Monday, September 7, 2021
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
“Malaysia, Korea share National Day in August, are headed for increased cooperation”
Charge d’Affaires Ahmad Fahmi Ahmad Sarkawi of the Republic of Malaysia in Seoul said, “The 31st day of August is the official National Day of Malaysia and it marks the day when Malaysia became free from British colonial rule.” It is the happy day for the people of Malaysia like the Korean people who enjoys the 15th of August when they won their independence in 1945. To mark the auspicious occasion, The Korea Post media (publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean news publications since 1985) recently had a special interview with CDA Sarkawi of Malaysia at his office in Seoul. Details of the interview follow: Question: Please introduce your National Day in full detail. Answer: The 31st day of August is the official national day of Malaysia. It commemorates the Malayan Declaration of Independence on 31 August 1957, marking the day Malaya is free from British colonial administration. This year's Independence Day is the 6th anniversary. 'Malaysia Prihatin' which literally means Malaysia Cares, is retained as the theme for this year's Independence Day.
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.
SK Lubricants unveils the “legit” environment-oriented SK ZIC Zero campaign
SK Lubricants has launched a new “legit” environment-oriented SK ZIC ZERO campaign that reflects the company’s commitment to green business practices. SK Lubricants, a SK Innovation’s subsidiary specialized in lubricant business, said on Sept. 1 that it prepared this advertising campaign to showcase eco-friendly elements from the video production to a giveaway event, let alone SK ZIC ZERO product itself. This is consistent with the Green Transformation strategy that is being enforced all companies of SK Innovation. The new SK ZIC ZERO campaign is considered a “legit” eco-friendly advertisement for its special making process. The advertising crew used natural lights and self-powered lighting for filming and kept the background image composition for the product minimum.
S. Korea Posts Current Account Surplus for 15th Month
South Korea posted a current account surplus for the 15th consecutive month in July on the back of robust exports. According to tentative data from the central Bank of Korea(BOK) on Tuesday, the country's current account surplus came to eight-point-21 billion U.S. dollars in July. It’s the 15th straight month a surplus has been logged since May last year and the surplus grew one-point-19 billion dollars from a year ago. Exports rose by 26-point-three percent on-year to 54-point-three billion dollars, while imports gained 35 percent on-year to 48-point-five billion dollars. The service sector, on the other hand, posted a deficit of 80 million dollars in July, managing to narrow the shortfall by one-point-two billion dollars from a year earlier.
AEA Team to Visit Japan to Review Fukushima Water Release Plan
The International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) said on Monday that its officials are in Japan this week to launch a review of the planned release of treated but still radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant. According to the UN nuclear watchdog, the three-member team headed by Lydie Evrard, head of the IAEA’s Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, plans to meet with senior Japanese officials in Tokyo and visit the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The IAEA team will reportedly discuss technical details with experts at the site and hold a press conference on Thursday in Japan. IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said in a statement that his agency is supporting Japan to ensure that the entire decades-long operation is conducted in a way that is consistent with international safety standards.
S. Korea Considers Allowing Single People to Adopt Children
South Korea is mulling amendments that would allow unwed singles to legally adopt children. The Ministry of Justice made the announcement while unveiling the results of an August 31 meeting of its task-force on legal adjustments to reflect a surge in single-person households in the country. The ministry is considering changing the civil code so that an unmarried person can adopt a child, provided they meet requirements. Currently, only married couples under a mutual agreement can legally adopt children. The task force reached a consensus that unmarried people, who are capable of raising children on their own, should be allowed to adopt, provided they pass a rigorous court review. Single-person households were the most common type of living arrangement in South Korea, accounting for 31.7% of the total in 2020.
Typhoon-hit Pohang designated as special disaster zone
President Moon Jae-in declared Pohang, a southeastern city, Monday as a special disaster zone eligible for the government's financial support in recovery work, relief funds for victims and other benefits. The city, 370 kilometers southeast of Seoul, was battered by Typhoon Omais last month, suffering property damage worth 8.8 billion won (US$7.6 million), according to figures from the state disaster management authority. The government plans to offer financial support for recovery work and provide local people, who suffered damages, with emergency relief funds as well as cuts in gas and electricity fees, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Park Kyung-mee.
Current account surplus narrows in July on decreased trade surplus
South Korea's current account surplus slightly narrowed in July due to reduced trade surplus, although exports maintained strong growth, central bank data showed Tuesday. The current account surplus reached US$8.21 billion in July, narrowing from a surplus of $8.85 billion the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). The current account is the broadest measure of cross-border trade. Since the country logged a deficit of $3.33 billion in April last year, the largest in almost a decade, on faltering exports amid the pandemic, the current account has stayed in the black. The goods balance logged a surplus of $5.73 billion in July, smaller than the surplus of $7.01 billion the previous month.
New cases in 1,300s on fewer tests; virus curbs extended for a month
South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases fell back to the 1,300s on Monday due to fewer tests over the weekend, while health authorities extended the tough virus curbs ahead of a major national holiday. The country added 1,375 more COVID-19 cases, including 1,351 local infections, raising the total caseload to 261,778, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). The daily caseload fell to a five-week low for any Monday, when new cases usually remain lower than other weekdays due to fewer tests over the weekend. It is down from 1,490 on Sunday, 1,804 on Saturday, and 1,709 on Friday. Daily cases have stayed in the four-digits for the last 62 days amid the fast rise of the more transmissible variants across the nation.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Five Eyes invitation may come with costs
South Korea has received a fresh invitation from the world’s most exclusive intelligence-sharing alliance, the so-called Five Eyes, but experts warn there is no such thing as free lunch in diplomacy. Last week, the US House of Representatives submitted a draft bill to the National Defense Authorization for the 2022 fiscal year, asking the US administration to consider expanding the Five Eyes program that currently consists of five English-speaking democracies: the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Along with Korea, three other nations, including Japan, India and Germany, were proposed as possible new members. “The Five Eyes is an extremely exclusive intelligence alliance.
Basic income a key policy: Yeoju mayor
Being mayor of a city in Gyeonggi Province with a little over 110,000 residents means putting people first, says Yeoju Mayor Lee Hang-jin, and a universal basic income for farmers is one way to do that. Yeoju was the first city in the province to provide an annual allowance to farmers, who make up a third of the city’s population, beginning last year. This year, the city is partnering with the province to provide farmers with a universal basic income, and five other cities in the province are following suit. “Farmers are not just providing produce; they provide a public service because communities and the country thrive on their work,” Lee said, noting that 17,000 farmers would receive a basic income in addition to an allowance from the city.
Lee Jun-seok and the rise of anti-feminism
At 36, Lee Jun-seok made history by becoming the youngest-ever leader of the main opposition People Power Party. His success has fanned hopes for significant changes in the political arena, but an uglier side of South Korean society has ascended along with him. Two months before he was elected party chairman, the party won the Seoul and Busan mayoral by-elections. Although the candidates were favored across age groups, young male voters showed overwhelming support. Post-election analyses say the results reflected the current administration’s failure to address the bleak realities facing young Koreans, but Lee put a twist on that.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
'Fake news' laws only in 'authoritarian countries:' International Press Institute
The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, executives and journalists dedicated to the protection and promotion of media freedom, has called for the withdrawal of a bill being pushed by the liberal ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) to punish media outlets producing alleged "fake news," noting that many such laws are promulgated in "authoritarian countries." "In recent years, there has been a rapid growth of so-called fake news laws around the world. Many of these laws have been passed in authoritarian countries," Scott Griffen, deputy director of the IPI, said in a recent email interview with The Korea Times
Samsung close to finalizing mega US investment plan
Samsung Electronics denied reports Monday that the city of Taylor in Williamson County, the U.S. states of Texas, has been decided on as the location for its new foundry semiconductor plant. Regarding the location of Samsung's new semiconductor plant, we are in the process of reviewing details such as incentive packages and other forms of administrative support submitted by cities in different U.S. states," a Samsung official said Monday. Despite the company's official denial, procedural steps were reportedly underway for a meeting Thursday (KST) among Taylor, Williamson County and Samsung Electronics to discuss measures that would support Samsung Austin Semiconductor's selection of the city as the site for the new plant
GM works with LG to address battery defect issues
General Motors (GM) said Monday it was working with LG to address battery-related defects after it found that 10 fires in its Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles (EVs) were caused by batteries supplied by LG affiliates. In an email interview, GM spokesman Dan Flores said the automaker was collaborating with LG to resolve the manufacturing defect. LG Energy Solution (LGES) manufactures batteries for Chevrolet Bolt EVs, while LG Electronics assembles LGES-produced cells into battery modules and packs. "So far, GM experts have confirmed 10 battery related fires in Bolt EVs," Flores said. "GM and LG are working around the clock, seven days a week to resolve this manufacturing defect.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Moderna Narrowly Misses Another Delivery Target
U.S. drug maker Moderna has again failed to deliver the full 7.01 million doses of coronavirus vaccines it had promised over the two weeks since Aug. 23. In its latest shipment expected Monday afternoon, Moderna is delivering another 2.55 million doses, but that is still 250,000 doses short. Earlier, 1.01 million doses arrived on Aug. 23, 1.02 million on Sept. 2, 905,000 on Sept. 3 and 1.26 million on Sunday. All will be used for second jabs for people in their 50s and first and second injections for people aged 18 to 49. Moderna promised Korea 40 million doses by the end of the year after President Moon Jae-in personally called Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel last December, but shipments have repeatedly been postponed and so far only some 9.2 million doses have been supplied.
Samsung Chief to Visit U.S. over Chuseok
Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong wants to visit the U.S. over Chuseok in his first overseas trip since he was paroled under a special amnesty last month. He has applied for a visa since Koreans with a criminal record cannot take advantage of the normal U.S. waiver. The purpose of his trip is to discuss investment in coronavirus vaccines and semiconductors. Samsung Biologics is contracted to manufacture Moderna's vaccine under license here. Samsung Electronics also plans to build a US$1.7 billion microchip factory in the U.S. but has yet to choose a location. The conglomerate is eyeing a large takeover of a foreign chipmaker and among the candidates is the U.S.' Texas Instruments.
Chinese Fans of Bangtan Boys Banned from Weibo for Fundraising
Chinese fans of boy band Bangtan Boys, also known as BTS, have been banned from Weibo for 60 days for trying to raise money for member Ji-min's birthday. The fans were punished for trying to raise money to put up birthday messages for Ji-min on airplanes and in newspapers. The fan club, which boasts 1.16 million devotees of Ji-min, posted a photo on their fan site on Saturday of a Jeju Air plane covered with birthday messages and a photo of their idol. They had already paid for the ad, which Jeju Air will feature over the next three months to mark Ji-min' birthday on Oct. 13. The message will also appear on boarding passes and paper cups on the budget airline, and the fans want to put similar ads into the New York Times and Times of London.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Will Suga’s successor continue Abe-line of diplomacy?
With Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) scheduled to hold a leadership vote on Sept. 29, there’s speculation about whether this will be a turning point when Japanese society makes a break with the “Abe line” that it has followed for the last nine years, since the end of 2012. If elected LDP president, some of the candidates can undermine former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to strengthen Japan’s alliance with the US to counterbalance China based on a conservative ideology.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s declaration Friday that he won’t run in the upcoming election has energized LDP members who hope to lead the party in the post-Suga era. Figures who have announced their candidacy, or who are planning to do so, according to Japanese press reports through Sunday include former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, former party Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba, Administrative Reform Minister Taro Kono, and former internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi.
UK aircraft carrier arrives at Yokosuka after canceling visit to Busan
The HMS Queen Elizabeth, the UK’s latest aircraft carrier, docked at the Japanese port of Yokosuka on Saturday. The carrier’s arrival is drawing attention for coming shortly after the cancellation of plans for a stop in Busan late last month. Japan’s NHK reported Sunday, “The British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived at Yokosuka Naval Base, the home port of the US 7th Fleet.” It added that the carrier would “be taking part in joint exercises with the Japan Self-Defense Forces.” The Queen Elizabeth was originally scheduled to put in at Busan late last month, but the plan failed to come to fruition. The South Korean Ministry of National Defense attributed the change in plans to the “severe COVID-19 situation.” As a result, the South Korean and UK navies had to content themselves with downscaled exchange activities, including exercises in the southern waters of the East Sea on Aug. 31 that focused on humanitarian support and disaster relief efforts.
COVID-19 vaccine, leukemia have no causal links, S. Korean government says
Domestic scholars say no evidence shows a link between vaccination against COVID-19 and acute myeloid leukemia. With a national petition filed that warns of the rise of the disease after vaccination, the government held consultations with experts. With women complaining of irregular bleeding after getting their shots per the petition, authorities will boost monitoring of abnormal reactions. The government's vaccination task force on Thursday said, "Consultations with the Korean Society of Hematology (KSH) concluded that no evidence shows that [vaccines] cause or trigger leukemia." The organization added that the notion of leukemia occurring shortly after inoculation is inconsistent with medical theories, with no data to date supporting a causality between vaccines, including those against COVID-19 and the flu and leukemia.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
South Korea virtually completes the development of SLBM
South Korea is known to have successfully test-launched a locally developed submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from a submerged barge recently. An SLMB, which is strategic arms launched from a hard-to-detect submarine, is called a game changer that will determine the dynamics of a battlefield. With North Korea unveiling new SLBM last and this year, speeding up the development of asymmetric strategic weapons that can threaten South Korea and the U.S., South Korea has become the eighth country in the world with SLBM power. According to a defense industry official on Monday, the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) recently conducted successful two test launches of an SLBM from Dosan Anchangho, the first 3,000-ton submarine. In particular, the agency succeeded in “cold launch,” a core technology that ignites the missile engine after pushing the missile out of the water using air pressure from the launch tube.
Paralympic athletes show can-do spirit and passion
The South Korean Paralympic athletes maintained their grits until the end but failed to achieve their goals. As South Korean badminton players Kim Jung-joon earned a silver medal at WH2 singles and Lee Dong-seop and Kim won a silver medal at WH2-WH1 doubles on Sunday – the last day of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, South Korea ended up in 41st place with 2 golds, 10 silvers and 12 bronzes. The Paralympic squad of South Korea arrived Tokyo with the goal of entering the top 30 list by wining four golds, nine silvers and 21 bronzes. However, the team showed the lowest ranking since its first joining of the Tel Aviv Paralympic Games in 1968.
Global Hawk flies over Korean Peninsula skies anew
The Global Hawk (RQ-4), high-altitude, unmanned surveillance aircraft has flown into the Korean Peninsula and started surveying North Korea for an extended duration around the inter-Korean military demarcation line as signs suggested the North started preparation for a military parade lately. According to multiple websites tracking military aircraft on Sunday, the Global Hawk took off the U.S. military’s Yokota Airbase in Japan and flew into the skies over the Korean Peninsula on Saturday. The aircraft passed South Korea’s southern coast, moved northward along the western coast and continued flying over the skies of MDL areas to and from east and west multiple times through Sunday morning.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
People Power Party Will Not Include Questions to Prevent Adverse Selection in Primary Polls
On September 5, after an intense debate by the People Power Party’s presidential primary election commission, the party decided not to include questions to prevent adverse selection in primary surveys. Adverse selection, here, refers to the intervention by members of one political party in another party’s primaries to elect a weaker candidate. However, the major opposition party decided to reflect the survey results of its key members (members who have paid their membership fees for at least three months and who have taken part in at least one training program conducted by the party) 20% in the first cut-off, which originally was supposed to be determined 100% by public polls. The party also decided to question the candidate’s competitiveness in the presidential election against the ruling party candidate in the final primary.
Government to Extend Business Hours for Restaurants and Cafes in the Greater Seoul Area to 10 p.m.
The government will extend the current level-4 physical (social) distancing in the Seoul metropolitan area until October 3, but will extend the business hours for restaurants and cafes in areas where level-4 distancing is enforced, including the capital area, to 10 p.m. from the current 9 p.m. The government will also ease restrictions on gatherings, particularly for people who are fully vaccinated. Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum presided over a Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters meeting in response to COVID-19 at the government office in Seoul on September 3 and said, “The government will reasonably adjust distancing standards to ease the burden on the people’s economic situation while maintaining a tight grip on disease control.”
The Sale of Namyang Dairy Fails to Go Through
The sale of Namyang Dairy Products Co. collapsed in the end.
On September 1, Hong Won-sik, chairman of Namyang Dairy announced, “We notified the other party in the contract, Hahn & Company, of the cancellation of the stock transfer contract due to its failure to implement prior agreements.” The announcement was made three months after Hong and his family signed a contract with the private equity fund to sell 53% of Namyang Dairy shares to Hahn & Co. for 310.7 billion won. Hahn & Co. immediately refuted and argued that the contract remained valid. This day, Hong released a statement and said, “After the sales contract was signed, we did not make any additional requests that were not agreed to at the time of the contract. We only requested that the buyer implement the details that both parties had agreed to before the contract was signed.” He further argued, “However, the buyer changed its attitude after the contract and refused to implement the details of the prior agreement.”
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Olympics spirit to be borrowed to promote global peace at WKF
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) chairman Thomas Bach is joining former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to promote global peace at the World Knowledge Forum (WKF) which will run from Sept.14 to 16 in Seoul. He is stopping in Seoul after the Tokyo Summer Olympics and ahead of the Winter Games held in Beijing in February 2022. Bach will have talks with former Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon to give his experiences of leading the 2020 Tokyo Olympics amid pandemic and opinions on escalating conflicts between the U.S. and China and sports diplomacy. He will also introduce a behind-the-scenes story of how North Korea joined the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
Seoul mulls incremental easing in social distancing to normalize self-employed business
South Korea under after-dark business curfew is mulling a transition to a living-with-Covid-19 environment where mitigation and distancing measures become incrementally relaxed according to vaccination progress. “With higher vaccination rate, we could incrementally move to a new quarantine model to balance the policy more with everyday lives,” said President Moon Jae-in Monday. “The government inevitably had to go on extending the rigorous quarantine code, but we aim to normalize lives as soon as possible so that businesses can return to normal without restriction on customers who have been fully vaccinated,” Moon said.
KSOE teams up with Posco to develop liquid hydrogen storage tanks for ships
Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) has joined hands with South Korea’s steel giant Posco to develop liquid hydrogen storage tanks. The holding entity of Hyundai Heavy Industries Group signed a memorandum of understanding with Posco, Korea Research Institute of Ships & Ocean Engineering (KRISO) and Hylium Industries on Monday to jointly develop liquid hydrogen tanks. They plan to produce a liquid hydrogen tank for a small-sized vessel by the end of the year on a pilot basis and develop tanks for large ships next year.
What’s ticking around the world at this second?
See what the world media around the world have to report:
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
The Korea Post is running video clips from the different embassies.
And many other countries.
What are you waiting for?
The Korea Post media are more than eager to be used, and to serve you—with the following five news outlets, 36 years old this year!
Korean-language Internet edition: http://www.koreapost.co.kr
English-language Internet edition: http://www.koreapost.com
Korean-language print newspaper:
English E-daily: http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=10690