Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post (http://www.koreapost.com/)
“My appeal is a generalization of the popular opinion, hopes and aspirations of our citizens”
The following article was provided by the Embassy of Kyrgyzstan in Seoul to The Korea Post media for publication—publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985.—Ed. Dear Kyrgyzstanis! Dear compatriots living far from their homeland, from the snowy peaks of Ala-Too!
Today, by the will of fate, I stand in front you, having signed the basic law – the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic!
I appeal to each of you, to all the sons and daughters of our people, from young to old!
We have witnessed events that threaten the territorial integrity and security of Kyrgyzstan. All necessary measures were taken to preserve peace and stability. I would like to express my deepest condolences to the families of the victims and those injured in these events.
“President of Azerbaijan realizes the aspirations, ideals of the people, boosts prestige in the world”
“Today, the Republic of Azerbaijan under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev as an independent, sovereign and democratic country, brings into reality the aspirations and ideals of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic with its good and effective management, socio-economic and human capital development as well as its growing role and prestige in international relations." So said Ambassador Ramzi Teymurov of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Seoul at an exclusive interview with The Korea Post media, 36 years old this year and publishing 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications.
Then said Ambassador Teymurov, “If the founders of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic were alive, they would have been proud of today’s Republic of Azerbaijan
Major Latvian film festival to open in Busan and Daegu on May 16-17
On the occasion of Latvia-Korea 30-year anniversary of the establishment of the Diplomatic Relations, the first major Latvian Film Festival is to be screened in Busan and Daegu from May 15 to May 16. According to the Embassy of Latvia in Seoul, this event marks the first time in history that eight different Latvian movies will be simultaneously available to the Korean public. Overall, this festival offers free entrance and contains eight different cinematographic works –three feature films and five animations, displaying the variety of Latvian cinema.
Biden: US will Send 20 Million More Vaccine Doses to Other Countries
U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday that the United States will ship 20 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses to other countries by the end of next month. Biden said in a brief speech at the White House that his country will send an additional 20 million doses of vaccines that have been approved for use in the United States, which means the U.S. will send 80 million doses total overseas over the next six weeks. The 20 million doses are expected to be from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
President Moon Holds Televised News Conference Marking Four Years in Office
Marking four years in office on Monday, President Moon Jae-in held a televised news conference, introducing the blueprint for the remaining year of his term. He discussed his economic plan, the goal to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19 before November and North Korea.
President Moon Jae-in marked the beginning of his last year in office with a public address on Monday, saying his focus is now on creating a new future beyond the COVID-19 crisis. On the economic front, his blueprint calls for achieving four-percent economic growth.
KDCA Chief: COVID-19 May Be Impossible to Eradicate with Vaccination
Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency(KDCA) Commissioner Jeong Eun-kyeong has admitted the possibility COVID-19 could become endemic. In an online media briefing on Thursday, Jeong said that the virus may not be an infectious disease that can be rooted out with just one or two vaccinations as in the case of smallpox and polio, but one that can break out every year at least for the time being. She said COVID-19 can continue creating variants that cause sporadic waves of infections.
Moon says COVID-19 vaccine issue to be addressed in his upcoming U.S. visit
President Moon Jae-in articulated his resolve Monday to bear fruit in efforts to cement a COVID-19 vaccine partnership with the United States during his visit there later this week. Moon was referring to his plan to hold summit talks with President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday (local time), speaking at a weekly meeting with his senior Cheong Wa Dae aides. "I will use this visit to the U.S. as an opportunity to strengthen cooperation on vaccines and (for South Korea) to move toward the goal of becoming a global hub for vaccine production," the president said in front of pool reporters.
Biden says U.S. will send up to 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines overseas by end June
The United States will provide up to 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to other countries by the end of next month, President Joe Biden said Monday, reiterating his pledge to turn his country into an "arsenal" of vaccines for the entire world. The president noted the number of vaccine doses to be sent overseas will be five times higher than those provided by any other country. "This means over the next six weeks, the United States of America will send 80 million doses overseas. That represents 13 percent of the vaccine produced by the United States by the end of June," Biden said, adding his country will send an additional 20 million doses of vaccines that have been approved for use in the United States.
Moon instructs new PM to swiftly decide principle of housing policy changes
President Moon Jae-in on Monday instructed his new prime minister to swiftly decide on the principle of housing policy, amid discussions between the administration and the ruling party, in order to prevent chaos in the highly sensitive property market. The president issued the instruction to Kim Boo-kyum, who was inaugurated as prime minister on Friday, during their first regular weekly meeting at Cheong Wa Dae. Moon underscored the importance of a quick decision to avoid "confusion in terms of real estate measures in the field," presidential spokesperson Park Kyung-mee said.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Will Samsung’s $17b US investment be enough to survive chip race?
The race to outpace competitors with massive capacity expansions is intensifying among global chip manufacturers and the time for Samsung Electronics to announce its own investment plans is approaching. While South Korea is pinning its hopes on Samsung, the world’s No. 1 memory player, to announce massive investments as early as this week, the market is paying close attention to the size of its spending commitment and whether it will be enough for the Korean chipmaker to maintain its presence in the global chip market.
Seoul to announce regulatory relief for supply of new homes
New measures to expedite housing redevelopment projects and deter real estate speculation are among a raft of policies currently in the works, Seoul’s mayor said on Monday, as the city looks to supply 240,000 new housing units by 2025 to combat rising home prices. In a meeting with reporters Monday, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said his ambition to relieve regulatory pressure on reconstruction and renovation projects on real estate properties in the city remains “unfazed,” as his office is preparing to announce the new measures in coming weeks.
Tired of waiting, some Koreans mull COVID-19 shot trip to the US
Some Koreans awaiting a COVID-19 vaccine are now wondering if they can take a vacation to the US to get inoculated. Rocky Kim, who runs a travel agency in Alaska, said he has had a deluge of inquiries from people in Korea about its recently debuted tour package that includes getting Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. “Here vaccinations are also offered to people who aren’t citizens or residents,” he said. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said in an April 16 tweet that “any tourist” coming to Alaska this summer will be able to get a vaccine free of charge at major airports.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Seoul wants Washington to reaffirm Singapore agreement during summit
The South Korean government is seeking to use this week's summit between President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Joe Biden as a vehicle to revive its North Korea diplomacy and facilitate inter-Korean peace talks, according to government sources and experts, Monday. In doing so, Seoul is looking to send a message to North Korea through a joint statement to be announced after the Moon-Biden summit, hoping this will include the Biden administration's reaffirmation of the 2018 Singapore agreement between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Biden's predecessor Donald Trump, or an end-of-war declaration.
US-China row pressing Korean firms on investment
The Biden America is committed to forming distinctively anti-China supply chains jointly with allies to protect key industries that it sees as critical for national security. This means Samsung, Hyundai, LG and SK have to be diplomatically sensitive to prevent China from assuming they are a part of the anti-China alliance, according to analysts, Monday. The four will send their respective business executives to the U.S. with President Moon Jae-in this week as part of the "unofficial economic delegation." They accordingly plan to announce large-scale investment plans at the time of the first Korea-U.S. summit on May 21, the total amount of which would reach some 40 trillion won ($35.2 billion).
Israel strikes kill 42 in Gaza as UN head urges halt to conflict
Israeli strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily toll in almost a week of deadly clashes, as UN Security Council talks fizzled despite global alarm at the escalating conflict. Israeli warplanes continued to pummel the Palestinian enclave overnight Sunday to Monday, carrying out dozens of air strikes across the densely populated territory in just a few minutes and causing power cuts, AFP journalists said. The Israeli army said in the first hours of Monday its fighter jets were "striking terror targets in the Gaza Strip".
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
COVID Made Korea's Demographic Woes Worse
Korea's birthrate is at the risk of falling drastically as a result of the coronavirus lockdown and only exacerbate the aging of its population and dwindling of human resources, experts warned at a forum Thursday. At the forum by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs and the Population Association of Korea, demographers warned that a population shock is now all but inevitable. They pointed out that the average age of first marriage has increased by 0.7 years and the number of women planning to have children has dropped by 10 percentage points in lockdown.
Variant COVID Infections Near 2,500 Cases
According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, the number of cases with the U.K., Brazilian and South African variants stood at 808 as of Tuesday, up from 632 the previous week, while another 1,089 people are suspected of being infected after coming into contact with carriers. Another 576 people have tested positive for the Californian and Indian variants, raising the total even further to 2,473.
Moon Marks 4th Year in Office
President Moon Jae-in delivered a special address to mark his fourth year in office at 11:00 a.m. Monday. In the televised speech, Moon reflected on the past four years and explained how he plans to govern in his final year in office. He touched on all the major issues including COVID-19 vaccinations, economic recovery and skyrocketing real estate prices. He then took questions from reporters, only 20 of whom were admitted due to coronavirus restrictions. Moon promised to focus "all efforts" on solving these issues in a "steady and cautious" way, adding that the remaining year is as important as the last four.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
S. Korea, US, Japan are planning trilateral summit at G7 next month, media reports
South Korea, the US, and Japan are reportedly seeking to arrange a summit to coincide with the G7 meeting that will be held in the UK next month. South Korea and Japan are also exploring the possibility of a bilateral summit of their own. Kyodo News cited multiple sources Saturday as saying that South Korea, the US, and Japan have begun planning a trilateral summit in Cornwall, in southwestern England, where the G7 summit is scheduled to take place on June 11-13.
S. Korean NIS director delivers Moon’s message to Suga
Park Jie-won, director of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, met with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga while visiting Japan for a trilateral meeting with his American and Japanese counterparts. Park reportedly conveyed a verbal message from South Korean President Moon Jae-in during his meeting with Suga. A key official from South Korea’s ruling Democratic Party told the Hankyoreh over the phone Thursday about Park’s meeting with Suga the previous day.
N. Korea "well received" US offer to explain its new N. Korea policy
North Korea has reportedly said it "well received" the US offer to explain the outcome of its North Korea policy review, according to South Korean media. The proposal, if true, paves the foundation for a more formal invitation that the US will extend through diplomatic channels within the next few days. White House press secretary Jen Psaki unveiled the framework for a new North Korea policy on April 30, "a calibrated, practical approach" that is open to diplomacy, with the future aim of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
U.S. CDC’s mask guidance sparks confusion
The United States is still experiencing the aftermath of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) announcement that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear a mask in certain indoor settings. With many pointing out that it was a rash decision bringing people’s guard down, some argue that the announcement by the CDC was motivated by political pressure. The Washington Post reported that some people believe the CDC’s announcement was a political success for the Biden administration since the announcement came when the market was fluctuating due to fears of inflation.
Moon vows to make Korea global hub of vaccine production
“I will take this visit as an opportunity to strengthen cooperation with the United States and make Korea a global hub of vaccine production,” said South Korean President Moon Jae-in about the summit meeting between Seoul and Washington scheduled on Friday. This is the first time that President Moon has pointed out Covid-19 vaccine cooperation as one of the main agenda of the upcoming summit meeting with the U.S.
An Alzheimer’s patient gets vaccinated twice in a day
A report came up that an Alzheimer’s patient in his 80s was vaccinated twice in a day for Covid-19. According to the city government of Gwangju, a 85-year-old man received a Pfizer jab at a local disease prevention center at around 9:55 a.m. in the morning. After vaccination, he spent 15 minutes checking for any sign of adverse reactions before leaving the center. But he came back at 10:23 a.m., 28 minutes after the first shot, claiming that he did not receive a jab.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Biden Narrowly Ahead in U.S. Election: His Tasks and Policies on the Korean Peninsula
Democratic candidate Joe Biden is currently ahead in the U.S. presidential election. According to the U.S. press on the morning of November 5 (local time), Biden has secured 264 of the electoral votes and is expected to have no problem obtaining the 270 votes necessary to win the election. Thus the unilateral state administration by President Donald Trump, which had given the world a hard time the last four years, is likely to make an exit. During the campaign, Biden put a distance between himself and Trump’s “America first,” anti-globalization, protective trade, and anti-immigration policies and pledged to restore a liberal international order. We expect Biden to return the U.S. to normalcy according to the wishes of the international community.
Employment Extension: The Right Direction, But Many Obstacles Ahead
President Moon Jae-in said, “It is time we begin reviewing the extension of employment.” On Tuesday, the president received a report from the Ministry of Employment and Labor and instructed the ministry to extend the economic activities of senior citizens in response to the rapidly decreasing productive population (ages 15-64). This drew attention to the Japanese “continuing-employment policy,” which the government announced it would review beginning 2022 last September. This policy obligates companies to extend the employment of its workers to a certain age even after the legal retirement age of sixty, giving companies the option to choose from re-hiring the worker, extending the retirement age, or abolishing the retirement age altogether. The government does not legally stipulate the extension of the retirement age or impose penalties, but encourages companies to delay retirement by adjusting government support.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
SK, LG energy, Samsung Elec heads to join Moon to his first summit with Biden
Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group and new chief of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), and Kim Jong-hyun, president of LG Energy Solution, will be among business tycoons accompanying South Korean President Moon Jae-in on his first summit with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington next week. According to sources from the conglomerate circle on Wednesday, the Blue House is finalizing the list for Moon’s business delegation ahead of the Korea-U.S.
Korea vows to build world’s largest semiconductor supply chain by 2030
South Korea has unveiled a bold plan to build the world’s biggest semiconductor supply chain by 2030 by attracting more than 510 trillion won ($450 billion) investment from the private chip sector including Samsung Electronics and SK hynix with the state’s generous tax incentives and relaxed regulations. The plan called "K-Semiconductor Belt" announced by President Moon Jae-in during his visit to Samsung Electronics’ chip production base in Pyeongtaek on Thursday aims to sharpen Korea’s competitive edge in the global semiconductor industry and localize key chip materials and equipment supplies with major semiconductor companies and their suppliers working in clusters amid a global chip shortage.
Korean pres vows over 4% growth this year, consider public voice in Samsung’s Lee pardon
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, now with just a year left in his five-year term, vowed to achieve over 4 percent economic growth by the end of the year and softened on his conviction of withholding presidential pardons of business tycoons in case of Jay Y. Lee, chief of Samsung Group and Samsung Electronics. “The government will do upmost to achieve an annualized economic growth of over 4 percent this year,” Moon said Monday in a televised press conference marking his fourth year in office and outlining work in his final year.
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