UPDATE : 2019.6.17 MON 17:27
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Headlines, August 29, 2018

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Round-up of important news from major Korean, international dailies, other news sources today:

The Korea Post media (www.koreapost.com) in English, (www.koreapost.co.kr) in Korean.
S. Korea to hike budgets for joint projects with N. Korea in 2019
South Korea said Tuesday it will expand the inter-Korean cooperation fund 14.3 percent on-year to 1.1 trillion won (US$990 million) in 2019, reflecting the recent peace mood highlighted by the April 27 summit deal. Especially, the budgets for cross-border projects such as the modernization of the North's roads and railways will sharply increase to 504 billion won, up 46 percent from 344.6 billion this year, according to a scheme approved by the Cabinet that also requires the National Assembly's consent.

S. Korea seeks to increase defense budget 8.2 pct next year
South Korea is seeking to increase its defense budget 8.2 percent on-year in 2019, the largest expansion since 2008, as the country strives to build a slimmer yet smarter military and cope with the uncertain security environment. The defense ministry said Tuesday it has proposed a budget of 46.7 trillion won (US$42 billion) for next year. The Cabinet is set to review the government spending plan later in the day before submitting it to the National Assembly on Friday.

Chuseok Gift Hamper Sets on Sale
Chuseok is one of the largest gifts giving holidays in Korea, and to help you acquire the perfect gifts for treasured family, colleagues and business associates, Millennium Seoul Hilton is offering several luxury gift hamper sets for sale. Gift hampers go on sale from Monday, August 27th through to Friday, September 21st (September 17th for nationwide delivery excluding Jeju Island).
KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
Small Business Owners to Hold Massive Rally in Seoul over Minimum Wage
Small businesses will hold a massive rally in central Seoul on Wednesday to call for reforms of the nation's minimum wage system. A solidarity of small business owners said that owners and self-employed people from diverse industries and regions across the nation will gather at Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul at 4 p.m. The participants plan to call for applying a differential minimum wage and reforming the system and procedures to decide annual minimum wage.

Mattis: US Has No Plan to Suspend More Military Drills with S. Korea
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis says that the U.S. military has no plans to suspend any more major military drills with South Korea. Mattis said at a news briefing at the Pentagon on Tuesday that the U.S. took the step to suspend several of the largest exercises as a good-faith measure coming out of the Singapore summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Parliamentary Speakers of S. Korea, Sri Lanka Discuss Cooperation
South Korea's National Assembly Speaker has requested his Sri Lankan counterpart cooperate on inter-Korean exchanges. According to the National Assembly, Moon Hee-sang met with Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Tuesday during his visit to the South Korean parliament. Moon asked him to help the inter-Korean exchange continue so it will play a role in bringing peace to Asia and the world.
Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
U.S. ratchets up pressure on N. Korea with military drill card
The Pentagon has stepped in to add pressure on North Korea for its refusal to advance the denuclearization process. Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Tuesday indicated that the United States will resume key joint military drills with South Korea if the North remains recalcitrant despite the June 12 Singapore summit agreement. "We took the step to suspend several of the largest exercises as a good-faith measure coming out of the Singapore summit. We have no plans at this time to suspend any more exercises," he told reporters at the Pentagon.

Regulators seek official DSR index as tool for controlling household debt
Financial regulators will set a standard index on debt service ratios (DSR) for commercial banks in October as one of the government tools to control risk from growing household debts, officials said Wednesday. The regulators are analyzing the DSR data and will soon begin consultations with banks on setting the index, according to the officials. The government guideline will likely be set lower than what the banks have on the maximum ratio, they said.

Heavy rain kills one, injures two in Seoul
A man in his 40s has been killed and two others wounded after extensive rains up to 170 mm soaked Seoul and caused flash flooding, authorities said Wednesday. The unidentified victim apparently drowned after he was stranded in rising water on a road in Nowon, northern Seoul, at around 9 p.m on Tuesday, according to firefighters. Another woman in her 60s who was saved along with the victim is in stable condition and being treated for injuries. A 60-something woman suffered minor injuries after being stuck in flooding water for about 20 minutes in a walkway in the same district.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Cabinet OKs budget bill with largest on-year rise since 2009
The government on Tuesday approved next year’s budget bill, which would see the biggest year-on-year increase in a decade. The bill, approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday, calls for a budget of 470.5 trillion won ($423.5 billion), up 9.7 percent from this year. This is the largest on-year increase since 2009, when the annual budget was raised by 10.7 percent from the previous year, due largely to difficulties caused by the global financial crisis.

South Korean OB-GYN doctors stop performing abortions
One of the biggest professional organizations of obstetricians and gynecologists in South Korea on Tuesday said its members have discontinued performing abortions, except legally allowed procedures, in spite of existing demand due to the government’s latest law revision that imposes harsher punishments on doctors who perform the illegal but common procedure in the country. The decision is estimated to affect many women in South Korea, where some 3,000 abortions are said to be performed daily -- in spite of the procedure being illegal.

Trade minister to attend ASEAN meeting for economic partnership
South Korea’s trade minister will be attending key economic meetings with his counterparts in Southeast Asian countries this week as part of the government’s ongoing efforts to strengthen economic ties with the emerging region, his office said Tuesday. Minister Kim Hyun-chong is to visit Singapore from Thursday to Saturday to attend a series of meetings: the ASEAN economic ministers’ meeting, ASEAN plus three (along with China and Japan), the East Asia Summit and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership ministerial meetings.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
South Korea to spend more on inter-Korean exchanges

The Moon Jae-in government increased the size of its inter-Korean affairs fund for next year by 14.3 percent, according to the unification ministry's budget plans. The fund for next year is 1.1 trillion won, up from 964 billion won this year. The increase reflects inter-Korean exchanges that have been stepped up after leaders of the South and North held a summit in April.

Spy agency chief said “North, US clashed over denuke talks”
The country's spy agency chief said the reason behind the cancellation of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to North Korea this week was that the two countries failed to narrow their differences on priorities between denuclearization and the declaration of an end to the Korean War, said lawmakers who were briefed by him in a closed-door meeting. According to Rep. Kim Min-ki of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea and Rep. Lee Eun-jae of the largest opposition Liberty Korea Party, members of the National Assembly Intelligence Committee, National Intelligence Service (NIS) chief Suh Hoon said that the cancellation was because the U.S. and North Korea had clashed over the denuclearization issue.

Seoul protests Tokyo's claim to Dokdo
The government demanded a retraction of Japan's repeated claim to Dokdo islets after its Cabinet endorsed an annual defense white paper that insisted Dokdo is its land in descriptions and maps. The foreign ministry summoned Mizushima Koichi, minister at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to lodge an official protest over the claim that Dokdo is Japanese territory in its official defense record. He remained silent over questions from reporters when entering the ministry building. The foreign ministry spokesman released a statement that the ministry is strongly protesting Japan's moves.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Markets Play Growing Role in N.Korean Economy
A new class of moneyed people who get rich from officially sanctioned open-air markets is playing an ever growing role in the North Korean economy, according to a report by a U.S. think tank. The number of such markets has doubled over the past decade, and money lenders known as donju, or "money masters" are a vital prop to the economy and the regime, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

Provincial Governor Faces Charges in Opinion-Rigging Scandal
A special prosecutor on Monday accused South Gyeongsang Province Governor Kim Kyung-soo of conspiring with power blogger Druking in online manipulation of public opinions in the lead-up to last year's presidential election. Kim denies the allegations. According to special prosecutor Huh Ik-bum, Kim and the blogger, whose real name is Kim Dong-won, met several times in their offices from June 30, 2016 until Feb. 20, 2017. The blogger showed the governor a prototype of a computer program that can manipulate online comments, and the governor approved its development and use.

Korean Air to Expand Flights of Fuel-Efficient Jets
Korean Air is set to deploy CS300 jets on its international flights. The jets will fly on routes linking Busan to Nagoya, Japan, starting in November and their routes will be expanded to more Japanese cities such as Fukuoka, Narita and Sapporo, the flagship carrier said on Tuesday. Korean Air took delivery of its first CS300 from Canadian jet-maker Bombardier in December last year to bolster its short-haul domestic routes.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
South Korea officially an aged society just 17 years after becoming aging society
As South Korean society ages and the birth rate decreases, the country officially became an aged society last year, meaning that the elderly account for more than 14 percent of the total population, the latest census has found. Furthermore, the working age population (representing those between the ages of 15 and 64) declined for the first time last year. For dozens of years, the population factor has been driving growth in the South Korean economy, but now it has become the greatest risk for that economy’s future.

FTC investigates Google Korea over claims of abuse over domestic mobile game firms
Monitoring is being stepped up in South Korea for “platform superpowers” like Google and Apple. The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is also conducting an on-site investigation of Google Korea over claims that the company has been abusing its power over domestic mobile game companies. Observers are watching to see what effect this has on the “post-Google Play” push currently being driven by major game and content corporations. Industry insiders and the FTC reported on Aug. 27 that the commission recently conducted an on-site investigation at Google Korea’s offices in Seoul’s Yeoksam neighborhood. The FTC previously launched an investigation in April into allegations that Google had demanded that South Korean game companies not register their games with other app marketplaces besides Google Play.

Most South Koreans support ratification of Panmunjom Declaration
According to a recent poll, more than 70 percent of South Koreans think that the National Assembly should ratify the Panmunjom Declaration, which was signed by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Apr. 27. In a poll of 1,005 adults around the country that Gallup Korea carried out from Apr. 21 to 22 at the request of the office of National Assembly Speaker Mun Hee-sang, 71.8 percent of respondents said that the Panmunjom Declaration ought to be ratified, while just 13.6 percent said it shouldn’t be ratified.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
'Xi’s visit to N. Korea could create conflict with U.S.,' sources say
While eyes are on whether Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit North Korea to attend the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s founding on September 9, voices warning of the risk of visiting North Korea have reportedly been raised within China. Some diplomats in Beijing predict that China will send a member of the Politburo Standing Committee to the ceremony and President Xi will visit North Korea some time later in September.

Gov't to increase budgets for joint projects with N. Korea
The government will increase the inter-Korean cooperation fund by 14.4 percent, 62.4 billion won this year to some 1.1 trillion won next year. It has been three years since the cooperation fund exceeded 1 trillion won. In the Unification Ministry's 2019 budget announced by the government on Tuesday, 504.4 billion won of cooperation fund, which is 46.4 percent more than this year's 159.8 billion won, was allocated to inter-Korean economic cooperation businesses such as modernization of railways and roads in North Korea as well as establishment of a foundation for the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

CJ CheilJedang acquires U.S. and German frozen food companies
CJ CheilJedang stands to execute one after another of M&A deals on U.S. and German frozen food companies. Korea's leading food manufacturer announced Wednesday its acquisition of U.S.-based Kahiki Foods and German-based Mainfrost. Founded in 1961, Kahiki Foods recorded 62.6 billion won in sales last year. The Ohio-based food business owns home meal replacement (HMR) brands – frozen rice with toppings, and egg rolls. The acquisition deal will allow CJ CheilJedang to own four frozen food factories in the United States.
JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
Record spending to somehow create jobs
The Moon Jae-in government plans to spend a record amount to create jobs as its income-led growth policy is attacked for killing them. According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance on Tuesday, next year’s jobs-related budget has been set at 23.5 trillion won ($21.2 billion), a 22 percent increase from this year’s 19.2 trillion won, which was a record amount of spending on jobs. The overall budget is 9.7 percent higher than this year’s, a record 470.5 trillion won.

Ex-statistics agency chief defends idea of neutrality
In a tearful swansong, the head of the government’s economic statistics agency Monday slammed the Moon Jae-in administration’s decision to remove her, fueling controversy over the politicization of data as the president’s income-led growth policy stumbles. “I have worked hard to ensure that statistics are not used as a political tool,” said the outgoing commissioner of Statistics Korea, Hwang Soo-kyeong, in a speech at the government complex in Daejeon.

Expert investigation says BMW software to blame
An investigation by the Korea Consumer Association (KCA) concluded that the spate of BMW fires that left Korea in a state of panic over the summer was the fault of the engine control unit (ECU) software, not the hardware issue that the German carmaker has maintained. The KCA claim that BMW updated the ECU software to make an engine part, called the bypass valve, open at higher temperatures, leading to higher engine performance and better fuel efficiency but also to a higher risk of fire.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Jang Ha-sung, "Deteriorating Indicators Show We Need to Accelerate Income-Driven Growth"
On August 26, Jang Ha-sung, chief of policy at Cheong Wa Dae said, "The recent employment and household income indicators are telling us to accelerate the implementation of income-driven growth policies, not to abandon them." He further asked, "If we don't promote income-driven growth policies, are you telling us we should return to past policies?" As for the recent concerns triggered by the employment and income distribution indicators, Jang said, "As an official overseeing state affairs, I would like to apologize to the people first," but he refused the request by conservatives for the government to abandon its drive for income-driven growth.

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.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
CJ Cheiljedang acquires U.S. and German frozen food makers

CJ Cheiljedang, a key subsidiary of South Korea's food and entertainment conglomerate CJ Group, acquired two foreign frozen food makers, including Kahiki Foods of the United States and Mainfrost of Germany, as part of efforts to boost competitiveness in its overseas business. CJ Cheiljedang purchased a 100 percent stake in Kahiki, the Gahanna-based maker of packaged and frozen Asian foods. The company said Tuesday that the acquisition reflects efforts to expand the production of frozen foods in the United States. The quality of Kajiki products will be improved to achieve synergy with Bibigo, a Korean cuisine brand created by Cheiljedang.

Ban on coffee shop plastic cups leads to reduced paper cup use
A ban on disposable plastic cups inside coffee shops led to the reduced use of paper cups and other plastic products as many customers have actively participated in a government campaign to reduce plastic pollution. From August 1, some 20,000 coffee shops in Seoul were ordered to provide mug cups or renewable cups for customers drinking inside. The ministry did not ban the use of other disposable products such as paper cups, plastic straws and cup lids.

S. Korea to increase government spending on welfare and defense in 2019
South Korea earmarked a bigger amount of money on welfare, military buildup and cross-border exchanges in next year's budget that increased by the largest annual margin in a decade. At a cabinet meeting chaired by President Moon Jae-in, South Korea's national budget for 2019 was set at 470.5 trillion won ($423.8 billion), up 9.7 percent from this year's. It marked the biggest gain since 2009 when government spending jumped 10.6 percent.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
LG Elec to unveil upgraded Centum System refrigerator at IFA

South Korea’s electronics giant LG Electronics Inc. will showcase its latest Centum System refrigerator, targeting the European market with improved energy efficiency, at a tech exhibition in Germany this week, the company said Tuesday. LG Electronics said its new Centum System refrigerator boasts of high energy efficiency and performance, the two most important specifications European consumers care when choosing their coolers. Energy efficiency of the new 384-liter bottom-freezer refrigerator is 40 percent higher than Europe’s threshold required for highest A+++ certification, the company said.

CJ Group close to strike a deal to buy Schwan’s Food for $2.5 bn
South Korea’s retail giant CJ Group is reportedly close to striking a deal to take over U.S. food processor Schwan’s Company for about $2.5 billion, in what would be the conglomerate’s largest-ever corporate acquisition. According to sources from the investment banking industry on Monday, CJ expects to finalize the deal by next month. A source close to the deal said CJ has technically been selected as a preferred bidder after vying in a private tender early this month.

LS Cable & System unveils power cable innovations at CIGRE in France
South Korea’s LS Cable & System announced on Tuesday it has unveiled product innovations including the world’s thinnest 500㎸ power transmission cable at CIGRE 2018 in Paris, France to address customers’ needs to adapt to a more productive and decarbonized energy landscape in Europe. Founded in 1921, CIGRE (Conseil International des Grands Reseaux Electriques) is an international non-profit association for promoting collaboration with experts from 1,100 companies, universities and labs in 92 counties by sharing knowledge to improve electric power systems.
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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