems when they used Lilian pads but it came returned to normal when they changed brands.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Separate events held to mark 25th anniversary of the establishment of South Korea-China relations
Aug. 24 marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Korea and China, yet no commemorative events are being jointly hosted by the two countries.
On the evening of Aug. 23, the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, a private-sector diplomatic organization, held a commemorative event in a hotel in downtown Beijing. Representing China at the event were Chen Zhu, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress; Lin Yi, Vice President of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries; and Chen Hai, Deputy Director General at the Chinese Foreign Ministry's Department of Asian Affairs. South Korea was represented by Kim Jang-soo, South Korean Ambassador to China, and Lee Suk-sun, president of the Association of Koreans in China.
Trump, Tillerson offer praise as North Korea shows restraint
On Aug. 22, US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made an overtly conciliatory gesture to North Korea, praising it for recently exercising restraint on behavior that could increase tensions. Such restraint is extremely unusual, considering that the US and South Korea’s Ulchi-Freedom Guardian joint military exercises, which are currently underway, have often been a time for increasing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. At the same time, however, the US Treasury Department was slapping sanctions on 10 organizations from China and Russia and on six individuals from China, Russia and North Korea. This appears to signal that the US will leave open the door to dialogue while it continues to stop money and strategic material with military applications from entering North Korea.
Veteran diplomat hints Sino-Korean relations may improve after 19th Party Congress
“Even if China’s retaliatory economic measures come to an end, Sino-Korean relations will not be the same as they were before. Now that we are in the era of a ‘new normal,’ it is important to avoid ups-and-downs and seek deep, broad and stable relations between the two counties.” This is the view of Jung Sang-gi, an original member of the Korean embassy in China that was established in 1992, and who now serves as the current Director of the Chinese Research Center at the Korean National Diplomatic Academy (KNDA).
JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
Tepid 25th for Korea and China
As Korea and China marked 25 years of diplomatic ties Thursday, their leaders exchanged congratulatory messages that cautiously emphasized the rebuilding of mutual trust amid strains over the deployment of a U.S.-led antimissile system. But no joint celebrations were held to mark 25 years since the launch of formal diplomatic relations on Aug. 24, 1992 and neither the Korean nor Chinese foreign minister attended embassy receptions in their capital cities. In a message to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Korean President Moon Jae-in called for co-prosperity of the two countries and said he looked forward to further develop their relations into a “substantive strategic cooperative partnership that contributes to peace and development on the Korean Peninsula, Northeast Asia and the world.”
Samsung forges ahead with its Note8 phablet
Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Note8 phablet unveiled Wednesday in New York is expected to be priced below 1 million won ($886), contradicting industry speculation that the jumbo device could be the priciest phone made by Samsung. “Customers feel a great burden when price goes over a million won,” said Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung Electronics’ mobile business division at a press briefing held right after the so-called unpack event for the Note8. “We are trying to get the price [below 1 million] if possible.”
Number of newborn babies still on the decline
For the first time since 1970, the number babies born in the first six months of a year fell below the 200,000 mark, another sign that the aging of Korea is picking up pace. Between January and June, 188,500 babies were born in the country, down by 12.3 percent, or 26,500, from last year’s 215,000, according to Statistics Korea Tuesday. The number of babies born in June - 28,900 - is the lowest monthly number since statistics were kept in current form starting in 1970. If the slump continues through the second half of the year, the number of babies born in 2017 is expected to fall short of 400,000 for the first time since 1970.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Who First Ordered Soldiers to Open Fire and Who Was Behind the Helicopter Shooting? Will the Truth Be Revealed After 37 Years
On August 23, President Moon Jae-in ordered a special investigation into the machine gun shots fired from a helicopter at Jeonil Building in Gwangju and into alleged orders for fighter jets to stand by at the time of the May 18 Democratic Uprising. Although a special bill on an investigation of the May 18 uprising is pending at the National Assembly, the president's orders show his intention to get to the bottom of the May 18 uprising at the government level instead of waiting for the lawmakers to pass the bill. The ruling Minjoo Party of Korea also announced this day that the party would establish a special committee on this issue. Thus, the ruling party and the government are expected to make all possible efforts to uncover the truth of the May incident.
"We Were on Stand By to Bomb Gwangju," The Air Force Was Involved, Too
When it came to the May 18 Democratic Uprising, there had been a parliamentary hearing (1998), a prosecutors' investigation (1995), and an investigation by a defense ministry committee on past incidents (2007), but the facts have yet to be clearly identified. If alleged plans to bomb Gwangju and machine gun shots from helicopters are confirmed to be true in the upcoming investigation, this will raise serious issues completely different from the dispatch of the martial forces. The first person to order fire may be revealed when various military records, which had remained classified, are released. Former President Chun Doo-hwan argued in his autobiography, The Age of Chaos, "Our military never aimed their guns at the good people."
Reports on State Affairs in the Moon Jae-in Government] President Moon, "Don't Be a Soulless Official Trying to Please the Government"
On August 22, President Moon Jae-in said, "The public officials should be alert along with the people and not become soulless officials trying to please the government." This day when the Ministry of Science and ICT and the Korea Communications Commission made a report at the government office in Gwacheon, President Moon said, "Public officials should serve the people, not be loyal to the government."
The president pointed out the fact that many officials from government ministries, without much sense of guilt, cooperated with the abuse of state power, rampant in the Park Geun-hye government, including the blacklist of cultural figures.
The Korea Economic Daily (http://english.hankyung.com/)
Hyundai Motor Set to Develop Pickup Truck Model Aiming at U.S. Market
Hyundai Motor is currently in the works to develop a pickup truck model for the U.S. market. Michael O'Brien, vice president in charge of product planning for Hyundai Motor America, said on August 22 in a press conference, "The top management approved a project to develop a pickup truck model." Pickup trucks are highly popular in the United States. There is only one pickup truck model available in Korea, which is Ssangyong Motor's Korando Sports.
Household Debt Balance Approaches 1,400 Tril. Won...Bank of Korea
The household debt balance has rapidly increased to approach 1,400 trillion won (US$1.24 trillion) as of the end of June this year. It is estimated the balance may have surpassed the 1,400-trillion-won level by mid-August. As the amount of household debt reaches 90 percent of the gross domestic products (1,637 trillion won at the end of last year), economists began warning the high debt level may pose an obstacle to further growth. According to the Bank of Korea on August 23, the balance of household credit as of the end of the second quarter was 1,388.3 trillion won, up by 29.2 trillion won (2.1%) from the end of the first quarter (1,359.1 trillion won). This is 10.4 percent higher than the same period last year (130.7 trillion won).
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.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Beijing removes electrical equipment from Lotte stores in retaliatory move
China showed no mercy to Lotte, South Korea's fifth-largest conglomerate, as the two countries struggle to mend ties strained by a US missile shield with a series of low-key events marking the 25th anniversary of diplomatic normalization. Agents dispatched by the Chinese government have recently pulled out generators and transformers from two large Beijing superstores operated by Lotte, accusing the retail giant of consuming too much energy.
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/)
Hanwha Group’s defense unit under tax probe after K-9 blowup
Hanwha Group’s holding company Hanwha Corp. and its defense unit Hanwha Techwin Co. came under tax probe, sending jitters across the Korean defense industry about extensive investigation on collusive ties and irregularities following the arms corruption scandal involving Korea Aerospace Industries. According to tax authorities and industry sources on Thursday, the National Tax Service (NTS) sent a team of 100 investigators from its Seoul regional office to Hanwha Group’s headquarters in downtown Seoul and seized Hanwha and Hanwha Techwin’s accounting and tax documents.
KAI may fail to export its jets for U.S. APT project amid investigation
Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. (KAI) is on the verge of losing a chance to bid for what would be its biggest defense contract worth 17 trillion won ($15.1 billion) amid ongoing investigations by the South Korean prosecutors over alleged corruptions in the company. In a press conference held at the National Assembly building in Yeouido, Seoul, on Thursday, the labor union of KAI urged for a swift normalization of its business irrespective of the prosecution’s investigation into alleged corruptions related to defense procurements. The KAI union demanded a new KAI chief should be named as soon as possible to resolve liquidity issues and put business back in order. It also asked for the government and the President to help prevent its plan to bid for the Advanced Pilot Training (APT) project, a mega project by the U.S. Air Force to replace 350 aged trainer jets with next-generation fleet, from falling through.
China-based Wanli preparing to exit from Korean stock market
Chinese wall tile maker Wanli International Holdings Ltd. has embarked on the procedure to exit from the Korean secondary Kosdaq market, raising panic among retail investors who hold a combined 56 billion won ($49.6 million) in the company. Korea Exchange on Thursday said it has begun reviewing whether to delist the company over the next 15 days upon receiving its plan on improving accounting practices and balance sheet. The result will be out on Sept. 13.
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