Tuesday, October 12, 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.
Four Seasons Hotel Seoul hosts a massive charity for the month of October
Four Seasons Hotel Seoul holds a massive charity campaign for the month of October to show its gratitude to the community for the patronage it has been accorded over the past 6 years and to mark the Hotel’s sixth anniversary on October 1 this year. According to the Hotel’s Public Relations Director In-young Moon, first of all, the café, "Confections by Four Seasons," located on the first floor of the hotel, will hold a "Pink October" promotion that will showcase pink cakes for the month of October. It will present three pink mousse cakes that combine the softness of cream cheese and the freshness of Cassis. The price varies from 14,000 won to 54,000 won, depending on the size. Four Seasons Hotel Seoul plans to donate some of the sales proceeds to the Korea Cancer Association to be used for activities to eradicate breast cancer.
Hyundai Motor launches the ‘Expecting Generation One’ campaign
Hyundai Motor launched a global campaign, ‘Expecting Generation One,’ with the online premiere of a short film signaling its commitment to fight climate change and achieve carbon neutrality in order to secure a habitable world for future generations, on Oct. 6. The campaign reinforces Hyundai Motor’s recent declaration at the 2021 IAA Mobility Show in Germany that it aims to achieve carbon neutrality in its products and global operations by 2045 through clean mobility, next-generation platforms and green energy. Hyundai Motor plans to roll out more customer communications for ‘Expecting Generation One’ throughout the remainder of the year.
COVID-19 Booster Shots for 45,000 Medical Workers Begin
South Korea will begin administering COVID-19 booster shots for medical workers on Tuesday. According to the state vaccination task force on Monday, boost shots will be administered in phases from Tuesday for medical workers who completed their initial series at least six months ago. The eligible people are estimated at about 45-thousand workers at some 160 hospitals and medical institutions treating COVID-19 patients. Those who received two doses of Pfizer vaccine between March 20 and April 2 are subject to additional shots set for Tuesday through October 30.
N. Korean Leader Pledges to Resolve Basic Necessity Issues in Next 5 Yrs.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un pledged to resolve the country's chronic shortages of basic necessities such as clothing, food and housing over the next five years, marking the 76th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party. According to the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Monday, Kim made the pledge during a special lecture at an anniversary event the previous day. Kim reaffirmed a five-year national economic plan set forth at a party congress in January, aimed at development and improving people's livelihoods. The leader urged party officials to always consider whether their work infringes upon public interests, and to prioritize and respect all members of the public.
Gyeonggi Gov. Elected DP's Presidential Candidate
Gyeonggi Governor Lee Jae-myung was elected as the ruling Democratic Party’s (DP) candidate for next year's presidential election, set to be held on March 9. Lee secured the presidential ticket on Sunday after winning 50-point-29 percent of votes from regional primaries held from September 4 until Sunday and three rounds of votes among members of the public. While the governor was widely projected to win with around 56 percent of votes, he did so with a narrow margin after securing 28-point-three percent in the third round of public votes, against former DP leader Lee Nak-yon's 62-point-three percent. The former leader came in second with 39-point-14 percent of total votes.
Lee Jae-myung confirmed as DP presidential candidate: party chief
The chief of the ruling Democratic Party (DP) said Monday the nomination of Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung as its presidential candidate was confirmed and decided in accordance with the party rules after runner-up ex-Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon appealed the results. Lee Jae-myung won 50.29 percent of all votes cast in the course of the party's 11-round primary since last month, followed by Lee Nak-yon with 39.14 percent. The governor needed a majority of the votes to avoid a runoff. "We announced Lee Jae-myung as the DP candidate for the 20th presidential election yesterday," Rep. Song Young-gil, chairman of the party, told reporters at the national cemetery in the central city of Daejeon accompanying the governor.
N.K. leader urges improvement in people's living conditions on party's founding anniversary
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un stressed the need to improve people's living conditions, as he held a lecture to mark the 76th founding anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party, state media said Monday.
He delivered the message during his "important" speech, titled, "Let us further improve party work in line with the demands of the period of fresh development of socialist construction," according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Kim said the party has defined "the popular masses' independence" as the essence of the socialist construction and urged officials to serve the people like "God," it added.
GCF board endorses $1.2 bln for projects to support climate actions
The Green Climate Fund (GCF), an international organization on fighting climate change, has approved US$1.2 billion in funding for 13 new green energy projects, South Korea's finance ministry said Monday. The board of the GCF, headquartered in Songdo of Incheon, west of Seoul, endorsed the funding plan for projects to help 44 emerging nations fight climate change, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The U.N. climate fund also approved a plan to increase the number of its staff members at its secretariat by 2023 to better cope with growing demand in green energy projects.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
S. Korean, US top security advisers to discuss NK
President Moon Jae-in’s top security adviser, Suh Hoon, is expected to meet with his US counterpart and make his case for signing a declaration to end the 1950-53 Korean War armistice as a way to facilitate North Korea’s denuclearization. “This week, a discussion will take place between Suh and national security adviser Jake Sullivan. The agenda is denuclearization,” a senior Cheong Wa Dae official said Sunday referring to Suh’s trip, without elaborating, though many expect Suh will mainly seek support for the declaration.
Kim Jong-un calls for improving people’s lives amid economic woes
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un urged his party officials to improve people’s lives in the next five years amid a growing economic crisis aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic, the official Korean Central News Agency said Monday. “As set forth in the January congress, the five-year plan has to improve the living conditions, bring about a fundamental change and buttress a socialist utopia the world envies,” Kim said as he marked the anniversary of the regime’s ruling party on Sunday. But Kim, who admitted at the January party meeting that his economic policy had failed amid a COVID-hit economy, said a stronger ruling party has prevailed from the last 10 years, with a more legitimate mandate to lead North Koreans and greater power to take on hostile forces.
Ruling party presidential candidate vows universal subsidy
Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung, named presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Party Sunday, vowed to adopt universal basic income if elected, claiming that he would turn South Korea into the world’s first nation offering the subsidy package, even to the wealthy. In his acceptance speech on Sunday, Lee highlighted his “basic agenda package,” which is expected to be the backbone of his economy policy if elected president. The package consists of a universal basic income plan, a basic housing program and a basic loan scheme, but has immediately sparked divided responses from onlookers for its impact on the economy and lack of resources.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Infection resurgence feared to disrupt path to 'Living with COVID-19' era
Concerns are rising over increased infections following the recent long weekends, adding uncertainties to the government's envisioned plan for a gradual transition to a "Living with COVID-19" strategy. The administration is gearing up to adopt a strategy of co-existing with the coronavirus, under which people would be able to return to "normal life" gradually, as the health authorities plan to focus more on the treatment of critically ill patients, rather than controlling daily new cases. Although detailed plans have yet to be unveiled, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) chief Jeong Eun-kyeong said that Nov. 9 is likely to be the start date for the transition.
Samsung family unloads W2 trillion in shares to pay inheritance tax
Korea's notoriously high inheritance taxation has forced the heirs of the late Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee to sell shares in Samsung affiliates worth around 2 trillion won ($1.67 billion) to fulfill their tax obligations. Hong Ra-hee, the widow of the late chairman, reported to the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), Oct. 5, that she plans to sell 19.9 million shares in Samsung Electronics. The shares are 0.33 percent of the company's total stock and have an estimated value of 1.4 trillion won. With the sale, Hong's shares in Samsung Electronics will be reduced to 1.97 percent.
Disagreement on North Korea sanctions feared to weaken Seoul-Washington alliance
As ever-tightening U.S. sanctions have yet to achieve its policy goals, a discrepancy between South Korea and the United States in their respective views on whether to continue full implementation of economic punishment against North Korea is coming to the fore. Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong said earlier this month that the time was ripe for the consideration of sanctions relief, the latest move by the Moon Jae-in administration to engage the North on denuclearization. However, the U.S. State Department stressed the need to fully implement United Nations (U.N.) Security Council sanctions on the "rogue" state a few days later, a sign that the Joe Biden administration will not partially lift sanctions anytime soon in order to restart denuclearization talks that have been deadlocked since the collapse of a Hanoi summit between the U.S. and North Korea in February 2019.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Not Many Youngsters Take up Vaccination Offer
Coronavirus vaccinations of children aged 12 to 17 start this month, but the reservation rate so far is alarmingly low. Only 33.2 percent of some 899,000 16 to 17-year-olds have booked their jabs since reservations started Tuesday, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. Bookings for 12 to 15-year-olds start on Oct. 18. Vaccination for under-18s is not mandatory, but health authorities were alarmed by the low uptake. They strongly urged youngsters with diabetes and other underlying illnesses to get vaccinated because they have a higher risk of getting seriously ill with COVID-19.
Korea to Start Phased Return to Normal Next Month
Korea will start a phased return to normal around Nov. 9, according to Jeong Eun-kyeong, the chief of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, on Thursday. "We believe 70 percent of the population will be vaccinated by the last week of October," Jeong said. Assuming it takes two weeks for immunity to build up, that would take the country into early November before its experiment in living with the virus can start. By Nov.9, the vaccination rate is expected to approach 80 percent. Before starting its phased return to normal in July, the U.K. put in several months of planning, but the Korean government only embraced the idea last month and seems to lack any coherent plan.
Ruling Party Nominates Gyeonggi Governor in Race
Ruling Minjoo Party on Sunday nominated its candidate for next year's presidential elections, selecting a maverick politician known for his outspoken views who is currently the race's front-runner.
Lee Jae-myung's nomination as the Minjoo Party presidential candidate comes despite his rivals' efforts to depict him as a dangerous populist and link him to a snowballing real estate scandal. Lee has vowed to fight economic inequality, introduce a universal basic income and resume reconciliation projects with North Korea. In his acceptance speech, Lee bowed deeply several times and said he'd want to carry out what he called a public call to "root out unfairness, inequality and corruption" and carry out other sweeping reform steps. "I'd restrain the excessive desires by the strong and protect the lives of the weak. I'd protect the people's jobs, income and welfare," Lee said.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Lee Jae-myung officially chosen as ruling party's presidential nominee
Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung was officially chosen Sunday as the Democratic Party candidate for South Korea’s 20th presidential election. But his path to the slate was a nail-biter, coming in spite of a loss to former party leader Lee Nak-yon in the so-called super week, consisting of the third round of electoral college voting with the public and party members taking part. Lee Nak-yon’s camp effectively protested the results, by objecting to the party election management committee’s approach of invalidating the votes received by previous contenders Chung Sye-kyun and Kim Du-kwan after they dropped out of the race.
The great Chinese transformation and its lessons for S. Korea
Checks and balances are a key principle of the separation of powers. They are also a basic principle for ensuring the soundness of the social economy. Without checks and balances in place, it becomes impossible to prevent government authorities, business, and construction and engineering interests from teaming up to monopolize power and resources, leaving society to foot the bill. How do we institutionalize the principles of checks and balances? This question serves as a lens we can use to examine the different forms of capitalism in the world today. First, checks and balances can be established as labor develops into a powerful force that can then rein in capital’s ruling privileges. This has been the path in Europe, as exemplified by countries like Germany and Sweden. But in many parts of the world, labor remains weak.
Return to normal to start around Nov. 9, KDCA head says
The South Korean government announced that it will begin gradually restoring normal routines on Nov. 9. While the government had previously mentioned a timeframe of late October or early November, this is the first time it has offered a specific date. The date came up when Jeong Eun-kyeong, commissioner of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), was fielding a question from Kang Gi-yun, a lawmaker for the People Power Party, during a parliamentary audit in the National Assembly’s Health and Welfare Committee on Thursday morning. “We’ve been told that we can start returning to normal routines when we reach a vaccination rate of 70% for the entire public, 80% for adults, and 90% for elderly people. Do you think we’ll reach that goal by Oct. 25?” Kang asked.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
N. Korean spy worked at Blue House, says a defector
The BBC reported that a former high-ranking spy and defector testified that a North Korean agent had been dispatched and worked at the Presidential Office in South Korea and worked for five to six years at the Blue House. The defector, who worked as a senior colonel for North Korea’s top intelligence agency, also said that the Cheonan navy ship attack and Yeonpyeong island bombardment was carried out at the orders from the top and “treated with pride.” The BBC interviewed Kim Kuk-sung (alias), who worked at North Korean spy agency for 30 years, defected from North Korea in 2014 and currently works for the South Korean intelligence.
Hyundai Mobis introduces foldable steering wheel
Hyundai Mobis has developed a foldable steering system that allows the steering wheel to be folded inside the dashboard when not in use. The auto parts manufacturer said on Monday that it has developed foldable steering system technology that enables a steering wheel to be moved up to 25 centimeters back and forth. The technology prevents a steering wheel from taking up space while in autonomous driving mode and allows it to be pulled back again while driving. Hyundai Mobis has developed the technology after a two-year development process, and is currently filing patents globally for the technology. No other auto parts manufacturer in the industry has yet mass produced a foldable steering wheel.
Foreign worker vaccination rates still at 31%
A small scuffle between medical staff dressed in white gowns and a foreign worker occurred at the parking lot of the Northern Gyeonggi office of the Korea Industrial Complex Corporation in the morning of Thursday in Ansan City. A, a Chinese foreign worker, had submitted an invalid address submitting information for COVID-19 vaccination on concerns of being identified as a non-registered expatriate. There were signs that said “illegal stay would not be prosecuted,” but A did not let down his guard. After some persuasion by medical staff, A gave in and submitted a friend’s address and got vaccinated. 348 were vaccinated over the last four days starting on Oct 6 by the ‘Vaccine Bus’. 152 of them are illegal immigrants like A.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Kim Keon-hee Stirs Controversy, This Time It’s a Fabricated Resume
On October 7, an allegation was raised that Kim Keon-hee, the wife of former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl, a presidential candidate of the People Power Party, submitted a false record of her teaching experience in order to teach at a university in 2004. The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education also confirmed, “There is no record of the work experience in question.” This day, ten lawmakers on the parliamentary Education Committee including Democratic Party of Korea lawmakers An Min-suk and Do Jong-hwan and Open Democratic Party lawmaker Kang Min-jung, held a press conference at the National Assembly and said they confirmed that Kim’s teaching experiences at elementary, middle and high schools in Seoul were false and announced, “We suspect that Kim’s irregularities continued extensively for a long period of time.” They suspect that Kim landed a job as a part-time lecturer at Seoil University based on the fabricated resume.
“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. A, who received over a billion won in exchange for the project finance loans for the Daejang-dong project, managed to avoid charges, but he was prosecuted following a prosecutors’ investigation in 2015 and was sentenced to time in prison.
Kim Man-bae Entrusted His Registered Seal to Lee Han-sung 4 Days Before Police Investigation
Kim Man-bae, the largest shareholder of Hwacheon Daeyu, entrusted a certificate of his registered seal to Lee Han-sung (Yi Han-seong), a director at Cheonhwa Dongin 1, four days before he was questioned by the police. At the time, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) at the Financial Services Commission had notified the police of suspicious transactions of corporate funds at Cheonhwa Dongin 1 only, among the affiliates of Hwacheon Daeyu. This raised suspicions that Kim might have taken action, when the police launched the investigation, to justify the money he borrowed from Cheonhwa Dongin 1. According to the coverage by the Kyunghyang Shinmun on October 4, Kim Man-bae had Lee Han-sung act on his behalf and get a certificate for his registered seal issued on September 23.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Samsung family to sell $1.8 bn shares in group units to pay inheritance tax
South Korea’s richest corporate family behind Samsung Group will sell 2.16 trillion won ($1.8 billion) worth stakes in the group affiliates to pay the world’s highest inheritance tax. Hong Ra-hee, widow of late Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee and former director of Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, signed a contract to sell 19,941,860 shares of Samsung Electronics worth 1.43 trillion won based on the Friday closing price with KB Kookmin Bank, according to a disclosure on Saturday. Hong, the current largest individual stakeholder with a 2.3 percent stake in the world’s largest chipmaker, decided to unload 0.33 percent for payment of the inheritance tax.
S. Korea to revise up 2030 NDC target to 40% vs. previous 26.5% goal
South Korean government has decided to revise its 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target to 40 percent from its previous goal of 26.3 percent to speed up its carbon neutral push under a pledge to go zero net carbon emissions by 2050, but the bold revision will likely meet strong protest from the industry. The presidential committee on carbon neutrality and related ministries announced on Friday they propose to revise the nationally determined contribution (NDC) goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 2018 levels, drastically increased from the original target of 26.3 percent.
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.
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