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Headlines, August 24, 2018

Friday, August 24, 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.
Appeals court increases sentence for ousted leader Park by 1 year to 25 years
A Seoul appellate court on Friday increased the sentence for former President Park Geun-hye by one year in a massive corruption case that led to her removal from office. The Seoul High Court sentenced Park, 66, to 25 years in prison and ordered her to pay a 20 billion won (US$17.8 million) fine. She was sentenced to 24 years in jail and assessed 18 billion won in fines by a lower court on April 6 for conspiring with her longtime confidante, Choi Soon-sil, into forcing big conglomerates, including Samsung, to donate 77.4 billion won to two foundations under Choi's control.

S. Korea to propose to N.K. withdrawal of guard posts in designated DMZ sections
South Korea will propose to North Korea the withdrawal of guard posts in certain designated areas of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), rather than committing to reducing by an equal number of border facilities, its defense chief said Friday. Song Young-moo made the remarks amid concerns that, should the two Koreas agree to remove the same number of guard posts, Seoul would be put at a disadvantage given that the North has about 160 guard posts in the DMZ, double the number of those run by the South.

S. Korea's trade terms slide at fastest clip in nearly 7 yrs
South Korea's terms of trade dropped at the fastest clip in nearly seven years last month as import prices rose sharply amid higher crude oil prices, central bank data showed Friday. The terms of trade index for products came to 92.94 last month, down 9.7 percent from a year earlier, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK). It marked the largest on-year decline since December 2011, when the index plunged 9.9 percent. Also, the July index hit the lowest level after 92.4 tallied in November 2014, staying below the 100 line for eight months in a row.
KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
Pompeo to Travel to N. Korea Next Week with New Special Envoy
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to North Korea again next week along with a new U.S. special representative to continue negotiations on denuclearization. Pompeo made the announcement during a news conference at the State Department on Thursday, during which he also named Ford Vice President Stephen Biegun as U.S. special representative for North Korea. The secretary said that Beigun will direct U.S. policy toward North Korea and lead efforts to achieve President Trump's goal of the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.

Second Round of Inter-Korean Family Reunions Kick Off
Families from the North and South, that had been separated by the Korean War, were reunited on Friday during the second round of reunions being held at North Korea's Mount Geumgang resort. Over 300 South Koreans met with 81 family members in the North for the first time in almost 70 years during a group reunion from 3:15 p.m. A 67-year-old son met his 88-year-old father from the North to mark the only parent and child reunion. His mother in the North unfortunately passed away recently.

LKP's Reform Chief Criticizes Income-Led Growth Initiatives
The head of the main opposition party’s reform committee has criticized the government over its adherence to what he called "failed income-led growth policies." The Liberty Korea Party’s emergency reform committee chairman, Kim Byong-joon, unleashed his criticism on Friday, via Facebook, saying it makes no sense that the government says income-led growth is needed more, following the announcement of statistical data showing widening income disparity.
Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
Special counsel team indicts 10 as opinion-rigging probe nears end
The special prosecutor's team investigating an opinion-rigging scandal indicted a power blogger and a provincial governor on Friday, a day before the two-month probe comes to an end, officials said. The team also indicted eight other accomplices on charges of conspiring in alleged operations to manipulate comments on Internet news stories to sway public opinion in favor of the current ruling party.

Hyundai Motor creates new exec position to increase sales in China
Hyundai Motor Group, South Korea's biggest automotive conglomerate, said Friday it has created a new executive post to improve lackluster sales in China, the world's biggest automobile market. Hyundai named Vice Chairman Kwon Moon-sik, who is currently in charge of the carmaker's research and development headquarters, as chief of the new vehicle development headquarters for the Chinese market, the company said in a statement.

Students of Koreas' top universities exchange letters on cooperation for peace
Students at prestigious universities of South and North Korea have exchanged letters pledging to join hands to help implement the Panmunjom Declaration, an inter-Korean summit agreement adopted in April to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula. According to students at Seoul National University (SNU) on Friday, the student committee of Kim Il Sung University, North Korea's most prestigious school of higher learning, sent a letter to an SNU student group on Wednesday saying it is firmly determined to cooperate with SNU students to fulfill the Panmunjom Declaration.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Ex-president Park sentenced to 25 years
Former President Park Geun-hye was sentenced to 25 years in prison with a fine of 20 billion won ($17.8 million) Friday. She had previously been sentenced to 24 years with an 18 billion won fine in the initial trial for her part in the corruption scandal that led to her impeachment last year. Park, who has refused to appear at her trial, claiming she has lost faith in the judiciary, was not present at the ruling. The appellate court also ruled that Park had taken bribes from Samsung Group, overturning an earlier ruling.

Partisan strife continues over special probe of online opinion rigging
A partisan squabble over an opinion-rigging scandal involving an incumbent governor resumed Thursday as the team of investigators led by special counsel Huh Ik-bum decided not to request an extension of its operating term. Thirteen special counsel investigations have been carried out in Korea, and Huh is the first not to seek an extension of the team’s term. The special counsel team’s probe lost momentum after the court rejected its request for a warrant to detain South Gyeongsang Province Gov. Kim Kyoung-soo on the suspicion that he colluded with a group led by an influential blogger to manipulate public opinion on the internet.

More buy salads from convenience stores in Korea
The popularity of salads at convenience stores is rising amid more people opting for quick, affordable and health-conscious food items, according to a report from GS Retail on Friday. GS25, a convenience store chain operated by GS Retail, has seen its sales of salads rise by 278.6 percent between this year through Thursday, compared to the same period last year. Sales of salads have seen a constant rise, with the on-year growth rate touching 209.1 percent in 2015, 144.4 percent in 2016 and 179.7 percent last year.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Duty free shops rebound on Chinese buying spree

Duty free shops are enjoying a major business turnaround on a buying spree by private Chinese vendors. The outlook for their future performance is even rosier, with the Chinese government moving to allow tour groups to visit Korea again. According to the Korea Duty Free Shops Association, Friday, sales of domestic duty free shops reached $1.34 billion for July, up 36.7 percent from $983 million a year earlier. Among the July sales, $1.03 billion were by foreigners.

Typhoon passes without major damage
Typhoon Soulik has passed through the Korean Peninsula without causing major damage to the mainland. The country had braced for the typhoon _ which recorded speeds up to 62 meters per second _ after it wreaked havoc on Jeju Island on Wednesday and Thursday. But the typhoon weakened after arriving in the southwestern Jeolla region Thursday night and departed the peninsula toward the East Sea around 11 a.m. Friday, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).

Partially decomposed body found at Seoul's Chung-Ang University
A Chung-Ang University freshman, 19, was found dead on its Seoul campus on Thursday, six days after he was reported missing, police said on Friday. His body was found "partially decomposed" in a flower bed near the College of Pharmacy at 3 p.m. Thursday, according to Dongjak Police Station. The man was last seen at a dormitory on Aug. 15. His family reported him missing on Aug. 17. Police say he died after falling from the building. But they do not know if he jumped to his death.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Plastic Surgery Clinics Swarm with Vietnamese Patients
Vietnamese tourists are flocking to Korea for plastic surgery. Young Vietnamese women enamored of K-pop come to have themselves chiseled into the strange pointy doll's faces of the starlets, splashing out W3-10 million per trip (US$1=W1,122). That is higher than the per capita national income of Vietnam last year of US$2,385, but the middle class is flush with cash in a booming economy.

Household Debt Reaches W1,500 Trillion
Korean household debt is expected to surpass a record W1,500 trillion soon, though the pace of growth keeps slowing (US$1=W1,122). The Bank of Korea said Thursday that households owed W1,493.2 trillion at the end of the second quarter, up W25 trillion from the previous quarter. At this rate, the amount is expected to surpass W1,500 trillion this quarter. The main culprit was the loans from commercial banks, which grew W12.8 trillion, higher than both the W8.2-trillion increase in the first quarter and W12 trillion a year ago.

Park Gets 1 More Year in Jail on Appeal
An appellate court on Friday slightly increased the sentence of ex-President Park Geun-hye on a raft of corruption and other criminal charges from 24 to 25 years. The Seoul High Court also fined her W20 billion, up from W16 billion (US$1=W1,122). The court said Park has shown no signs of remorse even after she was impeached, and kept denying all charges and blaming her confidante Choi Soon-sil and her aides.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Migrant workers denounce attempts by businesses to reduce their minimum wage  
“Small and medium-sized companies that couldn’t operate for a single day without migrant workers are shamelessly demanding that their wages be cut. In other words, they need the workers but aren’t willing to pay them a decent wage,” said Migrants’ Trade Union President Udaya Rai during a press conference held on the morning of Aug. 23 in front of the office of the Korea Federation of SMEs (KBIZ), in Seoul’s Yeongdeungpo District.

Police under Lee Myung-bak used illegal hacks to monitor online activity of civic groups
During the administration of ex-president Lee Myung-bak, the police illegally monitored email without warrants and tracked the IP addresses of people who had written posts on the message boards of civic groups, investigators have learned. In effect, the police were “hacking” civilians who weren’t under any specific criminal charges. Evidence has also emerged that tens of thousands of politically charged comments were written by the National Police Agency’s security and intelligence bureaus.

Government ministries side with Samsung C&T in ISD lawsuit concerning merger with Cheil Industries
“The National Pension Service voted on the Samsung merger based on assessments of what would bring about the greatest profit to itself.” This echoes arguments made by the defense teams of former President Park Geun-hye and Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, who denied prosecutors’ claims that there were backdoor dealings between the Blue House and Samsung behind the scenes of the NPS’ vote. Yet this phrase was presented as part of an official statement from none other than the South Korean government, during a lawsuit.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Seoul to install 20 world city signs
Signposts displaying the distance between Seoul and major cities around the world including Pyongyang will be installed across the city’s main tourism spots. The new installations are expected to serve as a symbol of Seoul as shown in the cases of other foreign cities. The Seoul metropolitan government announced Thursday that signposts in the color of blue marking the direction and the distance towards 15 major cities around the world will be set up in 20 tourist spots most frequented by foreigners such as Seoul Plaza, Gangnam Station, and Myeongdong.

Face-lifted Hyundai New Avante comes back
The Hyundai Avante, one of the most popular compact sedans in South Korea, has come back with a complete transformation. Hyundai Motor revealed Thursday the design and specifications of the face-lifted New Avante. The Korean automaker said that the New Avante was inspired by a jet plane flying low near the ground level. The front radiator grill has expanded in size, and the overall impression has become more sporty and sharper.

38 North: No dismantlement activity found at Sohae launching station
A U.S.-based North Korea media outlet reported Wednesday that the dismantlement of North Korea’s Sohae satellite launching station has not made much significant progress since early August. It suggests that the intensity of activity has shifted from last month and early this month where the dismantling work was in full swing. 38 North under the Stimson Center said that while a significant amount of process was made in tearing down the vertical engine test stand from July to early August, there has been no apparent dismantlement activity around the facility since August 3.
JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
Reunions could be delayed due to typhoon
The second inter-Korean family reunions planned for this week could be rescheduled if Typhoon Soulik affects North Korea’s Mount Kumgang resort area, the South’s Unification Ministry said Thursday. More than 300 South Koreans were scheduled to meet their relatives for the first time since the 1950-53 Korean War at the resort area. The Unification Ministry, which oversees inter-Korean relations, said in a statement that it was monitoring the typhoon carefully to make sure everything goes as planned. Most of the participants in the reunions are elderly.

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.

U.S.-China trade war doesn’t rattle Korea yet
The United States on Wednesday levied 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion worth of Chinese imports. China immediately retaliated by putting the same level of tariffs on $16 billion of American goods. Since July 6, each country levied 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of goods, bringing the total of exports slapped with new tariffs to $50 billion on each side. And although low level talks are going on between the two countries, the U.S. government is looking into levying 25 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. Beijing has warned that it will levy 5 to 25 percent tariffs on $60 billion worth of American goods if the Trump administration actually goes through with its threat.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Court Rules for Samsung C&T to Compensate Damages Caused by Company’s Interference with Union Activities
The court ruled that Samsung C&T, which hired a security firm to block labor union activities and laid off employees involved in the establishment of the union, should compensate the union members for damages. According to the legal circle on August 23, Civil Department 14 (Chief judge Gang Hwa-seok) of the Seoul Eastern District Court sided in favor of the plaintiff in a lawsuit for compensation filed by Jo Jang-hee, vice-chairman of the Samsung union--a branch of the Gyeonggi chapter of the Korean Metal Workers' Union--against Samsung C&T on August 22. The court ordered Samsung C&T to pay Jo 50 million won; Bak Won-wu, head of the union, 7 million won; and Baek Seung-jin, the secretary-general 2 million won.

"Take Care, Mother," Cried the Two Daughters from North Korea
"Mother, take good care of yourself." When Han Shin-ja (99), a mother from South Korea boarded a bus to return home after the reunion of separated families, her two daughters from the North, Kim Kyong-sil (72) and Kim Kyong-yong (71) tapped the window and cried, "Mother." Han, tears also flowing from her eyes, got up from her seat and said, "Don't cry. Take care." The mother and daughters spoke mouthing the words, because they couldn't hear each other over the bus window. When the daughters made an effort to look into the bus window, which was too high for their height, officials and reporters from the two Koreas held them up. The mother and daughters, who met after 67 years, placed their palms against the window and waved the photographs that they had exchanged as they said their goodbyes once again.

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.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
JW Pharmaceutical wins $402 mln license out deal with Danish firm

JW Pharmaceutical, based in Seoul, signed a $402 million deal with Leo Pharma A/S, a Danish pharmaceutical and healthcare company, to license out JW1601, an ingesting form of atopic dermatitis treatment which simultaneously suppresses itching and inflammation. The deal was signed Friday in Seoul between JW Pharmaceutical CEO Jeon Jae-kwang and Kim Kjoeller, Leo Pharma's executive vice president for global research and development. JW Pharmaceutical said the Dutch company has exclusive rights to develop and commercialize JW1601 in the world market except for South Korea.

Posco E&C wins new order for Vietnam petrochemical complex
Posco E&C, a construction affiliate of South Korea's top steelmaker, won a new deal worth 81.2 billion won ($72.1 million) to create and improve the ground for a petrochemical complex in southern Vietnam. Construction will be completed in September 2020. The order was placed by Long Son Petrochemical, an affiliate of Thailand's Siam Cement Group (SCG), the inventor of a $5.4 billion petrochemical complex in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau. Earlier this year, Posco E&C secured a 750 billion won ($700 million) deal to build utility facilities, including 28 storage tanks, pipelines, and a port in the complex.

Samsung Electronics launches Galaxy Note 9 in 50 countries worldwide
Samsung Electronics launched its phablet phone Galaxy Note 9 in 50 countries. The world's largest smartphone maker plans to release its new phone in 120 countries by early September. Galaxy Note 9 is Samsung's strategic phablet smartphone targeting consumers who favor a large display. Note 9 has a 6.4-inch display with a large-sized 4,000mAh battery. The phablet phone is fitted with an iconic S Pen, a stylus wirelessly connected to Note 9 via Bluetooth.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Woori Investment on track to upscale to full-service brokerage
South Korea’s Woori Investment Bank Co. received a slap on the wrist for selling over-the-counter foreign exchange derivatives without regulatory approval, clearing a major hurdle in its transition to a full-service brokerage firm to facilitate its parent company’s shift to a holding entity. The Financial Supervisory Service after a meeting on Thursday decided to close the case with a light warning against the institution and its five former and current chief executives for the unauthorized sale.

Korea to set up microgrid system in a Galapagos Island
State-invested Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) will set up a microgrid system in Galapagos Islands to help preserve nature in the exotic archipelago with renewable energy sources and pave the way for Korean companies to enter the Latin American energy market. The institute under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy signed a memorandum of understanding with Ecuador’s electricity and renewable energy ministry to cooperate on setting up microgrid system in Galapagos archipelago in Quito on Thursday (local time in Ecuador).

Korea’s Amorepacific publishes 45-year-long microscopic study on hair
A rare reference book devoted to hair has been released by South Korea’s top beauty product maker Amorepacific Group after a 45-year-long work that helped the company make a breakthrough in products preventing hair losses. The microscopic study on hair released to mark the 45th birthday of Ginseng Sammi, the company’s first shampoo product using Korean herbal medicine, studied 30,000 Asian women’s scalp and hair for eight years to investigate the impact of age, race and the climate on scalp conditions and discover the causes for hair loss.
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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