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Headlines, September 20, 2019

기사승인 2019.09.20  11:25:39

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Friday, September 20, 2019

Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today

U.S.-N. Korea talks could resume soon: official

The United States and North Korea could resume denuclearization negotiations soon as the two sides remain in constant communication, South Korea's top nuclear envoy said Thursday. Lee Do-hoon, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, made the remark to reporters as he arrived in Washington for talks with his U.S. counterpart, Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun. The two are scheduled to meet Friday to coordinate their positions before Washington and Pyongyang sit down for talks on denuclearizing the regime in exchange for economic and political concessions.

S. Korea remains cautious over whether to maintain developing-nation status

South Korea remains cautious over whether to stick to its special and differential treatment under the World Trade Organization as the United States pushes to reform the global trade body. South Korea has been keeping developing country status since 1995 mainly to protect its sensitive agriculture industry, especially rice. Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, said South Korea needs to "fundamentally" review whether it can maintain the status in the future, saying other developing countries are taking issue with South Korea's status.

Some 1,000 guests enjoy German beer at 2019 Oktoberfest at Grand Hilton

Grand Hilton Seoul completed the largest Beer Festival in the world, the 13th ‘Oktoberfest’ (originally from Munich, Germany), on 7th of September. The Oktoberfest, held from 6pm to 1 am at the Grand Hilton Seoul Convention Center, has visited nearly 1,000 people with a 90% booking rate. In fact, Oktoberfest, which has been held in Munich, Germany since 1810, is the world’s largest folk festival and beer festival as well. Following to this concept, Grand Hilton Seoul held its 13th Oktoberfest this year.

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

Typhoon Tapah Expected to Reach Waters off Busan Sunday Night

Typhoon Tapah, the 17th storm of the season, is expected to pass through waters off South Korea's southern port city of Busan on Sunday night. According to the Korea Meteorological Administration(KMA) on Friday, Tapah is expected to reach waters off Jeju Island on Sunday afternoon and Busan on Sunday night. The typhoon is likely to move north and reach the East Sea and the county's easternmost Dokdo islets by early Monday.

S. Korea Named Illegal Fishing Country by US

The United States made a preliminary decision on Thursday to designate South Korea as a country that engages in "illegal, unreported and unregulated(IUU) fishing." The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) said on its homepage that it is labeling South Korea for "failing" to apply sufficient sanctions to deter its vessels from engaging in fishing activities that violate conservation and management measures adopted by the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. In its biennial report to Congress, the NOAA said South Korea committed to amending its domestic law to ensure that appropriate mechanisms exist for taking appropriate corrective actions in future cases.

Finance Minister: S. Korea Needs to 'Fundamentally Review' Developing Country Status

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said on Friday that South Korea needs to "fundamentally review” whether it can maintain developing-nation status under the World Trade Organization(WTO). The minister made the comment in opening remarks delivered at a meeting with the heads of economy-related ministries in Seoul. Noting that similarly labeled countries have taken issue with Seoul's status, Minister Hong said that the issue requires a "very cautious approach" as it could directly impact South Korean agriculture in the future.

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

2 more suspected cases of African swine fever reported

South Korea's agricultural ministry said Friday it is testing two suspected cases of African swine fever (ASF) after the country confirmed two cases of the deadly virus early this week. The suspected ASF cases were reported from two pig farms in Paju, located near the heavily fortified border with North Korea, where the first confirmed ASF case was also reported on Tuesday. The second confirmed ASF case was reported in neighboring Yeoncheon the following day, raising concerns over the spread of the highly contagious animal disease across the country. Although ASF is not harmful to humans, it is fatal and highly infectious for pigs, with no cure currently available.

S. Korea named illegal fishing country by U.S.

The United States made a preliminary decision on Thursday to designate South Korea as a country that engages in illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, calling on Asia's fourth-largest economy to adopt tougher regulations. In a biennial report to Congress, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said it is identifying South Korea for "failing to apply sufficient sanctions to deter its vessels from engaging in fishing activities that violate conservation and management measures adopted by" the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

Moon, Trump to hold talks Monday on peace process in New York

South Korean President Moon Jae-in hopes to focus on how to move forward the Korea peace process when he holds summit talks with U.S. President Donald Trump in New York next week, as Pyongyang-Washington negotiations are expected to resume soon, Cheong Wa Dae said Thursday. Their ninth bilateral summit will be held Monday on the sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly session, according to Choi Jong-kun, presidential secretary for peace planning. The exact time and venue will be announced later via a coordination with the White House, he added.

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

Group of professors urge Cho Kuk to step down

Current and former university professors on Thursday called for the resignation of Minister of Justice Cho Kuk. The declaration was announced by an association of current and former university professors -- roughly translated as professors for social justice. The association on Thursday held a press conference outside Cheong Wa Dae and called for Cho’s resignation, and urged President Moon Jae-in to seek a replacement more fit to represent justice and ethics.

Police vow to crack cold case of serial rape-murder from 1980s, after DNA identifies suspect

Police have vowed to crack a cold case of serial rape and murder from more than 30 years ago, with a prime suspect identified via DNA testing. Police said the suspect, already in jail on another conviction, denied charges in the first round of questioning. Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency said in a press briefing Thursday morning that DNA from the suspect and from at least three of the serial rape-murders were found to match in a forensics analysis. According to police, a man surnamed Lee, in his 50s, is suspected to have been involved in eight rape-murders spanning 1986 to 1991, in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province. A total of 10 rape-murders took place during that period. Two of those cases were copycat killings. The killer in one of the cases has been caught, while the DNA sample from the other copycat case did not match that of Lee.

US Fed’s rate cut gives room for easing monetary policy: BOK

South Korea’s central bank chief said Thursday that the latest US rate cut has created some policy space for easing actions amid the slowing economy. “The US Federal Reserve’s rate cut alleviates the burden for other countries in operating their own monetary policies,” Bank of Korea Gov. Lee Ju-yeol told reporters. On Wednesday local time, the Fed cut the base rate by a quarter percentage point to a range of between 1.75 percent and 2 percent. This was its second rate cut in two months, reflecting the its easing response to a potential economic slowdown.

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

US files illegal fishing complaint against S. Korea

US authorities for the first time filed a complaint against South Korea under environmental rules of the free trade pact between Seoul and Washington, over illegal fishing, the government announced Thursday. The US Trade Representative's office said it "intends to seek environment consultations" with Seoul under the terms of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement, the first step in a formal trade complaint. The trade representative's office cited a government report that named South Korea, saying the country failed to stop its vessels from "engaging in fishing activities that violate conservation and management measures."

'Prime suspect's DNA matches sample from evidence in serial killing'

Police confirmed Thursday that DNA evidence appears to have identified the perpetrator of the nation's worst unsolved case of serial murders that took place in the 1980s, although the statute of limitations on the crimes has expired, meaning the man will not be charged. According to the Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency, DNA samples found in evidence collected from the fifth, seventh and ninth murders matched that of the new prime suspect surnamed Lee, 56, who has been behind bars for decades after being found guilty in another murder case.

Gwanghwamun Square expansion plan likely to be delayed

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon hinted Thursday that he will postpone his plan to revamp Gwanghwamun Square by 2021 amid increasing criticism of the project. "Although the Seoul Metropolitan Government has held over 100 rounds of discussions over the expansion plan, an unprecedented number for a single project, still many things have been called into question by civic groups and citizens," Park said during a press conference at Seoul City Hall. "As each and every suggestion is very important to me, I am willing to accept it. As a result, I will not be obsessed with the timetable."

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

Korea's Blood Reserves Fall to Alarming Levels

Korea only managed to collect optimum blood reserves on 97 days in 2018, falling below 100 for the first time ever, according to Korean Red Cross data. The situation is also serious this year as the Red Cross has so far managed to secure optimum blood reserves lasting for five days ahead on only 49 days. Comparing January levels each year, Korea secured enough blood to last 6.5 days in early 2014, but that fell to 4.4 days in 2017 and to 4.1 days this year. The number of blood donations plunged from 2.84 million in 2014 to 2.68 million last year, and the number of donors dropped from 1.6 million to 1.39 million over the same period.

Single Households Now Most Common Domestic Arrangement

The number of single households in Korea this year has surpassed that of families to become the most common type in a country that was only recently famous for its close-knit family structures. More than half of all households in Korea are expected to have no children by 2047 if the low birthrate persists, and many no longer bother getting married either. Statistics Korea in a projection Wednesday said the total number of households will rise from 20.1 million this year to 22.7 million by 2040 and then decline.

More Koreans Than Ever Bought Dollars Last Month

More Koreans bought strengthening U.S. dollars last month than ever before, according to the Bank of Korea on Wednesday. The central bank said that foreign currency deposits here totaled US$70.97 billion in August, up $1.3 billion from the previous month. The deposits include all forex savings held in Korea by individual Koreans, Korean businesses, foreigners who have lived here for more than six months, and foreign companies doing business here.

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

Korea's Blood Reserves Fall to Alarming Levels

Korea only managed to collect optimum blood reserves on 97 days in 2018, falling below 100 for the first time ever, according to Korean Red Cross data. The situation is also serious this year as the Red Cross has so far managed to secure optimum blood reserves lasting for five days ahead on only 49 days. Comparing January levels each year, Korea secured enough blood to last 6.5 days in early 2014, but that fell to 4.4 days in 2017 and to 4.1 days this year. The number of blood donations plunged from 2.84 million in 2014 to 2.68 million last year, and the number of donors dropped from 1.6 million to 1.39 million over the same period.

Single Households Now Most Common Domestic Arrangement

The number of single households in Korea this year has surpassed that of families to become the most common type in a country that was only recently famous for its close-knit family structures. More than half of all households in Korea are expected to have no children by 2047 if the low birthrate persists, and many no longer bother getting married either. Statistics Korea in a projection Wednesday said the total number of households will rise from 20.1 million this year to 22.7 million by 2040 and then decline.

More Koreans Than Ever Bought Dollars Last Month

More Koreans bought strengthening U.S. dollars last month than ever before, according to the Bank of Korea on Wednesday. The central bank said that foreign currency deposits here totaled US$70.97 billion in August, up $1.3 billion from the previous month. The deposits include all forex savings held in Korea by individual Koreans, Korean businesses, foreigners who have lived here for more than six months, and foreign companies doing business here.

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

Pompeo’s position to lead negotiations with N. Korea becomes stronger

As Robert O'Brien, who previously served as the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs but is not well-known in the foreign affairs and security circles, has been appointed as the National Security Advisor of the White House on Wednesday (local time), both the U.S. and South Korean experts are projecting that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will have even more influence over leading North Korean issues. The newly appointed national security advisor is part of the “Pompeo team” and is deemed to be more cooperative when it comes to team play, unlike his predecessor, John Bolton, who was often in conflict with the secretary of state.

Seoul's autumn night festival to feature various programs

The 17th Hanwha Seoul International Fireworks Festival 2019 will take place on Oct. 5 from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Hangang Yeouido Park in Seoul. Attracting one million visitors every year, the festival has become one of the most popular autumn festivals. It is best known for its fireworks displays, but it also offers great cultural exhibitions and events. The art exhibition, Bulggot Atelier, runs from Oct. 1 to Oct. 5 at Hangang Yeouido Park. You will find spectacular fireworks captured by local and international artists on the sculpture of the festival emblem.

U.S. lowers interest rates by 0.25pc again in two months

The U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) cut policy interest rates by 0.25 percentage point on Wednesday (local time), only two months after its previous interest rates decrease in July. Accordingly, the Bank of Korea is also likely to further decrease interest rates in October as well. The Fed decreased its policy interest rates from 2.00∼2.25 percent to 1.75∼2.00 percent, following a regular meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.

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

Voices Within the Liberty Korea Party ExpressConcerns on the "Shaving Relay"

Senior lawmakers of the Liberty Korea Party joined in the "shaving relay" demanding the dismissal of Justice Minister Cho Kuk. Former and incumbent vice chairmen of the National Assembly, five-time lawmakers Shim Jae-cheol and Lee Ju-young shaved their heads in front of Cheong Wa Dae on September 18. As the shaving spread after the party's leader Hwang Kyo-ahn shaved his head, voices of skepticism could be heard from inside the party asking, "Is there a need for everyone to shave their heads?" The Liberty Korea Party and the Bareun Mirae Party submitted a request for a parliamentary inspection at the National Assembly this day.

Suspect in the Hwaseong Murders Depicted in the Film, Memories of Murder, Found

The police found a likely suspect for the “Hwaseong murders” the worst unsolved case in the history of crime in South Korea. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations has expired, so the authorities will not be able to punish the suspect for the murders that occurred in Hwaseong. On September 18, the Gyeonggi Nambu (southern) Police Agency announced that they had secured a major clue to identify A (50-something) as a likely suspect in the Hwaseong murders. A is currently in prison, serving his time for over two decades after being sentenced to life in prison for another rape and murder in 1994. The police sent some of the evidence from the Hwaseong murders to the National Forensic Service for a DNA analysis in July, and was informed that the DNA, which came from the items of a past victim, matched A's DNA.

African Swine Fever Penetrates South Korea

The African swine fever (ASF), with a mortality rate of 100%, has been detected in Paju, Gyeonggi-do. A pig showing symptoms has also been found in nearby Yeoncheon, igniting concerns of a spread of the virus. Pork prices are showing signs of a surge. On September 17, Kim Hyeon-soo, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, held a press conference at the government office in Sejong-si and announced, "Pigs that died in a pig farm in Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do on September 16 were found to be positive for the African swine fever," and added, "Accordingly, the disease alert level has been raised to 'serious.'" At around 6 p.m. on September 16, the farm in Paju reported the death of five mother pigs, and quarantine authorities conducted a close examination and confirmed the outbreak of the African swine fever.

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

BOK should not fear zero interest rates to avoid deflation: Krugman

The Korean central bank should be more aggressive in addressing deflationary risks by daring to go down to the zero interest rate zone, said Noble Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman. “I’m for the zero (interest rate). But I’m uncertain about the negative rate policy,” Krugman said in an exclusive interview with Maeil Business Newspaper. He pointed to Japan, which entered into a lost decade because it did not act promptly against deflation. “You really want to act quickly and aggressively to make sure you don’t get that slide,” he said, advising the Korean central bank not to fear about going into the untested zero territory. The Korean policy rate was lowered to 1.50 percent in July, one cut away from the historic low of 1.25 percent.

Samsung Elec’s Galaxy Fold all sold out in first overseas pre-order sale

Samsung Electronics Co.’s much-hyped foldable smartphone Galaxy Fold has finally hit overseas markets where its first batch of pre-orders also was sold out on the first day of its launch amid much fanfare despite its hefty price tags. According to Samsung Electronics on Thursday, all of the Galaxy Fold were sold on Wednesday after the device went on its first official pre-order sale in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Singapore. The luxury handset was also completely sold out in 10 minutes on the first day of release in Korea earlier this month.

Second US rate cut raises anxiousness in Korean markets over global economy

The second cut in U.S. interest rates further bolstered the rationale for a synchronized action from the Korean central bank when it meets next month but turned investors in Seoul wary about the uncertainty in the world’s largest economy. Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol said Thursday the U.S. Federal Reserve’s lowering of the fed fund target range after the July cut “eases the burden on other central banks,” sensing the Fed has room for “additional cut” if necessary. Korean stocks that opened up near 1 percent higher from overnight news turned anxious of mixed signs from the U.S economy.

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