Headlines, July 20, 2018
Headlines, July 20, 2018
  • Lee Kyung-sik
  • 승인 2018.07.20 14:51
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Friday, July 20, 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.
Newly tapped conservative leader attacks Moon govt, ruling camp
The political area in Korea has for some time been ‘without an opposition political leader.’ More accurately, the conservative political camp in Korea is literally ‘dead’ as the conservatives have lost their face following the detention of the publicly discredited former President Madam Park Geun-hye and, although with a measure of difference, former President Lee Myung-bak who is also under detention for alleged involvement in a number of charges.

LG Chemical starts a KW2 tril. car battery plant in China
LG Chemical is building a second battery factory with an output capacity of car batteries enough for 530,000 high performance pure electric cars in Nanjing, China. Construction of the plant will begin in October this year and commercial production will begin in October the next year. It is planning to secure a production ability of 32GWh per year by investing two trillion won by 2023.

China drastically increases oil supply to N. Korea
China has resumed supply of fertilizers and food to North Korea and drastically increased oil shipment to the country following Chairman Kim Jong Un’s visit to Beijing last month. This was recently reported by Korean-language daily Chosun Ilbo and other Korean media published in Seoul. According to the reports, the move increased fears that China can effectively undermine the international sanctions against North Korea, doing damage to the efforts of the Republic of Korea (south), the United States and other members of the United Nations friendly to the ROK.
KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
Two Koreas to Conduct Joint Field Inspections on N. Korean Railways
South and North Korea have agreed to conduct joint on-site inspections on railway sections in the North beginning on Friday. Seoul’s Unification Ministry said on Thursday that the North had responded through the communication channel at the truce village of Panmunjeom to the South’s proposals regarding the schedules of the joint inspections.

S. Korea's Defense Minister Vows Thorough Military Reform
South Korea's defense chief has vowed to push for widespread military reforms following the armed forces' alleged political intervention under the previous Park Geun-hye administration. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony for the new Navy Chief of Staff on Thursday, Song Young-moo said the military will correct its past wrongdoings and improve the law and institutions so it would not be swept away by ideology and politics again.

Over 130-thousand Public Non-regular Workers Awarded Regular Contracts
The Ministry of Employment and Labor says that 133-thousand non-regular workers at public organizations have been converted into regular employees over the past year under the government’s initiative to strengthen job security at workplaces. The ministry released a casebook of job-status conversions in the public sector on Thursday. The figure is slightly higher than the ministry’s goal of 132-thousand by the first half of this year.
Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
President Moon to receive first report from spy agency
President Moon Jae-in was set to receive a report from the National Intelligence Service (NIS) on Friday, his office Cheong Wa Dae said. The president will be briefed on ongoing programs of the state spy agency, including its efforts to correct its own past wrongdoings, according to Cheong Wa Dae officials. The location of the report has not been disclosed. The briefing will mark the first official report from the NIS since Moon took office in May 2017 though Cheong Wa Dae, especially the National Security Office (NSO), has been working closely with the spy agency to engage with North Korea.

U.S. spy chief casts doubt on N.K. denuclearization in 1 year
North Korea could "technically" dismantle its nuclear weapons program in a year, but that is unlikely to happen, the U.S. intelligence chief said Thursday. U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, Reuters said, as negotiations on North Korea's denuclearization have reportedly been slow-moving. "It's technically possible but probably not going to happen," Coats was quoted as saying in response to a question about U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton's suggestion of a one-year timeframe.

Over half of office employees work on weekends: poll
More than half of salaried employees in South Korea work on the weekend despite the country's push to help workers strike a balance between work and their personal lives, a poll showed Friday. According to the survey of 2,004 office employees by job search portal operator JobKorea Corp., 53.8 percent of respondents said they either go to work in the weekend often due to a heavy workload or work in business sectors subject to weekend work.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Mechanical defect may be to blame for marine chopper crash: experts
Tuesday’s Marine chopper crash might have been caused by mechanical defects in the latest deployed helicopter, military officials and experts said, as investigation into the fatal accident that killed five Marines and injured one continues. The MUH-1 Marineone crashed at a Marine base in the southeastern city of Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, killing five of the six Marines aboard and injuring the other. The helicopter caught fire after plunging to the landing strip from about 10 meters in the air.

FM does not rule out trilateral summit at UN Assembly in September
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha did not rule out the possibility of a trilateral summit among leaders of the two Koreas and the US at the United Nations General Assembly in September. “It is hard to predict and we are not yet specifically consulting on it, but we cannot rule out the possibility,” Kang told reporters during her first visit to London since she took office in June last year. The top diplomat was in London from Tuesday to Thursday to meet her British counterpart before flying to New York to meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Principal found dead after teacher revealed raping disabled students
A principal of a special school for disabled students in Gangwon Province was found dead Thursday morning, days after the revelation that one of the teachers had sexually harassed and raped students with mental disabilities over several years. According to police, an apartment security guard found the 68-year-old principal lying dead in a flower bed in front of the apartment building, and reported it to police at 4:55 a.m.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Modern slavery most prevalent in North Korea
North Korea and Eritrea have the world's highest rates of modern slavery, said a global survey on Thursday that highlighted how conflict and government repression are the main drivers of a crime estimated to affect more than 40 million people worldwide. The Central African nation of Burundi also has a high prevalence of slavery, according to the 2018 Global Slavery Index published by the human rights group Walk Free Foundation.

Housing prices in Korea at a crossroads
Jo Bong-ok, a 40-something housewife with one child of elementary school age, sighs after receiving news that her efforts to buy a new apartment in western Seoul have failed. She has tried to buy a new apartment in Seoul five times so far, but the competition has been intense. "I am increasingly worried that I can't own my own home in Seoul given rising prices," Jo says. "This time might be the last chance for me to buy a home, although the prices are still burdensome for me to cover, as there are no signs of a let-up in soaring property prices."

Expansionary fiscal policies draw criticism
The government acknowledged Wednesday that the economy is in poor condition, lowering its economic growth outlook for this year as well as next. Economists, however, say even its 2.9 percent growth target could be hard to attain if it continues sticking to fiscal injections while ignoring fundamental problems such as tough regulations. The government suggested that the economy would grow 2.9 percent this year, down a 0.1 percentage point from its previous estimate. It gave up the 3 percent growth target that it long has been obsessed with, but it is still rosier than assessments from private think tanks.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Trump Plans Military Parade Despite Complaining About Cost
U.S. President Donald Trump plans a massive military parade in Washington on Nov. 10 that is likely to cost US$12 million, roughly the amount saved by canceling joint drills with South Korea, CNN reported Wednesday. CNN quoted a Pentagon official as calling the amount "a planning figure," adding that "cost estimates could still change as planning develops."

Court Orders State to Compensate Ferry Disaster Victims
The Seoul Central District Court has ordered the state and ship operator to pay W72.3 billion in compensation to the victims of the April 2014 ferry disaster (US$1=W1,138). Victims' families filed a lawsuit against the shipping company, Chonghaejin Marine, and the government for failing to abide by safety regulations and botching the rescue operation. They sought W1 billion in compensation per victim.

Die-Hard Fans Demand Park's Release on Parole
More than 1,000 die-hard supporters of disgraced ex-President Park Geun-hye have petitioned an appeals court to parole or release her. Park faces an appeal brought by prosecutors against her 24-year sentence for corruption and abuse of office, which they consider too lenient. She is separately on trial on more corruption charges. The petitions were initiated by a group of die-hard supporters who run a YouTube channel called "Falsehood and Truth" where they peddle conspiracy theories.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
South Korean intellectuals question Moon administration’s stance on social and economic reforms
A statement issued by South Korean intellectuals on July 18 expresses concern about the Moon Jae-in administration “abandoning” social and economic reforms and urges it to adopt aggressive reform policies. The Intellectuals’ Declaration Network held a press conference that morning at the Giraffe Castle public space on the Gyeongui railway line in Seoul’s Mapo district to issue the document, titled “Intellectuals’ Statement to Urge Bold Social and Economic Reforms from the Moon Jae-in Administration.”

Government economic projections for 2018 looking grim
As recently as late 2017, the South Korean government was predicting a 2018 growth rate of 3 percent for the South Korean economy. Its decision on July 18 to lower that prediction to 2.9 percent shows its awareness of the serious situation the economy has recently been facing. In particular, it expects the current hiring slump to continue into the second half of the year, drastically lowering its new employment projections for this year from 320,000 to 180,000. Observers are saying the developments make a mockery of the government’s previous assessment of the economy, with its focus on “eight straight months of recovery.”

Shinil Group’s claim of discovering Russian warship comes under question
The Shinil Group’s announcement on July 17 that it had located the Dmitrii Donskoi, a Russian cruiser that went down 113 years ago, just two days before created a sensation, with the stock price of Jeil Steel (in which the Shinil Group holds a majority share) soaring and setting a new record. But the next day it turned out that the Dmitrii Donskoi was not a new discovery by the Shinil Group but had actually been found fifteen years before by the government-funded Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST), which had also attempted to raise the wreck. KIOST furthermore argued that the Shinil Group had located the Donskoi through the unauthorized use of location information that belonged to the institute, which raises questions about the credibility of the Shinil Group’s assertion that it is “the first to discover the Dmitrii Donskoi and the only proven right holder.”
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Trump’s siding with Putin sparks controversy
U.S. President Donald Trump’s comment of the “Third World War,” ignoring NATO’s mutual defense policy and siding with Russia, has once again sparked backlash among NATO countries. In an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Wednesday, Carlson said, “NATO is obliged to mutually defend each other when a member country is attacked. Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from an attack?” "I understand what you're saying. I've asked the same question,” answered Trump, adding that U.S. defense of NATO may result in a third world war. His comment undermines Montenegro, which joined NATO last year and provoked Russia, and is viewed as a gesture to side with Russia instead of its allies.

President Moon makes a field visit for regulation reforms
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has kicked off the second part of his innovation growth policy by making a field visit for the first time three weeks after canceling the regulation reforms inspection meeting last month. “Innovative technologies need to be utilized to save the lives of patients and help them recover in points of care,” said President Moon during his visit to Health Care Innovation Park in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, on Thursday. “The starting point will be to get rid of old practices and institutions and eradicate unnecessary medical regulations.”

Hyundai develops world’s first artificial intelligence auto diagnosis system
Hyundai Motor Co. claims to have become the world’s first automaker to develop technology for using artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning to determine and diagnose vehicle malfunctions. Hyundai plans to apply the system to all of its service centers across Korea, allowing domestic consumers to witness AI scanning vehicles for malfunctions.
JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
Court blames gov’t for Sewol deaths
The Seoul Central District Court ruled Thursday that both the government and the company that operated the Sewol ferry, which sunk four years ago, killing 304 passengers and crew, are liable for the deaths and should pay each victim’s family compensation of some 660 million won ($579,000) on average. “The court sees fault in the Chonghaejin Marine Company [the ferry’s operator], the Korean government and the maritime police,” the Seoul Central District Court said in a statement on Thursday.

FSS warns public about dubious sunken gold
The nation’s financial watchdog warned investors on Thursday to be wary of stocks related to Shinil Group, a local company that claimed to have found a Russian warship that sank 113 years ago, rumored to be stuffed with gold and other treasures. The little-known group that claims to be in the shipping, bio and construction businesses announced earlier this week that its team discovered the wreck of the Dmitri Donskoi off the coast of Ulleung Island, adding that the ship could hold gold worth around 150 trillion won ($131.8 billion).

Inter-Korean railway could enhance logistics
A northern transport network connecting the Korean peninsula with China, Russia and Europe will enhance the competitiveness of Korea’s logistics industry, according to the Korea International Trade Association, a local business lobbying group, on Thursday. The northern transport network, or corridor, refers to a hypothetical grand transport route that would connect the Trans-Korean Railway with railways across China, Mongolia and Siberia as well as northern sea routes. The network would enable goods from Korea to be delivered directly to Europe by both land and sea.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
323 Progressive Intellectuals, "Moon Jae-in Government, Slow to Strengthen Property Taxes and to Reform the Chaebol"
On July 18, 323 liberal intellectuals released a statement (published on the second page of the Kyunghyang Shinmun, July 17th edition) expressing their concerns that the Moon Jae-in government has abandoned socio-economic reforms and urging the government to aggressively implement reform policies. This day, the Intellectual Declaration Network held a press conference at Girin Castle, a public space on the Gyeongeuiseon Line in Mapo-gu, Seoul and released a statement by intellectuals calling for bold socio-economic reforms by the Moon Jae-in government. The network criticized the government's recent retreat in tax reforms and chaebol reforms, such as the controversy of the higher minimum wage and the comprehensive real estate tax.

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).
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
SK group joins hands with Chinese school for battery and microchip research
South Korea's third-largest conglomerate, SK Group, joined hands with Tsinghua University, a top Chinese school known for research in engineering and computer science, for joint research in next-generation microchips and car batteries. In a recent ceremony in Beijing, SK and Tsinghua signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on joint research, company officials said, adding the event was supervised by group vice chairman Chey Jae-won in charge of SK's battery business.

LG's IT wing releases service robot management platform
LG CNS, an information technology wing of South Korea's LG Group, released a robot management platform which connects and manages service robots at airports, shopping malls or logistics centers. LG CNS said Thursday that its "OROT" robot management platform enables a service operator to check the status of robots and manage their schedules. "With our new management platform, we will broaden the use of service robots in the logistics and service sectors," the company said in a statement.

KEB Hana Bank joins campaign to introduce paperless window service
KEB Hana Bank, a leading commercial bank in South Korea, joined a campaign for paperless banking by using tablet PCS at the widow of all branches to remove paper statements in account management by the end of August. The paperless window service has spread rapidly among South Korean commercial banks to make transactions easier and reduce cost. Customers are happier because there are fewer forms to fill and services are delivered much faster.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
KB Financial logs record-high net profit in H1
South Korea’s KB Financial Group Inc., which claimed the No. 1 title last year, reported a drop in net profit against the previous quarter’s strong numbers reflecting the bulky sale of the bank headquarters but kept up strong revenue and best-ever bottom-line figure for the full first six-month period. The holding company in a regulatory filing on Thursday said its net profit in the second quarter slipped 2.2 percent on quarter and 5.8 percent on year to 946.8 billion won ($833.2 million). Operating profit gained 8 percent on quarter and 18.6 percent on year to 1.32 trillion won. Revenue was 11.5 trillion won, expanding 10.4 percent on quarter and 43 percent on year.

Union of Hyundai Heavy Industries launches strike, adding to the shipyard woes
Unionized workers of South Korea’s largest shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. went on a general strike on Thursday due to conflict in bargaining over next year’s wage and other labor terms, aggravating woes for the management struggling with lack of workload to sustain operation and redundant work force after shutdown of idle docks. Workers of the 12,000-strong union and temporary workers’ union have joined the strike starting Thursday and will keep up walkout until Tuesday next week. It is the shipyard’s first full-scale strike this year.

Hyundai Glovis to ship Hyundai Motor car parts via Trans-Siberian rail to Russia
Hyundai Glovis Co., a logistics unit of South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group, is looking to add the Trans-Siberian Railway (TSR) to its delivery route for knockdown parts from Busan in Korea to a Hyundai Motor factory in St. Petersburg, Russia. During a discussion on Korea’s logistics strategy organized by the Presidential Committee on Northern Economic Cooperation on Thursday, Koo Hyung-joon, head of Hyundai Glovis’ logistics business, said that the company is building a more stable delivery system with binary options of ocean ships and TSR trains.
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.

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