Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
Is President Moon turning a bit business-friendly for the Korean economy?
This is the first installment in a series of special feature articles of The Korea Post media on the leading business conglomerates of Korea, which sheds light on the past, present and future prospects of the company.—Ed. In Korea whenever a new political party comes into power, big businesses called Jaebeol, all but invariably, undergo the ordeal of having to adjust themselves to the new surroundings under the new government. Here in the ‘Land of the Morning Calm,’ there is a very often-used old adage, “When you dust a person, there is not a single one who is clean!” However, President Moon Jae-in seems to be trying to differentiate himself from some of his predecessors, and recently released Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong of Korea’s top business conglomerate, Samsung, in a parole measure for a number of prison-term servers on the occasion of the Liberation Day of Korea on Aug. 15, 2021. This day is in celebration of Korea’s winning freedom from the yokes of colonial rule of the then Imperialist Japan on that historical day.
Special strategic partnership between Uzbekistan and Korea is strengthening further
Address of His Excellency Vitaliy Fen, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Republic of Korea, to the readers of the “The Korea Post” on the occasions of the 30th Anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan and 29th Anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea. It is a high privilege for me to address today the esteemed readers of The Korea Post on the occasions of the 30th Anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence and 29th Anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea. Over the past five years, under the leadership of the distinguished President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Uzbekistan has clearly seen a steady pace of development in all areas. An effective multilateral foreign policy has become an important factor in increasing export potential and expanding economic opportunities of Uzbekistan.
Initiatives of the President of Uzbekistan to form a new democratic model of public administration
The last four years have been marked in Uzbekistan by a period of large-scale complex transformations of all aspects of the country's social life. The main inspirer and initiator of these reforms, of course, is recognized not only in our republic, but also by the world community, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, whose ideas and initiatives laid the foundations for the formation of a new model of state and social construction. The cornerstones of this model were proclaimed the principles of democracy and the rule of law. What are the main characteristic features of the new democratic model of public administration in Uzbekistan?
The First, it was the Head of State, from the very first days of his election to the post of President, who proclaimed the principle “It is not the people who serve the state bodies, but the state bodies must serve the people”.
As a result, now all employees of state bodies, first of all managers, not limited to office work, go to places, are engaged in practical solutions to the most pressing problems of the population.
Last Regular Parliamentary Session under Moon Administration to Begin
The last regular parliamentary session under the Moon Jae-in administration will kick off on Wednesday with fierce wrangling expected over key issues ahead of the presidential election early next year. The 391st regular session of the National Assembly is set to begin a 100-day run at 2 p.m. Although the ruling Democratic Party(DP) and the main opposition People Power Party(PPP) have yet to agree on the timetable, speeches by the heads of negotiation groups will likely open the session this month, followed by an interpellation session for three or four days. Inspections of government offices that are supposed to last for up to 30 days will likely be launched early next month. The two main parties are expected to clash over the creation of an eight-member consultative body to discuss controversial revisions to the press arbitration law before it is brought to a vote at a plenary session on September 27.
Appointments for Early Vaccinations for 18-49 Group Available until Thurs.
The general public aged 18 to 49 will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the Chuseok holiday if they make appointments before Thursday evening. With the vaccination rate for the large group still under six percent, health authorities are encouraging many to schedule or reschedule appointments by 6 p.m. Thursday so that they will receive their first dose before the holiday, which begins on September 20. According to the state vaccine task force, of 14-point-86 million people in the group, 768-thousand-449, or five-point-two percent, have received their first shots so far since the group’s vaccinations began last Thursday. As of 12 a.m. Tuesday, 68-point-nine percent have made appointments through the ongoing reservation session scheduled to run until September 18. Meanwhile, the government is set to begin administering the second dose of Pfizer to over 500-thousand teachers and staff at childcare centers, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools.
White House Reaffirms Will to Talk with N. Korea without Preconditions
The White House has reaffirmed Washington’s stance that it is ready to hold unconditional talks with North Korea. White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a media briefing on Tuesday that the U.S. has left the door open and reached out to the North through its channels. She said she has no update on Pyongyang’s response but Washington’s offer still remains to meet anywhere, anytime without preconditions. The remarks came after a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) last Friday suggested that North Korea has resumed production of plutonium at its Yongbyon nuclear complex. U.S.-based monitoring website, 38 North, issued a similar analysis on Monday. Psaki said the U.S. is closely coordinating with its allies and partners on developments in the situation and assessing them closely.
Police raid Seoul City Hall over mayor's alleged election law violation
Police on Tuesday raided Seoul City Hall, as part of their investigation into allegations that Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon spread false information during his mayoral by-election campaign in April. Investigators from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency searched some City Hall offices, including the city planning and transport policy bureaus, for seven hours until 4:30 p.m. to seize documents related to Oh's remarks on a scandal-plagued development project called Pi-City in southern Seoul, according to police officials. Oh affiliated with the main opposition People Power Party won a landslide victory against the ruling Democratic Party's candidate in the April 7 mayoral by-election. Oh had previously served as the mayor of Seoul from 2006 to 2011.
U.S. remains firmly committed to dialogue with N. Korea: S. Korean envoy
The United States remains strongly committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through diplomacy and dialogue, and is working closely with South Korea to bring North Korea back to the dialogue table, Seoul's top nuclear envoy said Tuesday. Noh Kyu-duk made the remark after holding a series of meetings with his U.S. counterpart, Sung Kim, and other administration officials, including the White House policy coordinator for Asia, Kurt Campbell, during a visit to Washington this week. "The U.S. administration firmly maintains a forward-looking, creative and flexible stance to restart dialogue with North Korea and make progress. South Korea and the U.S. have been holding discussions on humanitarian assistance for the North in that context," Noh said in a meeting with reporters here.
Ruling party kicks off 41-day nationwide primary voting to pick presidential candidate
The ruling Democratic Party (DP) on Tuesday kicked off a 41-day nationwide voting process to choose its final candidate to run in next year's presidential election, party officials said. The primary election voting on six DP presidential contenders started off on the inaugural leg of the central city of Daejeon and surrounding South Chungcheong Province earlier in the day. It will then move to 10 additional legs across the country, including the southern city of Gwangju on Sept. 25, to wrap up the final destination in Seoul on Oct. 10. The six contenders, including Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung, former DP chief Lee Nak-yon and former Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, will also follow the itinerary in person to give public speeches and rally support for their presidential campaigns.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Controversial ‘fake news’ bill to be revised and voted on next month
The controversial “fake news” bill has been put on hold, with the ruling Democratic Party of Korea taking a step back Tuesday in the face of fierce criticism from opposition parties and the media. Floor leaders of the Democratic Party and main opposition People Power Party announced Tuesday that a committee would be set up to discuss and revise details of the bill, which would increase the penalties that media outlets and journalists could face for spreading misinformation with “malicious intent.” The eight-member committee will consist of two lawmakers from each of the two parties, and two experts recommended by the lawmakers on each side. They will work toward a revised bill and put it to a vote Sept. 27.
S. Korea, US envoys discuss humanitarian aid for NK, nuclear issue
South Korea and the US discussed potential humanitarian aid to North Korea and reiterated calls for the reclusive regime to return to dialogue, Washington’s top nuclear envoy said Monday, as Pyongyang may be on track to expand its nuclear program. Sung Kim, the US special representative for North Korea, made the remark after a meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Noh Kyu-duk, who is in Washington through Wednesday for talks with officials at the State Department and the White House National Security Council. “We exchanged views on the situation on the ground, as well as some ideas and initiatives for engagement, including possible humanitarian assistance,” Kim told reporters after the meeting.
Fed’s tapering talk has limited impact on Korean market ‘for now’
The reports surrounding the US Federal Reserve’s plan to trim bond purchases over an extended period have had limited impact on the Korean market “for now,” First Vice Finance Minister Lee Eog-won said Tuesday. The remark follows some volatility observed in the nation’s main bourse in the events leading up to and after US Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech at the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole gathering last week. The central bank may begin withdrawing some of its easy-money policies before the end of the year, though interest rate hikes are still off in the distance, he indicated.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Rival parties to form consultative body to review contentious 'fake news' bill
The liberal ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) and conservative main opposition People Power Party (PPP) agreed, Tuesday, to create an eight-member consultative body composed of lawmakers and media experts to review the DPK-pushed "fake news" bill amid strong resistance from media industry groups and opposition lawmakers. In addition, the rival parties also concurred on postponing the introduction of the controversial bill aimed at increasing punitive damages on media outlets producing "fake news" to the National Assembly plenary session to be held on Sept. 27. The decision came at a meeting between floor leaders of the two major parties, Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon of the PPP and Rep. Yun Ho-jung of the DPK, Tuesday, organized by National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug, after previous attempts failed to reach an agreement on the issue.
Constitutional Court rejects petition by Korean 'war criminals' over dispute settlement
The Constitutional Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition filed by a group of South Koreans who were forced to serve in the Japanese army during World War II and later punished as war criminals. The plaintiffs filed the appeal asking the court to confirm the government's violation of their basic rights by not redressing the plight they endured as convicted war criminals. The court rejected the case in a 5-4 vote, saying their suffering which largely came from the rulings in war tribunals are not subject to the 1965 agreement between Seoul and Japan on resolving colonial-era issues. "It is difficult to see B/C-class war criminals convicted in war tribunals in the same light as the victims of crimes against humanity, such as sexual slavery or nuclear bombs," the court said.
Police raid Seoul City Hall over mayor's alleged election law violation
Police on Tuesday raided Seoul City Hall, as part of their investigation into allegations that Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon spread false information during his mayoral by-election campaign in April. Investigators from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency searched some City Hall offices, including the city planning and transport policy bureaus, to seize documents related to Oh's remarks on a scandal-plagued development project called Pi-City in southern Seoul, according to police officials. Oh affiliated with the main opposition People Power Party won a landslide victory against the ruling Democratic Party's candidate in the April 7 mayoral by-election. Oh had previously served as the mayor of Seoul from 2006 to 2011.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
N.Korea Sends Young Elite into Internal Exile
The North Korean regime has been sending elite young Workers Party functionaries into internal exile at remote construction sites to shore up crumbling discipline. The practice is being presented as "volunteering," but it appears they are not given a choice. One senior defector said, "One of the biggest problems leader Kim Jong-un faces is young people who have been influenced by South Korean culture and angry about the economic crisis. The aim appears to be to neutralize them so they can't foment internal dissent." The official Rodong Sinmun daily on Sunday published a statement from Kim to mark Youth Day the previous day. "What makes me especially happy is to see young people who have been left behind make the magnificent decision to sacrifice themselves for their country and start fresh by moving on to difficult and demanding areas," he said.
Era of Cheap Loans Coming to an End
The days of ultra-cheap loans are numbered after the Bank of Korea hiked the base interest rate to 0.75 percent last week and banks froze or restricted home loans. An interest rate hike typically dampens demand for real estate, but analysts are divided on their outlook for housing prices. Some forecast a steep drop as more and more people who borrowed money to buy their homes put them up for sale due to the rising interest burden, while others expect them to keep rising since interest remains comparatively low. But the rate hike is expected to have a deflating effect on the housing and stock market bubble. Rather than borrowing heavily to invest in real estate and stocks, more and more people are expected to manage their risks. One financial advisor cautioned, "Reduce your debts at all costs and avoid excessive investments when interest rates rise."
Businesses Worry About Triple Whammy
Korean businesses cite rising raw material costs, lockdown and increased interest rates as the main problems burdening them. The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry said Monday that a recent multiple-choice straw poll of 104 big and 206 small companies found that 81.6 percent cited rising raw material costs, while 80.6 percent pointed to lockdown and 67.7 percent rising interest rates. The Bank of Korea hiked the base interest rate by 0.25 percentage point to 0.75 percent last week. The survey was conducted just beforehand, and the majority still hoped the BOK would keep the rate frozen a little longer.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Kabul airport attack puts Taliban’s ability to govern on trial
The first challenge to the Taliban’s rule after they returned to power in Afghanistan came not from the West or other outside forces, but from within, with the Islamist forces that they emerged out of. Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K), the Afghan branch of the Islamic State, dealt a blow to the Taliban’s attempts to stabilize the situation when they carried out two suicide bombing attacks Thursday near Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, a chaotic setting that was a major focus of global attention at the time. With US President Joe Biden immediately vowing to carry out retaliatory strikes, some complex and delicate conflicts and dynamics appear poised to emerge between the US and other Western powers on one side, and the Taliban and Islamist armed groups on the other.
As former refugees, Koreans should welcome those arriving here from distant places
As episodes of the TV show “LA Arirang” (1995–2000) went up on the SBS YouTube channel “BACKENT - SBS Old Entertainment,” viewers began gathering in the comments section and humming along to the theme song. “LA Arirang” is symbolic as the first sitcom that future South Korean sitcom maestro Kim Byung-wook took part in. It also holds scarcity value as a work that depicts the joys and pains of Koreans living in the US. Before, the show was too old to be found anywhere online, living on only in the memories of its fans. But this August, 21 years after the show went off the air, episodes began appearing again on YouTube. For someone like me who remembered the show from a childhood in the 1990s, and for those who only heard rumors that such a sitcom existed, gathering to watch “LA Arirang” offers the feeling of truly traveling back in time.
It’s time to look back on original aims of press reforms
It’s been 30 days since the Democratic Party announced plans to push an amendment to the Press Arbitration Act through a plenary session of the National Assembly. Its official position had not changed as of last Sunday, four days after that session was postponed on Wednesday. It’s time for the Democratic Party to stop trying to push this amendment through in defiance of all the concerns that have been raised — and to start belatedly marshaling its collective wisdom to uphold the original aims of these press reforms. If the party views the public’s increased interest in press reforms as an achievement in itself, then this is a moment that calls for a strategy of taking a step back so they can take two steps forward and parlay that interest into a driving force for real reform.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Citizens to discuss Seoul’s role in overcoming climate change
An event will be held to introduce various ideas from citizens to overcome climate change and select suggestions to reflect on policies of Seoul. Citizens will have opportunities to share tips in their daily lives to contribute to the cause. The City of Seoul announced Tuesday that it will hold an online meeting for citizens “2021 Seoul Citizens Meeting” on Wednesday with an agenda “An era of climate change, Seoul’s role.” The meeting is a public sphere to discuss policies, build consensus and reflect opinions of citizens from all walks of life. Seoul appointed 1,081 citizens through open recruitment in May. They have had multiple discussion sessions since June and suggested 497 ideas to tackle climate change. Seoul’s Climate and Environment Headquarters and experts picked 25 ideas after a review, out of which 11 were selected through a mobile voting by appointed citizens.
The 2nd blast in Kabul is from CIA base demolition
A few hours after Sunni armed group the Islamic State delivered a suicide bomb attack to the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, on Thursday, another blast echoed away. A lot of people feared that it was the second terrorist attack. But the sound was from the exploding of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency building in Afghanistan by the U.S. army in the process of withdrawal. The New York Times reported on Saturday that the U.S. army destroyed the CIA base called ‘Eagle Base’ near the airport, quoting the U.S. insiders. It was to prevent the Taliban from acquiring the country’s classified information and the newest military equipment.
Samsung to invest 240 trillion won and hire new 40,000 employees
South Korean conglomerate Samsung plans to invest 240 trillion won by 2023 in having a competitive edge in future strategic industries such as semiconductors, biotechnology and next generation communications. In particular, it will spend a total of 180 trillion won on the domestic market while directly hiring more than 40,000 employees over three years. Samsung’s regular public recruitment system stands to be in place for the sake of employment stability and predictability whereas other major domestic businesses have abolished or plan to remove the system. Samsung published the largest ever investment and recruitment plan on Wednesday. “We plan to prepare us for a series of major changes in industries, international order and social structures that will happen after the COVID-19 pandemic is over,” Samsung said. “Samsung will make the investment decision to make sure that it fulfills its corporate roles for large investments and job creation for next generations.”
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Killer Breaks Ankle Bracelet and Calls Probation Officer after First Murder Seeking Leniency for Travel Restriction Violation
Gang (56), a killer who murdered two women around the time he broke his GPS monitoring device (ankle bracelet) and disappeared, called his probation office the morning he broke the bracelet and asked for leniency concerning his violation of a nighttime travel restriction. At the time, Gang had already killed one woman and placed the body in his home. The probation office, not suspecting anything, notified Gang to come to the office for an investigation and hung up. That afternoon, Gang broke his GPS monitoring device and disappeared. Press coverage also revealed that the probation office had put off an investigation on Gang’s previous violation of travel restrictions for nearly three months. According to the coverage by the Kyunghyang Shinmun on August 30, Gang called the Seoul Dongbu Probation and Parole Office at around 10 a.m. August 27 and asked to talk to his probation officer. The probation officer was not in at the time, so Gang spoke with another officer. Gang argued that he had no choice but to violate the nighttime curfew and asked for leniency.
Richest of Newly Appointed or Promoted Officials Had 33 Billion Won in “Cash,” While Richest of Retired Officials Possessed Real Estate Worth Billions of Won
Among high-ranking public officials who disclosed their property in August following changes in their status--new appointments, promotions, and retirement--the richest was Lee Jong-in, head of the Press Office in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, who had nearly 33 billion won in savings. The richest of retired public officials turned out to possess real estate valued at billions of won. The Public Service Ethics Committee released the property registered to high-ranking officials including these details on August 26. A total of 110 officials--40 newly appointed, 21 promoted, and 31 retired--were subject to disclose their property this month. The government discloses the property owned by high-ranking officials with changes to their personnel status each month.
Next Year’s Health Insurance Rate to Increase 1.89%: An Employee Will Pay on Average 2,475 Won More a Month
The Ministry of Health and Welfare announced that in the early morning of August 27, the Health Insurance Policy Deliberation Committee, the highest decision-making body on the national health insurance, decided to raise the health insurance rate for 2022 by 1.89%. The rate for people subscribing to an employee health insurance policy will increase from the current 6.86% to 6.99% next year, while for local health insurance subscribers the rate will increase from 201.5 won per contribution score to 205.3 won. Thus, a worker who subscribes to an employee health insurance policy will pay on average 2,475 won more a month, which based on the contribution charged in June this year would mean the worker would pay 133,087 won instead of 130,612 won. In a year, the worker will pay 29,700 won more.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Posco to provide 200,000 tons of steel products to U.S. Array Technologies
Posco has signed a memorandum of understanding with Array Technologies to provide corrosion resistant steel products including PosMAC to the world’s second largest supplier of solar tracking systems, the Korean steelmaker said on Tuesday. Under the MOU, Posco will provide 200,000 tons of PosMAC, which is enough to install solar power generation facilities in an area the size of 12,000 soccer fields, to Array Technologies by 2023. Posco will process steel materials such as PosMAC into solar system components and supply them to global solar power projects related to ATI in cooperation with domestic SMEs and its affiliate Posco International.
Samsung Elec mulls ramp-up to meet explosive demand for new foldables
Samsung Electronics Co. beaming with hotter-than-expected response to its latest editions in foldable handsets is moving to ramp up production capacity at its smartphone base in Vietnam by 50 percent for Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3. According to industry sources on Tuesday, Samsung Display Co., responsible for the screens of Samsung phones, is internally studying to raise annual output for foldable displays to 25 million from 17 million at Bac Ninh plant in Vietnam. The expansion could be made by the end of this year or early next year at the latest to churn out 10 million units of Z Fold and 15 million units of Z Flip per year.
SK Global Chemical rebranded SK Geocentric to invest $4.3 bn in green sourcing by 2025
South Korea’s SK Global Chemical will transform its business portfolio of petrochemicals into green products under a new corporate name of ‘SK Geocentric’ with an ambitious goal of becoming the world’s largest ‘urban oil field explorer’ by investing 5 trillion won ($4.3 billion) in eco-friendly business projects by 2025. The new corporate identity effective on Sept. 1 is a testament to the company’s vision for going from carbon to green by reconstructing its value proposition from Korea’s first petrochemical firm to an urban oil field explorer to recycle waste plastics, the company’s chief executive Na Kyung-soo said during a vision-sharing session, Brand New Day, on Tuesday. The company is unlisted.
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Le Monde www.ilemonde.com
Sydney Morning Heraldwww.smh.com.au
Colombia Reports http://colombiareports.com
El Universal http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english
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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