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Headlines, January 31, 2019

The Korean daily media headlines and humor

Thursday, January 31, 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.

S. Korea's industrial output dips 0.6 pct on-month in December

South Korea's industrial output fell 0.6 percent in December from a month earlier due in part to decreased exports of cars and semiconductors, government data showed on Jan. 31, 2019. The data compiled by Statistics Korea showed semiconductor output fell 4.5 percent in December from a month earlier as chip exports declined 5.9 percent during the same period.

Koreas to open Han River estuary to civilian ships in April

The two Koreas agreed on Jan. 30, 2019 to allow civilian ships to navigate through the Han River estuary along their western border on a trial basis, starting in April, Seoul's defense ministry said. The two sides held working-level military talks at the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom to discuss the joint use of the estuary, where civilian access has been limited due to tensions.

Trump sees 'decent chance' of N.K. denuclearization

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Jan. 30, 2019 there is a "decent chance" of dismantling North Korea's nuclear weapons program, after his intelligence chief dismissed the prospect as unlikely. At a Senate panel hearing on Jan. 29, 2019, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats reported the findings of the U.S. intelligence community in its latest annual worldwide threat assessment.

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

LKP: Fmr PM Hwang, Frm Mayor Oh Eligible to Run for Leadership

The interim leadership committee of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party(LKP) has recognized that former Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn and former Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon are eligible to run for party chairman. The committee’s chief, Kim Byong-joon, told reporters after a meeting on Thursday that the committee approved revisions to requirements for "responsible party members" that were requested by the party’s election management committee.

Heavy Snowfall Warnings Issued for Parts of North Jeolla Prov., Jeju Island

A heavy snowfall warning has been extended to ten cities and counties in North Jeolla Province. The Korea Meteorological Administration's Jeonju Office said Thursday that warnings have been issued for the counties of Gochang, Buan, Sunchang and the city of Jeongeup as of 6:00 a.m. Warnings were previously issued in Jinan, Jangsu, Imsil, Namwon, Wanju and Muju.

Prime Minister Urges Public to Refrain from Visiting FMD-hit Areas

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon has urged the public to refrain from visiting farms and regions hit by foot-and-mouth disease(FMD) as part of measures to prevent its spread during the lunar New Year holidays. During a meeting on Thursday, Lee said as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, the government raised the four-stage warning system by a notch from level two to level three.

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

Samsung Q4 net falls 30.9 pct on slowing memory demand

Samsung Electronics Co. said Thursday its fourth-quarter net earnings declined 30.7 percent compared with a year ago due to weakening demand for its memory chips and smartphones. In a regulatory filing, the world's leading memory chip and smartphone manufacturer said its net earnings came in at 8.5 trillion won (US$7.6 billion) in the October-December period, compared with 12.2 trillion won a year earlier.

Rates for household lending fall to one-year low in Dec.

South Korean banks' lending rates for new household loans dropped to a one-year low in December amid concerns over an economic slowdown, central bank data showed Thursday. The average interest rate on all new household loans extended by local lenders stood at 3.61 percent in December, down 0.02 percentage point from a month earlier, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

Pompeo says 2nd U.S.-N.K. summit to be held in Asia

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will be held in Asia next month. In an interview with Fox News, the top U.S. diplomat reaffirmed the plan to have the summit at the end of February and added, "We'll do it someplace in Asia." While media reports have speculated that Vietnam will host the meeting, it's the first time that a U.S. official has revealed a location.

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

Naver's net down 17.4% in 2018 on increased costs

South Korea's top Internet portal operator Naver Corp. said Thursday that its profit dropped 17.4 percent in 2018 from a year earlier due to heavy outlays in new business sectors. Net profit reached 636.4 billion won ($568.9 million) last year, compared with 770.1 billion won tallied in the previous year, the company said in a regulatory filing.

KDB set to announce privatization of Daewoo Shipbuilding

The state-run Korea Development Bank said Thursday that it will announce later in the day whether to sell its stake in Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., the country's No. 2 shipyard, to its bigger rival Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. On Wednesday, Hyundai Heavy, also the world's No. 1 shipbuilder, expressed its intent to buy a majority stake in Daewoo Shipbuilding.

Suspected FMD case reported in North Chungcheong

Another suspected case of foot-and-mouth disease was found in North Chungcheong Province, the government said Thursday, fueling concerns over the spread of the highly contagious animal disease. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said a "hanwoo" beef cattle farm in Chungju, 147 kilometers from Seoul, reported a possible case of FMD to authorities. Hanwoo is a kind of premium Korean beef.

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

North Korean waitresses send wreath for comfort woman Kim Bok-dong

Members of a group of North Korean waitresses who fled a Pyongyang-run restaurant in China sent a condolence wreath to the funeral parlor of Kim Bok-dong, the former "comfort woman" who died late Monday.Kim, who had repeatedly called on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to apologize directly to women forced to serve in wartime brothels, battled cancer and was hospitalized, Newsis reported.

Samsung Q4 net profit falls 30.7% on slowing memory demand

Samsung Electronics said Thursday its fourth-quarter net earnings declined 30.7 percent compared with a year ago due to weakening demand for its memory chips and smartphones. In a regulatory filing, the world's leading memory chip and smartphone manufacturer said its net earnings were 8.5 trillion won ($7.6 billion) in the October-December period, compared with 12.2 trillion won a year earlier. Operating profit slid 28.7 percent on-year to 10.8 trillion won and sales fell 10.2 percent to 59.2 trillion won in the last three months of 2018. The figures were in line with the earnings guidance announced earlier this month.

Kakao joins takeover battle of Nexon

Kakao has joined the race to acquire control of Nexon, one of the nation's major game firms, the company said Wednesday. "The bid to acquire Nexon is under thorough review," said an official from Kakao, the nation's largest mobile messenger operator. "We have named the law firm Shin & Kim as our legal adviser." Nexon founder Kim Jung-ju recently put his entire stake in NXC, the holding company of Nexon, up for sale. Kim, his wife and his private company Wisekids own a 98.64 percent stake in NXC that owns 47.98 percent of Nexon.

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

Skating Coach Gets 18 Months for Abusing His Charges

Cho Jae-beom, the former coach of the Korean national short track team, was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Wednesday for repeatedly abusing athletes in his charge, notably Olympic champion Shim Suk-hee. He was handed a longer jail term on appeal than at first instance, where he was given 10 months, but the court did not consider later sexual assault charges lodged by Shim that are still under investigation by police.

Bullying on the Rise in Elementary Schools

Bullying is more prevalent in elementary school than in middle and high school, according to a survey of about 90,000 fourth to 11th graders across the country published by the Education Ministry on Thursday.Some 3.6 percent of elementary schoolchildren said they experienced violence, compared to 2.2 percent in middle school and 1.3 percent in high school. And 9.6 percent of elementary schoolkids said they saw their friends suffer violence in school, compared to 7.8 percent in middle school and 5.9 percent in high school.

South Gyeongsang Governor Jailed for Opinion-Rigging

South Gyeongsang Province Governor Kim Kyung-soo was sentenced to two years in jail on Wednesday for conspiring with a power blogger in online manipulation of public opinion ahead of the 2017 presidential election. The governor is a close confidante of President Moon Jae-in. The court said he played a "dominant" role in the opinion-rigging scandal. The Seoul Central District Court sentenced Kim to two years on charges of obstruction of official business for instructing power blogger Kim Dong-won, known as "Druking," of posting comments on online news stories. Kim was also found guilty of violating election law by offering Druking a senior diplomatic post in the Moon government.

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

National Reconciliation and Emergency Aid

From an early age parents and teachers encourage us to ‘dream big’. They know that dreaming can help one look beyond the present, set clear goals for the future and identify challenges that stand in the way of a brighter tomorrow. Recently, dreaming big has helped make dramatic progress in inter-Korean relations. Changes in the international situation have played a part, but most of the credit goes to Korean leaders, South and North, whose dreams have begun to thaw the last frozen corner of the 20th Century Cold War.

Defense Ministry makes first reference to US interest regarding S. Korea-Japan friction

In a Jan. 29 message regarding recent frictions with Japan over allegations of threatening flybys and the use of tracking radar, the South Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND) stressed, “Because of the importance of South Korea-US-Japan issues, there are things that we will need to do if the US takes an interest [in the situation]." The message both reaffirmed and enlarged upon Seoul’s previous position that the friction is a “matter to be discussed at the working level between South Korea and Japan.” It was the MND’s first reference to date to “interest” from the US.

Trump administration reportedly considering economic package as denuclearization incentive

The Donald Trump administration is reportedly considering an inter-Korean economic cooperation “package” ahead of a second North Korea-US summit as an incentive for North Korea’s denuclearization. With bilateral working-level talks for the summit also predicted to resume shortly, the two sides appear to be gearing up to hasten their summit preparations. In a Jan. 28, the conservative-leaning Washington Times reported that the Trump administration “is quietly preparing a special ‘economic package’ designed to entice North Korean leader Kim Jong-un into taking specific steps toward dismantling his nuclear weapons program.” Citing sources familiar with the plan, the newspaper reported that the initiative was spearheaded by State Department Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, who heads negotiations with Pyongyang for the US side.

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

No compromises on ICBM or nuclear weapons

“North Korea's leaders see having a nuclear weapons capability as 'critical to regime survival.' North Korea is not likely to entirely give up nuclear weapons and manufacturing abilities,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said at a Senate hearing on Tuesday. He explained that such views were the outcome of observing certain activities that directly contradict with denuclearization. The heads of CIA and DIA also said that North Korea is concentrating on developing long distance missiles equipped with nuclear weapons, adding that the nuclear capabilities and threats that existed a year ago remain the same.

U.S.-N. Korea working-level talks to take place early next month

Working-level negotiations to prepare for a second U.S.-North Korea summit is said to be held around February 4 at the border truce village of Panmunjom. Politico reported on Tuesday (local time) citing a source that is well aware of a U.S.-North Korea summit that U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun will meet his North Korean counterpart at Panmunjom around February 4 to coordinate the details of the second summit, which is to take place late February. North Korea's former Ambassador to Spain Kim Hyok Chol, who is mentioned as representative Biegun’s counterpart, is believed to have become the new interlocutor to lead negotiations with Washington.

Samsung opens terabyte era for smartphone storage capacity

The 1 terabyte (TB) era has opened for internal memories of smartphones as well. Samsung Electronics announced Wednesday that it will mass produce the world's first one-terabyte (TB) embedded universal flash storage (eUFS) from this month. 1TB is a large memory that can store 260 10-minute videos in ultra-high definition (UHD 3840x2160) in a flagship smartphone. This means that people can use their smartphones as a premium laptop computer without adding an external memory card.

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

Gov. jailed for online opinion rigging

South Gyeongsang Gov. Kim Kyoung-soo was placed under immediate detention on Wednesday after a Seoul court sentenced him to two years and 10 months in prison for his role in a major online opinion-rigging scandal in collusion with a political blogger during the 2017 presidential election. The Seoul Central District Court ruled that Kim Kyoung-soo was a joint principal offender in the crime along with blogger Kim Dong-won, better known by his internet alias Druking, who was given a three and a half year prison sentence by the same court hours earlier.

Blue House guarded on Moon’s daughter’s whereabouts

The ruling Democratic Party on Wednesday urged an opposition lawmaker to apologize to President Moon Jae-in for claiming that his daughter and her family may have moved abroad because they were dissatisfied with Korea’s economy or education system. The main conservative Liberty Korea Party (LKP) refused to back down, saying the Blue House has yet to respond to its lawmaker’s open inquiry asking why Moon’s daughter left the country.

Gov’t warns of a bleak outlook for the economy

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki gave a bleak projection for Korea’s exports, predicting they will likely fall for the second consecutive month, on the same day that the central bank reported that business confidence was at its lowest in two years and 10 months. At an economic ministerial meeting held Wednesday, Hong said, “While semiconductor prices are falling and the external environment is worsening - including the trade conflict between the United States and China, this month’s exports will fail to reach the same level as the same month a year ago, as did December’s,” Hong said.

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

SOC Projects Exempt from Feasibility Studies: How Are They Different from Lee Myung-bak's 4 Major Rivers Project?

The government decided to exempt 23 projects worth 24 trillion won from preliminary feasibility studies. On January 29, the government finalized this decision when announcing the Balanced National Development Project, which will cost 175 trillion won in the next five years. A preliminary feasibility study is conducted to determine the appropriateness of a project requiring over 50 billion won before it is launched to prevent any waste of the budget. The government has cited balanced national development as the reason for the latest exemptions.

Hwang Kyo-ahn Begins His Political Career by Starting a Battle of Ideology

On January 29, former Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn (62, photo) announced his bid for the leader of the Liberty Korea Party at the party's convention on February 27 and said, "The philosophy of the “386 activists,” which should have been buried, is determining the state administration of the Republic of Korea in the twenty-first century." His words appeared to attract hardline conservatives, but they also triggered criticism for beginning his political career with an outdated battle of ideology.

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

S.Korea joins race to develop quantum computing technology

South Korea joined an international race to develop quantum computing technology and hardware under a five-year development program with state money. The Ministry of Science and ICT said Thursday that the government would inject 44.5 billion won ($39.8 million) for five years into the development of core technologies related to quantum computation and a practical five-qubit quantum computer by 2023.

Samsung predicts gradual rebound in microchip business

Samsung Electronics posted a 30.7 percent on-year drop in net earnings in the fourth quarter of 2018, ending its record-setting performance driven by a wave of robust growth in the microchip business. This year's business prospects are not so bright, but the company predicts a gradual pickup in microchip sales. Due to weak demand for memory chips and smartphones, Samsung's net profit in the October-December period fell to 8.46 trillion won ($7.92 billion) from 12.2 trillion won a year earlier. Operating profit was down 28.7 percent on-year to 10.8 trillion won, and sales fell 10.2 percent to 59.27 trillion won.

Shipyard workers surprised at reported talks on consolidation

Unionized workers at Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) suspended a vote on a new wage agreement, surprised at unconfirmed news reports that the world's largest shipbuilder has been in talks with creditor banks to acquire Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, South Korea's second largest shipyard.HHI's labor union held an emergency meeting Thursday after putting off a planned vote on this year's wage deal with management. South Korea's shipbuilding industry has been restructured, but workers at top three shipyards, including Samsung Heavy Industries, have opposed consolidation, fearing layoffs.

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

KDB to announce privatization scheme for DSME, HHI key candidate

State-lender Korea Development Bank (KDB) in a board meeting Thursday discussed a privatization scheme for Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) including a proposal to hand over its controlling 55.7 percent stake to the industry’s biggest Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) to realign overcapacity in shipbuilding sector that the government and creditors had to bail out amidst prolonged slump.

Lotte closes deal to acquire Myanmar’s No. 1 snack firm L&M Mayson

South Korea’s Lotte Confectionery announced on Thursday that it has completed the acquisition of L&M Mayson, a top bakery firm in Myanmar. The Korean company in October bought an 80 percent stake in L&M Mayson for about 77 billion won ($69 million). L&M Mayson founded in 1996 produces biscuits, pies and breads at three of its plants and runs retailing outlets and 10 logistics centers across Myanmar.

Hyundai Samho under HHI Group bags $287.5 mn order for 3 VLCCs

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) Group, the owner of the world’s biggest shipbuilder, may achieve this year’s ship order target of $15.9 billion sooner than expected after its affiliated shipyards have succeeded in winning a series of new vessel orders in the first month of 2019. South Korea’s Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co., under the nation’s largest shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries Group, won a 320 billion won ($287.5 million) worth order on Tuesday to build three very large crude carriers (VLCCs) from a European ship owner, the company announced Wednesday. The contract also includes an option to build one more vessel.

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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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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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Korean-language Internet edition: http://www.koreapost.co.kr
English-language Internet edition: http://www.koreapost.com
Korean-language print newspaper:
http://pdf.koreapost.co.kr/38/3801.pdf
http://pdf.koreapost.co.kr/38/3802.pdf
http://pdf.koreapost.co.kr/38/3803.pdf
http://www.koreapost.co.kr/pdf/list.php?category=&syear=2018&smonth=03&sday=26&hosu=40
English E-daily: http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=8412
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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koeapost.com

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