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Headlines, July 24, 2018

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Ambassador and Mrs. Azzam of Lebanon (second and sixth from right, respectively) pose with former Korean ambassadors, Korean troop leaders and a media representative (Publisher Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media, sixth from left) at a luncheon the Azzams hosted at their residence in Seoul on July 23, 2018.

Former Korean envoys, peace-keeping troop leaders treated to friendly luncheon

Amb. Azzam reminds predecessor winning the heart of local Koreans

Ambassador Antoine Azzam of Lebanon in Seoul said, “Economically, due to Lebanese partnerships with Korean companies, we must double our efforts to bring Lebanon to Korea, through import of Lebanese, wines, quality canned foods and olive oil.” Speaking with Korean guests at his residence at a luncheon he hosted on July 23, 2018, Ambassador Azzam said, “On the cultural and educational fronts, Korea is offering scholarships to Lebanese students and spreading its wonderful culture in Lebanon through its embassy in Beirut and the active role of the ROK Army battalion in Southern Lebanon.” (See excerpts from the speech at the end of this article.) The luncheon was attended mostly by former Korean ambassadors in Lebanon, leaders of the peace-keeping Korean Army troops in Lebanon and a media representative (Publisher Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media).

(For further details, visit: http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=7239)

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.
N. Korea begins dismantling missile engine test site: 38 North
North Korea has begun to dismantle a missile engine testing site in line with a promise made by its leader, Kim Jong-un, at his historic summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, a website monitoring the regime said Monday. According to 38 North, new satellite imagery from July 20 shows key facilities being dismantled at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, the country's main such location since 2012. The facilities include a rail-mounted processing building, which is used to assemble space launch vehicles before they are moved to the launch pad. Also being dismantled is a rocket engine test stand that has been used to build liquid-fuel engines for ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles, the article said.

U.S. official to visit Seoul for consultations on N. Korea
A U.S. State Department official in charge of Korea affairs will travel to South Korea this week for discussions on North Korea and pending alliance issues, a government official here said Tuesday. Mark Lambert, the department's Korea desk director and acting deputy assistant secretary, plans to arrive in Seoul on Wednesday and meet foreign ministry officials. They include Kim Tae-jin, head of the North American affair bureau, and Jeong Yeon-doo, director general for the North Korean nuclear issue.

Samsung to unveil notebook with Intel's new memory module
South Korean tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co. said Tuesday it will roll out a new notebook computer equipped with Intel's hyper-fast memory module next month. The Samsung Notebook 5, slated to be unveiled in South Korea and China at the end of August, will have a basic 8GB DDR4 memory module and be additionally equipped with Intel's 16GB Optane memory module. Optane is Intel's trademarked term for a new class of extremely fast memory modules, which makes the speed of reading hard disk drives (HDD) faster by serving as a cache that's capable of storing and utilizing often-used data.
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KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
DSC Document Contains Steps to Gain US Recognition for Martial Law Invocation
A controversial military document has been found to contain detailed procedures for the possible declaration of martial law, including diplomatic steps to gain recognition for the move from the United States. The Defense Ministry on Monday submitted to the National Assembly's defense committee a 67-page report that the Defense Security Command(DSC) drew up early last year to explore the possibility of invoking martial law in the event candlelight protests against then-President Park Geun-hye caused unrest.

Two Koreas to Inspect Railway on Gyeongui Line
South and North Korea on Tuesday will inspect a section of the railway along the North's west coast as part of measures to reconnect inter-Korean railways. A South Korean delegation of 15 officials led by Hwang Sung-gyu, a senior transport ministry official, will cross into the North on Tuesday morning using the western border route. The delegates will join seven North Korean officials for the joint checkup.

Summer Holiday Highway Traffic to Peak on Aug. 3
The government has forecast that highway traffic for this year's summer holidays will peak on August third as more than five million vehicles are likely to hit the road. According to a survey released by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Tuesday, highway traffic is forecast to peak at five-point-one million cars next Friday, followed by about four-point-eight million vehicles the next day.
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Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
S. Korea seeks to withdraw guard post forces from DMZ on 'trial' basis
South Korea's defense ministry said Tuesday that it is pushing for a plan to withdraw forces and their equipment from border guard posts "on a trial basis" in line with the April inter-Korean summit agreement to halt all hostile acts and reduce tensions. In a policy briefing to the National Assembly's defense committee, the ministry also said that it would consider the "full-scale pullout" in sync with a cross-border survey of historical remains and ecological features within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas. After their summit at the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to transform the DMZ into a "peace zone in a genuine sense."

S. Korean vice minister to attend religious freedom forum in Washington D.C.
South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun plans to attend a forum on religious freedom hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week, his ministry said Tuesday. The Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom session will take place in Washington D.C. on Wednesday and Thursday to help promote religious freedom around the world. During his stay there through Saturday, Cho will meet with senior U.S. government officials and lawmakers.

Moon urges strict enforcement of public safety measures
President Moon Jae-in called for thorough implementation of public safety measures Tuesday. The call came as a four-year-old girl was found dead in her kindergarten bus after accidentally being left there by her teachers. "It is so frustrating to see such tragedies being repeated when they could have been prevented with just a little more attention from the adults," the president said in a cabinet meeting held at his office Cheong Wa Dae.
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The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
English kindergartens more expensive than ordinary college in Korea
The average monthly tuition fees for “English language-oriented” kindergartens is around 1 million won ($900) which is double the amount of college tuition fees in the nation, according to experts. The average yearly tuition fee for English kindergartens is around 12.2 million won, which is 6.4 times the tuition fee of a private kindergarten of 1.89 million won and twice as much as an annual college tuition fee of 6.7 million won.

Taxi driver arrested for ripping off inbound tourists
A jumbo taxi driver was arrested by the Incheon tourist police Tuesday after a number of foreign visitors reported being scammed out of millions in cab fare. The 61-year-old suspect is accused of charging six customers higher out-of-town rates going from Incheon Airport to Seoul’s Gangnam area over the course of six months. The suspect reportedly stole a total of 7.04 million won ($6,200) between June 2017 and January 2018.

Korean Air terrorist faces libel suit
Families of the victims of the 1987 terror attack orchestrated by North Korea filed a lawsuit against Kim Hyon-hui, who was convicted of the attack, on Monday for libel and obstruction of business, nearly three decades after the incident took place. The bombing of Korean Air Flight 858 shocked the nation, as the flight exploded mid-air over Myanmar on its way from Baghdad, Iraq, to Seoul, killing all 115 passengers and crew aboard, who were mostly South Koreans.
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The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Iconic politician's death sends shockwaves through nation
Political parties and Cheong Wa Dae expressed shock Monday over the suicide of the Justice Party floor leader Rep. Roh Hoe-chan, and offered their condolences to his family. Roh was being investigated for allegedly receiving illegal political funds. The minor opposition party said its floor leader's death was "tragic." "There is no way but to feel tragic," said spokesman Choi Suk in an emergency briefing Monday. Party members stayed silent for many hours after Roh's death declining to answer any questions.

Military reform faces setback amid mounting scandal
Defense Minister Song Young-moo's pledge to stamp out deeply-rooted military corruption is rapidly losing steam amid a mounting scandal over the Defense Security Command's (DSC) plan to declare martial law last year. Song's ambitious drive, better known as "Defense Reform 2.0," outlines drastic reforms in five areas, including structure, management, culture and the defense industry. But the snowballing controversy is casting a gloomy outlook for him to turn into reality the grand blueprint which he thinks will make the nation's armed forces more transparent and efficient.

Hottest morning in 111 years gripped Korea: data
Drastic hot weather is roasting the entire nation this summer, as the country had its hottest morning in 111 years, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), Monday. Plus, as the deadly heat wave is forecast to continue, this year may go down as the hottest summer on record, replacing 1994 when about 3,000 people died of heat or heat-related causes. According to the KMA, Monday's morning temperature in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, registered 31 degrees Celsius, marking the highest since modern meteorological observation began in 1907.
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Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Korean Tech Giants in Trouble as Chip Prices Plunge
Memory chip prices are plunging, casting dark clouds over the sole mainstay propping up the growth of Korea's biggest businesses. Chinese rivals are poised to start production of memory chips soon, potentially pushing prices down even further. According to market researcher DRAMeXchange, the spot price of DDR4 8Gb DRAM stands at US$7.90, down 17 percent from January this year. Prices fell below $8 for the first time last week.

Korea Delivers Aid, Sympathy to Flood-Hit Japan
Korean Ambassador to Japan Lee Su-hoon met with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono on Monday to offer condolences over the loss of life due to severe flooding in western Japan. Lee also handed over US$1 million worth of aid from the Korean government (US$1=W1,134). The flooding in Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures is the worst to hit Japan in 36 years. It has killed 219 people and affected more than 4,000 since early this month. Lee wished the country a speedy recovery.

U.S. Official to Find out if S.Korea Violates N.Korea Sanctions
A senior U.S. State Department official will visit Seoul soon to get a better grasp of inter-Korean economic cooperation. Mark Lambert, a special representative for North Korean policy, is expected to meet executives of South Korean businesses that have been involved in cross-border projects. They will include firms that had workshops in the joint Kaesong Industrial Complex, Hyundai Asan, which used to run package tours to Mt. Kumgang in North Korea, as well as KORAIL and KT.
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HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
President Moon once again moves to mediate between North Korea and US
With North Korea and the US’s denuclearization negotiations at a deadlock, South Korean President Moon Jae-in is once again moving to serve as a mediator. His actions appear aimed at speeding up the negotiations and building momentum while seeking a point of compromise between the two sides. On July 20, Moon dispatched Blue House National Security Council Director Chung Eui-yong to Washington, D.C. This came a little over two months after Chung’s previous visit to the American capital on May 4. On July 21, Chung met his American counterpart, White House National Security Advisor John Bolton, and shared information about the current state of the North Korea-US denuclearization negotiations and plans for the future.

Samsung’s acceptance of offer by arbitration committee likely influenced by vice chairman’s upcoming trial
Samsung Electronics’ decision to accept the “final” proposal by the arbitration committee appears to have been substantially influenced by Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong’s upcoming trial at the Supreme Court on charge of bribery. According to this view, Lee accepted a solution to the issue of the leukemia cases at the company’s semiconductor factories – a matter that had gone unsolved for ten years – as a way to boost his social credit.

Samsung leukemia and KTX cases finally nearing a close after more than 10 years
“In ten years, even landscapes can change,” a Korean saying goes – and now some major labor-related issues are finally approaching their resolution after a decade without progress. One hundred eighty KTX crew members dismissed 12 years ago are returning to the job as regular workers, and an agreement on an arbitration plan for the conflict over leukemia cases among Samsung Electronics workers looks imminent, whereas an apology and compensation seemed unlikely ten years ago.
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The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
The Justice Party falls into panic after Roh Hoe-chan’s death
With her lips shut tight, she seemed continuously choking back her tears. Lee Jeong-mi, leader of the Justice Party, did not utter a word, leaving the National Assembly to pay a visit to a mourning altar for Roh Hoe-chan, floor leader of the party who was found dead Monday, set up at Yonsei University’s Severance Hospital in central Seoul. The sudden death of Roh sent the Justice Party into a state of panic. “What on earth has happened,” Chu Hye-sun, the party’s spokesperson, was choked up and could not go on in a phone conversation with a reporter. At the mourning altar, the party’s lawmaker Yoon So-ha was seen with her shoulders drooping, and other lawmakers also looked pale, not saying much.

Additional inter-Korean industrial complexes should be developed,’ says LH
Once inter-Korean relations improve, South Korea should embark on establishing additional industrial complexes such as the one in Kaesong, according to a recent report published by a research institute under the country’s public enterprise. As a candidate for another industrial complex, the report mentioned North Korea’s capital Pyongyang; Nampo, a seaport in South Pyongan Province; Sinuiju, a city close to China; and Rason, the location of a special economic zone. The report even considered a measure to build a “South Korean-style new town” in the North after forming an organization to oversee the land development of the two Koreas once inter-Korean relations reach the level of a “union.”

Korea saw the hottest-ever morning Monday in 111 years
It was the hottest-ever morning on Monday, which falls on Daeseo on the lunar calendar. The morning low in Gangneung hit a record high of 31 degrees Celsius in 111 years since data were first documented in Korea. The previous record was 30.9 degrees Celsius on Aug. 8, 2013. On the same day, Seoul saw the highest-ever morning low of 29.2 degrees Celsius. Previously, the highest morning low was 28.8 degrees Celsius on Aug. 15, 1994. Other parts of the country also suffered the hottest-ever morning: 28.2 degrees Celsius in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province; 26.4 degrees Celsius in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province; and 29.3 degrees Celsius in Uljin County, North Gyeongsang Province.
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JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
Samsung gets closer to deal over workers who died
An 11-year dispute between Samsung Electronics and the relatives of workers who died of diseases, including leukemia, allegedly caused by toxic chemicals at the company’s semiconductor and display factories is finally coming to an end. Samsung and families who have been demanding compensation from the tech giant vowed on Sunday they would “unconditionally” accept a set of proposals from an independent arbitration committee to resolve the conflict.

President may tap opposition for cabinet seat
President Moon Jae-in plans to nominate opposition figures to his cabinet to encourage multiparty support for his agenda, the president’s spokesman said on Monday. The power-sharing proposal may apply to the administration’s nomination of a new agriculture minister this week, or to a major cabinet reshuffle that may happen as early as next month. Kim Eui-kyeom, the Blue House spokesman, said in a press briefing on Monday that the president is “willing to form a ‘collaborative cabinet’ which includes [opposition] figures deemed appropriate,” adding that the request was first broached by lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Party (DP) in the interest of getting legislative support from the opposition.

SsangYong expands to Australia
SsangYong Motor will establish its first overseas sales unit in Australia in November to take advantage of rising demand for SUVs there, the carmaker said Monday. The establishment of its first overseas sales unit will serve as a stepping stone for SsangYong Motor to further fortify its global sales, the carmaker said. SsangYong Motor, the Korean unit of Indian auto giant Mahindra & Mahindra, sold its cars in other countries before through partnerships with local dealerships. It has never operated its own sales unit outside of Korea before.
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The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Samsung Accepts Arbitration on “Semiconductor Leukemia”: An End to a Decade Long Dispute
Samsung Electronics has decided to unconditionally accept the proposal of the arbitration committee to resolve the disputes concerning cases of leukemia caused in the process of manufacturing the company's semiconductors. Banolim, a group advocating the health and rights of workers in the semiconductor production line, also decided to accept the committee's solution, so the conflict between the two parties, which had lasted for over a decade, is likely to end at last. According to Samsung Electronics on July 22, the company delivered their decision to accept the public proposal recently released by the arbitration committee (chaired by Kim Ji-hyeon, a former Supreme Court justice) for the resolution of issues concerning diseases, such as leukemia, at semiconductor plants, the previous day. This day, Banolim also officially delivered their consent of the arbitration committee's proposal.

Number of Self-employed People Increased by 1 Million in 4 Years, Despite Already "Saturated" Market
The number of self-employed business owners in our economy had already reached "saturation" levels, yet the figure continued to increase by 320,000 last year compared to the previous year. Compared to four years ago, the number increased by nearly a million. Competition is likely to have become that much more intense and business that much more difficult. As the government encouraged people to register property-leasing businesses, the increase in real estate was particularly big. People who opened up general retailers, such as restaurants, convenience stores, and online shopping malls, and culture and entertainment-related businesses also increased by more than 10,000 in each category.

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.
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AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Pro-union opposition lawmaker commits suicide in opinion rigging scandal
Roh Hoe-chan, a senior progress party lawmaker known for pro-union activities, committed suicide Monday after he jumped off an apartment building, becoming the latest victim of an online opinion rigging scandal. The 61-year-old floor leader of the Justice Party, a splinter opposition group, was found dead by a security guard on the ground of an apartment building in Seoul. On the stairs of the building's 17th and 18th floors, police found Roh's jacket, a wallet, his ID card and a suicide note.

Exports of S Korean petroleum products hit record high in first half
Helped by an oil price increase, exports of South Korean petroleum products rose 3.5 percent on-year to a record high of 236.94 million barrels in the first half of this year, according to data released by an association of refiners on Tuesday. The Korea Petroleum Association said that the first-half shipment of South Korean petroleum products stood at $18.76 billion, up 32.6 percent from a year earlier.

S. Korean telecom company introduces first commercialized blockchain network
South Korea's top telecom company, KT, introduced "Network Blockchain", a blockchain system applied to a commercialized telecom network, claiming it is the world's first commercialized blockchain network. The blockchain is a decentralized service which shares replicated and synchronized data geographically spread across multiple servers or personal computers operated by individuals, countries or organizations. Each virtual ledger works as a verification tool, making it almost impossible to hack or manipulate.
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Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Samsung BioLogics swings to profit in Q2
South Korea’s Samsung BioLogics Co., fighting local authorities against charges of illicit window-dressing, delivered a relief for investors by swinging into profit in the second quarter thanks to improved productivity and output after the opening of its second plant, hitherto the single largest in the world. The contract drug manufacturer under Samsung Group reported in a regulatory filing on Monday an operating profit of 23.7 billion won (20.9 million) in the April-June period, reversing from a loss of 8.5 billion won. Net loss narrowed to 9.6 billion won from 22.1 billion won a year ago. Sales jumped 98.4 percent on year to 125.4 billion won.

Samyang Biopharm geared to establish biotech entity in Boston
Korea’s Samyang Biopharmaceutical Corp. said on Monday it is prepping to establish an overseas entity in Boston, Massachusetts to discover promising early-stage therapeutic molecules by leveraging its network with global companies and research labs there. Boston is home to global biotech firms, academic institutes and research centers. In the vicinity of Kendall Square, where Samyang’s U.S. entity will be located, and close to the cluster of research centers run by household name drugmakers such as Novartis, Pfizer, Biogen and Takeda Pharmaceutical around Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Jin Air requests public hearing on govt decision on license cancellation
South Korea’s Jin Air Co., a budget carrier under Korean Air Lines, asked the country’s transport ministry to hold the upcoming hearing next Monday deliberating whether to cancel flight permit for its violation of aviation rules publicly, given the repercussions on the employees, partner companies, and shareholders. Jin Air in a statement on Monday said it filed the request with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport for a public hearing on Monday. Under the administrative law, a hearing can be held publicly if necessary and upon demand from concerning parties. But the government may withhold the grant if it deems interests of the public and the third party can be hurt.
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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 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
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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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