Thursday, October 14, 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.
Azerbaijan marks 30th anniversary of Restoration of Independence
The Republic of Azerbaijan marks the 30th anniversary of adoption of the Constitutional Act on the Restoration of the State Independence on Oct. 18, 2021. On this most auspicious occasion, the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan provided The Korea Post media with a special statement. Details follow: October 18, 1991, it was thirty years ago when the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan adopted the Constitutional Act on Restoration of State Independence. Thus, Azerbaijan regained its independence for the second time in the 20th century. On May 28, 1918, the First Democratic Republic in the Muslim East was established in Azerbaijan, and we are proud to have been the first in the Muslim World. Regaining independence was yet another historical moment for the Azerbaijani people, which unfortunately caused thousands of lives.
LG Chem to invest 120 billion won to expand tech centers to U.S. and Europe
LG Chem announced on Oct. 11 that it will invest around 120 billion won to expand the tech center, a customer-tailored technical support facility, to the United States and Europe. The investment is to strengthen the company’s global market position and lay the foundations required to secure additional production bases in the future. LG Chem will also construct a new ABS compound plant in the United States. ABS compound is the final process in the production of ABS products. Tech center is a dedicated customer support organization that provides comprehensive technical solutions such as product development, quality improvement, and productivity enhancement to customers and partners who purchased LG Chem's petrochemical products.
Joint Committee Launches to Draw Up 'With COVID-19' Transition Plan
A joint government-private committee launched on Wednesday to draw up a plan for the nation to transition to the so-called "with COVID-19" system of gradually easing restrictions. Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum and Choe Jae-chun, chair professor at Ewha Womans University, are co-chairs, and close to 40 officials and experts will address livelihood issues, society/culture, public safety, quarantine and health care. During the inaugural meeting, Kim said the committee will look into adopting a vaccine pass for those fully immunized to ease social distancing rules when they visit multipurpose facilities. The prime minister also emphasized the need for an "inclusive normalization," referring to small business owners who suffered big losses and witnessed the widening of the socioeconomic gap amid the prolonged pandemic.
DP Rejects Lee Nak-yon's Appeal on Primary Outcome
The ruling Democratic Party(DP) has decided not to accept an appeal on presidential primary results filed by Lee Nak-yon. The DP's party affairs committee has basically decided that finalizing Lee Jae-myung as the DP's presidential candidate without a runoff vote does not go against party regulations. The committee convened a meeting Wednesday to discuss Lee's demand for a review of whether primary votes were properly counted. It confirmed the decision by the party's election committee and Supreme Council to exclude ballots that were cast to Chung Sye-kyun and Kim Du-kwan who withdrew their primary bids, in accordance with the party's electoral rules.
US Reiterates No Hostile Intent after N. Korea's Criticism
Washington has reaffirmed its position that it holds no hostile policies toward Pyongyang, according to South Korea's Office of National Security at the presidential office. U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan relayed the position in a meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Suh Hoon, in Washington D.C. on Tuesday. Sullivan also reiterated that the U.S. is willing to negotiate with North Korea anytime, anywhere without preconditions. His words came after North Korea continued to question the sincerity of Washington’s words. Speaking at a defense development exhibition on Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un argued that there are no grounds to believe the U.S. is not hostile to his country and said it should further strengthen its defense capabilities.
Banks' household loan growth accelerates in Sept. despite tightened lending rules
South Korean banks' household loans grew at a faster pace in September from a month earlier despite the government's toughened controls on lending, central bank data showed Wednesday. According to the Bank of Korea (BOK), outstanding bank loans to households came to 1,052.7 trillion won (US$877.9 billion) as of the end of September, up 6.5 trillion won from the previous month. The figure is higher than a 6.1 trillion-won increase registered in August, the data showed. The reading also marked the second-largest on-month expansion for September since relevant data began to be compiled in 2004.
U.S., S. Korea working to restart dialogue with N. Korea: Amb. Lee
South Korea and the United States are working closely together to restart the Korean Peninsula peace process, South Korea's ambassador to the U.S., Lee Soo-hyuck, said Wednesday. Lee said the countries are also discussing ways to bring North Korea back to the dialogue table that may include the provision of humanitarian assistance to the impoverished North. "(We) are discussing various ways to build trust such as the provision of humanitarian assistance to create a favorable condition for talks with North Korea," the South Korean diplomat said in a parliamentary audit. "South Korea and the United States are also closely discussing ways to restart the peace process for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and establishment of peace," he added.
Export prices up for 10th straight month in September
South Korea's export prices gained for the 10th straight month in September, driven by price hikes of energy and chemical products, central bank data showed Thursday. The country's export price index stood at 114.18 in September, up 1 percent from the previous month, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK). The figure represented the 10th straight month of an on-month rise. From a year earlier, the index jumped 20.2 percent, the eighth consecutive on-year growth, the data showed. The rise stemmed mostly from hikes in coal, oil and chemical products, the central bank said.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
US stresses ‘sincerity’ in its overture toward North Korea
The top national security advisers of South Korea and the US on Tuesday reaffirmed their commitment to engaging with North Korea, pledging to work together to bring Pyongyang back to the negotiating table. Suh Hoon, South Korea’s director of national security at Cheong Wa Dae, was visiting Washington to hold a bilateral meeting with his US counterpart, Jake Sullivan, amid North Korea’s conflicting messages involving back-to-back missile tests and diplomatic overtures, including the recent reopening of inter-Korean communication hotlines.
S. Korea begins mapping out route back to normalcy
South Korea is positively considering a “vaccine pass” system to incentivize people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as officials look to start the normalization process next month. The system would entail providing benefits and exemptions to virus rules for those who have completed their COVID-19 vaccinations. The discussion has gained steam as officials believe such a system could boost the nationwide vaccination program and increase the likelihood of successful normalization. “We will prepare to change COVID-19 from a mysteriously fearful virus to a controllable infectious disease and thereby give back normal lives to people,” Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said Wednesday during a meeting of a new committee on normalization after the COVID-19 pandemic.
S. Korea sees largest job growth in 7 years over surge in contactless services, vaccinations
South Korea’s economy added the largest number of jobs in more than seven years in September, government data showed Wednesday, with officials citing a surge in contactless services backed by digitalization of industries and high vaccination rate as key catalysts. The economy added 671,000 jobs on-year to 27.68 million in September, Statistics Korea data showed. This marked the largest job growth since March 2014, when the economy added 726,000 jobs and also the seventh consecutive month of job additions.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Moon's probe order draws controversy over 'guidelines'
President Moon Jae-in has found himself embroiled in controversy over allegedly giving "investigation guidelines" regarding a snowballing corruption scandal linked to the ruling party's presidential candidate. On Tuesday, Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Park Kyung-mee told reporters Moon had instructed the prosecution and the police to "actively cooperate and do their utmost to uncover the factual truth through a swift and thorough investigation" into the lucrative, possibly illicit land development project in the Daejang region of the city of Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province.
Korea's top business lobby seeks more influence in US
The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) is considering opening up its first liaison office in Washington D.C., in a bid to defend the best interests of Korean companies in the United States, sources familiar with the issue told The Korea Times, Wednesday. The KCCI is the country's most-influential business lobby and is headed by SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won. The main purpose of opening the office is to voice concerns in some pending and other outstanding issues from Korea's standpoint and to appeal to U.S. politicians on why policy actions matter ― or don't matter ― case-by-case, said one source. Lobbying is often criticized as a form of bribery. However, in the United States, lobbying is legal and the "Lobbying Disclosure Act," enables federal lobbying if the activities are registered and disclosed.
Volunteer service 'can actually change lives': Rotary International president
In July, Rotary International, one of the largest volunteer service organizations in the world, embraced the new leadership of Shekhar Mehta, chairman and founder of India-based real estate developer Skyline Group. Under Mehta's leadership, Rotary is becoming a more action-oriented organization, focusing on practical goals that can actually change lives. "When I say 'serve,' I'm asking you to do some action," Mehta said during an interview with The Korea Times, Oct. 8, during his visit to Seoul. "And what happens when you serve people? It changes their lives. As you keep changing other people's lives, your life becomes sublime."
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Prosecutors Seek Fine for Samsung Chief for Taking Propofol
Prosecutors on Tuesday called on the Seoul Central District Court to fine Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong W70 million for abusing the once-fashionable knockout sleeping drug Propofol (US$1=W1,198). Lee was indicted on charges of being given regular injections of the knockout drug that killed pop star Michael Jackson on no fewer than 41 occasions from 2015 to 2020. Lee admitted the charges. The drug was subject to a bizarre fad among the rich and famous here. Lee claimed mitigating circumstances because the drug was ostensibly administered for "treatment." He will be sentenced on Oct. 26. The Samsung chief was jailed for two-and-a-half years early this year for bribing ex-President Park Geun-hye but paroled in August under a special amnesty.
N.Korean Spymaster Tells of 30 Years in the Dark Arts
A North Korean spy worked at Cheong Wa Dae for years before returning to Pyongyang in the early 1990s, a high-profile defector told BBC in an interview broadcast Monday. "There was a case where a North Korean agent was dispatched and worked at the presidential office in South Korea and returned to North Korea safely. That was in the early 1990s," said Kim Kuk-song, a former colonel in North Korea's General Bureau of Reconnaissance. If the story is true, the spy would have worked under president Roh Tae-woo (1988-1993) or the first democratically elected president, Kim Young-sam (1993-1998). After working there "for five to six years, he came back safely," Kim added.
N.Korea Shows off New Weapons at Defense Expo
The North Korean regime mounted an armaments expo to mark the 76th anniversary of the Workers Party this week, displaying several new weapons that have been developed over the past five years. They include super-large multiple rocket launchers targeting South Korea and three kinds of intercontinental ballistic missiles. In an opening speech on Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un himself called it "a show of national strength." "For our descendants we need to be strong." He accused South Korea of its developing and buying weapons in an "attempt for arms modernization that goes beyond bounds," according to state media.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Why N. Korea chose a defense exhibition over a goose-stepping parade this year
For the 76th anniversary of the founding of its Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), North Korea staged a defense development exhibition titled “Self-Defence 2021.” It marks the first time the North has opted to show off its military capabilities through an exhibition, rather than the military parade it has conducted in past years. In a commemorative speech for the exhibition Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said, “Today's grand-scale exhibition, a crystallization of our Party's revolutionary defence policy and its robust viability, is an epoch-making demonstration of our national strength no less significant than a large-scale military parade.”
How to interpret Kim Jong-un’s change in rhetoric
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared that North Korea’s “arch-enemy” is “war itself, not south Korea, the United States or any other specific state or forces,” the nation’s state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper reported Tuesday. His remarks came during a commemorative speech for the defense development exhibition “Self-Defence 2021,” which was held for the first time Monday at the Three Revolutions Exhibition museum in Pyongyang. “Building up national defence is an indispensable and vital state affair which our Party, government and people must not neglect even a moment,” Kim said in his speech.
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/)
Kim Jong Un loses 5kg in just two months
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un has reportedly lost more than 5 kilograms for the past two months. An unnamed government source said on Wednesday that Kim Jong Un has lost more weight since July when the South Korean National Intelligence Service first reported Kim’s weight loss of 10 kilograms or more. Kim, who was presumed to have weighed about 140 kilograms in the beginning of this year, is now estimated to have lost 20 kilograms since then. Kim, in his middle 30s with a height of 170 centimeters, is extremely obese, and rumors about the young leader’s health condition have continuously emerged, including Kim allegedly suffering from adult diseases that are usually experienced in those in middle and late adulthood.
Japanese PM proposes hardline policies following aggressive pledge booklet
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, a dove politician leading Kochikai with a pacifist stance among seven factions within Japan's Liberal Democratic Party, has announced a series of hardline policies. Some wonder if he changed sides. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party led by the prime minister published a pledge booklet on Tuesday ahead of an election for the House of Representatives on October 31. Same as the pledge booklet released in 2017, it claims that the Dokdo islets belong to Japan, adding that the party will respond with dignity to South Korea’s baseless criticism of Japan’s violation of international laws and historical issues.
Moon urges speedy, thorough probe on Daejang-dong issue
President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday that the prosecution and police should fully cooperate and make all-out efforts to conduct speedy and thorough investigation to ascertain the substantive truth about the Daejang-dong development project, which is suspected of favoritism and irregularities. This is the first time the president ordered rigorous investigation since the establishment of an investigation unit specifically dedicated to investigate the Daejang-dong scandal at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office 13 days ago.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
A Decision on Lee Nak-yon’s Appeal Against Primary Results to Be Made on Oct. 13, But Song Young-gil Says Lee “Should Accept the Results”
On October 12, Democratic Party of Korea leader Song Young-gil spoke on the appeal against the primary results by former party leader Lee Nak-yon and said, “A decision will be made tomorrow (Oct. 13) by the party’s Supreme Council.” However, he further said, “Lee Jae-myung practically won by over 11%,” and added, “I think the situation calls for him (Lee Nak-yon) to accept the results.” This morning, Song appeared on the TBS radio show, Kim Ou-joon’s News Factory and said, “The party’s election commission already made the decision (on Lee Jae-myung as the party’s candidate), so there are no legal procedures that need to be mentioned. The Supreme Council will discuss it from a political perspective and make a decision.”
Kim Jong-un, “We Must Not Repeat the Terrible History of Using Military Power Against Our Own People”
On October 11, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended the opening ceremony of the Defense Development Exhibition and said, “Our enemy is war itself and not South Korea, the United States or any particular state or power.” As he had done when addressing the Supreme People’s Assembly last month, he stressed the withdrawal of hostile policies and double standards against North Korea. On October 12, the Korean Central News Agency reported the opening of the Defense Development Exhibition, “Self-Defense 2021” at the Three Revolution Exhibition on October 11, in time for the 76th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea and said that Chairman Kim attended the opening ceremony and gave a speech.
Lee Jae-myung, “I Will by All Means Complete State Reforms”
On October 10, Gyeonggi Governor Lee Jae-myung (57) was elected as the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party of Korea. Lee, who lost in the party primaries in 2017, was chosen as the ruling party candidate in his second attempt. However, this day, in the third vote among the public electoral college, Governor Lee lost to former party leader Lee Nak-yon by a significant margin and barely obtained more than half of the total votes in the primaries. There is concern that the allegations of special favors in the Daejang-dong development project could chase the candidate all the way to the presidential race. Governor Lee said, “The upcoming presidential election will be the ultimate sweeping victory against the corrupt powers with vested interests” and announced, “I will by all means complete the change and reforms that the people demand.”
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
S. Korea to introduce independent container freight index: customs office chief
South Korea will introduce its own container freight index this year to better respond to changes in global supply and demand amid growing uncertainties from the worsening global supply chain disruptions, said Lim Jae-hyeon, commissioner of the Korea Customs Service. “Securing accurate shipping freight rate information has become important for companies to set up business strategies in the face of the global supply chain crash,” Lim said in his first media interview with Maeil Business Newspaper since his inauguration in March.
Posco keeps up red-hot earnings streak with OP near $3 bn
South Korea’s top steelmaker Posco has achieved fresh quarterly income milestone of near $3 billion in the third quarter by keeping up more than 40 percent on-quarter growth as it rode on explosive demand from global economic recovery in pandemic aftermath and thriving cathode materials business from fast migration to electric mobility. In its regulatory filing on Wednesday, Posco said its consolidated operating profit for the quarter ended September reached 3.11 trillion won ($2.6 billion), another milestone after breaching 2 trillion won in the previous quarter.
S. Korea’s job conditions significantly improve, payroll increase biggest in seven yrs
South Korea’s payroll increased by the biggest scope in seven years in September while the unemployment was the lowest for the month in eight years as the economy gained life in line with the pickup in vaccination and record exports. According to data released by Statistics Korea on Wednesday, the number of employed reached 27.68 million in September, adding 671,000 from the same month a year earlier. It is the largest job growth since 726,000 in March 2014.
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