UPDATE : 2018.11.19 MON 18:09
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Headlines, June 29, 2018

Friday, June 29, 2018

Round-up of important news from major Korean, international dailies, other news sources today:

The Korea Post media (www.koreapost.com) in English, (www.koreapost.co.kr) in Korean.
POSCO Daewoo signs KW300 bil. deal to develop gas block in Myanmar
POSCO Daewoo, an energy unit of POSCO, has signed a contract for KW300 billion (US$267 million) with a consortium of US firms to develop a new gas block in Myanmar. According to Yo-han Choi of the Communications Department of the company, on June 27, POSCO Daewoo signed the deal in Washington Wednesday with McDermott International Inc. and Baker Hughes GE to develop the Shwe Phyu block in the Southeast Asian country, which is 51% owned by the Korean energy firm.

LG Electronics showcases budget smartphone with HD screen
LG Electronics Inc. on Thursday showcased its budget LG X2 smartphone, which comes with a 5-inch HD screen and will be distributed through local mobile virtual network operators. The company said the LG X2 will come with a price tag of 198,000 won (US$176) and will support the Auto Shot feature that automatically recognizes faces when taking selfies. The smartphone will have an 8-megapixel camera on the back along with a 5-megapixel camera on the front. Its battery capacity will be 2,500mAh. LG Electronics, which has been suffering from losses in its handset business, claimed that the release of the new budget model will help the company reach out to a wider range of consumers.

Trumps touts revised trade deal with S. Korea
U.S. President Donald Trump took credit Thursday for turning the U.S. free trade agreement with South Korea into a "wonderful deal" for both countries. Trump was referring to a revision the two sides made to the Korea-U.S. trade deal in March, which calls for further opening South Korea's auto market to the United States. "We've renegotiated the deal, and subject to signing -- I always say subject to signing because lots of things happen ... But we made a new deal with South Korea. Wonderful deal for both," he said at a groundbreaking ceremony in Wisconsin. "And our farmers now are protected. And our tariff -- which has been paid for years, which was expiring -- has now been extended for a long period of time, on trucks."
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KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
Report: Pompeo to Visit N. Korea Next Week
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will reportedly visit North Korea next week to discuss the North's denuclearization plans. Quoting U.S. officials, the Financial Times reported on Thursday that Pompeo will fly to Pyongyang on an unspecified date to follow up on this month's summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The report said that the top U.S. diplomat canceled a planned meeting with his Indian counterpart slated for next Friday in order to make the trip, quoting four people familiar with the plans.

Trump: Won't Rush Negotiations with N. Korea
U.S. President Donald Trump says he won't rush negotiations with North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, comparing the process to cooking a turkey. Speaking at a rally in Fargo, North Dakota on Wednesday, Trump touted his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that yielded a commitment to work toward the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula.

US Names N. Korea Worst Human Trafficking Nation for 16th Year
The United States has named North Korea as one of the worst human trafficking nations for the 16th consecutive year, citing its use of forced labor. The State Department's annual "2018 Trafficking in Persons Report" put North Korea in the lowest Tier 3, together with China, Russia and Iran. Releasing the report on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. sees the tragic examples of forced labor in North Korea and untold number of North Korean citizens subjected to forced labor overseas by their own government, in many cases with the tacit approval of host governments.
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Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
Jailed Lotte chief fends off elder brother's leadership challenge
The jailed head of South Korean conglomerate Lotte won the support of Japanese shareholders in a vote on Friday to keep his seat in the boardroom of a crucial affiliate in the group's governance structure, cementing his grip on the retail giant from behind bars. Lotte Holdings Co., holding firm for Lotte's Japanese affiliates which also has major stakes in the group's Korean units, rejected the motion to dismiss Shin Dong-bin as a board member during its regular shareholders' meeting at its headquarters in Tokyo, according to Lotte Corp., the group's Korean holding company.

S. Korea's industrial output rises 1.1 pct in May
South Korea's industrial output increased in May from a month earlier on a rise in production in the automaking and telecommunication sectors, government data showed Friday. Production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries rose 1.1 percent on-month in May, following an adjusted 3.1 percent on-month gain tallied in the previous month, according to the data by Statistics Korea.

Lotte Holdings holds shareholders meeting over jailed Lotte chief's board seat
Lotte Holdings Co., the Tokyo-based company that holds major stakes in South Korean retail giant Lotte, began a crucial shareholders meeting Friday to vote on the dismissal of the imprisoned group Chairman Shin Dong-bin from the board. The motion was proposed by Shin Dong-joo, former vice chairman of Lotte Holdings and estranged elder brother of Dong-bin, who had waged an unsuccessful battle against his sibling to gain control of South Korea's fifth-largest conglomerate.
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The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Building trust with NK continues as long as dialogue underway ‘in good faith’ : defense chiefs
The defense chiefs of South Korea and the United States agreed on Thursday that they will continue to seek trust-building measures with North Korea for as long as Pyongyang engages in dialogue “in good faith.” During their meeting in Seoul, Defense Minister Song Young-moo and his US counterpart James Mattis stressed that their decision to suspend scheduled joint military exercises will support diplomatic efforts to achieve the complete denuclearization of North Korea.

South Korea to offer alternative service for conscientious objectors
South Korea’s Constitutional Court on Thursday ordered the revision of current laws by next year to give conscientious objectors -- those who refuse mandatory military service on grounds of conscience or religious beliefs -- the option to perform an alternative service of a civilian nature. The order was announced following the ruling which found that not providing alternative measures for the objectors is against the Constitution.

N. Korea's human rights conditions overshadowed by nuclear issues
With the world’s attention focused on North Korea’s denuclearization, concerns are mounting that the country’s human rights abuses could be overlooked. The summit agreement reached between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12 did not include clauses on improving the much-criticized human rights conditions in North Korea. The same goes for the result of the inter-Korean summit in April.
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The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
China has reasons to worry about nuclear-armed North Korea
After the historic summit between the United States and North Korea earlier this month, U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters that China wouldn't be "happy with someone having nuclear weapons so close." Many experts agree. They reckon, with a nuclear arsenal in hand, North Korea is now a bigger diplomatic concern and potential threat to China, which did not want the regime to develop the weapons in the first place.

Seoul's Central Asian enclave undergoes demographic change
Near the subway station of Dongdaemun History and Culture Park just west of downtown Seoul, there's a small ethnically diverse enclave along the alleys, better known as Central Asia Street, packed with restaurants and shops displaying signs in Russian. It's a home away from home for ethnic minorities from Mongolia, Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries. The neighborhood is often called Mongolia Town as Mongolians are the dominant population in the neighborhood.

Defense chiefs pledge peaceful security
Defense chiefs of the United States and South Korea pledged Thursday to tighten security readiness in a peaceful manner under the common goal of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. "If North Korea continues to take action to realize its pledge for denuclearization, Seoul and Washington will come up with measures to show peace and trust to Pyongyang," Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo said during talks with his U.S. counterpart James Mattis.
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Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
UNESCO Panel Highlights Japanese Brutality in Korea
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee on Wednesday adopted a resolution calling on the Japanese government to inform the world about brutality against Korean forced laborers on Japan's Hashima Island during its occupation of Korea. The committee met in Bahrain and reviewed follow-up measures Japan had promised when 23 industrial facilities in Japan, including those on Hashima Island, were granted heritage status back in 2015.

Airlines Hit by Turbulence in Markets
Korean airlines are suffering simultaneously from rising global oil prices and a weakening won as the government is scrapping import tax break on aircraft parts. Korean Air's stock price closed at W28,050 in Wednesday's trade, down 15 percent over the last 15 trading days, while rival Asiana's share fell 18.6 percent to W4,140 (US$1=W1,120). The situation is the same at budget carriers, whose shares had been soaring in the first half of this year.

U.S. Senators Demand Oversight of N.Korea's Denuclearization
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators tabled a bill on Tuesday calling on U.S. President Donald Trump to report to Congress regularly what is going on in his administration's denuclearization talks with North Korea. The bill was proposed jointly by Robert Menendez, a ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Cory Gardner (Republican), the chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy.
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HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Historic legal shift on Military Service Act for first time in 70 years
The Constitutional Court of Korea ruled that legal provisions that do not offer alternative routes of service to conscientious objectors who refuse military service on religious or moral grounds is inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic of Korea. The historic ruling came 70 years after the first military draft laws were issued in 1950, during which over 19,000 conscientious objectors have been punished for violating military service laws.

US demands its allies halt imports of Iranian crude oil
The South Korean government said it “had not expected” the US’s demand for its allies to stop importing Iranian crude oil without exception. The US’s abrupt demand caught Seoul off guard since it had been negotiating with the US for a waiver that would enable it to keep buying Iranian oil even if sanctions on Iran were reinstated. “We have yet to receive a request from the US to completely halt imports. We’ll keep negotiating with the US to receive a waver from the sanctions on crude oil imports,” said a senior official from South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on June 27. The US officially asked Japan to suspend imports of Iranian crude oil during a meeting of bureau chiefs on June 19.

USFK commander recognizes need to halt joint military exercise
On June 27, Vincent Brooks, commander of US Forces Korea (USFK), said that the South Korea-US joint military exercises that had recently been suspended were “visible exercises that are right up front that may cause unnecessary irritation at a time when the need for trust building is so important.” Brooks made the comment while delivering a speech at the 2nd South Korea-US Alliance Forum, which was held at Army Hall in Yongsan, Seoul, on Wednesday.
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The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Animal symbols at Mihwangsa temple signify people’s wishes
Mihwangsa is a Buddhist temple located at the southernmost end of the Korean Peninsula, nestled on the foot of Mount Dalma in Haenam Country, South Jeolla Province. Built in 749, the temple has been standing there for over 1,300 years. The temple, albeit small in scale, boasts plenty of natural and cultural assets, including a beautiful camellia tree, the Daeungjeon sanctuary (Treasure No. 947) and the Ungjindang hall (Treasure No. 1183). In addition, the temple also has a cluster of 27 pagodas and monuments.

POSCO tops global steel competitiveness ranking for 9th consecutive year
POSCO, one of the world’s largest steel companies, has been named the most competitive steelmaker for the ninth consecutive year. World Steel Dynamics Inc. (WSD), a U.S.-based global steel industry analysis firm, announced on Tuesday (local time) its industry competitiveness ranking at the Steel Success Strategies conference held in New York. According to the announcement, the South Korean steelmaker has retained its title as the most competitive steelmaker since 2010.

President Moon calls off regulation reform meeting
President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday canceled the second regulatory innovation review meeting, which he was set to have with officials from the ruling party, the government and Cheong Wa Dae, three hours before it was scheduled citing lack of preparation as a reason. Although it was Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon who recommended the president to call off the meeting, President Moon was reportedly “frustrated” with lack of progress in regulatory reform.
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JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
Mattis says CVID is still goal of Trump
The Donald Trump administration’s goal in pursuing dialogue with North Korea is the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization (CVID) of the Korean Peninsula, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis reaffirmed Thursday in Seoul. In a press briefing ahead of a meeting with South Korea’s National Defense Minister Song Young-moo, Mattis said American diplomats will continue their work to achieve CVID, while keeping U.S. allies in “close consultation” about talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

Samsung and Apple settle 7-year patent legal battle
The patent war between the two biggest smartphone rivals has finally ended. Samsung Electronics and Apple have settled a seven-year legal dispute over each other’s design patents. Neither disclosed the amount of the settlement. The two giants informed the district court in San Jose, California, “they have agreed to drop and settle their remaining claims and counterclaims in this matter,” according to an order signed by Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California. The settlement means all suits will be dismissed and no further case will be filed on the same claim.

Final decision on Jin Air’s fate expected today
The fate of Korean Air’s low-cost affiliate, Jin Air, could be decided today, and all eyes are on how the government will deal with the 1,900 employees whose jobs are on the line. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has been consulting with local law firms on whether to strip Jin Air of its business license after it became apparent that Cho Hyun-min, the youngest daughter of Korean Air Chairman Cho Yang-ho, is an American citizen. Under Korean aviation law, foreigners cannot be board directors at Korean airlines for security reasons. Cho was a registered director at Jin Air between 2010 and 2016, a violation that could result in the revocation of the airline’s business license.
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The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Monthly Number of Newborns Continue to Hit Bottom for the Twelfth Month
In April, the number of newborn babies dropped below 30,000, the lowest figure for April. The government had presented measures to tackle the low birthrate, but they have been ineffective, leaving the government to agonize over the issue. According to the “April Population Trend” released by Statistics Korea on June 27, the number of newborn babies recorded 27,700, which is an 8.9% (2,700) decrease from the same month a year ago. This is the first time that the number of births in April failed to surpass 30,000, since the government began gathering monthly statistics for births in 1981.

Another Laid-off SsangYong Worker Takes His Own Life
Another worker who was laid off by SsangYong Motor Company was found dead. This was the thirtieth death of a person connected to SsangYong after the automaker fired workers in 2009. In a remote hill in Dokgok-dong, Pyeongtaek-si, Gyeonggi-do, at around 3:50 p.m. on June 27, Kim (48), a former worker at SsangYong Motor was found dead by the police, who were searching the area. Kim had texted a suicide note to his wife foreboding his death about an hour before he died. In the note, he wrote, "I'm sorry you had to struggle for meeting an incompetent husband. Even till the end, all I can leave you is debt. Life may be tough, but I pray that you be happy." So far, no note has been discovered other than this message. The police believe Kim took his own life and plan to deliver the body to his family.

Tweezing Out and Replacing Key Economic Aides: Providing On-Site Support
On June 26, President Moon Jae-in reshuffled his Cheong Wa Dae staff, replacing his senior secretaries for economic affairs and job creation. This is practically the first reshuffle after the launch of the Moon Jae-in government, and replacing the key secretaries for economic policies is virtually "tweezing" them out in response to the recent debate on the failure of the government's economic policies, such as income-driven growth. The latest shake-up also seems to be based on a judgment that economic issues will be more important in the "second" Moon Jae-in government.
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AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Prosecutors quiz Hanjin Group boss as criminal suspect
Hanjin Group Chairman Cho Yang-ho, who controls Korean Air, made a cursory apology Thursday as he turned up for an interrogation by state prosecutors over alleged tax evasion and embezzlement. The interrogation followed multiple investigations by law enforcement authorities into various illegal activities by his wife and two daughters. Cho, 69, is suspected of embezzling company money and awarding improper contracts to companies controlled by his family members.

U.S. partner of Samsung biosimilar arm exercises call option to boost stake
The American partner of Samsung BioLogics, a biosimilar arm of South Korea's largest Samsung Group, exercised its call option to acquire a 49.9 percent stake in their joint venture, clearing suspicions about alleged accounting irregularities. In 2012, Samsung BioLogics set up Samsung Bioepis, a joint venture with U.S.-based pharmaceutical company Biogen Therapeutics. Biogen owned a 5.4 percent stake in Bioepis and promised to exercise the call option later.

S. Korea's top crypto exchange plays down hacking damage
South Korea's largest cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb remained suspended but the company said losses from a hacking attack earlier this month were found to be smaller than previously estimated. The exchange stopped all transaction services on June 20 after hackers launched an attack to steal cryptocurrency. Initially, Bithumb said an estimated 35 billion won ($31 million won) was stolen. "Tentative calculations indicate our hacking damage is smaller than we thought, standing at about 19 billion won," Bithumb said in a statement uploaded onto its website on Thursday. However, transactions will remain suspended for a while for the safety of investors, it said.
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Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Samsung Engineering wins $549 mn petrochem plant deal in Vietnam
South Korea’s Samsung Engineering Co. clinched two petrochemical plant orders worth a combined 615.3 billion won ($548.5 million) from Vietnam’s Long Son Petrochemicals Co. Under an exclusive engineering, procurement and construction deal, Samsung Engineering would be in charge of building the Package B high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plant and the Package C polypropylene (PP) plant, the company said Thursday. The plants are worth 338.3 billion won and 277 billion won, respectively, amounting to 11.1 percent of its total 2017 sales.

KT develops disaster and safety platform using drones
South Korea’s telecom giant KT Corp. has developed a disaster and safety platform that will assist search for survivors in emergency situations and treat them using unmanned airships and drones. KT plans to propose the platform to be used in national public-safety long term evolution (PS-LTE) network projects to help boost the country’s overall disaster response system. The platform, dubbed Skyship, which was unveiled by KT on Monday at its training institute in Wonju, Gangwon Province, consists of unmanned plane Skyship, moving remote control center Skyship Command, Control & Communication (3C) Station, a drone and a robot.

Korea’s Hancom joins AWS for shared document work service
South Korea’s leading office software developer Hancom Inc. said on Monday it has joined Amazon Web Services (AWS) to launch a web-based shared workplace supporting document editing at Amazon WorkDocs based on Hancom Office. Hancom shares finished Monday up 7.41 percent at 15,950 won ($14.28) in Seoul. With the new service, users are now able to create, edit and share Hancom documents in real time using a web browser without additional file installations or changes.
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What’s ticking around the world at this second?
See what the world media around the world have to report:
USA Today www.usatoday.com aallman@gannett.com
The New York Times www.nytimes.com inytletters@nytimes.com
Wall Street Journal www.wsj.com support@wsj.com,service@wsj-asia.com
Financial Times www.ft.com ean@ft.com
The Times www.thetimes.co.uk help@timesplus.co.uk
The Sun www.thesun.co.uk talkback@the-sun.co.uk
Chinese People's Daily www.people.com.cnkf@people.cn
China Daily www.chinadaily.com.cn circulation@chinadaily.com.cn
GwangmyeongDaily www.gmw.cn webmaster@gmw.cn
Japan's Yomiuri www.yomiuri.co.jp japannews@yomiuri.com
Asahi www.asahi.com customer-support@asahi.com
Mainichi www.mainichi.jp
Le Monde www.ilemonde.com
Italy LaRepubblica www.quotidiano.repubblica.it vittorio.zucconi@gmail.com
Germany Frankfurter AllgemeineZeitung www.faz.net anzeigen.ausland@faz.de
SüddeutscheZeitung www.sueddeutsche.de forum@sueddeutsche.de
Australia Brisbane Times www.brisbanetimes.com.au syndication@fairfaxmedia.com.au
Sydney Morning Herald www.smh.com.au
Colombia Reports http://colombiareports.com
Bogota Free Planet http://bogotafreeplanet.combfp@bogotafreeplanet.com
El Universal http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english
Andes http://www.andes.info.ec/en
Ecuador Times http://www.ecuadortimes.net
The Jordan Times https://www.jordantimes.com
LSM.lv http://www.lsm.lv/en
The Baltic Times http://www.baltictimes.comlithuania@baltictimes.com, estonia@baltictimes.com, editor@baltictimes.com
El Pais http://elpais.com/elpais/inenglish.html
Philippine Daily Inquirer https://www.inquirer.net
Daily News Hungary http://dailynewshungary.com
Budapest Times http://budapesttimes.hu
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The Korea Post is running video clips from the different embassies.
Azerbaijan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR8CBpcQ4WM
Sri Lanka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hByX92Y2aGY&t=22s
Morocco: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfFmp2sVvSE
And many other countries.
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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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