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Headlines, February 18, 2019

The Korean daily media headlines and humor

Monday, February 18, 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.K. official checks areas surrounding Samsung smartphone factory in Vietnam

A senior North Korean official is believed to have looked around areas near a smartphone factory in Vietnam owned by South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics Co., sources said Sunday. The move is prompting speculation that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may seek to visit the Samsung factory when he travels to Vietnam for his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. Kim Chang-son, known as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's de facto chief of staff, and other officials arrived in Hanoi Saturday to check logistics for a second summit between Trump and Kim slated for Feb. 27-28. The Kim delegation left the Vietnamese government's guest house in Hanoi at around 7 a.m. and headed north to the Bac Ninh province where a smartphone-producing line by Samsung Electronics is located, according to sources.

JTBC chief questioned over alleged violence against freelance journalist

Sohn Suk-hee, the chief and well-known news presenter of the cable channel JTBC, faced police questioning Saturday over an allegation that he used violence against a freelance journalist. Sohn was accused of punching the journalist in the face several times during a dinner meeting in Seoul in January. The journalist, identified only by his surname, Kim, insisted that Sohn offered him a job at JTBC, then assaulted him after he rejected the offer. Kim said he was reporting on a car accident in which Sohn was involved a few years ago.

N. Korea says Pyongyang-Washington ties primed for breakthrough

A North Korean propaganda website claimed Sunday that Pyongyang-Washington ties could experience "a major breakthrough," with the second summit between the two countries fast approaching. Meari touched upon progress that the two Koreas have made over the past year or so and added, "There's no reason North Korea-U.S. relations can't have a major breakthrough, as we have seen in inter-Korean relations." The site also said North Korea has not built or tested nuclear weapons of late, nor does it plan to use or spread these weapons, adding that it's not a temporary measure. "It's a strategic decision on our part to build a permanent and stable peace regime and to honor an important responsibility we have before the international community," the propaganda site said. "It also reflects our strong determination to realize the objective of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

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

N. Korean Official Visits Industrial Sites Near Hanoi Ahead of 2nd US-N. Korea Summit

A delegation of North Korean officials visited industrial facilities and other sties outside of Hanoi less than ten days before the second US.-North Korea summit in Vietnam. Kim Chang-son, a close aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, left the Vietnamese government's guest house in Hanoi at around 7 a.m. on Sunday and headed north to the Bac Ninh province, where a smart-phone manufacturing plant for Samsung Electronics and other foreign companies are located. There is speculation that Kim Jong-un may visit the industrial facilities in the province during his trip to Vietnam. The delegation led by Kim Chang-son also visited Ha Long Bay, a famous tourist destination located east of Hanoi.

S. Korean Defense Minister Holds Talks with Defense Chiefs of UAE, Oman

The defense ministers of South Korea and the United Arab Emirates(UAE) held talks to discuss ways to strengthen military ties and defense industry cooperation. Seoul’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday that Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and his counterpart Mohammed Ahmed Al-Bowardi agreed on Sunday to increase military personnel exchanges and strengthen cooperation in military training and cyber-security. The two sides also decided to promote defense industry cooperation between their countries.

Gov't to Conduct Safety Inspections on Infrastructure

The government will conduct a massive safety inspection of infrastructure around the country including railroads and tunnels in order to strengthen safety and prevent any possible accidents. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said on Sunday that it will inspect around 38-hundred facilities related to public safety, including bridges, railroads, dams, airports and buildings. Inspections will conducted for the next two months starting on Monday, beginning with railroads and old buildings.

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

Number of high pension payment recipients increase after inflation adjustment

Twenty-two people were receiving top-rate national pension payouts exceeding 2 million won (US$1,776) a month as of end-January, with the highest amount of 2.07 million won, according to the National Pension Service on Monday. The first pension payment of more than 2 million won was recorded in January last year. The latest number is an increase from 10 at the end of December as the amount was raised in step with the rate of inflation for 2018. A 66-year-old Seoul resident was the biggest recipient after subscribing to the pension for 300 months and paying a total of 72.69 million won.

Prices of high-consumption processed foods rise on-year

The price of sugar rose 11 percent in January from a year earlier as the cost of widely consumed processed foods increased overall, the Korea Consumer Agency said Monday. A survey of 26 items in the measured basket of foods for the month showed price hikes for 18 and drops for six. Prices for two remained the same. The agency normally reviews inflation for 30 items, but four were left out this time as the subjected items are being adjusted. Compared with January last year, the price of sugar jumped 11 percent, followed by soybean paste (9.8 percent), Coca Cola (9.7 percent) and fish cakes (8.5 percent).

Half of corporate recommendations accommodated in gov't policies

The government accommodated about half of the policy recommendations from the business community but stalled on proposals related to promoting the services industry, corporate organizations said Monday. An analysis by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and other business associations argued that eight of the 16 policy recommendations passed on to the government and the National Assembly in 2017 were adopted in some way. Another two made partial progress in discussions with the administration and the political community, it said.

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

Experts rule out possibility of key agenda shift in US-NK summit

Analysts here have downplayed the possibility that the US might only seek to avoid a nuclear attack from North Korea directed at the country during their upcoming summit, following US President Donald Trump’s remarks that he is not in a rush to denuclearize North Korea. While taking credit for averting a war with Pyongyang, Trump said he expects the second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, slated for Feb. 27-28 in Vietnam, to as successful as the first, where the two leaders had pledged to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

eju refugee crisis and beyond: Yemeni asylum seekers build life in Korea

When hundreds of Yemenis fleeing war and the humanitarian crisis back home made their way to a South Korean island last year, they were not expecting a warm welcome. But neither did they expected the outcry that labeled them “fake refugees.” Leaving behind their homeland’s hostility, most of the Yemeni asylum seekers are trying to build their lives and adapt to Korean society until it is safer to return to their war-ravaged country. Their journey to settle in Korea, however, is riddled with obstacles, highlighting how socially, culturally and legally unprepared South Korea is to embrace asylum seekers of different races and religions. More than 480 Yemenis arrived on Jeju Island, some 100 kilometers off the country’s southern coast, last spring.

Korean mobile carriers to bring 5G to life at MWC 2019

In just one week, the world will witness how the fifth-generation telecommunications network will be realized across various industries and change individual users’ lives at the world’s biggest mobile industry show in Barcelona, Spain, according to industry sources Sunday. And South Korea’s three telecom giants will be taking center stage at Mobile World Congress 2019, which kicks off Feb. 25 for a four-day run, demonstrating their commercial 5G services they say will transcend time and space for a seamlessly connected world.

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

Foreigners' purchase of S. Korean stocks hits 30-month high in Jan.

Overseas investors bought the largest amount of South Korean shares in 2 1/2 years last month, data showed Monday. Foreigners bought a net 3.7 trillion won ($3.28 billion) worth of local shares in January, following their purchase of 116 billion won of Korean equities a month earlier, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said in a statement.The tally is the largest amount since July 2016, when they scooped up shares worth 4.1 trillion won, according to the data. Investors from the United States and Luxembourg were among net sellers of equities last month, while those from Singapore and Malta, among others, were in a net buying mode. As of end-January, foreign investors held 567.2 trillion won worth of South Korean stocks, accounting for 32.3 percent of the total market capitalization.

Korea should brace for EU-led global recession

Korea should brace for a eurozone (EU)-triggered global economic slowdown that may develop into a full-blown recession, according to global experts, Sunday. They said that if the eurozone downturn coincides with China's slowdown and trade confrontations between the U.S. and China, it will come as a perfect storm for the Korean economy. They expect that chances of a global recession are growing and this time it could originate from the eurozone as the EU economy, including Germany, is reeling from multiple downside risks.

China, Japan seek to increase military clout over Korea

China and Japan appear to be trying to step up their military presence around the Korean Peninsula amid a debate between South Korea and the United States over defense cost-sharing. Diplomatic and security sources say Beijing and Tokyo are preparing for a possible realignment of U.S. troops in South Korea and a reduced U.S. military presence on the peninsula. In 2018, Chinese military aircraft violated the Korean Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) eight times. For instance, a Chinese military aircraft entered the KADIZ at around 10:21 a.m. on Dec. 27 from an area near Jeju Island and Ieo Island and exited half an hour later, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

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

Kim Jong-un to Make State Visit to Vietnam Ahead of Summit with Trump

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will arrive in Vietnam on Feb. 25 for a state visit ahead of his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump two days later, Reuters reported Saturday. He is expected to visit economic and industrial complexes there in a bid to publicize his aspiration for reform and market opening. During a private chat with President Moon Jae-in in the border truce village of Panmunjom last year, Kim reportedly expressed his desire to push for reforms styled on the model of Vietnam, an economic powerhouse that nonetheless remains in the iron grip of the Communist Party.

WADA Suspends N.Korea Over Drug-Testing Irregularities

The World Anti-Doping Agency on Wednesday declared North Korea non-compliant with its anti-doping code. This could cast a cloud over a plan to field inter-Korean teams at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the proposed co-hosting of the 2032 Summer Olympics by Seoul and Pyongyang. The declaration came after the global body at its executive committee meeting on Sept. 20 last year decided to "assert [North Korea] as non-compliant with the code if [it] failed to meet a four-month deadline to correct non-conformities related to the implementation of its testing program."

Moon Defends Minimum Wage Hike to Small Business Owners

President Moon Jae-in on Thursday defended the drastic minimum wage hike to owners of small businesses who had been invited to Cheong Wa Dae. "I'm aware of the difficulties small businesses face partly because of the minimum wage hike," he said. "But from a long-term perspective, we need to increase it." Small business owners told Moon at the meeting that the minimum-wage hike and shorter working week are squeezing them out of business. They asked him to moderate the pace of the hike next year or freeze it.

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

The mysteriousness of Trump’s figures for South Korea’s defense costs

“Right now, it costs us US$5 billion a year to defend [. . .]South Korea [. . .] and they were paying about US$500 million.”trump made these remarks on Feb. 12, just two days after South Korea and the US initialed their 10th Special Measures Agreement, as the two countries’ defense cost-sharing agreement is called. Prior to this, Trump has claimed that South Korea has been getting a “free ride” for the US’ defense of the Korean Peninsula. Trump also said that South Korea had agreed in the negotiations over the cost of defense “to pay US$500 million more.” But the total amount of South Korea’s contribution to the cost of stationing American troops on the Korean Peninsula, according to the agreement reached by the two sides on Feb. 10, is 1.39 trillion won (US$1.23 billion), representing an increase of 78.7 billion won (US$69.76 million), or 8.2%, from last year.

Pompeo publicly hints at possible sanctions relief for first time

The analysis suggested the remarks were meant conditionally to provide a “carrot” to urge larger denuclearization measures from Pyongyang.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned the possibility of loosening sanctions for the first time in a message urging North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to make a wise decision in connection with the second North Korea-US summit less than two weeks from now. Pompeo also strongly hinted that discussions on a declaration ending the Korean War and a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula could take place at the summit. “It’s our full intention of getting a good outcome in exchange for relieving those sanctions [against North Korea],” Pompeo said in a Feb. 14 interview with the CBS network while in Warsaw.

Presidential advisor stresses need for 2nd NK-US summit to produce roadmap and timetable

Moon Chung-in, special advisor to the South Korean President for unification, foreign affairs and national security, said that the second North Korea-US summit needs to produce a roadmap and timetable. Moon’s suggestion is for North Korea and the US to set up a working-group to hash out the details of the three general agreements that the two sides made during their summit in Singapore on June 12.

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

Trump: ‘We just don’t want N. Korea’s nuclear testing’

U.S. President Donald Trump made a statement ahead of his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un scheduled in Hanoi, Vietnam on February 27 and 28. “I’m in no rush for speed. We just don’t want testing," he said. President Trump made the remarks as he was mentioning the North’s halting of nuclear tests and missile launch as an achievement since his first summit with Kim in Singapore last year, at a press conference at the White House on Friday (local time). However, watchers have raised concern that Washington might have lowered its goal to freezing of its nuclear weapons from denuclearization, at a time when Washington and Pyongyang are engaged in intense tug of war at the working level over the agenda item of the North’s denuclearization for the summit.

LG Electronics to unveil both V50 and G8 series this month

LG Electronics has announced that it will make all-out efforts to regain its shrinking market share in the upcoming 5G-enabled smartphone market. Kwon Bong-suk, head of LG's home entertainment (HE) unit, has served a dual role in the mobile communications (MC) division since last December. “We regret that our smartphones lacked an identity and a selling point from the perspective of customers,” Kwon said during his first press conference Friday at the LG Science Park in Seoul. Late last year, LG’s smartphone division has seen plummeting profits, running a deficit for 15 consecutive quarters, while recording a deficit of 789 billion won in 2018.

Seoul: ‘Marathon in DMZ’ if successful in 2032 Olympics bid

Seoul Metropolitan City, which was recently picked as the successful candidate in a national contest of Korean cities seeking to bid for the 2032 Olympics, is pushing for a plan to co-host the 2032 Summer Olympics with Pyongyang. The city government is considering a plan to hold the Olympic marathon in the inter-Korean demilitarized zone. The city plans to jointly hold sports that involve a number of competitions including track-and-field and swimming events, and those that draw stronger interest from both the South and the North including taekwondo and soccer.

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

North, U.S. tour summit venues in Hanoi

Senior officials from both Pyongyang and Washington arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam, over the weekend to lay the groundwork for the upcoming second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in the Vietnamese capital later this month. Kim Chang-son, director of the North’s State Affairs Commission, landed in Hanoi Saturday while Daniel Walsh, White House deputy chief of staff of operations, arrived in the city Friday to prepare for the much-anticipated second summit, scheduled for Feb. 27 to 28. The two leaders will be pressed to deliver the concrete agreements that failed to surface at their first meeting in Singapore last June.

Long-term unemployed in Jan. hits 19-year high

The number of people who have been unemployed for over six months topped 150,000 in January, a 19-year high for the month, as the country continues to face difficulty in reviving the depressed job market. According to data from Statistics Korea, job seekers who have been without a job for longer than six months increased 4.7 percent on year to 155,000 in January from 148,000 last year. The figure for January is the highest since 2000 when it was at 167,000. The number of short-term unemployed, or job seekers who have been looking for less than three months, also jumped to 776,000 last month from 603,000 in January last year. Those who have stopped looking for work despite intending to continue working have also increased. This number hit 605,000, the highest since the figure began being recorded, according to data from the statistics agency.

Resistance in Tokyo encouraged the March 1 Movement

nearly 600 students gathered at the Tokyo Korean Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Hall to denounce Japanese oppression and declare Korea’s independence. The event served as a catalyst for the mass movement proclaiming Korea’s independence that would launch three weeks later on March 1 in Seoul. It mobilized people across the social spectrum and spread nationwide in the form of peaceful “Manse” demonstrations, in which protesters called out the slogan, “Long live the independence of Korea.

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

Yonsei Univ. Cancels Admission after Tuition Payment Fails

A, who was admitted to Yonsei University in the 2019 school year, had his admission canceled after failing to pay his tuition on time. A argued that the tuition was not transferred due to a system error with a Korea Post bank account. The school explained that they had no choice but to cancel his admission according to regulations, because it was not a computer error, but negligence on the part of the student, who failed to check the completion of the transfer. The school and A confirmed that there was an error with the tuition payment on February 1. A informed the school of this fact and even took part in his department's orientation program for new students on February 7-8.

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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.

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

Samsung Elec’s cash reserves surpass $92.5 bn in 2018 on best earnings

South Korea’s tech mogul Samsung Electronics Co. is sitting on an all-time high cash pile of over 100 trillion won ($88.8 billion) as of the end of last year thanks to the lengthy boom in the semiconductor market, making it well prepared for any swift investment decisions in the future. According to multiple sources from the conglomerate industry on Sunday, the cash reserves held by Samsung Electronics as of the end of last year on a consolidated basis was 104.2 trillion won, up 24.7 percent from the previous year’s 83.6 trillion won. It was the first time for the company’s cash pile to surpass 100 trillion won.

S. Korean firms’ dividend payouts to top $26 bn for first time in 2018

The total dividend payment by listed companies in South Korea for 2018 will likely exceed 30 trillion won ($26.6 billion) for the first time amid growing demand from institutional investors to up their dividends that have been historically lower than those of global peers. According to Seoul-based financial data provider FnGuide on Sunday, the total cash dividends of 499 Kospi- and Kosdaq-listed firms that have disclosed figures for 2018 business year has reached 26.27 trillion won as of Sunday, up 25.9 percent from their 20.86 trillion won in the previous year. The figure has also already exceeded the total dividend payment by all listed companies for 2017 that stood at 25.5 trillion won.

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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
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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=8485
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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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