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Headlines, August 23, 2019

The Korean daily media headlines and humor

Friday, August 23, 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.

U.S. expresses 'strong concern,' 'disappointment' at termination of Seoul-Tokyo intel pact

The United States expressed "strong concern" and "disappointment" Thursday after South Korea withdrew from a military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan. Earlier, Seoul announced its decision to end the General Security of Military Information Agreement amid a bilateral dispute over trade and history. In a rare public rebuke of its South Korean ally, the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon expressed their displeasure with the move.

Gov't to strengthen radiation checks on Japanese food products

The South Korean government said Friday that it will strengthen safety checks on imported food from Japan for possible radiation. The scale of radiation contamination checks on foods will be doubled starting later in the day, according to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. The products that will be subject to closer scrutiny by inspectors are those that have a record of being returned to sellers in the past five years after minute amounts of radiation were detected, the ministry said.

Kang says decision to end military pact with Japan separate from S. Korea-U.S. alliance

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Thursday that South Korea's decision to terminate a military pact with Japan is separate from the Seoul-Washington alliance, amid concerns that it could erode cooperation among the three countries for regional security. "(The decision) is a separate issue from the South Korea-U.S. alliance, and the alliance will incessantly strengthen cooperation," Kang told reporters at Incheon International Airport upon arriving from Beijing. The minister added that the decision to terminate the military intelligence-sharing pact was made due to the "trust issue" between Seoul and Tokyo.

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

Pompeo Expresses 'Disappointment' over Scrapped S. Korea-Japan Intel-sharing Deal

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has expressed disappointment at South Korea's decision to scrap a military information sharing deal with Japan. Pompeo on Thursday told reporters at a joint press conference with his Canadian counterpart in Ottawa that the U.S. is “disappointed to see the decision that the South Koreans made about that information-sharing agreement.” The top U.S. diplomat urged the two countries to engage through dialogue, adding that he spoke directly with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha in the morning.

Japan: S. Korea's Decision to Scrap Military Intel-Sharing Deal 'Extremely Regrettable'

Japan on Thursday lodged a strong protest against South Korea's decision to scrap a military intelligence sharing deal, calling the move "extremely regrettable." Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said in a statement that South Korea’s action “shows complete misunderstanding of the security environment in this region and it is extremely regrettable.” Kono lamented Seoul for continuing "extremely negative and irrational actions," saying that the decision on the military information sharing deal and Japan's revisions to export management are two different issues.

S. Korea to Double Radiation Checks on Japanese Food Imports

outh Korea will strengthen safety checks on imported food from Japan amid rising concerns about radiation risks of food products from in or around Fukushima Prefecture, the site of a nuclear power plant meltdown in 2011. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said that starting on Friday, it will double radiation contamination checks on food imports. The 17 items subject to closer monitoring are those that have a record of being returned to sellers in the past five years after minute amounts of radiation were detected.

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

S. Korea to ditch military info-sharing pact with Japan amid trade fight

South Korea said Thursday it has decided not to extend a bilateral agreement with Japan on exchanging classified military information in its strongest reaction yet to Japan's export restrictions. Making public the decision, Cheong Wa Dae cited a "grave change" in security cooperation conditions and Tokyo's refusal to accept Seoul's repeated dialogue overtures. Seoul plans to inform Tokyo of the measure before the Aug. 24 deadline via a diplomatic channel, according to Kim You-geun, deputy director of South Korea's presidential National Security Office.

Kang says decision to end military pact with Japan separate from S. Korea-U.S. alliance

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Thursday that South Korea's decision to terminate a military pact with Japan is separate from the Seoul-Washington alliance, amid concerns that it could erode cooperation among the three countries for regional security. "(The decision) is a separate issue from the South Korea-U.S. alliance, and the alliance will incessantly strengthen cooperation," Kang told reporters at Incheon International Airport upon arriving from Beijing.

Termination of military pact with Japan raises concerns over S. Korea-U.S. alliance

South Korea's decision to terminate a military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan may lead to a deterioration of the Seoul-Washington alliance in the face of ongoing threats to regional security, analysts said Thursday. The assessment stands in stark contrast to the South Korean government's assertion that ending the General Security of Military Information Agreement with Japan has nothing to do with the Seoul-Washington alliance and only to do with a "grave change" in the security cooperation environment between South Korea and Japan.

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

South Korea pulls out of intel-sharing pact amid spat with Japan

South Korea decided to withdraw from the bilateral military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan on Thursday, amid escalating friction over trade and historical issues. In a televised announcement, Cheong Wa Dae said it has made the decision to abolish General Security of Military Information Agreement and will notify Japan via diplomatic channels by midnight on Saturday, the deadline for a decision on whether to renew the agreement.

Defense minister dismisses N. Korea’s taunts, highlights strong defense posture

Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said it was not worth listening to North Korea’s criticism of South Korea’s joint military exercises with the United States, and vowed that defense posture would remain strong. At a parliamentary defense committee meeting, Jeong also spoke of the usefulness of the controversial military intel-sharing agreement with Japan. “(The North) is using vulgar words (to criticize us), but I do not feel it is worth responding to its words one by one,” Jeong said during the National Defense Committee meeting at the National Assembly.

Seoul takes time mulling renewal of military intel-sharing pact with Japan

Nearly six decades have passed since South Korea and Japan signed a treaty to normalize diplomatic ties in 1965, but their relationship has been fraught since then with continued bitterness over the history of Korea’s colonization. Now, as the relationship of the “frenemies” hits a new low with a budding trade war, Seoul has hinted at scrapping a military intel-sharing pact with Tokyo. But while South Koreans are unified in denouncing Japan’s increased controls on exports to South Korea, opinions are split over whether it is appropriate to use the military information-sharing agreement to hit back at Japan.

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

Seoul ends military agreement with Japan

In a stunning move that could further worsen already deteriorating ties between South Korea and Japan, the government announced Thursday that it was scrapping a military-intelligence sharing pact with Tokyo. "South Korea tried to resolve trade friction via open dialogue; but Japan didn't respond. Japan removed South Korea from its list of trusted trading partners without providing a clear reason as to why. These actions have resulted in a grave change in security cooperation between the two countries. Maintaining the military agreement is against South Korea's national interests," Kim You-geun, deputy director of the presidential National Security Office (NSO), said in a press briefing Thursday.

'Abolishing 1965 treaty is no good'

Seeking a possible nullification of the 1965 treaty signed by South Korea and Japan is a "risky idea" in terms of advancing bilateral ties, an experienced international relations expert said. "Any attempt to challenge or abolish the 1965 treaty is a very risky idea, as the move also goes against the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty between the American-led World War II allies and Japan," Park Cheol-hee, professor and associate dean at the Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS) at Seoul National University, said in an interview with The Korea Times. The professor added any efforts by South Korea aimed at nullifying the treaty won't be backed by the international community as the treaty is a legal agreement between the two countries.

Seoul says US-N. Korea denuke talks will begin 'soon'

The United States and North Korea will restart the denuclearization dialogue "soon," a senior presidential aide said Thursday, remaining positive about the pace toward visible progress in the process after the breakdown in Hanoi, February. "As a Cheong Wa Dae representative in the denuclearization process, I met with U.S. special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun for more than an hour to deliver South Korea's message about the denuclearization process. I can't divulge the details of my talks with Biegun, but my impression was that North Korea and the United States will restart their nuclear dialogue soon and it will go quite well," Kim Hyun-chong, deputy adviser at the presidential National Security Office, told reporters after his encounter with Biegun at the Government Complex in downtown Seoul.

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

More Korean Travelers Boycott Japan

The number of Korean tourists visiting Japan declined by more than seven percent in July after Tokyo announced trade restriction on exports of high-tech materials to Korea. The Japan National Tourism Organization on Wednesday said 561,700 Koreans visited Japan last month, down 7.6 percent from the same period last year. Over the first seven months of this year the number of Koreans visitors fell 4.3 percent on-year, so the decline is accelerating. Altogether 2.99 million foreigners visited Japan last month, up 5.6 percent on-year. The biggest proportion were 1.06 million Chinese, up 19.5 percent to take up the slack.

Probe Finds Volkswagen Guilty of Another Emission Scam

Volkswagen was found guilty on Tuesday for cheating on diesel emissions after a lengthy government probe of German cars in Korea.The Environment Ministry said that diesel cars that ostensibly met the latest Euro 6 standards were equipped with emissions-rigging cheats that fooled testers by increasing the amount of toxic fumes only at sustained higher speeds. They are the Audi A6 and A7, Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne sold from August 2014 to January 2018, when the company was already embroiled in an emissions-cheating scandal.

Bangtan Boys' Management Agency Announces Imperial Ambitions

Big Hit Entertainment, which manages global K-pop sensation Bangtan Boys, also known as BTS, posted W200.1 billion in sales in the first half of this year, which is on par with the whole of last year, the company's CEO Bang Si-hyuk said on Wednesday (US$1=W1,204). The figures have catapulted Big Hit to the top of Korea's music industry as they are way higher than those of the big three agencies -- SM Entertainment (W121.5 billion), YG Entertainment (W79.5 billion) and JYP Entertainment (W61.6 billion). Big Hit held a corporate briefing on the day to explain its future business ambitions to grow into a showbiz empire.

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

The question of S. Korea’s withdrawal from GSOMIA

Reports that the Blue House plans an announcement shortly on whether to extend its General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan – a question it has weighed as a means of pressuring Tokyo in response to its economic retaliation measures – are turning attention to the level of Seoul’s response. The reports come in the wake of bilateral foreign minister talks in which both sides merely reaffirmed the differences in their positions. A Blue House official said on Aug. 21 that an “announcement on whether GSOMIA will be extended should be made as early as Aug. 22 and no later than Aug. 23.” While the Blue House’s plans have reportedly already been decided internally, the official explained that they would need to undergo a final review by the National Security Council (NSC) standing committee on Aug. 22, after which a report would be made to President Moon Jae-in and the administration’s approach would be announced.

Japan downgrades importance of security cooperation with S. Korea in 2019 defense white paper

In its draft of this year’s defense white paper, the Japanese government has downgraded the priority of security cooperation with South Korea, a Japanese newspaper says. On Aug. 21, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported that in the section of the 2019 draft white paper about security cooperation with countries other than the US, Japan’s only military ally, South Korea is listed fourth, following Australia, India, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In the 2018 defense white paper, South Korea was listed second, after Australia. This revision appears to have been affected by the recent souring of relations between Japan and South Korea.

UN human rights expert addresses hate speech in South Korean politics

“Hate speech doesn’t just mean expressing an opinion. It’s an act that causes people to be ostracized and beaten, to be kicked out of schools and fired from their jobs. Freedom of expression is very important in a democracy, but there’s obviously a limit to that. Hate speech crosses that line,” said Victor-Madrigal Borloz, the UN’s independent expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. When Borloz sat down with the Hankyoreh on Aug. 21, his brow furrowed a little. He’d just been told that some Korean politicians and religious leaders have made openly discriminatory remarks against LGBT people.

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

N. Korea blows up 12 billion won in launching missiles for 2 months

North Korea has spent at least 1 million dollars (some 1.2 billion won) in launching one short-distance ballistic missile, investing at least 10 million dollars (some 12 billion won) in shooting 12 ballistic missiles and multiple rocket launchers since July. According to a Radio Free Asia report on Tuesday, Dr. Markus Schiller of German military consulting firm ST Analytics said that “Generally it takes around 1 billion dollars (some 1.202 trillion won) in developing and manufacturing missile programs, developing its main body, war head, engines, guidance system, subsidiary vehicles, etc., which is a huge burden to North Korea, given its scale of economy.” He also explained that it would have taken at least 1- 1.4 million dollars in manufacturing a single missile, aside from development costs.” In other words, North Korea is assumed to have invested more than 10 million dollars in launching a total of 12 shots from new weapons over six rounds from July 25 to August 16.

Set-top box serves as AI assistant at home

A set-top box (STB), which has often been considered as something to be hidden under the TV, is starting to transform into an artificial intelligence (AI) assistant, stereo speaker, and interior item. The utilization of STB has been improved with the development of voice recognition technology and businesses are launching STB that serves as a lifestyle platform with sleek design. SK Broadband held a press conference in Seoul on Wednesday and announced the launch of its new STB model “AI 2 Set-top Box.” It has been one and a half year since its previous model was unveiled in January last year.

Seoul City to participate in 2020 Consumer Electronic Show

The Seoul metropolitan government will join the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2020 for the first time. The CES is the largest trade show featuring consumer electronics and the event showcasing information and communications technology and artificial intelligence. The Seoul metropolitan government plans to open a booth at the CES held in Las Vegas in January while Mayor Park Won-soon will present a blueprint for “Smart City Seoul.” Twenty-four South Korean small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as venture companies, will accompany the mayor to the CES to find new business opportunities by promoting their technologies and meeting foreign investors.

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

Contradictory, Mixed, and Vague Explanations: Cho Kuk Caught in a Vicious Cycle of Controversy

Justice minister nominee Cho Kuk (54) responded to various allegations surrounding him and his family with questionable explanations. He repeatedly changed his words, released only parts of the truth, and presented explanations that did not match those of other key parties, triggering a vicious cycle of controversy, followed by an explanation, and to the spread of more controversy. This has led to criticism that he himself is undermining his credibility as a nominee for a senior public position which oversees judicial administration. On August 20, Cho released statements on nine occasions through his team preparing for confirmation hearing. On August 19, he released three statements and actively responded to the allegations. Most of his statements refuted the allegations raised by the press, such as the "suspicious lawsuit" of Cho's family and of his daughter being stated as the lead author of a medical paper when she was in high school.

The Ghost of the Japan Conference (Nippon Kaigi)

"Solidarity of truth" is at work in response to Japan's economic invasion. Japanese centered on labor and civic groups, the legal circle, and conscientious intellectuals are arguing that relations between South Korea and Japan can only be restored when Japan respects the South Korean Supreme Court's ruling on forced labor during the Japanese occupation and apologize, reflect and compensate for their exploitative colonial rule. "Japan needs to abandon its vain ambitions to become a great power by apologizing," argued former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, in his recently published book, Post-Great Japanism. If they could stand in solidarity with South Korea's civil society, could they render powerless Japan's provocation? We cannot guarantee this for Abe's Japan stands firm. And at the center of it lies the Japan Conference (Nippon Kaigi).

"Any Plans to Release Radioactive Water from Fukushima into the Sea?" Government Officially Requests Japan for a 'Detailed Explanation'

On August 19, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned an official from the Japanese Embassy and officially requested a detailed explanation on the Japanese government's plans concerning the radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. This day, Kwon Sei-joong, director-general of climate change, energy, environment, and scientific affairs at the foreign ministry called Tomofumi Nishinaga, a minister for economic affairs at the Japanese Embassy to the foreign ministry office and delivered a note verbale containing the South Korean government's position on the treatment of the contaminated water from Fukushima. In the note, the foreign ministry pointed out, "We realize that the treatment of the radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant will have an extremely serious impact on the health and safety of both our people and on the entire nation, connected by the sea,” and requested a reply on whether the Japanese government had any plans to release the radioactive water into the sea.

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

SK Biopharmaceuticals may attempt IPO by year-end after FDA clearance

South Korea’s SK Holdings Co. has embarked on a process to go public with its wholly-owned drug developing unit SK Biopharmaceuticals Co. within this year, news that could help reverse the souring sentiment toward bio stocks amid a series of negative reports. The holding company of Korea’s third-largest conglomerate SK Group held a board meeting last month and gave the green light for the initial public offering scheme of the drugmaker, according to industry sources on Thursday.

Samsung Elec avoids disclosure of working environment report following court ruling

Samsung Electronics Co. does not have to open its sensitive work environment-related information to the public after a South Korean court has ruled in favor of the company in a lawsuit filed by the tech giant against the government. Suwon District Court on Thursday ordered Gyeonggi District Employment and Labor Office under the Ministry of Employment and Labor to cancel a decision to disclose information on Samsung Electronics’ working environment measurement division, processing, and operations location, siding with the company in a lawsuit raised by the company against the ministry.

Coffee chain operator Hollys F&B placed back on market for sale

South Korea’s IMM Private Equity (IMM PE) has renewed search for a buyer for Hollys Food and Beverage Co (F&B), an operator of a local coffee shop chain Hollys Coffee, six years after it took over the company. IMM PE has named a lead sale manager last year and is now contacting potential buyers, according to investment banking sources on Wednesday. The fund eying around 250 billion won ($168 million) from the deal reportedly has witnessed stronger interest from overseas “strategic” investors.

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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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http://pdf.koreapost.co.kr/38/3801.pdf
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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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