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Headlines, August 30, 2018

Thursday, August 30, 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. Korean, Chinese, Japanese culture ministers meet in Harbin
Culture ministers from South Korea, China and Japan began their three-day annual meeting in Harbin, China, on Wednesday, the South Korean culture ministry said. Culture ministers Do Jong-whan of South Korea, Luo Shugang of China and Yoshimasa Hayashi of Japan will discuss ways to expand trilateral cultural exchanges and cooperation and announce a declaration for this on Thursday.

Doosan Heavy sells its entire stake in Doosan Bobcat for 368.1 bln won
Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co., the world's leading desalination plant builder, said Wednesday that it has sold its entire 10.55 percent stake in Doosan Bobcat Inc. for 368.1 billion won (US$331 million). Doosan Heavy said the stake sale to unidentified South Korean securities firms is meant to improve its financial condition.

Chinese military jet enters S. Korean air defense zone
South Korea scrambled Air Force jets Wednesday to counter a Chinese military plane flying in the country's air defense domain without notice, defense authorities in Seoul said. It entered the Korea air defense identification zone (KADIZ) at around 7:37 a.m. and moved over southern and eastern waters for about four hours, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). "(We) took normal tactical measures," such as sending a warning message and dispatching Air Force jets to track and monitor it, the JCS added. More than 10 aircraft, including F-15K fighter jets, were mobilized, a source said later.
KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
Trump: No Reason to Spend Money on US-S. Korea Military Drills
U.S. President Donald Trump says there is no reason to spend money on joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea. The stance was revealed via a statement from the White House tweeted by President Trump on Wednesday. The statement said the president can instantly start the joint exercises again with South Korea, and Japan, if he chooses, and if he does, they will be far bigger than before.

One Dead Following Heavy Rains in Capital Region
A man was found dead Thursday after extensive rains soaked Seoul and the capital region for three days in a row. According to related authorities, a 57-year-old man, identified by his surname Jang, was found dead in front of his house at 12:30 a.m. in Yangju, Gyeonggi Province. Police believe the victim might have lost his footing and slipped down stairs.

Ratification of Panmunjeom Declaration to be Pursued Again
The ruling party, government and presidential office will again seek the ratification of the Panmunjeom Declaration at the National Assembly which is set to begin its ordinary session next month. The chief spokesperson of the Democratic Party(DP), Hong Ihk-pyo, told reporters that the agreement came on Thursday during a high-level meeting of party lawmakers and officials from the government and top office. Hong said the participants shared the view that the ratification is key to meeting the people’s aspirations and realizing the spirit of the times.
Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
Trump supports halt to 'war games,' blames China: statement
The White House said Wednesday the U.S. decision to suspend major combined military exercises with South Korea holds true despite a stalemate in efforts to denuclearize North Korea. President Donald Trump believes "there is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games," his office said in a statement posted on his Twitter account. It cited Trump's "good and warm" relationship with the North's leader Kim Jong-un stemming from their historic Singapore summit on June 12.

Top presidential official hints at powerful steps to curb speculative property demand
A senior presidential official raised the need to curb speculative demand in the property market Thursday, vowing to take stronger measures if needed. Jang Ha-sung, the presidential chief of staff for policy, made the remark at a meeting with senior officials from the government and the ruling Democratic Party (DP) over the economy. "The government will step up its efforts to thoroughly curb speculative demand in the property market while protecting real buyers," Jang said at the start of the meeting.

Moon adviser says end-of-war declaration won't lead to pullout of U.S. troops
President Moon Jae-in's security adviser said Wednesday that a declaration to end the 1950-53 Korean War would have nothing to do with the South Korea-U.S. alliance or the presence of American troops here. Moon Chung-in, a special advisor for unification, diplomacy and national security affairs for President Moon Jae-in, made the remark in a meeting with Yonhap News Agency in Washington, apparently seeking to dispel concerns that an end-of-war declaration would eventually lead to a pullout of U.S. troops from South Korea and a crack in the Seoul-Washington alliance.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
N. Korea, Japan working on November summit: report
Japan and North Korea are working on arranging a summit later in the year, a local news outlet reported Wednesday, on the heels of reports of a secret meeting in Vietnam between representatives of the two countries. According to the Daily NK, a Seoul-based online news outlet specializing in North Korean news, Pyongyang is trying to arrange talks in November between its leader, Kim Jong-un, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Sales of caffeinated drinks to be banned at schools
Sales of all caffeinated beverages will be prohibited in all elementary, middle and high schools from next month. According to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, a revised law will go into effect on Sept. 14 banning the sales of all coffee and caffeinated products -- typically available for adults and teachers -- in schools. Schools are already prohibited from selling soda pop, fruit juice and dairy products if they contain caffeine. But selling other coffee drinks via vending machines and in cafeterias for consumption by adults and teachers had previously been allowed.

Daewoo E&C selected for nuclear project in Czech, Poland
A consortium of Daewoo Engineering & Construction and Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction was selected for new nuclear power plant projects in the Czech Republic and Poland, pushed by state-run nuclear operator Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, according to Daewoo on Wednesday. The consortium was selected after a weeklong screening of its business proposal based on prequalification (60 points) and the business development plan (40 points). The prequalification is based on capability for business performance (20 points), and business foundation and past performance in Europe (30 points).
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
North Korea seeks bitcoin mining to finance regime
North Korea is highly likely deploying malicious software that enables its army of cyber hackers to "illicitly" mine and gain bitcoins without a trace, analysts claimed. Given Pyongyang does not have the computer firepower, it is most likely targeting bitcoins as a means to finance the Kim Jong-un regime amid U.N. sanctions, they added. "In general, there are two main ways to mine bitcoins. One involves custom hardware, cheap electricity and a fast internet. The other is to develop malicious bitcoin mining software, which is deployed onto victims' computers," said Tara O, an adjunct fellow at the Pacific Forum, a Hawaii-based foreign policy research institute.

Prosecutors seek 14 years prison term for Shin
Prosecutors requested the Seoul High Court, Wednesday, sentence Lotte Chairman Shin Dong-bin to 14 years in prison and fine him 100 billion ($90 million) for corruption that led to a lucrative duty free license, which was approved by ousted President Park Geun-hye. Along with Shin, prosecutors also requested a 10-year prison sentence for Lotte Group founder and Honorary Chairman Shin Kyuk-ho and a five-year sentence for Shin Dong-ju, former vice chairman of Lotte Holdings, for assisting in the alleged crime.

Japan holds secret talks with NK: report
Japan held a secret talk with North Korea without notifications to the United States to discuss the repatriation of Japanese people abducted by the regime, according to reports, Wednesday. The meeting was between Shigeru Kitamura, head of Japan's Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office, and North Korea's Kim Song-hye who is in charge of unification issues, the Washington Post reported. Washington reportedly expressed regret over the secret meeting, as the country has kept Japan up to date on its ongoing dialogue with the North. The U.S. is known to have viewed the meeting as an act of distrust.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
N.Korean Nuclear Crisis Back to Stalemate
The North Korean nuclear crisis appears to be returning to the same point it had reached before the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in June. Dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea has ground to a halt as the North made it clear it has no intention to take significant steps by reporting its nuclear weapons arsenal or agreeing to a timeframe. The U.S. has canceled a visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang, apparently because of a "belligerent" letter from the North and its insistence on declaring a formal end to the Korean War first.

U.S. Hints at Resuming Major Drills with S.Korea
U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has hinted that the U.S. could resume joint exercises with South Korea amid a fresh stalemate in denuclearization talks with North Korea. He told a Pentagon conference on Tuesday that "the U.S. doesn't plan to suspend any more military exercises with South Korea." His remarks send a warning to North Korea that it must take more substantial steps toward denuclearization if it wants diplomacy to continue.

Flash Floods Wreak Havoc in Capital
Torrential rains on Wednesday brought devastating flash floods that inundated houses and brought traffic to a standstill. Some 200 to 400 mm of torrential rains fell in the Seoul metropolitan area and Gangwon Province. Two days of heavy rains left one person dead and three others injured and inundated 831 houses and shops in Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi Province and Daejeon, according to the Ministry of the Interior and Safety. Some 137 people had to abandon their homes.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
South Korea massively increases 2019 budget for inter-Korean exchange
The South Korean government has allocated 880.3 billion won (US$794.1 million) in next year’s budget for supporting public livelihood cooperation and creating a basis for economic cooperation with North Korea to achieve the terms agreed upon in the Apr. 27 Panmunjom Declaration. The sum represents a 76 percent increase from this year’s budget of 499 billion won (US$450.2 million). The budget for supporting divided family reunion will be nearly tripled, from 12 billion won (US$10.8 million) this year to 33.6 billion won (US$30.3 million), while support for social and cultural exchange will go up 59 percent, from 12.9 billion won (US$11.6 million) this year to 20.5 billion (US$18.5 million) next year.

Pompeo’s NK visit cancelled because of demands for immediate end-of-war declaration, NIS says
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s abrupt cancellation of a fourth North Korea visit in late August appeared to be the result of a conflict between North Korea’s demand for a declaration ending the Korean War ahead of anything else and the US’s insistence that denuclearization come first, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) suggested. During an appearance before a plenary session of the National Assembly Intelligence Committee on Aug. 28, NIS Director Suh Hoon was reported as saying the service had “determined that [Pompeo] is unable to go [to North Korea] before the clash between North Korea, which is demanding the adoption of a war-ending declaration, and the US, which is calling for a denuclearization declaration first.”

Experts point at possible software errors and designs flaws behind BMW fires
Automobile experts speaking at a public hearing organized by the National Assembly Land, Infrastructure and Transport Committee on Aug. 28 on recent fires involving BMW vehicles raised questions about possible software errors and design flaws in addition to the hardware issues identified by the company as the reason for the fires. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) said it would “consider every possibility” and “investigate the cause of the fires from the beginning, completing [the investigation] within the year.”
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Chinese warplane enters KADIZ again
A Chinese military aircraft entered South Korea’s Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) without notice on Wednesday, prompting a South Korean fighter jet to make a sortie in response. It has been a month since a Chinese warplane entered the KADIZ on July 27 and marks a fifth unauthorized entry this year. At around 7:37 a.m., a Chinese military jet, presumably a Y-9 reconnaissance aircraft, first entered the KADIZ from southwest of Ieo Island and flied along the Straits of Korea toward the East Sea, entering and exiting it on and off, according to military authorities. The Chinese military jet moved northwards to Pohang, flying at an altitude of 74 kilometers, and kept northwards to Gangneung, climbing up to an altitude of 96 kilometers. The jet then turned southwards and completely exited the KADIZ at around 11:50 a.m.

Shinsegae ‘Boontheshop' enters Le Bon Marche in Sept
Shinsegae Department Store’s select shop Boontheshop’s own brand "Boontheshop Collection" will be launched in Paris, France in September. Shinsegae Department Store announced on Wednesday that Boontheshop Collection will officially enter "Le Bon Marche" of Paris, which is known to be one of the most luxury department stores. Boontheshop, which opened in 2000 featuring the concept of select shop for the first time in Korea was launched in Barney’s New York, a department store in the United States, in September 2017 followed by exhibiting a show room in Paris in March, and officially entering Le Bon Marche in September.

Korean missionary opens the heart of Muslims in Tanzania
Interesting scenes were seen during the World Taekwondo Hanmadang Games that was held at the Halla Gymnasium in Jeju City last month. The event operators saw four middle school students who participated as Taekwondo players of Tanzania, Africa singing all four verses of the national anthem of Korea in Korean. They are Tanzania’s national taekwondo players who participated the international competition led by Kim Jeong-ho who is a missionary in Tanzania and taekwondo instructor.
JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
Suspension of joint drills off, says Mattis
Washington has no plans to suspend any more joint military exercises with Seoul, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said Tuesday, after negotiations with Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear and ballistic missile programs hit an impasse.“As you know, we took the step to suspend several of the largest exercises as a good-faith measure coming out of the Singapore summit,” said Mattis at his first press conference in five months on Tuesday at the Pentagon, alongside Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford. “We have no plans at this time to suspend any more exercises.”

Economic czars smile for cameras
The two economic titans of the Moon Jae-in government - Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon and Blue House policy director Jang Ha-sung - held a closed-door meeting on Wednesday to find common ground on the policies that have been driving them apart. “Just today, we have met twice and we’ve been meeting almost every day recently,” said Kim, who is also deputy prime minister for the economy, as he arrived at the closed door meeting in central Seoul on Wednesday. “I don’t see why this is news.”

Deluge in Seoul takes 1 life, causes damage
Heavy rain battered the Seoul metropolitan area Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, leaving at least one dead and two injured. The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said Seoul and Gyeonggi were expected to see more rainfall from Wednesday night through early this morning, with other areas in the country experiencing lesser amounts.
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)
Hyundai and Kia connected cars adopt AI voice assistant service next year

In an effort to take the upper hand in the new era of connected cars, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors will add an artificial intelligence (AI) voice assistant service to the companies' cars next year. Hyundai said in a statement uploaded to its news blog on Thursday that Kakao Mini, an AI voice assistant platform operated by web service giant Kakao, will be installed in infotainment systems of Hyundai and Kia cars next year.

Doosan Heavy sells stake in sister firm to improve financial status
Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, a key contractor in South Korea's nuclear power industry, decided to jettison shares in Doosan Bobcat, a construction equipment maker, to improve its financial structure. Doosan Heavy said Wednesday in a regulatory filing that it would sell off its entire holding in Doosan Bobcat for 368.1 billion won ($331.6 million). Both are affiliated with the Doosan group, which has been involved in steady corporate restructuring.

Yeochun NCC earmarks $666 mln to boost production of petrochemical materials
In line with rapid expansion at other domestic petrochemical plants, Yeochun NCC, a key producer of raw materials for various petrochemical industries in South Korea, will invest some 740 billion won ($666 million) to boost production at its naphtha-cracking center and build a new butadiene plant. Yeochun NCC, a joint venture between Hanwha Chemical and Daelim Industrial, has naphtha-cracking facilities in the southern industrial city of Yeosu to produce basic feedstock materials for the petrochemical industry, such as ethylene, propylene, benzene, toluene and butadiene.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
GS EPS buys 10% stake in New Jersey-based Linden power complex

GS EPS Co., a LNG-based power generating unit of South Korea’s GS Group, agreed to buy a 10-percent equity stake in a gas-fueled power plant in New Jersey to become Korea’s first private name to venture into the U.S. electricity market. The Korean company said Thursday it signed a deal with American asset managers Ares EIF Management and Oaktree Capital Management to assume share holdings of a 10 percent stake in Linden Cogeneration Complex, which operates a 972 megawatt (MW) natural gas-fired thermal power cogeneration facility in northern New Jersey. Korea’s Mirae Asset Daewoo Co. and Hana Alternative Asset Management Co. also joined as co-investors.

Doosan Heavy sheds its entire stake in Doosan Bobcat worth $332 mn
South Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. disposed of all of its shareholding in Doosan Bobcat Inc., U.S.-based farm and compact construction equipment maker, to improve its financial status. Doosan Heavy announced in a disclosure Wednesday that it sold off its 10.55 percent stake or 1,578,070 shares in Doosan Bobcat for an estimated 368.1 billion won ($331.8 million) based on its closing price of 34,800 won on Wednesday. Doosan Infracore Co., the group’s heavy equipment unit, still remains Doosan Bobcat’s largest shareholder with a 55.34 percent stake.

Yeochun NCC to spend $668 mn to ramp up ethylene, butadiene capacity
Yeochun NCC Co., a South Korean naphtha cracking firm, will invest a combined 740 billion won ($667.9 million) to ramp up its ethylene and butadiene production capacity with an aim to provide a steady supply of the key petrochemical materials to its owner companies. The joint venture company between Daelim Industrial and Hanwha Chemical said Wednesday it plans to pump 600 billion won into expanding its naphtha cracking center, a move that would beef up its annual ethylene production by 335,000 tons. Once the new facilities enter into commercial operation in fall 2020 as scheduled, the company’s total ethylene production capacity would be bumped up to 2.29 million tons a year.
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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