UPDATE : 2018.10.18 THU 16:30
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Headlines, August 10, 2018

Friday, August 10, 2018

Ambassador Kouassi Bile of Cote d’Ivoire delivers a congratulatory speech to the guests.

Hosted by Ambassador and Mrs. Kouassi Bile

Cote d’Ivoire National Day reception attended by mean Korean, Int’l VIPs

Ambassador Sylvestre Kouassi Bile of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoirce in Seoul said, “The National Day of Cote d’Ivoire is a unique opportunity to take a moment to celebrate the privilege we have to hold our destiny in hand and to express our common desire to make our country a land of peace, fraternity and prosperity.” Speaking at a grand reception Ambassador and Mrs. Sarah Bile hosted at Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Aug. 7, 2018, he stated, “It is around these values that the sons and daughters of Côte d'Ivoire have managed to come together to stimulate a new dynamic to their country which has recovered its regional leadership.” (See excerpts from his speech toward the end of this report.) The reception was attended by many important guests from all walks of life, including Korean government and civic leaders and members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps, most of them ambassadors and their spouses. From the Korean side came Deputy Director General Koh Kyung-Sok for African and Middle Eastern Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Speaker Lee Ju-Young of the National Assembly (president of the National Assembly’s Forum for Africa’s New Era), and leaders from various other circles, including the mass communications media, who included Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media established 33 years ago in 1985 and now owning and operating five media outlets, 3 in English and 2 in Korean.

(For further details, visit: http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=7339)

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.
Spouse of the Vietnamese envoy introduces tasty food, beverage of her country
Mrs. Tran Thi Lan Hinh, spouse of the ambassador of Viet Nam in Seoul, recently introduced some of the traditional Vietnamese food and beverage at a Vietnamese restaurant in Seoul. The Vietnamese cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in Korea among the Korean people regardless of difference in age but more among the young people. At Viet Quan, the restaurant in point, some editors and reporters of The Korea Post media was given the rare opportunity to sample, more correctly enjoy, some of the tasty food and beverage of Viet Nam.

Ex-Moody's official warns of U.S. trade risks for S. Korean firms
South Korean exporters remain exposed to tariffs and other protectionist moves on their products, such as automobiles and auto parts, in the United States in spite of progress made in bilateral free-trade talks, a former Moody's official said Friday. In a seminar held by the Federation of Korean Industries in Seoul, Korea Society President Tom Byrne said Korea remains vulnerable to U.S. import tariffs in some products despite the renegotiation of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (FTA) in March.

Export-led recovery being maintained amid growing uncertainties: finance ministry
South Korea's economic recovery being maintained by robust exports, although capital spending and production are facing adjustments and external uncertainties are on the rise, a government report said Friday. A weaker job market, rate hikes in the United States and rising oil prices pose downside risks for Asia's fourth-largest economy, the finance ministry said in its monthly economic assessment report.
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KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
Governor Kim Questioned for Second Time in Opinion Rigging Probe

South Gyeongsang Province Governor Kim Kyoung-soo returned home early Friday morning after being grilled for more than 20 hours in a probe on his alleged involvement in an opinion rigging scandal. Departing the office of the independent counsel team in southern Seoul at around 5:20 a.m., Kim told reporters that he fully cooperated with the team's investigation in the second round of questioning. The governor, who denied all allegations in the first round of questioning on Monday, said that now is the time for the prosecutors to issue a reasonable and fair probe result without making any political considerations.

'N. Korea Will Preserve Nuclear Technology Though it Agreed to Denuclearize'
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho says that although his country agreed to dismantle its nuclear program, it will preserve its nuclear technology as the U.S. may not drop its hostility towards the regime. Ri made the remarks on Thursday during a meeting with Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in Tehran. The minister reportedly told Larijani that dealing with Americans is difficult, saying that the U.S. needs to abide by its commitments in order to achieve the goal of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but it refuses to do so.

Two Koreas to Hold High-Level Talks on Mon.
South and North Korea will hold their first high-level bilateral talks in more than two months next week to discuss follow-ups to the agreements from April’s inter-Korean summit. Seoul’s Unification Ministry said on Thursday that the North proposed early in the day they hold high-level talks on the North Korean side of the truce village of Panmunjeom on Monday, to which the South agreed. The ministry said that the North cited the necessity to discuss the implementation of the Panmunjeom Declaration as well as issues related with preparations for another inter-Korean summit.
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Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
Tax revenue tallied at 16.5 tln won in June
South Korea's tax revenue was tallied at 16.5 trillion won (US$14.8 billion) in June, up 2.4 trillion won from a year earlier, data showed Friday. Income tax revenue amounted to 6.6 trillion won in June, up 0.7 trillion won from a year earlier, due to a rise in wage and property transactions. Dues collected by companies also increased 600 billion won on-year to reach 2.6 trillion won in the one-month period, the ministry said.

Gov't mulls extending pension subscription period by five years
The state pension operator is considering extending the subscription period by about five years to narrow the gap years before payouts and to improve the fund's finances, multiple sources said Friday. The government is scheduled to announce the results of its latest review and long-term sustainable operation of the pension plan at a public hearing Aug. 17. According to the sources at the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the National Pension Service and the parliamentary committee on welfare, the proposal would include extending the subscription period to age 65 from the current 60.

Car insurance market edges down in H1 as competition bites
South Korea's auto insurance market contracted slightly in the first half of this year, hit by intensifying competition and lower premiums, data showed Friday. The car insurance market shrank 1.2 percent on-year to 8.4 trillion won (US$7.5 billion) in the January-June period, according to the data by the Financial Supervisory Service. Non-life insurers' loss rate for their auto insurance businesses rose 3.9 percentage points to 81.7 percent in the first half, the data showed.
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The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Koreas to hold high-level talks next week to discuss summit

The two Koreas will hold a high-level meeting Monday to review progress on implementation of the Panmunjom Declaration and discuss preparations for a possible summit, South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said Thursday. It will be held on the northern side of the truce village of Panmunjom and the Seoul government plans to reassemble a delegation headed by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon for the occasion, according to the ministry.

Seoul should consider ‘diluted’ end-of-war declaration: experts
With the United States and North Korea continuing to clash over declaring an official end to the Korean War, concerns are mounting that what was thought to be an easy idea is now emerging as a major obstacle to denuclearization talks. Pyongyang has upped the pressure on the US to adopt a declaration for ending the Korean War and move toward replacing the current armistice with a peace treaty. Washington, meanwhile, argues that significant progress on North Korea‘s denuclearization must come first.

National Assembly under fire over illicit overseas trips, budget spending
The National Assembly is under fire after revelations that politicians have been taking overseas trips funded by state organizations, as well as pocketing special activities funds. On Wednesday, the National Assembly announced it would refer lawmakers suspected to have taken illicit overseas trips to the ethics committee if irregularities are found. The announcement came after the state-run Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission revealed in late July that 38 incumbent lawmakers were suspected of receiving funds for such trips from entities under their supervision.
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The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Consumers fall victim to US sanctions on Iran
Park Sung-jin, 32, drives about 70 kilometers a day, commuting between his home in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, and his company in Pangyo in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province. Since the gasoline prices near his home are quite expensive, he uses a gas station on the Seoul-Busan Expressway because it is about 50 won cheaper, but in July he found that the price there was the same as at a gas station near his home. "It costs about 100,000 won ($90) to fill up my tank and I do this between two and three times a month," Park said. "The recent gasoline price hike is a burden for me."

Military aims to augment troops with IT
The military unveiled reforms Thursday to augment troops with new technology as a way to cope with declining personnel and enhance the military's combat prowess. The move is aimed at creating a smarter military environment in order to map out advanced training strategies and improve efficiency, according to the Ministry of National Defense. The ministry said it would widen its use of emerging technologies, such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), to establish efficient virtual training to be used by all branches of the armed forces.

Pyongyang reiterates demand for treaty to end Korean War
North Korea has ramped up calls to make a declaration ending the 1950-53 Korean War as denuclearization talks with the U.S. have been stalled for weeks. "There is an order in achieving a goal," the Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, said. "If the state of military confrontation between North Korea and the U.S. is ended through a declaration ending the war, a mood will be created for creating trust."
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Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Vacationers Shun Beaches in Record Heat

Holidaymakers are shunning the beaches of the east coast because they are simply too hot this record summer. Parking lots are half empty and restaurants have no customers as the sun beats down relentlessly. The number of visitors to the beaches on the east coast soared to 29.4 million in 2010 but has never reached that peak again and fewer than 20 million visitors are expected this year.

Crackdown on Korean Air Smuggling Spooks Others
A crackdown on luxury-goods smuggling by the Korean Air owner family has sufficiently spooked others to prompt them to declare their overseas purchases voluntarily. According to the Korea Customs Service on Wednesday, voluntary declarations of duty-free purchases by Korean tourists in the first seven months of this year rose 53 percent compared to the same period of last year to 114,825 cases. In 2015, when the government introduced voluntary declaration, 52,668 cases were reported.

Korea Post to Launch Drone Deliveries
Korea Post will launch drone deliveries to islands and mountainous areas in 2021, it said Wednesday. It will establish its own drone control system and start training controllers next year. A pilot program will be carried out in Taean, South Chungcheong Province this month in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior and Safety. Korea Post gave a demonstration on Wednesday of a delivery from a post office in Yeongwol, Gangwon Province to the Byeolmaro astronomical observatory at the top of Mt. Bongnae, 780 m above sea level.
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HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
South Korean government vows to reach conclusion on BMW by end of year

The South Korean government stated plans to reach a conclusion by the end of the year on the causes behind fires affecting BMW vehicles. To prevent additional fire incidents, it also plans to consider ordering a halt to the operation of BMW vehicles that have not received safety diagnostics. Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Kim Hyun-mi announced the plans on Aug. 8 while checking up on the progress of an investigation of product defects responsible for the BMW fires at the Korea Transportation Safety Authority’s Automotive Safety Research Center in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province. The ministry had been criticized for its “complacent” response after announcing that the identification of the fires’ cause would take approximately ten months.

Human rights commission recommends exempting conscientious objectors from punishment
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) submitted an opinion to the Supreme Court arguing that conscientious objection to mandatory military service should be exempt from punishment as satisfying the legal requirement for “reasonable grounds.” As an alternative service system, the commission recommended a joint living situation for a period roughly 1.5 times the current mandatory military service period for South Korean males.

North Korean foreign minister criticizes US sanctions during visit to Iran
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho criticized US sanctions during a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s presidential palace announced on Aug. 8. Ri’s meeting with Rouhani was held at the presidential palace in Tehran. During the meeting, Rouhani said the US isn’t trustworthy and doesn’t follow through on its commitments. Rouhani said this was the conclusion he had reached after observing the US’s actions for the past several years.
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The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Samsung showcases Galaxy Note 9 with upgraded S Pen

The S Pen of Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Note 9 has pushed into a new boundary of stylus. Equipped with a Bluetooth module, the S Pen has become a remote controller that can control various features of the smartphone with a single click. Previously, the S Pen’s main functions were centered around writing or drawing. Starting from the Note 7, a translator feature was added that can automatically translate the meaning of words just by pointing at them. Even with the addition of a Bluetooth module, the new stylus weighs 3.1 grams, up only 0.3 grams from the previous model.

Cheong Wa Dae admits difficulties over opinion rigging probe
South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae is under tension as the special prosecutors’ team led by Heo Ik-beom on "Druking" scandal is reaching its peak. This is because special prosecutors summoned South Gyeongsang Province Gov. Kim Kyoung-soo for a second time as part of an investigation into an opinion rigging scandal and investigations of presidential secretaries Song In-bae and Baek Won-woo, who are currently working in Cheong Wa Dae, are near at hand.

China anxious due to Trump's Iran sanctions
China, which is Iran’s largest trading partner and largest crude oil importer, is in trouble as the United States resumed economic and financial sanctions against Iran on Tuesday. China revealed that it would maintain its economic relationship with Iran despite U.S. sanctions against the partner country. China, however, appears to be nervous as it is uncomfortable in forming another war while it is already suffering conspicuously from the trade war with the United States.
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JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
2 more BMWs catch fire, bringing total to 36 for the year
Two more BMW diesel cars caught fire Thursday morning, less than an hour apart, as Korea’s Transport Ministry mulls banning the fire-prone BMW vehicles from Korean roads. This makes 36 cases of BMWs bursting into flames in Korea this year, eight in the last nine days. As some of the vehicles that caught fire in recent weeks are not even included in BMW’s official recall list, industry analysts are raising new doubts about the company’s description of the cause of the fires.

Approval rating for Moon sinks to low of 58%
President Moon Jae-in’s approval rating dipped to a record low of 58 percent, the first time the president’s popularity fell below the 60 percent level since he took office in May 2017. In a poll conducted by Realmeter between Monday and Wednesday of 1,507 adults nationwide, support for Moon declined by 5.2 percentage points to 58 percent from 63.2 percent a week earlier amid controversy over minimum wage hikes that have hurt small business owners and seemingly depressed new hiring across the country.

As power demand grows, renewable energy doesn’t reach its potential
The numbers on the monitors at Korea Power Exchange’s main control center in Naju, South Jeolla, spiked to 82 million kilowatts as the temperature in Seoul hit 39 degrees Celsius (102.2 degrees Fahrenheit) on Aug. 1, the hottest day ever recorded in the city. Luckily, power usage didn’t rise to a critical point, as power reserve rates stayed at around 15 percent largely thanks to the major manufacturing production lines being on hold due to the summer vacation.
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The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Samsung Reaches Out to Government and Speeds up Lee Jae-yong's Return to Management
On August 8, the Samsung Group announced plans to newly invest 180 trillion won and directly hire 40,000 workers, displaying the group's willingness to help create more jobs in South Korea as well as seek a foundation for future growth. In general, the group seemed to actively cooperate with the Moon Jae-in government's policy for innovative growth. However, considering the group's “five new future business projects” announced eight years ago, we will have to wait and see if the new plans will lead to meaningful results. With the latest announcement, Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics and the actual leader of the Samsung Group is expected to accelerate his public return to management after being released on probation in an appellate trial in early February.

Military's Investigation of “Personal Reputation” Limited to Irregularities and Corruption: Failure to Remain Politically Neutral to Be Punished According to the Military Criminal Act
Systematically, it will be impossible for the military's Intelligence Support Command, which will launch next month after the restructuring of the Defense Security Command (DSC), to exert “omnipotent” power like its predecessor. According to the Presidential Decree on the Intelligence Support Command, the enactment of which the government announced on August 6, the new command will not be able to investigate the “personal reputation” of soldiers and civil servants in the military. If the command fails to remain politically neutral, it will be punished according to the Military Criminal Act.

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.
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AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Police question salvation company executives over Russian warship scandal

Two former heads of Shinil, a Seoul-based company that claimed to have discovered a sunken Russian warship carrying gold, were questioned by police Thursday to see if they were involved in a scam to bilk investors of money with false claims. Shinil said 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.

Two more BMW cars catch fire on S. Korean highways
Two more BMW sedans were burned down on South Korean highways Thursday as car owners demanded a criminal investigation into top officials of the German company and its local branch to see if they tried to cover up evidence on faulty parts. A BMW 730Ld model was gutted after a fire broke out on a highway in the southeastern city of Sacheon. One hour later, a 320d model caught fire on a highway just south of Seoul, becoming the 36th car to catch fire. Nobody was hurt from Thursday's accidents, but the transport ministry dispatched officials for a quick on-site investigation.

Hyundai Motor to stop producing four diesel models at home
Hyundai Motor, a leading carmaker in South Korea, will suspend the production of four diesel models this week at home due to sluggish sales and rising oil prices as consumers favor hybrid and other eco-friendly cars. Hyundai said Thursday that the diesel models of Sonata, i30, Grandeur and Maxcruz would not be produced from Friday. In June, the company stopped manufacturing the diesel version of i40, a large family car designed for the European market, but i30's diesel version will be available in Europe.
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Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
SKC-Mitsui Chemicals JV opens system house in India

Polyurethane chemicals maker Mitsui Chemicals & SKC Polyurethanes Inc. (MCNS), a joint venture between South Korea’s SKC Co. and Japan’s Mitsui Chemicals Inc., has opened a polyurethane system house in India to broaden its presence in the world’s second-most populous country. The new facility that took a year and half to complete boasts an annual capacity of 15,000 tons, said SKC on Thursday. It is located in Sri City in the state of Andhra Pradesh of southern India, near Chennai where the manufacturing sites of many of its Korean and Japanese clients are based.

GreenCar adds 100 environmentally-friendly vehicles to its service
South Korea’s leading car-sharing service operator GreenCar has added 100 environmentally-friendly vehicles to its fleet in hopes of contributing to the improvement of the country’s air quality. An unnamed official from GreenCar said on Thursday that the company has added 60 electric cars and 40 hybrid vehicles to its fleet to expand its eco-friendly car-sharing service. GreenCar, which already offers the highest number of eco-friendly vehicles among ride-sharing services in Korea, is hoping to help improve overall air quality in the country facing worsening air pollution and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Dongwon F&B partners with Thai’s CPF to expand food trade
South Korea’s mid-sized food producer Dongwon F&B Co. announced Thursday that it signed a business agreement with Thailand’s leading food maker Charoen Pokphand Foods PCL. (CPF). The two firms agreed to expand mutual trade of their products including pet foods, home meal replacements (HMR) and processed dairy products at the headquarters of CPF in Bangkok. CPF is a major affiliate of Thailand’s CP Group, the Southeast Asian country’s largest conglomerate with annual sales reaching 55 trillion won ($49.2 billion). The group is engaged in various businesses including food, retail, finance, and communications.
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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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