Thursday, September 30, 2021
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
Ambassador Matute-Mejia of Peru cited for hard work put in for Special Report on Peru
On the morning of Sept. 28, 2021, the editorial team of The Korea Post media visited the Embassy of the Republic of Peru in Seoul for the presentation of Plaque of Citation to Ambassador Daul Matute-Mejia of Peru for the unreserved efforts and contributions made to the successful publication of an extensive Special Report on Peru and bilateral relations, cooperation and friendship with Korea. The special report was published on the occasion of the Independence Day of Peru on July 28. (See related stories and pictures on Peru and Korea-Peru relations, cooperation and friednship at http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=24102 [English] and http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=24135 [Korean].). Ambassador Matutue-Mejia is considered a very ‘Korea-friendly’ ambassador in Korea for his unreserved interest in the Korean culture as well as bilateral cooperation in the economic and various other fields. In particular, Ambassador Matute-Mejia is known as a ‘lover of Korean food and beverage’ and often treats his friends at the Korean restaurants near the Embassy in Seoul.
“Peru hopes to further bolster her partnership with Korea”
Ambassador Daul Matute-Mejia of the Republic of Peru in Seoul said, “Yes, the Republic of Peru wants to continue increasing and strengthening her partnership and cooperation with the Republic of Korea.” Speaking with The Korea Post at an interview at the Embassy of the Peru in the prosperous downtown district of Jung-gu in Seoul on July 21, 2021, Ambassador Matute-Mejia reminded, “Even during the Corona Pandemic period last year, our exports to Korea amounted to US$2.25 billion and imports from Korea to US$4.7 billion.” Ambassador Matute-Mejia is considered among Koreans as one of the most friendly foreign envoys to Korea. He obviously enjoys his tour of duty in Korea and has even developed a taste for Korean food and beverage. Ambassador Matutue-Mejia is known to frequently visit genuine Korean restaurants and relish some of the widely known dishes such as Samgyeopsal (pork belly) luncheon, which is a favorite dish for many Koreans, including some gourmet National Assembly members.
Daesung Group hosts the 2021 Daesung Haegang Microbes Forum
Daesung Group announced on Sept. 28 that it held the 2021 Daesung Haegang Microbes Forum at the Chosun Hotel in Seoul to look at the current and future possibilities of the bio sector. At the forum held under the theme of " Microbial Efficiency for Sustainability: Carbon Neutrality and Global Pandemic-Addressing Fundamental Challenges," top scholars in the field of microorganisms introduced new microbial technologies to solve climate change and another infectious disease threatening humanity, and presented a new vision. Marking its fourth anniversary this year, the Daeseong Haegang Microbes Forum was held in the form of an online and offline hybrid that broadcasts seminars such as lectures and discussions live online at the same time as on-site events.
N. Korean Leader Offers to Restore Inter-Korean Communication Lines
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he is willing to restore severed inter-Korean communications lines next month. According to the North's official Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) on Thursday, Kim made the remarks the previous day in his speech at the second session of the Supreme People's Assembly. Kim reportedly expressed his willingness to restore inter-Korean hotlines early next month as part of efforts to realize peoples' hopes for improving inter-Korean relations and creating peace on the Korean Peninsula. Regarding South Korean President Moon Jae-in's proposal to declare a formal end to the Korean War, Kim said that mutual respect should be assured and unfair double-dealing standards and hostile policies should be abandoned before the declaration.
Top Nuclear Envoys of S. Korea, US to Hold Talks on N. Korean Issues
The nuclear envoys of South Korea and the United States will hold talks on Thursday in Indonesia to discuss the state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula. South Korea's Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk will hold a closed meeting with his U.S. counterpart Sung Kim on Thursday morning in Jakarta. The meeting comes after North Korea said it test-fired a new hypersonic missile. Noh arrived on Wednesday in Indonesia, for which Kim is concurrently serving as U.S. ambassador. Before departing, the South Korean envoy said that the two sides will share their assessments of the situation and hold in-depth discussions on ways to deal with it. He added that they will also discuss President Moon Jae-in's recent proposal to declare a formal end to the Korean War.
Prosecution Raids Companies Related to Land Development Scandal
Prosecutors have launched a full-scale probe of political favor allegations surrounding a lucrative development project in Seongnam's Daejang-dong, raiding related companies and slapping travel bans on persons of interest. A dedicated team for the case began work on Wednesday, composed of 16 prosecutors. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office sent investigators to search the offices of asset management firm Hwacheon Daeyu, an affiliated company and the Seongnam Development Corporation. Prosecutors also put travel bans on key figures in the scandal, including Yoo Dong-kyu, a former senior official of the Seongnam Development Corporation. They plan to summon Yoo soon for questioning on the city’s process to select firms for the development project and its profit structure.
N. Korea's 'hypersonic missile' appears to be at early stage of development: JCS
North Korea's newly unveiled "hypersonic missile" appears to be at an early stage of development and can be intercepted by South Korean and U.S. military assets, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Wednesday. The assessment came hours after the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the country's Academy of Defense Science conducted the first test fire of the hypersonic Hwasong-8 missile from Toyang-ri, Jagang Province, on Tuesday. "Given the detected speed and other features of the 'hypersonic missile' North Korea said it test-fired yesterday, it appears to be at an early stage of development that would require considerable time for actual deployment," the JCS said in a statement. The North's missile reportedly flew at a speed of around Mach 3, though the military declined to confirm details, including its flight range and altitude.
N.K. leader says inter-Korean communication lines will be restored in early Oct.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said cross-border communication lines with South Korea will be restored in early October as part of efforts to improve chilled relations but warned that it is entirely up to Seoul to determine the future trajectory of their ties, state media reported Thursday. In a speech at the second-day session of the Supreme People's Assembly on Wednesday, Kim also said the U.S.' hostile policy toward Pyongyang has not changed at all since the Joe Biden administration took office early this year and its offer to hold talks without preconditions is nothing but "a petty trick for ... hiding its hostile acts." "He expressed the intention to see to it that the North-South communication lines that had been cut off due to the deteriorated inter-Korean relations are restored first from early October," the official Korean Central News Agency said.
Assimilation programs begin for Afghan evacuees in S. Korea
The government on Wednesday started assimilation programs for Afghan evacuees who settled in South Korea in August upon fleeing their country after it was taken over by the Taliban. Various programs, offered by relevant ministries, are aimed at helping them learn the language, get familiar with the culture and more easily assimilate into Korean society. The Ministry of Justice runs the Korea Immigration and Integration Program (KIIP) with a goal to teach them Korean culture and language, along with sports sessions for children, such as football and taekwondo. The ministry's programs cover a variety of subjects ranging from crime prevention to the understanding of Korean law and financial system.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Kishida to be Japan's next PM
Former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida won the ruling Liberal Democratic Party leadership election on Wednesday, making him all but certain to become Japan’s new prime minister. The 64-year-old replaces outgoing party leader Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who decided early this month to step down after a year in office amid plummeting approval ratings over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kishida is effectively assured to be named the prime minister at an extraordinary parliamentary session Monday, given the LDP’s majority in the National Diet, Japan’s legislature. In one of the most tightly contested leadership elections in years, Kishida, who is popular among lawmakers, beat Taro Kono, the minister overseeing Japan’s COVID-19 vaccination and the public’s favorite, 257 to 170, in a runoff vote.
S. Korea’s biz sentiment rebounds on hopes of easing restrictions
South Korean businesses are beginning to paint a rosier outlook for the coming months with the government gearing up to treat COVID-19 more like seasonal influenza and to ease social distancing, a report from a think tank showed Wednesday. The Korea Economic Research Institute’s forecast for next month’s business survey index of the country’s top 600 companies by sales showed the reading gained 2.8 points on-month to 103.4 for October. A reading above 100 means optimists outnumber pessimists, while a figure below the benchmark means the opposite. The outlook fell below 100 at 95.2 in August, with the fourth wave of the virus putting daily virus cases above 1,000 since early July, prompting the government to impose stricter social distancing rules.
Afghan refugees begin social adaptation program
Afghan evacuees in Korea started a new chapter of their lives Wednesday, as the government kicked off a basic social adaptation program to help the refugees settle in the country. The Ministry of Justice started the Korea Immigration and Integration Program for the adults to help them understand and learn Korean culture and the language. There are six levels in the program, the ministry said, and it aims to have the Afghans get through the first three levels, which would require at least 215 hours of classes. “If they earnestly complete this step, we expect them to be able to have simple conversations about daily life (with Koreans),” the Justice Ministry said in a press release.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Pyongyang claims it fired hypersonic missile
North Korea claimed Wednesday that the missile it launched a day earlier was a new, self-developed hypersonic one, in what is believed to be a move to test Seoul's reaction and gain leverage prior to a possible inter-Korean summit and denuclearization talks with U.S. Its state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Pyongyang's Academy of Defense Science had test-fired the hypersonic missile, dubbed Hwasong-8, from Jagang Province. "In the first test-launch, national defense scientists confirmed the navigational control and stability of the missile in the active section and also its technical specifications including the guiding maneuverability and the gliding flight characteristics of the detached hypersonic gliding warhead," the KCNA said.
Yoon Seok-youl, leading yet vulnerable presidential candidate
Former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl burst onto the political scene as one of the most promising presidential contenders of the conservative camp by riding a wave of sentiment against President Moon Jae-in. Yoon was the second prosecutor general of the incumbent administration, but his well-publicized tensions with the Moon government and the liberal ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), which were seeking to weaken the prosecution's authority under the judiciary reform plan, ironically resulted in the 60-year-old running for the presidency on the conservative main opposition People Power Party's (PPP) ticket. However, despite his high approval ratings among conservatives, Yoon is now facing allegations linked not only to himself but also to his family members, which could thwart his presidential bid. In addition, his frequent slips of the tongue are also making him vulnerable to attacks from rivals.
U.S. to continue to pursue diplomacy with N. Korea despite missile launches: nuke envoy
North Korea's latest missile launches will not affect the U.S.' determination to seek diplomacy with the North for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the U.S. nuclear envoy for Pyongyang said Wednesday. Sung Kim, U.S. special representative for North Korea, made the remark at a press event in Jakarta, a day after the North test-fired a hypersonic missile into the East Sea. The firing came after the regime's test-firings of two short-range missiles on Sept. 15 and a new type of cruise missile days earlier. While describing the missile launches as a "threat" and "a violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions," under which the North is banned from testing or using nuclear and ballistic technologies, Kim said that does not "deter" the U.S. from continuing to pursue a "diplomatic path."
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
N.Korea Claims It Tested Hypersonic Missile
North Korea on Wednesday claimed it test-fired a newly developed hypersonic missile a day earlier that has "strategic significance." State media said the development of the new missile is "of great strategic significance in markedly boosting the independent power of ultra-modern defense science and technology of the country and in increasing the nation's capabilities for self-defense in every way." Tuesday's launch was the North's sixth this year and came just three days after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Yo-jong mentioned the possibility of another inter-Korean summit. Military authorities here initially believed the projectile was a ballistic missile, but it traveled less than 200 km and flew to a height of around 30 km, which is half of the height reached by the short-range missile the North fired on Sept. 15.
SK Innovation, Ford to Expand Investment in EV Battery Plants
SK Innovation will join hands with U.S. auto giant Ford to spend more than US$10 billion on new U.S. plants to produce electric-vehicle batteries. "The two companies will invest US$4.45 billion each through BlueOvalSK, a joint venture, to build three EV battery plants in the U.S. by 2027 -- the two in Kentucky and the one in neighboring Tennessee," an SK Innovation spokesman said on Tuesday.They will have a combined annual capacity of 129 GWh of batteries, enough to power 2.15 million EVs per year. In May this year, SK Innovation and Ford decided to spend W6 trillion, but now they have agreed to nearly double the investment after U.S. President Joe Biden announced in August a plan to make half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. eco-friendly by 2030 (US$1=W1,186).
Thousands of ATMs Shut down as Mobile Payment Rises
More than 1,700 automatic teller machines were closed down in Korea last year as cashless payments become ever more widespread. According to data from the Bank of Korea last week, there were 117,623 ATMs in Korea last year, down 1,769 from the year before. Most of them closed in Seoul and Busan. A bank staffer said, "People don't use cash much any more and mobile payments are being widely used instead. Since there's no transaction fee for most cash withdrawals we end up losing money on rent and maintenance for ATMs." There were 34.9 ATMs per kilometer in Seoul, 9.1 in Busan, 6.6 in Gwangu, 6.1 in Daejeon, 5.9 in Daegu and 5.6 in Incheon.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Why did N. Korea fire a missile days after Kim Yo-jong hinted at inter-Korean talks?
North Korea fired a missile toward the East Sea just three days after Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee Deputy Director Kim Yo-jong issued a statement on Saturday saying an inter-Korean summit could be discussed if attitudes of “impartiality and the attitude of respecting each other are maintained” between the two sides. Many are now focusing on the factors behind Pyongyang’s decision to make a show of force at a time when South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s proposal of a declaration ending the Korean War and Kim’s seemingly favorable response to it had raised hopes for a possible breakthrough in inter-Korean relations. The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) on Tuesday announced, “A projectile believed to be a short-range missile was detected as having been launched by North Korea to the east from the area of Mupyong Village in Chagang Province at 6:40 this morning.”
US’ request for trade secrets from S. Korean semiconductor manufacturers crosses line
The US Department of Commerce has come under fire for recently asking global semiconductor firms — including South Korean companies Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix — to hand over customer lists and other sensitive business information. While the Commerce Department insists that it’s only trying to address the semiconductor shortage, its request crosses a line, considering how much a company’s competitiveness would suffer if such information were leaked to its rivals. This request came on the heels of a semiconductor roundtable that the White House organized for global chipmakers and automakers on Thursday. Initial reports suggested that the Commerce Department only wanted to review chipmakers’ inventory and sales figures since automobile manufacturing has been disrupted by the chip shortage.
S. Korean presidential contender claims N. Korea wouldn’t have nukes if Clinton had bombed Yongbyon
Hong Joon-pyo, lawmaker and a leading presidential candidate for South Korea’s main opposition People Power Party, contended during a debate that, if then South Korean President Kim Young-sam hadn’t stopped the Clinton administration in the US from bombing North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facility during the first North Korean nuclear crisis in 1994, North Korea wouldn’t have been able to produce nuclear weapons. Hong advanced this hypothetical scenario while bashing former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl for his ignorance of national security in the third TV debate in the PPP’s presidential primary on Sunday. “Kim Young-sam stopped Bill Clinton from bombing the North Korean facility at Yongbyon in 1994. What do you think would have happened if Kim Young-sam hadn’t done that? Would the North have been able to develop nuclear weapons? No, it wouldn’t have.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
North Korea fires hypersonic missile
It was confirmed on Wednesday that North Korea test-launched a hypersonic missile on Tuesday in Chagang Province, following North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s announcement of its development in January this year. A hypersonic missile is considered a game-changer, along with a submarine-launched ballistic missile, which can neutralize the missile defense system of South Korea and the U.S. Concerns are raised that once the North completes its missile capabilities and tactical nuclear weapons are mounted and deployed, the country’s threat to ambush South Korea with nuclear power will be on another level. “The newly developed hypersonic missile Hwasong-8 was test-fired by the Academy of Defense Science in Toyang-ri, Ryongrim County of Chagang Province on Tuesday morning,” the Korean Central News Agency of North Korea reported on Wednesday.
35% of the elderly are reported to live alone
In 2020, three out of 10 elderlies were reported to live alone. The number of total divorce cases decreased, but the divorce rate of older couples over the age of 65 increased by more than 10%, according to the Statistics Korea’s “Senior Population Census” on Wednesday. Approximately 4.73 million households were reported to be consisting of the elderly households, whose householder is aged more than 65 years, 35.1% (1.661 million) of which was totaled as one-person households. The elderly who lives alone took up 31.3% of the population in 2000, which gradually increased to reach 35% of the population for the first time in 2021. Statistics Korea anticipated that the one-person elderly households would take up a larger proportion of the population to reach 36.6% by 2047.
North Korea fires short-range missile into East Sea
North Korea fired a short-range missile on Tuesday, three days after Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said North Korea would consider having an inter-Korean summit if South Korea stopped calling North Korea’s missile launch a provocation. The South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae expressed “regret” over the missile launch unlike 13 days ago when it called North Korea’s ballistic missiles fired from a train a “provocation.” Twenty minutes after the missile launch, North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations Kim Song demanded that the U.S. permanently end joint military exercises with South Korea and the deployment of its strategic weapons during his address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
“My Fault as a Father who Failed to Raise His Child Properly” Chang Je-won Steps down from Yoon Seok-youl’s Election Campaign
On September 28, People Power Party lawmaker Chang Je-won apologized for his son, Chang Yong-jun, also known as the rapper Noel, who assaulted a police officer, and said, “I deeply regret my fault as a father who failed to raise his child properly, and I will take time to reflect on myself.” He also announced that he was stepping down as head of former prosecutor general Yoon Seok-youl’s presidential campaign. This morning, Chang uploaded a post on social media and wrote, “It was hard to bear it for even a single minute. I am ashamed to face the public and I have no way to express how sorry I am to Yoon Seok-youl. My wife has been staying up all night in tears; my mother is unable to eat properly; and our family is in shambles.”
The “Villa King” Who Failed to Return Deposits Worth 35.7 Billion Won: This Time He Purchased Homes Under the Name of His Company
A, who failed to return nearly 35.8 billion won of jeonse (renting homes for a large lumpsum deposit) deposits to his tenants, was confirmed to have purchased a number of homes under the name of a corporate he owned. On September 29, Democratic Party of Korea lawmaker So Byung-hoon, a member of the parliamentary Land, Infrastructure and Transport Committee, said, “Recently, while analyzing the ownership and the relationship between rights and duties concerning homes owned by six hostile landlords who intentionally or regularly failed to return tenants’ deposits, we discovered that A had purchased four multiplex houses (referred to as villas in Korea) in Hwagok-dong, Gangseo-gu and Jangan-dong, Dongdaemun-gu in Seoul in June and July 2020 under the name of his company.”
Kakao Bank Promised More Loans for People with Fair Credit Scores, But Performed Worse Than Existing Banks
Loans for people with fair credit scores accounted for a similar or smaller proportion of loans offered by the internet-only bank, Kakao Bank compared with other commercial banks, in the first half of this year. At the beginning of the year, Kakao Bank had announced that it would drastically increase loans to people with fair credit scores, but its performance has yet to meet the purpose of its establishment as an internet-only bank. Justice Party lawmaker Bae Jin-gyo, a member of the parliamentary National Policy Committee, analyzed the data on bank credit and jeonse loans (loans for the lumpsum deposit when renting homes on a jeonse contract) from the Financial Supervisory Service, and according to his analysis on September 28, loans to people with fair credit scores (701-850) accounted for 14.9% of loans (outstanding) offered by seven commercial banks--KB Kookmin, Shinhan, Hana, Woori, Standard Chartered, Citi, Industrial Bank of Korea--as of the end of June.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
SK hynix unaffected, other Korean makers face disruption from power cut
Production disruption has become inevitable for South Korean manufacturing bases in China due to an unprecedented power crunch in the second largest economy, while SK hynix with major chip facility contends business to stay as usual. Lee Seok-hee, chief executive of SK hynix, told reporters on Tuesday that its production site in Wuxi is unaffected by China’s power crisis. “We hear no reports of any disruption in operation. They (Chinese authorities) must be making an exception for chip production,” Lee said. SK hynix’s fab with full monthly capacity of 180,000 wafers of 10nm-class DRAM chips has been operational since late 2020.
Korean capital prices tumble on US, China debt issues
South Korean stock, currency and bond prices slipped to their weakest in the year Wednesday as the capital market shook in a heavy volatility over concerns of an economic slowdown in China from debt and power woes and faster-than-expected tightening in the United States. The main Kospi is on the verge of losing 3,000 threshold with the index losing 1.22 percent to close at 3,060.27 on Wednesday, whereas the Kosdaq was off 1.09 percent to finish at 1001.46. Retailers continued buying to protect the hard-won threshold whereas foreigners and institutions continued to sell. The won sank on foreign selloff. The U.S. dollar opened at 1,188.0, highest since 1,189.1 on Sept. 9. It eased to 1183.40.
Janssen visits GC Pharma plant to spark a consignment speculation
GC Pharma may become the next South Korean drug manufacturer to turn out Covid-19 vaccine after officials of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen paid a visit to its facility. According to sources from the bio and medical industry on Wednesday, Janssen officials recently studied CG Pharma’s vaccine manufacturing plant in Ochang, North Chungcheong Province, to possibly sign a contract manufacturing deal with the Korean company for local production of its Covid-19 vaccine. GC Pharma has been rumored to have been approached by Janssen to manufacture the company’s Covid-19 vaccine in Korea. The Korean drug maker late last month in a filing that it “cannot confirm anything as nothing has been determined” and it would post update disclosure if any developments are made within a month.
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