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Headlines, January 30, 2019

The Korean daily media headlines and humor

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

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.

N. Korea unlikely to give up nuclear arsenal: U.S. intel chief

North Korea is unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons program, the U.S. intelligence chief said on Jan. 29, 2019, calling into question the efficacy of ongoing diplomacy to denuclearize the regime. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats made the remark at a Senate panel hearing, with only weeks to go before a planned second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Hyundai Heavy bags 320 bln won order for 3 oil carriers

Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., the world's top shipbuilder by sales, said on Jan. 30, 2019 that it has clinched a 320 billion won (US$286 million) deal to build three very large crude carriers (VLCCs). Under the deal with a European shipping firm, Hyundai Heavy will deliver the vessels, 330 meters long and 60 meters wide each, starting in the second half of 2020, the company said.

KOTRA withdraws Venezuela office amid turmoil

The state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) has decided to withdraw from Venezuela amid the escalating political turmoil, sources said on Jan. 30, 2019. According to official insiders, KOTRA plans to shut down its Caracas-based office March 1. Its business center located in Panama will continue to oversee Venezuela-related affairs. Officials from KOTRA said the move came as the South American country has been facing political instability, threatening the safety of the staff.

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

38 North: CSIS Report on N. Korean Missile Bases 'Misleading'

A researcher has criticized a U.S. think tank for its recent report on North Korea's "undeclared" missile bases, saying it's creating misunderstanding about the North's intentions ahead of a second Washington-Pyongyang summit. Daniel DePetris, a fellow at Defense Priorities, a nonpartisan foreign-policy organization, made the claim in his article posted on Monday on 38 North, a U.S.-based Web site monitoring North Korea. DePetris said the latest report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies(CSIS), entitled "Undeclared North Korea: The Sino-ri Missile Operating Base and Strategic Force Facilities," is regrettable.

S. Korea's Biz Sentiment for January Falls to 34-Month Low

South Korean firms' business sentiment slipped to a 34-month low this month amid concerns over the sluggish chip market. According to the Bank of Korea on Wednesday, the business survey index(BSI) for January for all industries came to 69, down three points from the previous month. A reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists.

Second Foot-and-Mouth Case Confirmed in Anseong

A second case of foot-and-mouth disease(FMD) was confirmed in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province on Tuesday, raising concerns of a possible spread of the disease ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said on Tuesday the second case was confirmed at a beef farm in Anseong, 80 kilometers south of Seoul, a day after the first case was confirmed at a farm in the same area.

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

Ex-President Lee seeks bail on grounds of health, change of bench

Jailed former President Lee Myung-bak has applied for bail on grounds of failing health and forthcoming change of the lead judge in his trial following a reshuffle in the court, his lawyer said Tuesday. Kang Hoon, his legal counsel, said he filed the request at the Seoul High Court handling Lee's appeal against the court decision that found him guilty of corruption. Kang questioned whether the new bench will be able to assess all the documents and evidence, which apparently amounts to more than 100,000 pages, on time for deliberation.

S. Korea to start exports of Kyoho grapes to Australia

South Korea's agricultural ministry said Wednesday it has won approval from its Australian counterpart to ship Korean Kyoho grapes there starting this year. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said it has paved the way for South Korean farms to ship Kyoho grapes, which are normally larger than typical breeds, to Australia under a simple procedure. The ministry has been requesting Australia ease regulations in terms of quarantines since 2017.

KEPCO set to continue pushing overseas projects including Saudi Arabia

The state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) said Wednesday it is currently making various efforts to penetrate deeper into overseas markets, with the firm seeking to win a nuclear reactor project in Saudi Arabia through a localized strategy. "KEPCO has been making itself known in 27 countries, with 42 projects in progress. Last year, KEPCO posted sales of 2.7 trillion won (US$2.4 billion) overseas," KEPCO CEO Kim Jong-kap said during a meeting with reporters. "While the figure once even reached 5 trillion won, overall, performances abroad are improving."

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

Slovakia calls for cooperation with Korea on eco-friendly cars

Slovakia's finance minister called for cooperation with South Korea in a wide-range of areas such as hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and infrastructure, the government here said Tuesday. Peter Kazimir made the comments in a meeting with his South Korean counterpart Hong Nam-ki at the government complex building in central Seoul, calling Asia's fourth-largest economy a very important country for Slovakia, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

NK to favorably consider participating in gymnastics event in S. Korea: official

North Korea will favorably consider participating in an international gymnastics event in South Korea this year, Seoul's gymnastics federation said Tuesday, after discussing its plans with the sport's international governing body. According to the Korea Gymnastics Association (KGA), North Korea told International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) President Morinari Watanabe, who visited Pyongyang with a delegation last week, that it will review proposals for competing in the Korea Cup international gymnastics competition on Jeju Island in June.

23% of Korean singles say they don't plan to have children: poll

Nearly one out of four single South Koreans don't want to have babies, even after they marry, due to concerns over child-rearing costs, a survey showed Tuesday. According to a survey by matchmaking agency Duo Info Corp., 37.6 percent of unmarried respondents said they want to have a child within two years of their marriage, while 23.1 percent didn't want to have children at all after tying the knot.

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

Iconic ex-sex slavery victim Kim Bok-dong dies at 93

Kim Bok-dong, a victim of wartime sexual slavery who dedicated her life to testifying against the brutality of Japanese imperialism before and during World War II, and advocating human rights, passed away Monday. She was 93. According to the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance, an organization that represents the victims including Kim, her time of death was 10:41 p.m., Monday, at Yonsei Severance Hospital in Seoul. Her death left the number of surviving victims of sex slavery at 23.

'Sexual violence is like Holocaust'

A woman who ignited South Korea's #MeToo movement claimed Tuesday victims of sex abuse are not fairly protected here, asking the country's ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) and civil society to create a system for the victims. "Sexual violence is like the Holocaust. #MeToo is not an endgame as it's more like a clarion call to something bigger. South Korea saw little progress in terms of correcting relevant harmful social systems. In Korea, people who've shared their own #MeToo stories should be protected properly as these experiences are nothing new and the movement should be understood as a voice for positive change," Seo Ji-hyun, a prosecutor in Seoul, said in a forum organized by DPK at the National Assembly.

Social dialogue on labor policy losing momentum

The Moon Jae-in administration's plan to double down on his economic agenda by restoring dialogue on labor issues is likely to lose steam as the nation's two major umbrella unions are apparently boycotting a government-led consultative body. Making the situation worse, the unions plan to stage a strike in February, which could further put the government on the hook when it seeks to address pending labor issues next month.

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

Abe Drops S.Korea from Annual Policy Speech

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe omitted a passage on relations with South Korea from his annual policy speech at the opening of the Diet on Monday. The two countries are at daggers drawn in a spat over coat-trailing flybys of Japanese spy planes over South Korean warships. Another problem is a recent ruling by the Supreme Court here ordering a Japanese steelmaker to compensate South Korean victims of forced labor.

KEPCO to Set up Tech University

Power monopoly KEPCO wants to establish a college of engineering in Naju, South Jeolla Province where it has its headquarters. A committee tasked with picking the location met Monday at the government complex in Seoul and chose a golf course in the town. The college will sit on 1.2-million sq.m of land there and open in 2022. Tentatively named KEPCO Tech, it will recruit 400 undergraduate and 600 graduate students, with the government paying for tuition and dormitory accommodation.

Apartment Sales in Seoul Cool Drastically

Tougher regulations on home sales in the capital have caused the overheated apartment market to slump to levels not seen since the global financial crisis. According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Monday, only 1,771 apartments were sold in November of last year, the lowest for that month in 10 years and just one-eighth of the number in August, just after the government announced the new curbs. More recent figures are not exact since home buyers have three months to report their purchase, but as of Monday reported December sales stood at 1,147 and sales in January this year at a mere 349.

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

KTCU decision to pull out of Economic Social and Labor Council truly disappointing

In a meeting of delegates that lasted until late at night on Jan. 28, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) basically decided not to participate in South Korea’s Economic, Social and Labor Council, a presidential advisory body for social dialogue. Though there are many other parties on the council, the reality is that the absence of the KCTU will undermine talks held at the council and any agreements it may reach. This is truly a disappointing outcome.

Majority of fine-particle dust in S. Korea originates in China and overseas regions

Much of the fine particle dust in South Korea originates in China and other overseas regions, a big data analysis shows. Fine dust concentrations in China were found to be high, with large concentrations on South Korea’s West (Yellow) Sea coast when westerlies are blowing. The analysis of fine dust causes was the first by the Ministry of the Interior and Safety (MOIS) using big data.

Harry Harris meets with S. Korean ministers of defense and foreign affairs

US Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris met individually with South Korean Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha on Jan. 28. The chief topic of discussion was reportedly the sharing of defense costs, an area where the two sides have been at odds in the later stages of their talks. Observers speculated they may also have discussed the frictions between Seoul and Tokyo over allegations of patrol aircraft flybys and the use of tracking radar, but this was not confirmed.

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

A controversy surrounding Moon’s daughter who moved overseas

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) on Tuesday cast doubt on selling of house and moving overseas by Moon Da-hye, the daughter of President Moon Jae-in, and demanded explanation from the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae. Immediately after the LKP disclosed the school register of Moon Da-hye’s son, Cheong Wa Dae refuted the argument, calling it a “dissemination of false information” and an “unabashed act.”

SUVs poised to enjoy renewed popularity this year

A series of new sport utility vehicles (SUV) in various sizes will be launched this year, including South Korea’s No. 1 automaker Hyundai Motor’s new model Palisade which was released last month. In the compact SUV market, Kia Motors launched its all-new Soul Booster last week. The new Soul is the third-generation model, with the first and second ones unveiled in 2008 and 2013, respectively. The carmaker has said that the car comes with up to 204 horsepower, brand-new high-tech design, as well as multimedia systems.

Chollian-2A satellite sends its first color video of the Earth

Korea’s home-grown meteorological satellite Chollian-2A has sent its first image of the Earth to ground stations. The Meteorological Administration of Korea announced Sunday that the Korea Aerospace Research Institute and the National Meteorological Satellite Center received the first video shot by the Chollian-2A on Saturday. Seventeen days after the Chollian-2A was launched at the Space Center in French Guiana on Dec. 5 last year, it arrived on a geostationary orbit (36,000 kilometers) to remove external pollutants for about one month.

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

Hwang Kyo-ahn starts campaign to lead the LKP

Former Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn launched his bid for the leadership of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) Tuesday, vowing to fight the Moon Jae-in administration’s policies tooth and nail. “I will put my life on the line to save the country and the people,” Hwang said at the LKP headquarters in western Seoul, where he announced his candidacy for the party’s leadership race in February. “I will revive a [South] Korea at risk of regressing into the past.”

Foot-and-mouth confirmed in Gyeonggi

The Agriculture Ministry confirmed Tuesday an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease at a dairy cattle farm in Anseong, Gyeonggi, and is taking decisive measures in response ahead of the holidays. Test results Tuesday showed that cattle at the farm contracted a type O variant of the highly-infectious disease, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. This is the first outbreak of the viral disease this year.

Moon, confident about ICT lead, shakes hands with robot

President Moon Jae-in expressed his confidence that in the age of the fourth industrial revolution, Korea will lead the global ICT market. “Not only conglomerates in the electronics and IT sector - whose abilities we are already familiar with - but also medium-sized companies, as well as small ventures and start-ups, [and] products that were developed by colleges that have won innovation awards,” President Moon said Tuesday at an IT exhibition.

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

Abe Ignores South Korea in Policy Speech Despite Deteriorating South Korea-Japan Relations

On January 28, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a policy speech before the Diet and said he would aim to "settle the unfortunate history with North Korea and normalize diplomatic relations." Meanwhile, he remained silent on relations with South Korea, which have continued to worsen due to the Supreme Court's ruling on compensation for forced labor and the tensions concerning the low-altitude flight by Japanese patrol planes and the radar lock-on. We highly assess Prime Minister Abe's plans to improve relations with North Korea. However, intentionally ignoring South Korea let alone work to resolve tensions between the two countries was inappropriate, and we find we must express our regrets.

Comfort Women Victim and Activist Kim Bok-dong Dies

Kim Bok-dong, an elderly comfort women victim in the Japanese military died at the age of 93. Kim died at 10:41 p.m. on January 28 at the Severance Hospital in Sinchon, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul after a year-long struggle with cancer. Kim was tricked by the Japanese military in 1940 when she was fifteen and was taken to become a comfort woman. She returned to her hometown eight years after national liberation on August 15, 1948, but she gave up any hopes of marriage and children.

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

Kakao cited as potential buyer of popular game developer Nexon

Kakao, a major web service company involved in a variety of technology-related businesses in South Korea, has emerged as a potential buyer of NXC, the holding company of Nexon which published Dungeon Fighter Online (DF), a popular multiplayer PC video game. Kakao said that it has been in the process of internal review to participate in the race for Nexon. Other potential buyers cited in the domestic market included China's Tencent Holdings and private equity funds like LLR, MBK Partners and Carlyle.

S. Korean police find no evidence to verify alleged iPhone slowdown

There is no undoubtedly clear evidence that U.S. technology company Apple has deliberately slowed down old iPhones to shorten their life, South Korean police said before closing a criminal investigation that began a year ago on complaints from a consumer rights group.

Bank of Korea decides to forget introduction of central bank digital currency

After a year-long study, South Korea's central bank decided to forget the introduction of central bank digital currency (CBDC) for a while, evaluating disadvantages such as social and economic costs over positive implications. The Bank of Korea (BoK) concluded in a report on Tuesday that it would not issue CBDC for the time being, considering social and economic costs to be caused by institutional changes. A BoK task force was formed a year earlier to analyze the effect of virtual currency and CBDC on South Korea's financial market.

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

Samsung Electro-Mechanics’ Q4 OP up 136% on yr, full-year at all-time high

Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co., the electronics parts making unit of South Korea’s Samsung Group, said its operating profit in the fourth quarter more than doubled and hit 1 trillion won ($895.1 million) milestone for the first time for the the full year.

Korean refiners enter grim year after losses in Q4 with margin at 10-yr low

South Korean refiners brace up for a possible lengthy downturn after losses in the fourth quarter, with refining margin hovering at 10-year lows. The oil refining margin - a yardstick to measure the oil industry’s profitability - fell to the $1 range for the first time in 10 years. A break-even point is deemed at $4 to $5, suggesting refiners that reported losses in the fourth quarter will do no better in the first quarter.

S. Korean govt to skip feasibility studies on $22 bn pork-barrel projects to boost econ

The South Korean government will exempt statutory feasibility studies for 23 infrastructure projects worth 24.1 trillion won ($22 billion) over the next five years designed to modernize the regional parts and balance development gap with the capital region. The government on Tuesday named 23 public investment projects worth 24.1 trillion won including social overhead capital projects worth about 20 trillion won that will be exempt from preliminary feasibility study.

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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 http://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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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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