Wednesday, January 28, 2021
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post (http://www.koreapost.com/)
Amb. Ranganathan of India, embassy staff observe Republic Day braving drizzling rain
Passers-by near the Embassy of India in Hannam-dong in Seoul on Jan. 26, 2021 saw a flag-raising ceremony with Ambassador Sripriya Ranganathan of India making some solemn remarks while a number of people respectfully watching her. It was drizzling although it was not that heavy, but all the same Ambassador Ranganathan and her Embassy staffers did not appear to overly mind the drizzling rain although it was not so heavy.
“I convey to our Korean friends the message of friendship from the government, the nation”
Ambassador Saeed Badamchi Shabesori of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Seoul said, “as the ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Republic of Korea, it is my duty to convey to our Korean friends the message of friendship between the Iranian government and the nation.”
At a recent interview with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean news publicaions on the occasion of the “Victory of the Islamic Revolution” on February 11, Ambassador Shabesory said, “The Iranian market is still ready to accept the capital of Korean companies and their products.” Then he added: “Time is limited and our Korean friends are losing their further opportunities in Iran, and I’m sure that if the Korean companies would reconsider their approaches to working with Iran at current period, the Iranian counterparts would welcome them.”
“We mark the Republic Day with enthusiasm, respect for the National Flag, faith in Constitution”
“We celebrate the national festival of the Republic Day with enthusiasm and express our respect for the national flag, and our faith in the Constitution.”
So said President Shri Ram Nath Kovind of India in his address on the Republic Day of India on Jan. 26, 2021.
Excerpts from the speech of President Kovind follow:
Strong Winds, Snow, Cold Snap to Hit S. Korea Thursday
Rain or snow is expected in most parts of the nation on Thursday along with strong typhoon-class wind.
The Korea Meteorological Administration(KMA) forecast that most parts of the nation will see rain or snow during daytime beginning with western regions.
Biden, Suga Affirm Necessity of Complete Denuclearization of Korean Peninsula
U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga have held phone talks and affirmed the need for the "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."
The phone talks, the first between the two leaders since Biden took office a week ago, reportedly lasted for about 30 minutes on early Thursday, Korea time.
S. Korea's Biz Sentiment Rebounds in January
South Korean firms' business sentiment rebounded in January as the third wave of COVID-19 infections eased up.
According to the Bank of Korea(BOK) on Thursday, the business survey index(BSI) for all industries came to 77, up two points from the previous month.
Xi expresses support for Korean denuclearization in phone talks with Moon: Cheong Wa Dae
During the talks, Moon said he hopes Seoul and Beijing can work together to open a trilateral summit between the two countries along with Japan. Xi replied by saying China will strengthen cooperation with South Korea to open the summit at the earliest date, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
Seoul had planned to host the annual summit, held in turns in the three countries, last year, but was unable to do so apparently due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
New infections up over 500 on flare-up in religious community infections
SEOUL, Jan. 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases soared over 500 for the first time in 10 days Wednesday as infections at religious educational facilities flared up this week.
The country added 559 more COVID-19 cases, including 516 locally transmitted infections, raising the total caseload to 76,429, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
Samsung's Q4 net jumps on solid chip biz
SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Co. on Thursday said its fourth-quarter net profit increased 26.4 percent on-year as its chip business posted solid performance amid firm demand despite the weak U.S. dollar.
The world's leading memory chip and smartphone manufacturer said its net income stood at 6.6 trillion won (US$6 billion) in the October-December period, compared with 5.22 trillion won a year earlier.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Moon’s tough job of striking balance between US, China
A phone call between President Moon Jae-in and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping underscored again South Korea’s tough job of striking a delicate balance between the US and China, whose relations enter a new phase under the Joe Biden administration.
The South Korean and Chinese presidents held the phone conversation Tuesday night to discuss a slew of topics ranging from Xi’s delayed visit to Seoul to Moon’s role in the frosty US-North Korea diplomacy and coronavirus response.
Washington could revive four-party, six-party talks with NK under Blinken
Washington could seek the now-defunct four-party or six-party talks with Pyongyang to resolve the nuclear issue with Antony Blinken, a strong advocate of multilateral diplomacy, at the reins of the US State Department, experts said on Wednesday.
Blinken, a long time foreign policy aide to President Joe Biden, was sworn in as the new Secretary of State Tuesday (US time), after being approved by the Senate with a vote of 78-22.
NPS chalks up gains from stock investments in 2020
outh Korea’s state-run pension fund raked in over 58 trillion won ($52.6 billion) from stock investments last year amid a bullish run on the local stock market, data showed Wednesday.
The total amount of shares that the National Pension Service holds in listed companies, of which it owns 5 percent or more, was worth nearly 181.3 trillion won as of Friday. The figure has soared over 57.68 billion won or 46.7 percent from the start of last year, according to corporate tracker CEO Score.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
SsangYong faces receivership as Mahindra-HAAH deal collapses
SsangYong Motor entering court receivership now appears to be inevitable, after the troubled carmaker's largest shareholder, Mahindra & Mahindra, paid off a 30 billion won ($27.15 million) debt it owed.
This is seen as a sign that the Indian auto giant is giving up on its Korean unit, which is in an autonomous restructuring support (ARS) program giving the two time to find new investors and prevent a court-led restructuring process from beginning.
Questions rise over timing of Moon-Xi phone conversation
Chinese President Xi Jinping showed support for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and underlined the importance of diplomacy in nuclear issues, during his first phone call of the year with President Moon Jae-in late Tuesday, according to Cheong Wa Dae, Wednesday.
"Xi said that realizing denuclearization was in line with the common interests of Korea and China, and that China highly assesses and actively supports President Moon's efforts," a presidential source said.
COVID-19 survivors suffering from aftereffects
Some COVID-19 survivors here are suffering from long-term health effects even after they test negative, as not all symptoms of the illness seem to disappear entirely for every patient, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The health authorities announced the interim results, Tuesday, of research on the aftereffects of the coronavirus carried out on 1,050 former patients.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Moon has phone conversation with Xi Jinping ahead of his call with Biden
South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the phone on the evening of Jan. 26 and agreed to work for the success of the South Korea-China year of cultural exchange, which will last from 2021 to 2022.
More notable than the topic of conversation, however, is the question of why Moon would have spoken with Xi so soon before his anticipated phone call with newly inaugurated US President Joe Biden.
Korean conservatives’ overreaction to the White House’s “new strategy” on N. Korea
I sometimes get the feeling that newspaper columnists who write about foreign policy and national security are given too much latitude. While there are relatively clear consequences for inaccurate reporting on domestic issues, government officials often decline to correct obviously inaccurate reports about foreign policy and national security, given the emphasis on secrecy.
Will Biden follow in Trump’s steps by not starting any new wars?
One of the most debatable parts of the legacy of former President Donald Trump is that he didn’t start any new wars. Trump himself played that up in his farewell address on Jan. 19. “I am especially proud to be the first president in decades who has started no new wars,” he said.
It’s true that Trump was the first American president not to go to war since Jimmy Carter, who said during an interview with the Guardian on Sept. 11, 2011, that “we kept our country at peace. We never went to war. We never dropped a bomb. We never fired a bullet.”
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
How Coronavirus Affects Commercial Districts
Commercial districts in the capital are experienced contrasting fates as more and more people telecommute due to the coronavirus epidemic.
In the once-popular shopping and entertainment streets of Itaewon, Gangnam and Hongik University area, visitor traffic has halved, and tourist hotspots like Myeong-dong, Insa-dong and Samcheong-dong are deserted. But convenience stores in dormitory towns are booming.
Recovered Patients Suffer Crippling Long-Term COVID Effects
A significant proportion of recovered coronavirus patients suffer from shortness of breath, fatigue and even hair loss months later, interim results of a study suggest.
The National Medical Center studied 40 recovered coronavirus patients, and almost half said they suffered from fatigue, one-third experienced shortness of breath while exercising and one-fifth hair loss.
Only Young Children to Go Back to School in March
Kindergartens and elementary schools are expected to reopen in March, the Education Ministry said Tuesday amid growing calls from parents for their children to go back to school after almost a year of disruption.
Students in higher grades are expected to split their studies on- and offline.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Jung Pak named deputy assistant secretary for state
Korean-American expert on North Korea and former senior fellow at the Brookings Institute Jung Pak, 47, was named Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs on Tuesday (local time). She will be taking charge of North Korea policies at the U.S. State Department.
“I am excited to announce that I’ve joined @StateDept as Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian & Pacific Affairs,” Pak wrote on her Twitter account. “What an honor to be able to serve the American people again in this new capacity and work with the dream team.”
Kang, Blinken reveal differences in perspective in their first phone call
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had their first telephone conversation on Wednesday after Inaugurated as 46th President of the United States. However, the outcome of the phone conversation announced the two sides revealed subtle differences in perspective. South Korea stressed the two officials agreed that North Korean nuclear issue is an urgent matter to be resolved while the U.S. put emphasis on pressuring China by highlighting the importance of ROK-U.S. alliance and trilateral cooperation among South Korea, the U.S. and Japan in its Indo-Pacific strategy, a strategic concept designed to check China in the region.
Microsoft reports record Q4 earnings driven by cloud sales
Microsoft (MS) reported record fourth-quarter earnings last year. With a global increase of game users and working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company posted higher-than-expected revenue growth.
MS announced on Tuesday (local time) that its fourth-quarter revenue rose 16% to $43.1 billion and net income increased 33% to $15.5 billion. It is the highest quarterly revenue in company history. Those figures exceeded Wall Street’s expectation of net income of $12.6 billion and sales of $40.2 billion.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Guaranteeing Labor Rights: Expanding the Scope of Damages Caused by Sexual Violence
“An issue that requires a more aggressive response in terms of labor rights as well as sexual harassment.” “The perspective from which sexual harassment is viewed should be changed from ‘the level and frequency of sexual words and actions’ to ‘the impact on the employment environment.’” This is the conclusion that the National Human Rights Commission of Korea reached as it determined that the alleged sexual misconduct by the late Park Won-soon, former mayor of Seoul, was sexual harassment on January 25. The investigation by the Human Rights Commission verified the true nature of the sexual violence that law enforcement agencies failed to disclose and expanded our awareness by seeing the victim as a worker, whose right to continue working should be guaranteed.
The Economy Shrunk -1% Last Year, Hanging on with Fiscal Spending
Last year, when COVID-19 swept through the world, the South Korean economy recorded negative growth for the first time in 22 years since the Asian financial crisis. However, exports performed well, growing for the second consecutive quarter. The Bank of Korea forecast the nominal gross national income (GNI) per capita to reach somewhere around US$31,500 in 2020, a decrease from 2019.
Justice Party Leader Kim Jong-cheol Removed from His Position for Sexually Assaulting a Lawmaker
On January 25, Kim Jong-cheol (51, pictured), leader of the Justice Party was removed from his position as party leader for sexually assaulting Jang Hye-young, a lawmaker from the same party. Kim admitted the allegations of sexual assault and expressed his wishes to step down as party leader. This is the first time that the leader of a major political party has been removed from his position due to sexual misconduct. The Justice Party, which has represented minorities and the vulnerable and advocated human rights and gender equality as an established progressive party, will take a critical blow to its morality. A negative impact is expected on future political events, such as the by-elections in April and next year’s presidential election, forcing the party to face the greatest crisis since it was founded nine years ago.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
LG Electronics teams up with Qualcomm to develop 5G connected car platform
LG Electronics Inc. is collaborating with Qualcomm Technologies for the development of a 5G connected car platform, according to industry sources on Wednesday, as the South Korean tech giant is beefing up its presence in the automotive business.
Qualcomm, the world’s No. 1 semiconductor supplier in telematics and wireless car connectivity, announced on Tuesday (U.S. time) that it has commenced the development of 5G technology for next-generation connected cars based on its partnership with LG Electronics and tire maker Continental AG among others.
LG Chem returns to OP in Q4, posts record high annual sales in 2020
South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd. posted record high annual sales in 2020 thanks to the strong performance of its battery business unit and soaring demand for petrochemical products in the latter half of last year.
In its regulatory filing on Wednesday, LG Chem announced its consolidated operating profit for the October to December period last year totaled 673.6 billion won ($609.8 million), down 25.3 percent from the previous quarter but swinging to profit from operating loss a year ago.
Kia reports 7-year strongest 4Q and best-ever top line for 2020
Korea’s second largest automaker Kia Corp. posted seven-year best results for the quarter ended December as it upscales with its bigger sibling Hyundai Motor with greater focus on SUVs and green vehicles.
In its regulatory filing on Wednesday, Kia said its consolidated operating profit for the fourth quarter reached 1.28 trillion won ($1.16 billion), soaring 556.5 percent from a quarter ago and 117 percent from a year earlier. It was its best quarterly performance after the second quarter of 2013.
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