Friday, January 20, 2023
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
“Leaders of the two countries have a strong desire to enhance relations, cooperation and friendship to a higher level.”
Ambassador Nguyen Vu Tung of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam in Seoul said, “The two friendly countries discussed and agreed to elevate the bilateral relationship to a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership,’ which is a new framework that will serve the goal to bring the cooperative relations between the two countries to a higher level.” It appears that the two countries are now in good hands, especially at this time when Korea is led by President Yoon Suk-yeol who is very international cooperation-friendly.
Hansae connects Korea and the world with fashion
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Hanse's foundation, CEO Kim Ik-hwan said that the economic environment was frozen due to high prices, but Hansae joined the "2 trillion won club in sales." Since its foundation in 1982, Hansae has continued to grow steadily on the one-way path of clothing production. CEO Kim emphasized 'digital transformation'. By establishing HAMS, Hansae's own smart factory system, it has established production activities of all factories around the world as data and is monitoring them in real time.
KOFIA Chairman Seo says, “I will become a servant of member companies”
Chairman Seo Yoo-seok of the Korea Financial Investment Association (KOFIA) said, "I will actively push for my pledge as the working leader of the association," suggesting four key operational strategies, including overcoming the crisis and protecting investors. Holding his first press conference in Yeouido, Seoul on Jan. 17, Chairman Seo said, "I will keep my pledge to become the working chairman of the association. The first pledge is to overcome the liquidity crisis."
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Korean Becomes 7th Most Studied Language in the World
orean has become one of the world's most popular languages to learn thanks to the global craze for K-pop and Korean TV shows and films, CNN reported Tuesday. "In 2022, Korean was the seventh most-studied language on the learning app Duolingo," CNN said under the heading "[Korea] brought K-pop and K-dramas to the world. The Korean language could be next." English topped the list with about 500 million Duolingo users, followed by Spanish, French, German, Japanese and Italian.
Yoon Meets Global CEOs in Switzerland
President Yoon Suk-yeol met global business leaders in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. Yoon had lunch with CEOs of major multinational corporations including JP Morgan, IBM, and Intel as well as his own entourage of Korean business leaders like Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong and SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won. On arrival in Switzerland on Tuesday, Yoon met with Korean expats and pointed out that this year marks 60 years of diplomatic ties between Korea and Switzerland, and pledged to ensure another six decades of a strong relationship based on trust and cooperation.
Koreans Head Overseas for Lunar New Year
Many Koreans are heading overseas for the Lunar New Year holiday as travel demand gradually recovers from the stupor of the coronavirus pandemic. At travel agency Hana Tour, around 15,000 people booked tickets for a holiday abroad from Jan. 20 to 24, about half the level of the Lunar New Year 2020 just before the pandemic began and up around 5.7 times from the last locked-down Chuseok in September. A Hana Tour staffer said, "This is the first time that I sense a full-fledged recovery of overseas travel demand since the pandemic."
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Yoon stresses international solidarity at Davos Forum
President Yoon Suk Yeol stressed the importance of international cooperation to tackle global challenges in an address to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss resort town of Davos Thursday. Yoon said that cooperation is vital to strengthen supply chains, transition to clean energy and build a digital order championing freedom and prosperity. He is the first Korean president to make an address to the Davos Forum in nine years. The theme of the speech was "Solidarity in Action," aimed at achieving sustainable peace and prosperity.
Foreign Ministry summons Iranian ambassador in Seoul in tit-for-tat move
The Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador in Seoul, shortly after the Korean ambassador in Tehran was summoned by the Iranian foreign ministry over President Yoon Suk Yeol's comments. "We have said this repeatedly, there is nothing in the president's comments that were aimed at Korea-Iran relations or Iran's foreign relations," said Lim Soo-suk, spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, on Thursday.
Foreign investor registration to be scrapped in Korea
Investing in Korea is going to be made easier, with the regulators ending a system that's out of line with international standards. The move is being taken in part to end the "Korea discount," in which the country's shares trade at price-earnings ratios out of line with international comparables.“We will scrap the foreign investor registration system that was required from foreigners trading any kind of securities in the local market,” said Kim Joo-hyun, chief of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), at a meeting held to discuss financial innovation in Yeouido, western Seoul, on Thursday.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
EU offers grants to clean industries with U.S. IRA in mind
The European Union announced a plan to introduce a Net-Zero Industry Act to increase funding for clean technologies in the bloc in response to the United States’ Inflation Reduction Act, thereby increasing chances of protectionism in trade getting fiercer for a while as both Washington and the EU have decided to give out grants.
CSIS: Discussions on tactical nuclear weapons redeployment must commence
Fourteen former high-ranking officials from the White House, State Department, Department of Defense, and intelligence agencies delivered a report to the Joe Biden administration recommending that “preliminary discussions to redeploy nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula should be initiated.” As South Korea's trust in the U.S. extended deterrence is weakening, it should send a warning that tactical nuclear weapons could be redeployed on the Korean Peninsula if North Korea continues to escalate its level of aggression.
New Zealand’s PM resigns citing burnout
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, a "leader of the world's youngest leaders," announced Thursday that she would resign from the office, citing burnout. The shock announcement came as many expected Ms. Ardern to run for a third term in a general election in October since she was sworn in as the country’s prime minister in October 2017. She had no apparent competitor. The ruling Labor MPs will vote to find her replacement on Jan. 22, and the new prime minister will take office on Feb. 7.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Wind power giant Vestas to relocate Asia Pacific office to Korea from Singapore
Vestas Wind Systems A/S, a Danish wind power giant, plans to invest $300 million in South Korea and relocate its Asia Pacific headquarters from Singapore, according to sources on Wednesday. The plans were announced in an investment report event in a hotel in Davos, Switzerland, which was attended by Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Lee Chang-yang, and Vestas CEO Henrik Andersen.
Hyundai Motor Group expands in Southeast Asia as EV demand grows
Hyundai Motor Group (HMG), the owner of South Korea’s top automakers Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Corp., is penetrating deeper into Southeast Asia that has been dominated by Japanese rivals for over 50 years, expanding its market share in countries like Indonesia and Vietnam. According to multiple industry sources on Wednesday, Hyundai Motor and Kia sold a combined 34,052 new cars in Indonesia in 2022, up 462 percent from 6,059 units in the previous year. The sales was the sixth-largest in the country.
LCC stocks soar on increased travel demand for short-haul destinations
Stocks of South Korean low-cost carriers (LCCs) are flying high as demand for short-haul travel soars following a lift in border restrictions in popular destinations like Japan. Shares of Jeju Air Co., the largest budget carrier in Korea, rose 4.47 percent Wednesday to finish at 16,350 won ($13.2). The stock soared 23.4 percent in the last month. Shares of other LCCs Jin Air Co. and T’way Air Co. also gained 23.89 percent and 55.9 percent, respectively, during the same period.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
S. Korea’s spy agency ramping up national security investigations to keep itself relevant, critics say
On Wednesday, Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) and police concluded that four former and current executives and activists belonging to the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) met and interacted with North Korean agents abroad, including in Cambodia and Vietnam between 2016 and 2019. A thorough search and seizure operation was launched into the case of suspected violation of the National Security Act. In particular, the NIS raised the possibility that, among those being investigated, some may have even received money from North Korean agents.
Opposition leader Lee to appear before prosecutors next weekend
Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung will be appearing before prosecutors on Jan. 28, as part of an investigation regarding accusations of favoritism in relation to the Daejang neighborhood development case. After visiting Mangwon Market in Seoul on Wednesday, Lee met with reporters and said, “Political prosecutors who abuse the authority of the prosecution for private interests by creating crimes that don’t exist and covering up crimes that do: the public is watching, and history will judge.” He added, “Nevertheless, since [the prosecution] technically holds power and is using that very power, I will come as they ask despite having no fault.”
Calls mount within Japan for Korea’s forced labor victims to get their due
Japanese civic groups are slamming a recently unveiled plan calling for a third party — not the Japanese government itself — to compensate wartime Korean forced laborers. The issue of compensating wartime forced laborers is one of the biggest pending issues between Seoul and Tokyo. “We can’t call a plan a solution if the accused companies offer no apologies and provide not even a single yen in compensation.” Atsushi Okamoto, the former editor-in-chief of the journal Sekai (“The World”), writer Kei Nakazawa, and Hideki Yano, the secretary-general of the civic group Japan-Korea Joint Action for Legislation to Compensation Korean Victims of Forced Labor, made the criticism during a press conference on the forced labor issue in Tokyo on Monday.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Intelligence Agency Searches the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions in Pursuit of Spy Activity
The National Intelligence Service (NIS) and the police conducted a search and seizure of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) head office in Jung-gu and the Korean Health and Medical Workers’ Union office in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul on January 18 in connection to a probe into alleged violations of the National Security Act by the labor executives. This was the first time that a state agency searched the head office of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions for allegations connected to communism, and not directly related to union activities such as a strike or demonstration.
A Startup Claims, “Lotte Stole Our Technology to Release a Product.” Government Searching for Evidence
The Ministry of SMEs and Startups is looking into a controversial case over stolen technology and ideas, involving Lotte Healthcare, an affiliate of the Lotte Group, and the startup, AlgoCare. On January 19, the SMEs ministry announced, “If the company that suffered damages requests an administrative inquiry into patent infringements and mediation for technology disputes, we plan to facilitate a swift arbitration and provide litigation costs if the mediation fails.” The ministry also said, “In response to the theft of a company’s ideas, we will use digital forensics to secure evidence, and our legal support team will help the startup determine any legal violations concerning the protection of technology developed by SMEs and fill out the report.”
Yoon Sang-hyun, “Na Kyung-won Practically Disregarded President Yoon as a Leader Who Made the Wrong Decision”
Lawmaker Yoon Sang-hyun, who announced his bid in the People Power Party (PPP) convention, claimed Na Kyung-won’s image as an anti-Yoon member has grown stronger. On January 18, the PPP lawmaker appeared on Kim Hyung-jung’s News Show on CBS radio and shared his views on the Office of the President’s open criticism of Na the previous day. He said, “Didn’t Na Kyung-won drag President Yoon Suk-yeol into it? In that respect, I think it was inappropriate.” He criticized what Na had written on social media the previous day, about how she thought that it was not President Yoon Suk-yeol’s true intention to sack her.
Yoon: S. Korea's Realistic Option is to Respect NPT Regime
President Yoon Suk Yeol reportedly said that the realistic and rational option for South Korea is to fully respect the Nonproliferation Treaty(NPT) regime. The Wall Street Journal published an interview on Thursday conducted on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which quoted Yoon as saying that he has full confidence in the U.S.' extended deterrence against North Korea's nuclear weapons.
Producer Prices Rise 8.4% in 2022, Largest Growth in 14 Years
Producer prices rose more than eight percent last year on the back of increased oil prices and a weakening of the local currency against the dollar. The Bank of Korea on Friday reported that the producer price index for all commodities and services marked 118-point-80 on average in 2022, up eight-point-four percent from a year earlier. It represents the largest gain in 14 years since 2008 when it rose eight-point-six percent, and marks the highest index since the nation started compiling related data in 1965.
Yoon Calls for Global Cooperation, Solidarity to Overcome Complex Crisis in Davos Speech
President Yoon Suk Yeol called for global cooperation and solidarity to overcome the complex crisis the world is facing. The president made the call on Thursday during a special address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In the 15-minute speech, President Yoon stressed that enhancing supply chain resilience is the most urgent task the world must deal with and South Korea will be a key partner in that pursuit.
About 500 people evacuated after fire rages through slum in Seoul
About 500 people were evacuated from homes Friday due to a fire in Guryong Village, the last remaining slum in Seoul, fire authorities said. The blaze broke out at 6:28 a.m. in the fourth district of the village, located in Seoul's Gangnam Ward, they said. Currently, there are around 666 households in the village. The authorities said they are putting forth all-out efforts to contain the fire by dispatching 140 firefighters.
Producer prices down for 2nd month in Dec. on falling oil prices, weak dollar
South Korea's producer prices fell for the second straight month in December, as falling oil prices and a weak dollar resulted in a decline in costs of manufactured products, central bank data showed Friday. The producer price index, a major barometer of consumer inflation, dropped 0.3 percent in December from a month earlier, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK). This followed a 0.3 percent decline in November.
Opposition floor leader calls for unity ahead of leader's questioning
The floor leader of the main opposition Democratic Party on Thursday urged supporters and party members to stand together for party leader Lee Jae-myung as he plans to appear before prosecutors for questioning over development corruption allegations next week. Lee said Thursday he will appear at the Seoul Central District Office on Jan. 28 for questioning over allegations involving a high-profile property development project in Daejang-dong in Seongnam, just south of Seoul, launched while Lee was serving as mayor of Seongnam.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Yoon stresses solidarity, reaffirms nuclear power drive at Davos
President Yoon Suk Yeol stressed global cooperation and solidarity to overcome multiple global crises, and reaffirmed his willingness to return to nuclear power policies that his predecessor sought to scrap during his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday. This year’s Davos forum, under the theme of “Cooperation in a Fragmented World,” was marked by the absence of leaders of major economies, including US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, amid growing nationalism and protectionism across the globe.
Vestas to invest $300m in Korea on Yoon’s visit
Vestas announced plans to invest $300 million in Korea at a ceremony held Wednesday at a hotel in Davos, Switzerland, with President Yoon Suk Yeol attending, according to the presidential office Thursday. Yoon attended the investment declaration ceremony of wind turbine manufacturer Vestas in Switzerland. Vestas is a Danish company that ranks first in the world in terms of wind power installation.
S. Korea calls in Iran envoy over Yoon’s ‘enemy’ remarks
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday summoned the Iranian ambassador in Seoul, a day after Tehran called in Seoul’s chief envoy there demanding a clarification on why President Yoon Suk Yeol called Iran “the enemy” of the United Arab Emirates during his trip there this week. In a rare tit-for-tat spat on the brink of a row, First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong told Ambassador Saeed Badamchi Shabestari that Yoon’s comments were meant to encourage Korean troops in Abu Dhabi, with no intentions to hurt ties with Iran, spokesperson Lim Soo-suk said. Lim repeated what Seoul had already communicated to Tehran since Monday, when Yoon made the remarks.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Yoon's 'enemy' remarks escalate into diplomatic row with Iran
Tehran summoned the South Korean ambassador to Iran and threatened to review its diplomatic ties with Seoul in response to President Yoon Suk Yeol's recent remarks describing the Middle Eastern country as the biggest threat to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In retaliation, the South Korean government also called in the Iranian ambassador to Korea, Thursday, raising concerns that the incident may escalate into a diplomatic row between the two countries.
Yoon explores Korea's strategies for quantum technology
President Yoon Suk Yeol visited the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich), Thursday (local time), and met with leading experts in quantum technologies, in order to explore strategies for Korea to take the lead in the field, which is anticipated to be an industrial game changer within the next 10 years. ETH Zurich is one of the most prestigious post-secondary education institutions, with alumni including Albert Einstein and John von Neumann. The university has 22 Nobel laureates and two Fields medal winners..
President vows Korea will play leading role in stabilizing global supply chain
President Yoon Suk Yeol delivered a special address at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday (local time), promising that Korea will play a leading role in facilitating international cooperation and solidarity, which he stressed are the key solutions to tackling various challenges facing the world. During his speech, Yoon picked the semiconductor industry as the main area where Korea can make efforts to stabilize the global supply chain, while noting that the solidarity that his country is pursuing is not aimed at excluding particular nations, referring to China, whose values are different from others.
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