Headlines, February 19, 2019
Headlines, February 19, 2019
  • Lee Kyung-sik
  • 승인 2019.02.19 11:24
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The Korean daily media headlines and humor

Tuesday, February 19, 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.

U.S., N. Korea seriously mull exchange of liaison officers: CNN

The United States and North Korea are seriously considering an exchange of liaison officers, CNN reported Monday, as the leaders of the two nations prepare for a second summit next week in Vietnam. The first step forward in establishing new U.S.-North Korea ties could be the exchange of officers, the U.S. broadcaster said, citing two high-level diplomatic sources. Establishing new bilateral relations was one of the commitments made by U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at their first summit in Singapore in June. The two are scheduled to hold their second summit on Feb. 27 and 28 in Hanoi.

President Moon urges additional steps to ensure job safety

President Moon Jae-in called for additional efforts to ensure safety at workplaces Monday, offering his personal condolences to the bereaved family of a young worker who died at his job late last year. In the emotional meeting held at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, the president insisted the lives and safety of workers must come before the profit of any given firm. "We must build a system so (everyone) will regard lives and safety more important than profit," the president told the bereaved family of Kim Yong-gyun, a 24-year-old subcontract worker who died in a conveyor belt accident at a state-run power plant in Taean, 150 kilometers southwest of Seoul. "The government will also make safety the No. 1 point in evaluating state firms," the president added, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom.

2 dead, over 20 injured in fire at Daegu public sauna

Two people are dead and over a score are injured after a fire broke out at a public sauna in Daegu, firefighters said Tuesday. The fire started at 7:11 a.m. in the sauna located in the city, about 237 kilometers southeast of Seoul. Firefighters put out the fire in about 20 minutes. Most of the victims were found to have inhaled smoke and were sent to the hospital, including the two deceased. Authorities said the casualties could rise. Further details about the victims were not immediately known. A witness told police the fire started at the entrance to the men's sauna. Police are investigating the scene to find out the exact cause.


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

Heavy Snow Forecast for Seoul, Central Regions

The nation's central regions have seen wintry precipitation, while heavy snow advisories have been issued for Seoul, southern parts of Gyeonggi, Gangwon, northern Chungcheong and North Gyeongsang provinces. The Korea Meteorological Administration said as of 9:10 a.m. on Tuesday that Seoul saw one-point-three centimeters of snow. The southern Gyeonggi provincial city of Suwon saw three centimeters, while about two-centimeters of snow fell on the western port city of Incheon, causing trouble for commuters.

CNN: US, N. Korea Considering Exchange of Liaison Officers

The U.S. and North Korea are reportedly seriously considering exchanging liaison officers, an important step towards building formal diplomatic relations. CNN issued the report on Monday quoting two high-level diplomatic sources with knowledge of the discussion. The two diplomatic sources said the first step towards establishing a new U.S-North Korea relationship could be the exchange of officers. The U.S. would send several liaison officers to set up an office in North Korea, which would be led by a senior Korean-speaking Foreign Service officer.

Three-Way Dialogue Fails to Reach Agreement on Extending Flexible Working Hou

A tripartite dialogue held among government, business and labor officials has failed to reach an agreement on an extension of the unit period for the flexible work hour system. A committee under the Economic, Social and Labor Council convened a plenary session on Monday afternoon but failed to narrow differences after ten hours of talks. After the talks ended early on Tuesday, the committee head Lee Chul-soo told reporters that an agreement was supposed to be reached by Monday, but the deadline had been missed, and it was decided to continue discussions for another day.


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

N. Korea, U.S. look set for Hanoi talks on summit agenda

North Korea's envoy for the United States left Pyongyang on Tuesday apparently for talks in Hanoi on the agenda of an upcoming summit between the two nations, a Japanese news outlet reported. Kim Hyok-chol, special representative for U.S. affairs of the State Affairs Commission, is expected to visit the Vietnamese capital via Beijing to meet with a team of U.S. officials, according to Kyodo News. He will likely hold talks with his American counterpart, Stephen Biegun, to nail down the details of what will be discussed in the second meeting between President Donald Trump and leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi on Feb. 27-28.

Manufacturing sector crucial for growth of national economy: BOK chief

Competition in the global manufacturing business has become tougher and poses serious challenges for South Korea, the chief of the country's central bank said Tuesday, calling for proper measures to ensure sustainable growth of the national economy. Gov. Lee Ju-yeol of the Bank of Korea (BOK) made the remarks during a meeting with officials from industrial circles meant to check economic circumstances. "It is not too much to say that the improvement of competition of our manufacturing sector is a matter of the survival of our economy," Lee said, stressing the country cannot guarantee sustainable growth without it.

Coal imports set another record in 2018

South Korea's coal imports hit a new high last year despite government efforts to phase out the use of fine dust-emitting energy sources, industry data showed Tuesday. The country shipped in 131.52 million tons of coal last year, breaking the record for the second consecutive year. Coal imports in 2017 totaled 131.46 million tons. The figure for 2018 marks an 11 percent increase from 2016. The monetary value of the imports totaled US$14.65 billion last year, a gain of 8.7 percent from the year before. It is the highest amount since 2012. The volume increased more than the monetary value as prices rose from major producing countries, such as Australia and Indonesia, cutting back on their supply.


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

Moon accuses Gwangju Uprising deniers of undermining foundations of Korea

President Moon Jae-in on Monday criticized those taking issue with the 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising, saying that the controversial claims are damaging to democracy and undermining the country’s foundations. “Some in the National Assembly and political arena who are raising claims, such as North Korean soldiers being sent to the South, and referring to the May 18 Democratization Movement as a riot, are denying our history of democracy and the Constitution,” Moon said at a meeting Monday with his senior aides.

Coal imports set another record in 2018

South Korea's coal imports hit a new high last year despite government efforts to phase out the use of fine dust-emitting energy sources, industry data showed Tuesday. The country shipped in 131.52 million tons of coal last year, breaking the record for the second consecutive year. Coal imports in 2017 totaled 131.46 million tons. The figure for 2018 marks an 11 percent increase from 2016.

S. Korean fishing ship seized by Russian border guard: ministry

A South Korean fishing vessel with 11 people on board has been seized by Russian authorities, Seoul's foreign ministry said Monday. Russia's border guard caught the 69-ton ship on charges of illegal fishing at around 5:30 a.m. (Seoul time) Sunday and informed the government of the seizure through the consulate general in Vladivostok a day later, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


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

Trump tells Venezuela military to back Guaido or 'lose everything'

U.S. President Donald Trump urged Venezuela's military Monday to accept opposition leader Juan Guaido's amnesty offer, or stand to "lose everything," as a crisis deepened over President Nicolas Maduro's refusal to let in desperately needed humanitarian aid. Bringing in humanitarian aid is crucial to the viability of Guaido, who has denounced Maduro's re-election last year as fraudulent and in January declared himself interim president, a move recognized by some 50 countries. He has given the Maduro government until Saturday to let the shipments into the country, which is in the grip of a humanitarian crisis due to shortages of food and medicine exacerbated by hyperinflation.

TV guidelines on 'look-alike' K-pop singers spark controversy Posted

The government's new guidelines for local broadcasters and TV show producers have sparked controversy here over a suggestion to refrain from showing too many K-pop stars that have similar appearances. The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (MOGEF) released the revised guidelines Saturday in an effort to prevent "lookism," which TV can appear to promote. One of the clauses in the guidelines recommends restricting the number of idol singers appearing on a TV show at any given time, saying they all look alike which suggests narrow beauty standards for young viewers who admire K-pop groups.

Japanese PM lambasted for politicizing sex slavery issues

National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's response to his remarks over sex slaves were "politically motivated." Earlier this month, Moon called for the Japanese Emperor to make an apology for Japan sexually enslaving Korean women for its military before and during World War II. This triggered an angry response from Japan, with Abe calling for Moon to apologize and take back his words. "What am I to make of this situation in which those who should apologize don't and instead tell me to apologize?" Moon said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency in Los Angeles before returning to Seoul Friday.


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

Dwindling Earnings by Top Conglomerates Trigger Warning Bells

Korea's major business conglomerates are suffering from plummeting revenues. Analysis by the Korea Economic Research Institute for the Chosun Ilbo of the fourth-quarter earnings of the top 30 companies showed that their combined revenues fell 0.2 percent on-year to W262.1 trillion (US$1=W1,131). Combined operating profit plunged more than 25 percent over the same period to W20.3 trillion. The figures are a red light for the health of Korea's economy. For some time now the performance of the top companies had looked healthy only thanks to strong earnings by Samsung and SK Hynix in a global semiconductor supercycle buoying up the rest.

Japan Threatens Economic Retaliation Against Korea

The Japanese government is considering economic retaliation against Korea if it seizes the Korean assets of Nippon Steel to compensate Korean forced labor victims. The steps could include halting exports of key materials needed to manufacture semiconductors and defense products. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun daily on Saturday reported calls by Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party to limit exports of defense-related materials to Korea. Some LDP lawmakers are even calling for the scrapping of a visa-waiver with Korea and limiting work visas for Korean nationals, or suggesting punitive tariffs similar to those slammed by U.S. President Donald Trump on China.

Starry Nightclub Shuts Down Over Drug Allegations

The glitzy Gangnam nightclub Burning Sun, which has been a focal point for prurient interest in the lives of the rich and famous after allegations of drug use, sexual harassment and bouncer brutality, closed for business on Sunday at the owner's decision. The allegations surfaced when a male patron, identified only by his surname Kim, posted a claim on social media last December that he was brutally assaulted by nightclub staff when he tried to help a female patron they were dragging into a VIP room. He alleged cozy ties between the club owners and police, who appeared at the scene and instead of investigating the alleged incident, slapped Kim in handcuffs and carted him off.


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

Rodong Sinmun says denuclearization is an “irreversible decision”

North Korea’s state-run Rodong Sinmun said there’s not “any room to turn around or go back” from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s “unexpected and groundbreaking decision to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.” This basically emphasizes that the “complete denuclearization” that Kim expressed during three inter-Korean summits and the North Korea-US summit last year and during his 2019 New Year’s address is an “irreversible decision.”

North Korea and US teams arrive in Hanoi to handle security and protocol for 2nd summit

Working-level teams from North Korea and the US that are handling protocol and security issues for the second North Korea-US summit, which will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Feb. 27-28, arrived in Hanoi and visited accommodations where the two leaders might stay. The negotiations about the summit’s agenda—including North Korea’s steps toward denuclearization and the US’ corresponding measures—are expected to be held this week, too. With the summit less than 10 days away, North Korea and the US appear to be speeding up their preparations on the ground.

Moon says Trump deserves to receive Nobel Peace Prize

In a briefing on Feb. 18, Blue House Spokesperson Kim Eui-kyum said that South Korean President Moon Jae-in thinks that US President Donald Trump has earned the right to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Kim added that Moon’s opinion is based on Trump’s contribution to the improvement of inter-Korean relations and stability and his resolution to mending North Korea-US relations. However, Kim added that Moon has not given his official recommendation for Trump as a Nobel Peace Prize candidate and does not have any plans for doing so. Moon aroused attention in April 2018 by remarking, “Trump can have the Nobel Peace Prize. We’ll take the peace.


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

Rewards are necessary to secure N. Korea’s cooperation,’ pres. advisor says

Moon Chung-in, South Korean presidential special adviser for foreign affairs and national security, said Monday, “As only North Korean technicians can dismantle their nuclear facilities safely, rewards should be given to make sure that the regime remains cooperative.” Moon said in an interview with Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun that it is “impossible to achieve the reporting, inspection, and verification (of North Korea’s nuclear facilities) by unilaterally imposing pressure on the regime,” stressing the importance of offering corresponding rewards.

Hyundai, Kia beat Ford in sales in Europe

Hyundai Motor Group’s sales in the European Union improved last month, beating Ford Motor Company and ranking fourth in terms of market share. Helped by robust sales of sport utility vehicles, it was the only company out of the top 10 global carmakers that saw its sales grow last month. Anticipation builds as to whether it will be able to maintain this trend both in the U.S. and European markets.

Black box’ of sunken Stella Daisy retrieved

The Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) of the ill-fated South Korean ore carrier Stella Daisy that sank in the South Atlantic on March 31, 2017, claiming the life of 22 crew members including eight South Koreans, was retrieved in the South Atlantic on Sunday. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries announced Monday that the U.S.-based exploration firm Ocean Infinity’s search ship “Seabed Constructor” retrieved a bridge (wheelhouse) and the VDR at the scene of the sinking in the South Atlantic on Sunday morning. The search ship used low frequency to detect metal, and employed remotely operated vehicles (ROV) to recover the VDR from 3,461 meters underwater. The discovery of the VDR is expected to help verifying the cause of the tragedy, as it carries crucial information such as the time, location, speed, and direction of the ship’s navigation, communications records, and very high frequency (VHF) data.


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

Kumgang will be first to restart: Moon

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Monday that Mount Kumgang tour packages would be the first inter-Korean project to “resume easily” if the countries restart economic cooperation. The remark, which Moon made during a meeting with religious leaders at the Blue House, came nine days before North Korea is set to hold its second summit with the United States in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.

Comfort women’ photos to be revealed for the first time

Three photos of Korean women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during the colonial period will be revealed to the public for the first time at an exhibition opening next week hosted by the Seoul city government. The Seoul Metropolitan Government and a research team of Seoul National University said Monday that they will jointly hold an exhibition, titled as “Records, Memories: Stories of ‘Comfort Women,’ Untold Words,” at the Seoul Center for Architecture and Urbanism from Feb. 25 until March 20. The exhibition marks the centennial anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement against Japan’s colonial rule of Korea.

Defense contractors exhibit wares in UAE

Korea’s defense contractors headed to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to participate in the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX), the largest event of its kind in the Middle East, to bolster exports to the growing defense market in the region. About 30 Korean companies participated in the biennial event held from Feb. 17 through 21 in Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. Domestic participants include Hanwha, LIG Nex1, Hyundai Rotem, Kia Motors and Korea Aerospace Industries. At the event, Hanwha introduced its K-9 Thunder self-propelled artillery system and multiple rocket launcher dubbed Chunmoo.


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

Liberty Korea Party Convention, a Wave of Far-Right Flags

The Liberty Korea Party convention has launched and the race for the new party leadership is in full swing, but the party seems to be regressing with more and more far-right flags waving in the air. The Liberty Korea Party began with candidate speeches in Daejeon on February 14, followed by the first TV debate of party leader candidates on February 15 and an online debate on February 17. Today, the candidates will address the public in the Daegu, Gyeongsanbuk-do region, regarded as the major battleground. However, there was no sign of a sound competition of party visions and policies in the speeches and debates. Instead, the candidates are filling the convention with more obsolete arguments of ideology and a fiercer battle to distinguish themselves in an effort to attract the votes of the far-rights, who account for the majority of party members with votes in the convention. The convention, with no trace of conservative innovation and policies to rebuild the party, has become a festivity of those with extreme right tendencies. The Taegeukgi camp is waving their flags in all speeches and outdoor demonstrations, and the candidates have made more than enough shameful attempts to woo them for their votes.


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

Employee of BIGBANG member Seungri's club arrested on drug charges

An employee at a music and dance club associated with Seungri, a member of boy band BIGBANG, was arrested in a police probe into the suspected use of drugs, sexual assault and violence. The arrest came two days after the 28-year-old BIGBANG member, known as a successful entrepreneur, apologized to fans during his solo concert in Seoul for causing trouble. Seungri has resigned from management of Burning Sun, a club in southern Seoul. Police said Monday that a burning Sun employee was arrested as part of an investigation into the suspected trafficking of drugs inside the club.

S. Korea to invest $2.6 billion to boost biotechnology R&D capability

South Korea earmarked 2.9 trillion won ($2.6 billion) to finance the development of biotechnology and vitalize related industries. The government will ease or temporarily suspend regulations. The Ministry of Science and ICT said in a statement Monday that its regulatory council has approved plans to spend 2.9 trillion won on increasing the country's biotechnology capability. Some 1.3 trillion won will be used in biotechnology and the rest in medical and other fields.


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

Pangyo valley near Seoul growing fast as the epicenter of startups and innovation

Pangyo Techno Valley, a tech cluster near Seoul, is building up to be a hotbed for venture startups and innovation activities by drawing in young talents and capital.

The cluster town formed in 2012 along the tollgate to Seoul from Bundang satellite city in Seongnam is home to more than 1,000 companies including gaming giants Nexon and NCsoft, chat platform operator Kakao, and biotech firms Medisoft and SK Chemicals. Companies based in the relatively small area of 661,000 square meters generated an estimated 20 trillion won ($17.8 billion) in annual operating profit on sales of 80 trillion won in 2017, far more than Jeju Island’s gross regional domestic product of 18 trillion won.

Foreign net buying of Korean shares hit a 30-mo high of $3.3 bn in Jan

Foreign investors’ net purchases of Korean stocks in January hit 3.7 trillion won ($3.3 billion), the largest in two and a half years as they cherry-picked local stocks that had excessively lost value during routs of the final months of last year. According to the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) on Monday, offshore investors in January net purchased 3.7 trillion won in Korean stocks, keeping up net-buying position for two straight months. It also was the largest amount since July 2016 when foreigners’ net buying of local shares reached 4.1 trillion won.


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.
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