Wednesday, September 15, 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.
ST Unitas appoints Kim Jung-taek as its new CEO
ST Unitas, which is famous for its educational contents, has appointed former CEO Kim Jung-taek of NUB as its new representative. According to ST Unitas on Sept. 13, the new CEO Kim graduated from New York City University in the U.S. and served as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Carver Korea and Hugel. In the future, Kim plans to focus on operating its existing business and strengthening the competitiveness of ST Unitas. Yoon Sung-hyuk, founder of ST Unitas, focuses on the role of chairman of the board of directors. Chairman Yoon plans to focus on developing ST Unitas' vision and mid- to long-term strategies in the future.
Korea, Czechia have endless possibilities through cooperation in nuclear power utilization
Czech Republic Nuclear Engineering is a very complex field and as the consumption of electricity is still growing, nuclear plants can be considered as a reliable and environmentally friendly source of electricity. As a student of KEPCO International Nuclear Graduate School (KINGS) located in Shin Kori NPP area, I am glad to experience international environment together with specialized field of study closely connected with practice. Therefore, I can see almost endless possibilities of international cooperation not only between Korea and Czechia but also other countries. Korea, as one of the world's leaders in the nuclear industry, could be one of the potential suppliers of a new nuclear reactor for the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant located in the Czech Republic.
Chinese FM Arrives in S. Korea for Talks on Bilateral Cooperation, N. Korea
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is in South Korea for talks amid tension on the Korean Peninsula after North Korea's test-firing of long-range cruise missiles over the weekend. Wang arrived at Incheon International Airport on Tuesday night following his visit to Singapore. His two-day trip to South Korea will begin with a meeting with Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong on Wednesday morning. Chung and Wang are expected to discuss ways to revive the peace process on the Korean Peninsula, including measures to resume dialogue between the United States and North Korea. Wang's visit to Seoul follows talks in Tokyo on Tuesday among the top nuclear envoys of South Korea, Japan and the U.S. There, U.S. envoy Sung Kim reiterated Washington’s call for Pyongyang to return to dialogue.
Job Growth Continues for 6th Month, Jobless Rate Hits Record Low
Jobs increased for the sixth consecutive month in August despite the protracted fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistics Korea said on Wednesday that the number of employed people stood at 27-point-six million last month, up 518-thousand from a year earlier. The nation reported job losses for 12 months in a row through February before a turnaround in March, when 314-thousand jobs were added. Jobs increased by 652-thousand in April to post the largest on-year growth in six years and eight months, and continued with 619-thousand in May, 582-thousand in June and 542-thousand in July.
Daily COVID-19 Cases Expected to Top 2,000 Again
Daily COVID-19 cases are expected to exceed two-thousand once again amid concerns over a further spike during the upcoming Chuseok holiday. According to health authorities and regional governments, one-thousand-941 new cases were confirmed nationwide as of 9 p.m. Tuesday. It is 522 more than the number compiled by 9 p.m. Monday. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency(KDCA) reported on Tuesday that one-thousand-497 cases were confirmed throughout the previous day. The daily tally to be announced on Wednesday morning is expected to hit the two-thousand mark. The last time the tally topped two-thousand was last Thursday, when two-thousand-49 cases were reported.
Job growth slows in Aug. amid resurgence of COVID-19
South Korea reported job additions for the sixth straight month in August, but the growth pace slowed as employment at in-person service sectors was hit by the fourth wave of the pandemic, data showed Wednesday. The number of employed people reached 27.6 million last month, 518,000 more than a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea. The August additions were lower than an on-year increase of 542,000 the previous month. The country has reported job growth since March amid an economic recovery and due to last year's low base effect. But the job growth slowed for the fourth straight month in August as the latest flare-up in COVID-19 cases and the toughest-ever virus curbs dealt a blow to employment in face-to-face service segments.
Top diplomats of S. Korea, China to hold talks on N. Korea, bilateral cooperation
Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, were set to hold talks in Seoul on Wednesday, with their agenda likely to include North Korea, bilateral ties and cooperation ahead of next year's Beijing Winter Olympics. The talks come as the United States' exit from Afghanistan is expected to free up resources to renew the focus on its rivalry with China and rev up a campaign to firm up its regional alliances to counter the Asian power's growing assertiveness. The meeting also follows renewed military tensions caused by the North's weekend test-firings of a new type of long-range cruise missile and signs of the country resuming the operation of a plutonium-producing nuclear reactor at its mainstay Yongbyon complex.
Google fined 207 bln won for anti-competition practice in mobile OS market
South Korea's antitrust regulator said Tuesday it has decided to fine global tech giant Google 207.4 billion won (US$176.8 million) for pressing smartphone makers into only using its Android mobile operating system. Since 2016, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) has been looking into Google over allegations it obstructed local smartphone makers, such as Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc., from using operating systems developed by rivals. Google has hampered market competition by requiring smartphone makers to clinch an "anti-fragmentation agreement (AFA)" when they sign key contracts with Google over app store licenses and early access to OS, according to the regulator.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Chinese FM arrives in Seoul in latest effort to bolster regional ties
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Seoul on Tuesday evening as part of a weeklong Asia tour that aims to bolster regional ties. According to Seoul’s Foreign Ministry, China’s top diplomat will hold talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong on Wednesday. He is also likely to pay a courtesy call to President Moon Jae-in before leaving for China later in the day.Wang last visited Seoul 10 months ago, in November last year. South Korea is the final destination in an Asia trip that also included stops in Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore.
Seoul, Washington, Tokyo discuss NK nuclear issue amid fresh tension
Top nuclear envoys from South Korea, the US and Japan held a trilateral meeting in Tokyo on Tuesday to discuss how best to restart stalled talks and rid the North of its nuclear weapons, amid fresh tension after the regime’s latest missile tests. The three-way session involved South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy, Noh Kyu-duk, and his US and Japanese counterparts, Sung Kim and Takehiro Funakoshi, respectively. A day earlier, the North announced it had successfully test-fired a new type of long-range cruise missile over the weekend, highlighting progress in Pyongyang’s military buildup amid a protracted standoff in nuclear negotiations with the US.
Carving out a place for Korea in a new global trade order
When Yeo Han-koo, South Korea’s newly-minted trade minister, first joined the officialdom in the early 1990s as a trade relations official, his country was just struggling to catch up with an emerging international trade order that later gave birth to the World Trade Organization. Three decades and 17 free trade deals later, South Korea stands as a shining example of free trade-driven prosperity, ranking among the world’s top 10 exporters. The path ahead, however, looks fraught with challenges, as the world of trade is shifting again. “We are at a turning point where the paradigm of trade as we know it is changing,” Yeo said in his office in Seoul on Friday, as he described the world he has to navigate through – one shaped by trade wars, the rise of protectionism, supply-chain disruptions and a weakened WTO.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Lee Nak-yon, 'man of prudence' with experience in administration and politics
Former ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) Chairman Lee Nak-yon has been called a "man of prudence, seriousness and balance." His supporters point to his rationality and ability to make balanced decisions after listening to conflicting parties, as having enabled him to succeed in managing various administrative and political positions stably, but the same attributes have also given him the image of being unable to make swift decisions in urgent situations. Reflecting this, the support rate for Lee as a potential presidential hopeful that had been highest for nearly a year in 2020, has fallen significantly, and he is now the second-most popular contender after Gyeonggi Province Governor Lee Jae-myung.
Fintechs cry foul over stricter rules on product promotion
Fintech firms are criticizing the financial authorities' recent measures to limit their entry into the insurance sales business, pointing to the absurdity of the hastily arranged requirements to clarify the structure of their business models by Oct. 15. This is the latest development of the financial regulator's efforts to curb the immense influence and market standing of financial services platforms, notably Kakao Pay, the financial subsidiary of Kakao Corp. and Naver, the country's largest portal operator. The Financial Services Commission (FSC) recently ordered that the two halt services whereby their users were able to buy insurance products recommended via the online platform, a promotional activity the regulator said is prohibited under related laws governing financial consumer protection. Kakao Pay has since suspended services recommending car insurance or offering a list of products it expects users would be interested in.
North Korean media slams US for meddling in Taiwan issues, voices support for 'One China policy'
A North Korean state media outlet on Wednesday denounced the United States for meddling in Taiwan issues and voiced its support for Beijing's "One China policy" amid the deepening Sino-U.S. rivalry. The Korean Central News Agency issued the criticism in an opinion piece attributed to an individual writer as South Korea's Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, were set to hold talks in Seoul on Wednesday. "Recently the U.S. has openly intervened in the Taiwan issue as part of its anti-China pressure offensive, thereby threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China," the KCNA said.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
100,000 Young Koreans Give up Looking for Work
Close to 100,000 young Koreans have given up looking for work for more than three years. According to Statistics Korea on Tuesday, some 278,000 people aged 15 to 29 have been unemployed for the last three years, and 96,000 of them have given up trying, went back to job training or are looking after their kids. The NEETs -- not engaged in education, employment or training -- surged 36 percent compared to last year. Some 62,000 of them are men, nearly twice the number of women, and 61,000 are in their mid to late 20s. Some 75,000 only have a high-school diploma. If large numbers of working-age people idle at home, it leads to a decrease in labor input and reduces the country's potential economic growth rate. The Korea Economic Research Institute estimated the economic cost of NEETs in 2017 at 2.7 percent of Korea's GDP or close to W50 trillion a year (US$1=W1,170).
Most Koreans Want to Hold on to Nuclear Power
Seven out of 10 Koreans support the use of nuclear power or even building more reactors, a poll suggests. In the poll of 1,000 adults by EmBrain Public for the Korean Nuclear Society, 72.1 percent of respondents supported the use of nuclear power, nearly three times more than those the 24.3 percent who were against. Support for nuclear power was most fervent among young people in their 20s with those in their 20s with 76 percent and over 60 with 82.4 percent. Some 69.9 percent supported maintaining the country's current nuclear plants or even expanding them. Some 72.3 percent also believe nuclear power is safe, and 81.5 percent support resuming construction of a nuclear plant in Uljin, North Gyeongsang Province, which has been halted for more than four years due to the government's phase-out policy.
Moon to Jet to U.S. for UN Meet
President Moon Jae-in is visiting the U.S. from Sept. 19 to 23 to attend the UN General Assembly in New York and a ceremony in Hawaii handing over the remains of American soldiers who died in the 1950-53 Korean War. The U.S. earlier recommended that Moon attend the meeting virtually due to coronavirus concerns, but he is determined to be there in person to give a keynote speech marking the 30th anniversary of the two Koreas jointly joining the world body. Last month, the White House sent a letter to world leaders urging them to attend the meeting virtually for fear of the spread of COVID-19. Moon "will deliver a keynote speech at the General Assembly, hold bilateral meetings with world leaders and meet the UN secretary-general," Cheong Wa Dae spokeswoman Park Kyung-mee told reporters Monday. It is unclear whether he will sit down face to face with U.S. President Joe Biden. A Cheong Wa Dae official said, "We're pursuing bilateral summits with a number of countries that have confirmed their leaders will be there in person."
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Debate over allegations about prosecutors' meddling gets heated during National Assembly interpellation session
Allegations that prospective presidential nominee Yoon Seok-youl incited a particular political party to submit criminal complaints with the aim of influencing a general election predictably surfaced as a major topic at a National Assembly interpellation session on political issues that kicked off Monday. The People Power Party (PPP) said that the allegations were an example of “political maneuvering” by the administration, playing up speculation about possible collusion by National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director Park Jie-won. The Democratic Party stressed the importance of determining whether the prosecutors actually did interfere with an election, insisting that the key task now is to determine who actually drafted the original complaints.
Lee Jae-myung dominates first “super week” of primary with 51.41% of votes
Lee Jae-myung, the presidential front-runner for South Korea’s ruling Democratic Party, secured a majority of votes in the party’s first “super week” of primaries, with results announced on Sunday. Lee Jae-myung received a majority of the votes in primaries held in North and South Chungcheong Provinces, that held in Daegu-North Gyeongsang Province, and that in Gangwon Province. The Gyeonggi Province governor also won the first vote by the party’s electoral college. Results of the first electoral college vote were announced in Wonju, Gangwon Province, with Lee Jae-myung coming in first with 51.09% of the votes. Lee Nak-yon came in second at 31.45%, trailed by Choo Mi-ae with 11.67%, Chung Sye-kyun with 4.03%, Park Yong-jin with 1.16%, and Kim Du-kwan with 0.6%.
Yoon accuses National Intelligence Service of political meddling
Yoon Seok-youl, a leading presidential candidate for the opposition, has been struggling to combat allegations that he abused his authority while serving as South Korea’s prosecutor general. Now he has launched a counterattack by accusing the National Intelligence Service (NIS) of meddling in politics. Yoon has zeroed in on a meeting in August between NIS Director Park Jie-won and Cho Seong-eun, former chair of the United Future Party’s election committee and the person who raised allegations about the prosecution service. In a meeting with reporters following a youth forum in Seoul’s Seodaemun District on Sunday, Yoon said that Park and Cho’s meeting “doesn’t make sense, even if they were friends, given [Park’s] position as NIS director.”
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Kakao decides to pull its projects affecting local businesses
After some controversies about negatively affecting the local economy in the process of business expansion, Kakao decided to pull some of its projects and establish a fund to support small business owners. “The CEOs of Kakao’s key subsidiaries have decided to strengthen the group’s social responsibility at a plenary meeting,” said Kakao on Tuesday. The tech company decided to expand its business into areas that prosper innovation in IT and benefit users. The projects that caused controversies of negatively impacting local businesses will be withdrawn and relevant subsidiaries will be reorganized.
U.K.’s energy price soars by seven times due to lack of wind
The U.K. generates 25% of energy from wind power but is now seeing energy price soaring by seven times in a year due to lack of wind. Halted operation of wind power plants in the U.K. affected other European countries in the grid, including Germany that had its energy prices steeply increased. According to The Wall Street Journal on Monday, the wholesale energy price in the U.K. on Sept. 8 was 33.66 euros per MWh. It was 132.20 euros on Aug. 9 and 46.97 euros on Sept. 8 last year. The WSJ reported that energy prices soared in France, the Netherlands and Germany where the grid is connected.
Pres. Moon Jae-in to visit US next week for UN General Assembly
President Moon Jae-in will visit the U.S. from Sept. 19 to Sept. 23 to attend an annual meeting of the United National General Assembly in New York and a ceremony for the transfer of South Korean and U.S. soldiers from the Korean War in Hawaii. In his final address to the UN General Assembly scheduled on next Tuesday (local time) during his term in office, President Moon is expected to stress his willingness to promptly resume U.S.-North Korea dialogue and improve inter-Korean relations. “This year marks the 30th anniversary of South and North Korea joining the UN,” Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Park Kyung-mee said during Monday’s briefing.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Oh Se-hoon Tried to Sell Yangjae-dong Land to Phi-City When He Was the Mayor of Seoul in 2010
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon sent a letter to Phi-City attached with a contract to sell land located in Yangjae-dong, Seocho-gu in December 2010, when he serve as the city’s mayor. In a parliamentary inspection in 2008, Oh said that he was paying great attention to the Phi-City project. However, in a TV debate of mayoral candidates for the by-election in April, Oh referred to the Phi-City project and said, the project “had nothing to do with the city of Seoul when I was in office.” The police are currently investigating him for distributing false information based on the Public Official Election Act. On September 8, the Kyunghyang Shinmun obtained the contract between the Seoul metropolitan government and Phi-City drawn up on December 16, 2010 through the Democratic Party of Korea advisor Kim Wu-cheol.
Poll Results of Presidential Candidates: Lee Jae-myung 27.0%, Yoon Seok-youl 24.2% and Hong Joon-pyo 15.6%
On September 9, the results of a poll showed a close race between Democratic Party of Korea’s candidate, Gyeonggi Governor Lee Jae-myung and People Power Party candidate, former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl, with a slight difference in support that lies within the margin of error, and People Power Party lawmaker Hong Joon-pyo tracing them in third place. According to the polls on future presidential candidates released by OhmyNews and the polling firm, Realmeter this day, Governor Lee was the most popular candidate with 27.0% of support. He managed to gain 2.1% more support from a survey conducted two weeks ago when he came in second. The latest result was a record high for Lee. Yoon was backed by 24.2% of the respondents, a 2.3% drop from the previous survey. However, the difference between the two candidates remains within the margin of error. Realmeter conducted a national survey of 2,019 people ages 18 and older on September 6-7 (The firm contacted 36,916 people of which 5.5% responded to the survey. The survey had a confidence level of 95% with a 2.2% margin of error).
Kim Woong Speaks on the Alleged Accusation Report, “I Might Have Delivered the Document after Receiving It from Son”
People Power Party lawmaker Kim Woong held a press conference at the National Assembly on September 8 and spoke on the alleged accusation report. He said, “I clearly state that I did not write the report (on questionable relations between prosecutors and the press).” He further explained, “In the conversation (with the Newsverse reporter), I revealed that I was the first in the party to raise the issue of lawmaker Choe Kang-wook. I had nothing to do with the actual accusation report.” Kim also spoke about the allegation that he received the report from an official in the Prosecution Service and delivered it to the party. He said, “I don’t remember if I received the report, and there is no way to check.”
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Google fined and disallowed to force Android compatibility commitment on Korean makers
South Korea’s antitrust watchdog imposed a provisional fine of 207.4 billion won ($177 million) on Google for abusing its dominant influence to force Korean handset makers to use its Android mobile operating system (OS) while banning employment of rivaling software for applications.Upon a third full-session review on Sept. 10, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) on Tuesday issued a remedial order on Google LLC, Google Asia Pacific, and Google Korea to stop forcing the signing of anti-fragmentation agreement (AFA), an Android compatibility commitment contract in licensing hardware producers to install PlayStore app and Google search engine on their devices, in Korea and a fine of 207.4 billion won for abuse of dominant power and unfair business act under Korean laws.
Kakao to withdraw controversial businesses, put up fund to help partners
South Korea’s No.1 platform service provider Kakao Corp. humbled by all-around regulatory oversight over its fast-gained riches and sprawling business expansion pledged to donate 300 billion won ($256.12 million) for social contribution and convert holding entity fully owned by the founder to a social enterprise. Kakao announced on Tuesday that it will put up a 300 billion won fund to aid drivers and its business partners over the next five years and fold business that encroaches into the areas of mom-and-pop and community shops.
WKF musters wisdom to respond to global challenges of inequality, climate change
Governments, entrepreneurs, and intellectuals around the world must jointly muster wisdom in the face of increasing common challenges to the mankind – the pandemic and climate change havoc – of today and the unknown in the future, said Chang Dae-whan, Chairman of Maekyung Media Group, as he opened this year’s global debate platform 22nd World Knowledge Forum. “The human race was continuously affected by hunger, war, infectious disease and all sorts of many other crises, but we always managed to overcome these adversities and look for new opportunities towards a better future,” Chang said in his opening remark to Asia’s biggest intellectual forum running for three days from Tuesday online and offline under the theme of “Terra Incognita: Redesigning the Global Architecture.”
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