Headlines, August 1, 2018
Headlines, August 1, 2018
  • Lee Kyung-sik
  • 승인 2018.08.01 11:53
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Wednesday, August 1, 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.
N. Korea's media report on inter-Korean military talks
North Korea's media reported Wednesday on military talks the two Koreas held a day earlier to discuss measures to ease cross-border tension. "The north-south general-level military talks took place at the 'House of Peace' in the south side portion of Panmunjom on Tuesday to implement the Panmunjom Declaration," the Korean Central News Agency said in English, referring to the summit agreement between their leaders in April.

LG Electronics opens first overseas AI research lab
LG Electronics Inc. said Wednesday it has opened its first overseas research center devoted solely to the development of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. The South Korean tech giant said the Toronto AI Lab in Canada will carry out various research through cooperation with the University of Toronto starting from September. LG Electronics said it chose the North American country as it has been making significant progress in the field of AI and machine-learning technologies.

Hyundai parts affiliates perform poorly in 2017 sales rankings
Auto parts affiliates of Hyundai Motor Group suffered sales declines last year due mainly to their heavy reliance on Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., an auto association said Wednesday. Hyundai Motor Group's parts affiliates such as Hyundai Mobis Co. and Hyundai-Wia Corp. didn't advance or fell in a global top 100 auto parts makers' ranking for 2017, the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) said, citing data from Automotive News.
KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
Two Koreas Form Consensus on Disarming JSA at Military Talks
The two Koreas formed a consensus within a broad framework on ways to peacefully use the Demilitarized Zone(DMZ) during their ninth general-level military talks on Tuesday. Following the talks held at the truce village of Panmunjeom, South Korea’s chief delegate, Major General Kim Do-gyun, told reporters that the two sides agreed to work out timelines and implementation methods through discussions via telephone messages and working-level contacts.

Repatriation Ceremony for US Soldiers' Remains to be Held Wed.
A repatriation ceremony will be held on Wednesday at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek for 55 sets of remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War. According to the UN Command, some 500 people will attend the ceremony, including South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo, U.S. Forces Korea Commander General Vincent Brooks and U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris. After the ceremony, the remains will be transferred to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii for final identification. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will be at the base to receive the remains.

Vice Unification Minister to Inspect Reunion Facilities in N. Korea
Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung will travel on Wednesday to Mount Geumgang in North Korea where a reunion of separated families is scheduled to take place later this month. The Unification Ministry said Tuesday that Chun will inspect progress in repairs for facilities where the reunions will be held and convey words of encouragement to some 50 workers taking part in the repair work. The ministry said it will exert best efforts to complete the repairs by August 15th so that the reunions can take place smoothly as planned from August 20th to 26th.
Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
S. Korea's exports rebound to 6.2 pct in July
South Korea's exports rebounded in July from the previous month's slight fall, government data showed Wednesday. Outbound shipments reached US$51.88 billion last month, up 6.2 percent from a year ago, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. In June, the country's exports inched down due to fewer working days and a high base effect. Imports surged 16.2 percent on-year to $44.88 billion last month.

Production capacity in manufacturing falls at steepest rate in Q2
South Korea's production capacity in the manufacturing sector fell at the steepest rate ever in the second quarter, statistics showed Wednesday, a sign that could be interpreted as either more efficient use of equipment or a slowdown in investment. The production capacity index for the quarter was down 1.1 percent from the same period last year, according to Statistics Korea. It is the biggest quarterly fall since the agency began keeping track in 1971. The index had risen every quarter until the fourth quarter last year when it retreated 0.1 percent for the first negative growth. It has been falling ever since. The number measures maximum production capacity when personnel, equipment and workhours are operated in full.

S. Korea's consumer prices up 1.5 pct in July
South Korea's consumer price growth continued to stay above the 1 percent mark in July bolstered by agricultural goods and the service sector, government data showed Wednesday. The country's consumer price index climbed 1.5 percent last month from a year earlier, the same pace from the previous month's on-year gain, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea. The July figure is well below the Bank of Korea's target of 2 percent for the year, stoking speculation that the central bank's monetary tightening may be pushed forward at a gradual pace in the coming months.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Photos show NK building new ICBM near Pyongyang: report
US spy agencies have detected signs of North Korea building new intercontinental ballistic missiles at a plant near Pyongyang, the Washington Post reported Monday. Citing unnamed officials familiar with the intelligence, the US daily said that newly obtained evidence, including satellite photos taken in recent weeks, suggests that North Koreans were working on at least one and possibly two liquid-fueled ICBMs at a large research facility in Sanumdong on the outskirts of Pyongyang.

Seoul open to China's involvement in ending Korean War: Cheong Wa Dae
China’s inclusion in declaring the end of the Korean War remains a possibility, a high-level Cheong Wa Dae official revealed Tuesday. While Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to seek an official end to the Korean War in the Panmunjom Declaration, there has been some contention over whether such a declaration should involve just the two Koreas and the US, or include China. “It remains to be seen whether the declaration of an end to the war will be trilateral or quadrilateral, but a four-way declaration has not been ruled out. (A four-way declaration) remains possible depending on the discussions,” the Cheong Wa Dae official said.

More documents on court’s alleged corruption revealed
The National Court Administration on Tuesday disclosed additional documents linked to alleged politically influenced decisions and illegal surveilling of judges conducted by the organization. The documents, the contents of which range from public relations strategies to meetings with politicians, are likely to fan controversy the country’s judiciary has been facing since earlier this year. The National Court Administration is alleged to have influenced trials and surveilled judges under the direction of former Supreme Court chief Yang Seung-tae during the Park Geun-hye administration.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Sex trade victims' guardian plans to follow US troops to Pyeongtaek
Durebang, a welfare agency for prostitutes in the entertainment districts near U.S. military camps in Uijeongbu and Dongducheon, is planning to move to Pyeongtaek where 90 percent of American forces across South Korea are relocating. Durebang, next to Camp Stanley in the northern Gyeonggi Province city of Gosan-dong, plans to move its head office in Uijeongbu and branch office in Dongducheon to Pyeongtaek, the site of Camp Humphreys, which houses the largest U.S. Army garrison in Northeast Asia.

'Save my brother from Myanmar prison'
ASAN, South Chungcheong Province ― Lee Sang-beom, 48, a Korean businessman and father of two children, was full of hope and optimism when he opened a medical device sales firm in Myanmar five years ago. In the country, dubbed "the last frontier in Asia," Lee was excited to start a new chapter in his life. But his dreams were shattered in 2016 when police found illegal drugs in his car and home. Lee insisted on his innocence, saying his interpreter and her husband planted the evidence on him, but the district court did not believe him and sentenced him to 11 years in prison, which was upheld by the appeals court last month. Now his fate is in the hands of the Supreme Court.

Koreas seek to turn border area into peace zone
South and North Korea agreed Tuesday on the need to turn the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) into a peace area and remove firearms from the Joint Security Area (JSA) in a step to end a military standoff along their border. Seoul and Pyongyang also reached a "broad consensus" to jointly excavate the remains in the DMZ of South Korean and U.S. troops killed during the Korean War. But the two Koreas failed to reach an agreement on releasing a joint statement, according to the head of the South's five-member delegation at the generals meeting.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Samsung to Offer Massive Investment Pledges
Samsung is expected to mollify the government with a W100-trillion investment plan and pledge to cooperate with small and mid-sized contractors with a view to supporting a vision for the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution (US$1=W1,120). One corporate source said Monday that Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon is to visit a Samsung Electronics factory in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province on Aug 6, where the tech giant will announce its investment plans. Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong, who is currently on a business trip abroad, will return to Korea ahead of Kim's visit.

Most Top Officials Have Ties to Moon
A significant proportion of top public servants have ties to President Moon Jae-in, who was elected on a promise to clean out the Augean stable of Korean politics. Among the 203 heads of public institutions appointed by Moon, many come from his election camp, support the president's political views or are members of the ruling Minjoo Party. Some 40 of the 49 public auditors fall in this category. At the same time, 25 top spots at public institutions and 10 standing auditor positions remain vacant, prompting speculation that the jobs will be filled with ruling-party candidates who lost in the June 13 local election.

N.Korea Approves Hyundai Execs' Visit to Mt. Kumgang
Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun will visit Mt. Kumgang in North Korea for the 15th anniversary of her husband's death on Saturday. Chung Mong-hun, who developed the mountain resort during the thaw of the late 1990s, jumped to his death amid a corruption probe in 2003. "The trip has been approved by North Korea's Asia-Pacific Peace Committee," package tour subsidiary Hyundai Asan said Monday. "We've also applied for approval from the Unification Ministry, which we think will be given soon."
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
DSC considered options to have martial law recognized by US
The possibility of martial law in South Korean being recognized by the US was considered in a 67-page document titled “Specifics of the Contingency Plan” drafted early last year by the Defense Security Command (DSC). The document was also found to contain numerous suggestions reminiscent of the 1980 seizure of power by the so-called “New Military Group” of Chun Doo-hwan, including calls for the flagrante delicto arrest of National Assembly members and institution of emergency martial law nationwide.

Pension and livelihood benefits a bizarre combination of “give and take back”
“We’re the poorest ones. Why don’t they give us a basic pension?” Kim Ho-tae, an 85-year-old resident of a flophouse in the Huam neighborhood of Seoul’s Yongsan district, described the administration’s basic pension policy as “incomprehensible.” Ever since basic pensions were first paid to the lowest-earning 70 percent of seniors over 65 in 2014, he has been traveling to Blue House every July to demand a solution on the matter of the basic pension being “given and then taken back.”

Controversial Peace Dam to be converted into Peace Waterway
The Peace Dam, which has been lambasted as a fraud foisted upon the South Korean public, will be reborn as the starting point of a “Peace Waterway” set to link watercourses between South and North Korea. Attention is focusing on whether the Peace Waterway tourism project can replace the overland route to Mt. Kumgang in Goseong County, a previous North Korean tourism project. Inspired by the recent improvement in inter-Korean relations, Gangwon Province and Hwacheon County announced on July 24 that they’re planning a “peace waterway” tourism program that will link the Peace Dam with Inner Kumgang, the western half of the mountain. The Peace Waterway will take travelers between South and North Korea along the water system of the North Han River, which has been divided between South and North Korea since the Korean War.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
N. Korea’s latest missile development activities detected
Work is still underway at a research facility in Sanumdong, North Korea, to produce intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) capable of reaching the eastern regions of the United States, such as Washington and New York, according to satellite photos revealed Tuesday. In response to the newly obtained advance, the Trump administration is likely to pressure the North, calling for the final, fully verified denuclearization (FFVD) yet again. With the revelation of images proving that there is a long way to go to implement a road map for denuclearization, the tug of war between Washington and Pyongyang is expected to get intense for the time being.

BMW vehicles continue to catch fire in Korea
The cause of BMW’s 520d cars catching fire while driving has yet to be identified, making BMW owners anxious. Some auto experts refuted the finding announced by BMW Korea and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, saying that it is “unacceptable.” A total of 27 BMW cars caught fire this year alone, and 16 of them involved 520d model, according to the ministry. Some experts cited defective software design as the reason why the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) module inside BMW vehicles malfunctioned only in Korea.

Korean researchers develop the world’s first DNA needle patch
In the near future, administering drugs into the body will be made possible simply by attaching a palm-sized micro patch to the skin. It is expected to greatly reduce the pains of infants and the patients, who need to have a shot regularly. A research team led by Jeong Joon-ho, chief researcher at the Korea Institute of Machinery & Materials (KIMM), announced on Tuesday that they are ready to commercialize a micro needle patch made with DNA proteins that are harmless to humans. The KIMM founded a research firm ADMBioscience on July 17 and built facilities that can produce 2.4 million patches a year on the KIMM site in Daejeon.
JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
High-level military talks are held
High-level military talks led by generals from the two Koreas were held Tuesday at the Peace House on the southern side of the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom, and the two sides agreed on disarmament issues in the Joint Security Area (JSA) and to excavate remains of soldiers at the inter-Korean border. It was 47 days since the last such talks in June. The talks kicked off at 10 a.m. and the South’s five-member delegation was led by Major Gen. Kim Do-gyun, who is in charge of North Korea policy at the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul. The North’s five-person team was led by Lt. Gen. An Ik-san. This marks the ninth round of inter-Korean military talks between generals.

Korail pulls plug on airport KTX service
The Korea Railroad Corporation, or Korail, is ending its Korea Express Train (KTX) service from Incheon International Airport to Seoul Station on Sept. 1. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Monday approved a request submitted in June by the country’s express train operator. Korail is ending the service because so few people used it. “The company decided to modify the KTX route in order to remedy the inefficiency caused by simultaneously operating the KTX and the Arex [Airport Railroad Express Train],” said an official from the national railroad company. In fact, the KTX airport service has been suspended since the end of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games for maintenance.

Beijing bigwig came to Seoul secretly in July
Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi made a secret visit to Seoul in mid-July and met with President Moon Jae-in’s security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, possibly to discuss declaring an end to the 1950-53 Korean War, the Blue House said on Tuesday. A senior presidential official acknowledged the visit by the senior Chinese diplomat and his meeting with Chung without disclosing the exact date. The acknowledgement came hours after the Dong-A Ilbo reported the undisclosed visit.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
"Restrictions on Intra-Group Transactions When Owner Family Possesses More than 20% of the Shares"
In the future, when the owner family has 20% or more of the shares of a chaebol affiliate, that affiliate is likely to be subject to regulations on intra-group transactions, regardless of whether the company is listed or not. Currently in the case of listed companies, if the owner family owns more than 30% of the shares, the companies are restricted in intra-group transactions. Subsidiaries with more than 50% of the shares owned by a company subject to the intra-group transaction regulations are also expected to be restricted in intra-group businesses. As a result, Hyundai Glovis, Samsung Life Insurance, and Samsung Welstory will be newly subject to regulations.

Why Not Raise the Minimum Wage when the Economy Grows?” President Answers Citizens, “Change Is Hard, But It Will Be for the Better Once It Settles”
For President Moon Jae-in, who had claimed to be the "president of Gwanghwamun," his pledge to have a glass of soju with the citizens getting off work had always remained on the to-do list in his mind. On the evening of July 26, President Moon finally checked it off his to-do list at a pub in Gwanghwamun. The reason the president chose to meet the people now was because he wanted to listen to their thoughts amid the continuing debate on the achievements of his economic policies, such as the raising of the minimum wage.

Military Lacks Ability to Carry out Self-Reforms: Martial Law Incident Lost
The military is under attack for lacking self-discipline with massive reforms of the military approaching. The criticism was triggered by an embarrassing argument over the martial law document between Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo (69, photo) and the Defense Security Command (DSC). The Defense Security Command argued that Minister Song had received a report on the problematic document, but had neglected the issue, while the defense minister retorted that that was a "perfect lie." As their argument intensified, the nature of the issue, the gravity of the document that had planned to destroy our constitutional order, appears to be lost. Public opinion is calling for a major operation of the military, but the government's plans to drive reforms in the military centered on Minister Song has also been disrupted.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Kolon claims its arthritis gene therapy medicine is effective for 36 months
For a probe into Shinil Group, a Seoul-based marine salvaging firm which claimed to have discovered a Russian warship full of gold, police have imposed a travel ban on company executives. Shinil claimed on July 15 that it has found Dmitrii Donskoi, a Russian Imperial Navy warship, lying on a seabed off Ulleungdo, a South Korean island located between the Korean peninsula and Japan. The company has tried to lure investors with claims that the ship sank with 200 tons of gold ingots and coins aboard in 1905 during a Russo-Japanse naval battle.

SK Telecom develops new cloud online video platform for media services
South Korea's top mobile carrier SK Telecom has developed a cloud online video platform (OVP) that can provide media services without having to build equipment such as encoder and transcoder separately. An online video platform enables users to upload, convert, store and play back video content on the Internet, often via a structured, large-scale system that can generate revenue. Online video services, broadcasters, and e-learning providers had to adjust their content standards to match cloud companies and interoperate with each other in the cloud.

KCC shows interest in acquisition of U.S. silicon company Momentive
KCC, a top provider of construction materials and paints in South Korea, expressed its apparent interest in the acquisition of Momentive, an American developer of high-performance resins, silicones and other advanced materials, but it cautioned against any hasty decision. "We have reviewed various strategic initiatives, including the acquisition of the pertinent company, but any specific decisions have not been made at this time," KCC said in a regulatory filing, adding it would disclose details when a decision is made.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
S. Korea offers six-month cut in sales tax on cars to boost economy
The South Korean government is reviving a temporary tax break for domestic car purchases in hopes to aid sagging domestic demand and struggling car industry amidst spread of protectionism on the trade front. Under the administrative order passed by the government Tuesday, the special consumption levy on passenger cars beyond compact size including SUV and RV vehicles will be brought down to 3.5 percent from 5 percent for shipments from July 19 to the end of this year.

Korea’s business sentiment droops in July amid cost increase, trade dispute
South Korea’s industrial activity in June weakened with capital investment sharply drooping amid deteriorating business sentiment and outlook. According to Statistics Korea on Thursday, the seasonally adjusted mining and manufacturing output in June fell 0.6 percent on month, reversing from the 1.2 percent gain in the previous month. Against the same month last year, it was down 0.4 percent.

E-Land cashing in on The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf license in China
South Korea’s financially-strapped fashion and retail conglomerate E-Land Group said Monday it would surrender its Coffee Bean &Tea Leaf franchise license in China to improve cash flow and focus more on retail. E-Land Group has expanded its coffee shop chain business to run 17 stores of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf across the country in two years, but decided to exit from the Chinese market due to its cash shortages over the last few years.
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.

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