Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
U.S. underscores commitment to Indo-Pacific region after RCEP deal
The United States Monday underscored its commitment to free trade with the Indo-Pacific region after a bloc of nations led by China struck a major trade deal without U.S. participation. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the world's largest free trade agreement, was announced earlier Monday by the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and its dialogue partners -- South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
KOSPI forecast to hit 2,200 mark by year-end
South Korean stocks are expected to keep their upward momentum on positive leads at home and abroad, with the key index likely to reach the 2,200-point level by year-end, analysts said Monday. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) finished at 2,100.20 on Friday, surpassing the 2,100 mark for the first time in about one month. KOSPI gathered further ground on Monday, closing up 1.43 percent at 2,130.24.
S. Korea to get a boost from envisioned mega Asia-Pacific trade deal
South Korea is expected to benefit from a rise in trade with emerging countries and other major economies under the envisioned Asia-Pacific trade deal amid its efforts to expand its trade network around the globe. On Monday, ASEAN member states, South Korea and five other countries reached a deal on a mega Asia-Pacific trade pact, known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), effectively concluding yearslong negotiations.
Moon Urges US Patience on N. Korea in Meeting with Trump's Security Adviser
President Moon Jae-in on Monday met with White House National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien and called for patience in dealing with North Korea. Presidential spokesperson Ko Min-jung said that Moon met with O'Brien for 35 minutes at a Thai hotel where forums hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are being held.
US Pentagon Suggests Vigilant Ace Air Exercise May Proceed as Scheduled
The U.S. Defense Department reportedly said the U.S. and South Korea will carry out a combined wintertime air exercise as scheduled. According to Voice of America on Tuesday, department spokesperson Dave Eastburn said on Monday that the U.S. is proceeding with the "combined flying training event" as planned. Earlier, Seoul-based Yonhap News quoted government sources in Seoul as saying that discussions are under way between the two allies on the postponement of the Vigilant Ace air exercise.
S. Korea's FX Reserves Hit New Record in October
South Korea's foreign exchange reserves rose to a new high last month on the weakening of the U.S. dollar. According to the Bank of Korea(BOK) on Tuesday, the total value of the country's foreign exchange reserves came to 406-point-32 billion dollars at the end of October, up three billion from a month earlier.
Moon requests ASEAN's support for Korea peace process in Bangkok summit
South Korean President Moon Jae-in formally asked the ASEAN member states Monday to continue support for the slow-moving Korea peace process, saying North Korea and the United States are bracing for the most critical point in their related negotiations. He was speaking at the end of the 22nd ASEAN Plus Three (APT) summit in Bangkok, joined by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
N.K., U.S. expected to hold working-level nuclear talks by early Dec.: Seoul
North Korea and the United States are expected to hold another round of working-level nuclear talks no later than early December, Seoul's spy agency said Monday. The National Intelligence Service (NIS) made the assessment during a closed-door parliamentary audit session, it said in a statement, as the North has set the end of this year as the deadline for a nuclear deal with the U.S.
Top U.S. diplomat for Asia to visit Seoul amid GSOMIA tensions
The top U.S. diplomat for Asian affairs was set to arrive in Seoul late Tuesday for talks with South Korean officials expected to focus on a soon-to-expire military intelligence-sharing pact between South Korea and Japan. Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell is scheduled to hold a series of meetings Wednesday with foreign ministry officials and others, including paying a courtesy call on Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, according to Seoul officials.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
US underscores commitment to Indo-Pacific region after RCEP deal
The United States Monday underscored its commitment to free trade with the Indo-Pacific region after a bloc of nations led by China struck a major trade deal without US participation. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the world's largest free trade agreement, was announced earlier Monday by the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and its dialogue partners -- South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Moon, Abe agree to seek resolution to trade issues
President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed Monday to resolve a trade fight and other issues between the two sides through dialogue, Cheong Wa Dae said, as the leaders had their first official one-on-one “conversation” in more than a year. They sat down together for 11 minutes right before the ASEAN Plus Three summit at the IMPACT Forum in Bangkok.
Samsung calls for more powerful AI at forum
Samsung Electronics on Monday hosted the third annual forum on artificial intelligence by inviting the world’s top-notch experts, calling for “more powerful and comprehensive” AI models in the future. Scholars on deep learning, the core of AI, attended the two-day forum on the first day and introduced new achievements that prove the level of deep learning is evolving.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Moon, Abe agree to resolve conflict through dialogue
President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo have agreed to resolve all outstanding bilateral issues via open dialogue, while also reaching a consensus to advance Seoul-Tokyo relations, visibly and substantially. A face-to-face meeting between the South Korean and Japanese leaders took place ahead of the ASEAN+3 summit in Bangkok, Monday morning, according to Cheong Wa Dae. The encounter lasted from 8:35 a.m. to 8:46 a.m. in a "pull-aside" meeting after Moon spoke with his counterparts from Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar ahead of the multilateral summit.
Defense minister reaffirms US nuclear deterrence on Korean Peninsula
Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo reaffirmed Monday that the United States will continue to keep South Korea under its nuclear umbrella to protect the country from threats by North Korea. Speaking to lawmakers during a meeting of the National Assembly National Defense Committee, Monday, Jeong stressed Washington's guarantee of extended deterrence in the event of a nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
Korea urged to connect Russia with Vietnam
Uncertainty over protectionism has weighed on the global economy throughout 2019. Yet it has shown no signs of subsiding. Instead the trend seems to be deepening as many countries are learning tactics deployed by U.S. President Donald Trump. Korea, which is one of the world's most export-reliant economies, has tried to minimize the damage from trade wars against this backdrop, by diversifying its export markets with the New Southern Policy targeting Southeast Asian nations and the New Northern Policy seeking economic opportunities from the Eurasian countries.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
What Would It Cost to Expand Nat'l Assembly?
Minor opposition parties like Justice and Bareun Mirae want the number of lawmakers increased from 300 to 330 to ensure fairer representation, but that would come at a hefty cost to the taxpayer. This year, each lawmaker takes home a salary of about W150 million (US$1=W1,167). Each has a staff of no fewer than eight secretaries and assistants who cost some W480 million a year in total.
Bars, Karaoke Parlors Reopen in N.Korea
Karaoke rooms and other bars are reopening in North Korea as the regime reels from sanctions and is keen to tax any sort of private income. Only last year these entertainment places were shut down as symbols of "capitalist decadence" and hives of "antisocial behavior." "Pyongayng is seeing a reemergence of privately run karaoke parlors, bars and restaurants," a North Korea source said Sunday.
Samsung Challenges Huawei on Home Turf
Samsung will compete head-on with Huawei as the two giants roll out their new foldable smartphones in China. Samsung said on Weibo, China's version of Twitter, on Sunday that sales of the Galaxy Fold in China will start on this Friday. The Korean firm will only roll out the LTE or 4G version there for now. Shortly afterward, on Nov. 15, Huawei will launch its 5G foldable phone, the Mate X. The Galaxy Fold folds inward, but the Mate X folds outward.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
S. Korea, US to skip Vigilant Ace joint air exercise for 2nd consecutive year
South Korea and the US have decided not to hold Vigilant Ace, a joint air exercise, this year. This will be the second consecutive year that they skip the exercise, typically held at the end of the year. This year’s exercise hadn’t been formally announced, and now the two countries have apparently finalized their decision to suspend it.
S. Korea, US, release “joint fact sheet” on New Southern Policy and Indo-Pacific Strategy
On Nov. 2, the South Korean and American governments disclosed a “joint fact sheet” that summarizes efforts in several areas aimed at improving cooperation between South Korea’s New Southern Policy and the US’ Indo-Pacific Strategy. A joint explanatory document released by South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US’ State Department arranges various types of cooperation into the three overarching categories of prosperity (including energy, infrastructure, development loans, and the digital economy), people (good governance and civic society), and peace (cooperation on water management in the Mekong region and responding to climate change for island nations in the Pacific Ocean).
Japan excludes Zainichi Korean children from free preschool education
On Nov. 2, Zainichi Koreans and Japanese residents rallied in Tokyo in response to the Japanese government’s exclusion of Chosen gakko (Korean schools in Japan sponsored by North Korea) from a policy to provide free preschool education. Chosen gakko supporters allied with civic groups and human rights activists accused the government of discriminating against children. AS of Oct. 1, the Japanese government has provided 25,700 yen (US$237.37) per month for every child in preschool, with the exception of children in preschools affiliated with the Chosen gakko.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Moon, Abe break ice in Bangkok in 13 months
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe conversed for 11 minutes in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday, the first talk in 13 months. Some cautiously suggest that this talk could provide a breakthrough for the prolonged disputes between the two nations.
Lee Jae-yong: ‘Let’s unlock the future with AI’
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong is trying to enhance AI technologies of the company. His plan is to invite world-renowned experts to its AI forums and establish AI research centers, which will equip Samsung with state of the art technologies. The company announced on Monday that it is being hold its third “Samsung AI Forum 2019” on Monday and Tuesday. This forum brings together eminent AI experts from all across the world to share latest research trends. The first day events are organized by Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology at its building in Seoul’s Seocho District.
Trump voices confidence amid growing support for impeachment
A year away from the 2020 U.S. presidential election, polls are showing grim numbers for President Donald Trump. Yet, Trump has dismissed the results saying that he is “confident” that he will be reelected next year. In a poll by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News released on Sunday, 49 percent of Americans said yes when asked if Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 46 percent said no.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Street Food "Meokbang": Popular Social Media Accounts of Diplomats Conveying the Daily Life of North Korea
Foreign diplomats residing in Pyongyang are actively playing the role of a communication channel conveying the daily life of a closed North Korean society. On November 2, a show on Voice of America (VOA) mentioned that foreign ambassadors were also acting as the press by delivering news from inside North Korea, where information is tightly controlled.
"Do You Know Me?" First Time "Kim Ji-youngs" in the 21st National Assembly
These are the words that Kim Ji-young, the heroine of the novel, Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982, wanted to utter but swallowed when a boy who went to the same private academy tried to hit on her at a bus stop. But the protagonist in the film version of the story was different. These were the words she flung at the men who sarcastically called her a momchung (a newly coined word meaning “mom-bug” referring to mothers who make a scene or act in an outrageous fashion in public), when she jittered after pouring a cup of iced coffee that cost 1,500 won in a cafe.
Maeil Business News Korea ( http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korea’s discount extravaganza revives consumers’ shopping appetite
South Korean consumers who have refrained from spending for most of this year amid the economic downturn finally opened up their wallets to grab great discounts on everything ranging from foods to fashion items, white goods, digital devices and vehicles during the country’s annual shopping bonanza that kicked off Friday.
Korean financial regulators mull tighter control on securities-backed loans at savings banks
South Korean financial regulators are readying to tighten control over securities-backed loans at savings banks over concerns of increased risks to local financial market. According to financial industry sources on Sunday, the Financial Supervisory Service has been looking into 79 savings banks in the country to examine their status on securities-backed lending business. Securities-backed lending refers to making loans using securities such as stocks, convertible bonds, and bonds with warrants, as collateral.
Actresses, stars no longer can be face of soju under new anti-drinking policy in Korea
Korean female celebrities can no longer go on labels of soju and beer bottles as the government becomes wary of the country’s notorious booze habit. The Ministry of Health and Welfare said Monday that it is considering revising the national health promotion act to prohibit liquor makers from using celebrity pictures on the bottles of their products to strengthen its sobriety campaign.
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