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Headlines, August 26, 2019

The Korean daily media headlines and humor

Monday, August 26, 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.

S. Korean Navy launches Dokdo defense drills

The South Korean armed forces launched a two-day military exercise to defend the easternmost islets of Dokdo on Sunday, in a show of its staunch defense stance against Japan's repeated sovereignty over the cluster of rocks in the East Sea. The Navy announced that the drill involves Navy, Air Force and Army forces, such as naval warships and aircraft, as well as Army and Marine Corp troops. The drills have been held twice a year, usually in June and December, to better fend off possible foreign infiltrations to the rocky outcroppings and the surrounding waters.

S. Korea's tax-GDP ratio nears 27 pct in 2018

South Korea's tax-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio reached nearly 27 percent in 2018, but it was lower than that for other major economies, a report showed Monday. The country's tax-to-GDP ratio came to 26.8 percent last year, up 1.4 percentage points from the prior year, according to the report from the National Assembly Budget Office. It was the steepest on-year increase in 10 years, and last year marked the fifth consecutive year of rise. The ratio refers to a country's tax revenue and social security contributions divided by its GDP. Last year's increase was attributed largely to the country's increased tax burden. South Korea's tax burden rose to 20 percent of its GDP in 2018 from 18.8 percent a year earlier.

Cheong Wa Dae: S. Korea has talked enough with U.S. on GSOMIA issue

South Korea consulted with the United States often and adequately on the fate of a bilateral pact with Japan on sharing military intelligence, Cheong Wa Dae said Friday, as Washington has voiced "strong concern" and "disappointment" over Seoul's decision to discard the key tool for strengthening trilateral security cooperation in Northeast Asia. "It's true that the U.S. hoped for the extension of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA)," South Korea's Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Hyun-chong said in a press briefing. Thus, he added, it was "natural" for Washington to be disappointed with Seoul's move, which represents its toughest countermeasure yet against Tokyo's export curbs.

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

Top Office: Dokdo Defense Exercise is Training to Defend Sovereign Territory

The presidential office says that military exercises launched Sunday on and around the Dokdo islets are designed to defend the country's sovereign territory. Presidential spokesperson Ko Min-jung said during a Sunday news briefing that the exercises are part of a regular training program run every year. The two-day exercises, called "East Sea territory defense training," are meant to enhance South Korea's defense capabilities of its East Sea territories, including Dokdo. The biannual exercise is usually held in June and December, but had been pushed back due to new developments in Seoul-Tokyo relations. The year's first Dokdo defense training comes just three days after South Korea announced it would scrap a military information sharing deal with Japan.

Trump, Abe Show Differences on N. Korea Missile Launches

The leaders of the U.S. and Japan on Sunday revealed differences in their assessment of the seriousness of North Korea's recent short-range missile launches. Ahead of a bilateral summit on the sidelines of this year’s G7 summit in France, U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters that while he was “not happy” about the launches, the firings did not violate an agreement on long-range ballistic missiles. Downplaying the provocations, Trump said that Kim has tested “much more standard” short-range missiles that “a lot of people are testing.”

Moon to Visit Thailand, Myanmar, Laos Next Week

President Moon Jae-in plans to visit Thailand, Myanmar and Laos next week as part of a diplomatic initiative to strengthen South Korea's partnerships in Southeast Asia. The presidential office said on Sunday that Moon will embark on a six-day trip to the three nations next Sunday, beginning with an official visit to Thailand. Moon will then head to Myanmar the following Tuesday to meet with State Councilor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint. Moon will then spend two days in Laos before returning home. With the weeklong trip, Moon will fulfill a promise to visit all ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN) member states during his presidency.

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

S. Korea stages 2nd day of expanded military drills for Dokdo

South Korea staged an expanded military exercise on and around its easternmost islets of Dokdo in the East Sea for the second and final day Monday, the Navy said, amid escalating tensions with Japan over historical and trade feuds. The two-day regular exercise kicked off on the largest scale ever Sunday, involving all three armed services, as well as the Marine Corp and the Coast Guard, in a sign that Seoul is taking a hard-line stance on the deepening row with Japan. The biannual drills, launched in 1986, usually have been held in June and December, but this year's drills were pushed back over apparent concern they could excessively aggravate tensions with Tokyo. Japan, which has made territorial claims to Dokdo, has protested the drills.

Cheong Wa Dae: S. Korea has talked enough with U.S. on GSOMIA issue

South Korea consulted with the United States often and adequately on the fate of a bilateral pact with Japan on sharing military intelligence, Cheong Wa Dae said Friday, as Washington has voiced "strong concern" and "disappointment" over Seoul's decision to discard the key tool for strengthening trilateral security cooperation in Northeast Asia. "It's true that the U.S. hoped for the extension of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA)," South Korea's Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Hyun-chong said in a press briefing. Thus, he added, it was "natural" for Washington to be disappointed with Seoul's move, which represents its toughest countermeasure yet against Tokyo's export curbs.

S. Korea's tax-GDP ratio nears 27 pct in 2018

South Korea's tax-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio reached nearly 27 percent in 2018, but it was lower than that for other major economies, a report showed Monday. The country's tax-to-GDP ratio came to 26.8 percent last year, up 1.4 percentage points from the prior year, according to the report from the National Assembly Budget Office. It was the steepest on-year increase in 10 years, and last year marked the fifth consecutive year of rise. The ratio refers to a country's tax revenue and social security contributions divided by its GDP.

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

North Korea boasts test-firing of newly developed ‘super-large multiple rocket launcher’

North Korea on Sunday boasted the successful test-firing of what it called a “newly developed super-large multiple rocket launcher,” a day after it fired two projectiles into the East Sea. Releasing pictures of the new weapon system, the state-run daily Rodong Sinmun said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un highly praised the new system after overseeing the test-firing. “The test-fire proved that all the tactical and technological specifications of the system correctly reached the preset indexes,” Rodong Sinmun said.

Trump calls allied exercise 'unnecessary,' 'total waste of money'

US President Donald Trump has called the recently concluded South Korea-US combined military exercise "unnecessary" and a "total waste of money" despite heightened tensions caused by Pyongyang's recent launches of short-range projectiles. During the Group of Seven summit in France on Sunday, Trump also told reporters that Pyongyang's projectile launches do not represent a breach of his agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that involves nuclear and longer-range ballistic missile tests.

BOK likely to freeze base interest rate amid Japan factor, uncertainties

With growing economic uncertainties and ongoing trade tensions with Japan, the South Korean central bank is highly likely to freeze the base interest rate at an upcoming meeting of its Monetary Policy Board, market analysts said Sunday. The Bank of Korea is slated to hold its rate-setting Monetary Policy Board meeting Friday. On July 18 the central bank cut the country’s policy rate to 1.5 percent, citing mounting external uncertainties. It has also lowered its growth outlook for this year by 0.3 percentage point, to 2.2 percent from 2.5 percent.

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

Justice Minister nominee apologizes over allegations involving his daughter

President Moon Jae-in's nominee for justice minster Cho Kuk apologized Sunday for academic-related allegations involving his daughter. However, Cho said he will not withdraw from consideration, adding "I will do anything to help complete the Moon government's mission of judiciary reform." Cho's apology came after nearly 50 percent of Koreans said in a poll that the former senior presidential secretary for civil affairs is not eligible for the ministerial job. A presidential secretary does not need a parliamentary endorsement to begin work, but a Cabinet member does.

Korea launches Dokdo drill amid disputes with Japan

South Korea began its largest-ever defense exercise on the Dokdo Islets, Sunday, amid escalating tensions with Japan over trade and historical issues. The Republic of Korea Navy said it had begun "territory defense training for the East Sea," a two-day exercise to defend South Korean territories in the East Sea, including Dokdo. The exercise is unprecedented in terms of size, involving warships, aircraft and troops from the Army, Marine Corps and Navy ― the Aegis destroyer SeJong the Great is also taking part for the first time.

Korean firm aims to use DNA tests to preempt health risks

Shin Sang-cheol, the co-founding CEO of Eone Diagnomics Genome Center (EDGC) in Songdo, Incheon, knows he has a high risk of developing lung cancer and multiple sclerosis. A simple test of his blood and saliva samples produced the prognosis. The examination also showed he has a high level of diabetes-causing genes. Shin, 49, is desperate to lower these risks. Whenever he sees a physician for a regular checkup, he asks the doctor to pay extra attention to early signs of lung cancer and multiple sclerosis. He has already lost 10 kilograms by eating less and walking up and down stairs to help prevent diabetes.

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

More Korean Tourists Fall Victim to Crimes Overseas

Growing numbers of Korean travelers also mean that more of them are falling victim to crimes and accidents, but police there and their home country's consulates often leave them high and dry. According to the Foreign Ministry, 12,529 Korean tourists became victims of crime or accidents overseas in 2017 compared to just 5,952 in 2014. Most of the cases involved theft, but there were also 185 robberies, 118 rapes or sexual assaults and seven murders. The most dangerous place for Koreans was Europe with its roaming gangs of aggressive pickpockets in tourist hotspots with 5,249 victims, which was worse than the 5,193 in Asia-Pacific and 1,955 in the U.S. and Canada.

Strikes Cost Korea Over 200 Times More Work Days Than Japan

Korea lost an average of 43.4 days a year for every 1,000 workers due to strikes over the last 10 years, 217 times more than Japan, which lost just 0.2 day over the same period. The Korea Economic Research Institute on Thursday said it calculated the number of lost work days by multiplying the number of striking workers by the number of hours they downed tools and dividing it by an eight-hour working day. KERI said Korea's union participation rate of 10.3 percent is actually lower than Japan's 17.9 percent, but the marked difference stems from a ban on assigning replacement workers in Korea, which is possible in Japan.

Household Debt Still Growing Too Fast

Household debt growth has slowed significantly since the first half of last year, but it is still too early to break out the champagne since it keeps growing faster than income and seems to be speeding up again, the Bank of Korea warned Thursday. The central bank said that outstanding household credit, which consists of household loans and credit card spending, grew W16.2 trillion from the first quarter of the year to W1,556.1 trillion in the second quarter (US$1=W1,212).

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

Death of N. Korea defector and her son reveal holes in S. Korean child protection services

The death of a 42-year-old North Korean defector surnamed Han and her six-year-old son (born in 2013) underscores both the steep barriers to welfare faced by the underprivileged and the poor state of South Korea’s child protection system. The bodies of Han and her son were found in their rental apartment in Seoul’s Bongcheon neighborhood, a full two months after their deaths. While the precise cause of death remains uncertain, pending autopsy results, it’s likely that the two starved to death. This suggests the shortcomings of the Child Protection Act, which is supposed to help children in poverty, who are in desperate need of social, economic, and emotional support. More importantly, Han’s son was reportedly suffering from epilepsy.

S. Korea and UK’s trade officials formally sign free trade agreement

South Korea and the UK have completed their negotiations for a free trade agreement that’s expected to keep trade flowing between the countries without any barriers even if the UK crashes out of the European Union without any special arrangements, a scenario known as “no-deal Brexit.” South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy announced on Aug. 22 that UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee had officially signed a free trade agreement, or FTA, between the two countries.

Trilateral security cooperation collapses amid SK-Japan row

After previously being viewed as a fixed framework within the Northeast Asia, trilateral security cooperation by South Korea, the US, and Japan broke down on Aug. 22 with the South Korean government’s decision not to extend its General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan. With this, trilateral security cooperation returns to its level before GSOMIA was signed in November 2016 – but now burdened by the fallout from the recent frictions between Seoul and Tokyo. Observers are predicting the situation could deteriorate further depending on how Japan responds going ward.

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

S. Korean military's ‘territory defense drill’ in Dokdo after cancelling GSOMIA

The South Korean military conducted a drill for the defense of the easternmost islets of Dokdo, which Tokyo has been strongly opposing, just three days after Seoul cancelled the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan. The military disclosed photos and video footages of the drill in an unusual move. The South Korean Navy said on Sunday that “We named the exercise ‘East Sea Territory Defense Drill to further consolidate our commitment to defend the territories in the East Sea including Dokdo.” The drill will continue through Monday. The Navy and the Korea Coast Guard have been conducting “Dokdo Defense Drill” once each in the first and second half of the year since 1996 in order to preemptively block Japanese ultra-rightist groups’ possible infiltration into Dokdo.

Kia Soul EV beats German and Japanese EVs in Europe

The New Soul EV, which Kia Motors started selling in May, has beat rival electric vehicles of BMW and Nissan in an eval‎uation of small EVs to rank first overall in the segment. According to Kia Motors on Sunday, the German automobile magazine “Auto Zeitung” in its latest issue compared the Soul EV with BMW’s i3s and Nissan’s Leaf e+ among compact EVs sold in Europe. In the assessment, the Soul EV earned 2,989 points of the possible 5,000 points, easily defeating BMW’s i3s (2,894 points) and Nissan’s Leaf e+ (2,870 points). Auto Zeitung is known as one of the most trusted automotive magazines in Germany along with Auto Bild and Auto Motor Und Sport.

2 Korean players scored debut goals in France and Germany, respectively

n the counterattack by FC Girondins de Bordeaux French professional football club in League 1 at the 11th minute of the first half, South Korean footballer Hwang Ui-jo ran about 60 meters at a full speed towards the opponent’s net. Hwang, who caught a 40 meter-long pass from Samuel Kalu of Bordeaux near the opposing team’s penalty box, hit the net with his right-foot shooting. This was the first goal in the French league by the South Korean footballer nicknamed “Ui-jo of light” thanks to his explosive speed and super-accurate shootings.

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

Government Decides to Terminate GSOMIA, "It Does Not Serve Our National Interest"

On August 22, the government decided to terminate the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan. The GSOMIA is the only military agreement between South Korea and Japan, and it will be terminated three years after it was signed in 2016. With the government's decision to terminate the military agreement as a countermeasure against Japan's economic retaliation, the worst of situations is expected in the relationship between South Korea and Japan. The United States had emphasized military cooperation with South Korea and Japan and had wanted to see the military agreement extended. So the latest decision may lead to some turbulence in the future ROK-US alliance.

Income Gap Widens Further: What Is the Problem?

The income gap between the low and high income earners has widened. According to the "Q2 Survey on Household Trends (Income)" released by Statistics Korea on August 22, the monthly average income of all households with two or more people was 4,704,000 won. It rose 3.8% compared to the same period last year. The income of households in the top quintile, which comprise the top 20%, rose by 3.2% and the income of the middle-class (second, third, and fourth quintile) also increased by 4.0-6.4%. However, the income of the first quintile, the bottom 20%, remained stagnant (0.04% increase) at 1,325,500 won.

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.

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

Korean markets shrug off Seoul’s scrapping of military pact with Japan

South Korean markets largely shrugged off Seoul’s decision to end a military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan, even as the move heightened geopolitical risks and uncertainties as past issues have spilled over to trade as well as the security front. Korea’s benchmark Kospi closed Friday down 0.14 percent at 1,948.30. The junior Kosdaq fell 0.53 percent to 608.98. The Korean won slipped 2.80, or 0.23 percent, against the U.S. dollar to 1,210.20.

Lotte Chemical reportedly vying for Japan’s Hitachi Chemical

Lotte Chemical Corp., a petrochemical company under South Korean conglomerate Lotte Group that has been seeking to bolster its advanced material business, has joined a race to win Hitachi Chemical Co., the chemical unit of Japan’s Hitachi Ltd., against leading global private equity firms. According to multiple sources from the investment banking industry on Friday, Lotte Chemical has submitted a preliminary bid earlier this month to buy Hitachi Chemical from its largest shareholder Hitachi with 51.2 percent stake ownership. Foreign media have reported that Hitachi has received preliminary bids for the majority stake in Hitachi Chemical by August 9.

South Korea inks post-Brexit free trade agreement with Britain

South Korea reached a direct free trade agreement (FTA) with Britain to maintain tariff-free trade conditions between the two countries even after Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU). South Korean trade minister Yoo Myung-hee and her British counterpart Elizabeth Truss signed a bilateral FTA deal on Thursday in London. After the two nation’s parliaments complete the ratification process by the end of October as planned, the new FTA between the two nations will immediately replace the current Korea-EU free trade pact if the so-called ‘No Deal Brexit’ happens, meaning that Britain leaves the EU on October 31 as scheduled without any agreements for the future relationship with the economic bloc.

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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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Korean-language Internet edition: http://www.koreapost.co.kr
English-language Internet edition: http://www.koreapost.com
Korean-language print newspaper:
http://pdf.koreapost.co.kr/38/3801.pdf
http://pdf.koreapost.co.kr/38/3802.pdf
http://pdf.koreapost.co.kr/38/3803.pdf
http://www.koreapost.co.kr/pdf/list.php?category=&syear=2018&smonth=03&sday=26&hosu=40
English E-daily: http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=9897
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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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