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Headlines, March 11, 2019

The Korean daily media headlines and humor

Monday, March 11, 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.

Former President Chun to appear in libel trial over Gwangju uprising

Former President Chun Doo-hwan was set to appear in a regional court Monday for a libel trial over his memoir accused of defaming victims of his brutal crackdown on a 1980 pro-democracy uprising. Chun left his home at around 8:30 a.m. and headed to the southwestern city of Gwangju, about 330 kilometers south of Seoul. He was accompanied by his wife and former first lady Lee Soon-ja and his lawyer, and escorted by police. The trial is slated for 2:30 p.m.

N. Korea holds parliamentary elections

North Korea held parliamentary elections Sunday, a key political event likely to cement national unity and leader Kim Jong-un's grip on power amid uncertainty over tough nuclear negotiations with the United States. The communist state will elect new deputies for the 14th Supreme People's Assembly, its rubber-stamp legislature, in the polls held every five years. They will replace those picked in the first parliamentary elections under the current leader in March 2014. North Korean voters, aged 17 or older, cast their ballots between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Kim also participated at a polling station at Kim Chaek University of Technology in Pyongyang after arriving there at 11 a.m., the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

Bolton says U.S. is watching N.K. activities 'unblinkingly'

The United States is watching North Korean activities "unblinkingly" amid speculation that the regime could be preparing for another missile test, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Sunday. Last week saw a series of reports by South Korea's National Intelligence Service and two U.S. think tanks about rebuilding activity at the North's missile launch site in Dongchang-ri. U.S. news media then reported on increased activity at the missile facility in Sanum-dong, which fed speculation the North is preparing to launch a missile or satellite into space.


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

Ex-Pres. Chun Leaves for Gwangju to Attend Defamation Trial

Former President Chun Doo-hwan will appear at Gwangju District Court in a libel suit filed against him. Chun left his house in Yeonhui-dong, western Seoul, at around 8:30 a.m. on Monday to travel about 300 kilometers to the court by car. The trial is set to begin at 2:30 p.m. Chun, who led the country from 1980 to 1988 following a military coup, was indicted in 2018 for falsely stating in his memoir that late Catholic priest Cho Bi-oh had lied about what he witnessed in 1980 during a military crackdown on the Gwangju pro-democracy movement.

Moon to Hold Summit with Bruneian Monarch

President Moon Jae-in will hold a summit with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei on Monday to discuss ways to improve relations of their countries. Moon arrived in Brunei on Sunday, the first stop of his three-nation tour that will also take him to Malaysia and Cambodia. According to Seoul's presidential office, Moon will attend a welcoming ceremony hosted by the Bruneian king at his official residence, followed by a bilateral summit. On Monday afternoon, Moon is scheduled to visit the Royal Regalia Museum and the construction site of Temburong Bridge, a 30-kilometer bridge being built by a South Korean firm.

DP Floor Leader Vows to Reform S. Korea's Labor Market Through Compromise

The floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party(DP) has called on labor groups and businesses to compromise on enhancing both flexibility and security in the labor market, vowing to structurally reform South Korea's labor market through social compromise. During his parliamentary speech on Monday, DP floor leader Hong Young-pyo said the country should look toward Denmark's "flexicurity" model, which combines labor market flexibility, social security and an active labor market policy. Hong urged the involved parties to agree to an effective social safety net by 2030, such as increasing the country's unemployment benefits from the current nine trillion won to 26 trillion won, as well as raising employment flexibility in preparation for the fourth industrial revolution.


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

Nat'l Assembly to pass 7 bills this week to fight fine dust

Rival parties are speeding up deliberation on various bills on fighting fine dust pollution, with a goal of passing at least seven of them in a plenary session of the National Assembly this week, officials said Monday. The nation's three biggest parties -- the ruling Democratic Party, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party and the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party -- have recently agreed to pass seven pending bills this month to reduce air pollution amid growing public discontent over frequent concentrations of harmful dust particles.

Ruling party floor leader urges N.K. to make wise choice amid rocket site speculation

Hong Young-pyo, floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party (DP), called on North Korea on Monday to make a wise decision for peace amid reports about its restoration of a rocket launch site. At a parliamentary speech during an extra session in March, Hong voiced grave concerns about reports on increased activity in the North's long-range missile launch site in Dongchang-ri. "If something goes wrong, future negotiations could hit a snag severely. North Korea should make a wise judgment that benefits everyone," Hong said. Speculation about North Korea's possible rocket launch has risen as U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended their summit on Feb. 27-28 in Hanoi without any agreement.

Police step up probe into sex-for-favors allegations involving Seungri

Police on Sunday accelerated their probe into sex-for-favors allegations involving Seungri of South Korean boy band BIGBANG, as they booked him as a suspect and raided a Seoul nightclub associated with the performer to gather evidence. Investigators are looking into the suspicion that Seungri used various nightclubs in Seoul's posh Gangnam district for lobbying and even attempted to introduce escorts to foreigners to encourage them to invest in his business ventures. On Sunday morning, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency sent 20 investigators to raid the nightclub Arena to gather evidence about the swirling suspicions surrounding the 29-year-old singer.


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

Former President Chun in Gwangju for libel trial

Former President Chun Doo-hwan arrived in the regional city of Gwangju on Monday to attend a libel trial over his controversial memoirs, in which he allegedly defamed victims of his brutal crackdown on a 1980 pro-democracy uprising. The 88-year-old, who led an authoritarian government from 1980-1988, is due to appear at the 2:30 p.m. hearing at the Gwangju District Court, about 330 kilometers southwest of Seoul.

It marks another court appearance by the disgraced ex-leader in more than two decades after he stood a criminal trial on treason and other charges in 1997.

Leaders of S. Korea, Brunei agree to expand economic cooperation

The leaders of South Korea and Brunei agreed Monday to expand the countries' energy industry cooperation and expand the partnership to new technology sectors. In a bilateral summit held in the Bruneian capital, President Moon Jae-in and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah noted the countries have steadily developed their friendly relations in the infrastructure and energy sectors over the past 35 years since they established diplomatic ties, Moon's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.

Ruling party floor leader urges N.Korea to make wise choice amid rocket site speculation

Hong Young-pyo, floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party, called on North Korea on Monday to make a wise decision for peace amid reports about its restoration of a rocket launch site. At a parliamentary speech during an extra session in March, Hong voiced grave concerns about reports on increased activity in the North's long-range missile launch site in Dongchang-ri.


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

'What?!': Former leader bristles at reporters questioning 1980 massacre

Former President Chun Doo-hwan arrived at a district court in Gwangju on Monday to testify in a trial handling a defamation case against him. He arrived at the court at 12:35 p.m., nearly four hours after he left his residence in Yeonhui-dong, Seoul. The trial is set to begin at 2:30 p.m. Chun is accompanied by his wife and former first lady Lee Soon-ja and his attorney. Chun, who led an authoritarian government from 1980-1988, was indicted last May on charges that his memoir defamed victims of his government's bloody crackdown on the Gwangju pro-democracy revolt.

CJ ENM, Big Hit launch joint K-pop label

South Korean entertainment giant CJ ENM has teamed up with Big Hit Entertainment, the management agency of the sensational K-pop boy band BTS, to launch an idol band on the global music scene, according to CJ on Monday. The two firms established a joint venture named Belif Lab, aiming to unveil a new K-pop band in 2020, CJ said. Some 7 billion won ($6.16 million) has been invested in the joint venture. Big Hit CEO Bang Si-hyuk, who produced BTS, will be in charge of creating the band and producing its music. The new firm will host rounds of auditions in South Korea, the United States, Japan and other foreign countries, starting March 30, to recruit members for the envisioned group.


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

N.Korea 'Preparing for Missile Launch'

North Korea seems to be moving a missile to an assembly plant in Sanum-dong in the suburbs of Pyongyang, U.S. media reported last week. The site was used to assemble the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile and other ostensible space rockets that were in fact prototypes of intercontinental ballistic missiles. The report comes after the regime was spotted restoring the Tongchang-ri missile test site it had promised U.S. President Donald Trump to dismantle. Commercial satellite images show trucks presumed to be carrying rocket components parked in Sanum-dong, and rail cars that also seem to be carrying them to Tongchang-ri ready in a nearby rail yard, as well as two cranes.

U.S. Soldiers in Korea Want Air Pollution Masks

U.S. soldiers in Korea want to wear face masks to protect them against toxic smog hanging over the Korean Peninsula, the Stars and Stripes reported last Thursday. Normally they are banned from wearing masks in uniform unless they are sick.The fine dust "has caused concern among many soldiers and their loved ones as much of South Korea has endured several days of dense pollution that irritates eyes and makes breathing difficult," said the U.S. military newspaper. In 2017, the U.S. Forces Korea changed rules so that soldiers can train indoors if air quality is unacceptably bad. But only airmen of the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan Air Base are allowed to wear masks.

Electronic Eavesdropping on the Rise

Electronic eavesdropping and surreptitious recording of people's remarks are on the rise, often with an eye to posting them on the Internet. New electronic gadgets make it easier to record any arguments, but the result is the unwanted exposure of private conversations. In some cases this has been in the public interest, for example by exposing online Korean Air heiress Cho Hyun-ah's atrocious behavior in a conversation with her husband, who is seeking a divorce from her. In another case, it revealed the convoluted dealings of JTBC anchor Sohn Suk-hee with a freelance reporter who was blackmailing him.


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

Chaebol families fraudulently pocket profits through work funneling

According to a new report, the families that control South Korea’s large conglomerates, known as the chaebol, have pocketed 35.8 trillion won (US$31.72 billion) through methods such as hogging corporate opportunities and channeling group projects to group affiliates. This amounts to these families exploiting their unique position for fraudulent personal gain, which is considered behavior that impedes fair competition in the market.

S. Korean companies engage in investment race in electric car battery industry targeting European market

An intense investment competition has taken shape among three South Korean battery companies – with the direct motivation behind the increased investment lying in predictions of electric car market growth in Europe. Some analysts are calling the move an inevitable choice to assume dominance and avoid falling behind Chinese companies like global battery market heavyweight CATL, as well as a bold investment to establish a new next-generation growth driver to follow semiconductors. But others are cautiously predicting the companies could get burned playing a “chicken race.”

Lee Myung-bak requests to meet with housekeeping staff, security guards and chauffeur

After former president Lee Myung-bak was released from detention on conditional bail on Mar. 6, he requested permission to meet with his housekeeping staff, along with his security guards and chauffeur, but the court deferred a decision about granting him access to his housekeepers. “On Mar. 6, Lee submitted the names of the security guards and chauffeur who are working at his residence, and he asked the court for permission to change the conditions of his bail by adding two housekeepers. He requested to meet a total of 13 people, namely the 11 essential staff members (civil servants in special positions) listed in the Act on Special Treatment for Former Presidents, including a secretary, chauffeur and security guards, and two housekeepers he has hired personally,” said Kang Hun, Lee’s attorney, on Mar. 8.


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

UNSC grants sanctions exemption for inter-Korean video reunions

The United Nations Security Council has granted a sanctions exemption for equipment needed in North Korea for video reunions of families separated by the Korean War on humanitarian grounds. It is the first sanctions exemption granted after the summit breakdown between North Korea and the U.S. in Hanoi, Vietnam at the end of last month. The U.N. Sanctions Committee on North Korea approved South Korea’s request to permit transportation of equipment to the North for video reunions, according to UN diplomatic sources.

'Economic improvement is the most urgent task,' Kim Jong Un says

“Brutal attempts to put sanctions on our country are bound to end,” said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in his first public announcement after the summit breakdown. It means Kim will maintain strategic patience while focusing on economic improvement to nullify sanctions on North Korea. President Donald Trump sent a warning for four consecutive days since North Korea started to recover missile launch sites. The North Korea’s Central News Agency reported Saturday that Kim said the situation was developing in North Korea’s favor in a letter to a national conference in Pyongyang. High-ranking officials and publicity officials of the North Korean ruling Workers’ Party have participated in the national conference, which was held for the first time in 18 years. It is the first national conference since Kim Jong Un took office.


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

Bolton Says Trump Open to Further Talks with North Korea

On March 7, a week after the second North Korea-United States summit broke down, North Korea and the U.S. simultaneously sent out firm but hopeful messages. The U.S. mentioned the possibility of stronger sanctions on North Korea, while North Korea spoke of the possibility to seek a "new way." However, both made it clear that they were trying to keep to the path of dialogue. White House National Security Advisor John Bolton said in an interview with Fox News on March 7 (local time), "The president is obviously open to talking again," and added, "We'll see when that (further talks) might be scheduled or what or how it will work out." After the summit collapsed, Bolton had said that the U.S. would strengthen sanctions if North Korea refused denuclearization, so his mention of talks was notable. On March 4, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said, "I am hopeful... that I'll have a team in Pyongyang in the next couple weeks."

An Agreement Between Carpool Services and Taxi Drivers: An Example of How to Resolve Conflict of Interests

A social panel for the coexistence of taxis and carpool services finally adopted an agreement. They agreed to allow carpool services during rush hour (7-9 a.m. and 6-8 p.m. on weekdays), to abolish the existing wage system for taxi drivers--taxi drivers are required to submit a fixed amount from their daily earnings to the tax companies, while keeping the rest of their earnings--and adopt a monthly salary, and to launch an innovative taxi service platform by reforming regulations in the first half of the year. The taxi industry decided to share their livelihood and the carpool industry took a step back by providing platform technology and restricted carpool services. Such a change in attitude led to a dramatic agreement 44 days after they began discussions. The latest agreement is significant for it showed an example of how disputes due to a sharp conflict of interest could also be resolved through dialogue and concessions.


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

Hyundai Motor moves to rationalize its home base after China

Hyundai Motor Co. is working to rationalize its manufacturing base in Korea after making a similar move with its money-losing Chinese operations to address weakening productivity and competitiveness that have been shaking its global presence. A representative management-labor council discussed challenges and various options including adjustments to the factory lines and work force, and plans to hold further meetings through next week in hopes of coming to a settlement, according to several inside sources.

Korea’s Jan current account surplus narrowed on weak chip sales, China slowdown

South Korea’s current account surplus in January was trimmed to its smallest in nine months due to faltering chip sales and reduced shipments to its largest trading partner China. The current account surplus of Asia’s fourth-largest economy narrowed to $2.77 billion in January from $4.82 billion in the previous month, according to preliminary balance of payments data released by the Bank of Korea on Friday. The country extended its surplus streak that began in May 2012, but the surplus was the smallest since April last year when it stood at $1.36 billion.

S. Korea to unveil currency operation details first time in March

South Korean authorities will disclose foreign exchange intervention details later this month, a move that is expected to bolster transparency in the government’s foreign exchange policy amid suspicion that the export-oriented economy may have been manipulating its currency. According to the Bank of Korea on Sunday, authorities will disclose details of foreign exchange operations for the second half of last year on its website later this month, as announced last year. The details will include only net trading history – gross purchase minus sales – instead of each of the breakdown.


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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Use us!
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Korean-language print newspaper:
English E-daily: http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=8631

Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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