UPDATE : 2018.8.14 TUE 14:06
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Headlines, August 8, 2018

Wednesday, August 8, 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 offered to send Pompeo to N. Korea again: Bolton
U.S. President Donald Trump has offered to send Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to North Korea again to meet with Pyongyang's leader and continue negotiations on dismantling its nuclear weapons program, a top Trump aide said Tuesday. Trump made the proposal in his most recent letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, according to U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton. The letter was delivered to the North's foreign minister during last week's regional gathering in Singapore. Pompeo also took part in the meeting.

N. Korea criticizes S. Korea for confrontation that could undermine peace mood
North Korea accused South Korea on Wednesday of seeking confrontation and undermining the cross-border conciliatory mood, bristling at a recent defense meeting between Seoul and Washington. The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, said the recent South Korea-U.S. military talks and Seoul's military reform plans are designed for a "confrontational plot." "It is tantamount to a provocation to its compatriots that have been making sincere efforts for peace and reduction of tension, and it also runs squarely counter to the spirit of the Panmunjom Declaration," the newspaper said, referring to the agreement adopted during the April 27 inter-Korean summit.

Ministry to harness cutting-edge technologies to enhance military logistics
South Korea's defense ministry on Wednesday announced a plan to capitalize on big data, 3D printing, drones and other cutting-edge technologies to strengthen the military's logistical support capabilities. The plan is part of the Defense Reform 2.0 initiative aimed at creating a smaller yet smarter military capable of handling traditional and nontraditional security threats from inside and outside the peninsula. "So as to expand logistical support capabilities and efficiency, the defense ministry plans to preemptively adopt technologies related to the fourth industrial revolution," the ministry said in a press release, referring to the fast-paced industrial transformation marked by the convergence of new technologies.
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KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
Bolton: Trump Proposed Pompeo Visits N. Korea Again

U.S. President Donald Trump has proposed to send Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to North Korea again to meet with the country's leader Kim Jong-un and continue negotiations on the North's denuclearization. U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton on Tuesday told Fox News that Trump made the proposal in his most recent letter to the North Korean leader. The letter was delivered to the North's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho during last week's ASEAN Regional Forum in Singapore.

38 North: More Demolition Work at N. Korea's Sohae Missile Site
North Korea is reportedly taking more steps to dismantle a key missile engine test site in line with an agreement the regime’s leader Kim Jong-un made with U.S. President Donald Trump at their summit in June. U.S. Web site 38 North reported Tuesday that commercial satellite imagery taken August third shows more of the facilities and infrastructure apparently being modified or removed from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in North Pyongan Province.

CDC: 42 Have Died From Heat-Related Diseases in S. Korea This Summer
The death toll from this summer's prolonged heatwave in South Korea has risen to 42. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Tuesday that between between May 20th and August sixth, three-thousand-438 people were estimated to have visited emergency rooms across the country for heat-related illnesses, and 42 of them died. The number of people suffering heat-related ailments is already the highest since related data began to be compiled in 2011.
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Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
Vegetable prices jump 5.4 percent in single week from heat wave

Prices of vegetables jumped more than 5 percent last week from the week before as the heat wave continued, while the price of ice cream fell by over 40 percent, data showed Wednesday. According to a portal operated by the Korea Consumer Agency that tracks food costs, vegetable prices increased 5.4 percent as of Friday from the previous week. Processed seafood became 7 percent more expensive, and fish 2.4 percent. For vegetables, the price of cabbage was up the most, climbing 41.2 percent. Spinach was 33.4 percent more costly. In all, 13 of 21 vegetables measured for the data had increased in price.

Sulfuric acid leak reported at chemical treatment plant, no one hurt
Some 5,000 liters of sulfuric acid leaked Tuesday at a chemical waste treatment plant in South Korea but no injuries were reported, firefighters and company officials said. The leakage happened at around 6 p.m. at a chemical waste storage tank of F-One Chemical in Chilgok, a town in North Gyeongsang Province, they said. The leakage took place right after roughly 20,000 liters of waste acid was injected into the tank. With the sulfuric acid leakage, yellow waste acid vapor was seen around the facility, they said.

Unionized bank workers vote to go on strike
Unionized workers at South Korean banks voted Tuesday to go on strike amid a feud with management over the introduction of the shorter workweek system and other key pending issues, officials said. The decision was made in voting that ended at 6 p.m., according to the officials. The workers' detailed action plan will be announced on Thursday. Preliminary counting showed that more than 80 percent of the workers participated in the voting, of which over 90 percent approved the move, an official said.
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The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Reality bites for hopes of peninsular economic cooperation
The possibility that the long-reclusive North Korea may open up its market for extensive development is likely to act as hopeful momentum for South Korea’s economy, which has stalled in slow growth and sluggish employment. Despite all the alluring factors, however, rosy promises of the inter-Korean economic cooperation are still far from guaranteed, mostly due to an uncertain outlook for Pyongyang’s denuclearization, observers pointed out.

In wake of Incheon girl’s death, student admits rape
A male student has admitted to the rape of a 13-year-old girl who was found dead about two weeks ago in Yeonsu-gu, Incheon, police said Monday. The victim’s family had brought forth fresh allegations to suggest she was assaulted by two boys, according to Incheon Yeonsu Police Station. The victim’s aunt discovered her body upon coming home around 7:25 p.m. on July 20. There were no signs of forced entry into the house or on the body to indicate a struggle. No suicide note was found at the scene, police said. Investigators had initially questioned school authorities and peers to see whether bullying had occurred, after the victim’s sister alleged on social media that “some 10 girls threatened” her sister at a karaoke room on July 14.

Dog hotel operator accused of fatal dog abuse
A dog hotel operator was booked without physical detention for allegedly violating animal protection laws, police said. Authorities received a report from a dog owner who claimed her pet died in the care of the business owner on July 30 in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province. Dispatched police officers reportedly found 10 dead dogs in the hotel among the 23 dogs temporarily staying at the facility. Examiners attempted to determine causes of death through autopsies of some of the dogs, but results were inconclusive due to severe decomposition.
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The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Gov't leads fight against fake Korean brands

The government is leading the fight against fake Korean brands, which have thrived in recent years by pretending to be Korean. In its latest notification on Facebook, the South Korean Embassy in Guatemala made it clear that Mumuso, a Chinese retailer, was not a Korean company and Guatemalans should not be confused. "Mumuso has opened its stores at four major malls in Guatemala City and Mixco ― Portales, Naranjo, Oakland and Miraflores ― and they pretend that they sell Korean products. However, Mumuso is not a Korean company and its products are not from Korea," the Embassy said in its statement (Spanish and Korean) on Saturday (local time).

North Korea coal shipment tests Seoul-Washington sanctions alliance
Multiple reports of ships allegedly carrying North Korean coal to South Korea are expected to weigh on the alliance between South Korea and the U.S., despite the two governments stating that this is an excessive concern. But these discoveries are becoming a sensitive issue for the U.S., which has vowed to maintain sanctions strictly until the North takes concrete denuclearization steps. The government is currently investigating nine instances of suspected North Korean coal imports. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions imposed last August ban Pyongyang from exporting coal, iron and other mineral resources, and member states from buying them.

Gov't to limit vehicles on dusty days
Starting next year, the government will limit both the number of vehicles on the road and the operating hours of air pollutant facilities when the fine dust alert is in effect. The Ministry of Environment said Tuesday that the Cabinet-approved revised law will take effect next February. Under the revision, provincial governors and municipal heads will be able to issue a ban on drivers, reduce the operating hours of air pollutant facilities and recommend their owners temporarily suspend operation. The revision is an expansion of various air pollution-reducing measures in place including an odd-even vehicle use ban subject only to civil servants, under which vehicles with odd-number plates must not be driven on even-numbered dates and vice-versa.
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Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
U.S. Opposes Resumption of Package Tours to N.Korea

The U.S. State Department is against attempts by the South Korean government to revive package tours to Mt. Kumgang in North Korea. Asked to comment on recent remarks by Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun on the issue, a State Department spokesperson told Voice of America on Aug. 4, "Sanctions remain in full effect until North Korea takes concrete action to denuclearize." Hyun, whose group has little other business except elevators and containers, expressed hope that the package tours will resume this year.

Carcinogen Found in More Hypertension Drugs
More Korean hypertension drugs have been identified to contain dangerously high levels of the carcinogen NDMA. The compound was found in generic valsartan using ingredients manufactured in China. The Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said Monday it has now banned 59 branded hypertension drugs containing valsartan manufactured by Korea's Daebong LS, which imported the ingredients from China's Zhuhai Rundu Pharmaceutical. Around 180,000 people in Korea have been prescribed these drugs.

ASEAN Forum Urges Mere 'Complete Denuclearization' of N.Korea
The 25th ASEAN Regional Forum in a closing chairman's statement on Aug. 4 urged North Korea to abide by its promise of "complete denuclearization." The attending foreign ministers from 27 countries urged North Korea "to fulfill its stated commitment to complete denuclearization and its pledge to refrain from further nuclear and missile tests." The formula leaves out the crucial element of verification, which was also left out of a statement signed by U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at their summit in June.
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HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
President Moon orders plan for reducing July and August electricity bills for low-income earners

On Aug. 6, South Korean President Moon Jae-in instructed his staff to finalize a plan for reducing the burden of the electric bill so that this can be applied to the July electric bill. This is to be achieved by temporarily relaxing the current progressive billing scheme for household electric bills—under which the rate goes up in stages as usage increases — during the months of July and August and to give low-income earners and social welfare facilities higher discounts for electricity usage. “Every family is really worried about its electric bill because of the heat wave this summer,” Moon said while asking his staff to find ways to ease that burden. Moon made the comments while presiding over a meeting of his senior secretaries and aides at the Blue House on Monday afternoon.

Investigative committee reaches inconclusive results after examining hull of Sewol ferry
A committee examining the hull of the Sewol ferry wrapped up 13 months of activity on Aug. 6 without reaching a unified conclusion on the cause of the ship’s sinking in Apr. 2014. It also failed to reach a decision on where to preserve the Sewol’s hull. A summary report submitted by the committee to President Moon Jae-in that day included two conclusions: an “internal hypothesis,” which states that the Sewol sank due to machinery defects or other such causes, and an “open hypothesis,” which proposes additional investigations of possible causes such as a collision or other outside force.

South Korean coal company suspected of 9 cases of importing North Korean coal
A South Korean coal importing company is being investigated by the customs authority on suspicions of importing what is believed to be North Korean coal and disguising it as being from Russia, government officials have disclosed. Reportedly, this is only one of nine suspicious cases being investigated by the authorities. Misrepresenting the origin of coal counts as illegitimate importing under the Customs Act and the forgery of private documents under the criminal code. And since importing North Korean coal is banned by UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea (Resolution No. 2371), this could also represent a violation of sanctions, if the coal does turn out to be from North Korea.
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The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Another vessel suspected of carrying N. Korean coal found

A vessel “Jin Long,” accused of having brought North Korean coal to the South on Oct. 27 last year, reportedly departed from the Russian port of Nakhodka and docked at South Korea’s southeastern port of Pohang Saturday along with black materials believed to be North Korean coal, and returned to the Nakhodka Port Tuesday. While having freely entered domestic ports of Pohang, Incheon, Jinhae, and Janghang 20 times since last October, the Jin Long is presumed to have carried North Korean coal to South Korea from Russia, in breach of U.N. Security Council sanctions. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that “There has been no confirmation of a violation of the Security Council resolution in an inspection of the ship by related authorities.”

Samsung starts mass production of first 4-bit consumer SSDs
Samsung Electronics said on Tuesday that it has started mass production of 4-bit solid state drive (SSD), which has 33 percent larger storage capacity than the existing 3-bit products, for the first time in the world. It has been six years since the South Korean tech giant launched 3-bit SSDs in 2012. The 4-bit (QLC, quad-level cell) SSD stores four bits of data within a memory cell. It can greatly increase the storage capacity as more data can be stored within a memory cell. But the number of data a memory cell needs to handle increases from 8 to 16, which requires state-of-the-art technologies to maintain performance and speed.

Global heatwave drives global grain prices higher
Extreme and widespread heatwaves around the globe have taken a toll on wheat plantations as well. Major wheat producers, including the EU, China, India, and Russia have lowered their forecast for this year’s wheat harvest. Analysis includes that the wheat price may soar to the level of 2007-2008 global grain price crisis that cost thousands of lives in impoverished countries in the Middle East and Africa. Consultancy Strategie Grains has cut its forecast for this year’s wheat harvest in 28 EU countries, the largest wheat producers in the world, to less than 130 million tons. “This year’s wheat harvests in the EU will hit a record low since 2012,” said Strategie Grains. Germany, France, and Britain all have suffered from scorching weather over 40 degrees Celsius and droughts, which directly affected farmers.
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JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
Shady ship returns to Korea with Russian coal
Another ship suspected of carrying North Korean coal from Russia to South Korea was tracked to Pohang, North Gyeongsang, according to vessel tracking data Tuesday. But the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs quickly denied that the ship carried North Korean coal, though it confirmed it had entered South Korean waters. The Marine Traffic data showed the Belize-registered Jin Long by the port of Pohang as of Tuesday afternoon, after it entered on Saturday a port in Nakhodka in the Russian Far East. It is expected to return to Russia this week.

UNSC streamlines rules for aid to Pyongyang
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Monday adopted new guidelines to streamline the delivery of humanitarian aid to North Korea, which comes amid Washington’s continued call for stringent enforcement of sanctions on the regime. None of the 15 members of the Security Council, headquartered in New York, opposed the passing of the U.S.-drafted guidelines. They will be sent to all 193 member states of the United Nations to assist countries and international and nongovernmental organizations in carrying out humanitarian aid activities “for the benefit of the civilian population” in North Korea and to improve the delivery of such assistance to the country while avoiding sanctions evasions.

More small businesses can’t pay their bills
The number of small business owners who can’t afford to pay rent or electricity bills is on the increase. As business owners struggle to deal with the minimum wage hike, properties up for lease are piling up in major business districts in Seoul, such as Nonhyeon-dong in southern Seoul and the university area of Sinchon in western Seoul. “Business is so bleak that I haven’t been able to pay rent [3 million won, or $2,670, per month] or maintenance bills [800,000 won per month] for three months,” said Mr. Kim, the owner of a medical device store in Gwanggyo New Town, Gyeonggi. “Since the minimum wage hike, I’ve had to run the store myself because I can’t afford a part-time worker. As a result, I’ve had to shorten my business hours and my profit keeps going down. It’s a vicious cycle.”
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The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
New Name for DSC, "Intelligence Support Command" to Officially Launch on September 1

On August 6, the military decided to name the new military intelligence unit that will replace the Defense Security Command (DSC), after it is disbanded, the Intelligence Support Command (tentative English name). A team to prepare the establishment of the new intelligence command was also organized this day and began its activities. The military has begun to fundamentally reorganize the Defense Security Command. The Ministry of National Defense announced that it aimed to officially launch the new command on September 1. This day, the defense ministry announced that it had notified the enactment of the presidential decree on the Intelligence Support Command. The ministry also announced plans to rescind the Presidential Decree on the Defense Security Command, the grounds for the existence of the DSC.

Red Wave of 70,000 Women in Gwanghwamun Square: Anger Raging Hotter than the Heat Wave
Women who had taken to the streets near Hyehwa Station, Seoul since May criticizing the police’s partial investigation of illegal filming and photography moved to Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul this time. Contrary to the expectation that the number of participants would decrease due to the record-breaking heat wave and the WOMAD controversy, 70,000 women (according to the organizers), the largest number for a single women's agenda, took part. Crude slogans defaming and mocking the other disappeared and the protest continued to grow as women in their forties, who had been reluctant to take part, joined in.

Supreme Court Rushed a Sentence on Lee Seok-ki to Turn Cheong Wa Dae's Attention Away from a Bribed Judge
On August 2, it was confirmed that the Supreme Court under Yang Seung-tae had planned to and actually did fast forward the ruling on Lee Seok-ki (56), former lawmaker of the Unified Progressive Party, to turn the attention of Cheong Wa Dae and the public away from a case on Choi Min-ho (46), a former judge who was arrested on charges of bribery in early 2015. When the Supreme Court designed and executed the plan, the court said, "Cheong Wa Dae is critical of the judiciary after the court accepted the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union's request to suspend the enforcement of a notice defining the union as an illegal union," and mentioned, "This might seem in contrast to the Constitutional Court's decision to disband the Unified Progressive Party." In other words, the Supreme Court had no respect for the separation of the three branches of government and simply tried to use a trial to appeal to Cheong Wa Dae.
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AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Police raid treasure hunting firm in probe on investment fraud allegations

Police raided the office of Shinil Group, a marine salvaging firm which claimed to have discovered a sunken Russian warship full of gold, on allegations of investment fraud. The police raided eight locations including the office of Shinil Group in western Seoul on Tuesday. Shinil Group is reported to have closed down recently after the company was accused by investors that its claims about the Russian shipwreck are nothing but a scam.

LG to release Q8 budget smartphone this week
To attract cost-conscious consumers, LG Electronics will release "Q8", a large-sized budget smartphone, this week. The South Korean smartphone maker said in a statement on Monday that it will release its new budget smartphone later this week. Q8 comes with a price tag of 500,000 won ($444). It has a 6.2-inch display a stylus pen, a wide-angle front camera and as a 1,600-megapixel rear camera.

Chinese tech company to release LINE character-themed drone
Chinese technology company DJI partnered with LINE FRIENDS, a character brand lineup of smartphone messenger LINE, to release its first characterized drone. DJI said in a statement on Monday that the company released "LINE FRIENDS (BROWN) Spark RC Combo", a ready-to-fly drone package in DJI flagship stores and online shops in the United States, China, Hong Kong and South Korea. The package includes Spark, DJI's entry-level drone bearing a design of popular LINE character Brown, a remote controller and other important parts such as extra propellers, a battery and a USB charger. The Spark combo comes with a price tag of $399, the world's top drone maker said.
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Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Police raid Shinil Group to look into its treasure ship discovery claim

Police in Seoul raided offices of Shinil Group on Tuesday as part of a probe launched into the South Korean company claiming to have discovered a long-lost sunken Russian warship with 150 trillion won ($133.5 billion) worth of gold bars and coins. The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency on Tuesday sent 27 investigators to raid the headquarters of Shinil Group PTE Ltd. in Yeouido, western Seoul, and seven other offices including that of Shinil Group’s Donskoi International Exchange that has sold virtual currency to raise funds from investors. Shinil Group hinted it will salvage what it claimed the sunken ship and show photos of the gold on board but no further announcement was made related to it.

Police raid Shinil Group to look into its treasure ship discovery claim
Police in Seoul raided offices of Shinil Group on Tuesday as part of a probe launched into the South Korean company claiming to have discovered a long-lost sunken Russian warship with 150 trillion won ($133.5 billion) worth of gold bars and coins. The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency on Tuesday sent 27 investigators to raid the headquarters of Shinil Group PTE Ltd. in Yeouido, western Seoul, and seven other offices including that of Shinil Group’s Donskoi International Exchange that has sold virtual currency to raise funds from investors.

LG Elec premium OLED TVs in price deals in Korea in this month
South Korea’s tech giant LG Electronics Inc., the dominant leader in organic light emitting diode (OLED) TVs, will cut the price tags of the 4K TVs to accelerate the mainstream shift from LCD to OLED for TV choice. A 55-inch OLED TV (55B8C/55B8F model) will be available at 2.09 million won ($1,860) temporarily until the end of August in Korea, which would be 300,000 won off from the original price tag. LG Electronics’ 55-inch OLED TV had cost 15 million won in 2013 upon mass production. Over five years, the price has gone down by 86 percent.
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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

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