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Headlines, March 25, 2019

The Korean daily media headlines and humor

Monday, March 25, 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.

Dozens of S. Korean officials head to joint liaison office after N. Korea's abrupt pullout

Dozens of South Korean officials headed to an inter-Korean liaison office in North Korea on Monday, the unification ministry said, despite Pyongyang's abrupt pullout of its staff from the office last week. Around 40 South Korean officials crossed the western land border on their way to the liaison office in the North's border town of Kaesong, according to the ministry. Together with about two dozen people already there, about 60-70 South Korean officials are expected to staff the office this week, officials said.

U.N. grants sanctions exemption for humanitarian aid to N. Korea

The U.N. Security Council has granted a sanctions exemption to allow a humanitarian project meant to improve children's health and nutrition in North Korea to move forward, according to the U.N. website. The exemption, granted on March 14, paves the way for an aid organization, Mennonite Central Committee, to bring items, such as hygiene kits and surgical tools, into North Korea. The approval raised the total number of humanitarian exemptions related to North Korea currently in effect to 21. The exemptions are valid for six months.

State pension's dividend income jumps 20 pct in 2018: data

South Korea's state pension saw its dividend income from major listed firms jump nearly 20 percent on-year in 2018 as they returned more earnings to shareholders, data showed Monday. The national pension fund is estimated to have received 2.42 trillion won (US$2.13 billion) in 2018 dividends from 293 listed firms, in which it has a stake of 5 percent or more, up 19.9 percent from the previous year, according to the data by market tracker FnGuide and the Korea Exchange.

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

S. Korean Liaison Officials Head to North as Usual

South Korean officials headed to the inter-Korean liaison office in the North Korean border city of Gaeseong for work on Monday despite Pyongyang's abrupt withdrawal of its staff. The Ministry of Unification said 39 officials, including deputy chief of the liaison office Kim Chang-su, left for work as usual. Kim told reporters before crossing the border that the North is cooperating with administrative procedures for the entry of South Korean officials. He said he believes the North is keeping embers alive to maintain the liaison office instead of closing it down completely.

Prosecution's Truth Panel Likely to Recommend New Probe Into Ex-Vice Justice Minister

Prosecutors will provide an interim report regarding its investigation into the 2013 sex scandal involving former Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-ui. A truth panel under the Supreme Prosecutors' Office, which was launched in February of last year to investigate controversial past cases, will give the report to a special panel of the Justice Ministry on Monday afternoon. The truth panel reportedly plans to recommend a probe into Kim's bribery allegations, which were not investigated during the two rounds of the probe in 2013 and 2014. The panel is said to have recently secured a significant clue regarding the allegations.

Confirmation Hearings for Seven Minister Nominees Set to Begin

The National Assembly will hold confirmation hearings for seven ministerial nominees this week, beginning with Choi Jeong-ho for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Choi is expected to face a harsh verification process due to his alleged speculative investments in real estate. Until recently, the land minister nominee had two homes in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province and the purchasing rights for an apartment under construction in Sejong City.

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

Court reviews arrest warrant for ex-minister over alleged abuse of power

A Seoul court held a hearing Monday to decide whether to issue an arrest warrant for a former environment minister on suspicions that she abused her power by forcing those considered critical of the incumbent administration to step down from their government posts. Kim Eun-kyung, who headed the Ministry of Environment from 2017-18, stands accused of pressuring several heads of public institutions affiliated with the ministry to step down and disadvantaging one of them for not complying with the demand.

S. Korean economy seems to be slowing down: BOK chief

South Korea's central bank chief said Monday that Asia's fourth-largest economy seems to losing steam amid signs of a global economic downturn."The South Korean economy saw its growth pace fall due to sluggish exports," Bank of Korea (BOK) Gov. Lee Ju-yeol said in a parliamentary session. "Uncertainties stemming from external downside risks are also high and affecting the country's growth." Exports, the country's key economic driver, have been on a decline since December last year, and the general slowdown in global trade, coupled with persistent trade tensions between the United States and China, is also throwing cold over South Korea's export-oriented economy.

Moon's job approval rating rebounds from record low

President Moon Jae-in's job approval rating increased from a week earlier last week, ending three consecutive weeks of decline that drove his rating to a record low level, a poll showed Monday. In a weekly survey conducted by Realmeter, 47.1 percent of those surveyed said they approved of Moon's job as president. The reading marks a 2.2 percentage-point increase from a week earlier when the president's job approval rating plunged to a record low of 44.9 percent. The latest survey was conducted Monday through Friday, involving 2,516 adults throughout the nation.

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

Pyongyang’s silence sheds doubt on inter-Korean military talks

Prospects are grim for the two Koreas to hold military talks this month, as the North appears to have closed up on all inter-Korean cooperation plans following the breakdown of its second summit with the United States last month. The Ministry of National Defense here said Sunday it recently proposed to hold military talks with the North via a communications line, but it had not received confirmation. Seoul has been pushing to hold military talks before the end of this month, as the implementation of the joint military pact with North Korea has dragged. During a National Security Council meeting on March 4, Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo also said he would hold military talks with North Korea before the end of this month.

Trump declares 'complete exoneration' after Mueller report finds no collusion

US President Donald Trump declared Sunday that he had been completely exonerated after his campaign was cleared of colluding with Russia in the 2016 election, in a major boost for his re-election hopes. The long-awaited final report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Moscow's election meddling concluded that no member or associate of the campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia in its plot to boost Trump in the vote more than two years ago.

Dozens of S. Korean officials head to joint liaison office after N. Korea's abrupt pullout

Dozens of South Korean officials headed to an inter-Korean liaison office in North Korea on Monday, the unification ministry said, despite Pyongyang's abrupt pullout of its staff from the office last week. Around 40 South Korean officials crossed the western land border on their way to the liaison office in the North's border town of Kaesong, according to the ministry. Together with about two dozen people already there, about 60-70 South Korean officials are expected to staff the office this week, officials said.

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

South Koreans head to joint liaison office after North's pullout

Dozens of South Korean officials headed to an inter-Korean liaison office in North Korea on Monday, the unification ministry said, despite Pyongyang's abrupt pullout of its staff from the office last week. Around 40 South Korean officials crossed the western land border on their way to the liaison office in the North's border town of Gaesong, according to the ministry. Together with about two dozen people already there, about 60-70 South Korean officials are expected to staff the office this week, officials said. Their dispatch came despite the North's withdrawal of its staff from the office Friday.

US wants to 'continue denuke talks' with North Korea

Washington appears to want to continue "denuclearization talks" with North Korea with U.S. President Donald Trump reaffirming his good relationship with its leader Kim Jong-un despite calls from aides to impose additional sanctions on the North. "It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea. I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!," Trump wrote on Twitter, Saturday (KST). His remarks didn't reverse any existing economic pressure but rather referred to new potential sanctions that had not been made public, and as of last week, would not be going forward. The Treasury Department earlier said it was applying new sanctions against two unnamed Chinese shipping companies among others.

Shareholder activism fails to sway shareholders' meetings

Shareholder activism, which has drawn attention for investors speaking out about listed firms' governance structures and decision-making processes, largely failed to make its voice heard at recent shareholder meetings, according to market analysts Sunday. "It's hard to say that activist shareholders successfully exercised their influence at the general shareholders' meetings this month, but the trend seems to have become fully entrenched here," a Mirae Asset Daewoo IPO researcher said.

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

Trump in Baffling U-Turn Over N.Korea Sanctions

U.S. President Donald Trump in a surprise announcement Friday withdrew a new round of sanctions against North Korea that had been announced only 24 hours earlier by his own government. "It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large-scale sanctions would be added to those already existing sanctions on North Korea," Trump tweeted. "I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional sanctions!" The move came 17 hours after Pyongyang notified Seoul that it is pulling officials from the new inter-Korean liaison office in the North Korean border town of Kaesong. It is unclear what specific sanctions Trump was canceling.

Most S.Koreans Condemn N.Korea's Human Rights Abuses

South Koreans overwhelmingly condemn the North Korean regime's human rights abuses but are not prepared to welcome refugees from the repressive state under all circumstances, a survey suggests. The Database Center for North Korean Human Rights published the survey of 1,000 South Koreans on Thursday. Some 85.4 percent of the respondents said the human rights situation in North Korea is "serious," and only 10.9 percent that it is not.

Substantial Part of Fine Dust Pollution Blamed on China

The government on Wednesday claimed that anywhere between 30 and 80 percent of fine dust pollution in Korea comes from overseas, mostly from China. Analysis of ultrafine dust concentration from 2012 to 2016 showed that some 30 percent of particles originated from China on days when the concentration level was 20㎍/㎥ or lower, and 50 percent on days when it was 50㎍/㎥ or higher, the government said. Pollution from China was particularly high between November and April and relatively low between June and August.

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

Hate speech toward liberal arts major proliferates on S. Korean campuses
Hate speech toward liberal arts departments and majors is appearing with increasing frequency in the university community. Some observers fret that the situation is escalating beyond jocular teasing, disregard and self-mockery to include expressions of collective contempt. The Hankyoreh and the Huffington Post Korea looked into the forms the discourse is taking and the factors behind it.

North Korea abruptly and unilaterally withdraws from inter-Korean joint liaison office
On Mar. 22, North Korea withdrew its officials from the inter-Korean joint liaison office in Kaesong. The tension that has suffused the Korean Peninsula since the second North Korea-US summit in ­­­­­­­­­Hanoi concluded without an agreement is now having negative ramifications for inter-Korean relations as well.

Supreme Court accepts retrial of victims of Yeosu-Suncheon incident
or 71 years, the history of the Yeosu-Suncheon Incident (a series of rebellions resulting from opposition to the far-right, anti-communist Syngman Rhee regime) has been subordinated to ideological concerns, but civilians who were executed for complicity in the rebellion are finally getting a retrial. A favorable outcome in the retrial is expected to boost support for four bills currently pending at the National Assembly that would seek to investigate the incident and restore the reputation of the victims.

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

I ordered withdrawal of additional sanctions,’ Trump says

U.S. President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of a plan to impose additional large-scale sanctions on North Korea Friday (local time). The comment came on the heels of the U.S. Treasury’s designation of two Chinese firms for helping Pyongyang evade sanctions, which was met by North Korea’s pullout from the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong and mentioning of a “nuclear button.”

Japanese, Chinese firms scramble to increase sales inhome turfs

Global TV manufacturers are earnestly jumping into the market of OLED TVs, which are high-resolution premium products. With LG Electronics remaining as No. 1 in global market share, not only Chinese and Japanese companies but European players are entering the market, heralding fiercer competition. According to sources in the electronics industry on Sunday, the OLED TV segment wherein LG Electronics opened by introducing the first of its kind product in the industry in 2013, surpassed 5 million units in cumulative global sales last year, posting exponential growth.

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

Hyundai Motor’s management agendas preferred over Elliott’s in shareholders mtg

All of the management proposals including the dividend policy and board appointments put forward by Hyundai Motor Group were approved by its shareholders in the annual meeting on Friday, delivering a complete defeat to U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management which waged a proxy battle to push its own set of agendas. Chung Eui-sun was also appointed as co-chief executive of Hyundai Motor Co., moving a step closer to taking over the helm of the auto empire from his 80-year-old father Chung Mong-koo.

Asiana Airlines, Kumho stocks suspended until Mon for dubious fiscal report

The stocks of Korea’s full-service carrier Asiana Airlines Inc. and its parent Kumho Industrial have been suspended for two trading days from Friday after their outside auditor suspended full approval of the airliner’s statement for fiscal 2018 questioning validity in the numbers. Asiana Airlines in a regulatory filing on Friday said that it was issued a qualified opinion by external auditor Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on its financial statements for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2018. On the same day, Kumho Industrial disclosed it was also issued a qualified opinion due to its subsidiary Asiana Airlines whose earnings results are integrated into its consolidated financial statement.

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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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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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