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Headlines, July 17, 2018

Tuesday, July 17, 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.
Over five thousand Columbians fight in Korea to defend her freedom and democracy
The Republic of Korea (ROK) owes greatly to the United Nations Forces, particularly the United States, Colombia and 15 other member countries of the United Nations, who took part in the Korean War (1950-3) fighting on the side of the ROK in defense of her freedom and democracy from the Communist states such as China and the then Soviet Union.

LG releases G7 ThinQ in South America
LG Electronics Inc. said Tuesday it has started sales of its latest G7 ThinQ smartphone in the Central and South American markets as it expands overseas sales of the flagship device. The South Korean tech giant said the G7 ThinQ reached Brazil and Mexico last week, claiming the new device now has presence in major markets around the globe including North America, Europe, and Asia.

PM blames high rents, royalty fees amid complaints about minimum wage increase
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon on Tuesday blamed high rents and royalty fees as the main causes of difficulties for small business owners as he called for measures to help such businesses tide over the rise in minimum wage. Next year's minimum wage has been set at 8,350 won (US$ 7.37) per hour, up 10.9 percent from this year. That marked a double-digit rise for the second consecutive year following a 16.4 percent increase in this year's minimum wage.
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KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
Gov't to Expand Support for Low-income Households
inance Minister Kim Dong-yeon has vowed to increase the amount of tax refunds for low-income households and expand the beneficiaries as part of efforts to cope with the possible side effects of the minimum wage hike. Kim made the vow on Tuesday during a meeting with officials with the ruling Democratic Party to discuss ways to support low-income families and review economic conditions in the second half.

IMF Slashes Growth Forecasts for Europe, Japan
The International Monetary Fund(IMF) has downgraded its growth forecasts for Europe and Japan for this year and warned that the possible escalation of current trade tensions is the greatest risk to the global economy. In its World Economic Outlook report released on Monday, the IMF kept its forecasts for global economic growth unchanged at three-point-nine percent for both this year and 2019.

Apartment Prices Post Steepest Drop in 5 Years
Prices of apartments across the nation dropped at the steepest pace in about five years in the second quarter. According to data by the Bank of Korea on Sunday, apartment prices in South Korea decreased by point-three percent in the April-June period from the previous quarter. That's the largest drop since the first quarter in 2013, when it slipped point-seven percent. It also marks the first on-quarter drop in about two years.
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Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
N.K. leader seems to use carrots-and-sticks approach to boost social unity
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appears to take a carrot-and-stick approach to vitalizing the social atmosphere, as he has recently unveiled the North's first general amnesty in three years and at the same time reprimanded party and cabinet officials in charge of economic development, analysts said Tuesday. Earlier in the day, North Korean media outlets carried extensive reports on Kim reproaching officials for their incompetence during a recent inspection of the construction site for Orangchon hydroelectric dam and other economic development projects in the country's northeastern province of Hamkyong.

Animal activists call for ban on dog meat consumption
Animal activists filed a petition with the office of President Moon Jae-in and held a rally featuring one of Moon's pet dogs on Tuesday to call for a ban on dog meat consumption on the first of the summer's three hottest "dog days." Tuesday is "chobok," one of 24 seasonal markers on the lunar calendar, and forms "sambok" or the three hottest days together with two other dog days. It has been a tradition in Korea to eat stamina foods, such as ginseng chicken soup, on those days to fight the heat. Dog meat consumption used to be popular on those days too, even though the practice has faded markedly in recent decades amid strong criticism of killing man's best friend for meat. Still, activists claim thousands of dogs are slaughtered every day.

Visitors to Gangwon Surge by 10 Mln in 1st Half of 2018
The number of visitors to Gangwon Province has jumped by 10 million in the first half of this year from a year earlier thanks in part to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. The northeastern provincial office said on Monday that nearly 51 million tourists, from home and abroad, visited during the January-June period, up 24-point-one percent on-year. The number of domestic visitors increased 22-point-three percent to 48-point-25 million, while that of foreign tourists increased 70 percent to around two-point-six million
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The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Minimum wage rise discord deepens
With neither business owners nor workers’ unions satisfied with the latest settlement of the legal minimum wage for next year, South Korean President Moon Jae-in struggled to appease both sides, while admitting his election pledge to raise it to 10,000 won by 2020 was nigh impossible. His comments followed a string of oppositions lodeged by both the business and labor sides, while his chief financial policymaker criticized the double-digit growth as hurting the economy.

Moon orders military to submit all documents on martial law allegation
President Moon Jae-in on Monday ordered the military to submit all documents related to the allegation that the Defense Security Command had considered declaring martial law during massive protests against former President Park Geun-hye last year. According to Cheong Wa Dae, Moon demanded immediate submission of documents exchanged among military agencies during the anti-Park protests.

Spouse runaway biggest problem for international marriages: hotline
Research indicated nearly 1 in 3 Koreans who called the international marriage hotline attributed problems in their marriage to their foreign spouses last year, according to the Korean Institute for Healthy Family. In 2017, some 614 Koreans called to consult the family institution, of which 31.3 percent, or 192 cases, dealt with spouse-related problems such as runaways, divorce or visas.
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The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Moon says 8,350 won 'not enough'
President Moon Jae-in apologized Monday for failing to achieve the 10,000 won minimum wage by 2020 as he had pledged during the presidential election. The country's top economic policymaker, meanwhile, said that the minimum wage hike could weigh on economic policies in the latter half of the year. The Minimum Wage Council set the hourly minimum wage for next year at 8,350 won ($7.4), Saturday, up 10.9 percent from this year and marking double digit growth for the second consecutive year following a 16.4 percent hike last year.

Large firms to share wage hike burden of subcontractors
Conglomerates will have to share the burden of subcontractors hit by the steep minimum wage hike. They should not force subcontractors to supply exclusively for them or restrict their exports of technology. These are part of the subcontractor law revision by the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) that will go into effect from Tuesday. "Raising the minimum wage is essential for the current administration's income-led growth strategy.

Korea Post hit for hiring 'unqualified' investment officer
Korea Post's newly appointed chief investment officer (CIO) has drawn criticism from union workers who claim he is not qualified to lead the savings bureau of the national postal agency. Given Chang Ha-sung, the presidential chief of staff for policy, has already been blasted for allegedly interfering in the appointment of the National Pension Service CIO, the administration seems to be facing harsher criticism for its alleged interference in personnel affairs of the country's second-largest institutional investor.
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Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Kim Jong-un Still Busy Near Chinese Border
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is still haring around the border region with China on a lengthy inspection tour that has seen him come down hard on mismanagement and alleged laziness of workers. State media on Tuesday reported that Kim visited a construction site, a potato farm and a potato processing plant in Samjiyon, Ryanggang Province.

N.Korea to Hand Over U.S. Soldiers' Remains Next Week
Generals from the U.S. and North Korea agreed in the truce village of Panmunjom on Sunday that the North will hand over the remains of U.S. soldiers killed in the Korean War next week. North Korea finally agreed to hand them over on July 27, the 65th anniversary of armistice that halted fighting in the war. The talks came after North Korea last week stood up a group of American officers who had come to Panmunjom to discuss the matter as the North declined to take delivery of 100 wooden coffins the U.S. had delivered to the border.

Suspected Uranium Enrichment Site Spotted in N.Korea
U.S. current affairs magazine the Diplomat on Friday published satellite photos of a suspected covert uranium-enrichment site in North Korea. Researchers led by Jeffrey Lewis at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies analyzed satellite photos of the site taken since 2001. A U.S. government source "confirmed... that the discovered site corresponded to the covert enrichment site referred to U.S. intelligence community as Kangson," the magazine said.
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HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
North Korea-US agree to excavate POW/MIA remains
North Korea and the US have agreed to reinitiate the excavation of the remains of US POW/MIA that perished during the Korean War. If excavations are reinitiated, it will be the first time in 13 years since excavations were suspended in 2005 during the George W. Bush administration. The two sides also agreed to hold working-level talks regarding the repatriation of remains already in possession by North Korea on July 16.

Embassies of 13 countries partake in 19th Seoul Queer Culture Festival
The 19th edition of the Seoul Queer Culture Festival was held at Seoul Plaza on Saturday, July 14. Nine of the 105 event booths at the plaza was manned by 15 government bodies: the embassies of 13 countries (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the UK and the US), the EU’s delegation to South Korea and the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, the only South Korean government agency to participate in the festival.

Manager of Ryugyong restaurant testifies NIS told him to bring waitresses to South Korea
Amid mounting claims that South Korea’s National Intelligence Service under former president Park Geun-hye orchestrated the defection of 12 waitresses from the North Korean Ryugyong restaurant in Ningbo, a city in China's Zhejiang Province, in Apr. 2016, Huh Gang-il, the manager of that restaurant, claimed on July 15 that the NIS recruited him with the promise that it would put him in charge of a restaurant in Southeast Asia if he brought the waitresses to South Korea.
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The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Pompeo: ‘U.S., N. Korea agree to restart searches for remains’
The United States and North Korea will jointly conduct searches for the remains of U.S. service members who died in North Korea during the Korean War, after the search program was suspended in 2005. During the general officer level meeting held on Monday in Panmunjom, the two sides agreed to resume the searches. They will gather on Tuesday to have follow-up talks to detail the next working level measures.

N. Korea’s first amnesty to be made next month
North Korea announced to grant pardons to prisoners for the first time in three years, marking the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the regime on Sept. 9. Rodong Sinmun, the official paper of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, released a decree issued by the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on the first page on Monday.

S. Korea’s consortium to operate the largest convention center in India
South Korea’s eSANG Networks and Korea International Exhibition Center (KINTEX) have announced that they will take charge of the management of the largest exhibition center in India. This is the first time that Korean businesses bring their exhibition knowhow overseas.
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JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
Moon abandons minimum wage pledge
President Moon Jae-in admitted Monday he won’t fulfill his campaign pledge to raise the minimum wage to 10,000 won ($8.86) by 2020, after anguished protests about rising labor costs from small business owners and concerns voiced by at least one top member of his administration. “As a result of the decision by the Minimum Wage Commission, it became difficult to achieve the target of raising the minimum wage to 10,000 won by 2020,” Moon said during a meeting with his senior secretaries at the Blue House on Monday.

President demands all martial law papers from military
President Moon Jae-in on Monday ordered the military to submit to him personally all documents related to a martial law plan drafted in March 2017, a contingency plan in case the Constitutional Court rejected the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye and chaos broke out in Korea’s streets. In a sign of how gravely the president views the case, Moon demanded an immediate report of all related materials to him without any timetable for his review of them.

Convenience store owners fight hike to wages
Korea’s convenience store owners urged the government to apply a different wage standard to small businesses on Monday, but retreated on earlier claims that they would launch store closures and hike product prices to protest the increase to the minimum wage. In response to the government’s decision over the weekend to increase the minimum wage by 10.8 percent next year, the national association of convenience store owners announced a set of requests to the government and their franchise headquarters. The association is composed of more than 4,000 CU, GS25, 7-Eleven and Emart24 franchisees.
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The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
The Moon Government to Focus on the Economy in Its Second: First Reshuffle in Sight
The second phase of the Moon Jae-in government began after the June 13 local elections, and the biggest issue now is how the government will solve the worsening economy. To establish a new direction for state administration and to change the atmosphere in the government, a reshuffle in the current government is also coming into view for the very first time.

Korean Peninsula Trapped by Tibet-Triggered Heat, "The Heat Could Last a Month"
The Korean Peninsula is trapped in a heat wave. Some experts forecast the heat to continue for a month. The main culprit lies far away. The high air pressure in the Tibetan Plateau, some thousands of kilometers away, is sending the heat to Korea. According to the Korea Meteorological Administration on July 15, it will be sweltering on Monday (Jul. 16)--mostly sunny throughout the nation with high temperatures surpassing 33 degrees (Celsius).

President Moon "North Korean Complaints Can Be a Negotiation Strategy"
On July 12, President Moon Jae-in said, "North Korea criticized the United States in a statement released by the foreign ministry, but a look at the statement shows that the North is complaining about how the U.S. is not taking appropriate measures when Pyongyang is doing its utmost to take action." He added, "I think this is a strategy that they may have chosen to use in the negotiations."
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AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Aborted meeting in truce village leads to unexpected reopening of hotline
U.S. delegates turned on their heels after their North Korean counterparts did not show up for talks in the truce village of Panmunjom this week on repatriating the remains of American soldiers killed or missing during the inter-Korean conflict.At first, the absence of North Korean officials Thursday in Panmunjom cast a cloud over negotiations on returning the remains across the heavily armed inter-Korean border, but an unconfirmed hidden story popped up a day later.

Shipyards urge steelmakers to freeze steel plate prices
South Korean shipbuilders made desperate calls for a freeze in the prices of steel plates, saying they cannot endure any further hikes due to falling sales and profitability. In a statement on Monday, the Korea Offshore and Shipbuilding Association urged steelmakers to keep the prices of thick steel plates for shipbuilding unchanged until shipyards head off their crisis. In the first half of this year, steelmakers raised thick steel plate prices by 50,000 won ($44) per ton.

S. Korean and Singapore mints issue medals commemorating summits
South Korea's state mint unveiled a special set of gold, silver and bronze medals commemorating a historic inter-Korean summit in April at the truce village of Panmunjom. The Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation said Monday that 3,000 gold medals, 30,000 silver medals and 50,000 bronze medals were on sale from Monday. The gold medal was priced at 1.19 million won ($1,054), the silver at 89,000 won and the bronze at 32,000 won.
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Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
S. Korea’s apartment prices fall to 5-yr low in Q2
Apartment prices in South Korea fell to a five-year low in the second quarter as sky-high prices in Seoul show signs of cooling down and prices in certain rural regions continue to slide further. According to Bank of Korea on Sunday, apartment prices in the country fell 0.3 percent in the second quarter against the previous three months, the biggest drop since the first quarter of 2013 when prices saw a 0.7 percent decline.

S. Korea EV sales hit 10,000 mark in H1
South Korea’s electric vehicle sales hit the 10,000 unit milestone in the first half of this year, exceeding the numbers sold for the whole of last year. According to auto industry sources and Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association, the number of electric cars sold in the country in the January-June period stood at 11,866 units. This number is expected to reach 12,000 when including Tesla, whose sales figures remain confidential, and mini EVs of smaller automakers.

S. Korean and Singapore mints issue medals commemorating summits
South Korea's state mint unveiled a special set of gold, silver and bronze medals commemorating a historic inter-Korean summit in April at the truce village of Panmunjom. The Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation said Monday that 3,000 gold medals, 30,000 silver medals and 50,000 bronze medals were on sale from Monday. The gold medal was priced at 1.19 million won ($1,054), the silver at 89,000 won and the bronze at 32,000 won.
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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.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 Heraldwww.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
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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

<저작권자 © 코리아포스트, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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