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Headlines, August 23, 2018

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Tortoise and the Hare in Korea in the 21st century.

This cartoon published by popular Korean-language newspaper, Joong-ang Ilbo, on Aug. 16, 2018, shows the ‘Hare’ (captioned ‘ruling Democratic Party’) taking a nap under a tree. In contrast, the Tortoise (opposition Liberal Democratic Party) toils on without a break. The fable has the Tortoise winning the race.

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.
President Duque of Colombia an expert in economics with rich experience various other areas
President Ivan Duque-Marquez of the Republic of Colombia was born on 1 August 1976. He has a law degree from Sergio Arboleda University in Bogotá, majoring in philosophy and humanities. He is an expert in economic affairs, with executive studies in Harvard, a Masters Degree in public policy management from Georgetown and in economic law from the American University.

Former minister of interior of Colombia has a broad experience in diplomacy, public affairs’
Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo-Garicia of the Republic of Colombia is a lawyer with broad experience in diplomacy matters and in the public affairs in Colombia. Mr. Trujillo has a law degree from the University of Cauca, with graduate studies in Criminal Law and Criminology. He has other graduate studies in the Sophia University of Tokyo, where he took his Masters in International Business. He has also taken a number of courses on management in Japan. Among his extensive diplomatic experiences, he worked as Colombian Consul in Tokyo 1976-1982, chargé d'affaires for Colombia in Japan in 1979-1980, and Ambassador and permanent representative of Colombia to the OAS in 1995-1997.

Gov't to propose largest job-focused budget next year: finance minister
Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said Thursday that the government will propose the largest job creation-centered budget next year that will benefit both the public and private sectors, as the nation's economy is struggling with employment problems. Kim, who made the remarks at a parliamentary budget committee, said Seoul plans to maintain its expansionary fiscal policy to help create jobs and narrow income inequality.
KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
Ruling Camp Vows to Increase Job Budget to Highest Level Next Year

The government and the ruling Democratic Party(DP) have vowed to maintain an expansionary fiscal policy and increase the budget for jobs to a record level next year. Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said Thursday during a meeting with the ruling party on next year's budget that the government will propose the largest job creation-centered budget next year that will benefit both public and private sectors.

Cabinet Reshuffle Could Come as Early as Next Week
The presidential office will likely conduct a Cabinet reshuffle as early as next week, ahead of the National Assembly’s regular session in September. A senior official at the top office told KBS on Wednesday that the process of verifying the candidates are known to be nearing an end, adding what remains now is President Moon Jae-in’s final decision. The official, however, said it would be difficult to meet the objective of placing opposition party figures in key Cabinet posts, given the not-so-smooth cooperation with the opposition.

S. Korea, Japan to Extend Their Military Info. Agreement
South Korea and Japan have decided to extend a bilateral defense intelligence sharing agreement by one year. A Defense Ministry official said Wednesday that the two sides agreed to keep the accord in place after taking into consideration the security situation on the Korean Peninsula. The official said Seoul and Tokyo share the view that they need strategic communication in the process of North Korea’s denuclearization and establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
One missing as Typhoon Soulik hits Jeju Island
Typhoon Soulik crashed into South Korea's southernmost island of Jeju on Thursday and is forecast to batter the capital city the following day, weather authorities said. The powerful tropical storm was heading north at a speed of 16 km per hour after it passed through seas about 90 km off Jeju, as of 6 a.m., according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA). Typhoon rains totaling 566 mm pounded Jeju with strong winds overnight, leaving one woman in her 20s missing and another man injured and causing blackouts in some 6,000 households.

Long-overdue debts worth 13.6 tln won written off since 2017
Private financial institutions have written off 13.6 trillion won (US$12.1 billion) worth of long-overdue debts owed by troubled borrowers since early 2017, the financial regulator said Thursday. The write-off of overdue debts is part of the government's measures to ease financial burdens on low-income people after a reduction in the maximum legal interest rate that private lenders can charge customers. Private financial institutions will write off 900 billion won worth of long-overdue debts by the end of this year, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) said in a statement.

Outgoing U.S. 7th Air Force chief receives medal for contribution to peninsula security
The South Korean government on Thursday conferred a medal of merit on Lt. Gen. Thomas W. Bergeson, the outgoing commander of the U.S. 7th Air Force, for his contribution to peace and stability on the peninsula. Defense Minister Song Young-moo gave Bergeson the Gukseon Medal, the second-highest class in the Order of National Security Merit, on behalf of the government, his office said. Bergeson, who took the commander post in July 2016, is set to leave office next week.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Separated families hold each other one last time
Eighty-nine elderly South Koreans met their North Korean family members for what is likely to be the last time on Wednesday, in a reminder of the war that continues to plague the Korean Peninsula. A group reunion session began around 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Kumgangsan Resort on the east coast of North Korea, wrapping up the first round of a reunion event for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

Mutilation murder suspect says killed victim over illegal hostess service
The suspect in the murder of a man whose dismembered body was found at Seoul Grand Park in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, early this week said he killed the victim during a fight over an illegal hostess service at the suspect’s karaoke establishment. Police are still investigating the 34-year-old man suspected of murdering the 51-year-old victim by stabbing him in the neck multiple times around 1 a.m. on Aug. 10 at the karaoke in Anyang, a city adjacent to Gwacheon on the southern outskirts of Seoul.

KT’s Genie Music prepares visual music platform with holograms, AR
Genie Music, a music platform owned by mobile carrier KT, is preparing to develop a visual music platform using hologram and augmented reality technologies, with an aim to provide immersive media content in the era of the fifth-generation network, the company announced Wednesday. During a press conference at the K-live concert hall in Sangam-dong, northwestern Seoul, the company staged a short joint concert featuring late pop singer Yoo Jae-ha and the group Sweet Sorrow, visualized in hologram form.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Seoul may drop labeling N. Korea as 'enemy'

South Korea is considering removing the phrase "main enemy," referring to North Korea, from a biannual white paper to be released by the defense ministry in December, military sources said Wednesday. "After a thorough review, the defense ministry will soon decide whether to delete its reference to North Korea as the main enemy in the 2018 Defense White Paper, which will be released in December," the ministry said.

USFK chief backs removal of border posts
United States Forces Korea (USFK) commander Gen. Vincent Brooks expressed support for the two Koreas' decision to remove some guard posts near their border, Wednesday, calling it a "trust-building" measure. But he also stressed that Seoul and Washington must continue to pressure the North. When asked during a press briefing in Seoul about the South Korean defense minister's announcement Tuesday that the two Koreas had agreed to remove 10 guard posts from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Brooks, who also serves as commander of the United Nations Command and Combined Forces Command, said, "As a U.N. commander, I support this initiative that can reduce military tension along the Military Demarcation Line."

Military's new security command to debut Sept. 1
The Ministry of National Defense said Wednesday the military will have a new security command on Sept. 1 after the scandal-tainted Defense Security Command (DCS) is disbanded. The ministry will send hundreds of DSC personnel, who were involved in a series of its recent political interference activities, back to their former branches no later than the end of this week, according to the ministry Wednesday. "We are going to have 200 to 300 DSC personnel returned to their former branches of the military," a military official said.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Seoul Braces for Worst Typhoon on Record
This year's 19th typhoon Soulik will likely be the most powerful typhoon ever to hit Seoul since 1977, the Korea Metropolitan Administration warned Wednesday. Soulik is expected to make landfall in Korea on midnight Thursday and will hit the Seoul metropolitan area with its 20 million inhabitants on Friday morning. The typhoon will keep moving northeastwards, reaching Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province at 6 a.m. and Goseong, Gangwon Province around 10 a.m.

2 Koreas to Pull Guard Posts from DMZ
South Korea will vacate about a dozen guard posts in the demilitarized zone on a trial basis under a reciprocal agreement with North Korea, Defense Minister Song Young-moo told the National Assembly Defense Committee on Tuesday. The agreement came in cross-border talks between generals in the truce village of Panmunjom on July 31, according to the Defense Ministry.

Fertility Rate Falls to Less Than 1 Child
Some 357,771 babies were born last year, down 48,472 from the previous year, with the total fertility rate dropping from 1.172 to 1.05 over the same period, Statistics Korea said Wednesday. This year the fertility rate is expected to drop to less than one child per woman. Only 82,000 babies were born in the second quarter this year, down 8.5 percent, bringing the fertility rate down to 0.97.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Former DSC commander visited Blue House on day of Park Geun-hye’s impeachment
Cho Hyun-chun, former commander of the Defense Security Command (DSC), visited the Blue House while he was in the middle of preparing for an illegal proclamation of martial law, the Hankyoreh has confirmed. On top of that, the visit occurred on the very day that former South Korean President Park Geun-hye was being impeached in the National Assembly. Indeed, it was after that point that discussion about a martial law proclamation began inside the military. This is further kindling suspicions that the DSC commander had an inappropriate meeting with Park while her authority was suspended by the impeachment and that the two discussed concrete ways to respond to the candlelit rallies, including proclaiming martial law.

Police under Lee Myung-bak administration ran surveillance on Roh Moo-hyun
It turns out that the South Korean police tracked the movements of former president Roh Moo-hyun and reported them to the Blue House during the presidency of Lee Myung-bak. Documents disclosed in an ongoing trial also contain evidence that the National Intelligence Service (NIS) labeled people critical of how the Lee administration was running the country as “leftists,” going so far as to call for a “leftist judge” to be discriminated against in personnel decisions.

7-Eleven to launch automated, self-service convenience stores
As the conflict among convenience store owners, franchise headquarters and the government intensifies over the recent hike in the minimum wage, 7-Eleven – one of the three major convenience store franchises in the country – has been getting attention with its decision to start rolling out convenience stores largely consisting of a row of vending machines.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
N. Korea likely to hold large military parade on Sept. 9 anniversary
Recent commercial satellite imagery indicates that North Korea’s planed military parade celebrating the communist state’s upcoming Foundation Day on September 9 will likely be larger in scale than the one held in February to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of Korean People’s Army, 38 North, a U.S. website monitoring the North reported on Tuesday (local time).

New DNA analysis shows Neanderthals and Denisovans mated
Svante Pääbo, director of the genetics department at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, successfully cracked the Neanderthal genome that was discovered in the Denisova cave in 2012 and released research results in Nature on Wednesday. This technology, which is an improvement of the DNA test used to confirm‎ biological child or ancestor to the maximum precision, can accurately identify the ancestor of a fossil from tens of thousands of years ago.

U.S. accuses China of building a military base in Latin America
U.S. ambassador to El Salvador Jean Manes in early July told a U.S. news website MintPress News that China’s investment in the Port of La Union “is not only investment in a port, but then they want to do something with their military and they want to expand Chinese influence in the region (Central America).” The Port of La Union is located in eastern El Salvador. “It is a strategic matter and we all need to keep our eyes open to what is happening,” said Manes.
JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
Typhoon Soulik could batter Seoul overnight
The eye of Typhoon Soulik is expected to be closest to Seoul from tonight to tomorrow morning, and weather experts warned people to brace for the worst the medium-sized typhoon may bring when it makes landfall today. “The typhoon is expected to get stronger after it passes the sea near Jeju Island,” said Yoo Hee-dong, director of the forecast division of the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA). “Its impact on the country is expected to be larger than that of Typhoon Kompasu because it is expected to have an influence for a longer period of time on the peninsula.”

More help promised for firms hit by wage hikes
The Korean government Wednesday rolled out more measures to address the deteriorating employment situation, specifically targeting self-employed and small businesses, and committing as much as 7 trillion won ($6.2 billion) to help them be able to afford staff. According to a plan announced by the ruling Democratic Party and the government, the total amount of government subsidies given to qualifying small businesses would be raised to 6 trillion won, double the amount the government spent this year.

Autonomous Hyundai truck tackles highway
Hyundai Motor’s large Xcient truck traveled 40 kilometers (25 miles) using Level 3 autonomous driving technology on Tuesday. Korea’s No. 1 carmaker announced Wednesday that its partially self-driving Xcient truck, equipped with a trailer, drove 40 kilometers on a highway from Uiwang, Gyeonggi, to Incheon on Tuesday. The trip took about one hour.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Why Is It So Hard for North Korea and the U.S. to Swap a Declaration of Nuclear Capabilities for an End-of-War Declaration?
While North Korea and the United States remain in a deadlock on specific implementation measures following the bilateral summit in Singapore on June 12, an exchange of an end-of-war declaration with a significant denuclearization measure by North Korea has emerged as a key issue. Reportedly, the two countries are discussing a swap--a declaration of an end to the war for a list of North Korean nuclear facilities. But experts argue that it would not be easy for the two countries to agree to such a deal at this point and suggest that they seek a new path.

Time Running out for the Separated Families
The 21st reunion of separated families will be held from today until August 26 at Mount Kumgang. In the upcoming reunion--two three-day events--89 South Koreans will meet their families residing in North Korea and 83 North Koreans will meet their families in South Korea. The families may have parted at different points in time, but given that the Armistice Agreement was signed in July 1953, the families, whom they could not forget even in their dreams, will be meeting for the first time in 65 years. A reunion of separated families around August 15 was something that the leaders of North and South Korea had agreed on in the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration, and it will be held for the first time in nearly three years. Precious time slipped by as inter-Korean relations failed to escape from a dark period.

The Irony of the Candlelight Government Due to the Employment Crisis
While political discussions on regulatory reforms are making progress, discussions on "economic democratization" remain stagnant. With the government and ruling party stressing innovative growth in response to the employment crisis and President Moon Jae-in and ruling and opposition floor leaders creating a cooperative mood in a meeting at Cheong Wa Dae, legislation on regulatory improvements look to proceed smoothly. Meanwhile, discussions on bills for "economic democratization" have been pushed back. The nation is caught in an irony where discussions on easing regulations have overwhelmed discussions on "economic democratization" under the Moon Jae-in government, a government born by the candlelight demonstrations.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Hyundai shipyard proposes voluntary retirement in offshore business
Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's largest shipbuilder, proposed voluntary retirement and a drastic reduction in the structure of its troubled offshore facility division, three days after it sent the last part of an offshore module for fixed platforms in an oilfield northwest of Abu Dhabi. With no backlog of orders, the drydock for offshore facilities in the southeastern industrial port city of Ulsan has been vacant since an accommodation platform built for a crude oil production facility for Nasr in the United Arab Emirates left on Monday. Hyundai Heavy has failed to win any orders for offshore plants for 45 months.

No significant dismantlement activity detected at N. Korean ICBM center: 38 North
Work on dismantling key facilities at a North Korean base for intercontinental ballistic missiles and engine testing appeared to have slowed down with no signification activity monitored this month, according to 38 North, the website of a U.S. research institute. In its analysis in July, 38 North detected significant progress in tearing down facilities in the North's Sohae space center, including a rail-mounted processing building used to assemble space launch vehicles and the nearby rocket engine test stand that played an important role in the development of ICBM technologies.

SK Innovation confident of catching up with global battery makers
As a latecomer in the battery industry, SK Innovation, a subsidiary of South Korea's third-largest conglomerate SK Group, is confident of catching up with domestic rivals LG Chem and Samsung SDI, which have stepped up production to maintain their global leadership and meet growing global demands. SK innovation CEO Kim Jun compared electric car batteries to the semiconductor industry which requires a pre-emptive investment to secure a technical edge against competitors. The company has started building its second oversea battery plant in Changzhou, China, after the construction of its first overseas plant in Hungary began in February.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korea’s Lotte Group resumes hotel project in Yantai, China
South Korea’s Lotte Group is renewing attempt to launch hotel business in China two years after the venture came to a full stop as it bore the biggest hit from Beijing’s retaliatory actions on Korea from 2016 following Seoul’s decision to deploy U.S. anti-missile system THAAD. A high-ranking Hotel Lotte official who asked to be unnamed told Maeil Business Newspaper on Tuesday that the company has resumed its negotiation with a local Chinese developer on opening a hotel in Yantai, a port city in Shandong province, eastern China, by 2020.

S. Korea’s short-term external debt ratio highest in almost 3 yrs
The ratio of South Korea’s short-term foreign debt to its foreign exchange reserves reached the highest in almost three years at the end of June, indicating that the country has become more vulnerable to sudden financial shocks than before, central bank data showed on Wednesday. According to data by the Bank of Korea, the ratio of Korea’s short-term external debt to its foreign exchange reserves stood at 31.3 percent at end-June, up 0.9 percentage point from three months ago. The figure is the highest since the same level marked in September 2015.

S-Oil readies $4.47bn petrochem project in Korea
S-Oil Corp., South Korea’s third-largest refiner wholly owned by Saudi Aramco, is prepping for another large-scale petrochemical venture in Korea that is expected to cost more than 5 trillion won ($4.47 billion) through 2023. The refiner said Wednesday it is conducting a feasibility study for building a mixed feed cracker with an annual capacity of 1.5 million tons and olefin downstream facilities. It has already secured land for the project, having bought a 400,000 square-meter site near its Onsan factory in the southeastern city of Ulsan from Hyundai Heavy Industries.
What’s ticking around the world at this second?
See what the world media around the world have to report:
USA Today www.usatoday.com aallman@gannett.com
The New York Times www.nytimes.com inytletters@nytimes.com
Wall Street Journal www.wsj.com support@wsj.com, service@wsj-asia.com
Financial Times www.ft.com ean@ft.com
The Times www.thetimes.co.uk help@timesplus.co.uk
The Sun www.thesun.co.uk talkback@the-sun.co.uk
Chinese People's Daily www.people.com.cn kf@people.cn
China Daily www.chinadaily.com.cn circulation@chinadaily.com.cn
GwangmyeongDaily www.gmw.cn webmaster@gmw.cn
Japan's Yomiuri www.yomiuri.co.jp japannews@yomiuri.com
Asahi www.asahi.com customer-support@asahi.com
Mainichi www.mainichi.jp
Le Monde www.ilemonde.com
Italy LaRepubblica www.quotidiano.repubblica.it vittorio.zucconi@gmail.com
Germany Frankfurter AllgemeineZeitung www.faz.net anzeigen.ausland@faz.de
SüddeutscheZeitung www.sueddeutsche.de forum@sueddeutsche.de
Australia Brisbane Times www.brisbanetimes.com.au syndication@fairfaxmedia.com.au
Sydney Morning Herald www.smh.com.au
Colombia Reports http://colombiareports.com
Bogota Free Planet http://bogotafreeplanet.com bfp@bogotafreeplanet.com
El Universal http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english
Andes http://www.andes.info.ec/en
Ecuador Times http://www.ecuadortimes.net
The Jordan Times https://www.jordantimes.com
LSM.lv http://www.lsm.lv/en
The Baltic Times http://www.baltictimes.com lithuania@baltictimes.com, estonia@baltictimes.com, editor@baltictimes.com
El Pais http://elpais.com/elpais/inenglish.html
Philippine Daily Inquirer https://www.inquirer.net
Daily News Hungary http://dailynewshungary.com
Budapest Times http://budapesttimes.hu
The Korea Post is running video clips from the different embassies.
Azerbaijan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR8CBpcQ4WM
Sri Lanka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hByX92Y2aGY&t=22s
Morocco: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfFmp2sVvSE
And many other countries.

Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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