Tuesday, August 24, 2021
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
“Trade, economic relations continue to grow significantly between the two countries”
Ambassador Carlos Victor Boungou of the Republic of Gabon in Seoul said that the volume of trade between Gabon and Korea has increased significantly over the last decade from US$41 million in 2010 to US$71.2 million in 2018.
Speaking at a recent interview with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 Engish and 2 Korean-language news publications on the occasion of the Indepednence Day of Gabon on August 17, Ambassador Boungou said added, “Gabon and Korea also cooperate closely together through e-government implementations project that has been conducted by Samsung C&T Corporation and KT Network Corporations since 2008. Details of the interview follow: Question: The Republic of Gabon celebrates her Independence Day on August 17. What is the significance of the National Day? Answer: August 17, 2021 marks the 61st anniversary of the independence of Gabon, officially known as the Gabonese Republic when the country became independent from France colonization on 17 August 1960.
‘Our Independence Day is a truly significant day approved by over 90% of our people’
Charge d’Affaires Igor Denissuk of the Republic of Ukraine in Seoul said, “The Independence Day of our country on August 24 marks a truly significant day when Ukraine declared its independence on 1 December 1991 after holding a referendum in which over 90% of voters approved it.” Speaking at an interview with The Korea Post media on the occasion of the Independence Day of Ukraine, CDA Denissuk said, “Aside from state-supported festivities, Ukrainians attend outdoor concerts, parties, and reenactments of Kyivan Rus traditions. Vyshyvankas, Ukrainian flags, and the Ukrainian coat of arms are all commonly seen on this day.” Details of the interview follow: Question: Please introduce your National Day in detail. Answer: This year August 24 marks the 30th Anniversary of Ukraine's Independence--a momentous occasion when all Ukrainians as well as Ukraine’s friends worldwide will celebrate the birthday of a sovereign Ukrainian state. As a part of celebration, more than 150 festive events will take place throughout the country. All of them will be united by the slogan "You are my only one", which symbolizes the vision of Ukraine's independence as a dream that many generations of Ukrainians have sought to achieve.
Chairman Koo Ja-yeol of LS to introduce ESG management in earnest
LS Group Chairman Koo Ja-yeol has begun the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) management in earnest. LS Group announced on Aug. 19 that it will establish an ESG committee that expanded and reorganized the functions of the existing internal transaction committee under the board of directors of LS Co., a holding company. Ye Jong-seok, an outside director of LS and former chairman of Community Chest of Korea, was appointed as the chairman of the ESG Committee and decided to set up the committee consisting of a total of five people. In addition to existing internal transaction committee activities such as pre-reviewing and deliberation of internal transactions, the new committee will establish directions and plans for ESG management strategies, and report policy approval, major promotional activities, and achievements.
'US Requested S. Korea on Housing Afghan Refugees at USFK Bases'
Washington was confirmed to have requested Seoul to allow U.S. military bases in the nation to temporarily accommodate Afghan refugees seeking to escape to the U.S. Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong revealed the finding on Monday during a meeting of the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee when pressed by minor People’s Party lawmaker Lee Tae-kyu on whether there was such a request. Chung acknowledged the two sides held tentative discussions on the possibility but said that the two sides are no longer continuing talks on the matter, emphasizing housing refugees at U.S. Forces Korea’s bases requires the South Korean government’s approval. Earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. government is considering U.S. military bases overseas as possible sites to house Afghan refugees, including in Japan, Korea, Germany, Kosovo, Bahrain and Italy.
2020 Tokyo Paralympics to Kick off with Opening Ceremony
The 2020 Tokyo Paralympics kicks off on Tuesday for a 13-day run. It will begin with an opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium at 8 p.m. Like the Olympics, no fans will be present. South Korea will be the 81st contingent to march during the parade of nations. Boccia player Choi Ye-jin and her partner and mother Moon Woo-young will be the flag-bearers for Team Korea. Some 44-hundred athletes will compete in 22 disciplines for 539 medals at the Games. South Korea will compete in 14 disciplines, including Taekwondo, table tennis, badminton, archery and swimming. A record large 159-member delegation is participating this year, including 86 athletes.
Dozens of Flights, Shipping Routes Canceled due to Typhoon Omais
Dozens of flights and shipping routes were canceled due to Typhoon Omais. According to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters, 86 domestic flights were canceled as of 6 a.m. Tuesday, including 35 at Jeju International Airport and 31 at Gimpo International Airport. Also as of 6 a.m. some 70 passenger ships on 53 routes, including between Mokpo and Jeju and Busan and Jeju, were canceled. Train service on parts of the Gyeongjeon Line, which serves South Gyeongsang and South Jeolla provinces, was suspended as water and mud got on the tracks. The typhoon left the country through the east coast at around 3 a.m., but heavy rain and winds continue to pound the nation.
Taliban hopes for S. Korea's diplomatic recognition, economic exchanges: official
The Taliban wants South Korea to recognize it as a "legitimate" government of Afghanistan and hopes to strengthen economic cooperation and other exchanges between the two countries, a Taliban spokesman said Monday. Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a member of the Taliban's Cultural Commission, made the remarks in an exclusive interview with Yonhap News Agency, calling for Seoul to maintain "cordial" ties with the country "replete with untapped mineral resources." It marked the first interview a Taliban official has held with a South Korean media outlet since the Islamist movement took over Afghanistan as the United States withdrew troops from the war-torn nation. Balkhi's remarks came amid speculation that the Taliban group would seek diplomatic recognition from the international community and outside economic support to help rebuild the country as Washington plans to complete its troop withdrawal to end 20 years of war later this month.
Top S. Korean diplomat says U.S. requested use of American bases in Korea to house Afghan evacuees
The top South Korean diplomat confirmed Monday the United States requested using American military bases here as a housing site for evacuees from war-torn Afghanistan, although there is no related discussion underway now between the allies. "It is true that (the allies) did discuss the possibility at the very basic level. It, however, was not discussed seriously," Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong said, responding to a lawmaker's query during a session of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee. The foreign minister said that currently, however, "there's no such discussion underway at all", adding that the option of using American military bases on South Korean soil as a refugee camp would absolutely require consent from the South Korean government.
Top nuclear envoys of S. Korea, U.S. discuss humanitarian aid to N. Korea
South Korea and the United States on Monday discussed humanitarian aid to North Korea, the U.S. nuclear envoy said after talks with his counterpart in Seoul amid heightened tensions over Pyongyang's angry protest against military exercises between the South and the U.S. Amb. Sung Kim also said the U.S. does not have a hostile intent to the North, stressing that the ongoing South Korea-U.S. military exercise is "purely defensive" in nature and renewing his offer to "meet with my North Korean counterparts anywhere, at anytime." His talks with Seoul's chief nuclear envoy, Noh Kyu-duk, came after Pyongyang lambasted the allied exercise as the "most vivid expression of the U.S. hostile policy" toward the North and warned of a "serious security crisis."
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
US holds no hostile intent toward North Korea, urges for dialogue: nuclear envoy
The US holds no hostile intent toward Pyongyang, President Joe Biden’s point man on North Korea said Monday, reaffirming a willingness to meet his North Korean counterparts “anywhere, at anytime.” Sung Kim, the US special representative for North Korea, held talks with South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy Noh Kyu-duk in Seoul on Monday, to look for ways to bring Pyongyang back to the negotiating table. Their session comes as the allies are holding combined military drills until Thursday, which Pyongyang denounced as the “most vivid expression of the US hostile policy” toward the North and warned the allies of a “security crisis.” “The United States does not have hostile intent toward DPRK,” Kim told reporters after the meeting. “The ongoing US-ROK combined military exercises are long-standing, routine and purely defensive in nature and support the security of both of our countries.”
Afghans in Korea call for support as public split on refugee issue
About 30 families representing Afghans who have worked for the Korean government in the war-torn country called for support from authorities in front of the Foreign Ministry in Seoul on Monday. “We are here to appeal to the Korean government to save our family because our families in Afghanistan are on the verge of being killed by the Taliban for cooperating with Korea,” one of the Afghan protesters told reporters. The protesters fear the fate of their Afghan relatives who have cooperated with the Korean government, companies, NGOs, and churches in Afghanistan. The press conference was not hosted by a specific group, and Afghans from across Korea gathered to voice their concerns.
Critical care patient numbers at last winter surge levels
Korea is seeing COVID-19 patients requiring critical care at levels last seen during the surge in the winter, with cities running out of beds to accommodate them. The number of critically sick patients reached 403 on Saturday, the highest since the string of nursing home outbreaks in January, exhausting hospitals across Korea. No critical care beds were left in Daejeon by Saturday’s end, with only about 30 percent remaining nationwide. COVID-19 projections by the National Institute for Mathematical Sciences and the Korean Mathematical Society published Friday showed severely or critically sick patients could number more than 700 in four weeks’ time if the restrictions in place fail to contain the surge.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Korea divided over housing Afghan evacuees in USFK bases
Korea has been divided over whether the country should allow the U.S. to house Afghan evacuees on U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) bases. Politicians and citizens are having heated debates over how much of a role Korea, as an advanced nation, should play in the now global issue, while some raise fears of radical Islamists hiding among the refugees, and others point to Korea's poor rate of accepting asylums seekers. Minister of Foreign Affairs Chung Eui-yong said during a National Assembly meeting, Monday, that Korea and the U.S. had a "rudimentary discussion on the possibility" of housing Afghan evacuees in USFK bases here, though "it was not serious discussion and talks are not proceeding currently."
US makes clear its support for inter-Korean humanitarian aid
The United States made clear its commitment to inter-Korean humanitarian projects, Monday, a step forward from its previous stance, as South Korea is seeking to find a breakthrough in its ties with North Korea. In addition, Washington also reaffirmed its commitment to the defense of South Korea, as the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is leaving Seoul anxious about whether it can trust its longtime ally. The commitment came after Sung Kim, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, had talks with his South Korean counterpart Noh Kyu-duk in Seoul. Kim is on a four-day trip to Seoul ending Tuesday. "We discussed possible humanitarian assistance to the DPRK," Kim said following his meeting with Noh. DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the official name of North Korea.
Rival parties on collision course ahead of plenary vote on controversial media arbitration bill
A partisan showdown loomed large at the National Assembly on Monday, as the ruling Democratic Party (DP) with a controlling number of parliamentary seats was set to railroad a controversial media bill this week fiercely contested by opposition parties and media industry trade groups. The revision of the Act on Press Arbitration and Remedies, Etc. for Damage Caused by Press Reports, which was passed by parliament's culture committee last week, is expected to be put to a final vote during the National Assembly's plenary session Wednesday. The DP, which holds an absolute parliamentary majority, is predicted to unilaterally pass the bill during the session. Spearheaded by the DP as part of its broader vision to "reform" the media, the bill aims to sharply increase the media's responsibility for false and fake news.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Hezbollah 'Digging Tunnel with N.Korean Technology'
The armed insurgents group Hezbollah in Lebanon has dug a network of tunnels for military purposes with North Korean technology, a report claims. In the report published on Aug. 12, the Alma Research and Education Center, an Israeli think tank, claims Hezbollah signed a US$13 million technology transfer contract with Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID), a North Korean state-owned entity that specializes in tunneling. Based on this technology, Hezbollah has dug a 45-km network of tunnels that connects its three strongholds from the Bekaa Valley in the east to Beirut and Southern Lebanon. Hezbollah, which is an Iranian-funded group of Shia Islamists, had help supervising the project from Iran's Revolutionary Guards, the report claims.
IPI Slams Planned Changes to Korean Media Law
The International Press Institute on Tuesday expressed serious concerns that revisions to the media law that the ruling Minjoo Party is pushing will discourage critical reporting. The proposed bill would allow people to sue the media for punitive damages caused by "fake news." The IPI warned that "the bill could be used to silence critical reporting of those in power, particularly ahead of the presidential election next March, thus endangering press freedom in [Korea]." "At a time when authoritarian governments are increasingly adopting so-called 'fake news' laws to stifle criticism, it is disappointing to see a democratic country like [Korea] follow this negative trend," IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen was quoted as saying. Other domestic and overseas organizations are also opposing the bill, from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and the Korean Society for Journalism & Communication Studies to the Korean Bar Association.
Korean Businesses Panic over Vietnam Lockdown
Korean businesses of all sizes in Vietnam are panicking as the country's biggest city Ho Chi Minh went into brutal lockdown amid spiraling coronavirus infections. The city government banned everyone in the city from leaving their home. This is even more draconian than the previous lockdown, where people were at least allowed to leave home for essential purchases. But daily new infections still exceed 3,000. Troops are being mobilized to distribute food and other necessities. Samsung produces home appliances and TVs in Ho Chi Minh for export to Southeast Asia, Europe and the U.S., and production is expected to come to a complete stop. It is the company's third largest production plant worldwide. With Black Friday in the U.S. just about two months away, the Ho Chi Minh plant is already operating at just 30 percent of capacity.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
US considers sheltering Afghan refugees US bases in Korea
The US is exploring the idea of using military bases in countries around the world, including South Korea, to temporarily house tens of thousands of refugees from Afghanistan, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday. Officials were quoted as saying that, as other countries grow more concerned about the huge number of Afghan refugees, the US is looking at facilities under its control both inside and outside the US. They said that facilities under consideration outside the US include military bases in South Korea, Japan, Germany, Kosovo, Bahrain and Italy. But Song Young-gil, head of South Korea’s ruling Democratic Party, cast doubt on that possibility on Sunday.
Lee Jae-myung says he will meet with Kim Jong-un, pursue sanctions relief for N. Korea
Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung, the Democratic Party frontrunner for next year’s presidential election, announced a “vision for reunification diplomacy” on Sunday, which included practical diplomatic efforts focused on the national interest and establishing a “peace economy” on the Korean Peninsula.
“I intend to realize new, full-scale changes based on the groundwork of inter-Korean relations established by the Moon Jae-in administration,” he said. Speaking at a press conference that day at the home of the late former President Kim Dae-jung in Seoul, Lee said, “There needs to be more practical change in direction that helps the growth and development of South and North [Korea] alike.”
Will anti-Taliban forces survive?
Now that the Taliban have taken over Afghanistan, could armed resistance be sustainable? Newspapers including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday on social media claims that remnants of the Afghan government military had killed 30 Taliban fighters and captured 12 more on Friday in fighting in the mountainous districts of Pul-e-Hesar, Deh-e-Salah and Bano, about 160 kilometers north of the capital of Kabul. Former acting defense minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi referred to the fighters as “popular resistance forces” and said that “the resistance is still alive,” the New York Times reported. A pro-Taliban Twitter account said that only half the number of Taliban fighters had been killed, but acknowledged that armed resistance was occurring.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Booster shots offer 4 times more protection than two doses
Israel’s Health Ministry said a third dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (booster shot) increased the protection against COVID-19 infection by four times than two doses. According to Reuters on Monday, Israel’s Health Ministry said that among people aged 60 and over 10 days after they received a third dose, a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine offered four times higher protection than two doses. When it comes to serious illness and hospitalization, a third dose provided five to six times higher protection. The full details of the study were not revealed. The findings are in line with the recent announcement by Israel’s Maccabi Healthcare Services that 37 of 149,144 people aged 60 and over, who received a booster shot, were infected with COVID-19, which is one-sixth of the infection rate compared to after two doses.
Afghan president abandons country while brother supports Taliban
A controversial footage was relieved on Saturday showing wealthy business leader Hashmat Ghani, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani's younger brother, shaking hands with armed group Taliban's leadership grinning from ear to ear. While Hashmat has supported Taliban on social media day after day, there is growing public resentment against the Ghani brothers as the president evacuated overseas with a large amount of cash in possession immediately on Aug. 15 when Taliban took control of the capital city of Kabul. Taliban on Saturday published a video of its leaders including Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani in charge of its military organization gathering around Hashmat, shaking hands with one another and posing for commemorative photos in an amicable mood.
Hyundai develops AI system for accident prevention
Hyundai Engineering & Construction announced Monday it will introduce an AI-based system for prevention of industrial accidents involving heaving equipment including excavators and cranes. The new safety system is powered by artificial intelligence in identifying humans from non-human beings. Cameras will be installed on both sides and the back of equipment, and once the information gathered by the cameras is transferred to the computer, the AI system will selectively sound an alarm when humans approach. The latest AI system has tackled the issue of unnecessary alarms through its sensor to distinguish living things from objects.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Kim Jae-won “Lee Jun-seok Told Won Hee-ryong that Yoon Seok-youl Could Be Resolved Soon”: The People Power Party About to Blow
Kim Jae-won, a member of the People Power Party’s Supreme Council criticized the party leader, Lee Jun-seok claiming that Lee’s words and actions were threatening the fairness of the party’s primary. Kim then said he personally checked with former Jeju Governor Won Hee-ryong and confirmed that the press coverage mentioning that Won heard Lee Jun-seok say that the former prosecutor general, Yoon Seok-youl would be sorted out soon was fact. Kim appeared for an interview on A Closer Look with Kim Jong-bae on MBC radio on August 17 and said, “The problem is so serious that our party supporters including me, who have witnessed him (Lee Jun-seok) stir quite a problem with the number one candidate (Yoon Seok-youl) in terms of approval ratings, wondered if he really was determined to turn over the political power in office.”
At the Center of a Controversial Appointment “to Repay Past Favors,” Hwang Gyo-ik Claims to “Concentrate on Ending Lee Nak-yon’s Political Career”
Hwang Gyo-ik, a food columnist is at the center of controversy after Gyeonggi Governor Lee Jae-myung, a candidate in the Democratic Party of Korea’s presidential primary, appointed him as president of the Gyeonggi Tourism Organization, a decision criticized as one made to repay previous favors from Hwang. Hwang responded to the criticism and said, “Don’t tell me to step down.” He further said, “From today until the day before my confirmation hearing, I will concentrate on ending the political career of Lee Nak-yon.” Hwang expressed these thoughts on social media on August 18. Hwang said, “I applied to a public announcement seeking a person to serve as president of the Gyeonggi Tourism Organization and became a nominee for the position after a review of documentation and interviews.” He added, “Some politicians are claiming I should withdraw my application or resign from the position.”
Ruling Party Pulls the Trigger on the Controversial Press Arbitration Act
On August 19, the Democratic Party of Korea pushed ahead with the amendment of the Act on Press Arbitration and Remedies, etc. for Damage Caused by Press Reports (Press Arbitration Act). The People Power Party called it, “a modern day ‘burning of books and burying of scholars,’” while the Justice Party criticized, “The Democratic Party will be recorded as another power representing deeply-rooted ill practices.” The Democratic Party plans to put the amendment to a vote in the National Assembly on August 25. The parliamentary Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee held a plenary session and passed the Press Arbitration Act. Of the sixteen members of the committee, nine lawmakers--Democratic Party members and Open Democratic Party lawmaker Kim Eui-kyeom--voted in favor of the amendment. People Power Party lawmakers swarmed to the committee chair, Do Jong-hwan and protested.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Institutional sellouts on margin calls jump on Kospi slide and loan restraints
Stock brokerages’ stock selloffs upon margin calls soared last week when South Korea’s benchmark Kospi tumbled on foreigners’ massive selling spree that had extended for nine consecutive trading sessions and multiple restraints on personal loans. According to the Korea Financial Investment Association (KOFIA), the volume of forced liquidations of stocks held by leveraged margin accounts reached 37 billion won ($31.5 million) on Aug. 18, the second highest level for this year. Securities firms’ sellouts totaled 31.9 billion won on the previous day. The highest liquidations for this year were recorded on Jan. 14 at 38.7 billion won.
S. Korea’s Aug. 1-20 exports up 41% on yr, imports faster at 52%
South Korea’s exports stayed unwaveringly strong, surging 41 percent on year in the first 20 days of August on still-hot demand for mainstay items like semiconductors, steel, and automobiles, but imports jumped by a bigger pace due to ravaging climb in international fuel prices. According to data released by Korea Customs Service on Monday, Korea’s exports stood at $32.2 billion in the August 1-20 period, up 40.9 percent from the same period a year ago. Average daily shipments gained 31.5 percent to $21.5 million based on 15 working days compared with 14 days a year ago.
Samsung Bioepis’ macular degeneration biosim cleared for sale in Europe
Samsung Bioepis Monday announced that the European Commission has granted marketing approval to its biosimilar drug referencing Lucentis (ranibizumab). The EC authorization of the drug named Byooviz comes about two months after the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) adopted a positive opinion for the biosimilar. Ranibizumab is an anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) for retinal vascular disorders, which are a leading cause of blindness. It has been used for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration and visual impairment due to diabetic macular edema.
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Ecuador Times http://www.ecuadortimes.net
The Jordan Times https://www.jordantimes.com
Philippine Daily Inquirer https://www.inquirer.net
Daily News Hungary http://dailynewshungary.com
Budapest Times http://budapesttimes.hu
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