Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Yangpyeong has unique, interesting tourist assets, more
Not many people know that Yangyeong-gun, a county some 42.6 kilometers east of Seoul, is where the First Lady of Korea, Madam Kim Keon-hee was born on Sept. 2, 1972. Why the elaborate introduction of the First Lady Kim? In the opinion of many people in Korea, especially the conservatively minded people, First Lady Kim is a symbol of recovery of true democracy and, through her husband (President Yoon Suk-yeol), return of the ‘Good Old Days’ when the Korean people enjoyed all the wonders and advantages of a ‘Free Economy Republic of Korea.’
MICAM, world's largest shoe exhibition, successfully completes teaser event
A teaser event of the world's largest shoe exhibition, MICAM Milano, was successfully completed on December 5 amidst the interest of many people. MICAM is a global shoe exhibition jointly organized by the Italian Trade Corporation and the Italian Shoe Association, and is a big event that many brands and companies from all over the world participate in every year. This teaser aims to directly introduce the exhibition to major buyers and media before holding the MICAM exhibition, which celebrates its 95th this year, and to share a seminar on the history of Italian shoes and 2023 S/S shoe trends. It is currently attracting the expectations of many fashion industry leaders.
“Korea is a great nation that has overcome colonization, war through outstanding cultural properties.”
Mrs. Munazza Zafar, spouse of the Ambassador of Pakistan to Republic of Korea, is a truly wonderful friend of the women and the entire people of the Republic of Korea, She said, “I consider Korea a great nation that has risen from colonization and Korean war in a short time.” Then she said, “Korean museums, preserved palaces, temples and educational institutes represent Korea in its best form.” Speaking with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications for the past 38 years (since 1985), Mrs. Zafar said, “Korea is a great place for tourism and research.”
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Korea Becomes World's 6th Largest Trading Country
Korea is expected to become the world's sixth-largest trading country this year amid a slow global economy and sky-high inflation. Hong Kong's decline in ranking due to coronavirus lockdowns in China and soaring energy prices contributed to Korea's rise. But Korea is suffering its biggest-ever trade deficit this year, with exports starting to shrink in October. According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Monday, Korea's trade is expected to total US$1.4 trillion this year to rank sixth in the world, up from eighth last year. The top five are China, the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands and Japan.
COVID Deaths on the Rise Among Elderly
Deaths from COVID-19 are on the rise again with the arrival of colder weather, and the fatality rate has doubled since the summer. According to health officials on Monday, the fatality rate stood at 0.09 percent in the second week of November, up 0.02 percentage points compared to a month ago. The number of severe cases in hospital also surged from 294 in early November to 460 at the end of the month. The average number of weekly deaths rose from 32 to 49 over the same period. The vast majority of victims were elderly. At the end of November, 89.3 percent of the serious cases were over 60, as were 95.9 percent of those who died.
Korea, Vietnam Agree to Strengthen Ties
President Yoon Suk-yeol and Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Monday agreed to expand cooperation in maritime security, the defense industry and other fields. Phuc arrived in Seoul the previous day on a three-day state visit marking the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations. He is the first foreign leader to make a proper state visit since Yoon was inaugurated in May. Annual trade volume between the two countries amounted to US$493 million three decades ago and increased more than 164 times to $80.7 billion in 2021. This year Vietnam became Korea's third-largest trade partner after China and the U.S., edging out Japan.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
North fires artillery to react to South-U.S. drills
North Korea's military fired some 90 artillery shells into the mariitme buffer zone in the East Sea Tuesday afternoon, which South Korean defense officials denounced as a violation of an inter-Korean military agreement. An alert about the North Korean artillery barrage from South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) was sent at 5:30 p.m., several hours after Pyongyang's military warned it had ordered frontline units to fire into the sea in response to joint live-fire drills held by South Korea and the United States near the inter-Korean border.
Korea's 27th nuclear power plant starts up Wednesday
Commercial operation of the Shin Hanul 1 nuclear power plant will start Wednesday ahead of surging winter demand. The start of Korea's newest nuclear plant symbolizes President Yoon Suk-yeol reversal of his predecessor's attempt to shrink the nation's use of nuclear power. According to the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) on Tuesday, the plant has been under construction for 12 years. Shin Hanul 1 has a 1400 megawatt APR 1400 nuclear reactor, the same type that is operating at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in the United Arab Emirates. Shin Hanul 1 is Korea's 27th nuclear power plant and has a life span of 60 years. After two plants were shut during the previous administration, there are 24 nuclear power plants operating in the country
KCTU general strike fizzles day 1 as workers keep working
A Korea Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) general strike called for Tuesday was largely ineffective as participation remained low and enthusiasm mixed. The confederation, which is supporting truckers on strike since Nov. 24, started the walkout with rallies in 15 major cities, including Seoul, Gyeonggi and Busan. It is the first nationwide strike called by the organization in six years. The KCTU said that about 20,000 union members have joined in the rally calling for the government to accept the demands of the cargo truck drivers to make the freight rate system permanent and expand the system beyond container and cement trucks.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
U.S. benchmark interests rate expected to surpass 5% next year
Global financial market was thrown into turmoil again on Monday (local time) as fears grew over yet another intensive money tightening by the U.S. Fed. The market turbulence is closely linked to the U.S. job report and index related to the services sector released respectively on Friday and Monday that have been translated as pressures driving up inflation. Concerns are rising that the Fed may continue to pursue the current money tightening trend by taking "big steps," that is raising the interest rates by more than 0.5 percentage points, in the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings slated for December 2022 and February 2023.
Defense White Paper explicitly states N. Korea is an enemy
The 2022 Defense White Paper slated to be published in January is reported to have defined North Korea as an “enemy.” It will be the first time since 2016 that the Defense White Paper deems the North Korean military as the enemy of the state. According to a person familiar with the matter in the Defense Ministry, the draft version of the 2022 Defense White Paper included an expression referring to the North Korean regime and its military as “our enemy.” Earlier, the Presidential Transition Committee announced that it would explicitly state the North Korean regime and its military as an enemy in the Defense White Paper as one of its 110 key tasks.
KCTU pushes for nationwide general strike
The Korea Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) staged on Tuesday an all-out strike and rallies across the country in support of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union Cargo Truckers’ Solidarity division (KPTU-TruckSol), but major stakeholders did not attend. While the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea sought to intervene to alleviate the government's hawkish response, the standoff remains unabated. On Tuesday afternoon, the KCTU ran general strikes and rallies in 15 regions across the country.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard units’ unions to propose group wage talks
Labor unions of Hyundai Heavy Industries Group’s three shipbuilding subsidiaries have agreed to jointly negotiate for wage increases and other benefits with the management. The labor unions of the three shipbuilders, including Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co., and Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co., decided to seek a joint deal instead of pursuing individual talks. Previously, each of the three labor unions discussed wage increases with their respective management. However, this year they are pursuing a group deal, seeking an equal scale of wage increase.
S. Korean Defense Ministry eases rules on drone photography
Drone users in South Korea can now take aerial shots more easily by registering with the Ministry of National Defense as the government eased the permit system. The defense ministry said on Tuesday that it has changed the aerial shot system regulations so that drone users can apply to take videos after registration through the Drone One-Stop Civil Service. They also need not to register when releasing drones for aerial videos in locations where photography is not clearly prohibited such as open spaces.
S. Korea, Vietnam to bolster ties in supply chain and defense industry
South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc agreed to strengthen bilateral ties with a goal of expanding trade between the two countries to $100 billion by 2023 and $150 billion by 2030 during a summit in Seoul Monday. Phuc arrived in the capital for the summit as the first foreign head of state to make a state visit to Korea since Yoon took office in May. Vietnam is South Korea’s fourth-largest trading partner after China, the U.S. and Japan. The two countries’ trade volume surpassed $80.7 billion in 2021.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
S. Korean president likens striking truckers to N. Korean nuclear threat, vows to “lay down law”
The Hankyoreh has confirmed that President Yoon Suk-yeol issued a torrent of hard-line comments directed at striking truckers during closed-door meetings with advisors last week, equating them with the North Korean nuclear threat and calling on the government to “lay down the law.” The comments, coming during a strike led by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU)-affiliated Cargo Truckers Solidarity Division (TruckSol), are drawing fire for revealing Yoon’s hostility toward labor unions by comparing a strike to a threat to national security, and for fanning tension.
N. Korea fires 130 artillery rounds into buffer zones on either side of peninsula
On Monday, North Korea fired some 130 shells into the eastern and western maritime buffer zones, where artillery fire is prohibited under the Sept. 19 Comprehensive Military Agreement. It has been more than one month since North Korea last violated the agreement on Nov. 3. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff announced Monday that they had detected an estimated 130 artillery shells fired from North Korea’s Geumgang County in Kangwon Province and Jangsang Cape in South Hwanghae Province starting at 2:59 pm. The Joint Chiefs added that the shells fell into buffer zones north of the Northern Limit Line (NLL).
Korea puts into motion plan to punish striking truckers who do not return to work
As a strike by the Cargo Truckers’ Solidarity Division (TruckSol) entered its 12th day on Monday, the South Korean government launched a second field examination investigating alleged violations of administrative measures and the Fair Trade Act by truck drivers refusing to comply with a work start order. TruckSol filed an administrative suit demanding the work start order be canceled, while petitioning the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) for a recommendation and statement of opinion on the matter.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
“The Strike Is the Same as North Korean Nuclear Threats,” President Yoon Raises Pressure on Unionized Truckers
News was released on December 5 that President Yoon Suk-yeol described the strike by the Cargo Truckers Solidarity of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union, an affiliate of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), as being on par with “North Korean nuclear threats” and emphasized a response according to law and principles. He reaffirmed the government’s hardline stance putting the union strike on par with North Korea’s nuclear program.
Na Kyung-won Speaks on Rumors of Han Dong-hoon as Party Leader, “Wouldn’t President Yoon Oppose?”
Na Kyung-won, vice chair of the Presidential Committee on Aging Society and Population Policy spoke on rumors of selecting Minister of Justice Han Dong-hoon as the leader of the People Power Party (PPP) on December 6 and said, “It’s not a bad idea, but I think President Yoon Suk-yeol might oppose.” Na expressed her thoughts in a CBS radio interview on Kim Hyun-jung’s News Show Tuesday and asked, “Wouldn’t he (President Yoon) place him (Minister Han) in a more valuable position?” The vice chair of the presidential committee explained, “The next party leader has the very difficult challenge of bringingthe thoughts of the presidential office and real public opinion together in agreement,”
President Yoon’s Approval Ratings Approach 40%, Up 2.5%
A survey result on December 5 showed that President Yoon Suk-yeol’s approval ratings were nearing 40%. Disapproval of the president dropped below 60% for the first time in five months. According to the poll results released by the polling firm, Realmeter, on Monday, the approval rating of President Yoon Suk-yeol’s handling of state affairs recorded 38.9%, up 2.5% from a survey conducted the week before. The latest survey was conducted by Realmeter upon request from Media Tribune. They surveyed 2,507 men and women ages eighteen and older throughout the nation from November 28 until December 2.
N. Korea to Convene Parliamentary Meeting on Jan. 17
North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly(SPA) will reportedly hold a meeting next month to discuss next year's budget and other issues. The North's official Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) said on Wednesday that the standing committee of the SPA decided the previous day to convene the eighth session of the 14th SPA on January 17 in Pyongyang. The KCNA said that the planned meeting will discuss state budgets and projects for next year as well as organizational matters.
White House Official Reaffirms Strong US Commitment to Extended Deterrence
A White House official has reaffirmed the U.S.’ commitment to extended deterrence against North Korea, dismissing a possible change to its North Korea policy. Kurt Campbell, White House National Security Council coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, made the remarks to reporters on Tuesday in Virginia at a forum hosted by the Chey Institute for Advanced Studies, a think tank run by South Korea's SK Group. Asked if Washington is considering deploying tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea, Campbell refused to give a direct answer but stressed that the U.S. is strongly committed to providing extended deterrence for its allies.
US Approves Possible Sale of Chinook Helicopters to S. Korea
The U.S. State Department has reportedly approved the potential one-point-five billion-dollar sale of transport helicopters and related equipment to South Korea. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency(DSCA) of the U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement on Tuesday that South Korea had requested to buy 18 CH-47F Chinook transport helicopters, 42 engines and 44 secure communication units. The DSCA confirmed that the State Department approved the potential Foreign Military Sale with an estimated value of one-point-five billion dollars, or two trillion won.
Thousands of unionized workers hold rallies nationwide to denounce return-to-work order
Thousands of unionized workers staged protest rallies across the country on Tuesday to denounce the government's return-to-work order issued to break up the ongoing strike by cargo truckers. Members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) simultaneously launched the rallies at 15 locations nationwide to support the truckers' general strike that entered its 13th day Tuesday. About 3,500 KCTU members, including striking truckers and those affiliated with construction, service or other trade unions, joined the rally held at an inland container depot in Uiwang, about 25 kilometers south of Seoul, a major logistics hub for the greater Seoul area.
N. Korea fires artillery shells into sea to protest S. Korea-U.S. drills near border
North Korea fired a barrage of artillery shells into a maritime buffer zone for a second consecutive day Tuesday in response to live-fire drills between South Korea and the United States. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the North fired about 90 artillery rounds from 10 a.m. through the afternoon from Kosong County in Kangwon Province toward the East Sea. About 10 more firings were detected after 6 p.m. from Kumgang County in the same province, the JSC said.
U.S. calls on China to implement UNSC resolutions on N. Korea to prevent further escalation
All United Nations member countries, including China and Russia, must fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions on North Korea to prevent Pyongyang from further escalating tension, a state department spokesperson reiterated Tuesday. State Department Press Secretary Ned Price also highlighted that the Security Council resolutions in place had been passed unanimously by council members, including both China and Russia.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Cabinet defers another back-to-work order as truckers' strike loses steam
A return-to-work order for cargo truckers dedicated to carrying steel and oil was not on the table during a Cabinet meeting held Tuesday, as the striking truckers appear to be losing steam, and as cement supply across the country returns to a normal level. At the Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo reiterated the administration's stance that the government will "not compromise with unlawful acts and take stern action against any violations by law and principle." But the orders that President Yoon Suk-yeol hinted at on Sunday, in addition to his executive order a week prior that affected some 2,500 cement cargo truck drivers at over 200 companies across the nation, were not on the agenda.
Crypto hacking behind N. Korea’s renewed nuclear ambition
Borders were closed and trade was cut off while international sanctions continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, further isolating North Korea, one of the world’s most impoverished nations. But its regime has discovered new ways of raking in funds to continuously pursue its missile ambitions and divert sanctions and regulations at the same time -- via hacking cryptocurrencies. The online theft of cryptocurrency has allowed Pyongyang free access to the new but less regulated financial system operated on blockchain technology, believed to be unhackable, through manipulation techniques that exploit human error to trick people into giving up confidential information or to download malware-ridden files.
Envoys call for Seoul-Tokyo thaw to counter NK threats
South Korea and Japan need to step up efforts to advance their ties to better counter growing missile threats from North Korea, according to the top envoys from Seoul and Tokyo. The two Asian neighbors are still locked in longtime historical disputes, the latest of which involves compensating Koreans forced to work for Japanese companies during World War II. The unprecedented frequency of Pyongyang’s missile launches this year, however, are forcing Seoul and Tokyo to put their differences behind, once and for all.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
N. Korea fires artillery shells into sea to protest S. Korea-US drills near border
North Korea fired a barrage of artillery shells into a maritime buffer zone for a second consecutive day Tuesday in response to live-fire drills between South Korea and the United States. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the North fired about 90 artillery rounds from 10 a.m. through the afternoon from Kosong County in Kangwon Province toward the East Sea. About 10 more firings were detected after 6 p.m. from Kumgang County in the same province, the JSC said. The shells splashed into the maritime buffer zone north of the Northern Limit Line, a de facto sea border, in violation of the 2018 inter-Korean military accord to reduce border tensions, the JSC added.
Mayor visits Bosnia-Herzegovina in bid to host Expo 2030 in Busan
Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon visited Bosnia and Herzegovina as he continued promoting his city's bid to host Expo 2030. The visit follows his trip to Bulgaria, where he met the country's president and the mayor of Sofia, the country's capital. To secure as many votes from member states of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in Paris as possible in the race against Riyadh and Rome, the mayor met Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Stasa Kosarac in Sarajevo on Dec. 2. Park proposed that the two countries form an agreement on economic cooperation to expand their bilateral economic partnership.
US policy on 'right track' in dealing with N. Korea: Kurt Campbell
The United States' policy on North Korea has been effective in dealing with the recalcitrant state, White House policy coordinator for Asia Kurt Campbell said Tuesday, dismissing any need to review or change the way the U.S. approaches the North Korean issue. Campbell also highlighted the importance of working closely with allies while calling North Korea "one of the most challenging issues." "We always are examining our assumptions. We believe that the course that we've been on has been effective and prudent," the White House official said when asked if the U.S. may consider its approach toward North Korea, given the recent barrage of North Korean missile tests.
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