Friday, September 27, 2019
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
N. Korea says Trump is unlike former U.S. leaders, hopes for progress
North Korea said Friday it looks forward to U.S. President Donald Trump choosing a "wise option" and making a "bold decision" in talks with the communist nation as he differs from his predecessors. Kim Kye-gwan, adviser to the North Korean foreign ministry, made the remarks in a statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency, also criticizing the U.S. for not implementing the agreements reached by its leaders and politicians in Washington of sticking to the "nuclear-disarmament-first" approach.
Justice minister's phone conversation over raid sparks uproar in parliament
Justice Minister Cho Kuk said Thursday he spoke by telephone with a chief prosecutor in charge of raids on Cho's residence over allegations of corruption, sparking a row over the appropriateness of the conversation, during a parliamentary interpellation session. The telephone conversation was with a prosecutor who was on the scene of the raids of Cho's residence on Monday. Prosecutors are investigating corruption allegations involving his family, including his wife's alleged forgery of a school award.
Pompeo says U.S.-N.K. talks not yet arranged
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that working-level denuclearization negotiations with North Korea that were expected this month have not been arranged. Pompeo made the remark at a press conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, saying the U.S. stands ready to resume negotiations with the North. "We've not been able to make those happen. And we don't have a date yet when we'll be able to get together," he said. "The North Koreans know and I'm happy to affirm here again this afternoon: We're ready. Our team's prepared to meet with them. We think it's important that we do so."
S. Korea Confirms 9th Case of African Swine Fever
South Korea on Friday confirmed yet another case of African swine fever(ASF), increasing the number of known cases of the highly contagious animal disease to nine after the first was confirmed last Tuesday. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said that a suspected case reported on Thursday at a pig farm on Ganghwa Island in Incheon resulted in a positive test for the virus, the fifth confirmation on the island in four days. Meanwhile, suspected cases reported on Thursday in Yangju and Yeoncheon in Gyeonggi Province tested negative for the virus.
Most S. Koreans Not Inconvenienced by Anti-Graft Law
A survey showed that nine out of ten South Koreans do not believe an anti-graft law introduced three years ago has inconvenienced their work or daily life. The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission conducted a survey on how people viewed the Kim Young-ran Act to mark the third anniversary of its implementation. Some 3,000 Koreans were polled including civil servants, teachers, media workers and citizens. The commission said the survey confirmed that a great majority of the respondents were not inconvenienced by the law and that the percentage had increased from a year ago.
Tigers in Korean songs
Korea was known for its many mountains and deep valleys, making the country a perfect home for tigers. The majestic and ferocious creature would often wreak havoc among the human population. For instance, an ancient record tells about an incident during the Silla period when a tiger invaded the heavily guarded royal palace. Imagine how much damage tigers would have brought to ordinary villages and private homes if they were able to penetrate the king’s residence.
Trump 'quite likely' to visit Pyongyang: ex-U.S. nuke envoy
U.S. President Donald Trump could visit Pyongyang for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to try to use the event to boost his reelection campaign, a former top U.S. nuclear envoy said Thursday. "A possibility of him going to Pyongyang, I think it's quite likely. He's focused on reelection. Anything that helps the reelection, he would be wanting to do it," Joseph Yun, former U.S. special representative for North Korea told a forum in Seoul. "Another summit is likely. Trump has engaged with North Korea, and it's been quite successful, as most Americans would agree. I don't think there's any way Trump wants this initiative to derail before the reelection," Yun said.
Health authorities ban sales of ranitidine-based medicine over carcinogen concern
South Korea's health authorities said Thursday that they will suspend the manufacturing and sales of some ranitidine drug products that contain a probable human carcinogen. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said a total of 269 ranitidine medicines contain N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a substance known to cause cancer, exceeding acceptable limits. Ranitidine medicines decrease the amount of acid made in the stomach and are commonly used to treat stomach ulcers and heartburn, which is also called gastroesophageal reflux disease. One of the brand names of ranitidine here is Zantac.
Air Seoul to open route to Hanoi in Dec
Air Seoul Inc., a budget carrier unit of Asiana Airlines Inc., said Thursday it will open a new route to Hanoi in December as it diversifies its routes amid lower demand for travel to Japan. Starting from Dec. 16, Air Seoul plans to offer seven flights a week to Hanoi as it strives to strengthen services on Southeast Asian routes to offset sharply lower travel demand to Japan, the company said in a statement. Demand on the Japanese routes has fallen since early July when Japan implemented export restrictions of key materials to South Korea.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Seoul stocks open lower on US political uncertainties
South Korean stocks opened lower on Friday, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street following a potential impeachment probe into US President Donald Trump. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index slid 10.95 points, or 0.53 percent, to 2,063.57 in the first 15 minutes of trading. On the Seoul bourse, top market cap Samsung Electronics plunged 1.52 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix nosedived 2.76 percent. LG Display shed 0.75 percent.
Police say Jeju ex-husband murder suspect likely killed stepson too
Police have reached a tentative conclusion that Koh Yu-jeong, who is suspected of murdering her ex-husband, killed her 5-year-old stepson as well. Cheongju Sangdang Police Station said Wednesday that investigators believe Koh, 36, murdered her stepson -- her current husband’s biological son -- after a five-month probe into the case. Cheongju police booked Koh and her husband in June on suspicions of murder and involuntary manslaughter, respectively. Based on the couple’s testimonies, profilers suspected that Koh might be involved in the death of the child, whom she appears to have seen as an obstacle in her marriage.
Will KakaoTalk kill off text messaging services?
Despite South Korean mobile carriers’ efforts to rekindle the use of text messages, the prospects of the once-lucrative business continue to look grim. The country’s three biggest telecom firms -- SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus -- have upgraded their text message services with advanced features like group chatting and video sharing in recent years. But the moves have so far failed to draw users away from the popular messenger service KakaoTalk. While the chatting app has seen a dramatic increase in its users since its launch in 2010, the number of those using text messaging services has declined constantly.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Dokdo coin? BOK asked to issue commemorative coins that may provoke Japan
There are growing calls from lawmakers and some members of the public for the Bank of Korea (BOK) to issue "Dokdo commemorative coins" in a pre-emptive move to increase awareness among the international community that the eastern islets are Korean territory. The issue will likely be discussed at the National Assembly in October after a lawmaker from the main opposition party vowed to bring up the matter in the Strategy and Finance Committee's audit of the central bank. "I will talk about this issue again," Rep. Park Myung-jae of the Liberty Korea Party told The Korea Times. Park is a two-term lawmaker, who represents Pohang Nam-gu and Ulleung County in North Gyeongsang Province.
IPAF becomes crucial amid growing protectionism
The International Public Asset Management Company Forum's (IPAF) role in sharing knowhow of managing non-performing loans (NPLs) will become more important amid rising protectionism worldwide, according to participants at the international consultative body's fifth global conference held in Seoul, Thursday. Financial Services Commission (FSC) Chairman Eun Sung-soo said in the event's welcome speech that IPAF and its relevant institutions should review their roles, considering unexpected external shocks that can have a significant impact on financial systems in the trade-reliant Asian region.
Former French President Jacques Chirac dies aged 86
Former French president Jacques Chirac died on Thursday at the age of 86 after a long battle with deteriorating health, prompting tributes from across the political spectrum for a charismatic statesman who famously said "non" to the 2003 Iraq war. The centre-right Chirac, acknowledged even by foes as a canny political fighter, rose to prominence as mayor of Paris before becoming prime minister and then serving as head of state from 1995 to 2007.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
More Koreans Take out Multiple Loans
The number of people with loans from three or more financial institutions has risen by more than 20 percent in the last five years and now stands at 4.23 million. Together they owe over W500 trillion, or W120 million per person on average (US$1=W1,200). Data from credit information provider NICE Information Service published Wednesday shows that as of the end of June, 4.23 million people had loans from three or more financial institutions, up 20.4 percent from the end of 2014. Some 19.39 million Koreans are in debt, which means one in five falls into this category.
Investors Sue Banks for Losses on Risky Derivatives
Korean investors are suing banks for mis-selling them short-term derivative-linked securities involving German sovereign bond yields. Investors who parked their money in the DLS in late May this year lost an average of W200 million in the course of just four months (US$1=W1,200). Now they have grouped together to sue Woori and KEB Hana banks seeking to nullify their investment contracts and are protesting in front of the banks' headquarters and the Financial Supervisory Service.
More Homes Stand Empty
The number of empty and abandoned homes is increasing rapidly as the population ages and people tighten their belts. A total of 1.42 million homes were empty last year, according to data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Wednesday. The statistics cover houses or apartments that have been unoccupied for more than a year. Their number grew a whopping 32.8 percent over the past four years from 1.07 million in 2015 to 1.42 million in 2018.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
S. Korean students to hold “School Strike and Demonstration for Climate” in Gwanghwamun Square
“An enormous human catastrophe is not far away.” This is the warning from scientists, who predict that a rise of 1.5°C in the global temperature compared to the industrialization era (1850–1900) could lead to a “climate disaster,” while a rise of 2°C or more could leave humankind facing “irreversible catastrophe.” The amount of carbon humans could potentially use to avoid a climate disaster is enough to last just 10 years of so – meaning that without a drastic reduction in carbon use, humankind is certain to face a climate catastrophe by the year 2030.
Moon asks IOC president to support 2032 Olympics jointly hosted by S. and N. Korea
During a visit to the US to attend the UN General Assembly, South Korean President Moon Jae-in asked the top Olympic official to promote the idea of a joint inter-Korean bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics. Moon apparently hopes to use the games to advance the Korean Peninsula Peace Process, just as he did with the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. “South Korea’s hope is that the passion for peace that began at Pyeongchang last year will lead to an Olympics jointly hosted by South and North Korea in 2032, bringing peace to completion on the Korean Peninsula.
Children of wealthy families more likely to be admitted to Seoul universities, survey finds
The findings of a recent survey back up the widespread assumption that the children of wealthy families are more likely to gain admission to universities in Seoul. Data about applications for need-based government scholarships at universities around the country over the past two years show that the seven universities whose students received the fewest scholarships were all located in Seoul. The data was made public on Sept. 25 by Park Chan-dae, a Democratic Party lawmaker on the National Assembly’s Education Committee, who requested it from the Ministry of Education and the Korea Student Aid Foundation.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Public turns back on populist politicians
Having kept the world under tight control, strongman global leaders are currently under pressure to resign such as U.S. President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Political experts have analyzed that a growing number of their citizens are turning their back on the strong leaders who exhibit reckless behavior and attitudes while only pursuing far-right populism and national interests.
LG releases V50S ThinQ smartphone next month
LG Electronics will launch “V50S ThinQ,” its flagship smartphone model for the second half of the year, on Oct. 11. You can purchase the latest LG smartphone via Korea’s three major telecommunications carriers and LG Best Shop stores across the country. The price of LG’s new dual screen smartphone is 1,199,000 Korean won. The pre-selling period is between Oct. 4 and 10. If you make a purchase reservation, you can choose whether to receive wireless earphones or to get the smartphone display replaced free of charge in a year.
Seoul to hold smart city summit
The Seoul Metropolitan Government along with the Seoul Digital Foundation will hold “Seoul Smart City Summit & Conference 2019” on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. The event will be attended by smart city-related officials from Tallinn in Estonia, Zurich in Switzerland, and San Francisco in the U.S. as well as various businesses, experts, and citizens. Roundtable discussions will be held on the first day of the conference with officials and businesses sharing smart city case examples.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Ruling Party Mentions Kim Jong-un’s “Possible” Trip to Busan, Drawing Fire for Trying to Change the “Cho Kuk Situation”
People inside the ruling party and government are spreading words about a possible trip to Busan by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un this coming November. The mood between North Korea and the United States recently turned in favor of resuming talks, encouraging expectations that progress in denuclearization talks could have a positive affect on the improvement of inter-Korean relations. Such expectations seem to be the basis of the rumor on Chairman Kim's visit. On September 25, some members of the ruling party went a step further and mentioned that relevant discussions were actually in progress with North Korea.
Aftermath of the "Cho Kuk Incident" Regardless of the Warrant for Chung Kyung-sim
Recently, many ruling party members and government officials are concerned about whether or not the court will issue an arrest warrant for Professor Chung Kyung-sim, wife of Justice Minister Cho Kuk. They believe that this will determine the future of Minister Cho and the nation’s political situation. If the court issues the warrant, the ruling party will be forced to demand Cho's dismissal, and if it is not issued, Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-yeol will come under fire.
Presidents Moon and Trump, "End Hostile Relations between N.K. and the U.S. without Using Force"
On September 23 (local time), President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump held a summit at the Intercontinental New York Barclay Hotel and reaffirmed their position on not using force against North Korea. They also confirmed their support for the spirit of the Singapore agreement between North Korea and the U.S. signed on June 12, 2018. They made it clear that they would engage in future denuclearization negotiations in the spirit of the Singapore agreement, which emphasized the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of a new relationship between North Korea and the U.S.
Maeil Business News Korea ( http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Chief economists warn downturn, chain bankruptcies next year from trade conflict
Global chief economists on Thursday raised concerns about escalating trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies of the United States and China, blaming it as the dominant factor behind reduced global economic growth and possibly cause for chain corporate and national bankruptcies. “The U.S.-China trade dispute, this is the number one risk that we see for the global economy and global credit market,” said Elena Okorochenko, managing director and head of Asia Pacific at S&P Global Ratings, one of the speakers for a session on Global Economy in Transition – Global Economic Outlook, on Thursday, at the 20th World Knowledge Forum hosted by Maekyung Media Group.
Three winners of 4th ASEAN Entrepreneur Award at World Knowledge Forum
The fourth ASEAN Entrepreneur Award ceremony co-hosted by Maeil Business Newspaper and the ASEAN KOREA CENTRE under the auspices of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the ASEAN Secretariat took place on Thursday, the second day of the World Knowledge Forum at the Jangchung Arena in Seoul. This year’s winners are as follows: Regional Champion: Suphajee Suthumpun, CEO of Dusit International, Thailand’s first home-grown hotel brand. Empowering Women: Thai Huong, Chairwoman of TH Group, a Vietnamese company to provide premium dairy products under a ‘smart farm’ system, the biggest ever Vietnamese investor in Russia
Taiwan’s Fubon Life buys 4% in Korea’s Woori Financial Group for $300 million
Taiwan’s Fubon Life Insurance Co. agreed to buy 4 percent in Woori Financial Group to pose as the fourth largest shareholder in one of the largest financial conglomerates in Korea for around $300 million, helping the stock price weighed down by supply concerns. Woori Financial Group announced in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that its subsidiary Woori Bank sold off a 4.0 percent stake or 28,890,707 shares worth 358.5 billion won ($299 million) at 12,408 won apiece in an off-hour block trade before the opening of the market on Thursday.
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