Thursday, May 27, 2021
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post (http://www.koreapost.com/)
“We welcome Korean companies to invest in our agriculture, healthcare, many other areas”
“We hope that Korean companies will make active investment in agriculture and healthcare industries in the United Arab Emirates,” said Ambassador Abdulla Saif Al Nuaimi of the UAE in Seoul at a recent interview with The Korea Post media. In an exclusive interview with the Korea Post media, owner and publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news media publications since 1985, Amb. Al Nuaimi said, “UAE is the center of world connecting Asia, Africa and Europe. Accordingly, Korean companies can expand their global trade business through the UAE.” President Moon Jae-in (right) of the Republic of Korea and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates shake hands with each other at the ROK-UAE Summit Conference in Seoul on Feb. 27, 2019 “At present, many Korean companies and hospitals, including Seoul National University Hospital and KEPCO, are doing business in the capital Abu Dahbi, Dubai and other cities,” said Amb. Al Nuaimi. Noting that the Dubai Expo is scheduled to be held from Oct. 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 under the topic of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” the ambassador said, “KOTRA plans to build and operate the Korean Pavilion for the Dubai Expo. We hope that many Korean food, healthcare and medicine companies will participate in the international Expo.”
President Moon shows many signs of turning back to the right from a somewhat progressive stance
President Biden and I had candid conversations like old friends as we spent several hours together for the ceremony to award the Medal of Honor to a Korean War veteran as well as at the one-on-one and expanded summits. We confirmed that our interests and commitments are the same on many issues, including the enhancement of democracy, inclusive growth, the broadening of the middle class and climate change responses. In particular, we reaffirmed the robustness of the ROK-U.S. alliance and our shared vision of making our alliance even stronger. I am convinced that the trust built between President Biden and me during my visit to the United States this time will deepen friendship between our two peoples and serve as a solid foundation for supporting the steady advancement of the ROK-U.S. alliance.
The most urgent task that our two countries must achieve together is to bring complete denuclearization and permanent peace to the Korean Peninsula. Some time ago, the Biden Administration completed its North Korea policy review. I welcome the Administration setting a direction for its North Korea policy that seeks diplomacy with the North through realistic and practical approaches based on what have been agreed upon, including the joint statement at the Singapore Summit.
“I want to export a lot of goods from Korea to the world”
Many people ponder the life they pursue as they live. Among them, I think the thing that comes to mind first is how to live—and how to live well, in good health. No one knows how long the global COVID-10 will continue in Korea and in the world. During such a period of difficulty, the Korea Mask Industry Association came in when the Korean people were curious about the status of masks, the most basic and important personal quarantine item against the fast-spreading contagious disease almost in all parts of the world. Jung Tae Hoon, auditor of Neo International Mask Factory (left), Chairman Suk Ho-gil of Korea Mask Industry Association (center), and Secretary General Choi Hyang-Joo (right) are taking a commemorative photo prior to the interview. The Korea Post media recently interviewed Chairman Suk Ho-gil of the Korea Mask Industry Association, who took a particular interest in the preservation and health of the Korean people and all the peoples around the world. Excerpts from the interview follow: From an association of small businesses to an association of mask-makers: Seeing a lot of things are happening since the COVID virus, which started in December 2019, I thought that in the future, humanity will suffer from various harmful bacteria and viruses. Nevertheless, Republic of Korea (south) had been wearing some masks long before the coronavirus outbreak.
Due to heavy metal fine dust and yellow dust, the daily life in Korea has had the need of using masks or air purifiers. Now use of them has become essential rather than optional.
S. Korea's Intelligence Chief Arrives in New York
South Korea's intelligence chief has arrived in the United States for meetings, following President Moon Jae-in's recent trip to Washington for a summit with U.S. President Joe Biden. National Intelligence Service(NIS) Director Park Jie-won arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York at around 11 a.m. Wednesday. Park left the airport without answering reporters asking about the purpose of his trip. Park's visit comes after a summit between Moon and Biden at the White House last week, where the leaders agreed to take a diplomatic and pragmatic approach to North Korean issues. Park is likely to meet with U.S. officials to discuss ways to engage North Korea and bring the country back to the dialogue table. Park is expected to meet Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns and other officials. He could also meet with Sung Kim, the new U.S. special representative for North Korea.
COVID-19 Vaccination for People Aged 65 to 74 Begins
Starting Thursday, senior citizens aged 65 to 74 and people with chronic respiratory diseases can receive their first COVID-19 vaccinations. According to the state vaccine task force, five-point-14 million senior citizens and around eight-thousand with chronic illnesses will begin to receive AstraZeneca shots at some 12-thousand-800 medical facilities nationwide on Thursday. From June 7, those aged between 60 and 64, as well as teachers for first and second grade at elementary schools, daycare facilities and kindergartens, and caretakers will be able to receive their first AstraZeneca shots. As of Wednesday, three-point-42 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine remained available, with another four-point-five million slated for delivery in phases. According to health authorities, the nation will also bring in eight-point-64 million doses of the Moderna vaccine by the end of next month.
Pres. Moon: Seoul Communicating with Beijing over S. Korea-US Summit Result
President Moon Jae-in says the government is communicating with Beijing regarding the outcome of his summit with U.S. President Joe Biden held in Washington last week. Presidential Spokesperson Park Kyung-mee said on Wednesday that Moon made the remarks during a luncheon meeting with leaders of five political parties earlier in the day. Moon told party leaders that Seoul will also resume discussions with Beijing regarding a visit to South Korea by Chinese President Xi Jinping, previously postponed due to COVID-19, once they are able to manage the spread out the virus. Regarding the peace process on the Korean Peninsula, the president said Seoul has coordinated with Washington since the launch of the Biden administration for swift resumption of dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea, predicated on a diplomatic approach to issues regarding the Korean Peninsula. During the meeting with leaders of five leaders from ruling and opposition parties at his office, Moon sought nonpartisan cooperation to expand on the progress made during his first summit with Biden held in Washington last Friday.
S. Korea vows to lend hand with global vaccine supply shortages
South Korea vowed Wednesday to play a bigger role in easing global shortages of COVID-19 vaccines during a meeting with a group of countries supporting a multilateral trading regime. "To promptly overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that the production and supply of vaccines are expanded around the globe," Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee said during the virtual meeting of the Ottawa Group. The Ottawa Group refers to a group of 14 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) seeking to revamp the international trade body, including South Korea, Canada, Australia, Chile and Britain. In December, the group also called for the world to allow free movement of key medical products to cope with the pandemic. During the meeting, Yoo said South Korea will play a bigger role in easing supply shortages of vaccines by emerging as a global hub of production. Last week, South Korea said its plan to become a global vaccine hub got a boost as Samsung BioLogics Co. signed a deal to bottle Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine at its local plant.
Biden's pick of special representative to N. Korea means request for dialogue: Moon
President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday the Joe Biden administration has made a de facto offer to North Korea for the resumption of talks with the appointment of a special representative. Moon also stressed that South Korea and the United States have formed a "firm consensus" on the need to advance the Korea peace process. He called it one of the most important accomplishments in his White House summit with Biden last week, speaking to the leaders of South Korea's five major political parties. In an announcement, timed with Moon's visit to the U.S., Biden unveiled the choice of Sung Kim, ambassador to Indonesia, as special representative to North Korea. The move is "like making a request for North Korea to resume dialogue," Moon said during the luncheon meeting at Cheong Wa Dae meant for a briefing on the results of his summit with Biden.
Top prosecutor nominee denies defending operators of Lime, Optimus funds
Prosecutor General nominee Kim Oh-soo said Wednesday he has not defended individuals behind the so-called Lime and Optimus funds linked to massive investment fraud cases, amid revelations that he accepted a number of cases connected to the scandals. During his parliamentary confirmation hearing, Kim told lawmakers that he "has never defended or been involved in matters related to suspects who operated the Lime and Optimus funds." The statement followed revelations based on documents from the Seoul Bar Association that the former vice minister accepted at least four cases of clients linked to the Lime and Optimus scandals from September to May after retiring from the prosecution service. Kim refused to share detailed information on the cases in question, citing potential violation of nondisclosure agreements, but insisted that he had provided counsel as a private attorney through legal means.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Party leaders show mixed reactions to Moon-Biden summit
The outcome of last week’s summit between Presidents Moon Jae-in and Joe Biden drew mixed reactions from political party leaders here on Wednesday. Moon held a luncheon meeting with five party leaders at Cheong Wa Dae to brief them on the results of the summit. It was his first group meeting with the party leaders in a year and three months. During the meeting, the president urged bipartisan support for follow-up measures to implement key commitments made during the summit. The discussion covered North Korea, COVID-19 vaccines and industrial partnerships such as the one on semiconductors. Moon expressed his hopes for a breakthrough in the stalled diplomacy with North Korea, saying Biden’s recent appointment of a special envoy to North Korea showed Washington’s willingness to resume talks with the North. “The joint statement recognizing both the Panmunjom and Singapore agreements has paved the way for the two Koreas and the US to start more advanced dialogue on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Moon said. “That shows Washington’s full backing for inter-Korean partnership as well.”
Seoul City eases redevelopment rules in bid to tame real estate prices
South Korea’s capital city will shorten its approval procedures for real estate reconstruction projects and ease regulatory limits in line with the new mayor’s plan to supply 240,000 new housing units by 2025. Mayor Oh Se-hoon said in a press briefing Wednesday that his office had prepared six deregulatory measures to combat rising home prices, expedite reconstruction projects and allow new apartment complexes to be built. “Measures centered on limiting supplies over the past 10 years prevented reconstruction and redevelopment projects from starting on time and destroyed the balance of supply and demand of homes, eventually leading to today’s crisis of surging real estate prices,” Oh said. “We are choosing to pursue regulatory relief on redevelopment projects, which are comparatively less sensitive for housing prices and effective in improving the living environment.” In line with his goal, the Seoul Metropolitan Government said it would abolish a points-based approval system for redevelopment projects, instead requiring only basic legal steps.
Chinese ambassador calls S. Korea-US summit statement 'a bit discouraging'
Chinese Ambassador to Seoul Xing Haiming voiced discomfort again on Wednesday over a joint statement from last week's summit between South Korea and the United States that touched on sensitive issues like the Taiwan Strait. The statement following the first in-person summit between Presidents Moon Jae-in and Joe Biden in Washington on Friday made a rare mention of the issue of Taiwan, which Beijing regards as part of its territory under its One China policy. "We feel it's a bit discouraging. For instance, the issue of Taiwan was brought up," Xing said in an interview with an MBC program. "Of course, the South Korean side had explained this to us, but from our perspective, this is China's internal affair." Xing stressed that South Korea already recognized Taiwan as part of China when it opened diplomatic relations in 1992. The ambassador also took issue with the statement's mention of the South China Sea, reiterating Beijing's claim that there has been no problem regarding the freedom of transit in the strategic waterway.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Biden orders intelligence investigation of COVID-19 origins
President Joe Biden on Wednesday ordered U.S. intelligence officials to ''redouble'' their efforts to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, including any possibility the trail might lead to a Chinese laboratory. After months of minimizing that possibility as a fringe theory, the Biden administration is joining worldwide pressure for China to be more open about the outbreak, aiming to head off GOP complaints the president has not been tough enough as well as to use the opportunity to press China on alleged obstruction. Biden asked U.S. intelligence agencies to report back within 90 days. He directed U.S. national laboratories to assist with the investigation and the intelligence community to prepare a list of specific queries for the Chinese government. He called on China to cooperate with international probes into the origins of the pandemic. Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have promoted the theory that the virus emerged from a laboratory accident rather than naturally through human contact with an infected animal in Wuhan, China. Biden in a statement said the majority of the intelligence community had ''coalesced'' around those two scenarios but ''do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other.'' He revealed that two agencies lean toward the animal link and ''one leans more toward'' the lab theory, ''each with low or moderate confidence.''
Ruling party losing 'fresh' luster: poll
In contemporary Korean politics, the liberal political party has usually been associated with a younger, more vibrant and egalitarian image than the conservative camp. This image is attributed to the progressive lawmakers of the liberal party, who used to be student activists during the pro-democracy movement of the 1980s. However, that fresh luster seems to have dulled in recent years, as the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) has increasingly reflected characteristics typical of the conservative camp ― such as unilateral decision-making ― while dozens of ruling bloc figures have been mired in corruption scandals and sexual harassment allegations. According to a DPK internal report, based on an opinion poll and a focus group interview, a ruling party official now appears to be viewed as "a person in his 40s or 50s who is high-handed and incompetent, while possessing double standards to justify his own wrongdoings and criticize others for similar behavior." The poll was conducted of 2,000 adults, aged 19 to 54, from April 22 to 26. The focus group interview took place from April 12 to 15. In the focus group interview, 10 percent of the respondents said that they associate the DPK with the party's symbolic color of blue, but 8.5 percent said they associate the party with the word, "naeronambul," a Korean word used to describe hypocrisy, which roughly translates to, "If I do it, it is romance, and if you do it, it is adultery."
Maryland to donate $250,000 to honor Korean War veterans
The U.S. state of Maryland will commit $250,000 to support the maintenance of the Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is married to a Korean American, Yumi Hogan. The state government said Tuesday it will donate $250,000 to the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation to support the wall, the construction of which started on May 21 (local time) during President Moon Jae-in's visit to the U.S. for a summit with his counterpart Joe Biden. "The State of Maryland has a deep and abiding friendship with the people of South Korea," Hogan was quoted as saying by the state government. "We are proud to be part of this historic international effort to remember and honor those brave souls who gave their lives during the Korean War. This new wall will be yet another reminder of the immeasurable cost of war and the immense price of freedom." The wall's construction was authorized by the U.S. Congress in 2016 to commemorate the 36,595 U.S. Armed Forces members and 7,174 Korean Augmentation to the United States Army (KATUSA) soldiers who were killed during the 1950-53 Korean War. When completed in June next year, the 1-meter-high and 50-meters-wide wall will carry more than 10,000 panels bearing the names of those who lost their lives in the war. The Korean government will fund $23.6 million for the construction.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
App to Help Koreans Search for Leftover Vaccines
A new app will help people search for the nearest available vaccination centers easily and get their coronavirus jabs the same day if any doses are left over. "We're going to run a pilot program for people to search for the nearest vaccination centers with leftover vaccine doses for two weeks from Thursday and begin proper service on June 9," a government spokesman said Tuesday. There are about 10 doses in each AstraZeneca vial, and leftovers have to be thrown out unless the vial is used up within six hours. The program is aimed at preventing vaccines left over from no-shows from being discarded. Smartphone users can choose up to five clinics or hospitals in their neighborhood to reserve leftover vaccines and are sent an alert if one becomes available. The option is not available for those who have already made vaccination appointments or under-30s, for whom AstraZeneca is not recommended.
N.Korea Wipes Moon from Diplomatic Record
North Korea has pointedly left pictures of recent summits with President Moon Jae-in out of a book celebrating the alleged diplomatic achievements of leader Kim Jong-un. The North seems to feel duped by South Korea after several summits with the U.S. that Moon brokered led to no easing of international sanctions. The book pictures Kim rubbing shoulders with world leaders like Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and former U.S. President Donald Trump. It describes the 2018 U.S.-North Korea summit as a "miraculous" meeting that "wrote a new history" in bilateral relations. Pictures show Kim and Trump shaking hands, sitting face-to-face at a meeting, signing a joint statement as well as the meeting hall, commemorative coins, stamps and foreign press clippings. It even describes the abortive 2019 U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi as the "historic second reunion." And although Trump's brief meeting with Kim at the border truce village of Panmunjom four months later is celebrated over 10 pages, none of them show Moon, who was also there. Naturally there is also no mention of Moon's pilgrimage to Pyongyang in 2018, where he was feted by thousands.
Shinsegae Heirs Bet on Hotel Business
The heirs of retail conglomerate Shinsegae are competing with each other in the high-end hotel business. The group's vice chairman Chung Yong-jin is expanding its hotel and resort business aggressively, while his sister Chung Yoo-kyung, the president of Shinsegae Department Store, is launching her own hotel brand Onoma. Josun Hotels & Resorts will open a luxury hotel in the swish Gangam area in Seoul under the Josun Palace brand. In addition to decades-old five-star Westin Josun, the company has launched various brands or "collections," as it likes to call them. It opened the boutique hotel L’Escape in 2018, and design hotel Gravity and premium Josun Grand last year. The Josun Palace Seoul Gangnam is the first of a line of top-end hotels called the Luxury Collection and expects to compete with other local hotels in the category. The Josun Palace takes up 17 stories of a high-riser on the site of the old landmark Renaissance Hotel. Renderings show plenty of marble and an art deco design concept with black-and-white geometries. It has 254 rooms, 44 of them suites, of which the priciest will cost W16 million a night (US$1=W1,127).
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
COVID-19 variants detection rate more than triples to 36.1% in one month
The detection rate for major COVID-19 variants in South Korea stood at 36% last week — up by 13 percentage points from the week before — and has more than tripled in the last month. Disease control authorities are currently investigating after a patient in Gyeonggi Province tested positive for the Indian variant of the virus in a community infection with no identified transmission route. One of the patients in a cluster infection involving nightlife establishments in Daegu, with 179 confirmed cases to date, was found to be infected with the UK variant. This suggests that the variant’s previous concentration in Ulsan and its surrounding areas is now spreading into a broader range of regions, including Daegu and Jeju. On Tuesday, the Central Disease Control Headquarters (CDCH) announced that genetic analysis of virus samples in 723 South Korean patients who tested positive the week before (May 16-22) showed 225 of them to belong to major variants from the UK, South Africa, Brazil or India, giving a variant detection rate of 36.1%. The rate was 13.6 percentage points higher than the 22.5% recorded for the week of May 9-15, and more than triple the 11% recorded a month early over the period April 20-27. To monitor the spread of variants, disease control authorities have been randomly selecting samples in proportion to a given region’s population to perform genetic testing. But the variant detection rate is also being influenced by a rise in testing for regions where variants are spreading.
Biden gets what he wants without twisting anyone’s arm
The summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Joe Biden that concluded Friday offered an illustration of Biden’s brand of diplomacy four months into his term. In a sense, summit diplomacy is providing him with an opportunity to truly show the foreign affairs and national security expertise and beliefs that he established over a 36-year history in the Senate — including four years as its Foreign Relations Committee chair — and eight years as US vice president. To begin with, the South Korea-US summit showed Biden’s skill at guiding other parties in his direction without twisting their arm. In contrast with predecessor Donald Trump’s heavy-handed approach of attempting to bully allies into paying more, Biden has elevated the two sides’ level of integration through an approach that shows respect for allies as equal partners — while also sharing rights and responsibilities accordingly. In the latest summit, Biden recognized South Korea as a global partner in regional security, economic matters and climate change, accepting its independent role while expressing support for inter-Korean dialogue, engagement and cooperation.
S. Korean health minister calls for vaccine technology transfer, transparent information sharing from Japan on Fukushima water
South Korean Minister of Health and Welfare Kwon Deok-chul shared a message calling on the international community to expand vaccine production to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and scrutinize information in connection with Japan’s decision to discharge contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean. Kwon delivered a keynote speech for the 74th World Health Assembly (WHA), which took place on the evening of May 25 via videoconference. In the speech, he pledged South Korea’s active support to the World Health Organization (WHO) and suggested ideas for overcoming the pandemic.
He proposed simplified clinical trials to speed up the development of vaccines and treatments, along with focused efforts to expand vaccine production through technology transfers and the selection of production bases. He further urged the international community to focus its attention on the Japanese government’s decision to release contaminated water from Fukushima into the ocean. Additionally, he requested transparent sharing of information from the Japanese government about the contaminated water issue while insisting that the water should not be discharged without adequate prior agreement by other interested parties.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Vaccinated people subject to eased social distancing policy
Effective from June 1, any person that has been vaccinated against COVID-19 at least once will be exempt from social distancing regulations that limit family gathering to eight direct family members. Starting from July, anyone who has received vaccines at least once will not be required to wear masks outdoors. Also, those who have been vaccinated twice can attend personal gatherings without being subject to group gathering restrictions. They will be exempt from group limitations of indoors and outdoors multiple purpose facilities. These benefits apply two weeks after their second dose, and relevant persons are required to present vaccine validation via mobile web or paper certificates. The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters announced on Wednesday such plans to restore normal daily lives for those who have been vaccinated. These measures will help restore daily lives of those who are fully vaccinate and encourage vaccine participation. These measures raise public expectations of the possibility to go back to normal daily lives. However, some experts say that these plans may be effective in encouraging vaccine participation, but it is too early in terms of social distancing policy.
Chinese ambassador takes issue with S. Korea’s mentioning Taiwan
Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming said on Wednesday that it would have been better if the issue of the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea had not been mentioned in a joint press statement issued by the leaders of South Korea and the U.S. following their summit. The ambassador took issue with Taiwan being mentioned in the South Korea-U.S. joint statement while the South Korea government has attempted to ease China’s discomfort by saying a mention of Taiwan in the joint statement was theoretical and principled. Ambassador Xing asked for a balanced diplomacy between the U.S. and China, saying he hopes that other nations including South Korea play a role in reconciling the U.S. and China. Talking to an MBC program on Wednesday, Ambassador Xing said while he appreciates Seoul’s efforts to not directly mention “China” in the joint statement, some part of it appears to be targeted at Beijing. He went on to say that Seoul recognized Taiwan as part of China when it established diplomatic relations with Beijing and he thinks the issue of the South China Sea can be addressed in cooperation with neighboring countries.
Seoul, Washington to make inroads into overseas nuclear power market
South Korea and the United States have agreed to join hands and enter the nuclear power industry in other regions. As the former has an outstanding level of construction competence while the latter is equipped with source technological capabilities such as nuclear reactor design, the export of nuclear power plants will gain momentum in both nations. With it being welcome news to the South Korean nuclear power industry, there are concerns that South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s zero-nuclear policy and the nuclear export enterprise may not move forward in sync. President Moon and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden issued a joint statement on Friday (local time) that they reached agreement to strengthen bilateral cooperation in overseas nuclear power markets by joining nuclear reactor projects, said the South Korean Ministry of Trade, industry and Energy on Sunday. Based on the two heads of state’s pledge, business-level discussions on cooperation will go into detail. As the United States has sought international cooperation networks to check China’s and Russia’s growing ambitions for winning new projects across the globe, South Korean businesses can use it as a lever to join in overseas projects. Seoul and Washington also agreed to ask contracting parties to join the IAEA Additional Protocol when they export nuclear reactors to them. The legal document written by the IAEA grants the organization greater authority to inspect nuclear facilities not reported yet. Several countries including Brazil and Saudi Arabia have not joined the protocol yet.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Is COVID-19 Pushing the Number of Homeless People in Seoul Back Up? Numbers Climbed in 2020 for the First Time in 6 Years
The number of homeless people in a census taken by the city of Seoul increased slightly in 2020. The number had dropped by 100-340 every year since 2014, but last year, the number rebounded for the first time in 6 years and increased by over 90. Some experts suggest that this could be due to the so-called COVID-19 recession. A study commissioned by the city previously mentioned the need to prevent a massive number of people from ending up homeless. Major cities in other countries strengthened relevant policies, such as housing, when the number of homeless people actually surged. The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to keep an eye on the changes. According to the report and publicly released information that Seoul’s Welfare Policy Division submitted to the Seoul Metropolitan Council and Homeless Action, a civic group, on May 25, in a simultaneous census taken last year, the number of homeless people reached 3,463--89 more than the 3,374 recorded in 2019. In particular, homeless people who lived on the streets increased from 647 to 699, accounting for more than half of the total increase. The city of Seoul has been conducting a census of homeless people four times every year--in May, July, October, and December--since 2013 at 500 locations throughout the city. About 150-170 census takers count the number of homeless people on the streets, in facilities and under temporary protection. In general, the average of the four censuses is presented as the number of homeless people for that year.
Careful Not to Cause Sparks in Relations with China: Cheongwadae, “The U.S. and China Are Both Important Countries”
After a summit with the U.S., the Moon Jae-in government now has the heavy task of managing its relations with China. In the summit with U.S. President Joe Biden, President Moon Jae-in expanded South Korea’s alliance with the U.S.--previously centered on defense--in all directions including semiconductors, batteries, next-generation mobile communications (6G), and the space industry. However, these are all areas in which the U.S. is fiercely competing with China, so for South Korea, which has a unique and complex relationship with China, this means a heavier diplomatic burden. In particular, the latest joint statement by the leaders of South Korea and the U.S. mentioned the issue of Taiwan for the first time and it also mentioned a number of sensitive issues for China, such as the South China Sea and QUAD (a strategic dialogue of four countries initiated by the U.S.). South Korea barely managed to restore relations with China, which had frozen after the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles, but the latest summit results could once again have an adverse effect, deepening the government’s concerns over a diplomatic solution. On May 24, Cheongwadae focused on minimizing the diplomatic ripples by calming concerns about South Korea’s relationship with China. A senior Cheongwadae official met with reporters and said, “The U.S and China are both important countries to us,” and added, “The government has consistently held the position that we can harmoniously develop our strategic partnership with China based on a firm R.O.K.-U.S.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
BOK may agree on growth in 4% range this year when it revises GDP outlook
The Bank of Korea (BOK) may join the sanguine outlook of economy growing in 4 percent range this year – a pace not seen in more than a decade – in strong rebound from a 1.0 percent contraction last year, given the staggering rebound in exports. The BOK issues revised economic outlook on Thursday after holding a monetary policy meeting. The bank on Feb. 25 projected the country’s economy to expand 3.0 percent this year. But exports, the country’s main growth driver, have been rising much faster than expected as the global demand recovers rapidly from Covid-19 fallouts. Exports in the first 20 days of May amounted to $31.12 billion, up 53.3 percent from the same period a year earlier. Daily exports jumped 59.1 percent on year to suggest a hot streak on the external trade front. Exports came to $51.19 billion for April, surging 41.1 percent against a year earlier in the strongest on-year jump since January 2011. Daily exports averaged at $2.13 billion, up 29.4 percent on year.
Korean tire makers scramble to respond to U.S. antidumping levies
South Korean tire makers hope to lessen the hit from U.S. final antidumping duties of 14 percent to 27 percent on Korean-made tires on top of soaring shipping cost by increasing shipments from manufacturing lines in the U.S. and outside Korea. The U.S. Department of Commerce slapped a 27.05 percent duty on Hankook Tire & Technology Co., down 11.02 percentage points from the preliminary levy of 38.07 percent. Nexen Tire Corp. was imposed with a 14.72 percent tariff, up 0.48 percentage point from the previous rate. The levy on Kumho Tire Co. was finalized at 21.74 percent, a median in the levies on Hankook and Nexen. Hankook Tire plans to increase its shipments to the U.S. from its Indonesian factory and double the capacity of its plant in Tennessee. The company exports around 10 million units of tires from Korea to the U.S. per year. The new tariff will lead to about 21 billion won ($18.8 million) in loss. Sales in the U.S. accounted for 28 percent of its total revenue in 2019, of which 20 percent was produced in the U.S., 30 percent in Indonesia and 50 percent in Korea.
S. Korea to build national bio big data library by 2028
South Korea will spend some 1 trillion won ($891 million) for six years from 2023 on collecting health-related big data from patients by disease and volunteers and establishing a national digital library on health data by 2028. Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said Wednesday the government will establish the so-called Bio Data Dam by 2028 by collecting biohealth information from 1 million people, including some 400,000 patients. To facilitate safe and secure handling of bio big data, the government said it will establish a standard operating procedure (SOP) for standardization of big data and quality control, while establishing a platform, and a supercomputing-based security analysis environment, Hong said at a government meeting on innovative growth. The government will also support data-based research projects such as clinical trials, epidemiology, and multiomics, as well as and industrialization projects such as business model development, and development of core genome analysis technologies and equipment.
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