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Headlines, February 22, 2019

The Korean daily media headlines and humor

Friday, February 22, 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.

Pompeo reaffirms goal of 'complete' denuclearization of N. Korea

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that there is no compromise on the goal of the complete denuclearization of North Korea.In an interview with NBC, Pompeo said complete denuclearization remains the objective as the two countries head into a summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, next week. "That's what we need to get for the American people," the top U.S. diplomat said. "To keep the American people safe, we have to reduce the threat from a nuclear-armed North Korea, and then in turn we can work on peace and security on the peninsula and a brighter future for the North Korean people." U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are set to hold a second summit on Feb. 27 and 28 following their historic first summit in Singapore in June.

S. Korea's producer prices drop to 12-month low in Jan.

South Kora's producer prices fell to a 12-month low in January on falling crude oil prices, central bank data showed Friday. The producer price index, a barometer of future consumer inflation, reached 103.75 last month, down 0.2 percent from a month earlier, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK). It is the first time since January 2016 that the index has lost ground for four straight months. On an on-year basis, it rose 0.2 percent to extend its positive streak for the 27th straight month since November 2016.

U.S. seeks to denuclearize N. Korea in 'big bites'

The United States is seeking to move quickly and with "very big bites" to denuclearize North Korea and offer a brighter future for its people, a senior U.S. administration official said Thursday. The two countries are engaged in negotiations ahead of next week's second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. "I think we need to move quickly and with very big bites. We are not looking to have incremental steps as a key driver of this process," the official told reporters in a press call. Trump and Kim are set to meet in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Feb. 27 and 28 to flesh out an agreement they reached at their first summit to pursue complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The official admitted that developing a shared understanding of "denuclearization" is a top priority in the bilateral negotiations.

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

US, N. Korea Hold Pre-Summit Talks in Hanoi

The top envoys of North Korea and the U.S. held working-level negotiations in Vietnam ahead of their second bilateral summit set in Hanoi next Wednesday. North Korea’s special representative for U.S. affairs Kim Hyok-chol was seen entering the hotel where his U.S. counterpart Stephen Biegun is staying at around 1:30 p.m. Kim was accompanied by Kim Song-hye, head of the unification strategy office at the United Front Department. Kim Hyok-chol and Biegun reportedly held negotiations for over four hours. It’s the first time in two weeks the two envoys have sat down for talks since Biegun’s three-day visit to Pyongyang earlier this month. With just a few days left until the summit, the two envoys are expected to arrange a Hanoi declaration for their leaders to endorse, which will likely include steps for the North's complete denuclearization and building U.S.-North Korea relations.

US to Provide Incentives if N. Korea Makes 'Right Choice'

A senior U.S. official said the United States will provide incentives for North Korea if the Kim Jong-un regime makes the right choice regarding denuclearization.In a press call for next week's U.S.-North Korea summit, the official told reporters on Thursday that the U.S.' ultimate goal is the complete denuclearization of North Korea. The official said the U.S. is seeking to move forward with "very big bites", not incremental steps. The official admitted that developing a shared understanding of "denuclearization" is a top priority in bilateral negotiations and denied that withdrawing American troops from South Korea was being discussed as part of a deal.

US Says Welded Pipe Imports from S. Korea Dumped in US Market

The U.S. Commerce Department announced it had determined that imports of large diameter welded pipes from South Korea, Canada, Greece and Turkey are being dumped in the U.S. market. According to Reuters on Thursday, the decision paves the way for the implementation of tariffs, adding that the department said South Korea and Turkey were also subsidizing their exports.The department said South Korea had sold the pipes below fair value at a rate of up to 20-point-39 percent, while Canada sold them at a 12-point-32 percent rate, Greece at a nine-point-96 percent rate, and Turkey at a rate of up to five-point-05 percent.

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

Hotel near N.K.-China border stops receiving bookings amid speculation over Kim's train journey

A Chinese hotel near the border with North Korea stopped receiving reservations for this weekend, a source said Friday, in a sign that the North's leader Kim Jong-un could travel to Vietnam by train for his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. "The Zhonglian hotel abruptly decided on Thursday afternoon to stop receiving reservations for Saturday and Sunday," a source said. "It is not receiving foreigners starting Friday and began to cancel bookings. This could be related to Chairman Kim's trip." The hotel in the Chinese border city of Dandong is located near the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge that links the two countries. The move came amid speculation over whether the North Korean leader will fly or travel by train all the way to the Southeast Asian nation for the upcoming summit in Hanoi set for Feb. 27-28.

Leaders of S. Korea, India celebrate 150th anniversary of birth of Gandhi

South Korean President Moon Jae-in welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday with a ceremony to unveil a bust of late Indian leader and activist Mahatma Gandhi that will be put on permanent display in South Korea. Modi arrived here earlier in the day on a two-day state visit. In the unveiling ceremony at Seoul's Yonsei University, President Moon praised the late Indian leader, saying the greatness of Gandhi lies in the fact that he walked the path of peace despite the violence and threats against him and his people.

Supreme Court ups maximum working age to 65

The Supreme Court on Thursday recognized the age of 65 as the maximum age that people are physically fit to work, breaking a nearly 30-year precedent that will likely reshape the notion of retirement and impact related industries. In a 10-3 vote, the full bench reversed an appellate court ruling that ordered the family of a drowning accident victim to be compensated based on the applied age of 60 to determine the indemnity. Thursday's ruling now requires the appeals court to deliver a fresh ruling for Park Dong-hyun and his family, who lodged a 493.5 million-won (US$439,170) damages suit against a swimming pool operator after they lost their 4-year-old son in August 2015. The calculation from the plaintiffs was based on the assumption that their child would have been able to engage in manual labor until the age of 65.

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

Sanctions could ease with greatly reduced North Korea threat

The US will not move to ease economic sanctions on North Korea until it is confident that the nuclear weapons threat from Pyongyang has been "substantially reduced,'' Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday. Pompeo didn't elaborate, but his comment seemed to leave open the possibility that sanctions relief was possible short of complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Value of Yongbyon nuclear site underestimated: think tank

Dismantling the Yongbyon Nuclear Complex could be a meaningful step in North Korea’s denuclearization, as it is key to the country’s nuclear weapons program, a South Korean think tank said Thursday. “While the Yongbyong nuclear facility has emerged as a primary target for the first phase of the denuclearization process, there are opinions that denigrate or belittle the value of the possible dismantlement,” said Hong Min, director of the North Korean research division of the Korea Institute for National Unification, during a forum hosted by the state-run think tank in Seoul.

Local insurers weighed down by incoming audits, market downtrend

South Korea’s insurers are facing a rough year ahead as they have to deal with reinforced surveillance from financial regulators, while still struggling to find new growth drivers amid a dwindling market trend and stricter accounting requirements. Despite such mounting challenges, however, domestic insurance companies paid out higher dividends to shareholders earlier this year, rekindling controversy as to their management integrity.

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

Income gap hits worst level on unemployment

The rich have become a lot richer, and the poor have become a lot poorer. The average monthly income of the bottom 20 percent group was 1.24 million won ($1,100) in the fourth quarter of 2018, down nearly 18 percent from a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea, Thursday. It dropped 7 percent in the third quarter of last year from a year ago. Meanwhile, that of the top 20 percent was 9.32 million won, up more than 10 percent from a year before ― a record increase. The group's monthly income was also boosted by about 9 percent in the third quarter. As a result, the country's income equality reached the worst level for that fiscal quarter since the statistics agency began collecting data 16 years ago.

Trump signals more meetings after Hanoi

U.S. President Donald Trump has urged North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to take "meaningful" steps for denuclearization to earn a lifting of sanctions on his regime, a few days before their second summit in Vietnam. "The sanctions are on in full," Trump told reporters at the White House, Wednesday (local time). "I have not taken sanctions off. I would love to be able to, but in order to do that, we have to do something that is meaningful on the other side." The U.S. leader implied that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will be a long process, saying he hopes to hold more summits with Kim down the road.

Politicians unlikely to be pardoned

Convicted politicians are not likely to be among the beneficiaries of presidential pardons on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement, according to legal sources, Thursday. This is seen as a move to prevent any charges of political favoritism they said. However, people found guilty for their roles in rallies linked to the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) and the 2014 sinking of the ferry Sewol will be recommended to President Moon Jae-in for special pardons.

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

Kim Jong-un Could Go to Vietnam by Train

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could take a train to Vietnam for his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi on Feb. 27-28. But that would mean a 4,023 km three-day trip on a special train across China to northern Vietnam.Reuters on Wednesday quoted security and logistics officials in Vietnam as saying Kim is likely to arrive by railway. He would have to leave Pyongyang "later this week in time for his planned Feb. 25 arrival," Reuters added. The train would probably stop at Dong Dang station in the northern Vietnamese border town of Lang Son, from where he will travel the remaining 170 km to Hanoi by car.

Daughter of Missing Diplomat 'Taken Back to N.Korea'

The daughter of acting North Korean Ambassador to Italy Jo Song-gil, who disappeared with his family last November, was taken back to the North by state security agents, another defector claimed Wednesday. Thae Yong-ho, the former No. 2 at the North Korean Embassy in London, claimed he confirmed the daughter's abduction through various channels. "I don't know how many children Jo has, but the child that was in Italy was sent back North," Thae told the Chosun Ilbo. "Jo and his wife are together now." He added, "I am no longer in a situation where I can publicly urge Jo to defect to South Korea. North Koreans who defect to South Korea are branded traitors and their families face tougher punishment, but if they live quietly in the U.S. or Europe, the punishment is less severe."

Samsung Unveils Foldable Phone

Samsung on Wednesday unveiled the Galaxy Fold, a phone with a foldable screen, alongside four new Galaxy S10 models at a media event in San Francisco. The Korean electronics giant maintains an uneasy dominance in the global smartphone market amid a relentless onslaught from more affordable Chinese products and stiff competition from Apple's premium devices. The Galaxy Fold will hit stores in April or May after the release of the flagship Galaxy S10 series next month.

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

US says end-of-war declaration will be discussed at Hanoi summit

One of the possible corresponding measures from the US in response to North Korea’s denuclearization measures at the upcoming second North Korea-US summit is a declaration ending the Korean War. A political declaration declaring the end of the war on the Korean Peninsula previously surfaced as a key agenda item at the first summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018, after South and North Korea previously agreed in their Apr. 27 Panmunjom Declaration to “actively pursue trilateral meetings involving the two Koreas and the United States, or quadrilateral meetings involving the two Koreas, the United States and China with a view to declaring an end to the war and establishing a permanent and solid peace regime” within the year.

Trump says he has “no pressing time schedule” regarding N. Korea’s denuclearization

On Feb. 19, US President Donald Trump once again remarked that there was no reason to rush the denuclearization talks with North Korea as long as the North was not testing any nuclear weapons or missiles. Coming ahead of the second North Korea-US summit that will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Feb. 27-28, Trump’s remarks are presumably aimed at moderating expectations about the outcome of the summit while announcing his intention to proceed with denuclearization and a peace regime in stages. Trump spoke at length about the North Korea-US summit during his opening remarks at a signing ceremony at the White House for Space Policy Directive-4 and while fielding questions from reporters afterward.

Abe and Trump talk on phone regarding 2nd N. Korea-US summit

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had a telephone conversation with US President Donald Trump on the evening of Feb. 20, leading up the second North Korea-US summit scheduled for Feb. 27-28. Japan and the US have been in close consultation about our plans for responding to the second North Korea-US summit that’s scheduled for next week. Our two countries are in agreement about cooperating even more closely in several areas with the goal of resolving the nuclear weapon and missile issues as well as the abduction issue,” Abe said at his official residence following the phone call. The abduction issue is a reference to Japanese citizens who have been abducted by North Korea.

“In particular, President Trump and I spent time discussing the abduction issue. I communicated to President Trump how much the families want to be reunited with their abducted relatives and want them to be come home and asked him for his cooperation,” Abe said.

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

Trump hints at possibility of third summit with Kim Jong Un

“I don’t think this will be the last meeting by any chance,” said U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday about the second U.S.-North Korea summit to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam. The remarks suggest that the U.S. president is open to the possibilities of a third summit and a prolonged process for Washington and Pyongyang’s current negotiation. Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House that he will achieve a lot of things with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and continue to do so in the future. The U.S. president also added that North Korea is “not reluctant” to take steps for denuclearization, and that it “wants to do something.”

Professional league for billiards to be launched in Korea

A professional league for billiards, which is enjoyed by some 10 million Koreans as a hobby, will be launched. The Commission for Promotion of the Recognition of Billiards as Professional Sport held a proclamation ceremony to launch the Professional Billiards Association (PBA) tour on Thursday at the Techno Mart in Shindorim, Seoul and announced plans to commence professional billiards competition starting in June.

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

Flexible Working Hours Allowed for a Maximum 6 Months

Labor, management and the government agreed to extend the maximum period of applying flexible working hours to six months from the current three months on February 19. This is the first "social agreement" in the Moon Jae-in government. A subcommittee overseeing the working-hour policy in the Economic, Social and Labor Council held a plenary session this afternoon and agreed to this change in order to support the smooth introduction of the 52-hour workweek. The flexible working hour system refers to a policy that allows employers to increase or decrease working hours according to the workload so that the average weekly working hours meet the 52 hours stipulated by law. According to the current Labor Standards Act, a company can adopt flexible working hours for a unit period of within two weeks or three months.

Original Pictures of Korean Comfort Women Victims to Be Released in Korea for the First Time

The original picture of a pregnant comfort woman in the Japanese military at a brothel in Songshan, China taken by the U.S. military in September 1944 during the Asia-Pacific War will be released in South Korea for the first time. On February 18, the city of Seoul and a research team led by Chung Chin-sung, a professor at Seoul National University announced that they would release a picture of an expecting Bak Yeong-sim (died in 2006)--a comfort women victim who once testified of her sufferings--when she was captured as a prisoner of war and two pictures of several Korean comfort women victims in Myitkyina, Burma at an exhibition commemorating the centennial of the March 1 Independence Movement, which will open on February 25.

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

Samsung wows tech-savvy users with innovative foldable phone

A buzz of surprise and excitement ran through South Korea's tech-related online communities after Samsung Electronics unveiled its first foldable smartphone, Galaxy Fold. Many agreed it would become a game changer in the stagnant development of new technologies in the global smartphone market. The new phone wowed many tech-savvy users who were dead-tired for staying up all night to watch the live stream video of Samsung's new devices through an unpacking event in San Francisco, California. "I've thought Samsung was an Apple wannabe, but Galaxy Fold is really a big thing and revolutionary," wrote TTeugong, a user from South Korea's leading online IT community Clien. Another user nicknamed BlackStar said: "I just gaped in awe when I saw the video introducing Galaxy Fold. It was something beyond my expectation."

SK Telecom's broadband subsidiary agrees to acquire cable TV operator

SK Broadband, a fixed broadband subsidiary of SK Telecom, agreed to acquire a cable TV operator as South Korea's pay-TV market faces consolidation prompted by the expansion of influence by Netflix, the world's largest over-the-top (OTT) company. In a regulatory briefing on Thursday, SK Telecom (SKT), the country's top mobile carrier, said that it signed a memorandum of understanding with Taekwang Group, the largest stakeholder of t-broad for the merger of their subsidiaries. Financial and other terms were not given.

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

S. Korea’s top court ups expected income age cap to 65 yrs in ruling

South Korea’s top court has ruled that the maximum working age of a manual worker should be upped from current 60 to 65, a move that may lead to an increase in the country’s retirement age. The Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a lower court ruling and ordered to re-calculate compensation of damages for manual workers who either pass away or lose manpower based on the assumption that they would be able to work until they are 65 years old, instead of 60 years old. The Seoul High Court initially ruled 254.16 million won ($225,875) in compensation to a family with surname Park who filed a suit against a swimming pool operator in August 2015, demanding 493.54 million won in compensation after their four-year-old son drowned in the pool.

Samsung Heavy wins order to build four LNG carriers

South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries has landed an order to build four LNG carriers worth 870 billion won ($775 million) from an identified U.S.-based ship owner, bringing the total order backlog for LNG carriers to six this year. The new builds are scheduled to be delivered by end-September, 2022. In late January, Samsung Heavy Industries clinched an order to build two LNG carriers worth 419 billion won for Celsius Tankers in Europe. These two LNG carriers will be equipped with green technology independently developed by Samsung Heavy Industries such as SAVER Air and INTELLIMAN Ship. SAVER Air (air lubrication system) reduces frictional force with seawater by spraying air at the bottom of ship ad it can improve fuel efficiency by more than 5 percent currently.

Korea mulling phased cut in stock trade tax: finance min

South Korea will implement a phased cut in the stock transaction tax as soon as possible and conduct a comprehensive study on securities taxation, said deputy prime minister and finance minister Hong Nam-ki. “We will incrementally lower the stock trade tax to help reinvigorate Korea’s capital market,” Hong said Tuesday at an event hosted by Maekyung Business Newspaper, the first formal confirmation of a change in the making. The news boosted retail buying but did not lift the broad market. The main Kospi closed Thursday 0.05 percent lower at 2,228.56 and the junior Kosdaq down 0.45 percent at 747.33.

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What’s ticking around the world at this second?
See what the world media around the world have to report:

USA Today www.usatoday.com aallman@gannett.com
The New York Times www.nytimes.com inytletters@nytimes.com
Wall Street Journal www.wsj.com support@wsj.com, service@wsj-asia.com
Financial Times www.ft.com ean@ft.com
The Times www.thetimes.co.uk help@timesplus.co.uk
The Sun www.thesun.co.uk talkback@the-sun.co.uk
Chinese People's Daily www.people.com.cn kf@people.cn
China Daily www.chinadaily.com.cn circulation@chinadaily.com.cn
GwangmyeongDaily www.gmw.cn webmaster@gmw.cn
Japan's Yomiuri www.yomiuri.co.jp japannews@yomiuri.com
Asahi www.asahi.com customer-support@asahi.com
Mainichi www.mainichi.jp
Le Monde www.ilemonde.com
Italy LaRepubblica www.quotidiano.repubblica.it vittorio.zucconi@gmail.com
Germany Frankfurter AllgemeineZeitung www.faz.net anzeigen.ausland@faz.de
SüddeutscheZeitung www.sueddeutsche.de forum@sueddeutsche.de
Australia Brisbane Times www.brisbanetimes.com.au syndication@fairfaxmedia.com.au
Sydney Morning Herald http://www.smh.com.au
Colombia Reports http://colombiareports.com
Bogota Free Planet http://bogotafreeplanet.combfp@bogotafreeplanet.com
El Universal http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english
Andes http://www.andes.info.ec/en
Ecuador Times http://www.ecuadortimes.net
The Jordan Times https://www.jordantimes.com
LSM.lv http://www.lsm.lv/en
The Baltic Times http://www.baltictimes.com lithuania@baltictimes.com, estonia@baltictimes.com, editor@baltictimes.com
El Pais http://elpais.com/elpais/inenglish.html
Philippine Daily Inquirer https://www.inquirer.net
Daily News Hungary http://dailynewshungary.com
Budapest Times http://budapesttimes.hu
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Azerbaijan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR8CBpcQ4WM
Sri Lanka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hByX92Y2aGY&t=22s
Morocco: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfFmp2sVvSE
And many other countries.
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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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