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Headlines, July 26, 2018

Thursday, July 26, 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.
Pompeo: N. Korea continues to produce fissile material
North Korea continues to produce fissile material as part of its nuclear weapons program even as it makes progress toward denuclearization, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday. Pompeo was speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on U.S. President Donald Trump's recent summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Yes, they continue to produce fissile material," Pompeo said in response to a senator's question.

German foreign minister vows support for peace process on peninsula
Germany will provide support for the Korean Peninsula peace process moving forward on the basis of its own reunification experience, its top diplomat said Thursday. "Germany was unified about 25 years ago, but its people are still reminded of the days before the unification when they see the status of division on the Korean Peninsula," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said via an interpreter during a meeting with South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon in Seoul.

S. Korean economy grows 0.7 pct on-quarter in Q2: BOK
The South Korean economy slowed down slightly in the second quarter from three months earlier due mainly to sluggish facility and construction investment, central bank data showed Thursday. In the April-June period, Asia's fourth-largest economy posted a 0.7 percent on-quarter gain, contracting from a 1 percent rise in the first quarter, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).
KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
Pompeo: US Aims to Achieve N. Korea's Denuclearization by End of Trump's First Term
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that Washington aims to achieve North Korea's denuclearization by the end of President Donald Trump's first term in office. Pompeo made the remarks on Wednesday while testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington on Trump's recent summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kyodo: S. Korea, Japan Discussing New Joint Declaration on Bilateral Ties
South Korea and Japan are reportedly discussing ways to issue a new joint declaration aimed at promoting bilateral ties to mark the 20th anniversary of a historic accord between the two countries. Quoting multiple Japanese officials, Japan's Kyodo News reported on Thursday that Seoul and Tokyo will decide on whether to produce a joint declaration based on the suggestions by a task force set up by South Korea in May and a similar panel on bilateral cultural exchanges that will soon be launched by Japan.

Power Demand to Slightly Decrease Thursday
Power demand in South Korea is expected to slightly decrease on Thursday as the scorching heat subsides somewhat. The Korea Power Exchange said on Thursday that the country's maximum electricity demand is expected to reach 89-point-five million kilowatts between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., down from the record demand levels seen earlier this week. The exchange predicted that during the cited period, the power reserves will stand at nine-point-five million kilowatts with a reserve rate of ten-point-six percent, which is a stable level.
Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
S. Korean fishing boats collide in sea off northern Japan
Two South Korean fishing boats collided in waters off the coast of Japan's northernmost island on Thursday, leaving three foreign sailors unaccounted for, authorities said. The collision happened at around 7:20 a.m. about 267 nautical miles southeast of Hokkaido, Japan, when the 101 Geumyang-ho, en route to Russian waters, ran into the 803 Tongyeong-ho, which was on standby for operations.

Gov't, ruling party seek tax code revision for fairness, job growth
The government and the ruling Democratic Party said Thursday they will seek to revise the tax code this year in a way that will promote fair taxation and help boost job growth. Ruling party and government officials reached the agreement at their consultative meeting at a time when the Korean economy is slowing amid a sluggish job market. "A revision of the tax code will center on improving income distribution and enhance taxation fairness in connection with the government's move to overhaul the property tax system," Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said at the start of the meeting.

SK hynix's net profit surges 75.4 in Q2, sets record
SK hynix Inc., South Korea's No. 2 chipmaker, saw its second-quarter net profit surge 75.4 percent from a year earlier Thursday, setting a new quarterly record amid the strong shipments of both dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) and NAND flash products. Net profit reached a record high of 4.3 trillion won (US$3.84 billion) in the April-June period, compared with 2.4 trillion won posted a year earlier, SK hynix said in a regulatory filing. Operating profit moved up 82.7 percent over the cited period to 5.5 trillion won, SK hynix added. Sales also jumped a whopping 55 percent to 10.3 trillion won.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Chick hatches, latex pillow combusts -- South Korea's heat wave causes unusual moments
South Korea's prolonged heat wave is producing a number of unusual moments, including a chick hatching out of an egg reportedly without a mother hen or brooder lamp -- thanks to the blazing heat and continued tropical nights. The country has been enduring unusually scorching weather for weeks since early July. Daytime highs exceeded 38 degrees Celsius in Seoul and other regions on Tuesday, while the temperature in Yeongcheon, North Gyeongsang Province, reached 40.3 degrees on the same day.

Moon orders dispatch of emergency relief team to Laos
South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday ordered the dispatch of an emergency relief team to Laos, where a dam collapse has led to at least several hundreds going missing. In a briefing, the president also ordered the team to check the health conditions of South Korean employees working at the site, for families in Korea. The hydroelectric dam in Laos that collapsed Wednesday was built by SK Engineering and Construction, the building arm under SK Group. There are some 40 South Korean workers in Laos for the dam construction project.

S. Korea's electricity supply to stabilize from Friday: ministry
South Korea’s electricity supply, which has been put on red alert recently amid a record heat wave, is expected to improve from Friday as the nation enters the summer holiday season, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Wednesday. Reflecting such forecast, as well as the current level of available power reserves, the government decided not to take demand control actions on companies in July, officials said.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Ex-defense chief barred from leaving country for conspiracy for mutiny
Former Defense Minister Han Min-koo has been barred from leaving the country on suspicions of conspiracy for mutiny, reports said Wednesday. "Suspicions on Han are based on allegations and testimonies that he as defense minister had ordered his subordinates to conduct illegal, unconstitutional acts," a source in a military-government joint investigation team was quoted as saying.

Koreas exchange list of surviving separated families
South and North Korea exchanged lists of surviving separated families Wednesday, at the truce village of Panmunjeom, ahead of scheduled reunions next month. Through the Red Cross, the South delivered its list of South Koreans with living relatives in the North, and the North gave its list of North Koreans with living relatives in the South. The Koreas exchanged requests to check surviving members on July 3, and the South Korean government conducted a search over the past 22 days. Out of the 200 people North Korea inquired, the South confirmed that 122 are alive and seven passed away. Among the 250 the South inquired, the North confirmed 122 are alive and 41 passed away.

Nearly nine out of 10 Koreans say low birthrate is a serious issue
Nearly nine out of 10 South Koreans have expressed concerns about the country's low birthrate, a new survey showed Wednesday, in the latest wake-up call to address the chronically low birthrate. The survey -- submitted to opposition lawmaker Yoon Jong-pil by the Ministry of Health and Welfare -- showed 87.4 percent of 2,000 adults said the low birthrate is a serious issue in South Korea. The poll showed 31.2 percent cited financial burdens after marriage as the key reason behind the low birthrate, followed by youth unemployment and job security with 19.5 percent and the difficulty in striking a work-life balance at 18.1 percent.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
More Ships Brought N.Korean Coal to S.Korea
Several more ships are suspected of bringing banned North Korean coal to South Korea, the Korea Customs Service has admitted. The government is already under fire for doing nothing about two ships that unloaded North Korean coal disguised as Russian product in South Korean ports. In a press release on Wednesday, Liberty Korea Party lawmaker Shim Jae-cheol said, "The Korea Customs Service has told my office that the Foreign Ministry notified the KCS of a list of several other ships, in addition to the Rich Glory and the Sky Angel, that are also suspected of shipping North Korean coal into South Korea" since the UN Security Council banned the trade last August.

U.S. Warns Against Evading N.Korea Sanctions
The U.S. in an advisory Monday warned of ways North Korea is trying to bypass international sanctions. The advisory was a shot before the bow of businesses and individuals around the world who might try to help the North dodge the sanctions. It could at the same time be an evident warning sign to the South Korean government, who is suspected to have deliberately overlooked North Korean coal being shipped into Incheon and Pohang last October.

Locals up in Arms Against Jeju Naval Parade
The International Fleet Review in Jeju scheduled for October faces stiff opposition from locals who do not want the noisy display of maritime force in their backyard. The fleet review is an event held every 10 years to mark the anniversary of the armed forces. Top naval officials from 30 countries are invited, and 20 to 30 foreign warships will take part. President Moon Jae-in is scheduled to attend and inspect the vessels.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
GM Korea moves to establish separate R&D corporation following Gunsan factory shutdown
GM Korea is finding itself in another restructuring flap amid its previous woes with the closure of a Gunsan factory and large-scale voluntary retirements. With the General Motors headquarters moving to cut GM Korea’s R&D sector and create a separate corporation, the union has been up in arms over a plan it claims “shows the aim here is restructuring.” In a July 24 press conference at GM Korea’s factory in Incheon’s Bupyeong neighborhood, the GM Korea chapter of the Korean Metal Workers’ Union (KMWU) expressed its “opportunity to the company’s recent plans to establish an independent corporation for the R&D sector.” The union views the corporations’ establishment as the first step toward further restructuring.

Remembering a voice for justice and the weak
“A politician who spoke from the perspective of the common person.”“A National Assembly member who resolutely stood up for the weak against the strong.”“A man who was hearty in his laughter.” These were some of the ways ordinary people remembered Roh Hoe-chan as a politician. A long line of ordinary South Koreans arrived at the funeral home at Yonsei University Severance Hospital in Seoul’s Seodaemun district on July 24 to mourn the passing of the Justice Party lawmaker, who had taken his own life the day before. Despite broiling temperatures of around 35 degrees Celsius, some 5,600 mourners had visited the funeral home by 7 pm that evening. The sight of so many ordinary people standing in line – university students, parents holding their children’s hands, company employees in their work clothes – gave a glimpse at how broad a segment of the public Roh had inspired as a minority party lawmaker in the National Assembly.

Defense ministry pursues test withdrawal plan for guard posts and equipment in DMZ
The South Korean Ministry of National Defense is pursuing a test withdrawal plan for guard post troops and equipment within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) as part of an effort to honor the agreement reached between the South and North Korean leaders in their Panmunjeom Declaration on Apr. 27. An issue report by the ministry on July 24 for the National Assembly’s National Defense Committee included a “future pursuit plan for talks by inter-Korean military authorities,” which mentioned “conducting a test withdrawal of troops and equipment at guard posts (GP) within the DMZ as a practical step toward conversion of the DMZ into a peace zone, with a subsequent phased-in expansion.”
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Samsung BioLogics wins first FDA approval for drug products
Samsung BioLogics has obtained its first approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to produce drug products, gaining a foothold in the contract manufacturing organization (CMO) market. The company also has been licensed to produce drug products in Europe and Japan. A drug product refers to drug substance that is packaged in a vial, which is the process conducted in the final production stage.

Moon meets new U.S. ambassador to South Korea for the first time
South Korean President Moon Jae-in engaged in his first official meeting with the newly nominated U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Adm. Harry Harris, at his office in Cheong Wa Dae on Wednesday. The president was presented with the credentials of five new ambassadors to South Korea on the same day. Born between an American father and Japanese mother, Ambassador Harris is the first Asian American to achieve the rank of admiral in the U.S. Navy, having experience as the commander of Indo-Atlantic region. He is assessed to be the most influential figure among U.S. ambassadors to South Korea up until now.

Taiwan slams China after sports event canceled
At the China-led East Asia Olympic Committee meeting held in Beijing on Tuesday, Committee Chairman Liu Peng insisted on the revocation of Taichung City to host the sports event and asked for a vote of hands to determine the issue. Liu is also serving the deputy chief of the Foreign Commission of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. The meeting was attended by nine commission members: representatives from China, Taiwan, South Korea, North Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Hong Kong, Macao and Chairman Liu Peng. The audience began to stir at Liu’s remark.
JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
Korean fishing boats collide off coast of Hokkaido
Two Korean fishing vessels collided in waters off the coast of Hokkaido in northern Japan on Thursday morning, leaving three sailors missing. At 7:21 a.m., some 267 nautical miles southeast of Hokkaido, the 538-ton 101 Geumyang, en route to Russian waters, collided into the 662-ton 803 Tongyeong, which had been on standby, according to authorities.

Trump praises North’s missile test site work
U.S. President Donald Trump praised North Korea’s dismantling of a missile engine testing site on Tuesday despite reports that he had recently been venting his frustrations about the lack of progress in negotiations with Pyongyang. Trump also said he expects that the North would repatriate “very soon” the remains of American soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War, which was one of the pledges laid out in his June 12 joint summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Ex-defense minister ordered martial law plan
Former Defense Minister Han Min-koo instructed the military’s intelligence unit to draft a contingency plan for martial law to clamp down on rallies if the Constitutional Court kept Park Geun-hye in power last year, officials from the Defense Security Command (DSC) testified Tuesday. Testifying before lawmakers on the parliamentary defense committee hearing, So Kang-won, chief of staff for the DSC, said he was instructed by then-DSC Chief Cho Hyun-chun to work on the martial law preparations on the orders of then-Defense Minister Han.
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)
SK Telecom tests quantum cryptographic communication system in Germany
In an effort to take the upper hand in fifth-generation (5G) mobile services, South Korea's top mobile carrier SK Telecom is testing its quantum cryptographic communication system on a Germany network run by Deutsche Telekom AG, the largest telecom provider in Europe. SK Telecom said Thursday that it would apply its quantum cryptographic communication system To Deutsche Telekom's long-distance communication and commercial network next year.

Doosan and POSCO win $3.09 bln order to build eco-friendly thermal plant
A consortium of Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction and POSCO Engineering & Construction secured a deal worth 3.5 trillion won ($3.09 billion) to build a set of South Korea's biggest eco-friendly thermal power plants in the eastern port city of Samcheok. The two companies said Wednesday they have signed a contract with POSPower, a unit of South Korea's Posco steel group, to build a 1,050MW plant by October 2023 and the second one by April 2024.

Lotte Card releases big data-based 'super-personalized' financial service app
Lotte Card, a Seoul-based credit card company, released a big data-based total financial solution app tailored for each user, claiming it is the world's first "one-stop" financial service. It classifies users into 200 indexes by analyzing their location and shopping experiences for a "super-personalized" service. The company said in a statement on Tuesday that it combined big data and other new technologies to provide a package of financial services such as transactions and credit card benefits with "Lotte Card Life", a smartphone application.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
SK Hynix logs record earnings in Q2, ’18 capex likely $14 bn
South Korea’s SK Hynix Co. continued its record-breaking streak and delivered its best-yet quarterly performance in the second quarter on still-sizzling demand in both volatile and non-volatile memory chips, emboldening the company to bump up capital spending from last year’s record levels to around 16 trillion won ($14 billion) this year to stay ahead in competition amid fast Chinese ascension. The world’s second-largest DRAM maker in a regulatory filing on Thursday said its operating profit for the quarter ended June was a record 5.57 trillion won, well above the market consensus of 5.23 trillion won. They were up 28 percent from the previous three months and 83 percent against the year-ago period.

Samsung C&T posts record quarterly OP in Q2
South Korea’s Samsung C&T Corp. closed the second quarter in its best performance thanks to increased earnings in trading and construction business. Samsung C&T in a regulatory filing on Wednesday said its operating profit on a consolidated basis soared to 378 billion won ($338 million) for the second quarter ended June, up 51 percent from a year ago and marking the best quarterly performance since its inception.

OCI’ Q2 OP down 25% on qtr on reduced sales in China on subsidy cut
South Korea’s leading polysilicon supplier OCI Co. on Wednesday reported a 25 percent drop in operating profit in the second quarter against the previous quarter due to fall in sales in its mainstay products from reduced Chinese subsidy to solar power generators. According to the company’s regulatory filing, OCI posted 79.9 billion won ($71.37 million) in operating profit on a consolidated basis in the April to June period, up 149.3 percent from the same period last year. Sales rose 12 percent to 785.1 billion won over the same period, whereas net profit fell 15 percent to 76.4 billion won.
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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