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Headlines, February 15, 2019

The Korean daily media headlines and humor

Friday, February 15, 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 current account reaches eight-month low in Dec

South Korea's monthly current account surplus hit an eight-month low in December on slowing exports, central bank data showed Friday. The country's current account surplus came to US$4.82 billion in December, slightly up from $4.49 billion a year earlier, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK). The tally marks the 80th consecutive month of the balance being in the black based on a revised statistics criteria, but it represents the smallest monthly surplus since April when it hit a six-year low of $1.77 billion.

Koreas likely to field joint teams in field hockey, rowing, basketball, judo at Tokyo Olympics

South Korea and North Korea are likely to field joint teams in at least four sports at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, with an addition of more sports to the list remaining a possibility, officials said Friday. South Korean sports representatives, led by Sports Minister Do Jong-hwan, are visiting Lausanne, Switzerland, for a tripartite meeting with their North Korean counterparts and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach later Friday. They'll discuss the organization of joint teams at next year's Summer Games and the joint Korean bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics. The three-way meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Friday in Lausanne or 5:30 p.m. Friday in Seoul.

S. Korea to push for free trade deal with Britain

South Korea's finance minister said Thursday that Seoul will push for talks with Britain on forging a bilateral free trade deal, citing London's imminent departure from the European Union. The comments by Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, underscored South Korea's efforts to keep intact its economic ties with Britain, one of its major trading partners. Hong did not provide a specific timeframe for when the two sides would launch talks. Britain is set to leave the European Union on March 29, meaning South Korean firms could no longer enjoy the benefits provided under the free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU when trading with Britain.


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

Pompeo: US Trusts Kim's Commitment to Denuclearization, but Requires Verification

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. trusts North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's commitment to denuclearization, but that they will have to verify his commitment. Pompeo, who is currently visiting Europe, made the remarks on Thursday during an interview with U.S. news organization CBS in Poland ahead of this month's second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Pompeo said Kim repeatedly told Washington that he would denuclearize and that the U.S. will "trust and verify.”

S. Korea's Current Account Surplus Hit 8-Month Low in Dec.

South Korea's current account surplus hit an eight-month low in December due to slowing exports. cording to preliminary data released by the Bank of Korea on Friday, the country's current account surplus came to four-point-82 billion dollars in December. The country posted a current account surplus for the 80th consecutive month since May 2012 based on revised statistics criteria, but the December figure represents the smallest surplus since April of last year.

Command Ship of US 7th Fleet to Visit Busan

The command ship of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet will visit the port city of Busan to enhance the friendly ties between South Korean and U.S. forces. South Korea's Navy said the 19-thousand-600-ton USS Blue Ridge, based in Yokosuka, Japan, will arrive in the port on Friday to support exchanges between the naval forces of the two nations. Following months of maintenance work, the Blue Ridge is on a regional tour of countries including South Korea and Japan and is expected to stay in Korea until early next week.


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

Pompeo says he expects Trump, Kim to discuss end-of-war declaration

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that he expects President Donald Trump to discuss the possibility of formally ending the 1950-53 Korean War at his next summit North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Trump and Kim are scheduled to meet in Hanoi, Vietnam, Feb. 27-28 to discuss the dismantling of North Korea's nuclear weapons program in exchange for US security guarantees.

US 7th fleet's command ship visits Busan

The command ship of the US Navy's 7th Fleet visited the southeastern port city of Busan on Friday to enhance exchanges and friendly ties between the allies' naval forces, South Korea's Navy said. Following months of maintenance work, the 19,609-ton USS Blue Ridge, based in Yokosuka, Japan, is on a regional tour and expected to stay in Korea until early next week, according to an informed source.

National Assembly to have Korean Provisional Assembly seal sent home

A relative of a Korean independence fighter on Thursday expressed her intention to donate to South Korea the official seal of the Korean Provisional Assembly, which was established in Shanghai during Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, a parliamentary official said. Hong Chang-hyu, granddaughter-in-law of Hong Chin (1877-1946), who led the provisional government and the Korean Provisional Assembly, said she will return the seal kept by her to South Korea's parliament when she met National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang and a group of South Korean lawmakers over lunch at a New York hotel.


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

US officials to travel to Asia this weekend to prepare for N. Korea summit

U.S. officials will travel to Asia this weekend to continue preparations for a second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said. Trump and Kim are scheduled to meet in Hanoi, Vietnam, Feb. 27-28 to discuss the dismantling of North Korea's nuclear weapons program in exchange for U.S. security guarantees. Negotiators from the two sides met in Pyongyang last week to hammer out the agenda and logistical details, and are expected to meet again next week. "We have a team leaving again this weekend to travel to Asia to continue to prepare for the summit," Pompeo said in an interview with CBS News Wednesday. "I'm not going to talk about what it is we hope to achieve, but I'm very hopeful that we'll get a good outcome."

Trump vows emergency declaration over wall

Congress steamed toward lopsided approval of a border security compromise Thursday night that would avert a second painful government shutdown but ignite a major new confrontation _ this time over President Donald Trump's plan to bypass lawmakers and declare a national emergency to siphon billions from other federal coffers for his wall on the Mexican boundary. Wall money in the bill, about $1.4 billion, is far below the $5.7 billion Trump has insisted he must have. The White House said he'd sign the legislation but then act on his own to get the rest, a move sure to bring immediate efforts in court and elsewhere to block him.

20% of pregnant women have abortions

Around 20 percent of Korean women who get pregnant have abortions, according to a government survey, Thursday. The Korea Institute of Health and Social Affairs (KIHASA) announced the result of the survey, which it conducted on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Welfare on 10,000 women aged between 15 and 44 online from September to October. It was the third government survey on abortion, an illegal practice here ― except in certain life-threatening circumstances and in the cases of rape and incest ― but widely conducted secretly. Previous surveys were conducted in 2005 and 2010.


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

N.Korea 'Could Attack Satellites'

North Korea has ballistic missiles and long-range rockets that are capable of entering the Earth's orbit and attacking other countries' satellites, the Pentagon warned Monday. The warning came in a Defense Intelligence Agency report titled "Challenges to Security in Space," Voice of America reported. North Korea and Iran "will maintain their ability to conduct [electronic warfare] against adversaries and theoretically could use their missile and [space launch vehicle] advancements to target orbiting satellites," the report said. "North Korea will try to deny an adversary use of space during a conflict" but "has demonstrated non-kinetic counterspace capabilities, including GPS and satellite communication jamming."

Hyundai-Kia Overhaul Recruitment Process

Hyundai and affiliate Kia said Wednesday that they will scrap their traditional process of hiring new recruits regularly twice a year and shift to a system of interviewing them all year long. The automakers are the first among the chaebol or family-owned business groups to adopt a more modern hiring system. A Hyundai staffer said, "The existing hiring method had negative side effects like pressuring young jobseekers to pad their resumes with various achievements that aren't directly relevant to the job they're applying for, so we decided to let each of our frontline business departments hire the workers they need when they need them."

Korean Game Developers Post Dire Earnings

Korean game developers posted paltry earnings in the fourth quarter last year. Netmarble said Wednesday that fourth-quarter sales fell 20.9 percent on-year to W487.1 billion, while operating profit nosedived 59 percent W38 billion (US$1=W1,123). Nexon said a day earlier that fourth-quarter revenues fell 13 percent to W459.4 billion, while operating profit plummeted 67 percent to W38.9 billion. NCsoft also posted a 40 percent drop in operating profit in the same period. Over the last three to four years, Korean game companies had enjoyed a heyday as they performed well in Chinese, Southeast Asian and U.S. markets, exports reaching W5 trillion a year.


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

No legal grounds found for prohibition of journalists’ laptops entering North Korea

The decision to prevent South Korean reporters from bringing their laptop computers and other broadcasting equipment to the first inter-Korean exchange event organized by the private sector this year at Mt. Kumgang on Feb. 12-13 reportedly resulted from the UN Command voicing its concern and the South Korean Unification Ministry failing to respond proactively. But since neither South Korea’s Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Act or US domestic law contain any provisions banning laptop computers from being taken into or out of North Korea for the purpose of reporting, there was essentially no legal grounds for blocking the laptops. This is prompting complaints about the freedom of the press being violated.

S. Korean prime minister addresses Japan’s objection to Supreme Court’s forced labor ruling

During a meeting with Fukushiro Nukaga, Japanese chairman of the Japan–Korea Parliamentarians’ Union, on Feb. 13, South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon addressed the fact that Japan has objected to the ruling by the South Korean Supreme Court that victims of forced labor during the Japanese colonial occupation should be paid reparations. “It doesn’t make sense for Japan to agree to the trial and then to refuse to accept the ruling when it lost,” Lee said.

Sports minister heads to Switzerland for International Olympic Committee meeting

South Korean Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Do Jong-hwan departed Incheon International Airport on Feb. 13 en route to the Swiss city of Lausanne, home of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters. Accompanied by Korean Sport and Olympic Committee president Lee Kee-heung and IOC Athletes’ Commission member Ryu Seung-min, Do is to visit the IOC headquarters on Feb. 15 with North Korean Physical Culture and Sports Minister Kim Il-guk to meet with IOC President Thomas Bach. During their meeting, the three are expected to discuss plans for organizing unified inter-Korean teams for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.


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

Advisors to Biegun call for middle phase before denuclearization

It has been confirmed that the so-called Carnegie team, which advises U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, proposed a strategy of putting “comprehensive, verifiable caps” (CVC) on North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. Toby Dalton, co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said in an interview with the Dong-A Ilbo on Wednesday (local time) that it is realistic to implement the CVC strategy until 2020, when U.S. President Donald Trump’s first term ends. Dalton noted that as the “final, fully verified denuclearization” or the “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” approaches cannot reach their final goals at once, there needs to be a middle ground. He added that the CVC is that middle ground.

Gov't deregulation made for digital healthcare startups

Patients in Korea will be able to send ECG data measured by a smart watch to a healthcare service institution and receive medical counsel. Deregulation measures also allow institutions to recruit clinical trial participants as well as public service agencies to send public documents such as fines, and notice of military duty to citizens. The government has chosen digital healthcare as the first area of business to undergo regulatory sandbox in the ICT business. The Ministry of Science and ICT approved three areas of business (four business service providers) Thursday at the first New Technology/Service Deliberation Committee meeting held at the Gwacheon government complex in Gwacheon. The ministry also announced that it would apply the easing to other service providers as well, apparently conscious of public opinion criticizing selective approval for certain applicants.

'N. Korea can attack satellites with missiles,' says the Pentagon

The Voice of America reported Wednesday that North Korea, which possesses a high level of ballistic missile technology along with its nuclear development, is capable of attacking satellites on space orbits, citing a report of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) under the U.S. Department of Defense. According to the DIA report titled "Challenges to Security in Space," North Korea has been categorized as "potential threats" that may harm the security of space along with Russia, China, and Iran. “North Korea also has ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles that can reach orbit and could, in theory, be used to target satellites in a conflict,” said the report.


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

Mom and pops get invited to Blue House

President Moon Jae-in said the opinions of small merchants will be factored in when deciding next year’s minimum wage. But he stuck to his guns on the basic notion of raising the minimum wage - despite the loss of countless jobs - saying it’s for the best in the long term. “Small businesses and merchants continue to remain in difficulty,” Moon said Thursday at a meeting of 160 people at the Blue House, including representatives of small businesses. “Due to over-competition, rising rents and big franchise commissions, the burden is heavy,” Moon said. “And to make the situation worse, the minimum wage hike seems to have added to the difficulties.”But in the long run, he said, the minimum wage should be raised.

Court rejects injunction on nuke reactors’ construction

A Seoul court Thursday refused to grant an injunction requested by an international environmental group and residents near a nuclear plant to reverse the government’s plan to build two new reactors in Ulsan.

The Seoul Administrative Court ruled Thursday that the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission gave unlawful permission to the state-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. to build Shin Kori 5 and 6 in a suburb of the southeastern industrial city, but the plan cannot be scrapped for the sake of the public interest. In September 2016, the Seoul bureau of Greenpeace and residents of Ulju, Ulsan, filed for an injunction to stop the construction. They said the nuclear watchdog issued permission to build new reactors without properly considering safety risks. They also said the nuclear safety commission failed to respect the required process of discussing the plan with residents near the plant.

Second blast in nine months kills 3 at Hanwha factory

After an explosion at a Hanwha munitions factory killed three people Thursday, the Daejeon Regional Employment and Labor Administration ordered a halt to all operations at the plant and sent nine investigators to examine the causes. Last May, the same factory experienced an explosion that killed two people. The explosion occurred around 8:42 a.m. in a Hanwha plant in Daejeon, killing three full-time workers. Two were reported to be in charge of assembling rocket parts and the third was in charge of quality-control tests. No additional details are known about the victims just yet except one fatality was 25 years old.


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

Women Will Gather Again at Hyehwa Station to Condemn Open Use of GHB in Sexual Offenses

The controversial incident at Burning Sun, a popular nightclub in Gangnam, Seoul, will lead to a demonstration against drug-related crimes targeting women. The demonstration was triggered by allegations that people openly used the drug, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), also known as mulppong in Korean, for sexual offenses against women at the club. In March, a demonstration will be held around Hyehwa Station on the Seoul Subway Line 4 condemning drug-related crimes on women and demanding government action.

How Much Longer Do We Have to Listen to Trump's Outrageous Remarks on Defense Expenses?

At a White House cabinet meeting on February 12 (local time), U.S. President Donald Trump mentioned the defense expenses of the U.S. Forces Korea and said, "It's got to go up." He also said, "And over the years, it will start going up...." Just two days after South Korea and the United States initialed a special agreement on this year's defense expenses of the U.S. Forces Korea on February 10, President Trump mentioned raising South Korea's contribution next year.


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

Mobile carrier LGU+ signs deal to acquire top cable channel operator

LGU+, a third mobile carrier, signed a deal to acquire a controlling stake in a top cable channel operator, vowing to become a major player in South Korea's pay-TV market which has been rattled by the expansion of influence by Netflix, the world's largest over-the-top (OTT) company. LGU+ agreed to acquire a 50 percent plus one share stake in CJ Hello from CJ E&M, a key distributor and exporter of Hallyu (Korean cultural wave) in Asia. CJ Hello with 4.13 million subscribers controls 13.02 percent of the paid TV market, compared to LGU+'s 11.4 percent.

Philippine banks agree to reschedule debt of Hanjin shipyard in Subic

Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction secured approval from Philippine banks to reschedule the debt of its affiliate in Subic, two days after the mid-sized South Korean shipbuilder reported capital impairment. Philippine creditors agreed to acquire Hanjin Heavy shares in return for solving surely obligations. Hanjin said the deal would be submitted to a Philippine court by the end of this month. HHIC-Phil, a debt-stricken shipyard in Subic, has applied for a rehabilitation program.


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

Korea’s Hanjin Group promises reform after pressure from shareholders

Yielding to pressure from its non-family big shareholders, Korea’s transportation conglomerate Hanjin Group will install independent audit committees on its key units and sell non-core properties to improve corporate governance and balance sheet. Hanjin Group, whose business spans from air transportation service to hotels, on Wednesday released a five-year corporate governance improvement blueprint that includes separate plans to create an audit committee entirely comprised of outside directors, increase the number of outside directors in their boards of directors and sell off idle assets.

Asiana Airlines’ OP down 35.3% on year in 2018 on higher fuel costs

Despite record high annual revenue, South Korea’s second-largest full-service carrier Asiana Airlines Inc. reported a 35.3 percent on-year plunge in operating profit last year due to higher fuel costs. Asiana Airlines said in a regulatory filing on Thursday that its operating profit on a consolidated basis amounted to 178.4 billion won ($158.3 million) in 2018, down 35.3 percent from a year ago. The company also swung to a net loss of 10.4 billion won from a profit of 248 billion won over the same period although revenue rose 10 percent on-year to all-time high 6.85 trillion won in 2018 since its inception.

Busan to go robotic, Sejong self-driving in Korea`s smart city campaign

Robots will park cars and patrol public spaces in a demo district in Busan, picked as one of the first two cities to go autonomous and futuristic under the Korean government’s “smart” drive. “It’s important to make headway in smart city evolution,” said President Moon Jae-in who flew into the southern coastal city to launch the smart city initiative. The country’s second-largest city Busan and the administrative city Sejong were selected as the first demo cities to go smart by applications of big data, future mobility and robotics.


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

Hanjin Heavy Industries’ stock trading suspended due to capital erosion

Stock trading of South Korea’s Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co. was suspended on Wednesday because the company’s capital has been completely eroded after reflecting losses from its subsidiary in the Philippines. Hanjin Heavy Industries announced in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that the company’s net loss snowballed to 1.32 trillion won ($1.18 billion) in 2018, up from a loss of 278 billion won a year ago after it reflected losses from its Subic shipyard in the Philippines that has been under workout program.

Korean bio firms Genexine, SCM Lifescience jointly buy U.S. Argos Therapeutics

South Korea’s clinical stage biotechnology company Genexine Inc. on Wednesday announced joint acquisition of U.S. immuno-oncology company Argos Therapeutics Inc. at 12.5 billion won ($11.1 million) with a local peer. The Kosdaq-listed bio venture company said it won over the U.S. biotech firm in a tender it joined up with Korea’s biotech company SCM Lifescience Co. The acquired company renamed as CoImmune will operate as an independent entity in the U.S.

Foreign capital came in Korean stocks, out of bonds in largest sum in 2 yrs

Foreigners bought the largest amount of Korean stocks last month in almost two years on the back of improved investment sentiment on risk assets and undervaluation of local shares, the central bank said on Wednesday. According to the Bank of Korea, foreign capital aimed to invest in Korean stocks totaled $3.34 billion in January, marking the second straight month of inflow since December. It is also the largest amount of investment since May, 2017, when foreigners bought $3.36 billion worth of shares.


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
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.
What are you waiting for?

Use us!
The Korea Post media are more than eager to be used, and to serve you—with the following five news outlets, 34 years old this year!

Korean-language Internet edition: http://www.koreapost.co.kr
English-language Internet edition: http://www.koreapost.com
Korean-language print newspaper:
English E-daily: http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=8485

Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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