Monday, October 18, 2021
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
he following are details of the speech by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of the Republic of Uzbekistan at an extraordinary meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council via video conference on Oct. 14, 2021. The information and photos were provided by the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Seoul to The Korea Post media for publication. The Korea Post publishes 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985—Ed. On October 14, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev took part in an extraordinary meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council via videoconference. The President of Uzbekistan is participating in the summits of this integration association for the third time since Uzbekistan received the status of an observer state in the EAEU in December 2020.
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.
Amb. Fen greatly contributes to promoting ties between Korea, Uzbekistan, also other countries
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.
Daily COVID-19 Cases Fall to 1,420
Daily coronavirus cases fell to the 14-hundred range on Sunday as the nation is set to apply eased social distancing rules before gradually shifting to a "living with COVID-19" scheme next month. According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, one-thousand-420 new COVID-19 cases were detected throughout Saturday, raising the accumulated caseload to 342-thousand-396. The daily tally dropped by about 200 from the previous day, apparently due to fewer tests over the weekend. In general, the figure has been declining for three weeks since it peaked at three-thousand-270 on September 25 following the Chuseok holiday.
IAEA Chief Vows Close Communication with S. Korea on Japan's Fukushima Water Discharge
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has vowed to continue close communication with South Korea and other nations on Japan's plan to release radioactive water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean. According to Seoul's Foreign Ministry on Sunday, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi made the pledge on Friday during his meeting with Ham Sang-wook, Seoul's Deputy Foreign Minister for multilateral and global affairs, in Vienna, Austria. Grossi reportedly said that the United Nations nuclear watchdog will play an active role in monitoring the process of the water discharge. In July, the IAEA set up a team of international experts including a South Korean researcher to monitor Japan's planned release.
Cold Weather Hits, Seoul Sees Coldest Morning for Mid-October in 67 Years
An early cold snap gripped South Korea on Sunday, with Seoul recording the coldest morning for mid-October in 67 years. According to the Korea Meteorological Administration on Sunday, the morning low in Seoul marked one-point-three degrees Celsius. It marks the lowest since October 13, 1954, when it posted one-point-two degrees. Seoul also saw its first ice of the year on Sunday, a week earlier than last year and 17 days earlier than previous years. Many other regions had sub-zero temperatures on Sunday morning, with the mercury plunging to minus nine-point-three degrees Celsius in Mount Seorak on the east coast.
IAEA chief vows close consultations with S. Korea over Japan's Fukushima water release plan
The chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog has vowed to continue close consultations with South Korea and other nations over Japan's plan to discharge radioactive water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean, Seoul's foreign ministry said Sunday. Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), made the pledge during his meeting with Ham Sang-wook, Seoul's deputy foreign minister for multilateral affairs, in Vienna on Friday, according to the ministry. Earlier this month, Japan finalized its plans to start discharging the radioactive water into the sea in 2023 in what is expected to be a decadeslong process, as all storage tanks at the Fukushima plant are expected to be full as early as the fall of 2022.
S. Korea voices 'deep regrets' over Kishida's ritual offering to war shrine
South Korea expressed deep regrets Sunday over Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's ritual offering to a controversial war shrine in the latest move that underscores challenges in improving bilateral relations, just two days after their leaders agreed to develop their ties in a future-oriented manner. Kishida sent a "masakaki" tree to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo earlier in the day to celebrate its two-day autumn festival that runs through Monday, according to Japan's Kyodo news agency and South Korean foreign ministry officials. It marked the first time Kishida has sent an offering to the shrine, seen as a symbol of the country's past militarism, since he took office earlier this month.
Key figure in land development corruption scandal heads home from U.S. for probe
A key figure at the center of an escalating land development corruption scandal was to arrive in South Korea this week for questioning over his suspected role in bribing influential figures in exchange for business favors. Attorney Nam Wook left Los Angeles on Sunday and was to arrive in South Korea early Monday to face a probe by the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office over allegations that he was involved in illegal lobbying over the course of the 2015 development project in Seongnam, south of Seoul, and reaped huge profits. Nam told reporters at a Los Angeles airport on Sunday that he felt sorry and vowed to give "every detail" to the prosecution.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Seoul, Washington almost ready for humanitarian aid to Pyongyang: nuclear envoy
South Korea and the US are almost ready in their preparation to provide humanitarian assistance to North Korea, Seoul’s top nuclear envoy said Saturday, amid the allies’ efforts to revive stalled diplomacy with the recalcitrant regime. Noh Kyu-duk, the special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, made the remark upon arriving in Washington for talks with his US and Japanese counterparts on ways to bring the reclusive Pyongyang back to the table for the stalled negotiations. Noh is scheduled to meet with Sung Kim, the US special representative for North Korea, on Monday, before they will be joined by their Japanese counterpart, Takehiro Funakoshi, for a trilateral session the following day.
Countdown on for S. Korea's self-developed satellite launcher Nuri
South Korea will test its first domestically-developed satellite launch vehicle this week, which, if successful, will mark a major step forward in the country’s space program. The three-stage liquid fuel rocket, also known as Korean Satellite Launch Vehicle II or the Nuri, will lift off at 4 p.m. on Thursday from the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province, carrying a 1.5-ton dummy payload. If all things go well, the payload will enter into low orbit 600 to 800 kilometers above the Earth. Whether or not the test is a success will likely be known about 16 minutes after the launch, according to Han Sang-yeop, director of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, which designed the vehicle.
S. Korea’s car production drops in Q3 on global chip shortage
South Korea’s car production in the third quarter this year dropped, marking the lowest level since the 2008 global financial crisis, according to a local industry report, Sunday. According to Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association’s report, the combined number of automobiles domestically manufactured during the July-September period reached 761,975, down 20.9 percent on-year. The figure was the lowest since 2008, when local carmakers’ production reached 760,121 during the three-month period, the report added. KAMA explained the ongoing global semiconductor shortage has mainly affected domestic car production in the third quarter.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Korea, Japan to remain apart on historical issues
President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida have reaffirmed that the two nations are far from narrowing the differences in their views on historical issues such as Japan's wartime forced labor and sex slavery. The leaders had their first phone call Friday, which was made 11 days after Kishida took office. During the 30-minute call, the two agreed to develop bilateral ties in a future-oriented manner, according to Cheong Wa Dae and Japanese media report. They also discussed other issues such as concerns over North Korea, denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and COVID-19 response.
Tightening lending rules to hit young, low-income borrowers hardest
Borrowers in need of loans for "jeonse," or Korean-style deposit lease payments, remain highly concerned, despite a recent government announcement that mortgage loan seekers will not be subject to tightening lending rules implemented to curb snowballing household debt over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unique to Korea, jeonse is a home-renting system whereby tenants pay a refundable lump sum deposit instead of a monthly rent. Young, low-income borrowers who took out cheap loans enabled by the pandemic-induced expansionary monetary policies will be squeezed by rising interest payments, as inferred by Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol who expressed little concern about a key rate hike wreaking havoc on the economy.
Korea under pressure to mediate chip issue
The current semiconductor shortages have illustrated the strategic significance of semiconductor manufacturing. The central point of today's chip shortages is a classic supply-demand mismatch.
This means that demand for semiconductors is spiking while supply is fairly flat. As the construction of semiconductor factories costs billions of dollars, semiconductor shortages amid the continued pandemic have been directly impacting the "backbone industries" of the United States with many Wall Street investors forecasting supply-chain bottlenecks to continue throughout this year. The United States, one of the top export markets for Korea, has been aggressively pushing chip-related policies mostly aimed at ensuring the country's sovereignty in semiconductor production through massive subsidies.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Probe of Land Development Scandal Must Be Independent
Seoul Central District Prosecutor Lee Jung-soo told lawmakers Thursday that Minjoo Party presidential candidate and Gyeonggi Province Governor Lee Jae-myung is "included among the targets" of an investigation into the land development scandal. "We are trying to find out the truth," he added piously, but the way the probe is being conducted does not bear that out. Prosecutors only searched Seongnam City Hall on Friday morning, more than 20 days into the investigation, giving officials there plenty of time to shred the evidence. It is common knowledge that a speedy search often determines the success or failure of such an investigation. At the crux of the scandal is exactly who was responsible for allowing a small group of people to reap astronomical profits from the project in the Daejang-dong district of Seongnam south of Seoul.
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.
Land Development Scandal Probe Targets Gyeonggi Governor
Minjoo Party presidential candidate and Gyeonggi Province Governor Lee Jae-myung is "among the targets" of an investigation by prosecutors into a land development scandal, prosecutors said Thursday. Seoul Central District Prosecutor Lee Jung-soo told a National Assembly audit on Thursday that the governor is being investigated in the snowballing scandal that unfolded in Seongnam south of Seoul in 2015, when Lee was mayor there. Several other former city officials have been accused of helping private businesses reap huge profits from the land development project and caused massive losses to the city. But the district prosecutor denied that an audio recording potentially implicating the then-mayor, made public by the owner of an affiliate of the obscure company in question, Hwacheon Daeyu Asset Management, refers to Lee Jae-myung.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Can S. Korea create a Netflix of its own?
Twenty years ago, Netflix introduced a service that delivered DVDs through the mail. They took advantage of the round-trip mail service feature offered by the US Postal Service, which allowed them to send DVDs at a very low price without any postal stamps. Despite losing tens of billions of dollars every year, the US Postal Service kept this service which benefited its only customer for this feature – Netflix. This arrangement was fostered by the government. With its mail-delivery service, profits at Netflix rose 50 percent, allowing it to knock out its video rental competitors. This leverage allowed Netflix to jump into the streaming video sector earlier than others. Today, it is the world’s leader in video streaming.
Court upholds disciplinary action against former Prosecutor General Yoon
Yoon Seok-youl, the leading presidential contender from the People Power Party (PPP), lost an administrative suit he had filed while serving as prosecutor general requesting the reversal of a disciplinary two-month suspension handed to him by the Ministry of Justice. Yoon’s representatives immediately signaled their intent to appeal. The 12th administrative division of the Seoul Administrative Court under judge Jeong Yong-seok ruled against the plaintiff Thursday in a case filed by Yoon against the Minister of Justice to request the reversal of this disciplinary action.
Senior health official causes confusion with remarks on vaccines, herd immunity
After previously dismissing the prospect of herd immunity due to the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, South Korean disease control authorities raised the possibility once again on Thursday, predicting that it would be “possible to defeat the Delta variant even without masks once we have a complete vaccination rate of 85%.” The remarks were meant to encourage a higher vaccination rate, but critics attacked the message as “the worst kind of communication” in that it could cause confusion with the public.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Lee Jae-myung emphasizes on ‘one team’ tradition
The presidential candidate of the Democratic Party of Korea, Lee Jae-myung, calls for the party’s unity at a general meeting of the party members held on Friday at the National Assembly building by saying that the Democratic Party of Korea has a ‘one-team’ tradition. It was the first official meeting for Lee and the members of the party to meet each other since Lee was elected as a presidential candidate on Sunday. “We will overcome small differences and small conflicts during the period of competition, turning them into bigger energy to win the presidential election,” said Lee at the meeting. It was his gesture of unity regarding emotional disputes with the party’s former leader Lee Nak-yon during the election to elect the party’s presidential candidate.
Xi Jinping wishes farewell to German chancellor
Chinese President Xi Jinping held farewell to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who leaves office after 16 years in the chancellery since 2005, in a video meeting on Wednesday and called her an “old friend (lăo péngyŏu),” speaking very highly of the outgoing leader of Germany. President Xi’s cordial greetings to Chancellor Merkel is likely to have been stemmed from Chancellor Merkel’s 12 visits to China during her tenure and her impartiality amid the U.S.-China tensions. The German chancellor frequently clashed with the Donald Trump administration over Trump’s intense pressure to spend more on defense and U.S. troops in Germany.
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.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Prime Minister Kim, “From Next Week, up to 8 People Can Gather in the Greater Seoul Area and up to 10 People in Other Areas”
On October 15, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum announced the new distancing measures that will be applied beginning October 18 and said, “Even in areas where level-4 distancing is enforced, private gatherings of up to eight people will be allowed, regardless of whether the time is before or after 6 p.m. In level-3 areas, up to 10 people can gather.” This day, the prime minister presided over a Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters meeting on COVID-19 and said, “The government will adjust some of the disease prevention measures after taking into consideration the changing circumstances in order to relieve some of the pain of small business owners and self-employed business owners who are struggling to make ends meet.”
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum, “We Are Now at a Stage to Prepare a Return to Our Daily Lives after a Period of Adversity”
On October 13, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said, “After going through a period of adversity, we are now at a stage for preparations to carefully restore our everyday life.” This day, the prime minister presided over the first meeting of a committee to support the return to everyday life following COVID-19 at the government office in Seoul and said, “The government will prepare a phased journey to restore everyday life based on our performance in disease control and the rising vaccination rate.” However, Kim said, “This does not mean, by any means, that we should immediately take off our masks,” and explained, “It means we will gradually promote a harmony between disease control and everyday life when preparing a return to our daily lives.”
“What? Is He Blind?” Yoo Seong-min Attacks Yoon Seok-youl for His Unrefined Criticism
On October 14, former lawmaker Yoo Seong-min, one of the People Power Party’s presidential candidates, attacked former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl for making crude comments criticizing him and said that Yoon should take care of the cases of his mother-in-law, his wife and himself first; quit making one reckless comment a day; and study policies. He also said, “He (Yoon) became an overnight sensation thanks to his role as the Moon Jae-in government’s faithful dog, and now what? Is he blind?” This day, Yoo uploaded a post on social media and asked, “How can a cowardly candidate full of weaknesses beat Lee Jae-myung?”
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
SKT’s T Map Mobility and Uber to launch integrated taxi-hailing UT app on Nov.1
UT, the taxi-hailing joint venture of SK Telecom Co.’s T Map Mobility and U.S. car-hailing giant Uber, will officially launch the two companies’ integrated mobility application UT app on Nov. 1 with an aim to increase its licensed taxies to more than 10,000 units before the end of this year, according to UT CEO. UT and Uber have been operating their car-hailing apps separately even after UT JV was launched by SK Telecom and Uber in April. UT CEO Tom White said in a recent interview with Maeil Business Newspaper that UT would allow Korean cab users to enjoy the same Uber experience that its global users have been enjoying.
SK Group to invest $12 bn in green industries by 2025
South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate SK Group will invest 14 trillion won ($11.8 billion) over the next five years in green industries to diversify its environmentally-friendly portfolio amid growing awareness about the global climate crisis. According to plans announced by SK Group’s investment arm SK Inc. on Thursday, SK and its affiliates will spend 14 trillion won in green industries by 2025 – 9.5 trillion won in alternative energy, 310 billion won in sustainable foods, 4 trillion won in clean solutions, and 600 trillion won in carbon dioxide reprocessing.
S. Korea’s import prices hit 91-month high in Sept on rising oil price
South Korea’s import prices rose for the fifth straight month to a 91-month high in September on rising international crude oil prices, adding to inflationary pressure. According to data released by the Bank of Korea on Thursday, the import price index grew 2.4 percent in September from the previous month to 124.58, the highest level since February 2014. From a year ago, the import price index jumped 26.8 percent, the steepest gain since 32 percent in November 2008 when the global financial crisis hit the country.
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Ecuador Times http://www.ecuadortimes.net
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Philippine Daily Inquirer https://www.inquirer.net
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Budapest Times http://budapesttimes.hu
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