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Headlines, August 29, 2019

Thursday, August 29, 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.

Cheong Wa Dae voices 'strong regret' over Japan's export curbs

The office of President Moon Jae-in expressed "strong regret" Wednesday over Japan's export restrictions against South Korea and also urged Tokyo to "hold hands" extended by Seoul to resolve a related problem diplomatically.In a statement issued after Japan finally demoted South Korea's trade status, Cheong Wa Dae also reaffirmed that Seoul can reconsider its decision to terminate a bilateral pact on sharing military intelligence if Tokyo changes tack. "The government strongly regrets the latest action taken by Japan," Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Hyun-chong said. He was referring to Tokyo's step, effective on the day, to remove Seoul from the so-called whitelist of trade partners deemed trustworthy in terms of handling strategic materials.

K-pop star Seungri questioned over gambling charges

Seoul police questioned Seungri, a former member of the K-pop boy band BIGBANG, Wednesday over allegations of illegal overseas gambling. The disgraced singer returned home at around 10:20 p.m. after nearly 12 1/2 hours of interrogation at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency. He was booked earlier this month over the allegations of habitual gambling in foreign countries and illegally securing gambling funds in violation of the Foreign Exchange Transaction Act. Yang Hyun-suk, former chief producer of BIGBANG's management agency, YG Entertainment, faces the same charges.

U.S. defense leaders express disappointment at S. Korea-Japan row

The United States' top defense leaders expressed disappointment Wednesday over an ongoing dispute between South Korea and Japan that recently led to Seoul's decision to terminate an intelligence sharing pact with Tokyo. At a joint press conference at the Pentagon, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford said they believe it is in the interest of all three countries to work together. But in a departure from previous statements from the Pentagon or the State Department, the two appeared to direct their disappointment at both parties, not just South Korea.

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

S. Korea Asks US to Refrain from Expressing Disappointment over GSOMIA Termination

South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Sei-young on Wednesday asked the United States to refrain from issuing public messages expressing disappointment and concern about Seoul's recent decision to terminate a military information-sharing pact with Japan. The vice minister called in U.S. Ambassador Harry Harris to make the request as Washington has repeatedly broadcast such sentiments on Seoul's decision to end the General Security of Military Information Agreement(GSOMIA). During his talks with Harris, Cho reportedly pointed out that Washington's open, repeated messages against Seoul's decision would not be helpful in strengthening the bilateral alliance and that Seoul is fully aware of the U.S.’ position on the matter.

US Defense Leaders Express Disappointment at S. Korea-Japan Dispute

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said on Wednesday that he is "very disappointed" by both South Korea and Japan over their ongoing dispute that led to Seoul's decision to scrap a military intelligence sharing deal. The remarks came at a joint press conference with U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Joseph Dunford at the Pentagon. Dunford, for his part, said he shares Esper’s disappointment as the Seoul-Tokyo row is a setback in the two U.S. allies' relationship, which he described as very important. He expressed hope that South Korea and Japan will be able to resolve their differences, saying that they along with the U.S. face common threats in the region and are stronger when they work together.

S. Korea, Japan to Hold Director-General Level Talks in Seoul

Senior officials from South Korea and Japan will hold a meeting in Seoul on Thursday amid escalating tensions between the two countries over trade and historical issues. According to the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, Kim Jeong-han, director general of the ministry's Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau, will meet with his Japanese counterpart Kenji Kanasugi at 2 p.m. The talks come a day after Japan's removal of South Korea from a “whitelist” of trusted trading partners. The meeting also comes about a week after Kim and Kanasugi held a separate bilateral meeting in Beijing on the sidelines of a meeting of top diplomats of South Korea, China and Japan.

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

U.S. defense leaders express disappointment at S. Korea-Japan row

The United States' top defense leaders expressed disappointment Wednesday over an ongoing dispute between South Korea and Japan that recently led to Seoul's decision to terminate an intelligence sharing pact with Tokyo. At a joint press conference at the Pentagon, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford said they believe it is in the interest of all three countries to work together. But in a departure from previous statements from the Pentagon or the State Department, the two appeared to direct their disappointment at both parties, not just South Korea.

Diplomats of S. Korea, Japan to hold talks after whitelist removal

Diplomats of South Korea and Japan were set to hold talks in Seoul on Thursday over a deepening trade and history row, a day after Tokyo enforced its decision to remove Seoul from its list of favored trade partners. Kenji Kanasugi, director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs, was scheduled to arrive in Seoul and meet with his counterpart, Kim Jung-han, later in the day. They last met in Beijing last week. His visit follows Tokyo's implementation Wednesday of its decision to remove Seoul from the "whitelist" of countries granted fast-track screening for purchasing items that can be diverted for military use.

Top court to rule on Samsung heir's bribery case

South Korea's top court is set to make its final ruling Thursday on a massive graft scandal involving Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong and ousted President Park Geun-hye. In its final verdict, the Supreme Court will decide whether to uphold or reject a lower court decision that gave a suspended jail sentence to the de facto leader of the country's top conglomerate. A rejection of the appeals court ruling could hurt Lee's leadership and deal a heavy blow to the group that is already struggling with economic headwinds.

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

S. Korea’s fiscal spending to climb 9.3% in 2020 amid uncertainties

South Korea’s fiscal spending will climb 9.3 percent on-year in 2020, amid the government’s expansionary policy measures in response to growing economic uncertainties such as US-China friction and Japan’s trade curbs, according to officials. The Ministry of Economy and Finance on Thursday laid out next year’s state budget bill and a five-year fiscal road map at a Cabinet meeting, as a preliminary step to parliamentary submission slated for Tuesday. If the budget bill is passed by the National Assembly, the country’s total fiscal spending will stand at 513.5 trillion won ($424 billion) next year, up 43.9 trillion won or 9.3 percent from this year.

US defense leaders express disappointment at S. Korea-Japan row

The United States' top defense leaders expressed disappointment Wednesday over an ongoing dispute between South Korea and Japan that recently led to Seoul's decision to terminate an intelligence sharing pact with Tokyo. At a joint press conference at the Pentagon, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford said they believe it is in the interest of all three countries to work together. But in a departure from previous statements from the Pentagon or the State Department, the two appeared to direct their disappointment at both parties, not just South Korea. "I was and I remain very disappointed that both parties are engaged in this," Esper said, adding that he is hopeful South Korea and Japan will be able to resolve their differences.

[New focus] Probe into Cho fans speculations, renews wrangling over confirmation hearing

The investigation into Justice Minister nominee Cho Kuk is expanding, along with controversy and partisan strife surrounding related developments. On Tuesday, the prosecution raided locations linked to allegations involving Cho and his family, launching the first-ever criminal investigation into a ministerial nominee. Unlike other investigations into high-profile allegations, the probe got off to a swift start. The prosecution secured search warrants the previous day and conducted simultaneous raids on 20 locations, including five universities, with Korea University and Pusan National University’s Graduate School of Medicine among them. A number of Cho’s family members, including his wife and brother, have also been barred from leaving the country.

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

'Japan aims to rewrite history'

A senior presidential aide reaffirmed Wednesday that South Korea will not reconsider renewing a military intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan. He also accused Tokyo of attempting to rewrite history to hide its past wrongdoings before and after World War II. "The removal of South Korea from a Japanese whitelist of preferred trading partners finally took effect, Wednesday. This is very regrettable. Japan is seriously damaging mutual trust. South Korea clearly has no plans to disregard the 1965 treaty normalizing diplomatic relations between the two countries," Kim Hyun-chong, deputy head of the presidential National Security Office (NSO), told reporters in a briefing at Cheong Wa Dae.

Trump's North Korea policy affects security map

U.S. President Donald Trump's "America first" strategy is changing the security landscape in Northeast Asia, political experts said, Wednesday. In efforts to keep promoting his engagement policy toward North Korea as a "success," Trump was downplaying the significance of the North's repeated missile launches by saying the provocations were not in violation of his promises with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Trump's engagement policy toward Pyongyang, however, is putting the Washington-Seoul alliance into a possible downgrade position, with Trump downplaying the importance of South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises.

Korean banks may fall victim to US-China trade feud

The intensifying trade tensions between the United States and China will likely have a negative impact on Korea's banking industry by hurting their asset quality and profitability, according to global credit ratings agencies, Wednesday. They said the nation's banks may face downward pressure on their credit profiles, because a possible Chinese slowdown ― mainly caused by the planned U.S. tariffs ― would have knock-on effects on other Asia-Pacific economies, including Korea. "Our economic model suggests Korea's economy would slow by 2 percentage points in 2020 in this scenario, which would push it very close to recession, and there would be little recovery in the following year," Dan Martin, regional credit officer at Fitch Ratings' credit policy group, told The Korea Times.

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

Stop Meddling Over Intelligence Pact with Japan, Seoul Tells U.S.

First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Se-young on Wednesday summoned U.S. Ambassador to Korea Harry Harris and urged U.S. officials to "refrain" from publicly criticizing Seoul's decision to scrap an intelligence-sharing agreement with Tokyo. After previously saying its two Northeast Asian allies must sort out their growing spat themselves, U.S. officials have recently complained about the looming termination of the General Security of Military Information Agreement. According to one diplomatic source, Cho told Harris that repeated public expressions of disappointment by U.S. officials "do not help," and that Seoul has given Washington ample explanations that the scrapping of GSOMIA was not aimed at negatively impacting the Seoul-Washington alliance.

Bullying Moves from Schoolyard to Social Media

The number of schoolkids who said they were victims of bullying and other violence at school rose by 10,000 over the past year, the Education Ministry said Tuesday. Some 60,000 schoolkids said they experienced some form of violence at school this year, according to a study focused on students from fourth grade in elementary school to high school seniors. The number who admitted they took part in bullying of another classmate also rose from 13,000 to 22,000 over the same period. It peaked at 47,000 in 2013 and had steadily declined until 2018.

Expensive Porsches Had Huge Recall Rate This Year

Porsche recalled 7,000 cars in Korea from January to July this year, or 26 percent of the 27,000 cars it sold here. The German luxury automaker's cars cost more than W100 million (US$1=W1,214). During the same period only one in 100 domestic cars were recalled according to analysis by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport released Tuesday. Porsche issued no fewer than seven recalls in the first seven months this year. The worst-affected were the Cayenne SUV priced around W100 million and the four-seater Panamera sports sedan costing over W2 million.

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

S. Korea likely to speed up WTO lawsuit if Japan moves ahead with export controls

The South Korean government is currently mulling over the exact timing of when to lodge a legal complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Japan, which has pushed through tougher regulations on the export of strategic materials to South Korea. Seoul has made various efforts to change Japan’s attitude, including repeated requests for dialogue, a campaign to win international sympathy, and the decision to terminate its intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan, known as the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA). If Japan nevertheless implements the tougher controls on Aug. 28, the timing of the WTO complaint is likely to be accelerated. The government and the business community are methodically implementing measures they’ve devised to minimize fallout, such as diversifying sources of imports.

Disappointed in the US

Strong concerns and disappointment ? that just about sums up the US government’s response to the Moon administration’s announcement that South Korea will be pulling out of its intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan, known as the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA). The term “disappointment” does seem a little strong for diplomatic language used about an ally, but considering that the US had communicated through several channels that it hoped GSOMIA would be extended, that word choice is somewhat understandable. Even Kim Hyun-chong, second deputy chief of the Blue House’s National Security Office, said he sees the US’ disappointment as “only natural.”

S. Korean government steels for further measures by Japan after white list removal

On Aug. 26, just two days before the Japanese government was set to remove South Korea from its white list of countries that enjoy expedited screening for exports, the South Korean government and the Blue House were reviewing countermeasures for each company and product, in recognition that Japan could impose additional measures. If Tokyo implements the revision to its export and trade management rules on Aug. 28, dropping South Korea from the white list as planned, Japanese companies will be required to receive permits for each product they export to South Korea.

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

Pres. Moon visits Mobis plant on day of removal from Japan’s ‘white list’

“We must protect our own economy at times when a free and fair trade system is shaken and export regulations are adopted for political purposes,” said South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday. These remarks by the president on the first day of Japan’s removal of South Korea from its “white list” showed a strong “over-Japanese sentiment.” “Nobody can slow down our steps heading towards a new future,” said President Moon at the groundbreaking ceremony of Hyundai Mobis’ auto parts plant, which was held Wednesday at the Ewha Industrial Complex in Ulsan. “Our people and businesses are coming together to reinforce our national economy,” Moon added. “What we need right now is determination and confidence to protect our economy on our own.”

Samsung Electronics releases Galaxy Tab S6

Samsung Electronics said on Wednesday that it will release the Galaxy Tab S6, its new premium tablet PC, in Korea on Thursday. The new model is equipped with smart S Pen, an electronic stylus, for the first time for a Samsung tablet PC. Galaxy Tab S6 users will be able to take pictures and remotely control the device using the S Pen. The notes taken using the S Pen can be converted into text files, such as Microsoft Word. The advanced S Pen with transparent note-taking function allows users to take notes either on a pop-up window or in full-screen while watching video clips. The Galaxy Tab S6 can charge the S Pen when attached to the device.

Air Force lieutenant commander donates blood for 200th time

“I wanted to be of help in saving the precious lives of our neighbors,” Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Ahn Sang-ki told the Dong-A Ilbo Wednesday, while donating blood at the Blood Donation Center in Daejeon City. It was the 200th blood donation of the 106th graduate of Reserve Officer Training Corps. After the donation, Ahn donated 120 blood donation cards to the Korean Red Cross with his wife Oh Yoon-kyung. His act of “life-sharing” traces back to 26 years ago. When he was a junior at Air Force Aviation Science High School in 1993, Ahn donated blood for the first time on a Blood Donation Bus.

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

Prosecutors Launch Investigation of Cho Kuk: Let It Be a Rigorous Investigation for the Truth

On August 27, the Prosecution Service launched an investigation on the allegations of justice minister nominee Cho Kuk and his family. They assigned the case to Special Crimes Division 2 of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office, which is dedicated to cases concerning corruption of people in power, and prosecutors conducted a search of Pusan National University Medical School, Korea University, Ungdong Academy, and Kolink Private Equity. Prosecutors explained the background of the swift initiation of the investigation and said, "We considered the fact that it's an issue of great public interest and that a delay in securing evidence could hinder our efforts to uncover the truth." The allegations raised against Cho, regardless of their accuracy, are driving a crack through and creating enmity between classes and have reproduced and amplified, so a swift investigation by the prosecutors was the right call.

I’ve Experienced School Violence” Said 60,000 Primary and Secondary School Students. Number Climbs for Two Consecutive Years

A survey showed that the number of students who have suffered from school violence has increased for two consecutive years, as a total of sixty thousand elementary, middle, and high school students answered that they had experienced school violence. In particular, the rate of students who have experienced violence in elementary school rose sharply. Also there was a bigger increase of "emotional violence," such as verbal abuse and social exclusion (bullying) than physical violence. On August 27, the Ministry of Education announced the results of the “2019 Primary Survey of School Violence,” which was conducted online for one whole month in April among students from grade four to grade twelve (high school seniors).

N.K. and the U.S. with Different Thoughts and No Intention to Yield in Upcoming Talks

North Korea is heightening its pressure on South Korea and the United States, continuing to launch short-range projectiles even after the end of the ROK-US joint military exercises. However, U.S. President Donald Trump is evading the pressure from North Korea by repeatedly expressing his lack of concern for the North's launch of short-range missiles. It seems the North and the U.S. are both keeping the upcoming working-level talks in mind. Such attitude from the two countries ahead of the talks suggests their determination to maintain their position, with no intention of making any concessions. This has led to predictions of difficulties in achieving outcomes despite the resuming of negotiations.

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

Hyundai Motor may see the first strike-free year with tentative bargaining settlement

Hyundai Motor Co.’s management and union on Tuesday tentatively settled collective bargaining terms for this year, raising hopes that the carmaker could finish the year without a labor dispute and strikes for the first time in eight years. The two parties provisionally agreed on a 40,000 won ($32.98) increase in the base salary, a 150 percent rise in performance-based bonus compensation plus 3 million won payment, and 200,000 won worth gift coupons, according to Hyundai Motor on Tuesday. The dispute over revisions to wage policy that weighed over bargaining for the last seven years is also expected to end with a mutual consent as the company offered to change the way of paying performance-based bonus to workers and shell out additional compensation of up to 6 million won plus 15 Hyundai Motor stocks.

FTSE adds 8 new companies to its global index, removes 2

Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) Russel, London-based provider of stock indices, has newly added eight South Korean companies mostly in tech and bio-tech businesses to its global index composed of small, mid, and large cap stocks, a move that is expected to give a boost to these newcomers’ stocks. According to multiple sources from the brokerage industry on Wednesday, FTSE, jointly owned by the Financial Times and the London Stock Exchange, has added eight new listed companies from Korea to its Global All Cap Index while kicking out two existing Korean companies during its bi-annual readjustment of indices for September.

S. Korea’s birth tally falls to new lows H1, total fertility rate drops to below 1 in 2018

The number of newborn babies in South Korea plunged to new lows in the first half, suggesting another barren year for the country whose fertility rate since last year slipped to the zero territory and halved from the average of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). According to a report released by Statistics Korea on Wednesday, 158,524 babies were born in the January-June period, down 7.7 percent from the same period a year ago. It is the lowest figure for the period since the agency began compiling related data in 1981.

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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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