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Headlines, December 24, 2018

Monday, December 24, 2018

Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today:

The Korea Post media (www.koreapost.com) in English, (www.koreapost.co.kr) in Korean.

S. Korea fines BMW 11.2 bln won for engine fires

South Korea's transportation ministry on Monday fined BMW 11.2 billion won (US$9.93 million) for allegedly trying to hide faulty parts and belatedly recalling its vehicles after some engines caught fire. About 40 engines of BMW vehicles caught fire earlier this year, prompting the German luxury carmaker to recall some 100,000 vehicles in August.

Jeju Air begins Incheon-Clark flight service

Jeju Air Co., South Korea's biggest low-cost carrier, said Sunday that it opened a new route to the Philippines to meet greater passenger traffic. The daily service that began Saturday will connect Incheon, South Korea's main air hub, with Clark International Airport, some 80 kilometers northwest of Manila, the airline said.

SME recovery to slow down in 2019, hiring to take hit: think tank

The pace of recovery for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is expected to slow in the new year, with hiring of workers likely to take a hit amid challenging conditions, a local think tank said Sunday. According to the Korea Small Business Institute (KOSBI), industrial output gains will wane, with job creation by smaller firms to experience some tough times.


KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)

Potential Tasks of Moon’s Second Economic Team

Today, with Professor Choi Jin-bong at SungKongHoe University, we’ll discuss potential tasks of Moon’s second economic team, which seems to be moving quickly in a bid to boost the slumping economy. First, Professor Choi explains why the government has launched a new economic team.

SCOTRA, a Leader in Floating PV Market

Now it’s time to take a look at a Korean business bringing about changes in the global economy with some new ideas. Based on strong research and development and groundbreaking innovations, Korean companies have made remarkable achievements in various tech areas, including automobiles, display products and secondary batteries, over the past 30 years. To demonstrate the proud accomplishments and show promising business items for each industry, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy has hosted the Korea Tech Show annually. This year’s event was held at COEX in southern Seoul for three days starting December 5.

A 90-Day Truce in U.S.-China Trade War

U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have agreed to temporarily suspend escalations in their trade war for 90 days, signaling relief for many in the international community. But conflict between the two powers may resume depending on the results of trade negotiations over the next three months. Here’s Dr. Shim Soon-hyung(심순형) at the LG Economic Research Institute to examine the upcoming trade truce between the U.S. and China.


Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)

Gov't extends subscription for tax-exempt savings accounts by 3 years

The government has extended a subscription for individual savings accounts (ISAs), or a tax-exempt savings scheme, by three years to the end of 2021, as it seeks to promote the scheme, a financial market source said Monday. ISAs were introduced in March 2016 as part of the government's efforts to help individuals increase their wealth.

S. Korea gains IOSCO derivatives committee membership

The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) officially accepted South Korea as the newest member of its committee on derivatives (C7), state regulators here said Sunday. The move makes Asia's fourth-largest economy the 16th country in the world to have full-fledged member status in all of IOSCO's seven committees, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said.

IPO issued shares for 2018 lowest in 5 years: KRX

The value of shares issued through initial public offerings (IPO) in 2018 is the smallest in five years, South Korea's bourse operator said Sunday. According to the Korea Exchange (KRX), the total value of stocks offered by newly listed companies, including those that will be issued by the end of the year, has been estimated at slightly more than 2.75 trillion won (US$2.44 billion). That is equal to 34.5 percent of 7.97 trillion won worth of stocks that were floated last year and the lowest amount tallied since 2014.


The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)

‘Game changer’ in guardrail industry taps overseas roads

Local enterprise Caris Guardrail Co. has been drawing global attention for its recent development of safe, eco-friendly guardrails, which have passed various tests for commercialization in both South Korea and the US. It began as a venture startup founded by Yu Cheol in May 2016.

Large sedans, SUVs gain popularity amid weaker demand for smaller cars: data

South Korea's domestic car market moved in two different directions this year with the rise in popularity of large sedans and sport utility vehicles standing in contrast to weaker demand for smaller vehicles, industry data showed Sunday.

Korean AI speaker supply to hit 8 mln units in 2019: report

The supply of artificial intelligence speakers in South Korea is expected to reach the 8-million unit mark in the new year as the devices gain popularity, a report by a local digital media lab said Sunday. According to the findings by KT Group affiliate Nasmedia Co., some 40 percent of the country's 20 million households will likely have an AI speaker in 2019. The numbers represent a sharp increase from just 1 million units supplied in 2017 and around 3 million that have reached the market this year.


The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)

Seoul officials visiting North Korea to check road conditions

A team of South Korean officials left for North Korea on Monday to check the overall conditions of a road in western North Korea as part of a project to modernize and reconnect roads over the inter-Korean border, the unification ministry said. About 10 South Koreans, mostly from the unification and transport ministries, crossed into the North at around 8:30 a.m. via the western inter-Korean border to conduct the inspection of the 4-kilometer section of road along the North's Gyeongui line, according to the ministry.

US turning softer on NK ahead of second summit

U.S. President Donald Trump apparently thinks his second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un anticipated for sometime early next year will go well because Washington is easing some of its pressure on North Korea. Sources said the U.S. has begun to show off a "softer" stance toward North Korea, allegedly to pave the way for the possible second summit between Kim and Trump.

Koreas, US slow down on denuclearization talks

The two Koreas and the United States are apparently slowing down talks over denuclearization, as seen from the postponement of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim's trip to South Korea. However, the three countries are maintaining momentum for dialogue and to ensure the security situation on the Korean Peninsula will not become as tense as in 2017.


Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)

Seoul Grants Asylum to Chinese Who Helped N.Koreans Defect

The government has granted asylum to a Chinese man who is credited with helping hundreds of North Koreans escape through China to Southeast Asia. The Justice Ministry said Sunday it granted refugee status to Tu Airong (55). Tu told the Chosun Ilbo, "It makes me happy that my efforts to help defectors escape from the hellish conditions of North Korea and seek refuge have been recognized."

Moon Changes Mind on Moving Office Out of Cheong Wa Dae

President Moon Jae-in will probably not keep his promise to move the presidential office out of Cheong Wa Dae, according to a presidential official on Friday. "It has been decided that it's impossible to move the presidential office to Gwanghwamun for security and cost reasons," the official said. The move out of the splendid isolation of the presidential palace was intended as a symbolic manifestation of a more accessible, transparent presidency.

Moon's Disapproval Rating Outpaces His Approval Rating

President Moon Jae-in goes into the Christmas week on a sour note as his disapproval rating for the first time outpaces approval, according to a Gallup Korea poll released Friday. His disapproval rating rose from 44 percent the previous week to 46 percent, the highest since his inauguration, while his approval rating stagnated at 45 percent.


HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)

Japan lashes out at S. Korean naval vessel target radar locking onto Japanese patrol plane in East Sea

The Japanese government issued a strong protest after a South Korean naval vessel in the East Sea locked its targeting radar on a patrol plane operated by Japan’s Self-Defense Forces. “At 3 pm on Dec. 20, a South Korean destroyer aimed its fire control radar at a Japanese P-1 patrol plane that was conducting surveillance operations above the waters near the Noto Peninsula [in central Honshu],” Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya said during a press conference at the Ministry of Defense in Tokyo on the evening of Dec. 21.

US conciliatory gestures may be aimed at encouraging high-level talks

During the second meeting of the working group held on Dec. 21, South Korea and the US easily reached a solution to the issue of sanctions on North Korea that could hobble inter-Korean cooperation projects. Since this followed remarks by US State Department Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Biegun suggesting that the US would allow NGOs to provide humanitarian aid to North Korea, it indicates that the US has initiated attempts to resume dialogue with North Korea. But it remains to be seen whether North Korea will respond to the US’ minor signs of sincerity.

Inter-Korean joint liaison office approaches 100th day of operation on Dec. 23

Shortly after the inter-Korean joint liaison office opened in Kaesong on Sept. 14, South Korean Office Secretary General Kim Chang-su was talking to his North Korean counterpart, Deputy Director Hwang Chung-song. Essentially, our job is creating standards for inter-Korean relations. We have to approach this as if we’re walking through a snowfield for the first time,” Kim said.


The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)

Washington sets 3-month deadline to seek negotiations with Pyongyang

The Donald Trump administration recently set a practical deadline by which it will determine whether Washington can continue to seek nuclear talks with Pyongyang, it been reported. The South Korean government also shares the understanding with the Trump administration, and is sending messages behind the scene to the North to urge Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table after the release of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s Message on January 1.

Japan protests S. Korean destroyer targeting Japanese patrol plane

Japan has strongly protested for three consecutive days against South Korea’s destroyer having targeted a Japanese plane on Thursday. South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense had explained that Tokyo misunderstood its naval operation to rescue a ship near a sea border. However, Japan insisted on Sunday that Seoul directed its fire-control radar several times, and demanded that South Korea officially apologize and prevent a recurrence.

Samsung to expand its next generation video technology HDR10+

Samsung Electronics’ next generation video standard size technology HDR10+ is expanding its influence all over the world. amsung Electronics informed that HDR10+ premium video streaming content on Amazon has been increased from 100 to 1000. HDR10+ gives video a three-dimensional effect by optimizing contrast range which makes bright images brighter and dark images darker. Samsung introduced HDR10+ to Amazon’s streaming receiver Fire Stick 4K launched in October. Warner Bros. has produced more than 70 HDR10+ content so far.


JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)

Japan continues to fume over Korean radar use

A diplomatic row between South Korea and Japan escalated for a third day since a South Korean destroyer allegedly locked its radar on a Japanese surveillance plane Thursday during an operation to rescue a distressed North Korean vessel. A Japanese Defense Ministry official on Sunday said that the South Korean warship targeted a Japanese patrol plane “multiple times for several minutes using its attack-purpose radar.” He reiterated demands by Japan’s Minister of Defense Takeshi Iwaya a day earlier that Seoul apologize for what he called an “extremely dangerous act.”

Former Blue House investigator lawyers up

A former Blue House inspector turned whistle-blower hired a high-profile lawyer on Sunday who previously served as chief prosecutor of the Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors’ Office. The inspector’s accusations have wreaked havoc on the Moon Jae-in administration. The inspector in question, Kim Tae-wu, exclusively told the JoongAng Ilbo in a telephone interview that he chose Seok Dong-hyeon, managing partner at the law firm Daeho, to represent him.

Korea to push fine dust issue in talks with Beijing

Korea and China will hold a flurry of bilateral talks over a range of environmental issues next month, officials in Seoul said Sunday, as Seoul is pushing to crank up diplomatic efforts to tackle fine dust pollution. Officials at the Ministry of Environment said that the countries will hold the 23rd session of their joint committee on environmental cooperation, working-level talks and a meeting of their Beijing-based environmental cooperation center in Seoul from Jan. 23-24.


The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)

What Is Going on at the Commission on Past Cases by the Prosecution Service?

Outside figures in a team investigating past cases by the Prosecution Service argued that they suffered pressure from former and incumbent prosecutors during their investigation. The investigation team, which consists of 36 members--twelve prosecutors, twelve attorneys, and twelve professors--investigated cases selected by a commission established to investigate the truth behind past cases handled by the Prosecution Service, under the Ministry of Justice. If it is true that the justice ministry and the Prosecution Service interrupted the investigation of the commission, which they established after claiming to voluntarily right their wrongs, strict measures are in order.

U.S. Reconsiders Ban on Travel to North Korea: An Opportunity to End the Stalemate

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun visited South Korea on December 19 and said, "I'll be sitting down with American aid groups early in the new year to discuss how we can better ensure the delivery of appropriate assistance." The special representative, who is leading the working-level negotiations with North Korea, also said that the U.S. would review the ban on American travel to North Korea in order to deliver aid supplies and to verify international standards. In other words, Washington will review the travel ban to North Korea to support the smooth delivery of civilian humanitarian aid.

Special Inspection Team Controversy: The Inadequate Response by Cheong Wa Dae Is the Bigger Problem

Things have gotten interesting after a former Cheong Wa Dae staff from the special inspection team released controversial information. Kim, an investigator who was investigated due to alleged irregularities when serving in the special inspection team, this time turned the tide and raised allegations of special favors by the president of the Korea Expressway Corporation. He has been selecting newspapers and broadcasting companies to his taste and sending e-mails and statements almost daily, arguing that he was kicked out of Cheong Wa Dae because of intelligence on the ruling party mainstream. Cheong Wa Dae is struggling to explain the fresh allegations, which come up nearly once a day.


AJU Business Daily (http://www.ajudaily.com)

S. Korea completes development of Haegung close-in weapon system for warships

Development of South Korea's close-in weapon system for warships, called "Haegung (sea bow)," designed to intercept missiles and aircraft, has been completed, a state body in charge of procuring military equipment said. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said Monday that the production of Haegung with a dual detector system -- active radar guidance and an infrared detector -- would begin in 2019 for use in frigates and landing ships. It adopted a vertical firing method.

Hyudai Motor in talks on using Samsung's head-mounted display for car design

South Korea's Hyundai auto group is in talks with Samsung Electronics on using a head-mounted display (HMD) for car design. The two companies plan to test the efficiency of a prototype product before deciding whether to introduce Samsung's HMD Odyssey+. In October, Samsung released HMD Odyssey+ for Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality (MR) platform, a mixture of virtual reality and augmented reality, saying its anti-nausea technology and a comfortable headband adjusting system would allow users to stay longer and get immersed comfortably. HMD Odyssey+ was installed with dual 3.5-inch AMOLED displays and a pair of premium headphones.

Biegun says U.S. is eager to move on next stage in talks with N. Korea: Yonhap

The top U.S. point man on North Korea said Friday his government is "eager" to move on to the next stage of talks with the communist nation in an apparent effort to move their stalled denuclearization negotiations forward. Stephen Biegun, special representative for North Korea, also reaffirmed Washington's willingness to ease restrictions on humanitarian assistance for the impoverished country.


Maeil Business News Korea ( http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)

Korea’s 2018 IPO volume hits five-year low

South Korea faced a disappointing initial public offering market this year, with IPO volumes hitting a five-year low due to a dearth of big-ticket listings and delayed IPO plans amid weak markets. The country’s Kospi and Kosdaq markets raised a total of 2.75 trillion won ($2.45 billion) in IPO proceeds so far this year, one-third the level of last year’s 7.97 trillion won and the lowest since 2014, according to Korea Exchange, the country’s sole stock exchange operator on Sunday.

Shinhan Financial Group makes way for younger leaders in sweeping reshuffle

South Korea’s Shinhan Financial Group Co. replaced the heads of seven units on Friday, elevating younger executives to top leadership positions in its largest-ever annual reshuffle. The country’s second-largest financial holding entity named new chiefs for seven out of the 11 subsidiaries whose leaders were nearing the end of their term. The latest appointment has lowered the average age of Shinhan’s top brass from 60.3 to 57.

Korea’s Woongjin Foods sold to Taiwan’s Uni-President Enterprises

South Korea’s private equity fund Hahn & Co. has sold its entire stake in Woongjin Foods Co. to Taiwanese food giant Uni-President Enterprises Corp. for 260 billion won ($231 million). According to investment bank industry source on Thursday, Hahn & Co. signed a stock purchase agreement with Uni-President Enterprises to hand over 74.75 percent stake in unlisted Korean food maker Woongjin Foods for 260 billion won.

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.combfp@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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