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Headlines, July 5, 2018

Thursday, July 5, 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.
S. Korea's current account surplus hits US$8.68 bln in May
South Korea's current account surplus jumped to an eight-month high in May thanks to a sharp increase in the goods account surplus and stakes in overseas investment, central bank data showed Thursday. The country's current account surplus came to US$8.68 billion in May, up from a surplus of $5.84 billion a year ago, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK). From a month earlier, the May figure shot up from $1.77 billion tallied in April.

Korea's media report on inter-Korean basketball matches, forestry talks
North Korea's state media Thursday reported on friendly inter-Korean basketball games held in Pyongyang, an event that the two Koreas organized for the first time in some 15 years. The Korean Central News Agency reported that South and North Korean basketball players held two friendly games at the Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium on Wednesday.

South Koreans welcome inter-Korean reconciliation for reasons besides just peace
Most South Koreans welcome the ongoing rapprochement between the two Koreas, highlighted by the two historic summits between their leaders, but for many reasons besides just the peace it may bring. Many, of course, are simply glad to finally see some sort of detente between the two Koreas following a series of nuclear and missile provocations by the communist North in recent years.
KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
Court Rejects Arrest Warrants for LKP Lawmaker, Ex-Labor Minister

A Seoul court has refused to issue an arrest warrant for an opposition lawmaker on allegations that he used his influence to help acquaintances get hired at a state-run casino operator. The Seoul Central District Court on Thursday denied the writ against Rep. Kweon Seong-dong of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, saying that the accusations were disputable and that he presents a low risk of fleeing or destroying evidence.

Two Koreas Agree to Cooperate to Protect Forests from Insects
South and North Korea have agreed to cooperate on protecting their forests along the inter-Korean border and other areas from damage caused by blight and harmful insects. The two Koreas on Wednesday adopted a joint statement to that effect after marathon working-level talks that lasted over 12 hours on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjeom. The two sides agreed to conduct on-site inspections of those areas together in mid-July, while South Korea will produce necessary measures for pest control.

Court Rejects Arrest Warrants for LKP Lawmaker, Ex-Labor Minister
A Seoul court has refused to issue an arrest warrant for an opposition lawmaker on allegations that he used his influence to help acquaintances get hired at a state-run casino operator. The Seoul Central District Court on Thursday denied the writ against Rep. Kweon Seong-dong of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, saying that the accusations were disputable and that he presents a low risk of fleeing or destroying evidence.
Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
U.S. import restrictions to dent S. Korean exports
U.S. restrictions on imports of South Korean steel, washing machines and solar cells are expected to cost Asia's fourth-largest economy more than US$2.4 billion in lost exports over the coming years, a parliamentary report said Thursday. The Donald Trump administration's import restrictions on the three products could make South Korea suffer an export loss of $2.47 billion over the next few years, according to the report by the National Assembly Budget Office. The regulations are also feared to result in a potential loss of nearly 16,000 jobs in the three industrial sectors, it estimated.

Court bans ex-Samsung worker from relocating to Chinese firm
A local court banned a former worker of Samsung Display Co. from relocating to a Chinese firm on Thursday, claiming the restriction is needed to protect sensitive technologies. The Suwon District Court upheld the request made by Samsung Display to ban a former researcher from getting a new position at a Chinese company, and ruled the defendant should not relocate to Samsung's rivals and their subcontractors for two years. The court added the defendant must compensate Samsung Display 10 million won (U$8,952) per day if he fails to follow the obligation.

Court denies arrest warrant for opposition lawmaker in illegal hiring case
A Seoul court turned down a prosecution request early Thursday for a warrant to arrest a prominent opposition lawmaker on corruption charges. The Seoul Central District Court denied the writ against Rep. Kweon Seong-dong of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP), saying that the accusations were disputable and that he presents a low risk of fleeing or destroying evidence. The three-time lawmaker is accused of pressuring Kangwon Land Inc. in late 2013 to hire his two former aides and 16 others, including children of his high school friends. Prosecutors filed for a writ in May on charges of abuse of power, bribery and obstruction of business.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Forex reserves in Korea top $400b

South Korea’s foreign currency reserves hit an all-time high for four consecutive months as of June this year, central bank data showed Wednesday. Rising reserves, coupled with the moderate level of foreign currency debt and expense in foreign trade, translate into Korea’s robust external stability, according to the government. The accumulated volume of foreign currency reserves including gold came to $400.3 billion in Korea, up $1.3 billion, or 0.3 percent, compared to the previous month, according to data from the Bank of Korea. This marked the first time that the nation’s foreign exchange reserves topped $400 billion.

Elderly Koreans attack memorial site of late laid-off worker and call mourners ‘commies’
A group of conservative, elderly Koreans who are ardent supporters of former President Park Geun-hye attacked a memorial site of a late laid-off worker in central Seoul on Wednesday, calling mourners and other laid-off laborers “commies” and “germs,” among other names. “You trade union members are ruining our country, you are ruining our country,” an elderly Korean woman shouted at the mourners, waving a South Korean flag frantically.

Time running out for regulatory reforms
President Moon Jae-in’s administration is running short of time to carry out regulatory reforms that are urgently needed to bolster the sluggish economy, experts say. Over the past year, it has pushed for innovation-driven growth in tandem with income-led growth in the hope of enabling the Korean economy to ride on the wave of new industrial technologies and get a boost from increased consumption spending. But Moon and his economic aides now face mounting criticism that they have done little to put innovation-fueled growth on track while their rash efforts to promote income-led growth have only resulted in worsening low-income earners’ livelihoods.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
China suspected of stealing Samsung, SK patents

Chinese companies are suspected of stealing the intellectual property of Samsung Electronics and SK hynix to obtain advanced technological knowhow from them, sources familiar with the matter said Wednesday. "Samsung Electronics and SK hynix have become the target of industrial espionage by Chinese memory chip manufacturers. In semiconductors, patents are critical to the cost structure. The companies have to protect what they have spent decades building. The result is Chinese companies are attempting to infringe on Samsung and SK patents," said an official directly involved with the issue.

Retirees to be hit by heavier financial income tax
A recommendation by a special presidential panel that a heavier tax should be levied on financial income is adding to the concerns of senior citizens who rely on interests and dividends. Investment in diverse financial products may also decrease, market watchers warn. According to the recommendation submitted to the finance ministry Tuesday, the tax burden should be raised on owners of expensive or multiple homes as well as on financial income. While a 15.4 percent tax rate is applied on interests or dividends, those who earn more than 20 million won ($17,918) in annual financial income are subject to heavier comprehensive financial income taxation. They are taxed between 6 percent and 42 percent for the surplus.

Kumho chairman to blame for Asiana's in-flight meal crisis
Kumho Asiana Chairman Park Sam-koo is to blame for Asiana Airlines' ongoing "in-flight meal crisis" as he risked the carrier's operations to line his own pockets, industry analysts said Wednesday. Although the chairman apologized late in the day to Asiana's customers, employees and subcontractors for the air carrier's failure to prevent the problem, he still faces mounting criticism for his mismanagement.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Japan to Spy on Korean Peninsula with 1,000 km Radar

Japan will step up surveillance of the Korean Peninsula with a new state-of-the-art radar with a range of more than 1,000 km. The Japanese Defense Ministry is buying the Lockheed Martin Solid State Radar (LMSSR) for the Aegis Ashore, a land-based missile defense system, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Tuesday. The 1,000 km-plus range LMSSR uses the same technology as a ballistic missile interception system the U.S. is building in Alaska.

Jeju Island Eyes Environmental Tax for Visitors
The southern resort island of Jeju is considering an environmental tax for visitors that could net it an additional W150 billion in revenues (US$1=W1,115). Island officials said Tuesday that they hope to use the money to maintain pristine environmental conditions. Kim Yang-bo at the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, said, "We have seen a sharp rise in waste and air pollution due to the influx of tourists, which keeps pushing up the clean-up costs."

U.S. Mulls Another Summit with N.Korea in New York
A second U.S.-North Korea summit might be held in New York on the occasion of the UN General Assembly this autumn. "A Round 2 with President [Donald] Trump can be held in New York in September, when world leaders pour into Trump's hometown for the UN General Assembly," news website Axios reported Monday.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Over half of chaebol offspring graduate university overseas, assessment finds

Over half of the chaebol offspring currently involved in management graduated from overseas universities, while around one in four has a career history including employment at a consultancy, a study shows. The management performance assessment firm CEO Score released findings on July 4 from an investigation of the 157 children of owner families for South Korea’s top 100 business groups who are currently involved in management. According to data on the offspring for whom educational history (114) and career history (126) could be verified, 61 received a bachelor’s degree from an overseas university, while 30 had a career history of working for a consulting company.

South Korea sends delegation to Iran ahead resumption of US sanctions
The South Korean government recently sent a delegation to Iran in advance of the US’s complete resumption of sanctions against the country, and now it is planning to hold deliberations with the Trump administration in mid-July. “The US has settled on Nov. 4 as the date when it will resume sanctions against Iran, and we think that this will have a major impact not only on petrochemicals but on the entire payment system for exports [between South Korea and Iran]. We’re currently working to arrange a second round of negotiations with the US in July,” a senior official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on July 4. The first round of deliberations with the US took place after the US’s announcement in May that it is reinstating sanctions on Iran.

GM Korea refuses to comply with labor ministry order to hire irregular workers as regular employees
GM Korea is refusing to comply with a Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) order to hire 774 irregular workers currently employed by subcontractors as regular workers at its Changwon factory following a decision finding their dispatch employment unlawful. The automaker has claimed hiring the workers “could be disruptive to management normalization.” Observers have been lambasting GM Korea for accepting 810 billion won (US$725 million) in South Korean government support for management normalization without doing anything to resolve the illegal employment issue.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
LG V35 ThinQ to be released Friday
LG Electronics will unveil the V35 ThinQ, the latest of its premium smartphone Z series sold since the second half of last year, on Friday. It will be a transitional model to the V40 ThinQ, scheduled for release at the end of the year. The V35 ThinQ combines key features of the V30 released last September and the G7 released in May this year. By using the V30 platform, it features slim and light designs and inherits OLED FullVision displays with 18:9 aspect ratios. FullVision has bezel-less features that make screens look bigger than they actually are.

N. Korea waivers expenses for returning U.S. troop remains
As North Korea will likely repatriate the remains of U.S. troops killed during the 1950-1953 Korean War in synch with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s planned visit to Pyongyang on Friday, Pyongyang has informed Washington that it would not charge the repatriation expenses as it did in the past. According to multiple sources on North Korea, the North did not demand that Washington pay for the repatriation while negotiating with the United States over returning the remains of some 200 U.S. troops killed in action. The North searched for the remains of killed U.S. troops from 1990 through 2007 and has so far returned those of 443 soldiers. During the process, Washington has paid about 50,000 U.S. dollars per body.

Kim Jong Un not present at friendly basketball match with S. Korea
Kim Jong Un, the young leader of North Korea known to be an avid basketball fan, did not show up for a friendly basketball match with South Korea on Thursday, which was proposed by Mr. Kim himself and held in Pyongyang for the first time in 15 years. North Korea watchers stipulate that the North Korean leader could not attend the “big game” as he was bent on making preparations for the upcoming nuclear deal with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
Gov’t spins wheels on low birthrate solutions

A presidential committee trying to elevate the country’s dismal birthrate unveiled a set of measures worth 900 billion won ($804 million) Thursday, but many were expansions of existing benefits that haven’t worked, analysts said. The Presidential Committee on Ageing Society and Population Policy announced a set of measures such as expanding the paid paternity leave for fathers to 10 days from the current three days and providing 500,000 won to couples not covered by employment insurance for 90 days after they have a child.

Samsung shares heading south
Have Samsung Electronics shares lost it? Ever since the tech giant split the shares 50 to 1 at the end of April with the goal of making them “national shares” - more people could own them because each share would be much cheaper - the price of Samsung shares has been gradually going down. After seeing the price struggle since May, brokerage houses have rushed to slash target prices for Samsung shares.

Joint March 1 commemoration to be proposed
Seoul is proposing to Pyongyang that a delegation from each country travel on the same train to China next year for the 100th anniversary of the March 1 Korean independence movement, a local high-level official exclusively told the JoongAng Ilbo Wednesday. The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the delegations would visit key historical sites related to Korean activists who went into exile in China, mainly Shanghai and Manchuria, to fight against Japanese colonial rule in the early 20th century.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
"Dredge the Four Major Rivers to Secure River Depth of 6m Around the Dams " MB Obsessed about the Grand Canal Even After Abandoning the Project

Former President Lee Myung-bak (photo) ignored the opinions of related ministries and unilaterally instructed the government to push ahead with the Four Major Rivers Project--still at the center of controversy after 22 trillion won of the taxpayers' money has been poured into the project. Lee ordered that the dams in the four major rivers be constructed where the water was at least six meters deep. Six meters is the minimum depth for vessels to travel on the water, leading to speculations that the former president had the Grand Canal Project in mind.

Finance Ministry "Refuses" the Expansion of the Comprehensive Financial Income Tax
The Ministry of Strategy and Finance announced that it would not accept the tax reform recommendations by the Special Committee for Financial Reforms under the presidential committee on policy planning to impose stronger taxes on those earning a high income from financial investments, such interest and dividends. On July 4, when reporters asked his position on the special committee’s recommendations, Kim Dong-yeon, deputy prime minister cum minister of strategy and finance, said, "We will look into the comprehensive financial income tax further."

Pro-Moon "Owl Gathering" Highlighted: Raising an Alarm on Factionalism
Voices warn of factionalism in the Democratic Party of Korea as the party prepares to elect its next leader in the August 25 party congress some fifty days away. After the last presidential election, the Democratic Party became a "pro-Moon" party, fully supporting President Moon Jae-in, but some people argue that the party may see a return of the division between pro-Moon and non-Moon members at the party congress. Some candidates claim they are pro-Moon fueling such concerns.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Samsung's estimated Q2 operating profit up 5.19%
Samsung Electronics posted an estimated 5.19 percent increase in its second-quarter operating profit as its microchip business continued to show a good performance. In its earnings guidance report, the world's largest smartphone maker put its second-quarter operating profit at 14.8 trillion won ($13.2 billion), compared with 14.07 trillion won a year earlier. Samsung's first-quarter operating profit hit a record high of 15.64 trillion won.

S. Korea's top mobile carrier hopes to acquire fresh goods company
SK Telecom, South Korea's top mobile carrier, is looking for a fresh goods company as it develops technologies related to artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) to create a new paradigm in the country's stagnant e-commerce market. "We are trying to acquire a fresh goods company. I think we can get some results by the end of this year," an SK Telecom official told Aju News Thursday on condition of anonymity. The planned acquisition will mark SK's first step to nurture its online mall 11STREET as the Korean version of Amazon.

S. Korea records highest cosmetics trade surplus in 2017
Helped by the popularity of Hallyu (Korean cultural wave) abroad, South Korea's cosmetics trade surplus hit a record high of more than 4.2 trillion won ($3.7 billion) in 2017. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said in a statement on Thursday that the trade surplus of cosmetics products in 2017 was up 8.5 percent from a year ago.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Incheon Airport begins management of Kuwait Int’l Airport new terminal
The Incheon International Airport Corp. (IIAC) said Thursday it began management of the Kuwait International Airport’s new Terminal 4 (T4) ahead of its grand opening due on August 8. The airport authority in April won 137 billion won ($123 million) tender to run the new terminal, beating out well-known gateway operators like France’s Groupe ADP in charge of the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and Germany’s Fraport AG of the Frankfurt Airport.

Hyundai, Kia shares hit 8-yr low on US tariff, strike concerns
Shares of South Korea’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor Co. sank to an eight-year low of under-120,000 won ($107.51) threshold as the company faces possible sweeping tariffs from the United States - its second largest market - and another round of strikes from unions. Hyundai Motor shares on Wednesday closed down 2.05 percent at 119,500 won, slipping below 120,000 won for the first time since April 19, 2010 when its stocks ended at 119,000 won.

LG CNS launches integrated IoT platform for smart city solutions
LG CNS has released an integrated internet of things (IoT) platform for a smart city solution that can collect and control big data streams from buildings, street lamps and cars, the company said Thursday. The platform dubbed Cityhub, which is regarded as key IT technology to building a smart city, does not differentiate communication methods in collecting and managing data from 98 different industrial sectors, including logistics and manufacturing, which means that it does not need to install separate platforms.
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.cn kf@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.com lithuania@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
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.

Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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