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Headlines, March 18, 2019

기사승인 2019.03.18  12:31:05

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The Korean daily media headlines and humor

Monday, March 18, 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.

Moon's job approval rating dips to new low: poll

President Moon Jae-in's job approval rating dropped to a record low last week, a poll showed Monday, apparently on the recent collapse of negotiations between the United States and North Korea on ending the North's nuclear ambitions. In the survey conducted by Realmeter, 44.9 percent of those surveyed said they approved of Moon's job as president, down 1.4 percentage points from a week earlier.

Retirement pension funds log low returns in 2018

Corporate retirement pension funds managed by South Korea's financial firms posted poor returns in 2018 amid low interest rates, market data showed Monday. Most of those retirement pension funds saw their yields hover below the 2 percent mark last year, with the best performer chalking up a return rate of a mere 2.11 percent. Market watchers attributed the low returns to the fact that the bulk of those funds are plans that guarantee principal and interest, and invest in low-yielding vehicles, such as bank deposits, insurance products and state bonds.

Police officer booked for alleged role in snowballing scandal involving K-pop stars

A police officer has been booked for investigation over his alleged involvement in the snowballing sex and corruption scandal centering on a former member of famous K-pop band BIGBANG, police said Sunday. The officer with Gangnam Police Station, which covers Seoul's Gangnam district, where the nightclub partly ran by Seungri of BIGBANG is located, was the first incumbent police officer facing an official charge in connection with the scandal.

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

Seoul Seeks to Revive US-N. Korea Dialogue Before Nuclear Moratorium is Breached

South Korea is seeking to revive the stalled nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang before the current nuclear missile test moratorium is breached. The presidential office in Seoul says it will start dialogue with North Korea in order to revive the talks as White House officials are issuing warnings against the North's possible resumption of nuclear and missile tests. "The discussions can and should continue. I could foresee the president and the chairman (Kim Jong-un) sitting down at some point in the future, but if they were to begin testing again that would be seen as a truly disappointing turn of events." During an interview with "Fox News Sunday," President Donald Trump's acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney warned North Korea against breaking its missile and nuclear test moratorium.

Four Parties Produce Draft for Election Reform Bill

The ruling Democratic Party and three minor opposition parties have produced a draft for an electoral reform bill that would lower the voting age and introduce a revised mixed-member proportional representation system. The National Assembly Political Reform Committee held talks on Sunday and representatives from the four parties reached an agreement on the details of electoral reform.

Sewol Tragedy Memorial Tents Removed After Almost 5 Years

Memorial tents for the 2014 Sewol ferry tragedy located at Seoul’s Gwanghwamun(광화문) Square were removed after nearly five years. The move on Monday came a day after a ceremony was held to move the portraits of 289 victims from the memorial tents to Seoul City Hall where they will remain for the time being. Some 100 people took part in the event, including bereaved family members.

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

Bolton calls N. Korea's threat 'unhelpful,' urges China to do more

While U.S. President Donald Trump stayed silent about North Korea's threat to suspend dialogue and resume provocative acts, his top aides rapped the communist nation for the "unhelpful" move, calling it a potential "breach of trust." "The North Koreans really were unfortunately not willing to do what they needed to do," National Security Adviser John Bolton said in a radio interview that aired Sunday, referring to the unfruitful Hanoi summit between Trump and North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un.

S. Korea, U.S. defense chiefs to meet in Washington next month

The defense chiefs of South Korea and the United States will hold talks in Washington early next month over the security situation on the peninsula and joint peace efforts, Seoul's defense ministry said Monday.The talks between, Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, are likely to touch on such pending issues as the allies' combined military exercises later this year and the envisioned transfer of wartime operational control (OPCON).

S. Korea seeks public participation in 2020 budget

The Ministry of Economy and Finance said Monday that it is accepting public proposals for next year's budget in a move to better cope with social challenges. The ministry set an April 15 deadline to submit budget proposals that people think the government must address to improve quality of life.

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

Parents of jailed celebrity stock analyst found murdered

The parents of Lee Hee-jin, 33, a celebrity stock analyst jailed for illegal stock dealings, were found dead Saturday, police said Monday. The police believe it is a murder case. They took one suspect into custody on Sunday and are now seeking three other suspects. Lee’s father was found in a storage space in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, according to the Anyang Dongan Police Station, and his mother was found at her home in Anyang, Gyeonggi Province.

Police seek Jung Joon-young’s arrest over sex video allegations

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said Monday that it would seek an arrest warrant for K-pop singer Jung Joon-young, 30, on suspicion of secretly recording and distributing sex videos. It would be the first arrest in a case that broke last week with a series of shocking revelations involving Seungri of Big Bang and a close group of his friends. Jung, who has been booked on charges of filming and sharing sex videos without his partner’s consent, was sent home early Monday morning after a five-hour interrogation by the police agency’s special crime squad.

Korea’s peeping Tom dilemma: Are censors getting too much power?

On Feb. 16, a group of young people arrived at Seoul Station to get ready for a protest. Candles and placards were handed out to the participants, who had already begun to fill the street outside the station in downtown Seoul. But there was one stark difference between this protest and so many others in the city: Almost all the participants were men. In fact, there was only one woman in the crowd of 100 or so protesters.

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

44.9%: Moon's approval rating falls to new low

President Moon Jae-in's approval rating dropped to a record low last week, a poll showed Monday, apparently on the recent collapse of negotiations between the United States and North Korea on ending the North's nuclear ambitions. In the survey conducted by Realmeter, 44.9 percent of those surveyed said they approved of Moon's job as president, down 1.4 percentage points from a week earlier. The reading marked the lowest since Moon took office in May 2017. The latest survey was conducted Monday through Friday on 2,517 adults throughout the nation.

N. Korean leader underlines 'independent growth' after Hanoi summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has underlined the need for his country's "independent" economic growth following his failed summit with U.S. President Donald Trump."There is nothing to be done if you only wait for somebody to give you a hand," Pyongyang's state-controlled Rodong Sinmun quoted Kim as saying, Saturday. It is a serious political agenda and a matter of life or death for the North to choose between independent growth and dependence on foreign influence, the propaganda newspaper said.

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

N.Korea Holds Air-Raid Drills

North Korea has been conducting air-raid drills in Pyongyang since last Thursday, after the summit with the U.S. in Hanoi, Vietnam collapsed late last month. The next day, the North's Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui warned the U.S. that the bilateral talks may be suspended. The North also indicated that it may end the moratorium on missile tests that it claims has been in place for more than a year. Radio Free Asia reported Saturday that North Korean authorities had been holding nationwide air-raid drills since Thursday to prepare for a U.S. attack. One source in Ryanggang Province told RFA, "Things had been quiet for a while with no air-raid drills or military exercises, but the drills resumed suddenly and created many difficulties for people."

Deadly Quiet at Inter-Korean Liaison Office

The inter-Korean liaison office is gathering dust as North Korea remains unwilling to contact the South after announcing it would halt denuclearization talks after its summit with the U.S. in Hanoi collapsed last month (US$1=W1,137). The liaison office, which cost South Korea W10 billion to set up in the North Korean border city of Kaesong, was originally intended as a contact point for cross-border dialogue, but there has been no communication between the two sides for some time.

Korea's Household Debt Grows 2nd Fastest in the World

Korea ranks second in the world in terms of the growth of household debt, and the ability of individual debtors to pay back their loans is among the lowest. According to the Bank for International Settlements on Sunday, the ratio of Korea's household debt compared to GDP reached 96.9 percent in the third quarter of 2018, ranking seventh in the world among 43 countries that tally such figures. The pace of growth at 0.9 percentage point is the highest in the world after China's 1.2 percentage points.

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

North Korea’s smartphone industry rapidly on the rise

There are occasional sightings of “smombies” (smartphone users hunched over their phones like zombies) on the streets of Pyongyang. The handheld microcosm has cast a powerful spell over young people in North Korea, just like any other country in the world. Though North Korean users aren’t able to access content outside the country, mobile phones offer a glimpse into how North Korean society is clearly modernizing.

S. Korea’s imports of US crude oil have risen drastically during Trump era

When the Hankyoreh reviewed trade statistics provided by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) on Mar. 12, there was one category in which import value and volume had undergone record-breaking changes since November 2017. This category is No. 270900 according to South Korea’s Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HSK): petroleum and asphalt. This is Korea’s number-one import. US-pumped petroleum imported by Korea between January and October 2017 was worth a total of US$382 million. But Korea purchased US$224 million worth in November and US$119 million worth in December, or US$343 million in just two months.

Chaebol CEOs from chairmen’s families earn up to 35 times more than average employee

Chief executive officers (CEOs) from the ranks of chaebol controlling shareholders (chairmen’s family members) received average compensation equivalent to 35 times the amount paid to regular workers last year, a report calculated. The gap was also found to be growing from year to year, with CEOs from chaebol family earning more than professional manager CEOs. The Economic Reform Research Institute (ERRI) published the findings on Mar. 14 as part of a report analyzing relative compensation for CEOs and employees within companies.

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

Kim Jong Un seeks self-rehabilitation plan amid lasting sanctions

“Nothing will be done if we see others, while just wishing them to help us with something,” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly said. North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun cited his message Saturday to stress the Stalinist country’s self-rehabilitation. After North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui indicated possible suspension of talks with the U.S. on Friday, watchers say that Pyongyang could be preparing for long-term extension of sanctions against the North by the international community.

Over 10,000 pre-orders placed for Hyundai’s all-new 2020 Sonata

Hyundai Motor has received over 10,000 pre-orders for the new Sonata, which is the eighth generation of the mid-sized sedan (DN8). The South Korean carmaker announced Sunday that 10,203 pre-orders have been placed just in five days, which is significant considering that the company sold a monthly average of 5,487 Sonatas last year. Compared to the previous model (seventh generation LF Sonata), the new Sonata has been popular among individual consumers and young people in their 20s, Hyundai said. Individual consumers accounted for 48.9 percent of those who pre-ordered the new Sonata, up 10.9 percent point from those who bought the LF Sonata during the same period for the past five years (38 percent). Also, 14 percent of them were in their 20s, an 8.7 percentage point increase from those who purchased the LF Sonata (5.3 percent).

K-Travel Bus travels across the country

Seoul City’s K-Travel Bus for foreign tourists is soon to travel around the country. The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced Sunday that it will operate bus travel tours across the country from this year. Since 2017, K-Travel Bus has been providing transportation, accommodation, tour guides and cultural experience programs to foreign tourists. There are three types of tours including 4-day and 7-day tour. Previously, there had been only seven two-day programs visiting Seoul or other rural cities. These programs allow travelers to join halfway, which allows foreigners living in rural cities to sign up for a tour.

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

Moon Jae-in's Mediation at a Crossroad: "Solution, Timing, Nothing Is Easy."

After the second summit between North Korea and the United States collapsed, the Moon Jae-in government's "mediation policy" is facing a crisis. North Korea and the U.S. clearly revealed their different perspectives on the method and procedures of denuclearization in the latest summit, leading some experts to conclude that the denuclearization talks have returned to a time before the first summit in Singapore last year. The Moon Jae-in government's plan to drive progress in North Korea-U.S. relations with better inter-Korean relations has also come across a wall, due to lack of cooperation from Washington.

Fast Track” to Isolation: Intentional “Shake-up” by the Liberty Korea Party?

Spring has arrived, but it just does not seem like spring at the National Assembly in Yeouido. During a speech by the negotiating body representatives at the National Assembly on March 12, Liberty Korea Party floor leader Na Kyung-won criticized, "The president of the Republic of Korea is the senior spokesperson for Kim Jong-un," provoking a heated response from the Democratic Party of Korea. This led to fierce confrontation between the ruling and opposition parties. The two parties filed complaints on the leaders of their opposing parties at the parliamentary Ethics Committee on March 13 and exchanged verbal bombs more aggressive than the previous day. The Liberty Korea Party even hinted at the possibility of a boycott on further parliamentary schedules, casting a fog on the March special session.

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

S. Korea bans B737 Max entries to its skies for three months

South Korea has joined other countries to ban Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in the country`s airspace due to safety concerns following two recent fatal accidents involving the Boeing model, the transport ministry said Friday. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said it Thursday issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) to inform pilots and airline operators of its decision to suspend the operation of all variants of the Boeing aircraft from the Korean airspace for the next three months. The notice will restrict any entry of Boeing 737 Max aircraft in Korean airspace until further notice. The current NOTAM is effective from 2:10 pm on March 14 (KST) until 8:59 am on June 15.

USTR requests consultations with S. Korea on competition issue

The U.S. trade authority on Friday requested consultations with South Korea under the U.S.-Korea free trade deal to address the U.S. government’s concerns about competition hearing procedures of a Korean antitrust watchdog. This would be the first time for the two countries to meet for consultations under the Korea-U.S. FTA since the trade pact took effect in 2012. “The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) today requested the first ever consultations with the Republic of Korea under the chapter on Competition-Related Matters of the United States-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement,” the USTR said in a statement on Friday, local time. “Through these consultations, the United States will attempt to resolve concerns regarding procedures in competition hearings held by the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC).”

S. Korean entertainment stocks tank on idol stars’ sex scandal

The K-pop star sex scandal has taken a heavy toll on the country’s entertainment business, shaving combined market capitalization of the country’s big five entertainment stocks by 587 billion won ($517.6 million) less than three weeks. According to the nation’s sole stock exchange operator Korea Exchange (KRX) on Sunday, the combined market value of the country’s five major entertainment companies lost 587 billion won or 17.52 percent to 2.76 trillion won on Friday from 3.35 trillion won on Feb. 25. The five listed firms are YG Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, SM Entertainment, Cube Entertainment, and FNC Entertainment.

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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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