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Headlines, July 25, 2018

Wednesday, July 25, 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.
Trump hails reported dismantling of N.K. missile test site
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday welcomed reports that North Korea has begun to dismantle a key missile testing site in line with a pledge North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made at their historic summit last month. Trump was speaking to Monday's report from 38 North, a U.S. website specializing in North Korea analysis, which cited last week's satellite imagery as showing the dismantlement of facilities at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station.

Hundreds missing in dam collapse in Laos, Korean builder joining rescue operations
Hundreds have gone missing after a dam collapsed in southeast Laos on Monday, affecting 1,300 households and displacing around 6,600 people, the Laotian news agency KPL reported Tuesday. According to the report, one of the auxiliary dams collapsed around 8 p.m. Monday at the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower plant in San Sai district of Attapeu province, flooding six nearby villages. A number of people are dead and hundreds are reported missing.

Koreas exchange results of search for separated families ahead of reunions
South and North Korea exchanged the results of their weekslong search for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War Wednesday ahead of the upcoming reunion event, the unification ministry said. The two Koreas are set to hold temporary family reunions from Aug. 20-26 at the Mount Kumgang resort on the North's east coast. It is a follow-up on the pledge made at the summit between their leaders in April to work together in addressing humanitarian issues.
KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
Trump Welcomes Reported Dismantling of N. Korea Missile Test Site
U.S. President Donald Trump has welcomed reports that North Korea has begun to dismantle a key missile testing site in line with an agreement the regime’s leader Kim Jong-un made at their historic summit last month. U.S. Web site 38 North reported on Monday that commercial satellite imagery from last week shows facilities being dismantled at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in North Pyongan Province.

Two Koreas to Share Outcome of Family Member Search
South and North Korea on Wednesday will exchange documents containing the results of a search for surviving family members separated by the Korean War in preparation for family reunions next month. The Red Cross officials of the two Koreas will exchange the documents with the outcome of the search on each side at the truce village of Panmunjeom.

S. Korea's Consumer Sentiment Dips to 14-Month Low in July
South Korea's consumer confidence dropped to a 14-month low in July due to an intensifying trade dispute between the U.S. and China. According to the survey by the Bank of Korea(BOK) on Wednesday, the composite consumer sentiment index(CCSI) for this month stood at 101, down four-point-five points from the previous month. That's the lowest level since April last year, when it marked 100-point-eight and also represents the sharpest on-month drop in 20 months since November 2016.
Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
N.K. leader Kim inspects military food production factory
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has visited a military food production plant in what appears to be intended to boost the morale of soldiers, according to the North's state media Wednesday. The Korean Central News Agency said that Kim inspected "Factory No. 525 of the Korean People's Army" and looked around various facilities, including the fermented soybean liquid spore production process. "He said that it should direct its efforts to producing in a larger quantity various condiments of good taste to meet the demand of the science of nutrition and thus substantially contribute to improving the diet of the servicepersons," the KCNA said in English.

Number of foreign tourists to S. Korea soars 30 pct in June
The number of foreign tourists to South Korea spiked nearly 30 percent in June from a year earlier on eased inter-Korean tensions and more visitors from China, a state tourism agency said Wednesday. A total of 1.28 million foreigners visited South Korea last month, up 29.3 percent from the same month a year ago, according to the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO). The number of Chinese tourists shot up 49 percent on-year in June due to a base effect. In March last year, China banned group tours to South Korea in retaliation for Seoul's deployment of a U.S. missile shield. The ban was lifted later that year.

LG Chem Q2 net profit down 16.4 pct on won's strength
LG Chem Ltd., South Korea's biggest chemical company by sales, said Tuesday that its second-quarter net profit fell 16.4 percent from a year earlier due to the strength of the won and a hike in oil prices. Net profit reached 493.3 billion won (US$434 million) in the April-June period, compared with 590 billion won a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing. LG Chem said its operating income fell 3.2 percent on-year to 703.2 billion won, but sales jumped 10.5 percent to a quarterly record of 7.05 trillion won over the cited period.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
S. Korea pushes for withdrawal of guard posts from DMZThe Defense Ministry said Tuesday it will seek to withdraw troops and equipment from guard posts inside the Demilitarized Zone, pledging to transform the heavily fortified area into a symbol of peace between the two Koreas. In a briefing to lawmakers, the Ministry of National Defense said the withdrawal plan would be sought “on a trial basis” until the conditions are in place for a complete withdrawal, following environmental and historical research on the cross-border region.

Dismantlement of NK missile test site to have ‘positive effect’ on denuclearization: Cheong Wa Dae
Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday said it believes North Korea’s reported decision to dismantle a key nuclear test site will have a “good effect” on denuclearization, seeing it as a step forward amid the perceived lack of progress in US-North Korea talks. Pyongyang began dismantling key facilities at its Sohae satellite launching station, including a rocket engine test stand and a rail-mounted processing building, where space launch vehicles were assembled before being transferred to the launch pad, according to a report by 38 North, a US-based North Korea-monitoring website. The site added that the move represents a “significant confidence building measure on the part of North Korea,” as the facilities are believed to have played a significant role in development of Pyongyang’s intercontinental ballistic missile program.

Special counsel to probe Druking’s part in circumstances of lawmaker’s death
The independent counsel investigating the “Druking” scandal is to focus on shedding light on the suspects’ wrongdoings, including whether they threatened the late Rep. Roh Heo-chan. Roh, a member of the minor Justice Party, died by suicide Monday, days after it was alleged he had illegally received political funds from an organization run by Kim Dong-won, the main suspect in the case who is also known as Druking.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Tuesday marks Korea's hottest day since 1907; 40.3C in southern town
Remember July 24, 2018. The Korean Peninsula had its hottest day ever. The midday high in a small town (Shinryoung-myeon) in Yeongcheon, North Gyeongsang Province, reached 40.3C (at 3:27 p.m.), melting down the previous record of 40C set in Daegu on Aug. 1, 1942, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA). The KMA has been collecting weather data since 1907.

Primary textbooks show racial biases
Some textbooks for primary and secondary students contain racial biases at the risk of implanting stereotypes at an early age and perpetuating them for life. This conclusion was made at the July 20-21 Conference for Racial Discrimination in Korean Society, with the participation of 47 NGOs. In the "Guidebook for Moral life" textbook of third graders, international students studying in Korea are depicted as Caucasian, while Hispanics, Southeast Asians, and blacks are immigrant workers.

Details of coup plot come to light
The military set up a comprehensive plan to impose martial law ahead of the Constitutional Court's ruling on Park Geun-hye early last year, according to a document released Tuesday. This plan could have been executed to quell protests and control media and the National Assembly, if the Constitutional Court had rejected Park's impeachment. The document, which the Ministry of National Defense submitted to the National Assembly on Monday night, included an array of plans for the military to take control of the nation by force. They encompass schemes to seek press censorship, emasculation of the Assembly and request for assistance from the U.S. government, according to the document.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
S.Korea to Pull Troops out of DMZ
The Defense Ministry will pull troops and equipment out of guard posts in the demilitarized zone under an agreement the leaders of the two Koreas reached on April 27. In a report to the National Assembly Defense Committee on Tuesday, the ministry said, "The two Koreas agreed to demilitarize the Joint Security Area and turn it into a peace zone. As a first step, we will pull some troops and equipment out of the guard posts on a trial basis before withdrawing all of them."

Mercury Soars Over 40 Degrees
Temperatures in Yeongcheon, North Gyeongsang Province soared to an all-time high of over 40 degrees Celsius on Tuesday. According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, the highest daytime temperature there was measured at 40.3 degrees at 2:33 p.m. by an automatic weather station. Temperatures measured by the device are not treated as official records because there are too many variables.

LG Household's Profit Soars on Premium Cosmetics Sales
LG Household and Health Care posted its highest-ever operating profit in the second quarter of this year. Sales grew 11.1 percent on-year to W1.65 trillion while operating profit rose 15.1 percent to W267.3 billion on the back of growth of its high-end cosmetics lines, the company said on Tuesday (US$1=W1,135). It attributed the growth largely to its focus on marketing premium cosmetics brands such as Whoo and OHUI.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
North Korean media urges Moon administration to ease US resistance to negotiations
During the initial phase of implementing the joint statement that resulted from the North Korea-US summit in Singapore on June 12, the three countries of South Korea, North Korea and the US appear to be playing a three-way game, with each side advocating a different position on the relationship between denuclearization and declaring the end of the Korean War. Both North Korea and the US have reportedly been pushing South Korea officially and unofficially to help them gain the advantage in talks that neither side wants to fail.

South Korean foreign minister clarifies meaning of her remarks during UNSC briefing
Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha said in a briefing of UN Security Council member countries on July 23 that previous remarks she had made about North Korea sanctions were intended to “have exceptions to sanctions recognized when necessary for inter-Korean efforts.” “This is not the stage for lifting [sanctions on North Korea],” she stressed.

Bereaved family members of KAL858 sue Kim Hyon-hui for libel
Korean Air Flight 858 was an international Korean Airlines flight scheduled to fly from Baghdad, Iraq, to Seoul on Nov. 29, 1987. The official story says the plane exploded mid-air when a bomb planted by two North Korean agents detonated, killing everyone on board. One of the agents involved was Kim Hyon-hui. However, there are aspects of the official account of the bombing that bereaved family members of the flight’s victims find questionable.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
N. Korea demands U.S. to guarantee its regime continuity
China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said Tuesday that the Jilin Provincial Discipline Inspection Commission would launch an investigation into vaccine manufacturer Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology, which caused the latest vaccine scandal in the country. However, an account of the Xinjiang News on Weibo, a Chinese platform likened to Twitter, was flooded with widespread anger and distrust since the news broke. It has been additionally revealed that more than 250,000 doses of the mandatory diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT) vaccine manufactured by Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology found defective have been administered to children, and the faulty pertussis vaccine manufactured by another company has been also sold for 140,000 children in the city of Chongqing.

KT unveils the world’s first ‘network blockchain’
KT announced on Tuesday that it would unveil the world’s first network blockchain, which can be used in identity confirmation, roaming, and energy management by applying blockchain to its commercial network. KT has made logging in possible without a separate procedure at individual sites while being connected to the Internet by entering in one’s blockchain ID. This may prevent hacking by internet of things (IoT) devices that use IP addresses and stealing of personal information.

Chinese people expose fury on social media over the vaccine scandal
China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said Tuesday that the Jilin Provincial Discipline Inspection Commission would launch an investigation into vaccine manufacturer Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology, which caused the latest vaccine scandal in the country. However, an account of the Xinjiang News on Weibo, a Chinese platform likened to Twitter, was flooded with widespread anger and distrust since the news broke. It has been additionally revealed that more than 250,000 doses of the mandatory diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT) vaccine manufactured by Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology found defective have been administered to children, and the faulty pertussis vaccine manufactured by another company has been also sold for 140,000 children in the city of Chongqing.
JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
North-South summit offered by Indonesia
Indonesian President Joko Widodo plans to send special envoys to South and North Korea to ask their leaders to attend the opening ceremony of the Asian Games in his nation next month, which could lead to a third summit between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Widodo will send Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to Seoul as a special envoy bearing a letter officially inviting Moon to the opening ceremony over Thursday and Friday, confirmed the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.

Power usage spikes above gov’t projections
Electricity demand in Korea is going through the roof in the midst of a heat wave, raising concerns that supplies may not be sufficient. According to the Korea Power Exchange, electricity use in Korea reached 92.48 million kilowatts as of 5 p.m. Tuesday. The Korea Power Exchange projected that the maximum demand during the peak hour from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday would be about 90.70 million kilowatts, equivalent to a record reached on Monday.

South prepares to benefit from linking railroads
A team of South Korean government officials visited the North on Tuesday to inspect railroads along the west coast, the South’s second on-site inspection of the North Korean railway network. With inter-Korean efforts to link the peninsula’s railways underway, the prospect of an overland route to Europe is raising the hopes of local logistics companies. The South Korean delegation, headed by Hwang Sung-gyu, a senior official at the railway bureau of the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, traveled North on Tuesday to inspect the 15.3-kilometer (9.5-mile) railroad along the Gyeongui Line, which connects Munsan in the border city of Paju, Gyeonggi, to Kaesong in the North. North Korea reportedly sent a team headed by Kim Chang-sik, the vice director of overseas operations in the Ministry of Railways.
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.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
N. Korea takes important first step to dismantle ICBM facilities: expert
In an important first step towards fulfilling its commitment, North Korea has begun dismantling key facilities at its base for intercontinental ballistic missiles and engine testing, according to 38 North, the website of a U.S. research institute. Work on dismantling ICBM facilities appeared to have begun sometime in the past two weeks in the Sohae space center close to the northwestern border with China, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., a US missile expert, said in his analysis published by 38 North.

Hyundai Mobis develops new steering system for autonomous driving
Hyundai Mobis, a parts-making arm of South Korea's Hyundai auto group, has developed a new dual steering system, optimized for autonomous vehicles, that would ensure the safety of drivers by maintaining normal steering under any circumstances. Hyundai Mobis said Wednesday it would mass-produce its new steering system by the end of 2020 for the first time in the world after an actual road test. The dual system judges the failure itself and controls the steering wheel in a sudden situation.

Hyundai Motor ventures into last mile logistics business
Hyundai Motor ventured into the last mile logistics market with strategic investments in two promising start-ups in South Korea and China to develop smart delivery solutions using advanced technology such as autonomous driving. Hyundai said Wednesday that it would invest an undisclosed sum of money into Chinese e-scooter maker Immotor to develop a personal mobility platform targeting the fast-growing Chinese logistics market. Immotor produces foldable electric scooters with modular batteries.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
LG Display sees Q2 loss more than double, cuts OLED capex
South Korea’s LG Display Co. saw its losses sharply deepen in the second quarter on softening in TV panel prices and weak smartphone sales at a time when it has been shifting production focus to more lucrative organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels. The world’s largest display maker said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday its operating loss for the April-June period was 228.1 billion won ($202 million), deteriorating from the 98.3 billion won loss in the previous three months.

SK E&C related stocks nosedive after Laos dam collapse
SK company shares came down Wednesday as the engineering unit of Korea’s third-largest conglomerate grapples with its worst-ever accident in one of its constructions - a hydroelectric dam in southern Laos collapsed leaving hundreds of people missing and affecting 1,300 households. Investors dumped shares in the companies holding stakes in unlisted SK Engineering & Construction Co. (SK E&C).

SK Holdings to reward shareholders with its first-ever interim dividend
SK Holdings Co., holding entity of South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate SK Group will make its first-ever interim dividend payment next month to uphold its shareholder friendly policy. SK in a regulatory filing on Tuesday said that it will pay cash dividend of 1,000 won ($0.89) per common share on August 22. It will mark as the first interim dividend payment in the company’s history and a rare case among Korean firms. Out of all companies listed in the country’s main bourse Kospi, only 4 percent or 30 so far have made an interim dividend payment. SK is also the first holding entity of the country’s family-owned chaebol groups to do so.
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.com bfp@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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