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Headlines, September 5, 2019

Thursday, September 5, 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.

Korea's current account surplus jumps to 9-month high in July

South Korea's current account surplus grew for a third consecutive month to a nine-month high in July on an increased trade surplus and a narrowing deficit in the service sector, central bank data showed Thursday. The country's current account surplus came to US$6.95 billion in the month, the highest since October 2018, when the country posted a $9.35 billion surplus, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

China's top diplomat returns home after Pyongyang visit

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has returned home after a three-day visit to Pyongyang but without meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the North's state media reported Thursday. Wang arrived at the Beijing Capital International Airport on Wednesday evening, after meeting with his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong-ho, and Ri Su-yong, vice chairman of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea's Central Committee, in Pyongyang.

S. Korea, Laos to hold summit on business partnerships

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will fly to Vientiane, the capital of Laos, on Thursday for talks on ways to promote bilateral cooperation. He will become South Korea's first president to make a state visit to Laos, which reflects his signature New Southern Policy. Moon is scheduled to have back-to-back meetings with President Bounnhang Vorachith and Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith. High on the agenda are partnerships on hydroelectric power, ICT and farm villages.

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

Justice Minister Nominee's Wife Allegedly Involved in Fake Accolade Controversy

The head of Dongyang University says the wife of Justice Minister-nominee Cho Kuk, a professor at the university, asked him to testify that he had delegated authority to her to issue an award to her daughter under his name. University president Choi Sung-hae made the remarks to reporters early on Thursday after being questioned by the prosecution regarding allegations over the award.

Moon to Visit Laos for Summit Thursday

President Moon Jae-in will visit Laos on Thursday, the last stop of his three-nation tour of Southeast Asia. Moon, who will be the first South Korean president to make a state visit to Laos, is scheduled to attend an official welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace in Vientiane, the capital city of Laos before summit talks with President Bounnhang Vorachith.

Trump: US is Not Looking for Regime Change in N. Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the United States is not looking for regime change in North Korea. Trump made the remarks to reporters at the White House while answering a question about tensions with Iran. Trump said both Iran and North Korea can be great countries and that the U.S. is not looking for a regime change in either, adding the U.S. has learned that lesson a long time ago..

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

Trump: U.S. is not looking for regime change in N.K.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the United States is not looking for regime change in North Korea, appearing to extend another invitation to Pyongyang to return to denuclearization talks. Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump again lumped North Korea and Iran together as he suggested the possibility of striking a deal with both.

U.S. says it respects S. Korea's decision to expedite return of bases

The United States respects South Korea's decision to seek an early return of more than two dozen American military bases in the country and will work with its ally to get the bases returned "as expeditiously as possible," U.S. Forces Korea said Tuesday.

Typhoon Lingling likely to affect S. Korea as early as Friday

Typhoon Lingling is forecast to affect South Korea as early as Friday, bringing strong winds and heavy rain to the southern and western regions of the country, the state weather agency said Wednesday. The typhoon was moving northeast at 5 km per hour in waters 450 km southeast of Taipei as of 3 p.m., according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).

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

Controversy surrounding Cho Kuk expands

Fresh allegations continued to surface Wednesday surrounding embattled Justice Minister nominee Cho Kuk’s daughter as a confirmation hearing for Cho was scheduled for Friday. Local reports said Cho’s wife, a professor at Dongyang University, fraudulently issued an award for her daughter under the name of the university’s president without the president’s knowledge. The daughter, now 28, listed the award as one of her achievements on her application to the Pusan National University Graduate School of Medicine.

Kono blames S. Korea for breaking international law

Japanese Foreign Minister Kono Taro has criticized the South Korean government for having “unilaterally abrogated” a treaty signed by the two countries, arguing that a lack of trust led to their bilateral relations plummeting. Japan claims that the 1965 treaty that normalized ties between the two countries settled the issue of Tokyo’s forced labor mobilization of Korean nationals during the colonial period.

Moon presents S. Korea-Myanmar partnership vision at Yangon business forum

On a visit to Myanmar's largest city, South Korean President Moon Jae-in laid out his vision Wednesday for closer partnerships between the two nations, with a focus on revving up cooperation on infrastructure and culture as well as promoting people-to-people exchanges.

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

ROK Army clueless of KATUSA soldier's desertion for 5 months

A Korean Augmentation to the United States Army (KATUSA) soldier allegedly went absent without leave (AWOL) and spent the last five months of his service at his home, but the Korean military authorities were unaware of this until another soldier made an anonymous complaint, sources said Wednesday.

Seoul needs to be clear about respecting 1965 treaty

Two months have passed since Japan's series of trade restrictions on Korea, seen as "economic retaliation" for the 2018 Supreme Court ruling that ordered Japanese firms to pay compensation to the surviving South Korean victims of forced labor during the 1910-45 colonial rule.

Hong Kong Chief Executive formally withdraws extradition bill

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has announced the government will formally withdraw an extradition bill that has sparked months of demonstrations in the city, bowing to one of the protesters' demands. The bill would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be sent to mainland China for trials. It sparked massive protests that have become increasingly violent and caused the airport to shut down earlier this month.

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

Infertility Rising Due to Later Marriage

A growing number of Koreans are being treated for infertility. The CHA Medical Center in Bundang analyzed 2,968 patients who were treated for infertility in 2008 and 2018 and found that a growing number of cases involved decreased ovarian function.

N.Korea's New Missiles Could 'Overwhelm' U.S. Regional Defenses

U.S. intelligence authorities and independent experts believe that North Korea's new missiles "could overwhelm American defenses in the region," the New York Times reported on Monday. Their assessment flies in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump's dismissal of recent North Korean missile tests as "very standard" and no threat to the U.S.

Samsung Starts Using Korean-Made Hydrogen Fluoride

Samsung has started using Korean-made hydrogen fluoride to manufacture semiconductors, some two months after Japan announced restrictions on exports of the material to Korea. Hydrogen fluoride is a key etching and cleaning material in the manufacture of computer chips and has to be of exceptionally high purity.

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

S. Korean Embassy in Tokyo receives threatening letter containing bullet

A threatening letter containing a bullet was delivered to the South Korean Embassy to Tokyo, in the city’s Minato Ward. On Sept. 3, the South Korean embassy broke the news about the letter, which it said had been delivered on Aug. 27. “I’m hunting Koreans,” the writer of the letter reportedly said, adding that he or she has “several rifles.” The letter, which was unsigned, also included the demand for Koreans to “get out.”

US says UNC should be involved in management crisis on Korean Peninsula even after OPCON transfer

The US recently stated the position that the UN Command (UNC), which is in charge of duties related to maintaining the armistice agreement, should be involved in the management of crisis situations on the Korean Peninsula even after wartime operational control (OPCON) is returned to the South Korean military, it was reported on Sept. 3.

Japanese lawmaker says Lee Nak-yeon proposed returning to “square one” in S. Korea-Japan dispute

Following a visit to South Korea, a Japanese lawmaker claimed that the South Korean prime minister proposed that the two countries go back to “square one” in their dispute by re-adding each other to their white lists of trusted trading partners and by reversing Seoul’s decision to terminate their intelligence-sharing agreement.

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

U.S. military code-names N. Korea’s ‘super-large multiple rocket launcher’ KN-25

The U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) has code-named North Korea’s “super-large multiple rocket launcher” KN-25. The North test-fired the rocket launcher from Sondok, South Hamgyong Province toward the East Sea on August 24. Assessing the launcher to be a new short-range ballistic missile, which is 600 millimeters in diameter, the USFK reported the result of its analysis to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and Pentagon, while sharing it with the South Korean military.

Samsung opens new ‘experience space’ in King's Cross, London

Samsung Electronics opened “Samsung King’s Cross (Samsung KX),” an “experience space” located at the Coal Drops Yard shopping mall at King’s Cross in the northern part of London on Tuesday (local time). The store is a comeback for the brand to target the European market in five years since it withdrew its smartphone flagship store in London in 2014. This time, the store features a wide selection of home appliances, televisions and smartphones to promote the space for “differentiated brand experience.” It is Samsung’s 6th global brand store following New York, Frankfurt, Paris and Ho Chi Minh City and Tokyo.

The annual Korea Cup and Korea Sprint opens Sunday

The 2019 Keeneland Korea Cup and Korea Sprint,” the only international horse racing event in Korea, will celebrate its fourth year at the Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. The inaugural Keeneland Korea Cup will be contested over 1,800 meters while its sister Keeneland Korea Sprint over 1,200 meters. The total prize money of 1 billion won will be awarded at Korea Cup and Korea Sprint, whose total prize money was surged from 700 million won. Each winner will win take 570 million won. The Korea Racing Authority (KRA) selects qualified horses for the race through the Selection of Racing Horses for International Events.

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

Another Outsourced Railroad Worker Dead: Do Not Let Kim Yong-gyun's Death Be in Vain

Another man working on railroad tracks died. On the afternoon of September 2, Jeong (44) died after he was hit by a train near the Geumcheon-gu Office Station on Seoul subway line 1. Jeong was a telecommunications engineer with over eighteen years of experience. The fatal accident occurred when Jeong, along with eight of his colleagues, was doing maintenance and repair work on the fiber optic cables during the day when trains were in operation. The exact cause of the accident has not yet been revealed. The accident could have been the result of negligence in monitoring trains or negligence on the part of the driver in keeping his eyes on the tracks.

The Liberty Korea Party Takes Action Too Late

On September 3, the Liberty Korea Party held a press conference in response to the one held by justice minister nominee Cho Kuk and argued, "The surprise press conference by justice minister nominee Cho Kuk reinforced the need for him to step down." However, this drew criticism that the opposition party missed a confirmation hearing, which would have been a stage for them, and simply launched a counterattack with a "self press conference" and no nominee.

"There Was No Such Thing" "I Didn't Know" The Concluding Press Conference of Cho Kuk Unfinished

Justice minister nominee Cho Kuk (54) stepped onto a confirmation stage at the National Assembly on September 2. It was not a confirmation hearing, but a press conference seeking the confirmation of the people. It was a confirmation in the form of a press conference, because of a National Assembly neglecting its role to keep the presidential right to appoint senior officials in check and to verify the qualifications of nominees for senior office.

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

Japanese auto sales in Korea tumble nearly 60% in Aug on boycott

Sales of Japanese cars in Korea plunged nearly 60 percent in August against a year ago amid worsening Korean sentiment towards the neighbor country as the diplomatic row spread to trade and security fronts. Newly registered Japanese cars in Korea totaled 1,398 in August, down 56.9 percent from the same month a year earlier, according to Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association on Wednesday. Sales declined at a faster pace than the 17.2-percent drop in July, when the consumer boycott began to take effect.

FKI joins its global peers in pressuring U.K. gov’t to avoid no-deal Brexit

As concerns are growing over a possible no-deal Brexit under the leadership of new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), South Korea’s major business lobbying group for big conglomerates, has joined its global peers in calling on the British government to come up with a concrete divorce plan with the EU.

Samsung Elec starts applying Korean substitutes for Japanese hydrogen fluoride

South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. has begun deploying local substitutes of high-purity hydrogen fluoride in its chip lines just two months after its Japanese supplies have been disrupted under government-imposed export curbs. Samsung Electronics has been conducting multiple tests to find suitable replacements for Japanese hydrogen fluoride, a type of gas to clean chips for circuit boards, since the chemical came under case-by-case scrutiny by Japanese authorities on security grounds.


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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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