Thursday, October 28, 2021
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
Seoul greets a wonderful seasoned, ambitious lady ambassador from Cambodia
All these years since the resumption of diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Cambodia in 1997, the Republic of Korea has been favored with wonderful ambassadors from the country. However, this year it appears that Korea greets one of the most wonderful ambassadors. The ambassador, Madam Chring Botum Rangsay, spoke the English language in a manner which no one could really tell apart from that used by Britons or Americans. With the new ambassador from Cambodia, it appears that the two countries are now in for a one-notch upgraded level of relations, cooperation and friendship. At an exclusive interview with The Korea Post media (publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean news publications since 1985) on Oct. 26, 2021, Ambassador Chring disclosed that following the signing of free trade agreement (FTA) between Korea and Cambodia, the Cambodian Embassy planned to cohost a business investment event in Seoul in early December with the participation of economy- and business-related ministers of Cambodia.
“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.
Moon Calls for Support for War-Ending Declaration
President Moon Jae-in has urged the leaders of the U.S., China, Japan, Russia and Southeast Asian countries to support his proposal of declaring a formal end to the Korean War.Moon made the call on Wednesday evening at a video-linked East Asia Summit(EAS) involving members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN). He said that the declaration will open the door for dialogue and serve as an important starting point for the path toward peace for the Korean Peninsula, Asia and the world. U.S. President Joe Biden said that for the peace and safety of the Indo-Pacific region, serious diplomatic efforts are needed for resolution of the crisis in Myanmar and complete denuclearization of the peninsula.
S. Korea, Russia Agree to Cooperate for Early Resumption of N. Korea Nuke Talks
The top diplomats of South Korea and Russia have agreed to closely cooperate on efforts to resume dialogue with North Korea. Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov made the agreement in talks on Wednesday in Moscow. Afterwards, Chung said in a press briefing that the two sides acknowledge the urgency of the North Korean issue and agreed to closely communicate and cooperate on the timely resumption of the Korean Peninsula peace process. The minister said that they also agreed it's important to stably manage the situation and exchanged opinions on various ways to cooperate for a swift resumption of dialogue with the North.
DP Candidate Hits Campaign Trail, PPP Primary Rivals to Hold 8th Debate
Ruling Democratic Party(DP) presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung hit the campaign trail, while the main opposition People Power Party(PPP) primary candidates are set to hold their eighth debate. On Wednesday, the DP candidate visited a traditional market in Seoul's southwestern Sillim area to meet with business owners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They exchanged views on ways to revitalize business in the market and the need to increase the issuance of regional gift certificates. The PPP's four primary candidates, Hong Joon-pyo, Won Hee-ryong, Yoo Seong-min and Yoon Seok-youl, are scheduled to take part in a debate in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, on Wednesday afternoon.
New virus cases soar to nearly 2,000 ahead of start of phased return to normalcy
South Korea's new coronavirus cases soared to nearly 2,000 on Wednesday, as fresh concerns emerge over people letting their guard down ahead of the start of a gradual easing of virus curbs aimed at returning to normalcy. The country added 1,952 more COVID-19 cases, including 1,930 local infections, raising the total caseload to 356,305, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). The latest count is a big jump from the previous day's 1,266 and 1,190 reported on Monday, although the daily caseload remained below 2,000 for the 19th straight day.
The daily infection tally has stayed in the quadruple digits since July 7, including the record high of 3,272 cases on Sept. 25.
Politicians, biz leaders, citizens mourn death of ex-President Roh
Politicians, business leaders and citizens on Wednesday mourned the death of former President Roh Tae-woo, whose mixed presidential legacy drew both public praise and criticism. The family of Roh began receiving mourners at the funeral home at Seoul National University Hospital in central Seoul on Wednesday morning, one day after the former president died at age 88. Roh, who served as president from 1988-93, was recently admitted to a hospital after his health deteriorated but failed to recover. As soon as the mourning altar opened, a succession of politicians and other social figures, as well as journalists and sympathetic citizens, gathered to pay respect to Roh.
Moon calls for stronger cooperation to end pandemic at ASEAN summit with Japan, China
South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday urged the leaders of Southeast Asian countries, as well as Japan and China, to step up their regional cooperation to help the world end the COVID-19 pandemic, his office said. Moon also reaffirmed the need for stronger regional cooperation to jointly address challenges posed by the pandemic and establish a more resilient and sustainable future, according to Cheong Wa Dae. During his opening remarks at the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Plus Three Summit, Moon said free trade and multilateral trade agreements are important to restore pandemic-disrupted global supply chains.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
US, South Korea may differ on end-of-war proposal
Washington and Seoul appear to be on different trajectories on the matter of declaring a formal end to the Korean War, with a top US security official saying the allies could have “different perspectives” on the timing and conditions. US national security adviser Jake Sullivan made the remarks Tuesday (US time) amid Seoul’s renewed push to declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War, as a way to nudge Pyongyang back to talks and ultimately to convince the regime to abandon its nuclear arsenal.
South Korea holds symposium to discuss future legislative administration
Leading legislative experts from the Asian region gathered Wednesday to discuss the present and future of legislative administration at a symposium held in Seoul. The 9th Asian Legislative Experts Symposium, organized by the Ministry of Government Legislation and Korea Legislation Research Institute, was held under the theme of “Legislative Administration of Each Asian Country and Cooperation Measures,” in a hybrid in-person and online conference.
Moon pays respects to Roh, won’t attend funeral
President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday relayed condolences and praised the achievements of his early predecessor Roh Tae-woo, the country’s first directly elected president, who died of illness a day earlier at the age of 88. “President Moon Jae-in wished for the deceased to rest in peace, and relayed condolences to the family,” Moon’s spokesperson Park Kyung-mee said. “(Moon) said that while former President Roh Tae-woo’s faults such as suppressing the May 18 Democratic Uprising, and the Dec. 12 coup are not insignificant, (Roh) also had achievements such as hosting the 1988 Olympics, and adoption of the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement.”
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
US 'appears to have drawn a line' at South Korea's push for end-of-war declaration
Quickly developing discussions between South Korea and the United States on declaring a formal end to the Korean War appear to have hit a snag as Washington has made it clear that it cannot accept Seoul's proposal, at least at this time, according to diplomatic observers, Wednesday. Since President Moon Jae-in once again floated the idea in a United Nations General Assembly speech in September, it has been gaining traction, as evidenced by six meetings occurring between South Korea's top nuclear envoy Noh Kyu-duk and his U.S. counterpart, Sung Kim, since August. However, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan seems to have stepped on the brakes amid the Moon administration's push for an end-of-war declaration, Tuesday (local time).
S&P defends Citibank Korea from skeptical local agencies
S&P Global Ratings has sided with Citibank Korea against Korea Investors Service (KIS), Korea Ratings (KR) and NICE Investors Service, all of which expressed skepticism over the U.S. bank's operation in Korea, after Monday's announcement of its decision for a phased closure of its consumer banking unit here without selling it. On Tuesday afternoon, S&P reiterated Citibank Korea will keep serving as a "highly strategic" subsidiary of Citigroup's global business, despite the latest exit plan. The New York-headquartered ratings agency also reaffirmed Citibank Korea's long-term issuer default rating at "A" with a stable outlook, as it did when Citigroup announced its plan to exit from consumer banking in 13 countries in April.
State funeral to be held for ex-President Roh despite controversy
The government will hold a state funeral for former President Roh Tae-woo, who died Tuesday, despite contradicting views over his record as the co-leader of a military coup and his oppression of pro-democracy movements. "The deceased served as the 13th president of Korea and achieved much in advancing progress for the country," Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said at a Cabinet meeting, Wednesday. "The government will hold a state funeral to praise Roh's achievements and do its utmost in paying its respects to him." Following the decision, Kim was made chairman of a committee overseeing a memorial period that will last until Saturday.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
COVID Infections Rise Ahead of Return to Normal
Coronavirus infections are rising again as Korea braces for a phased return to normal starting on Nov. 1. Tuesday's tally was 1,952 new cases, up 686 from the previous day, and the Seoul metropolitan area accounted for most of them. Health Minister Kwon Deok-chul said Wednesday, "We must remain vigilant to ensure a smooth return to normal." Another government official said, "People are increasing their activities in anticipation of a return to normal and the colder weather is bringing more people indoors where there is inadequate ventilation." Health authorities are bracing for another surge this weekend as many gather to celebrate Halloween.
Korea's Trade Surpasses $1 Trillion So Far This Year
Korea's trade has already surpassed US$1 trillion this year, in the shortest period on record. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Tuesday said exports totaled US$512.2 billion and imports $487.8 billion so far this year. This is the first time that Korea's annual trade volume surpassed W1 trillion in October. The previous record was November in 2018. Annual trade has exceeded the $1 trillion mark only seven times -- 2011-2014 and 2017-2019. It fell to $980.1 billion last year due to the coronavirus pandemic but the government expects it to set a new record this year. The year's exports already surpassed $500 billion on Oct. 20 and the government projects shipments for the whole year to exceed a record $600 billion.
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)
Former President Roh Tae-woo, mastermind of 1979 military coup, dies at 88
Roh Tae-woo, former president of South Korea and a mastermind of the 1979 coup alongside Chun Doo-hwan (now 90 years old), died on Tuesday. He was 88. Roh had been battling a bronchial condition and cerebellar atrophy for more than a decade. After his condition rapidly worsened on Tuesday afternoon, he was rushed to the emergency room at Seoul National University Hospital, in Seoul’s Yeongeon neighborhood. He died at 1:46 pm, about half an hour after reaching the hospital.
In a twist of fate, Roh passed away on the 42nd anniversary of the assassination of former president and dictator Park Chung-hee in 1979, which created the opening for Chun and Roh’s faction to seize power.
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.
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.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Sung Kim: Discussions on end of war require N. Korea to return to talks
It was reported that the U.S. said to the South Korean government that unless North Korea returns to talks first, South Korea’s proposal to end the Korean War is not acceptable. In addition, the U.S. government reportedly said that China and other related countries should be involved in the announcement of the end of the war before South Korea and the U.S. discuss their stances on the matter. As it differs from the South Korean government’s idea that the announcement of the end of war is a gateway to resume denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea and dialogues between the two Koreas, some suspect that the Moon Jae-in administration’s North Korea policies at the end of its term may face some issues.
Hyundai Tucson PHEV tops review list by major German auto magazines
Hyundai Motor’s Tucson plug-in hybrid (PHEV) has received favorable reviews from German car review sites. According to the car industry on Wednesday, Auto Zeitung magazine’s latest issue evaluated four PHEV models by Hyundai Tucson, Volkswagen Tiguan, Peugeot 3008, Opel Grandland in terms of comfort, power train, driving, eco-friendliness and cost. The Hyundai Tucson topped the list, scoring strongly in terms of driving. Other German car magazines, such as “Auto Motor und Sport” and “Auto Bild,” gave the Tucson PHEV higher scores than Audi or Toyota models.
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/)
“No Premiums” for New Storeowners Entering Itaewon, While Existing Owners Lose Their Deposits
The time is 6 p.m. October 25, and the place is the World Food Street in Itaewon, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. When I walked twenty steps from Itaewon Station exit 1 and turned right into an alley, I came across the door of an izakaya decorated with 3-4 wreaths congratulating the opening of the bar. A poster looking for employees was posted on the wall to the right of the entrance. It read, “We welcome new family members who will work with us.” The owner of the bar, Yi Hun-hui (47), who opened the bar on October 20, said, “Many stores had closed, and perhaps because of that, the rent for the place I moved into was about 20% cheaper. I opened the bar to secure a spot early since things will get better thanks to the move toward life ‘with covid.’”
Roh Tae-woo Served Time for Treason: Will His Funeral Be a State Funeral?
On October 26, former president, Roh Tae-woo died, and now attention is on whether his funeral will be held as a state funeral. Cheongwadae withheld announcing its position saying, “A state funeral is possible.” According to the State Funeral Act, when a former or incumbent president or a person respected by the people for his/her notable contribution to the country or society dies, the minister of the interior and safety can recommend a state funeral. The recommendation is reviewed in a cabinet meeting and the president makes the final decision on whether to hold a state funeral. A state funeral can last up to five days. During this period, all flags fly at half mast. The prime minister serves as the chair of the funeral committee, and the minister of the interior and safety oversees the execution. So far, the funeral of former President Kim Young-sam in 2015 was the only one held as a state funeral.
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.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Samsung Elec implies capex hike upon confirming strong chip earnings Q3
Samsung Electronics Co. Thursday indicated its capex for this year would be bumped up from last year’s $33 billion after confirming income near at its 2018 heyday and best-ever revenue in the third quarter on strongest chip shipments. The chipmaker which spent 38.5 trillion won ($33 billion) on facility expansion last year, or 32.9 trillion won on chips, has already invested 33.5 trillion won as of September this year- 30 trillion won on chips. It did not estimate this year’s capex as “it plans additional investment in the fourth quarter”, according to its press statement. The company plans a $17 billion foundry project in Texas, U.S., which it has yet to detail out.
S. Korea to ease migrant worker ban next month to tackle labor crunch
South Korea is preparing to let more foreign workers to return to the country to provide relief to local farms, factories, and construction sites, which heavily rely on migrant labor, after it has limited non-professional working visa issuance for almost two years during a Covid-19 pandemic. According to labor ministry officials on Wednesday, the government is seeking to allow the entry of more foreigners with an E-9 non-professional employment visa, which is issued for those coming to work in the manual labor field.
LG Chem adds battery separator biz in JV with Toray in Hungary
South Korean chemical manufacturer LG Chem Ltd. is returning to battery separator business it withdrew six years ago through near $1 billion manufacturing project in Hungary in a joint venture with Toray Industries of Japan. LG Chem said on Wednesday that it will set up a 50:50 joint venture dedicated to secondary battery separator with Toray in Hungary to target Europe’s battery separator market. A virtual contract was signed between LG Chem CEO Shin Hak-cheol and Toray CEO Akihiro Nikkaku.
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