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Headlines, December 31, 2018

Monday, December 31, 2018

President Moon to reshuffle Chief Secretary Im Jong-seok, other top aides

Around Lunar New Year's day in early February

President Moon Jae-in is expected to carry out a major reshuffle of his top aides, including Chief Presidential Secretary Im Jong-seok.

Chief Secretary Im Jong-seok

(For further details, visit: http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=8232

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.

President Moon to reshuffle Chief Secretary Im Jong-seok, other top aides

President Moon Jae-in is expected to carry out a major reshuffle of his top aides, including Chief Presidential Secretary Im Jong-seok.

According to a report by Korean-language major daily, Dong-A Ilbo, this morning, Moon, reportedly, plans to carry out this vital personnel action before or soon after the Lunar New Year’s Day which falls on Feb. 5, 2019.

To be sacked together with Im are the all-important Senior Presidential Secretaries for Political Affairs and the Senior Presidential Secretaries for Civil Affairs

S. Korea's consumer prices rise 1.3 pct on-year in December

South Korea's consumer prices rose 1.3 percent in December from a year earlier on gains in agricultural and industrial goods and the service sector, government data showed Monday.

The reading represents a decline from the previous month's 2 percent on-year gain, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

Average daily wage of SME production workers rises 1.5 pct in H2

The average daily wage of production workers at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) stood at 88,503 won (US$79.2) in the second half this year, up 1.5 percent from the previous six-month period, data showed Sunday.

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

S. Korea's Investment in India Hits All-time High in 2018

South Korea's investment in India has hit a record high this year on active investments by Samsung Electronics and Kia Motors.

According to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency on Sunday, South Korea's investment in the Asian country reached 816 million U.S. dollars during the first nine months of the year.

Police Charge Additional BMW Korea Officials over Auto Defects

Police have charged additional BMW Korea officials over alleged attempts to conceal defects that caused a series of fires in its diesel vehicles.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said on Sunday that it recently charged an executive and officials of the automaker for violations of the vehicle administration law.

Chinese Top Diplomat Urges US, N. Korea to Implement Summit Agreement

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has expressed support for the improvements made in inter-Korean relations and urged the United States and North Korea to swiftly implement agreements reached at the Singapore summit in June.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that Wang made the call on Friday during an interview with China's state media.

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

S. Korea's consumer prices rise 1.3 pct on-year in December

Korea's consumer prices rose 1.3 percent in December from a year earlier on gains in agricultural and industrial goods and the service sector, government data showed Monday.

The reading represents a decline from the previous month's 2 percent on-year gain, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

S. Korea voices 'deep concern, regrets' about Japan's footage release amid radar spat

South Korea's defense ministry expressed "deep concerns and regrets" Friday over Japan's release of video footage related to an ongoing military radar spat, accusing Tokyo of releasing "misleading" facts.

Japan released a 13-minute-long video clip showing the operation of its Maritime Self-Defense Force's P-1 patrol aircraft to back up its claim that a South Korean naval destroyer targeted the warplane with fire-control radar on Thursday last week.

N. Korean leader likely to tamp down rhetoric in New Year's speech to revive stalemated nuke talks

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will likely tamp down his rhetoric in his New Year's Day message in order to not provoke the United States and try to revive the hope for their long-stalemated denuclearization talks, experts said Sunday.

Kim has used the New Year's Day message to provide the general directions of his policy, which has been closely watched by the outside world to get a rare glimpse into how the reclusive country will act on such high-stakes issues as its nuclear weapons program.

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

Korea's consumer prices rise 1.3% on-year in December

South Korea's consumer prices rose 1.3 percent in December from a year earlier on gains in agricultural and industrial goods and the service sector, government data showed Monday.

The reading represents a decline from the previous month's 2 percent on-year gain, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

2018 opened era of detente on Korean Peninsula

The year 2018 marked the beginning of a detente and peace-building on the Korean Peninsula, with the two Koreas seeking to improve ties and North Korea engaging the US in negotiating away its nuclear weapons program.

A thaw on the peninsula was a dramatic departure from exchanges of insults and threats over North Korea’s continued nuclear and missile tests, which drove the US and North Korea close to the brink of war only last year.

N. Korean leader sends letter to Moon

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent a letter to South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Sunday to call for continued efforts to build peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula next year, Seoul's presidential office said.

Kim also said that the leaders of the two Koreas have taken practical measures this year helping to get over long-running confrontation across their border, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters.

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

North Korean leader vows to visit Seoul: Cheong Wa Dae

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed his willingness to visit Seoul in the unspecified future in a letter sent to President Moon Jae-in, according to the presidential office Sunday.

Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters the North Korean leader expressed regret for not being able to make his visit to Seoul this year as he wished and agreed with Moon in Pyongyang. He expressed willingness to pay a visit to the capital city while monitoring the situation, the spokesman added. The presidential official, however, didn't specify when the North Korean leader will be visiting Seoul.

Cold wave continues to grip Korea

A strong cold wave continued to grip South Korea on Sunday, with temperatures in many parts of the country dropping below minus 10 degrees Celsius.

Many areas were under cold wave advisories or alerts, with the mercury in Seoul dropping to as low as minus 11 C, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).

Samsung, SK hynix bracing for global chip downturn

Samsung Electronics and SK hynix are scaling down plans to expand semiconductor production facilities in the face of slowing global demand, industry analysts said Sunday.

Korea Development Institute (KDI) analyst Kwon Kyu-ho said it was necessary to monitor the flow of world markets keenly for several months, but added, "Companies would have no choice but to adjust the pace of expanding production facilities because they cannot expect last year's and this year's boom in the semiconductor market to continue next year."

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

N.Korea's Elite Trembles Amid Massive Purge

North Korea is in the midst of another purge of "impure elements," corrupt officials and military officers who resist his reform efforts ahead of elections to the Politburo and the 75th anniversary of the Workers Party.

"The targets of the hunt are people whose relatives have been imprisoned for serious crimes and family members of defectors," a source said.

N.Korea Publicizes Christmas Worship in Pyongyang

North Korean state media have published images of Christmas worship in the isolated country in an apparent effort to rebut U.S. accusations that it suppresses religion.

Ryomyong, a website run by the North's National Reconciliation Council, on Wednesday reported on Christmas worship at the Bongsu and Chilgol churches in Pyongyang.

N.Korea's Elite Trembles Amid Massive Purge

North Korea is in the midst of another purge of "impure elements," corrupt officials and military officers who resist his reform efforts ahead of elections to the Politburo and the 75th anniversary of the Workers Party.

"The targets of the hunt are people whose relatives have been imprisoned for serious crimes and family members of defectors," a source said.

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

Moon administration’s policies on income inequality shown to have little effect

South Korea’s income inequality levels, among the worst in the OECD, have not improved despite a supplementary budget for job boosting and other expansionary financial policy measures adopted by the Moon Jae-in administration in its first year in office, a study shows.

The data indicates that the effects of redistribution policies have been minimal amid an accelerating concentration of income in upper income segments.

Living with the permanent wounds of the Apr. 3 Jeju Massacre

Kim Soon-hye, an 82-year-old resident of the Yeondong neighborhood in Jeju City, is a disabled survivor of the Jeju April 3 incident of 1948–49 who carried two pieces of shrapnel in her body for 48 years. Deep, permanent scars remain on her right thigh and back. The wounds may have healed over the course of 70 years, but the visible scars give a hint of the suffering she experienced “that day.”

South Sudanese medical student honors S. Korean priest who inspired him

“I want to carry on the wishes of Father John Lee Tae-seok.”

Thomas Taban Akot, a 33-year-old from South Sudan in northeast Africa, shared his appreciation with Inje University for its support to cover his academic expenses in a Dec. 24 visit to the institution in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province.

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

Young generations talk about hardships of the year 2018

What do you think has been the most impressing news among 20-something Koreans – undergraduates, job seekers and newbies? Let us look back on the year of 2018 from a perspective of youths who are yet to move their way in society or those who have just taken their first step.

National Assembly to pass a bill for the visually, hearing impaired

The father of a 15-year-old son with visual disability, surnamed Myung, borrowed a hand cart from a delivery man to throw away six boxes of books that have recently been sent home. He asked the Korea National Institute for Special Education last December to provide braille-version reference books for his son. “The Ministry of Education was supposed to send EBS workbooks and references in braille version according to students’ school schedule, which rarely happens. They are late in providing such books," the father lamented. "It is a waste of taxpayers’ money as well as vainly inefficient policy.”

Hyundai's NEXO fuel cell SUV delivered to its first U.S. driver

Hyundai Motor's Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles Nexo has met up with its first driver in the United States. The Korean automaker held an event on Friday (local time) in Van Nuys, California, to deliver the first Nexo to its first local driver, who is known to be a retired businessman, Todd Hochrad.

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

Japan demotes Korea on defense

South Korea ranked fifth on Japan’s latest list of countries Tokyo will seek security cooperation with over the next decade, a Japanese government source exclusively told the JoongAng Ilbo recently, three slots lower than the last ranking in 2013.

The change appears to reflect a deterioration in relations between the two countries.

Moon gets chummy letter from Kim Jong-un

South Korean President Moon Jae-in received on Sunday a New Year’s greetings letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in which Kim conveyed his regrets for not making it to Seoul within the year and his hopes to continue peaceful cooperation between the two Koreas next year.

Some property assessed values to increase 100%

Property taxes are expected to jump in 2019 as land prices increase and as the government changes the way it assesses property, in some cases doubling the recorded value of these assets.

This figure is vitally important as it is used to calculate local government property taxes and the central government’s comprehensive real estate taxes.

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

Lawmakers Reach an Agreement on the “Kim Yong-gyun Bill” at the Last Minute

On December 27, the ruling and opposition lawmakers finally reached an agreement on the full amendment of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the so-called "Kim Yong-gyun bill," for the first time in 28 years, following the death of Kim Yong-gyun, an employee of a subcontractor at the Taean Thermal Power Plant. The revised bill strengthened the responsibility of the companies hiring subcontractors concerning the safety of the subcontractor employees, but due to opposition from businesses and the opposition party, the bill retreated from the original draft.

Irregularities Conducted by Kim Tae-woo Confirmed. Now Investigate the Allegations Raised by Kim

The Supreme Prosecutors' Office called for the dismissal of Kim Tae-woo, an investigator who returned to the Prosecution Service after serving in the Cheong Wa Dae special inspection team. The inspection headquarters of the Supreme Prosecutors' Office announced the results of their investigation on December 27 and said that they confirmed most of the allegations reported by Cheong Wa Dae to be fact. Kim sought employment at the Ministry of Science and ICT when he was an investigator, which involved preferential treatment; he was treated to golf and entertainment by private firms; and he did try to intervene in an investigation of a construction company owner who allegedly bribed an official. The inspection headquarters also judged that Kim violated the confidentiality obligation when he leaked information on bribery by Woo Yoon-keun, the ambassador to Russia. According to the results of the inspection, Kim's conduct was inappropriate as a public official and he will not be able to avoid serious consequences.

"Economic Benefits of 140 Tn Won in 30 Years," When South Korea Reconnects with the Continent

As the connection and modernization of the trans-Korean railways and roads come into view, attention is on the effect the project will have on the domestic economy. Linking the railways running through the Korean peninsula is the most symbolic project among inter-Korean economic cooperation and is expected to bring forth economic benefits amounting to hundreds of trillions of won.

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

KT joins hands with Samsung to launch new messaging service

South Korea's leading telecom company KT joined hands with Samsung Electronics to launch an enhanced and multimedia-backed chatting platform based on Rich Communication Services (RCS), a communication protocol aimed at replacing the short messaging service (SMS) with large file transferring ability.

New drug for neutropenia seeks FDA sanction

The American partner of South Korea's leading drug maker Hanmi Pharmaceutical has applied for approval to sell Rolontis, a new biologic medicine for neutropenia, an abnormally low level of white blood cells.

S. Korea selects 11 banks to set prices for direct won-yuan trading

Six South Korean and five foreign banks were selected to set prices for direct won-yuan transactions next year. They will take the lead in providing liquidity to the market and maintain stable transactions.

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

NPS delivers -0.57% returns as of late Oct, the first negative in a decade

South Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS), the world’s third largest pension fund, is expected to deliver the lowest return rate of some minus percent in a decade this year due to the local stock market that tumbled the biggest in Asia throughout the year.

S. Korea’s exports surpass $600 bn for the first time this year

South Korea’s exports surpassed $600 billion for the first time this year, becoming the world’s seventh country to reach the milestone on the back of robust sales of semiconductors and petroleum products, data showed on Friday.

Samsung Elec to scout Hollywood filmmakers to promote LED screen Onyx

Samsung Electronics Co. is seeking to hire talented film crews from Hollywood to create video contents that can accentuate the strength of its theatrical LED screen Onyx.

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
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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.
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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koeapost.com

<저작권자 © 코리아포스트, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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