Thursday, September 16, 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.
CDA Ahmad Sarkwai of Malaysia cited for support for bilingual Special Report
The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985, presented a prestigious Plaque of Citation today to Charge d’Affaires Ahmad Fahmi Ahmad Sarkawi of Malaysia in Seoul in appreciation and citation of exceptionally laborious efforts and work given in the preparation of bilingual Special Report on Malaysia and Korea-Malaysia relations, cooperation and friendship.
Amb. Kim of Korea in Nigeria and concurrently Sierra Leone pays a courtesy call on Foreign Minister Francis
The following article is based on news information materials provided by the Embassy of Sierra Leone in Seoul to The Korea Post media for publication.—Ed. Ambassador KimYoung Chae of the Republic of Korea in Sierra Leone paid a courtesy call on Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Professor David Francis of Sierra Leone at the Foreign Affairs Headquarter in Freetown and presented copies of his letter of credence. Ambassador Kim whilst presenting copies of his letter of credence applauded the government of Sierra Leone for upholding the bilateral ties between the two countries. The Ambassador further expressed appreciation for the warm hospitality that he and his entourage from the Republic of Korea Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria had received from the Sierra Leone Minister of Foreign Affairs.
KCNA: N. Korea Tested New Railway-borne Missile System
North Korea's state media reported on Thursday that the previous day's missile test was conducted by a railway-borne missile regiment. The Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) issued the report a day after South Korea's military said the North fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea. The KCNA said that the newly organized railway-borne missile regiment took part in a drill with the mission to strike a target area in the East Sea 800 kilometers away from its location. It added that the missiles accurately hit the target in the drill guided by Pak Jong-chon, member of the Presidium of the politburo of the ruling Workers' Party. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un did not attend.
US Condemns N. Korea's Missile Launch, Urges N. Korea to Engage in Dialogue
The U.S. State Department has condemned North Korea's ballistic missile test and urged the North to engage in dialogue. Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday in a press briefing that the United States condemns the launches, which violated "multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions." The spokesperson said that they pose a threat to the North's neighbors and other members of the international community. However, he added that the U.S. remains committed to a diplomatic approach to North Korea, calling on the North to engage in meaningful and substantive dialogue. In addition, Price reaffirmed that the U.S.' commitment to the defense of South Korea and Japan remains ironclad, mentioning a recent three-way meeting in Japan among the top nuclear chiefs of the three nations.
UNSC to Hold Emergency Meeting on N. Korea after Ballistic Missile Launches
The United Nations Security Council(UNSC) will reportedly hold an emergency meeting on North Korea following its latest ballistic missile launches. AFP quoted diplomatic sources as saying that the UN Security Council scheduled emergency consultations on the launches late Wednesday afternoon at the request of France and Estonia. The meeting will reportedly be held behind closed doors. North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea on Wednesday. The launches are in violation of UNSC resolutions that prohibit the North from engaging in any ballistic missile activity. UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric reportedly expressed concern about the missile launches, saying that diplomatic engagement remains the only pathway to sustainable peace and complete, verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
N. Korea confirms missile launches from train
North Korea said Thursday that a railway-borne missile regiment held a firing drill a day earlier, confirming the launches, apparently from a train, of two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea. "The railway-borne missile regiment took part in the drill with a mission to strike the target area 800 kilometers away from its location after moving to the central mountainous area at dawn on September 15," the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. The KCNA said the North accurately struck the target in the East Sea. The missiles appeared to have been launched from a train rather than a transporter erector launcher (TEL), according to photos released by state media.
New virus cases top 2,000 as infections in capital area surge to record high
South Korea's daily coronavirus cases surpassed 2,000 Wednesday as infections in the capital area surged to a record high ahead of a major holiday. The country added 2,080 COVID-19 cases, including 2,057 local infections, raising the total caseload to 277,989, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). The latest caseload was sharply up from 1,497 cases the previous day and topped the 2,000 mark for the first time in six days. It is also the fourth-largest daily figure since the country began to suffer from COVID-19 last year. Daily cases have stayed above the 1,000 threshold for more than 70 days amid the fast spread of the more transmissible delta variant nationwide. The country added 13 more deaths from COVID-19, raising the death toll to 2,380. The fatality rate was 0.86 percent.
Kakao founder faces possible probe over alleged violation of fair trade act
South Korea's antitrust regulator may file a complaint with the prosecution against the founder of internet giant Kakao Corp., as it is reviewing punitive actions against him over alleged violation of the fair trade act. The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) is looking into allegations that Kim Beom-su omitted or falsely reported details about Kcubeholdings, which is 100 percent owned by Kim and serves as the de facto holding company of Kakao. Under the fair trade act, large business groups with assets of 5 trillion won (US$4.3 billion) or more are facing tougher filing regulations. The heads of such companies should submit details about corporate information, including affiliates, family members and executives, to the KFTC every year.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Carving out a place for Korea in 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.
NK seeks upper hand with missiles during Chinese FM’s visit: analysts
North Korea could be trying to gain the upper hand in its relations with the US and China amid their intensifying rivalry, analysts say in reference to the ballistic missile tests that took place in the North on the same day that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with South Korean leaders in Seoul. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said Pyongyang launched two ballistic missiles into the East Sea on Wednesday afternoon, just days after testing a new long-range cruise missile. The South Korean and US intelligence agencies are conducting detailed analysis, it added, without providing details. Wang is in Seoul for a two-day visit as the final leg of his weeklong Asia tour, which is seen as a move to counter Washington’s efforts to reassert its influence in the region.
Hyundai Card says it has 'no plan' for IPO
Fubon-backed Hyundai Card said Wednesday that it has “no plan” to carry out an initial public offering, despite heated market anticipation for the firm’s market debut over the last two years. “We do not have a plan to carry out an IPO,” a Hyundai Card official told The Korea Herald. “Regarding the latest deal involving Fubon Group and (the former shareholders led by) Affinity Equity Partners, we have already chosen not to take the IPO into account.” The credit card firm was under an IPO mandate stipulated in a contract with minority shareholders, comprising private equity firms Affinity Equity Partners, GIC Private Equity and AlpInvest Partners.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Wisdom we learned from our seven years in US
A 34-year-old author, who identifies herself only with her pen name Hae-gil, published a memoir this week about her and her parents' seven years of living as legal aliens in the United States, defining the nature of their life in the foreign land as a total failure. In the book, "Back Then, We Shouldn't Have Gone to the US," released by Daejeon-based small independent publisher txt.kcal, she narrates about her family's shattered American dream, and the wisdom she gained from the years of struggle and harsh living as a second-class citizen. One of the toughest challenges she and her parents had faced was downward social mobility, she said. In Korea, her family was upper-middle class, thanks to her hard-working parents who made a considerable fortune through their business.
Google seeks to clean up corporate image after sanctions
Google will ramp up efforts to boost its digital cooperation in Korea by continuing to create more jobs and business opportunities, the U.S.-based tech giant said Wednesday, in what is believed to be a move to restore its corporate image here. The tech company has been hit by a series of sanctions lately over abuse of its market dominance. "Google will continue to do its best to help more Korean startups, partners and creators grow and advance into the global market, and to contribute positively to the Korean economy and local community," Kim Kyoung-hoon, country director of Google Korea, said during a special online conference to celebrate Google's 18th anniversary of starting its business in Korea.
Financial Services Commission rejects request from banks
The Financial Services Commission (FSC) has virtually rejected a request from commercial banks and pushed ahead with the extension of a special COVID-19 financial program that waives principal and interest obligations for small business owners and the self-employed who took out loans. Under the program, small business owners and the self-employed who have been directly affected by the prolonged pandemic shock have been able to receive financial benefits by receiving loans from banks without paying any principal and interest until the end of September. Banks have so far argued that beneficiaries of the program should at least pay interest after the deadline to help lenders identify those at risk of insolvency. The financial industry underscored the need to do so in a preemptive manner, as this is an effective step for them to manage possible post-pandemic risks caused by so-called "zombie firms" ― firms that cannot generate enough revenue to pay off a debt beyond the minimum service of a loan.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Seoul's Real Estate Tax Revenues Double over Last 5 Years
Residential property taxes collected by the Seoul Metropolitan Government this year totaled W3.3 trillion, almost double what they were five years ago (US$1=W1,170). The Moon Jae-in administration's failed real estate policy caused apartment prices to soar, and the government also raised the declared value of homes to reflect actual prices. According to Seoul city data, the metropolitan government collected W1.64 trillion in residential property taxes in 2016. But in 2017, when President Moon took office, and the following year, tax revenues increased 11 to 12 percent and in 2019 16 percent to W2.36 trillion. Last year they rose another 21 percent to W2.85 trillion. The declared price of an 84 sq.m apartment in Daechi-dong in the affluent Gangnam District rose from W730 million in 2016 to W1.7 billion this year, so the tax rose from W1.13 million to W3.41 million.
Korea Tests Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile
South Korea on Wednesday test-fired its first ballistic missile from a submarine. That makes it the seventh country to succeed in developing its own SLBM after the U.S., Russia, China, the U.K., France, and India, Cheong Wa Dae said. The missile was launched from the Dosan Ahn Chang-ho, a 3,000-ton sub, in waters off the Anheung Test Center of the Agency for Defense Development in South Chungcheong Province as President Moon Jae-in and senior military officers looked on. It duly hit a target about 400 km from the launch site. Earlier tests had been carried out on ground and in water tanks, including a successful underwater ejection test early this month. "It's remarkable that the SLBM maintained its trajectory despite the bad weather at the impact location and hit the target accurately," Moon said. "The improvement in our missile capabilities can be a surefire deterrent against provocations by North Korea." Some 70 SLBMs will be deployed in a total of nine 3,000-4,000 ton-class subs after follow-up flight tests.
Is N.Korea Restarting Uranium Enrichment?
The global atomic watchdog has detected signs that North Korea could be resuming uranium enrichment after removing the cooling units from its centrifuge facility in Yongbyon. The development was mentioned by Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, at a meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna on Monday. Grossi's remark came on the heels of the IAEA’s recent report last month saying the North restarted a nuclear reactor that has produced plutonium for nuclear weapons. "Since early July 2021, there have been indications including the discharge of cooling water, consistent with the operation of the [5-megawatt] reactor," which was shut down in December 2018, the report said. The additional resumption of uranium enrichment would mean the regime is running the Yongbyon nuclear complex again in full swing. Grossi called the North's activities a "cause for serious concern." "The continuation of the nuclear program is a clear violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions and is deeply regrettable," he added.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
US prepared to work with N. Korea on humanitarian concerns, special envoy says
South Korea and the US made some progress Tuesday in discussions toward joint humanitarian cooperation efforts in North Korea, while also talking about approaches for building trust with Pyongyang. The response, which came the day after North Korea announced the test-firing of long-range cruise missiles, was seen as reflecting both sides’ commitment to keeping the Korean Peninsula situation on a stable footing. Meeting with reporters that morning after a meeting of the South Korea-US senior representatives on the North Korean nuclear issue in Tokyo, US Special Representative for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Sung Kim said, “We are prepared to work cooperatively with the DPRK to address areas of humanitarian concerns regardless of progress on denuclearization.”
Democratic Party floor leader calls Yoon Seok-youl’s conduct an “unprecedented breach of order”
South Korean Minister of Justice Park Beom-kye shared a message Tuesday stressing the need to “get to the bottom of what role Yoon Seok-youl played as prosecutor general” in the alleged incitement of criminal complaints against pro-Democratic Party figures by the political opposition. “The questions the nation is asking are about whether old practices that had previously disappeared were revived during the period [Yoon] was prosecutor general, just ahead of him becoming a strong opposition party presidential contender,” he said. Appearing that day before the National Assembly’s Legislation and Judiciary Committee, Park discussed the draft complaints allegedly sent to People Power Party (PPP) lawmaker Kim Woong by prosecutor Son Jun-seong. “The documents include mention of Yoon’s wife and mother-in-law,” he noted.
Fair trade authority’s penalty must mark start of addressing abuses by Big Tech
The Korea Free Trade Commission (KFTC) fined Google 207.4 billion won (US$177 million) on Tuesday for essentially compelling manufacturers to use its Android operating system on their devices and ordered Google to rectify its behavior. This measure, which is designed to correct Google’s high-handed use of OS implementation contracts to block the emergence of innovative smart devices and services, is the toughest penalty that Google has faced to date in South Korea. The KFTC said that the anti-fragmentation agreement (AFA) signed by device manufacturers represented an abuse of Google’s market-dominant position. Manufacturers who signed this contract with Google were obligated to use the Android operating system on all the devices they released to the market. They were not allowed to equip their devices with operating systems they’d developed on their own or with Android “forks,” referring to modified versions of the Android source code.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Clintons, Bushes, and Obamas join forces to aid Afghans
Former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, and former first ladies Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama teamed up to support Afghan refugees. Reuters reported that the former presidents and first ladies are serving as honorary co-chairs of Welcom.US, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Afghan refugees settle in the U.S. The organization supports Afghan refugees in a variety of ways, such as supplies and financial support, talent donations, and provision of temporary housing. Major companies, including Microsoft (MS), Starbucks, and Walmart as well as government officials, such as Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and major civic groups have committed their support.
Hyundai Motor, LG Energy Solution to build joint battery plant
Hyundai Motor Group and LG Energy Solution began the construction of a joint battery cell plant in Indonesia with an aim to start production in the first half of 2024. The two companies announced that a groundbreaking ceremony was held both online and offline at the local plant site in Karawang New Industry City in Indonesia and at the South Korean HQs on Wednesday. The event was attended by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and the country’s ministers. On the South Korean side, Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group Chung Eui-sun, CEO of LG Energy Solution Kim Jong-hyun, CEO of Hyundai Mobis Cho Sung-hwan, and others attended online.
Ronaldo knocks down female security with his shot
Cristiano Ronaldo has proved by mistake that his shot is so strong. Ronaldo started in the Manchester United’s Champions League opener against BSC Young Boys in Berne, Switzerland on Tuesday. The 36-year-old star was practicing his shooting during warm-up when one of his shots hit a female security guard who was standing behind the goalpost. The security guard was immediately knocked down and emergency staff ran toward her. Ronaldo rushed over to check on the guard and stayed there for a while. After learning that the security guard was okay, Ronaldo went back to the field for warm-up.
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.
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/)
WKF: Hot U.S. inflation likely to tame sanctions on Chinese imports next year: Yifu Lin
Inflation hovering at 5 percent level could turn the United States softer on restrictions on Chinese imports next year, a top Chinese economist forecast on Wednesday. “The situation (U.S. restrictions on China may continue” amid the rivalry between China and U.S. in trade, according to Justin Yifu Lin, professor of National School of Development at Peking University, during a virtual session on “Global Economic Outlook 2022” at World Knowledge Forum in Seoul. But the conflict could be moderated next year due to the boiling “inflation rate in the U.S.” The economist claimed that there might be no other country than China to offer goods at cheaper prices.
WKF: Ethereum 2.0 will be coming soon in ultra-scalable, cheap, safe: Vitalik Buterin
The upgraded Ethereum 2.0 backed by Proof-of-Stake (PoS) “will be coming soon” in secure, user-friendly and scalable blockchain, ready for employment in finance, enterprise and non-fungible tokens (NFT), said co-founder Vitalik Buterin of one of the world’s widely used blockchain protocols. “The PoS beacon chain has already been running successfully for more than nine months. So over the next, maybe six months or a little bit less or a little bit more, it’s time to fully retire PoW and let the PoS beacon chain run the entire Ethereum ecosystem,” said Buterin at the 22nd World Knowledge Forum that kicked off on Tuesday in Seoul.
WKF: Universal basic income may not help ease disparity amid job migration : Paul Milgrom
Income disparity has widened further during the pandemic with the rise of automation, but whether a universal basic income may be a solution cannot be certain due to a shift in job skills, said 2020 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences Paul Milgrom. “We have already seen a considerable growth in the earnings gap over the last two decades, and the pandemic accelerates this trend” said Stanford University professor Milgrom during a live Q&A session at the 22nd World Knowledge Forum held in Seoul, Korea on Tuesday. Another driver to this polarization is artificial intelligence, he pointed out, which creates high-paying jobs in the tech sector, whereas low-wage workers are replaced by robots.
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