Friday, October 8, 2021
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
On Oct. 6, 2021, The Korea Post media honored Ambassador Vitaliy Fen of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Seoul with a Plaque of Citation for the unreserved efforts and dedication he has made to the promotion of relations, cooperation and friendship between Korea and his country of Uzbekistan. With an ability of impeccable ability of communication in the Korean language, Ambassador Fen has immeasurably contributed to the enhancement of relations between Korea and Uzbekistan. Ambassador Fen was also very instrumental in the promotion of relations between Korea and the 117 different countries of the world with resident embassies in Korea as the dean of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps.
Relations, cooperation continue to grow but there is much room for more work
Bangladesh and Korea have always cultivated good bilateral relations since Korea’s recognition of Bangladesh back in 1972. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the bilateral relations. Till now, there is hardly any matter of dispute among them. Since independence, with the course of time, Bangladesh became a fertile ground for foreign investment. And Korea is also utilizing this opportunity. As a result, after 49 year of recognition, Korea has emerged as one of the top investors to Bangladesh with ties in many aspects such as investment, development assistance and people to people exchange. Over the past few years, these ties have increased drastically as both governments are emphasizing on strengthening their bilateral relations.
“Korea-Uzbek Business Center to be built in Tashkent in the 1st half of 2022”
“I want to play a role as a bridge to move the center of the world to Asia by sharing the spirit of King Sejong of Korea and Alisher Navoiy of Uzbekistan,” said Chairman Edward Kim of the Board of the Korea-Uzbekistan Business Association. In an interview with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985, Chairman Kim said, “The Korea-Uzbekistan Business Association is a Korean economic organization officially recognized by both the Korean government and the Uzbekistan government. “In November 2018, the Uzbekistan Trade Representative in Korea was established in order to play a pivotal role in Korea's economic development through trade promotion and exchange activation between the two countries, and the business association began to operate in earnest.” Chairman Kim also said, “We are preparing for an official opening of the Korea-Uzbek Business Center in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, in the first half of 2022.”
UN Special Rapporteur Calls for N. Korea Sanctions to be Eased
The UN special rapporteur on North Korea's human rights situation has reportedly called for UN sanctions on the North to be eased, citing worsening human rights conditions in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Reuters, Tomas Ojea Quintana made the call in a final report to the U.N. General Assembly to be presented on October 22. Ojea Quintana said in the report that sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council should be reviewed and eased when necessary to both facilitate humanitarian and lifesaving assistance and to enable the promotion of the right to an adequate standard of living of ordinary citizens. He said that due to the North's border closures and domestic travel curbs, many North Koreans relying on commercial activities along the border with China have lost their incomes, and that has been compounded by the impact of sanctions.
State Dept.: US Supports Int'l Efforts to Provide Humanitarian Aid to N. Korea
The United States supports international efforts to provide humanitarian aid to North Koreans, although the regime itself is largely responsible for the suffering of its people, according to the U.S. State Department. State Department spokesperson Ned Price issued the position on Thursday during a press briefing when asked about the U.S.’ position on recent shipments of COVID-19 supplies to North Korea. Price said that even if the U.S. disagrees with a particular regime, the nation believes it must make its best effort and do all it can to alleviate the suffering of the people. He added that the U.S. continues to support international efforts aimed at providing critical humanitarian aid to the North. The spokesperson, however, said that the North Korean regime itself was largely to blame for the suffering of its citizens.
Evidence Surfaces to Corroborate Alleged Higher Level Involvement in Seongnam Project
More evidence has been found to support alleged upper-level involvement in the Seongnam land development project as prosecutors continue to investigate. Through questioning key witnesses, prosecutors have confirmed the deletion of a phrase on restitution of surplus development gains from project documents, which is suspected to have been ordered by a senior official. Private investors reaped excessive profit from the project thanks to the removal of the phrase. After arresting former acting president of Seongnam Development Corporation, Yoo Dong-kyu, on Sunday, the prosecution questioned a series of key witnesses who worked with Yoo at the firm. Some testified to the removal of the phrase.
15 military officials indicted over death of Air force sexual abuse victim as probe ends: ministry
Military prosecutors have indicted a total of 15 people over the death of an Air Force sexual harassment victim following a monthslong investigation into a string of irregularities that led to the noncommissioned officer taking her own life in May, the defense ministry said Thursday. Including those facing trials, 38 officials will be subject to disciplinary measures, the ministry said, announcing the results of its 120-day investigation into the incident that sparked an intense public outcry over the military's failure to protect the victim. The master sergeant, surnamed Lee, took her own life in late May, about three months after she was allegedly groped and suffered other abuse by a colleague of the same rank, surnamed Jang. Jang was arrested in June, only after the case became known to the media, and is currently standing trial.
15 military officials indicted over death of Air force sexual abuse victim as probe ends: ministry
Military prosecutors have indicted a total of 15 people over the death of an Air Force sexual harassment victim following a monthslong investigation into a string of irregularities that led to the noncommissioned officer taking her own life in May, the defense ministry said Thursday. Including those facing trials, 38 officials will be subject to disciplinary measures, the ministry said, announcing the results of its 120-day investigation into the incident that sparked an intense public outcry over the military's failure to protect the victim. The master sergeant, surnamed Lee, took her own life in late May, about three months after she was allegedly groped and suffered other abuse by a colleague of the same rank, surnamed Jang.
Moon says S. Korea will lead 'irreversible trend' of hydrogen energy transition
President Moon Jae-in said Thursday South Korea will become a global leader in transitioning from a fossil fuel-based economy to a hydrogen-based one, calling the clean energy push an "irreversible trend." At an event spotlighting the government's hydrogen energy vision and policy, Moon said the transition toward a hydrogen-based economy from a carbon-based one was "an irreversible trend directly connected to national competitiveness." "We will muster up our national resources and capabilities to lead the transition toward a hydrogen economy," Moon said at the event held in Incheon, west of Seoul, praising the clean energy source as central in an age in which low-carbon emissions are increasingly promoted.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Court orders posthumous reinstatement of transgender soldier
A South Korean court on Thursday ordered the cancellation of the forceful discharge of transgender soldier Byun Hee-soo, who took her own life earlier this year. The Daejeon District Court ruled in favor of Staff Sgt. Byun, who was dismissed from the Army in January of last year, elucidating that the military’s decision was unfair. Although the former tank gunner wanted to continue serving as a woman, her service was cut short two months after having gender reassignment surgery while on leave in 2019. The Daejeon District Court pointed to the illegitimacy of legal grounds of the Army’s decision to kick her out.
With time running out, experts urge ‘creative’ solutions on N. Korea nukes
North Korea has been advancing its nuclear and missile capabilities over the past decades, and time is running out to prevent the country from becoming a full-fledged nuclear state, experts said Thursday. Pointing out that past South Korean and US administrations had failed to dismantle the regime’s nuclear program, experts attending a Korea Institute for National Unification seminar called for “creative solutions.” “One of the reasons why North Korea’s nuclear program has endured could be because the US has viewed the issue as a controllable risk and didn’t give it full attention,” said Koh Yu-hwan, president of the state-funded think tank KINU.
Moon vows to further push hydrogen economy initiative
South Korean President Moon Jae-in reiterated the country’s commitment to the hydrogen economy, while meeting government and industry officials Thursday. Attending a briefing session on the progress of the country’s hydrogen programs, he also encouraged chiefs of major conglomerates, including Hyundai Motor Group and SK Group, in attendance to continue their effort for building a hydrogen ecosystem. “A hydrogen economy is one of the core areas the government is working on for the economic future of the country, and leading conglomerates here are making large-scale investments and cooperating with each other to foster the industry,” Moon said at the event, held at the industrial complex in Cheongna International City of Incheon.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
ASEAN Week boosts trade, cultural exchanges amid pandemic
The ASEAN-Korea Centre (AKC) hosted an event marking ASEAN Week 2021 at the COEX, Tuesday and Wednesday, to boost exchange and cooperation between ASEAN countries and Korea in a post-COVID-19 world. Launched in 2019, the flagship event of the AKC aims to raise awareness about ASEAN countries. This year's ASEAN Week was held in conjunction with the Korea-ASEAN & India Business Week 2021, hosted by the Presidential Committee on New Southern Policy, to supplement each other by offering programs in diverse fields from trade and investment to culture and young people. Due to the pandemic, this year's event was held in a hybrid format to reach a wider audience.
Hong Joon-pyo, outspoken 'strongman' seeking second presidential bid
The rise of five-term lawmaker Rep. Hong Joon-pyo of the conservative main opposition People Power Party (PPP) as a strong presidential contender for the next presidential election, slated for next March, is rather unexpected, considering that former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl had long been topping polls of potential presidential candidates and it was once thought Hong's golden opportunity had already passed, political watchers said. Since early September, Hong has been surpassing Yoon in some popularity polls on potential presidential candidates of the main opposition party.
Will Seongnam land development scandal face special probe?
The main opposition People Power Party (PPP) is escalating its demands for an independent counsel's investigation into a land development scandal in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, targeting Lee Jae-myung, the leading presidential contender of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK). Lee was mayor of the city in 2015 when the development project was initiated. However, the chances of this taking place appear slim, as it requires either an agreement with the DPK, which holds a super-majority in the National Assembly, or with President Moon Jae-in. The DPK is refusing to discuss appointing a special counsel, while Moon is striving to keep a neutral stance in order to avoid making comments that could affect the presidential election next year.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
26 Korean Words Added to Latest Oxford English Dictionary
The latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary contains 26 Korean words or coinages, including "mukbang," "daebak" and "oppa." The Oxford English Dictionary dates back to 1884 and is considered to be the authoritative glossary of the English language. The BBC said Korea's influence "has reached the Oxford English Dictionary." Other Korean words that made it onto the OED include "hallyu," "K-drama," "banchan," "japchae," "kimbap," "dongchimi," "oppa," "noona" and "unni." "This rise in popularity of [Korean] culture, which began in the 1990s in East and Southeast Asia, had become a worldwide phenomenon by the 2010s, driven largely by the success of various forms of Korean entertainment on social media and video-sharing platforms," the OED editors said. The dictionary defines the alarming gluttony displays dubbed "mukbang" as "a video, especially one that is livestreamed, that features a person eating a large quantity of food and talking to the audience." It defines "daebak" as "an interjection expressing enthusiastic approval used in a similar way to 'fantastic!' and 'amazing!'"
Moon Test-Drives His New Casper
President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday test-drove his new Hyundai Casper subcompact SUV in the Cheong Wa Dae compound with his wife Kim Jung-sook. The Casper is an entry-level car targeting younger drivers and made by Gwangju Global Motors, a social enterprise jointly established by Hyundai and the city of Gwangju that offers jobs to young people in the city. It is sold exclusively online. Moon bought one for his personal use after his term ends next year. He commented only that it "drives smoothly."
UN Security Council Says N.Korea Bypassing Sanctions
North Korea continues to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles while coming up with increasingly ingenious ruses to bypass international sanctions, the UN Security Council said in a report Monday. The North "continued to seek material and technology for these programs overseas," it warned, and accused China of looking the other way while North Korea violates UNSC resolutions. The North surreptitiously exports coal, sells fishing rights, engages in cyberattacks on foreign financial institutions and smuggles in fuel in defiance of international surveillance.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
US would not want summit between China, two Koreas at Olympics, former CIA official says
Andrew Kim, former head of the CIA’s Korea Mission Center, said that the US would probably not want the leaders of South Korea, North Korea and China to hold a summit during the Beijing Winter Olympics set to be held in February 2022. Kim played a key role in initiating the Korean Peninsula peace process in 2018. “Having Kim Jong-un travel to Beijing during the Olympics, and then President Moon travels there [at the] same time, having Xi Jinping brokering some kind of a meeting [between the] three of them — that’s the last thing the US would like to see,” Kim said in a webinar hosted by the Washington Times Foundation on Tuesday. Andrew Kim served as the first head of the CIA Korea Mission Center, which was newly established early in the presidency of Donald Trump.
Will CPTPP become the front line between US and China?
The simultaneous applications by China and Taiwan to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is the prelude to unbridled competition that could rattle the trading system in the Asia-Pacific region. It’s an open question who will get the last laugh. It came as a global shock when China abruptly announced its bid to join the CPTPP on the evening of Sept. 16. The CPTPP dates back to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was pursued by the Obama administration in the US as part of its attempt to encircle China. In April 2015, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that the TPP was worth as much “as another aircraft carrier.”
S. Korea could see 5,000 daily COVID-19 cases by month’s end if spread worsens, KCDA predicts
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) has forecasted that the number of new COVID-19 cases in Korea will reach 3,500-4,300 per day in the latter part of October if the average fourth wave trend continues and could reach as high as 5,000 if the situation worsens. However, the government has stated it will be possible to prepare for the contagion’s spread by expanding at-home treatment for asymptomatic and mild cases due to a limited increase in severe case numbers thanks to the steadily rising vaccination rate. On Wednesday, People Power Party lawmaker Baek Jong-hean received materials from the KDCA which contained the results of an analysis performed on Sep. 30 on short-term COVID forecasts.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Hyundai Mobis builds hydrogen fuel cell plants in Incheon and Ulsan
Hyundai Mobis will invest 1.3 trillion won to build hydrogen fuel cell plants in Incheon and Ulsan. By 2023, when the construction of the plants will have been completed, Hyundai Mobis will have the capability to mass produce hydrogen fuel cell system in Korea, which would supersede its global competitors. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new plant that will produce hydrogen fuel cell stacks took place on Thursday at the Cheongna High-Tech Industrial Complex in Incheon. The construction for the hydrogen fuel cell system plant was also shoveled in Ulsan the same day.
Sen. Chuck Grassley’s racial compliment is under fire
Seasoned Republican Senator Chuck Grassley representing the state of Iowa was criticized after he made a congratulatory remark to Lucy Koh, a United States District Judge for the Northern District of California, who was nominated by the Biden administration for the federal circuit judge as the first female Korean American in the country’s history. Senator Grassley greeted Koh by saying, “Koreans have strong work ethics.” According to The Washington Post, Grassley congratulated Koh at the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation proceeding.
Won-dollar exchange rate close to the 1,200 mark
Stock and bond prices as well as Korean won against dollar fell due to multiple unfavorable factors in the market. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) plunged nearly 2 percent, slipping below the 3,000 mark and won-dollar exchange rate rose as high as 1,190 in 14 months. Concerns over the possibility of a “perfect storm” hitting the financial market are rising due to overlapping structural factors that cannot be resolved in the short term, including disruptions in the global supply chain, fears of inflation accelerated by a rise in raw material prices, and concerns about an economic slowdown.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
“Daejang-dong Connection” Between Kim Man-bae and Park Young-soo Was Formed During the Busan Savings Bank Investigation: Lead Prosecutor Was Yoon Seok-youl
Kim Man-bae, the majority shareholder of Hwacheon Daeyu at the center of corruption allegations tied to the Daejang-dong development project in Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi, and former special prosecutor Park Young-soo first formed a connection with the Daejang-dong development project when the Central Investigation Division at the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office investigated the Busan Savings Bank. A, a Busan Savings Bank insider who built the 110 billion won project finance for the Daejang-dong project, prepared for the prosecutors’ investigation and hired Park Young-soo as his attorney after being introduced by Kim Man-bae, a reporter who covered the Prosecution Service at the time.
Number of Conflict Resolution Requests by Sellers at Coupang, 8 Times More than at Kakao and 3 Times More than at Naver
Six out of ten requests for conflict resolution concerning online platforms registered at the Korea Fair Trade Mediation Agency in the last five years involved Coupang. Democratic Party of Korea lawmaker Jung Tae-ho, a member of the parliamentary Trade, Industry, Energy, SMEs and Startups Committee, obtained information from the Korea Fair Trade Mediation Agency, and according to this data on October 6, the agency received 177 requests for mediation of conflicts on online platforms from 2017 until September 24, 2021. Among them, there were 108 cases (61.0%) that involved Coupang, such as Coupang Inc. and Coupang Pay. These were followed by 36 cases involving Naver, including Naver and Naver Financial;
Lee Jae-myung Enjoys a Lead Bigger than the Margin of Error in Virtual Two-way Races Against Yoon Seok-youl and Hong Joon-pyo
In a survey on voters’ support for future presidential candidates, Gyeonggi Governor Lee Jae-myung of the Democratic Party of Korea was ahead of former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl of the People Power Party with a lead more significant than the margin of error. Lee was also ahead in virtual races against Yoon and People Power Party lawmaker Hong Joon-pyo with a lead bigger than the margin of error. On the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Kyunghyang Shinmun, the daily newspaper commissioned K-stat Research to conduct a survey of 1,012 adults ages 18 and older nationwide on October 3-4. The result showed Governor Lee in the lead with 31.1% of support, followed by Yoon with 19.6%, Hong with 14.1% and former Democratic Party leader Lee Nak-yon with 10.1%. Even in a virtual two-way race, Governor Lee (43.4%) was ahead of Yoon (35.7%) with a lead bigger than the margin of error (3.1%). Lee Jae-myung (43.2%) was also ahead in a virtual two-way race against Hong Joon-pyo (36.3%).
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Samsung Elec Q3 OP reaches $13.3 bn, second best on solid chip demand
Samsung Electronics Co. ended the July-September period with its second-best quarterly operating income of 15.8 trillion won ($13.3 billion) on record sales driven by still-strong chip demand and hot response to new foldable phones. The South Korean tech giant in its earnings guidance released on Friday estimated its operating income at 15.8 trillion won for the third quarter, up 25.7 percent from three months ago and 27.9 percent from a year ago. The earnings are the best since the third quarter of 2018 when the company raked in its best-ever 17.6 trillion won at the peak of the chip super cycle.
Korea to up hydrogen consumption over 15-fold to 3.9 mn tons in decade
South Korea aims to boost the country’s hydrogen consumption more than 15-fold to 3.9 million tons in a decade as it has set clean hydrogen as the country’s mainstay energy source, and Hyundai Motor Group will aid the government to achieve the goal with a $1 billion investment to build fuel-cell stack plants. The new vision was unveiled Wednesday by the government in a briefing to President Moon Jae-in and business leaders on the sidelines of a groundbreaking ceremony for Hyundai Mobis` hydrogen fuel cell plant in Incheon, west of Seoul.
Seoul issues verbal intervention, financial markets rebound
The Korean government could take action to stabilize the foreign exchange and financial markets if deemed necessary, upon finding the latest volatility in the capital market “excessive”, according to vice minister of economy and finance. The verbal intervention came after the Korean stock, currency, and bond prices have tumbled to annual lows due to anxiousness over U.S. monetary tightening, inflationary pressure from spike in oil and other commodity prices, and China’s Evergrande debt crisis.
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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
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