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Headlines, March 14, 2019

기사승인 2019.03.14  10:44:10

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The Korean daily media headlines and humor

Thursday, March 14, 2019

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

The Korea Post media (www.koreapost.com) in English, (www.koreapost.co.kr) in Korean.

Leaders of S. Korea, Malaysia pledge to conclude FTA talks this year

The leaders of South Korea and Malaysia agreed on Mar. 13, 2019 to launch negotiations toward a bilateral free trade agreement and push for their conclusion before the year's end. On the second day of his visit to Kuala Lumpur, President Moon Jae-in held a summit with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to discuss ways to expand the countries' cooperation and exchanges.

USFK chief dismisses worries about scaled-back allied exercise

U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) Commander Gen. Robert Abrams has dismissed concerns that the apparent downsizing of combined exercises with South Korea will weaken the allies' readiness against North Korean threats. "You can sleep well tonight knowing that the combined force is ready," Abrams said during an exclusive interview with Yonhap News Agency on Mar. 13, 2019, making his first public assessment of the new Dong Maeng exercise that closed the previous day.

Gov't clings to minimum wage framework despite backlash

The government decided Monday to partially amend a revised labor statute regarding the calculation of minimum wage, dismissing most complaints from businesses in a sign of reaffirming its drive for policies intended to boost incomes. The Cabinet was originally set to pass the revised legislation designed to add paid time off to the calculation of minimum wage, starting from next year.

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

Pompeo Holds Out Hope for N. Korea's Denuclearization

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said North Korea has stopped testing missiles and nuclear weapons and the U.S. believes it can continue to maintain this state. The State Department said on Wednesday that Pompeo made the remarks during an interview with a local broadcaster in Houston, Texas. Pompeo noted North Korea has stopped testing missiles and nuclear weapons since late 2017 and that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un committed to refrain from further tests at his last meeting with President Donald Trump in Hanoi last month.

Pres. Moon to Visit Cambodia Thursday

President Moon Jae-in will visit Cambodia on Thursday for the last leg of his three-nation tour. The president will head to Phnom Penh for a three-day state visit after attending a Korea-Malaysia business forum. On Friday, Moon will attend a welcoming ceremony hosted by King Norodom Sihamoni and hold a summit with Prime Minister Hun Sen to discuss ways to expand cooperation in agriculture, infrastructure and other fields.

Husband of SMEs Minister Nominee Paid Income Tax Late

The husband of small and medium-sized enterprises(SMEs) and startups minister nominee Park Young-sun failed to pay his income taxes on time ahead of Park's parliamentary confirmation hearing. Rep. Park, a member of the ruling Democratic Party, was nominated to lead the SMEs and startups ministry last week as part of the government's latest cabinet reshuffle. KBS has found that Park's husband paid over 24 million won in general income taxes belatedly late last month and on Tuesday, a day before a motion requesting Park's confirmation hearing was submitted.

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

Gov't to extend credit card use tax deduction for 3 years

The government has decided to extend a temporary tax deduction for credit card use for another three years, a ruling party lawmaker said Wednesday. The decision was reached at a closed-door meeting between officials from the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the ruling Democratic Party and the presidential office, said Kim Chung-woo, a lawmaker of the parliamentary committee on economy and finance.The tax deduction on credit card use had been slated to be phased out at the end of this year, but the plan has touched off strong protests among ordinary people as it has become one of the biggest sources of tax refunds a household can look forward to every year.

N. Korea apparently near to completing physical restoration of missile site: Seoul

South Korea's defense ministry on Wednesday said that the physical restoration of North Korea's rocket launch site on the west coast is apparently almost complete. In a report to a ruling party lawmaker, the ministry said that it is unclear whether the Dongchang-ri test site is functionally back to normal as reported by media outlets last week. "It is understood that the restoration of external facilities at the site has been almost completed, but their functional recovery has yet to be confirmed," the defense ministry was quoted as saying by Rep. Kim Byung-kee of the Democratic Party.

Singer Jung Joon-young admits to sex video charges

Singer Jung Joon-young on Wednesday admitted to having secretly filmed sex videos of women he slept with and sharing them with fellow entertainers, vowing to halt all activities in show business. "I admit to all of my sins," the 30-year-old K-pop star said in a statement. "I filmed women without their consent, shared the videos in a SNS group chat and did such behavior without feeling any sense of guilt." He then apologized to the victims of his wrongdoings.

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

Unification minister nominee’s social media posts to be bone of contention at confirmation hearing

Unification minister nominee Kim Yeon-chul is expected to focus on taking back or explaining his past remarks on social media at the parliamentary confirmation hearing scheduled for March 26. Kim stepped down as chief of the state-run think tank the Korea Institute for National Unification on Friday following his nomination as the minister in charge of inter-Korean affairs, replacing Cho Myoung-gyon.

Calls grow for lower minimum wage for foreign workers

The season has come again for South Korea to begin grueling negotiations to set the minimum wage for the next year. This time, the debate involves calls for a lower minimum wage for low-skilled migrant workers. “When migrant workers first start work here, they can only do 70 percent of what Koreans do. It takes more than one year for them to get used to Korean culture, language and work,” said Lee Ahn-kyu, who runs a foundry plant that employs 23 workers in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province. “Should I still pay them the same amount I pay Koreans? It is unfair for the Korean workers,” said Lee, who has eight foreign workers on his payroll. “For a month of work, foreign workers earn what they could spend back home for a year. Isn’t the gap a bit too much?”

Maintaining US-N. Korea dialogue momentum crucial: Foreign Ministry

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday it expects tangible progress in North Korea’s complete denuclearization and the establishment of a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula with follow-up efforts that will seek to overcome the setback in talks between Washington and Pyongyang in February. The announcement came as part of the ministry’s work plans for 2019, submitted to Cheong Wa Dae and the Office for the Government Policy Coordination late last month.

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

Trump grounds Boeing 737 MAX planes after Ethiopian crash

The U.S. is issuing an emergency order Wednesday grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft "effective immediately," in the wake of the crash of an Ethiopian Airliner that killed 157 people, President Donald Trump said. Many nations had already barred the Boeing 737 Max 8 from its airspace, but until Trump's announcement, the Federal Aviation Administration had said that it didn't have any data to show the jets are unsafe. Trump cited "new information" that had come to light in the ongoing investigation into the incident. He did not elaborate.

Ruling party seeks discipline for opposition floor leader

The ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) referred Liberty Korea Party (LKP) floor leader Rep. Na Kyung-won to the National Assembly Ethics Committee, Wednesday, over "insulting" remarks she made about President Moon Jae-in. The move comes one day after Na described President Moon as the "chief spokesman" for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a speech at the Assembly while criticizing his policy toward North Korea. In a petition submitted to the committee, the DPK demanded stern disciplinary measures against Na, including depriving her of her Assembly seat. However, this would require support from the LKP.

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

Spending on After-School Classes Soars to New Record

Spending on private after-school classes for youngsters has hit a new record as the public education system shows no sign of emerging from its chronic stupor. Spending on crammers has risen for three years running even though public schools have fewer pupils to prepare for adult life due to the low birthrate. According to the Education Ministry on Tuesday, the per-capita amount of money spent on private crammers last year reached a record 291,000 a month, up seven percent compared to 2017 (US$1=W1,130).

Japan Mulls Retaliation Over Forced Labor Ruling

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso on Tuesday warned of retaliation against Koreans over the Supreme Court's recent decision here to seize the assets of Japanese businesses who refused to compensate victims of forced labor. Aso threatened to ban money transfers to and from Korea and stop visas for Koreans. According to Kyodo News, Aso told the Diet on Tuesday, "I believe various retaliatory measures will take place, including the cessation of money transfers and visa issuances in addition to tariffs. We are holding talks at a stage just prior to that level and need to take adequate measures." But he added, "We are working hard so that the retaliatory measures will not be necessary."

Lotte to Sell off Food Business in China

Lotte is poised to sell off its food manufacturing business in China after getting rid of its supermarkets there. A source at Lotte said Tuesday, "We have decided to shut down some factories run by Lotte Confectionery and Lotte Chilsung Beverage" in China. Lotte was hard hit by a Chinese boycott after it made a site available in Korea for the U.S. to station a a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery. Due to plunging revenues and government chicanery it shut down its supermarkets and is in the process of closing down its department stores there. Its department store in Tianjin will shut down at the end of this month, leaving only three in the world's most populous country.

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

Biegun adopts hardline “hard-or-nothing” approach on North Korea’s denuclearization

US State Department Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, the top US envoy to the North Korea-US denuclearization talks, advocated a hardline approach toward the North that rules out incremental denuclearization. Though Biegun had been regarded as an enthusiastic advocate of dialogue, he has come around to the position held by “ultra-hawk” John Bolton, the White House’s National Security Advisor. Now that the US administration has aligned itself around the “all-or-nothing approach,” concerns are being raised about a prolongation of the deadlock that followed the failure of the second North Korea-US summit to reach a joint agreement.

US hinted at reversal in position 1 week before Hanoi summit

US State Department Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun’s public endorsement of an all-or-nothing approach to North Korea on Mar. 11 shows that the US administration has aligned itself around a hardline stance. The shift to a tougher position became clear after the breakdown of negotiations in the second North Korea-US summit, but in retrospect, trouble could be seen to be brewing as early as a week before the Hanoi summit.

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

N. Korea builds an ICBM base at border with China

Evidence of North Korea dispersing nuclear and missile facilities to civilian facilities, and building an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) base on the North’s northern border area with China in preparation for the United States’ “decapitation attack” has been revealed. The Sanctions Committee on North Korea under the UN Securities Council revealed on an Annual Report on Tuesday (local time) that “Nuclear and missile program of North Korea remain intact,” and presented relevant materials. This implies the possibility of North Korea developing and concealing nuclear weapons and missiles continuously despite discussions on denuclearization last year.

The Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall reopens after renovation

The Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall at Harbin Station in Heilongjiang Province, China will reopen on March 26, the day of the independence fighter’s death, after undergoing a renovation to expand its size. It has been two years since the Memorial Hall was suddenly closed in March 2017 due to the reconstruction of the Harbin station. A sign informing that the site is where Ahn shot dead Hirobumi Ito on October 26, 1909, will be restored as well.

Trump says Boeing 737 Max planes are too complated

While concerns are rising over the safety of the “Boeing 737 Max 8,” the latest model of Boeing in the wake of two accidents for the past five months that took the lives of all passengers, U.S. President Donald Trump pointed out that “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly.” The president wrote on his Twitter on Tuesday that “I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of the plane!”

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

KT&G's Overseas Investment Fund of 59 Billion Won Went to a Tax Haven when MB Was in Office

In 2011 when the Lee Myung-bak (MB) government was in office, KT&G made a payment to acquire the management rights of an Indonesian tobacco company. However, we confirmed that of the payment $51.7 million (approximately 59 billion won) went to a tax haven. Although the capital base of the tobacco company was fully eroded as of the end of 2013, KT&G continued to invest a total of 250 billion won for six years until 2017 for the purpose of acquiring and managing shares. More allegations were raised because the time of KT&G's acquisition of the tobacco company coincided with an export agreement for next-generation advanced trainers with Indonesia--something that former President Lee Myung-bak boasted as a feat in sales diplomacy.

North Korea Is 80% Responsible in Raising Bolton

The Hanoi summit between North Korea and the United States reminded me of Sisyphus, a figure in Greek mythology, who was forced to push a heavy rock up a steep hill for having deceived the gods. When the large rock reaches the top, it rolls back down, forcing Sisyphus to forever repeat his punishment. The negotiations between North Korea and the U.S. suddenly crashed to the bottom just when it was about to reach the top. President Moon Jae-in had even been referred to as Han Xin, who crawled between the legs of Xiang Yu, for his efforts to make the second summit happen. But what is more disappointing is that we have lost a precious opportunity for peace on the Korean Peninsula. We cannot stop here. Because the moment we stop, our fate will once again fall into the hands of others.

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

Korea adds jobs at fastest rate in 13 mos in Feb on jump in state-led hiring

South Korea added the highest number of jobs in 13 months in February primarily thanks to state-sponsored rural and construction projects that offered precarious jobs to senior age group. According to employment data released by Statistics Korea on Wednesday, the number of employed stood at 26,346,000, up 263,000 from a year earlier. The on-year gain is the highest since January last year.

S. Korean President Moon to meet foreign biz leaders for the first time

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet with heads of foreign companies doing business in Korea, the first time he is reaching out to foreign businesses during his nearly two years in office. About 40 executives from foreign corporations would be invited to the Blue House for talks with the president on Mar. 28, according to business industry sources. Since early this year, Moon has held a series of get-togethers with local business leaders from major conglomerates to small enterprises and startups in an effort to personally hear the challenges facing the corporate sector. This is the first time for him to extend such an invitation to foreign companies.

Seoul to expedite infrastructure construction to aid economy and jobs

The South Korean government will expedite large-scale infrastructure projects worth a total 17.5 trillion won ($15.5 billion) funded with private capital to aid jobs and economy, the ministry of economy and finance said Wednesday. During economy-related cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Hong Nam-ki, deputy prime minister for the economy and finance minister, announced government directions to propel private investment projects. Under the plan, the government will license early construction of 13 large-scale private investment projects worth 12.6 trillion won by moving up the period from after 2020 to this year. The move comes as part of efforts to contribute to boosting national ailing economy by swiftly promoting large-scale transportation projects that have been delayed due to environmental effects evaluation and resident complaints.

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What’s ticking around the world at this second?
See what the world media around the world have to report:

USA Today www.usatoday.com aallman@gannett.com
The New York Times www.nytimes.com inytletters@nytimes.com
Wall Street Journal www.wsj.com support@wsj.com, service@wsj-asia.com
Financial Times www.ft.com ean@ft.com
The Times www.thetimes.co.uk help@timesplus.co.uk
The Sun www.thesun.co.uk talkback@the-sun.co.uk
Chinese People's Daily www.people.com.cn kf@people.cn
China Daily www.chinadaily.com.cn circulation@chinadaily.com.cn
GwangmyeongDaily www.gmw.cn webmaster@gmw.cn
Japan's Yomiuri www.yomiuri.co.jp japannews@yomiuri.com
Asahi www.asahi.com customer-support@asahi.com
Mainichi www.mainichi.jp
Le Monde www.ilemonde.com
Italy LaRepubblica www.quotidiano.repubblica.it vittorio.zucconi@gmail.com
Germany Frankfurter AllgemeineZeitung www.faz.net anzeigen.ausland@faz.de
SüddeutscheZeitung www.sueddeutsche.de forum@sueddeutsche.de
Australia Brisbane Times www.brisbanetimes.com.au syndication@fairfaxmedia.com.au
Sydney Morning Herald http://www.smh.com.au
Colombia Reports http://colombiareports.com
Bogota Free Planet http://bogotafreeplanet.combfp@bogotafreeplanet.com
El Universal http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english
Andes http://www.andes.info.ec/en
Ecuador Times http://www.ecuadortimes.net
The Jordan Times https://www.jordantimes.com
LSM.lv http://www.lsm.lv/en
The Baltic Times http://www.baltictimes.com lithuania@baltictimes.com, estonia@baltictimes.com, editor@baltictimes.com
El Pais http://elpais.com/elpais/inenglish.html
Philippine Daily Inquirer https://www.inquirer.net
Daily News Hungary http://dailynewshungary.com
Budapest Times http://budapesttimes.hu
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The Korea Post is running video clips from the different embassies.
Azerbaijan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR8CBpcQ4WM
Sri Lanka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hByX92Y2aGY&t=22s
Morocco: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfFmp2sVvSE
And many other countries.
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Lee Kyung-sik edt@koreapost.com

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