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Headlines, July 4, 2019

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Thursday July 4, 2019

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Lee Kyung-sik

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.

Tokyo's export restrictions, denounced as unreasonable retaliatory measure

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on Wednesday denounced Japan's decision to restrict exports of semiconductor and display materials to South Korea as a retaliatory measure that is unreasonable and contrary to common sense. On Monday, Japan announced that it will tighten regulations on exports to South Korea of key chemicals used in semiconductor and smartphone production, in apparent retaliation against South Korean court rulings ordering Japanese firms to compensate wartime forced labor victims". “I think this is obviously a retaliatory measure that is unreasonable and contrary to common sense," Kang told a parliamentary meeting. "The foreign ministry ... will continue to demand that (Japan) review our proposal in an in-depth manner and retract the retaliatory measure."

Samsung Bioepis, Genentech settle patent dispute on breast cancer biosimilar: source

The agreement will allow Samsung Bioepis to distribute, market and sell the biosimilar Ontruzant in the United States, according to the source. Ontruzant, the breast cancer treatment biosimilar referencing Roche's Herceptin, won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this year. Samsung Bioepis is a joint venture between Samsung BioLogics -- a biopharmaceutical unit of South Korea's top conglomerate Samsung Group -- and its U.S. partner Biogen Inc.

Gov't admits security failure over N.K. boat's undetected arrival, denies cover-up

The government on Wednesday rejected all suspicions of a cover-up in connection with last month's undetected arrival of a North. Korean boat at an east coast port, even though it acknowledged a "grave mistake" in securing the border and reprimanded top military commanders. Fueling the criticism were allegations that the military gave an incorrect account of what happened, including saying the boat was found in the "vicinity" of the port, not at the port, sparking widespread suspicions that it tried to cover up the border security failure.


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

S. Korea Posts Current Account Surplus in May, Erasing April Deficit

South Korea's current account balance returned to a surplus in May, one month after the country posted its first deficit in seven years. According to preliminary data by the Bank of Korea on Thursday, the country's current account surplus came to four-point-95 billion dollars in May, marking a turnaround from a 660-million dollar deficit posted the previous month. The reversal is largely attributed to a surplus in the products account and the absence of seasonal impacts, such as the surge in dividend payments that contributed to the deficit posted in April.

Non-regular School Workers Continue Walkout

The government has slightly lowered its growth estimate for this year to the range of two-point-four Non-regular workers at schools will continue a nationwide strike for the second day on Thursday, disrupting meal services at about 25-hundred schools. The Education Ministry said that two-thousand-581 schools, or about a quarter of Korea’s ten-thousand-454 schools, will suspend meal services on Thursday, down from about 28-hundred the previous day. On the second day of the three-day strike, 96 schools will suspend daycare programs as well.

Gov't Admits Security Failure in N. Korean Boat CaseThe U.S. State The government says the recent crossing of a North Korean boat deep into South Korean waters was due to various problems with the military’s vigilance operations. The Office for Government Policy Coordination on Wednesday announced the results of a probe carried out by some 30 Defense Ministry officials and military experts. The office assessed that the military failed to detect the North Korean boat for 57 hours during which the boat crossed the Northern Limit Line and reached South Korea’s Samcheok Port due to issues with its maritime vigilance operations and management of available military equipment.


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

S. Korea calls Japan's export restrictions economic retaliation

South Korea's finance minister on Thursday pressed Japan to withdraw its export restrictions, denouncing them as an economic retaliation. Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, said South Korea will decide when to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization over Japan's decision as soon as an internal review is over. "We believe that the Japanese move is a clear act of economic retaliation," Hong said in a radio interview. He said Japan's export restrictions could hurt not only Seoul but Tokyo as well.

S. Korea posts current account surplus in May

South Korea's current account balanced turned to black in May, one month after the country posted its first deficit in seven years amid sluggish exports, central bank data showed Thursday. The country's current account surplus came to US$4.95 billion in the month, marking a turnaround from a $660 million deficit the month before, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK). The turnaround was largely attributed to a $1.16 billion surplus in the primary income account, which in April posted a $4.33 billion deficit due to a seasonal surge in dividend payments.

N.K. accuses U.S. of being 'hell-bent' on hostile acts: reports

North Korea on Wednesday accused the United States of being "hell-bent" on hostile acts toward the communist regime despite saying it wants talks, according to news reports. The North Korean mission to the United Nations in New York said in a statement that the U.S. revealed its hostility by circulating a letter calling for enforcement of U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang on Saturday, the same day U.S. President Donald Trump invited North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to an impromptu meeting at the inter-Korean border, the reports said. The letter, jointly penned with Britain, France and Germany, was sent to all U.N. member nations and "speaks to the reality that the United States is practically more and more hell-bent on the hostile acts against the DPRK, though talking about the DPRK-U.S. dialogue," the North Korean statement said, using the acronym for the country's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.


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

Government admits failure over N.Korean boat incident, denies cover-up

The government on Wednesday admitted to security failure, but rejected the accusation that it attempted to downplay the incident in which a North Korean boat arrived at a South Korea seaport undetected. Announcing the result of a joint government investigation, the government said it reprimanded top military chiefs and dismissed an Army commander who was in charge of the surveillance operation in the coastal area where the incident occurred.

Pompeo, Ri Yong-ho may hold talks in August in Bangkok

The US and North Korea may hold high-level talks early next month in Bangkok after the countries’ leaders agreed to resume denuclearization negotiations Sunday at Panmunjom. Following working-level talks scheduled for mid-July, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho are expected to attend the foreign ministers’ meeting at the ASEAN Regional Forum on Aug. 2 in Bangkok. The ARF foreign ministers’ meeting is the only ministerial-level conference in which both countries participate.

S. Korea lowers growth forecast for 2019 to 2.4-2.5%

South Korea’s government on Wednesday revised the growth rate forecast for this year to 2.4-2.5 percent, down 0.2 percentage point from its earlier estimation, amid sluggish exports and investments.

It also added pressure upon the National Assembly to swiftly approve a long-pending supplementary bill of 6.7 trillion won ($5.7 billion) dedicated to economic revitalization.


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

North Korea's new negotiation team in spotlight

A new round of U.S.-North Korea nuclear negotiations are set to begin in a few weeks following the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Washington is widely expected to let Secretary of State Mike Pompeo manage the entire strategy for better deliverables. U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun is expected to back him up. Biegun is said to have been closely involved in fixing all the specifics of last week's Trump-Kim meeting. There is a noticeable difference, however, in the line-up of North Korean negotiators.

Gov't cuts growth outlook to 2.4-2.5%

The government lowered its 2019 growth forecast for the Korean economy by 0.2 percentage points to a range of 2.4 percent to 2.5 percent Wednesday, citing sagging private investment and sluggish exports amid the prolonged trade war between the United States and China. The figure is down from the previous estimate of 2.6 percent to 2.7 percent made in December. The economy grew 2.7 percent in 2018 and is forecast by the government to grow 2.6 percent in 2020. The Ministry of Economy and Finance unveiled the forecast along with policy measures for the second half to inject new vigor into Asia's fourth-largest economy.

Korean consumers set to boycott Japanese products

Japan's move to tighten the rules for exports of key industrial materials to Korea is triggering a consumer boycott of Japanese products, raising concerns for Toyota, Honda, Uniqlo and other Japanese companies operating here, according to industry officials, Wednesday. The companies said they have yet to experience the fallout from Japan's apparent retaliation on last year's Supreme Court rulings here against Japanese firms over wartime forced labor. But they added they are in an "awkward situation" and paying attention to fast-spreading social media campaigns calling for boycotts.


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

Cheong Wa Dae Stumped by Japanese Export Curbs
Cheong Wa Dae was apparently stumped Tuesday by new Japanese export curbs on materials that are vital to Korea's IT industry. In a Cabinet meeting, officials were unable to come up with any remedies for Korea's removal from an export "whitelist" for three core materials used to make semiconductors, televisions and smartphones, which was expressly designed as retaliation in a bilateral spat over compensation for forced labor victims. President Moon Jae-in did not say a word about the crisis.

Samsung CEO Takes Blame for Galaxy Fold Debacle.

Samsung's mobile chief Koh Dong-jin has taken blame for the debacle surrounding review models of a potentially revolutionary foldable smartphone. "It was embarrassing. I pushed it through before it was ready," Koh told European media last week. "I do admit I missed something on the foldable phone, but we are in the process of recovery." Samsung trumpeted the Galaxy Fold as a revolution in smartphone technology and hoped it would help it stay at the top of the global market. But review models sent out to tech journalists proved less than impressive, and several screens broke down completely or warped because of embedded pieces of grit.

Seoul-Tokyo Discord Could Scupper Northeast Asia Summit

Souring relations between Seoul and Tokyo are threatening to scupper the annual three-way Northeast Asia Summit that is held in Korea, China and Japan by turns. This year's host China has yet to set a date. "There was a plan in the pipeline to hold the summit in the first half of this year, but Tokyo expressed no intention to attend," a diplomatic source said on Tuesday. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the fixture.


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

Moon says N. Korea-US have declared the end of their “hostile relationship”

“Now it can be said that not only South and North Korea but also North Korea and the US have declared the end of their hostile relationship and the true beginning of a new era of peace, not through signatures on a document but through action,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on July 2, emphasizing the significance of the summit held by the leaders of North Korea and the US at Panmunjom two days earlier. The first meeting between the leaders of these three countries at Panmunjom, Moon asserted, meant that the Korean Peninsula could never return to the hostility of past wars. Given the extreme importance of the upcoming working-level talks between North Korea and the US, Moon appears to have slowed down efforts to improve inter-Korean relations, including a reciprocal visit to Seoul by Kim Jong-un.

Trump voices expectations for next summit with Kim Jong-un

On July 1, US President Donald Trump voiced his expectations for his next summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, remarking that he hopes to meet Kim again before long. At the same time, Trump reiterated that there’s “no rush.” “It was great being with Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea this weekend. We had a great meeting, he looked really well and very healthy,” Trump tweeted on July 1, one day after returning to Washington, DC, following his meeting with Kim in Panmunjom.

Japan’s attempts to shut out South Korea from international community

South Korea-Japan relations have been plunged deep into a tunnel of conflict with no exit in sight following Japan’s implementation of export regulations targeting South Korea’s semiconductor and display industries as economic retaliation for a South Korean Supreme Court ruling on forced labor mobilization. Following its announcement of plans to file a complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Seoul plans to have the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) and other agencies work with domestic companies to develop plans for minimizing the economic damage. Diplomatically, it plans to demand Japan’s withdrawal of the economic retaliation measures and continue calling for “sincere discussions” of an approach proposed last month in which consolation payments to conscription survivors would be made through a “voluntary fund” by South Korean and Japanese businesses. But businesses in the mainstay industries of semiconductors and displays are deeply concerned about the blow they stand to suffer.


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

U.S. calls alliance with South Korea 'linchpin' of Indo-Pacific strategy

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump reaffirmed that the strong South Korea--U.S. alliance is the "linchpin" of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific, the U.S. Department of State said in a press release Tuesday. It was the first time that Washington defined its alliance with Seoul as a linchpin of its Indo-Pacific strategy. The State Department cited deepening cooperation with South Korea for the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy as a main accomplishment of Trump's latest visit to South Korea, in addition to his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the truce village of Panmunjom.

Hyundai aims to 'revolutionize' engines with new fuel-efficient technology

Hyundai Motor Group has developed a new engine that can sharply enhance vehicle performance and fuel efficiency. At a media session on its new technology on Wednesday, the South Korean automotive company announced that it plans to apply its own continuously variable valve duration (CVVD) system, the first in the world, to its vehicles. According to Hyundai, the CVVD technology is capable of flexibly controlling the valve duration time. One of the system's biggest advantages is that optimizing the valve duration time controls the amount of air flowing into the cylinder while improving gas discharges. Existing engines have fixed valve duration time. The CVVD technology can enhance performance by 4 percent, increase fuel efficiency by 5 percent and reduce gas emissions by 12 percent.

A couple to donate 81.7 acres of land to KAIST

Korea Abraham Lincoln Society Founder Kwak Sung-hyun and Intellectual IP ADR Center (IIPAC) Chairman Kim Cheol-ho have committed to donate their real estate property to the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). According to KASIT on Wednesday, in a donation ceremony held at KAIST’s Daejeon campus, the couple promised to donate 81.7 acres of land located in Seongnam City, Gyeonggi Province to the research university. Although the land is in a green belt area, KAIST says its value is estimated at over 10 billion won since it is close to the Seoul National University Bundang Hospital and some part of the land can be developed.


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

Restrictions on Exports to South Korea, Controversial Violation of Free Trade: Abe Insists His Action Meets WTO Regulations
On July 2, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe mentioned the tighter regulations on the export of three chemicals used in the production of semiconductors to South Korea and insisted, "They meet the World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations." In an interview published in Tuesday’s edition of the Yomiuri Shimbun, Prime Minister Abe said, "I think all Japanese measures must adhere to the rules of the WTO. It has nothing to do with free trade." He took economic measures to retaliate the ruling on forced labor during the Japanese occupation by the South Korean Supreme Court, and then argued that he did not violate any international rules. The Japanese prime minister also said, "We modified measures that had been based on the trust between nations." He repeated the Japanese government's claims that the latest measures were due to damaged trust with South Korea, acknowledging that the measure was in retaliation against the ruling on compensation for forced labor.

"Hanjin Mother and Daughter" Received Suspended Sentences in First Trial on the Illegal Hiring of Maids

The wife and the eldest daughter of Cho Yang-ho, the late chairman of Hanjin Group, Lee Myung-hee (70), former chairperson of the Ilwu Foundation and Cho Hyun-ah (45), vice president of Korean Air, received suspended sentences in their first trial for illegally hiring Filipino maids. The court pronounced a sentence greater than the fine, which the prosecutors had requested. On July 2, Judge An Jae-Cheon of Individual Criminal Court 15 of the Seoul Central District Court sentenced Lee to a year-and-six-months in prison and suspended the sentence for three years on charges of obstruction of justice and violation of the Immigration Act. The court also sentenced Cho to a year in prison with a two-year suspension and a fine of 20 million won. The judge further ordered Lee and Cho to serve 160 and 120 hours of community service respectively.

Japan Retaliates to "Forced Labor Ruling" with Economic Measures: South Korea to Bring the Case to the WTO
On July 1, the Japanese government announced it would tighten regulations on three export items to South Korea including key materials in manufacturing semiconductors. Japan has practically taken retaliatory measures eight months after the South Korean Supreme Court ruled that Japanese companies should compensate Koreans for forced labor during the Japanese occupation. Conflicts between South Korea and Japan have entered a new phase. The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced that it would exclude South Korea from a comprehensive export control system for fluorinated polyimide, used to manufacture TV and smartphone display panels, as well as resist and etching gas (high-purity hydrogen fluoride) used to manufacture and clean semiconductors. The ministry said, "it must be said that the relations of trust between Japan and South Korea have been significantly harmed," and explained its decision for a stricter application of the export control system. It appears Japan has opted to tighten its export regulations to fight back the issue of compensation for forced labor.


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

Korea cuts 2019 growth forecast to 2.4-2.5% from 2.7% amid trade headwinds

The South Korean government warned the economy was headed for its weakest growth in seven years by slashing this year’s growth outlook to 2.4-2.5 percent from 2.7 percent in the face of escalating trade headwinds. In its second-half economic policy outline released on Wednesday, the Ministry of Finance and Economy estimated the gross domestic product to grow at an annualized rate of 2.4 to 2.5 percent this year, down from 2.7 percent projected six months earlier. The forecast for the nominal GDP growth rate was also lowered to 3.0 percent from 3.9 percent. The revised rate would be Korea’s worst performance since the 2.4 percent growth in 2012.

Seoul unveils tax relief package to spur corporate investment

The South Korean government rolled out emergency tax incentives to stimulate facility investment that has slumped to its lowest since the crisis-hit period, offering to double the deduction rate for large manufacturers responsible for more than 80 percent of the country’s facility spending. The measures were included in the second-half policy outline in a cabinet meeting chaired by Hong Nam-ki, deputy prime minister and finance minister, on Wednesday. The government also announced its revised economic growth forecast for this year, downgrading it to 2.4-2.5 percent from 2.7 percent due to the longer-than-expected slump in capital investment and exports.

Korea pledges $5 bn funding to groom local supply chain for chip industry

The South Korean government on Wednesday pledged 6 trillion won ($5.1 billion) funding to promote and build up the value chain for IT components to accelerate localization of base materials for chips and displays after Japan took retaliatory action with its exports of key materials. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Wednesday announced detailed investment plans for materials, component and equipment industry as part of the so-called “manufacturing renaissance” vision announced jointly with the Ministry of Science and ICT last month. The vision was unveiled by President Moon Jae-in in June with hopes to revive the country’s sagging manufacturing industries. Currently, related ministries have conducted or are in the process of conducting preliminary feasibility tests by each sector.


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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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Sri Lanka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hByX92Y2aGY&t=22s
Morocco: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfFmp2sVvSE
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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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