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Headlines, April 1, 2019

The Korean daily media headlines and humor

Monday, April 1, 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.

Moon withdraws nomination for new science minister

President Moon Jae-in on Sunday withdrew his nomination for his new science minister over his participation in an international conference deemed inappropriate. The withdrawal comes after the minister-nominee, Cho Dong-ho, came under fire in his parliamentary confirmation hearing for his participation in the 2017 World Biomarkers Congress, an international conference known to be organized by OMICS International.

S. Korea to begin its own excavation of war remains in DMZ

South Korea will launch an independent excavation of Korean War remains in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on Monday, with Pyongyang unresponsive to its call to work together as agreed, Seoul's defense ministry said. Under last year's bilateral military accord aimed at reducing tensions and building trust, Seoul and Pyongyang had planned to carry out the joint project on Arrowhead Ridge, a notorious battle site during the 1950-53 conflict, from April through October. But the North has yet to accede to Seoul's request to jointly start the excavation. It has appeared lukewarm about the military accord since the no-deal summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and its leader, Kim Jong-un, in Hanoi in late February.

N. Korea releases 1st reaction to embassy intrusion in Spain

North Korea on Sunday released its first official statement on the break-in at its embassy in Spain last month by an anti-Pyongyang group, calling it a "grave terrorist attack." A spokesperson of North Korea's foreign ministry told the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Pyongyang's official mouthpiece, that "an illegal intrusion into and occupation of a diplomatic mission and act of extortion are a grave breach of state sovereignty and a flagrant violation of international law, and this kind of act should never be tolerated."

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

Parliament Likely to Miss Deadline for Confirmation Hearing Reports

The National Assembly is unlikely to adopt confirmation hearing reports for five minister nominees by Monday due to differences between rival parties. Last month, President Moon Jae-in appointed seven minister nominees in a Cabinet reshuffle, but withdrew the nomination for his new science minister, while the designate for land minister voluntarily stepped down on Sunday. Parliament was supposed to adopt confirmation hearing reports for the remaining five nominees by Monday as the law requires the assembly to adopt the report within 20 days after a related motion is submitted.

S. Korean Officials Visit US Ahead of Moon-Trump Summit

South Korean security and defense officials are visiting the United States to prepare for the summit between the two nations' leaders slated for April eleventh. Kim Hyun-chong, the deputy chief of the presidential National Security Office, will meet with U.S. deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman on Monday in Washington to set the agenda for the summit between President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump. During his trip, Kim will also meet with the members of the U.S. Senate and House committees on foreign relations, armed forces and intelligence to explain Seoul's positions on U.S.-North Korea negotiations regarding the North's denuclearization.

Cumings: Trump Should Get Rid of Bolton

University of Chicago Professor Bruce Cumings, who has written some of the world's most widely read texts on Korean history, is emerging as an unlikely cheerleader of President Donald Trump's diplomacy toward North Korea. During a joint interview with KBS World Radio and the Korea Times, he said Trump is being held back by some of his most senior officials.

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

Moon, Trump to hold summit on April 11 in Washington

President Moon Jae-in and his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, will hold a summit on April 11 in Washington D.C., the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Friday, amid a stalemate in nuclear talks between the U.S. and North Korea.Moon will arrive in the U.S. on April 10 and hold a summit with Trump the following day, the seventh of its kind, his office said. It will be their first meeting since the breakdown of last month's summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi.

Moon's job approval rating slightly increases

President Moon Jae-in's job approval rating inched up last week, a poll showed Monday, partly helped by his upcoming summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. In a weekly survey by Realmeter, 47.7 percent of people surveyed said they approved of Moon's job as president, up 0.6 percentage point from a week earlier. The survey was conducted Monday through Friday on 2,516 adults throughout the nation. The latest reading marks the second consecutive week of rise from a record low of 44.9 percent. The local pollster noted Moon's rating started out weak amid controversies surrounding his nominees for new ministers.

S. Korea's exports fall 8.2 pct in March

South Korea's exports moved down 8.2 percent in March from a year earlier, government data showed Monday, due to falling global prices of chips coupled with the slowing Chinese economy. Outbound shipments came to US$47.1 billion for March, down from the $51.3 billion tallied a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. Imports decreased 6.7 percent over the cited period to reach $41.8 billion, the ministry added. Exports fell on-year for the fourth consecutive month.

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

Moon says US, N. Korea determined to continue dialogue

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Monday that both the United States and North Korea are determined to continue their denuclearization negotiations despite the collapse of their latest summit in Hanoi. "A temporary difficulty has been created due to the failure to reach an agreement at the second North Korea-US summit, but the fact that South Korea, North Korea and the US all do not wish to go back to the past is clearly being confirmed," the president said in a weekly meeting with his top aides at his office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul.

President Moon scraps nomination for science minister, transport minister nominee steps down voluntarily

President Moon Jae-in withdrew his nomination of Science and ICT Minister candidate Cho Dong-ho on Sunday over his participation in a controversial conference, while Transport Minister nominee Choi Jeong-ho voluntarily stepped down amid growing questions over his qualifications for the role. This is the first time the Moon administration has retracted a minister nomination. The move comes amid mounting tension with the main opposition Liberty Korea Party and minor opposition Bareunmirae Party over the establishment of an independent investigative agency to probe wrongdoings of high-ranking public officials, among other key bills on the fast-track.

Probe team head vows to investigate ex-vice minister's sex scandal

The head of a new probe team tasked with reinvestigating sex and bribery allegations against a former vice justice minister promised Monday that his team will work the case "by the book" to get to the bottom of it. "We'll investigate the case by the book so that there'll be no more misunderstandings," Yeo Hwan-seop, the chief of the Cheongju District Prosecutors' Office, told reporters.

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

Liberty Korea Party ignores K-League rule, breaks in Gyeongnam stadium

South Korean pro football club Gyeongnam on Monday demanded an apology from the county's main opposition party over improper campaigning inside their home stadium, saying it will need to be held morally and legally responsible if the club receives a punishment. Gyeongnam released the statement after officials from the conservative Liberty Korea Party, including chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn and by-election candidate Kang Ki-yoon, campaigned inside Changwon Football Center in Changwon, some 400 kilometers south of Seoul, for the April 3 by-elections ahead of the K League 1 match against Daegu FC on Saturday.

Pyongyang's Air Koryo boosts flights to Beijing

North Korea's flag carrier Air Koryo has increased the number of flights between Pyongyang and Beijing in apparent anticipation of a rise in exchanges amid their improving bilateral relations, a source said Monday. Air Koryo will fly between the capitals of the allies five times a week starting in April, up from the previous three flights a week, according to the source. The Pyongyang-Beijing direct flights will be available every day except Wednesdays and Sundays.

Seoul to hold 2nd trade talks with South American trade bloc

South Korea's industry ministry said Monday it will hold the second round of trade talks with South America's Mercosur bloc that encompasses Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said it will hold the second round of negotiations with the four countries on clinching a trade deal in Seoul from Tuesday to Saturday. South Korea and the bloc held their first round of negotiations in Uruguay in September last year, where the government expressed hope for expanding its trade network with countries in the fast-growing part of Latin America.

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

N.Korea 'Has Less Than a Year's Worth of Food, Oil Left'

North Korea urgently called back key representatives of overseas trading companies in charge of raising foreign currency for the regime and confiscated their U.S. dollar holdings. North Korean officials are taking increasingly drastic measures after last month's summit with the U.S. in Hanoi collapsed without achieving the easing of sanctions they had apparently been gambling on. The National Intelligence Service here told lawmakers on Friday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered the Foreign Ministry to appeal to international organizations that the North is suffering a severe food shortage. Some experts estimate that the North's foreign-currency and food and oil reserves are not enough to last even a year.

More Than 3,000 Older People Turn in Driving Licenses

Some 3,000 elderly motorists have already responded to an incentive campaign by the Seoul Metropolitan Government to turn in their driving licenses since it started two weeks ago. A total of 2,691 drivers over 70 had returned their licenses voluntarily as of March 21 for the prospect of a transit card pre-loaded with W100,000 credit, and at this rate their number would have exceeded 3,000 by Sunday, a city official said (US$1=W1,137). "Numbers are being tallied at 31 police stations and four driving test sites in Seoul, so the applications received by March 21 have been counted," the official said. Originally, the city had planned to give out only 1,000 transit cards.

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

Could the snapback clause lead to a denuclearization breakthrough?
After North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said that US President Donald Trump had expressed a positive attitude about sanctions relief on the condition of a snapback clause, which would reinstate sanctions if North Korea doesn’t follow through on its agreement, during his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, there is growing interest about whether this idea could lead to a breakthrough in the North Korea-US denuclearization talks.

[Correspondent’s column] I’m afraid of Trump more than Kim Jong-un
A few days ago, I found myself sitting in front of 30 or so Americans in a small theater in Washington, DC. One of the people in the audience asked me whom Koreans were more afraid of – Donald Trump or Kim Jong-un. I told them that I’m more afraid of Trump, while emphasizing that that was strictly my personal feeling. I said I was afraid of the randomness and unpredictability of a man who left the negotiating table in Hanoi without a deal and who overturned an announcement by his own administration a day later on Twitter, a man who would surprise no one if he tweeted tomorrow that he plans to see Kim Jong-un next month. There were murmurs of agreement from the audience. Though Kim is portrayed in the US as a cruel dictator who will never give up his nuclear weapons, these Americans nodded in agreement when I said I was more scared of Trump.

The rise of shareholder activism signaled by Cho Yang-ho’s fall
A new era of shareholder activism has officially dawned. The signal flare came with the move by the National Pension Service (NPS) to use its shareholder authority to block the reappointment of Hanjin Group chairman Cho Yang-ho as an inside director at Korean Air. The emergence of stewardship code activities and domestic shareholder activist funds on the capital market has observers predicting many changes ahead, including governance structure improvements beginning this year for other companies outside the Hanjin Group.

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

Trump does not consider any extra sanction against N. Korea for now

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday (local time) that he is not considering any additional sanctions for some time given that North Korea is already in severe pain. His remarks intend to mitigate the confusion caused by his recent Twitter post on an additional lifting of sanctions against North Korea. It is also interpreted as a message to calm down hawkish voices internally and to imply his willingness to resume dialogue with North Korea.

Hyundai Mobis aims to apply AI-based image detection technology

Hyundai Mobis Co. has announced that it plans to apply the deep learning-based camera image detection technology to its vehicles to support autonomous driving for the first time from 2022 for mass production. South Korea’s biggest auto parts maker said Thursday, ahead of the opening of the Seoul Motor Show 2019, that it will complete the development of the deep learning-based camera image detection technology which uses an artificial intelligence (AI) system by the end of this year. Image recognition technology is considered necessary to develop self-driving cars, as their camera sensors should be able to detect and distinguish one object from another, including vehicles and pedestrians, instead of a human driver

777 specialized high school students transferred last year

A teacher surnamed Cho at a specialized high school in Seoul let out a sigh, saying that every second semester, around 10 students in each grade request to be transferred to a general high school, apparently to prepare for non-regular college admissions or the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT). The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said Sunday that a total of 777 students were transferred from specialized vocational high schools to general high schools last year. Since the second semester of 2014, the country’s high school students have been allowed to request a transfer between general and specialized high schools considering their talent and aptitude.

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

Unsuccessful Nominations to the Cabinet: Two Things Cheong Wa Dae Should Know

On March 31, President Moon Jae-in withdrew his nomination of Cho Dong-ho, his ministerial nominee for science and ICT. This is the first time that the president has withdrawn his nomination of a ministerial candidate. Choi Jeong-ho, ministerial nominee for land, infrastructure and transport voluntarily stepped down. Two of the seven ministerial nominees for the president's new cabinet have failed to enter office.It seems the government and the nominees could not withstand the public criticism that the nominations went against the government's philosophy in state administration and that they were based on double standards--lenient to oneself, strict to others.

Constitutional Court to Decide on Abortion: The Court Should Listen to the Voice of the People

It is April and the eyes and ears of women are directed toward the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court is expected to make a judgment on the constitutional appeal for abortion before justices Seo Ki-seog and Cho Yong-ho retire on April 18. This will be the first time for the Constitutional Court to make a decision on abortion, since the court upheld abortion as a crime after a four (constitutional) to four (unconstitutional) vote on the issue in 2012. The legal provision that the court is reviewing at present is Article 269, Section 1 of the Criminal Act, which punishes women getting an abortion and Article 270, Section 1 of the Criminal Act, which punishes medical practitioners who conduct the abortion. On March 30, over 1,500 people gathered at a rally organized by "Joint Action to Legalize Abortion for All," a union of civic groups, and called for the court to decide that the articles in question violated the Constitution. Participants demanded the government to fully legalize abortion for the safe termination of pregnancy, to expand comprehensive sex education and access to contraceptives, to completely revise the eugenic Mother and Child Health Act, and to guarantee reproductive rights without stigma and discrimination.

Hwang Kyo-ahn Needs to Clarify His Position on Kim Hak-eui's Video

Park Young-sun, nominee for the minister of SMEs and startups, revealed that in 2013 when she served as the chairperson of the parliamentary Legislation and Judiciary Committee, she met with Hwang Kyo-ahn (current leader of the Liberty Korea Party), the justice minister at the time, and mentioned a CD of the alleged sex video of Kim Hak-eui and discouraged him from appointing Vice Minister Kim. On March 28, following her statement during the confirmation hearing on March 27, Park released her past schedule and specifically stated the time of her meeting with Hwang--4:40 p.m. on March 13. Hwang was the justice minister at the time, and he currently serves as the leader of the major opposition party. This is a serious issue, and Hwang should not resort to false statements, but clearly state his position.

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

S. Korea’s semiconductor utilization rate dips to a 43-month low in Feb

The capacity utilization rate of South Korean semiconductor manufacturers slid to a 43-month low in February amid little sign of recovery in global demand for chips, adding woes to the country’s economy that heavily depends on exports. According to mining and manufacturing output data released by Statistics Korea on Sunday, the country’s capacity utilization rate stood at 97.1 in February, down 4 percent from a month earlier. It is the lowest reading since July 2015 when it hit 91.

Hyundai Motor’s Ioniq EV crowned most fuel-efficient vehicle in U.S.

Hyundai Motor Co.’s Ioniq electric vehicle was picked as the most fuel-efficient car in the United States, beating out its rivals built by green car leaders Tesla Inc. and General Motors Co. According to 2019 Fuel Economy Guide released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Sunday, Hyundai Motor’s Ioniq Electric earned a combined fuel economy of 136 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (MPGe), becoming the most efficient vehicle. MPGe is an energy efficiency measurement for electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that shows the average distance that can be traveled with the cost of one gallon of gasoline. The EPA converts one gallon of gasoline to 33.7 kilowatt-hours of electric battery power.

Line Works rapidly penetrates into work-based messaging platform mkt

Line Works, the work-based messaging platform run by Works Mobile of South Korea’s leading online portal operator Naver Corp., is fast gaining ground in Japan and other Asian countries, challenging the globally heavy-hitting names such as Slack, Microsoft and Facebook. According to Naver on Sunday, the number of Line Works customers is expected to achieve the 30,000 milestone in April in just five months after it surpassed 20,000.

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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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