Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
“Incumbent President of Uzbekistan wins a landslide victory in Presidential election”
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, Monday, Oct. 25--President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of the Republic of Uzbekistan won a landslide victory in the Presidential elections held throughout the country yesterday. Early estimates indicated that Mirziyoyev won over 80% of the total number of votes that day. His successful re-election is expected to allow him to further strengthen his substantially successful reform campaign and to likely lead to Uzbekistan opening up further to foreign trade and investment. Shortly after voting ended at 8 p.m. yesterday, Chairman Zayniddin Nizamkhodjaev of the Central Election Commission said at a briefing session that voter turnout totaled 89.8%, which was larger than 87.7% reported in the previous elections in 2016 vote.
“Through friendship come trust and good business partnership”
Newly appointed Ambassador Coronel Kinloch of the Republic of Nicaragua in Seoul said, “Through friendship comes trust and through trust comes a good business partner. Thus, every Korean investor and company can feel assured that Nicaragua is a land filled with investment opportunities.” Excerpts from the interview follow: Question: As a new Nicaraguan ambassador to Korea, please tell us your major business objectives for this year. Answer: First off, I want to express the deep and sincere gratitude of the people of The Republic of Nicaragua towards the friendship given by the people of The Republic of Korea. Gratefulness is my main business and affair in this beautiful country. I want every Korean to know they have a friend ready to lend a hand in every Nicaraguan.
LG Chem seeks unique ideas from college students
LG Chem announced on Oct. 22 that it held the ‘1st LG Chem - Korean Institute of Chemical Engineers Petrochemicals Olympiad’ awards ceremony on a metaverse platform on Oct. 21. At the Olympiad that was held since July, a total of 1,692 college students majoring in chemical engineering grouped in 647 teams participated to suggest solutions to problems facing the chemical industry in areas such as ▲process safety ▲enhanced productivity ▲environment/energy. Expert judges from the LG Chem Global Production Center and the Korean Institute of Chemical Engineers selected one team for the overall grand prize and gold/silver/bronze for one team in each of the sectors based on actual applicability, uniqueness, etc.
Family Says Fmr. Pres. Roh Tae-woo Sought Forgiveness
Former President Roh Tae-woo reportedly sought forgiveness for his misdeeds, according to his family, who disclosed the late president’s will on Tuesday just hours after his death. The family stated that Roh had said he did his best throughout his life but still sought “deep forgiveness” over his shortcomings and mistakes. They reported that the former president also said he humbly accepted his destiny and felt grateful and honored to be able to serve the country and the people. He also wished that a peaceful reunification between the two Koreas would be achieved. The former Army general served as president from 1988 to 1993 after helping his predecessor Chun Doo-hwan seize power through a 1979 military coup.
Sullivan: S. Korea, US May Differ on Sequence of Steps for Dialogue
Washington appears to be taking a cautious stance on Seoul’s proposal to declare a formal end to the Korean War. U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan was asked during a media briefing on Tuesday whether the U.S. supports the declaration and considers it as a catalyst to resume dialogue with North Korea. In response, he said the two allies may have “somewhat different perspectives” on the sequence, timing and conditions for different steps to bring the North back to dialogue. The remarks, which are the first official comments by the U.S. on President Moon Jae-in’s war-ending proposal, indicate possible lingering differences over the issue between the two countries.
National Security Adviser: Push for Inter-Korean Summit Not for Political Show
National security adviser Suh Hoon has denied that the government’s efforts to arrange another summit with North Korea are to serve domestic political purposes. Suh relayed the position during a parliamentary audit session on Tuesday in response to main opposition People’s Power Party(PPP) floor leader Kim Gi-hyeon. Kim raised suspicions that the Moon Jae-in administration is pushing for a “fake peace show” ahead of next year’s presidential election. Suh said a summit will not be pursued as a political show, adding that the public will not tolerate that either. He also said it is difficult to predict if there would be another summit before the end of Moon’s term, citing “much uncertainty.”
Former President Roh Tae-woo dies at 88
Roh Tae-woo, South Korea's last general-turned-president who played a key role in a 1979 coup before winning election through a direct vote at the start of South Korea's democratization, died Tuesday, aides said. He was 88. Roh, who served as president from 1988-93, was recently admitted to a hospital after his health deteriorated but failed to recover, they said. The former president received surgery for prostate cancer in 2002 and was frequently admitted to hospitals while living at his residence in Seoul. He also suffered from cerebellar atrophy and asthma, which together kept him largely out of the public eye.
S. Korea to cut fuel taxes by record 20 pct amid soaring oil prices
South Korea said Tuesday it will temporarily cut fuel taxes by a record 20 percent in a bid to ease upward pressure on consumer inflation as oil prices have surged amid the global economic recovery. The government will lower taxes on gasoline, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from Nov. 12 to April 30 next year, according to the finance ministry. The fuel tax cut is forecast to reduce the government's tax revenue by 2.5 trillion won (US$2.1 billion) over the six months, according to the government's estimate. The move is expected to help drive down the inflation rate by 0.33 percentage point.
Court denies arrest warrant for prosecutor linked to political meddling scandal
A court denied Tuesday an arrest warrant request for a prosecutor alleged to have conspired with the main opposition party to investigate pro-government figures when opposition presidential contender Yoon Seok-youl was in office as prosecutor general. Prosecutor Son Jun-sung has been accused of asking a prosecutor-turned-lawmaker of the main opposition People Power Party to file complaints against key ruling camp officials last year. He is currently under investigation by the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials (CIO). The Seoul Central District Court denied the CIO's request to arrest Son on Tuesday night after questioning him earlier for over two hours.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Moon congratulates Lee on candidacy, asks for focus on policies
President Moon Jae-in met with Lee Jae-myung, the presidential nominee of Democratic Party of Korea, at Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday, marking the ruling liberal bloc’s formal consolidation for next year’s presidential election. Their tea meeting that lasted for about 50 minutes early in the day started as the president congratulated Lee for being elected the party’s presidential nominee. “After finishing a fierce competition, it is also important to heal the scars and become one again,” Moon said. “In that regard, it was great for you to hold a meeting with former party leader Lee Nak-yon on Sunday.”
Ex-President Roh Tae-woo dies
Former President Roh Tae-woo, the country's first directly elected president, died Tuesday at age 88, leaving behind a checkered legacy as well as a list of diplomatic accomplishments intended to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula. Roh’s aides announced Tuesday that Roh, who served as the 13th president of South Korea from 1988 to 1993, died at around 1:45 p.m. while receiving treatment at Seoul National University Hospital. He was brought to the hospital's emergency room at 1:10 p.m. but failed to recover.
Former President Roh, a key man in military coup and witness to democratization
Former President Roh Tae-woo, who served as the 13th president of South Korea, died at the age of 88 on Tuesday. Roh, who had been ailing for a long time with chronic conditions, had recently been hospitalized at Seoul National University Hospital due to worsening health and was in an intensive care unit. Leaving a mixed legacy, he was the first president to be elected after the June 1987 democratization movement and was also a leading force behind the military coup in 1979 along with his colleague Chun Doo-hwan.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Ruling party candidate Lee strives to style himself as Moon's successor
Ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung met President Moon Jae-in, Tuesday, and promised to spare no effort in establishing the Moon administration "place in history." This was seen as Lee attempting to style himself as a "rightful" successor to Moon, who is still enjoying a relatively high job approval rate though his presidency will end in less than 200 days, and pursuing unity in the ruling party, which was torn apart after a heated competition between presidential hopefuls during its primaries. According to Cheong Wa Dae, Lee visited the presidential office and had a 50-minute meeting with the President over tea.
Samsung supports gov't as Korea shifts to 'Living with COVID-19'
When the justice ministry decided to parole Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, local politicians and senior government officials were expecting an expanded role for the Samsung leader in striking COVID-19 vaccine supply deals with the United States. Justice Minister Park Beom-kye told reporters that his ministry decided to parole Lee because of mounting concerns over the country's economic situation. Later, Cheong Wa Dae said that it had decided to parole him despite criticism, due to growing calls from the public for Samsung to play a role in addressing semiconductor and vaccine shortage issues.
North Korean leader's weight loss leads to diverse speculation
Concerns have emerged over the government's announcement on Tuesday that tightened lending rules will take effect six months earlier than initially planned. The forthcoming regulations are intended to prevent the nation's snowballing level of household debt from dealing a blow to the domestic economy, but borrowers and financial experts have criticized the plan especially for stymieing housing purchases by lower-income households. According to the Financial Services Commission (FSC), individual borrowers who have outstanding loans of more than 200 million won ($172,000) will be subject to stricter debt service ratio (DSR) rules starting in January. Those having outstanding loans of more than 100 million won will be subject to the regulations starting in July of next year.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Korea's Space Program Is Making Rapid Headway
Korea on Thursday succeeded in launching its first fully homegrown Nuri space rocket which separated without any hitches as it flew along its trajectory, but failed to place a dummy satellite in orbit. This is still an enormous achievement with scientific, industrial and security implications, even if the final goal of placing a satellite in orbit remains elusive for now. The Naro, Korea's first space launch vehicle, used a booster engine from Russia, but the Nuri was made with 100-percent Korean technology over a period of 11 years. Around 300 companies took part in the development, which cost W1.96 trillion (US$1=W1,178)
Average Apartment Price in Seoul Surpasses W1.2 Billion
The average price of an apartment in Seoul has surpassed W1.2 billion (US$1=W1,169). According to monthly figures from KB Kookmin Bank, the average selling price of an apartment in Seoul stood at W1.22 billion in October. It only surpassed W1 billion in September last year and has continued to spiral out of control even though there are signs that apartment prices are leveling out now. The average price per 3.3 sq.m of an apartment north of the Han River in Seoul surpassed W40 million for the first time, and in the flashy areas south of the Han River, it reached W81 million.
Reports of Dating Violence Double
Police reports of violence from romantic partners have doubled this year as the issue became more visible in the media in the wake of the "Me Too" movement. The National Police Agency on Monday said 41,335 cases of so-called dating violence, or violence from boyfriends or girlfriends that does not register as domestic violence because they are not married, were reported until the end of September, more than twice as many as the total figure seen last year. Police expect the figure for the whole of this year to surpass 50,000. A police spokesman said, "Until last year, the number of reports were recorded manually, but starting this year, we've been managing the reports through a comprehensive database and the number of citizens' reports increased."
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
S. Korea to lift restrictions on business hours, adopt vaccine pass system starting Monday
With 70% of the population fully vaccinated against COVID-19, South Korea will take a big step toward a gradual return to normal life starting Monday. The adoption of a "vaccine pass" will remove time restrictions at all facilities except those for entertainment. Starting in December, events and gatherings of up to 500 people will be allowed and the limit on the number of people will be lifted altogether in January. The Central Disaster Management Headquarters, which operates under the Ministry of Health and Welfare, released these details on Monday at a public hearing for its draft plan to conduct a phased return to normal life.
US looks forward to cooperation on N. Korea including end-of-war declaration, special envoy says
Sung Kim, the US special representative for North Korea, said Sunday that he looked forward to working to “explore different ideas and initiatives” with South Korea, including its proposal for a declaration officially ending the Korean War. His remarks came during a press conference following a closed-door breakfast meeting with South Korean Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk at a hotel in Seoul’s Jung District that morning. “We remain ready to meet with the DPRK without preconditions, and we have made clear that the United States harbors no hostile intent towards the DPRK,” Kim said.
Moon reflects on S. Korea’s “shameful self-portrait” of high suicide rates, poverty in old age
South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivered a policy address to the National Assembly on Monday. Moon was there as the head of the government to explain next year’s budget, which the government submitted to the National Assembly. The speech carried a gravity not felt in previous years with Moon now finishing out his final year in office. Moon explained the significance of his final budget, which was drawn up by his administration but will largely be implemented by the following one. Along the way, he addressed the successes and shortcomings of the policies pursued by his administration and conveyed his hope that the next administration will carry on his vision.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Moon delivers his final parliamentary speech
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday that the government has led a fast and strong economic recovery through unprecedented expansionary fiscal policy and, as a result, has become one of the fastest advanced economies to recover to pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) disparaged the speech, saying it was “full of self-praise and piggybacking on others’ credit.” In a speech on next year’s budget delivered at the National Assembly on Monday, President Moon said next year’s budget will be used for a complete return to normal life and public finance will play a crucial again next year.
Fuel taxes to be discounted by 20%
Fuel taxes will be discounted by 20 percent for about six months from November 12 to the end of April next year. Gasoline prices will fall by 164 won per liter. As South Korea’s oil prices hit the highest level in seven years due to a surge in global oil prices, the government decided to reduce fuel taxes by the largest margin ever. The South Korean government announced such a plan to address hikes in oil prices after a meeting of the central response center for economic emergency presided by Minister of Economy and Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Hong Nam-ki at Government Complex Seoul on Tuesday.
Opposition leadership pays tribute to late Pres. Park Chung-hee
Presidential candidates and leadership of the People Power Party visited the Seoul National Cemetery on Tuesday to pay tribute to the late former President Park Chung-hee to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of his death. The main opposition party’s Chairman Lee Jun-seok, Floor Leader Kim Gi-Hyeon, presidential candidates, including Rep. Hong Jun-pyo, former lawmaker Yoo Seung-min, former Jeju Governor Won Hee-ryong, visited the gravesides of the late former President Park and First Lady Yuk Young-soo.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Suwon Prosecutors Did Not Prosecute Jeong Young-hak, a Key Figure in the Daejang-dong Project, Despite Knowledgeof His Breach of Trust Involving Hundreds of Millions of Won in 2014
In 2014, the Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office knew of the breach of trust involving hundreds of millions of won by the accountant Jeong Young-hak, one of the key figures in the alleged bribery and corruption linked to the Daejang-dong development project in Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi, yet the prosecutors decided not to prosecute Jeong. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office launched another investigation into the Daejang-dong project last month, yet prosecutors maintained Jeong’s status as a witness. This has led to speculation that the prosecutors might have dropped the charges against Jeong in exchange for information on the crimes of his accomplices just like seven years ago.
Governor Lee Jae-myung’s Last Approval: Free Passage on the Ilsan Bridge from Noon October 27
From noon October 27, cars will be able to travel on the Ilsan Bridge free of charge. On October 25, Gyeonggi-do announced that the provincial government was going to notify the Ilsan Bridge Co., which manages the bridge, of a disposition for public interest, cancelling the designation of the private investment project and the designation of the contractor for the project on October 26. The Gyeonggi provincial government explained that the decision on the disposition for public interest in connection to Ilsan Bridge was the last thing that former Gyeonggi Governor Lee Jae-myung approved of before stepping down this day.
Seongnam-si Signed a Special Agreement Banning Private Companies in the Daejang-dong Project from Filing Lawsuits to Recover over 300 Billion Won in Infrastructure Costs
The Seongnam City Government signed a special agreement with private companies involved in the Daejang-dong development project and even received a letter of comfort from the companies indicating that they would not seek litigation, to prepare for any possible civil or criminal lawsuit by companies seeking to evade infrastructure costs of 379.7 billion won, which they promised to pay in exchange for the city’s authorization and permission. According to the coverage by the Kyunghyang Shinmun on October 24, Seongnamui-ddeul (Seongnam Park Co.), the special purpose corporation (SPC) that led the Daejang-dong development project, sent a comfort letter indicating that the firm would not seek litigation to the Seongnam City Government in December 2019.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
S. Korea’s first directly elected president Roh Tae-woo dies
Roh Tae-woo, the 13th president of South Korea and the first directly elected president credited for setting the basic guideline in inter-Korean relationship and normalizing ties with former communist states including Russia and China, died on Tuesday at the age of 88. Roh, who suffered with chronic illness for years, was recently admitted to a hospital after his health deteriorated but failed to recover. Roh came to power from the country’s first direct election in 1988 after he persuaded his former military comrade and general-turned president Chun Doo Hwan to accept public demand for constitutional reform amidst the height of democratization movement in 1987.
SK hynix matches Q3 earnings with its heyday in 2018, upbeat about Q4
SK hynix Inc. in the third quarter delivered near best income and even better revenue than its heyday in 2018 from a super cycle in memory chips on strong demand and yield from next-generation wafer lines. The South Korean memory chip giant disclosed Tuesday that its operating income for the third quarter ended on September 30, 2021 jumped 54.8 percent on quarter and 220.4 percent on year to 4.2 trillion won ($3.6 billion). The result is the second quarterly best after 4.4 trillion won recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018. Sales totaled quarterly high of 11.8 trillion won, up 14.4 percent from the previous quarter and 45.2 percent from a year ago.
Hyundai Motor Q3 OP dn 14.8%, shaves capex as chip shortage crisis protracts
South Korea’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor Co. turned conservative with investment plans as it expects chip shortage crisis to last throughout the year after it closed the third quarter with a 14.8 percent on-quarter drop in operating profit. Hyundai Motor in a regulatory filing on Tuesday said its consolidated operating profit reached 1.61 trillion won ($1.38 billion) in the quarter ended September, falling 14.8 percent from a quarter ago but reversing from a loss of 313.8 billion a year earlier when its income statements reflected the loss reserves from Theta 2 GDi engine recalls.
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