Friday, October 1, 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. Korea Reports Test of New Anti-Aircraft Missile
North Korea reported that it recently test-fired a new type of anti-aircraft missile. The North's official Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) said on Friday that the Academy of Defense Science conducted a test of a newly developed anti-aircraft missile the previous day. The KCNA said the test was aimed at confirming the practicality of operation of the launcher, radar and comprehensive battle command vehicle as well as the comprehensive combat performance of the missile. The missile test was reportedly watched by Pak Jong-chon, a member of the Presidium of the Politburo of the ruling Workers' Party, and other defense and science officials. North Korea calls ground-to-air missiles anti-aircraft missiles, a defensive weapon system designed to destroy aircraft with a relatively short range compared to ballistic or cruise missiles.
US Commander: US Homeland Safe from N. Korea's Hypersonic Capability
A U.S. military commander assessed that the United States would be safe from the hypersonic capability of North Korea. The North said on Wednesday that it test-fired a newly developed hypersonic missile the previous day. Gen. Glen VanHerck, the commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said on Thursday that the U.S.' intelligence authorities are still looking into the North Korean claim. VanHerck, who also leads the U.S. Northern Command, said in a Department of Defense press briefing that his assessment is that the U.S. mainland would be safe from the missile North Korea claims to have tested.
Prosecutors Confirm Involvement of Senior Prosecutor in Political Meddling Case
Prosecutors have confirmed that a high-ranking prosecutor was involved in a political meddling scandal that took place when the opposition's leading presidential contender, Yoon Seok-youl, was prosecutor-general. The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office on Thursday said it found evidence of former senior prosecutor Son Jun-sung's involvement and transferred the case to The Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials(CIO), which is also investigating. Son, a former aide to Yoon, is suspected of conveying pre-written complaints against several pro-government figures to prosecutor-turned-opposition politician Kim Woong ahead of last year’s general elections.
S. Korea aims to develop at least 1 mRNA vaccine by 2023
South Korea aims to develop at least one homegrown messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine against the new coronavirus by 2023 as part of efforts to secure a stable supply of vaccines, government officials said Thursday. The goal is part of the country's ambitious plan to become a global hub for the production of COVID-19 vaccines with a budget of 2.2 trillion won (US$1.92 billion) over the next five years. Currently, there are two local companies -- Quratis Inc. and Eyegene Inc. -- that are developing mRNA COVID-19 vaccines with phase one clinical trials in preparation. The government will support the drug firms to secure core technology behind mRNA vaccines as well as support clinical trials.
N.K. leader vows support for China's fight against 'hostile forces'
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un pledged support for China's fight against "hostile forces' frantic anti-China confrontational moves" in a message he sent to Chinese President Xi Jinping to celebrate the 72nd founding anniversary of the ally, Pyongyang's state media reported Friday. "The message expressed belief that the Chinese nation's dream of rejuvenation will surely come true as there are the socialist idea with the Chinese characteristics for the new times," the Korean Central News Agency said. "The DPRK government and people will firmly support the Chinese party, government and people in their just struggle to defeat the hostile forces' frantic anti-China confrontational moves and defend the sovereignty, right to development and territorial integrity of the country," Kim was also quoted as saying.
Economic policymakers agree to implement concerted policies
South Korea's finance minister, the top central banker and financial regulators agreed Thursday to operate the fiscal, monetary and financial policies in harmony to prop up the economic recovery and ease financial imbalances. At a policy coordination meeting, they also decided to preemptively respond to external economic risks, such as the Federal Reserve's tapering issue, and make efforts to curb the fast growth of household debt. The meeting, presided over by Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki, was held to discuss household debt and other economic issues. "We've agreed to seek 'a policy mix' of macroeconomics, fiscal and financial policies to support the economic recovery and ease financial imbalances," showed a joint statement by the finance ministry, the Bank of Korea (BOK) and the Financial Services Commission (FSC).
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Pyongyang issues olive branch to Seoul, warning to Washington
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held out an olive branch to South Korea, saying he was willing to reopen the severed inter-Korean hotlines in October, while denouncing the US offer of dialogue without it changing its “hostile policy” toward the regime, the North’s state media said Thursday. Speaking on the second day of a meeting of the country’s rubber-stamp parliament, the Supreme People’s Assembly, Wednesday, Kim expressed his willingness to restore from early October the communication lines that were shut down due to a breakdown in inter-Korean relations, according to the Korea Central News Agency. The reactivation of the lines would help “realize the expectations and desire of the entire Korean nation,” he said.
Why Korea is not in a rush to vaccinate kids
South Korea is not urging that all children get vaccinated against COVID-19, a stance that contrasts with the one the country is taking for adults. Internal evaluations within the government present net benefits to society, rather than health benefits for the children themselves, as the rationale for vaccinations for those aged 12 to 17. An internal government report obtained exclusively by The Korea Herald suggested that the expected health benefits of COVID-19 vaccination in minors under 18 years of age were marginal. But considering the resumption of in-person schooling and other social activities, their vaccination provided meaningful benefits to society, the report said.
S. Korea to unveil measures to curb snowballing household debt in October
South Korea will put forth its best efforts to curb the nation’s fast-growing household debt and roll out additional measures next month to do so, while allowing borrowers to take out loans within their repayment capabilities, the nation’s fiscal chief said Thursday. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki made the remark at a meeting of macroeconomic leaders here, where he was joined by Bank of Korea Gov. Lee Ju-yeol, recently appointed chief of the policymaking Financial Services Commission Koh Seung-beom and new head of the watchdog Financial Supervisory Service Jeong Eun-bo. This marks the second such meeting this year.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Japan's new leadership unlikely to resolve ties with Korea: experts
The leadership change in Japan with a new prime minister to be appointed next week is unlikely to reverse the current downward spiral of bilateral ties with Korea anytime soon, according to diplomatic observers, Thursday. On Wednesday, Japan's former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida won the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) leadership election and is set to be become the next prime minister, Oct. 4. Kishida is known here for his role in the now-scrapped "comfort women" deal in 2015 to resolve the thorny historical issue of sexual slavery. In response to Kishida's election, Cheong Wa Dae issued a statement, hoping for cooperation with the new Japanese Cabinet for the development of forward-looking relations between the two countries, which have reached their lowest point in years over historical and territorial issues. Outgoing Prime Minster Yoshihide Suga never held a summit with President Moon Jae-in after taking office a year ago.
North Korean leader says inter-Korean communication lines will be restored in early October
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." The United States immediately refuted Kim's claims and urged Pyongyang to return to dialogue.
Assembly vote on 'fake news' bill will not come this year
The so-called "fake news" bill, which the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) has been pushing, will not be put to a vote in the National Assembly by the end of the year, as the ruling and opposition blocs agreed to delay it for further review amid criticism from here and abroad that it risks undermining press freedom, with even President Moon Jae-in expressing concerns. Considering the political parties will be going all out for the March 9 presidential election next year, the National Assembly vote can be delayed further, and may even be thrown out entirely if a candidate of the main opposition People Power Party (PPP), which opposes the bill, wins the election.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Gov't Weighs Limiting Unvaccinated People's Access to Indoor Sites|
The government is considering restricting unvaccinated people's access to indoor facilities as it tries to find ways of living with endemic coronavirus. Son Young-rae, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Welfare, told reporters on Wednesday, "We plan to issue 'vaccine passports' and those who are not vaccinated will be limited from using entertainment venues and other indoor facilities unless they can produce proof of a negative [COVID-19] test result." There are some 5.89 million adults who have for one reason or another missed their turn for coronavirus vaccination, and they have had until Thursday to make a booking on the government booking site. But only 6.1 percent, or about 356,000, of them signed up for a jab as of Wednesday morning.
U.S.' Ex-N.Korea Point Man Turns POSCO Adviser
POSCO has hired the U.S.' former North Korea point man Stephen Biegun as an adviser. The steelmaker turned to the former deputy secretary of state for guidance on navigating potential international trade disputes. "POSCO's U.S. subsidiary appointed Biegun as an adviser this month," an industry insider said Tuesday. "He knows a lot about Korea and has a lot of information on U.S.-China relations and Europe and is expected to offer a lot of advice on global trade disputes and on POSCO's global business expansion." Early this month, Biegun attended a virtual forum hosted by the steelmaker where he delivered a speech on the Biden administration's foreign policy and the new international order.
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.
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HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Fumio Kishida set to become Japan’s 100th prime minister
Fumio Kishida has been chosen as president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). At a hotel in Tokyo on Wednesday, Kishida, the 64-year-old former chair of the party's Policy Research Council, won the race to lead the LDP. He stood and bowed to the crowd after being elected. Picked by the party to become Japan's 100th prime minister, Kishida beat rival Taro Kono, who had overwhelming public support for his calls for administrative reform. The LDP's unique form of factional politics thus won out over public sentiment in Japan demanding political change and reform. Takeshi Noda, chairman of the party’s election committee, announced voting would start at 1 pm. Kishida earned 257 votes and Kono earned 170, with two abstentions.
N. Korea’s hypersonic missile can be detected, intercepted, S. Korean officials say
North Korea officially announced Wednesday morning that the missile it fired the previous day was a hypersonic cruise missile called Hwasong-8. Now that North Korea is testing hypersonic missiles, which are regarded as a “game changer” in next-generation warfare, concerns are being raised that the arms race on the Korean Peninsula will heat up. But the South Korean military has said that “it will take some time before [the missile] can actually be deployed for combat.” The Academy of Defence Science of the DPRK test-fired a hypersonic missile Hwasong-8 newly developed by it in Toyang-ri, Ryongrim County of Jagang Province (also spelled Chagang) on Tuesday morning,” the state-run Rodong Sinmun reported on Wednesday. The DPRK is an acronym for the official name of North Korea.
N. Korea will “respond willingly” if US permanently halts “hostile policies,” N. Korean ambassador to UN says
North Korean Ambassador to the UN Kim Song said Monday that North Korea would reciprocate if the US permanently halted its joint military exercises and deployment of strategic weapons to the Korean Peninsula. His remarks reaffirmed Pyongyang’s position insisting on the removal of “hostile policies” toward the North to allow for a declaration ending the Korean War, which South Korean President Moon Jae-in has shared his hopes of achieving. Kim addressed the general debate of the 76th UN General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on Monday.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Kim Yo Jong expected to lead negotiations with S. Korea and US
Kim Yo Jong, younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the Deputy Department Director of the Workers' Party of Korea, has joined the State Affairs Commission (SAC) of North Korea, the nation's top decision-making body. As Kim has secured her place as second-in-command, she is expected to lead negotiations with South Korea and the U.S. in the future. According to Rodong Sinmun on Thursday, Kim Yo Jong has been promoted as a member of the SAC at the fifth meeting of the 14th Supreme People's Assembly held on Wednesday at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang.
A woman pockets 7.2 billion won by defrauding a wealth man
“My stepfather bequeathed 14.5 billion won to me. Could you lend me money so that I could pay inheritance tax to the IRS?” Yeom (38) who worked as an interpreter and translator, showed a certificate of inheritance done in English to Kim, a businessman whom she was acquainted with for several years, in April 2014. Yeom had spoken of her stepfather as a man of considerable wealth, which was an outright lie. The very existence of a stepfather was a made-up story, and the certificate of inheritance was a counterfeit.
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 KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Kwak Sang-do’s Son Received 5 Billion Won for Solving a Problem of Cultural Assets? “He Never Did, and He Never Could”
Seongnamui-ddeul (Seongnam Park Co.), the constructor of the Daejang-dong development project in Seongnam, Gyeonggi, hired a professional institute to excavate cultural assets, and a person from the institute argued that the accomplishment, which was the grounds for the 5 billion won retirement pay for lawmaker Kwak Sang-do’s son, was “absolutely impossible.” On September 26, Kwak Byeong-chae (31), lawmaker Kwak Sang-do’s son, explained the reason he received 5 billion won from Hwacheon Daeyu and said, “The company recognized my contributions during my seven years there.” He also mentioned the fact that he removed the cause of delay in construction after cultural assets were discovered in the development site as his major accomplishment.
“No Intention to Provoke South Korea,” Kim Jong-un to Restore Inter-Korean Communication Line in Early October
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un mentioned the possibility of restoring the inter-Korean communication line early next month. He claimed that the responsibility for the current standstill on the Korean Peninsula lied with the South and called for a change of attitude from Seoul. He also criticized U.S. President Joe Biden’s policy on North Korea and argued that Washington failed to make any changes to its military threats and hostile policies against Pyongyang. On September 30, the Korean Central News Agency reported, “Comrade Kim Jong-un gave the historical address on administrative policies, ‘On the Direction of Our Struggle for New Developments in Building a Socialist State’ on the second day of the 5th session of the 14th Supreme People’s Assembly on September 29.”
Voter Support for Presidential Candidates: Lee Jae-myung 30.0%, Yoon Seok-youl 27.1%, Hong Joon-pyo 16.6%, Lee Nak-yon 12.5%
Gyeonggi Governor Lee Jae-myung of the Democratic Party of Korea came out on top in a survey by the Korea Society Opinion Institute (KSOI) on future presidential candidates. Lee was supported by 30.0% of the respondents, and former prosecutor general Yoon Seok-youl was right behind him with 27.1% of support. In a survey by the same institute on the fourth week of August, Yoon was ahead in the race, but Governor Lee managed to attract 6.4% more support, overtaking Yoon for the lead within the margin of error. TBS commissioned the latest survey, which KSOI conducted on September 24-25 asking 1,006 adults nationwide which future presidential candidate was appropriate for the job. Lee obtained the support of 30.0% of the respondents, while Yoon managed to gather 27.1% of support. Support for Lee rose by 6.4% from the previous week, while support for Yoon dropped 1.7%.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
SK Broadband files countersuit vs. Netflix to claim network usage fees
SK Broadband proceeded with a countersuit against Netflix to claim fees on the global streaming giant for using its network to provide its service in South Korea after a Seoul court ruled in favor of the Korean internet service provider (ISP) in their battle over network fee payment. SK Broadband said Thursday that it brought a countersuit with Seoul High Court following its triumph against Netflix in the legal battle. “Netflix is free-riding on our network that is provided at cost due to the huge spending in initial establishment and annual maintenance,” said the company, adding that it has decided to file a counteraction because Netflix has refused to enter negotiations to reach compromise despite the ruling.
Stock shorting by institutions doubles on month in Sept on bet on Kospi bear
Short sale by institutional investors in Korea doubled on month in September to take up over 33 percent, mostly targeting heavyweights like bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. and online platform giants Kakao Corp. and Naver Corp. as they betted on stock falls in a volatile market. According to the Korea Exchange on Thursday, institutional investors were behind 33.1 percent of the entire short-selling transactions in the main Kospi bourse as of Sept.29, up 16.5 percentage points from a month ago. The proportion of stock shorting by foreigners, meanwhile, fell to 64.8 percent from 80 percent in the previous month. Short-selling by retail investors stayed unchanged at around 2 percent.
ICT minister voices concern about regulatory banging on platform operators
South Korea’s top policymaker on technology and science on Wednesday raised concerns over excessive battering on the country’s platform operators like Kakao Corp. and Coupang Inc. for their mushrooming business, fearing tighter regulations could hamper technology and service innovations. “Platforms should not be simply identified as regulatory target,” said Lim Hye-sook, minister of science and ICT, on Wednesday, calling for more “prudent” approach as not to quench “innovative spirit” after comprehensive study on the industry.
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