UPDATE : 2018.12.18 TUE 14:20
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Headlines, August 2, 2018

Thursday, August 2, 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.
S. Korea to hold foreign ministerial talks with China, Japan, Russia
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha will engage in a round of bilateral diplomacy in Singapore involving China, Japan and Russia later Thursday amid annual regional forums organized by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), her ministry officials said. She plans to hold back-to-back talks with her Chinese, Japanese and Russian counterparts in the afternoon, all of whom plan to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) slated for Saturday.

26 firms off antitrust watch list during May-July period
The number of South Korean business groups' affiliates under tight restrictions on mutual investment and loan guarantees fell sharply in the May-July period, the country's corporate watchdog said Thursday. The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said 2,057 firms were on its watch list as of end-July, down 26 from three months earlier. Under the South Korean fair trade law, affiliates of large conglomerates with assets exceeding 10 trillion won (US$9.36 billion) are restricted from making equity investments among them or offering loan guarantees to each other.

Concerns over low-quality group tours resurface as Chinese visitors increase
Repeated government efforts to prevent cheap, low-quality package tours to South Korea by Chinese tourists are being questioned again as the number of travelers from the neighboring country increases, industry watchers said Thursday. The tally for June from the Korea Tourism Organization showed the volume of Chinese visitors to Korea shooting up 49 percent on-year after Beijing began to ease travel restrictions sparked by a bilateral diplomatic row.
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KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
Trump Hints China is Obstructing US-N. Korea Denuclearization Talks
U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested that China may be obstructing denuclearization talks with North Korea as Washington and Beijing continue their trade dispute. According to Bloomberg, Trump told supporters at a political rally on Wednesday in Tampa, Florida that the U.S. is “doing well in North Korea” as Pyongyang continues to refrain from nuclear and missile provocations. However, he added that the U.S. is “doing so well with China that China maybe is getting in our way.”

Senate Passes Defense Bill that Makes Drastic Reduction in USFK Nonnegotiable
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed a 716-billion dollar defense policy bill that ensures there will be no significant reduction of U.S. forces in South Korea. The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2019 passed the Senate by a vote of 87-10 after clearing the House of Representatives last Thursday. The bill has now been sent to U.S. President Donald Trump to sign into law.

Ad-hoc Military Committee to Announce DSC Reform Plans
An ad-hoc military committee tasked with reforming the Defense Security Command(DSC) is set to disband after it reports reform plans to Defense Minister Song Young-moo this week. The committee is expected to confirm its plans on how to reform the military intelligence unit on Thursday morning. The DSC is embroiled in controversy over martial law contingency documents that were drawn up during the former Park Geun-hye administration. According to a government official, the committee will wrap up official activities later in the day by reporting and delivering final recommendations to Minister Song.
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Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
Special prosecutors raid home, office of provincial governor in probe of blogger
Special prosecutors raided the residence and office of South Gyeongsang Province Gov. Kim Kyoung-soo on Thursday as part of an ongoing investigation into a massive manipulation of online political comments by a power blogger. Investigators were sent to search the premises in Changwon, 398 kilometers south of the capital, they said. The blogger, better known as Druking, has been accused of manipulating clicks on Internet news comments to sway public opinion in favor of the ruling Democratic Party.

BMW, importers of Ferrari, Lamborghini to recall 270 vehicles: ministry
BMW and the importers of Ferrari and Lamborghini models will voluntarily recall 270 vehicles to fix faulty components, the transport ministry said Thursday. The move is part of the latest series of recalls by carmakers and importers to ensure vehicles meet safety requirements. The three companies plan to recall 10 different models totaling 270 vehicles. The models are the Ferrari California sports car imported by Forza Motors Korea and the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Coupe imported by Audi Volkswagen Korea, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said in a statement.

Samsung beats Apple in Q2 profitability
Samsung Electronics Co. outpaced Apple Inc. in terms of profitability despite its weaker-than-expected smartphone sales, helped by strong sales of chips, industry data showed Thursday. The South Korean tech giant posted an operating-profit-to-sales ratio of 25.4 percent in the second quarter by posting sales of 58.4 trillion won (US$52.1 billion) and 14.8 trillion won in operating profit. Over the April-June period, Apple posted sales of $53.2 billion and an operating profit of $12.6 billion, indicating its margin came to 23.7 percent.
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The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
1 Korean, 3 Filipinos held captive for nearly a month in Libya
A South Korean man and three Filipinos have been held captive in Libya for 27 days by an unidentified armed group, a Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday. The four were abducted at a water plant in Jabal Hasouna in western Libya on July 6, according to the official. The Foreign Ministry said it had been making all-out efforts to secure the release of the Korean man. But it has asked the Korean press to refrain from reporting the case out of fear that the publicity could adversely affect the government’s efforts to rescue the abductee.

Buried for more than 60 years, US war remains finally head home
Draped in white-and-blue United Nations flags, boxes of remains from the Korean War were unloaded from a group of vans one by one under the scorching sun at US Osan airbase in South Korea on Wednesday. A total of 55 boxes were then carried by the honor guard from the UN Command and loaded onto two C-17 Globalmaster cargo planes heading for Hawaii. Dozens of service members and a military honor guard lined up on the tarmac to mark the return of the fallen troops.

Kang holds meetings with ASEAN ministers
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha held bilateral meetings with her counterparts from six Southeast Asian countries in Singapore on Tuesday to secure support for the government’s efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and to foster ties with the ASEAN bloc. Kang, who arrived in Singapore on Monday to attend a series of meetings on security in Asia, held a series of bilateral meetings with foreign ministers of Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei and Laos, promoted the government’s New Southern Policy aimed at expanding exchanges with the ASEAN countries, and called for their support.
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The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Diageo Korea sends workers home on dropping whisky sales
Diageo Korea, the purveyor of Windsor and Johnnie Walker, has recently carried out large-scale restructuring to cope with its deteriorating profitability, the U.K.-based distiller's local subsidiary said Wednesday. According to the top whisky maker in the Korean market, it accepted applications for voluntary retirement last month from its employees who have worked for the company for more than five years. Over 30 employees including executives and branch managers reportedly applied.

Koreas taking steps to ease military standoff
Tuesday's high-level military talks between the two Koreas didn't produce any substantial results; participants said they only had "constructive" discussions on how to ease decades of confrontation. But one meaningful accomplishment, according to Seoul officials, Wednesday, is the two Koreas concurred on reducing military tension based on mutual trust through upcoming working-level meetings. Sources said the two Koreas will soon discuss a detailed timeline on when and how to pull out troops from some guard posts near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) "on a trial basis." If this is implemented smoothly, they will try to vacate all guard posts and eventually remove them.

S. Korean Supreme Court embroiled in lobbying scandal
The National Court Administration (NCA) is facing a fresh round of power abuse allegations after 196 of its documents released Tuesday showed it was prepared to partially give up judicial independence to curry favor with the disgraced Park Geun-hye administration. Under former Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae, the NCA drafted hundreds of documents detailing plans to lobby Cheong Wa Dae and the National Assembly to establish a de facto "Second Supreme Court" that would deal with smaller cases, thus easing the workload for the "main" Supreme Court and creating more judiciary positions.
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Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
China Eases N.Korea's Power Shortage
Secret supplies of generators from China have eased North Korea's chronic electricity shortage recently, Radio Free Asia reported on Tuesday. A source in Pyongyang told RFA that power cuts began to ease thanks to generous support from China. The source said after their first summit in March, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to give him two used generators with a total capacity of 200,000 kW.

Mercury Climbs to Highest Point Ever
Temperatures in Korea soared to an all-time record on Wednesday, with the mercury reaching 41 degrees Celsius in Hongcheon, Gangwon Province, the highest in the 111 years since weather observation began. The previous record was 40 degrees in Daegu on Aug. 1, 1942. Seoul also set an all-time heat record with 39.6 degrees. Record temperatures were observed at 16 of the country's 95 weather observation stations, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.

Seoul's Spy Chief to Arrange Fresh Summit with N.Korea
National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon will visit Pyongyang soon to arrange another urgent inter-Korean summit in late August, a source said on Tuesday. The leaders of the two Koreas agreed at their summit on April 27 to hold a follow-up summit in autumn. A government source here said, "We're discussing a follow-up summit in late August" because Seoul wants to play the role of go-between in dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang, which have been unable to make progress on the North's denuclearization.
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HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Seoul Pay expected to allow direct wire transfers for everyday transactions
After polishing off his dinner one evening in 2019, “Payment Kim” pulls out his smartphone and swipes the restaurant’s QR code. At that, a message pops up asking him to input the payment information. After typing in 8,000 won (US$7.15) and pressing “process transaction,” he gets a message confirming that the transaction has occurred, directly transferring 8,000 won from his bank account to that of the restaurant owner. This payment method is similar to credit cards and debit cards, with one big difference – the restaurant owner doesn’t have to pay anything in fees to the credit card company or payment platform.

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.”
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The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
S. Korea, U.S. have different views on resuming Kaesong complex
The Trump administration has reconfirmed its negative position with respect to resuming the Kaesong Industrial Complex, but the Sound Korean Ministry of Unification sent its deputy minister to Mt. Kumgang after announcing its position to resume the complex at the earliest date possible. Some people raise concern that mutual assistance between Seoul and Washington may face difficulties in terms of speed and level of inter-Korean economic development even when the North’s new ICBM development has been confirmed.

Huawei overtakes Apple in global smartphone market share
Apple saved the face of Silicon Valley by recording a much better-than-expected performance while other American IT companies such as Facebook and Twitter delivered lackluster performances. Apple announced on Tuesday (local time) that it posted revenue of 53.3 billion dollars and net profit of 11.5 billion dollars in the second quarter (Q3 of Apple’s fiscal year 2018). The figures exceed market expectations with a 17 percent increase in revenue and a 40 percent rise in net profit compared to the same period last year.

All remaining N. Korean workers to be sacked and sent home
Qatar, which used to be one of the countries where North Korean workers were seconded to earn dollars, has announced that it will send back all of the North Korean workers left in Qatar as an effort to implement sanctions against North Korea in advance. Voice of America (VOA) announced Wednesday that North Korea Sanctions Resolution No. 2387 Implementation Report, which was submitted to the UN Securities Council by Qatar on July 23 and released recently, stipulates that the remaining North Korean workers should be sent back to North Korea by adjusting with their employers. The UN Securities Council specified that all North Korean workers should be sent to North Korea by the end of 2019 as it adopted Sanctions Resolution No. 2397 in December 2017.
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JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
Kepco may abandon bid for British nuclear plant
The Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) considered dropping a bid to build a nuclear power project in Britain, according to a source Wednesday, a day after it was reported that the energy company had lost its lead in bidding for the deal. According to an inside source familiar with the matter on Wednesday, Kepco began considering the option of pulling the plug on its bid for Toshiba’s NuGen unit, which is in charge of the Moorside nuclear power plant project in Cumbria, Britain, after the project’s business prospects fell below its expectations.

Third South-North summit could come soon
Expectations for a third inter-Korean summit as early as this month are rising, and a senior Blue House official did not rule out the possibility Wednesday as progress between North Korea and the United States on denuclearization appears to have ground to a halt. The Blue House official, who didn’t want to be named, said, “Nothing has been decided about a summit meeting” in a brief text message sent to reporters. There were reports this week that President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un were working to meet for the third time in August. The two agreed to meet in Pyongyang for a summit in autumn during their April 27 summit in the border village of Panmunjom.

Gov’t dips into produce stockpile
The government will dip into its emergency supply of vegetables in response to a spike in prices caused by the ongoing grueling heat wave. Since some of the hardest hit items include radish and Napa cabbage, the main ingredients for kimchi, the government has been put on high alert. The price of Napa cabbage rose 39 percent in July compared to the previous month, while that of radish jumped by 42.1 percent, according to Statistics Korea on Wednesday. Spinach also saw prices going up a whopping 50.1 percent compared to a month ago.
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The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Court Left out Documents on Judge Lee Tan-hee, which First Revealed Abuse of Court Authority
After two months, on July 31, the Supreme Court released an additional 196 documents (excluding copies) that had not been made public among the 410 documents that the special investigation team on the alleged abuse of court authority had secured, but the court still refused to release some controversial documents. The Supreme Court did not disclose the document with the details of how judge Lee Tan-hee (40), a member of a judges’ research group on international human rights law--a group that stressed reforms in the court--submitted his resignation after he was assigned to the National Court Administration and later returned to his original position in court. Meanwhile, the court released the entire document including a statement by Lim Jong-hun, former deputy director of the National Court Administration, on his position concerning the alleged orders to scale down a symposium by the International Human Rights Law Study Group to a relevant judge.

"Anti-Park, Pro-Roh" Kim Byung-joon's Experiment with a New Conservative Alternative
Kim Byung-joon, chairman of the Liberty Korea Party's emergency committee visited the Bongha Village in Gimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do on July 30. He paid his respects at the grave of former President Roh Moo-hyun and visited the former first lady Kwon Yang-sook. It was a symbolic gesture, because the first action Kim took after establishing the emergency committee was to visit Bongha Village. At the village, he said, "It is now time to open a new era, an era of post-nationalism."

"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.
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AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Korean man kidnapped in Libya pleads for help in Facebook video
A South Korean man kidnapped by an unidentified armed group in Libya pleaded for help from the South Korean government in a video uploaded onto a Facebook page operated by a Libyan TV channel. An armed militia abducted a South Korean man and three Filipino workers at a water plant in Jabal Hasouna in the western region of Libya on July 6, according to the South's foreign ministry. The identity of kidnappers and their demand have not been confirmed.

S. Korea's first floating wind turbine to be installed next year
South Korea's first floating wind turbine will be installed off the southeastern port city of Ulsan for a test operation in the first half of next year in line with a government campaign to step up the use of wind, solar and other types of renewable energy. Ulsan proposed a 16 billion won ($14.3 million) pilot project to build an 80-meter-long floating structure with a capacity of 750 kilowatts that would involve the Unversity of Ulsan, Seho Engineering and Mastek Heavy Industries.

Britain still favors S. Korea for delayed nuclear power project: official
Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) will remain a strong candidate to join a nuclear power project pushed by Japan's Toshiba to build reactors in Britain, although the state utility firm lost its status as a preferred bidder, a policymaker said Wednesday. Britain and South Korea opened negotiations in January after KEPCO, the producer of home-made reactors, was selected as a preferred bidder for the Moorside nuclear power project, but they have failed to produce a satisfactory agreement on terms such as business risks and profitability.
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Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Hyundai Motor supply chain suffers from poor performance of carmakers
Troubles of Korea’s household car brands that have been losing ground on the home turf and their biggest markets of the U.S. and China have spilled over to their supply chain, according to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) on Wednesday. The industry organization cited the 2018 Top Suppliers rank by U.S.-based weekly newspaper Automotive News to point to deterioration of Korean parts suppliers in the global market.

Korea’s factory capacity weakens by biggest pace in Q2
South Korea’s manufacturing capacity shriveled by the fastest pace in the second quarter as companies delay investment due to cost-pushing policies of higher wages and shortened legal work hour and sluggishness in traditional heavy industries. According to the Statistics Korea on Wednesday, the country’s industrial capacity index that measures activity against full factory capacity level retreated 1.1 percent in the April-June period against year-ago period, the biggest fall since the data has been compiled from 1971.

Foreign investors turn to net buyers of S. Korean stocks in July
Foreign investors tapered off their selling spree of five straight months and returned to buying position in Korean stocks in July. According to Korea Exchange on Wednesday, foreign investors net bought 373.4 billion won ($332.8 million) worth of local stocks on the Kospi market during July, contrasting with domestic institutional investors who net sold 367.8 billion won of Kospi stocks. Individual investors were net buyers of stocks worth 32.6 billion won in the same month.
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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.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
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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

<저작권자 © 코리아포스트, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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