Wednesday, November 3, 2021
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
Bangladesh marks 50th year of independence, birth centenary of Father of the Nation
Ambassador Delwar Hossain of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Seoul said, “Bangladesh and Korea have been enjoying friendly relations and ever-expanding partnership since the establishment of diplomatic relationship on Dec. 18, 1973.” Speaking at a recent interview with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985, Ambassador Hossain then noted, “The countries have commonality in their history of the struggles for independence from the occupation forces and for preservation and promotion of the dignity of their respective mother languages.” Ambassador Hossain of Bangladesh has recently been accredited to Korea then noted that the bilateral cooperation between the two countries covers a wide range of fields including trade and commerce, investment, manpower, development assistance, education and human resource development, ICT, cultural exchanges and other areas.” Excerpts from the interview follow:
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.
Grand Josun Busan, L’Escape Hotel launch special packages with Starbucks Korea
Grand Josun Busan and L’Escape Hotel, boutique-style hotel of Josun Hotels & Resorts, are working side by side with Starbucks Korea for the coming winter to introduce their own wonderful hotel promotions offering free Starbucks comforter from Oct. 28, 2021 to Jan. 31, 2022. All guests signing up for their two special hotel packages will receive Starbucks comforter for free to help them enjoy a warm and cozy winter season.
Pres. Moon Embarks on State Visit to Hungary
President Moon Jae-in arrived in Hungary on Tuesday afternoon for the last leg of his European tour. Moon is the first South Korean president to visit the eastern European country since the late former President Kim Dae-jung in 2001. During the three-day state visit, the president will hold summit talks with Hungarian President Janos Ader. He will also hold a summit with leaders of the Visegrad Group, which involves the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. It constitutes the second-largest market in Europe. Individual talks with each of the members will be held alongside the group summit, which is the second of its kind. Also on the schedule is a business forum involving South Korean and Visegrad Group entrepreneurs to encourage exchange and cooperation.
Nations Declare End to Deforestation by 2030 at COP26, incl. S. Korea
South Korea and some 100 other countries have pledged to put a stop to and reverse the effects of deforestation by 2030. The Declaration on Forest and Land Use was signed by a total of 105 nations participating in the COP26 climate summit on Monday in Glasgow, Scotland. Among the signatories are countries that house 85 percent of the world’s forests, including Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the U.K. Prime Minister’s Office, 33-point-six million square meters of forestland, about 336 times the size of South Korea, will be subject to the joint campaign. Nineteen billion U.S. dollars in public and private funds are set to be injected to related efforts.
Foliage Season on Mt. Halla Reaches Peak
The year’s foliage season on Mount Halla has peaked one week later than last year. According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, leaves on South Korea's highest mountain began to turn last Tuesday and reached their zenith on Tuesday. The peak of the autumn foliage season on the Jeju mountain came seven days later than last year and four days later than the average of usual years. The weather agency said it usually takes two weeks for the foliage season to reach its peak, but the process has been accelerated due to recent clear weather conditions and steep temperature differences between the morning lows and daytime highs.
Unification minister, WHO chief agree to cooperate for humanitarian aid to N.K.
South Korea's minister in charge of inter-Korean relations held a series of meetings with heads of international organizations in Geneva this week to discuss North Korea issues, his office said Tuesday, amid brisk talks between Seoul and Washington on providing humanitarian assistance to the reclusive state. Unification Minister Lee In-young met with the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday (local time) and agreed to strengthen cooperation on North Korea's public health issues, according to the unification ministry. "(The two sides) exchanged opinions on North Korea's COVID-19 situation and ways to cooperate in its public health and medical sectors," the ministry said in a press release.
DP presidential nominee vows sweeping real estate reform
Lee Jae-myung, the presidential nominee of the ruling Democratic Party, vowed Tuesday to carry out sweeping real estate reforms as the No. 1 priority of his presidency, apologizing to people for the government's failure to bring housing prices under control. Lee made the pledge at an event marking the launch of the party's presidential election committee, which was expected to be attended by up to 499 people under the government's eased social distancing measures at the Olympic gymnastics arena in eastern Seoul.
New infections fall below 2,000 for 2nd day amid 'living with COVID-19'
South Korea's new coronavirus cases fell below 2,000 for the second day in a row Tuesday amid its "living with COVID-19" scheme meant to bring the country gradually back to pre-pandemic normalcy. The country reported 1,589 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total caseload to 367,974, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said. The daily caseload fell below the 2,000 level Monday after reporting more than 2,000 cases for four days in a row. Of the total, 1,578 were local infections, the KDCA said. Eleven cases came from overseas, putting the cumulative total at 15,124. Of the locally transmitted cases, Seoul had 598 cases, with the surrounding Gyeonggi Province logging 499 cases and Incheon, west of Seoul, 112 cases.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Will forestry cooperation speed up inter-Korean talks?
President Moon Jae-in made another overture toward North Korea at a UN climate summit Monday, suggesting planting trees together to reduce carbon emissions on the Korean Peninsula and pledging to make good on a 3-year-old promise in an apparent bid to reengage Pyongyang. “The Republic of Korea will take a leading role in cooperation for reforestation,” Moon said in his keynote speech at the 26th Conference of the Parties or COP26 held in Glasgow, Scotland, calling tree planting one of the key solutions to climate change.
Ruling bloc jump-starts ‘mammoth’ presidential campaign
The ruling Democratic Party of Korea is now in full "election mode" behind presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung, with his competitors from the presidential primary joining forces in hopes of maintaining power come next year. On Tuesday, the party held a ceremony launching the largest-ever election committee headed by its chairman, Rep. Song Young-gil, with 12 other party heavyweights to rally unified support for Lee in the presidential election slated for March.
Prosecutor Son summoned for Yoon Seok-youl’s alleged political meddling
Public prosecutor Son Jun-sung was summoned for questioning Tuesday in the probe into alleged political meddling involving presidential hopeful Yoon Seok-youl, two months into the investigation. Son, the former chief of investigative information policy at the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, is accused of ordering subordinate prosecutors and Rep. Kim Woong of the main opposition People Power Party to write complaints and collect evidence against ruling party figures and some journalists ahead of last year’s general elections. Speculation has swirled as to whether Son did it for then-Prosecutor General Yoon.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Korea seeks MSCI developed market status without offshore FX market
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki confirmed the government's intention to resume talks with MSCI for the Korean equity market to be classified by the American index provider as a "developed market." Since Korea was first categorized as an emerging market in 1992, MSCI has mentioned its poor market accessibility as the most significant reason for its refusal to grant "developed market" status to the country. Although Korea was temporarily on the watch list for its status to be elevated between 2008 and 2014, the country has failed to return to the list.
Pope Francis unlikely to visit North Korea this winter because he is from 'warm country': presidential spokeswoman
Pope Francis is unlikely to visit North Korea in the winter, although it is difficult to predict when the trip will happen, the Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson said Tuesday. President Moon Jae-in asked the pope during their meeting at the Vatican last week to visit North Korea to help foster peace on the Korean Peninsula. The pope responded that he would do so if he received an invitation from the North. "Various efforts are under way, but it's difficult to predict the timing," Cheong Wa Dae spokeswoman Park Kyung-mee told KBS radio by phone from Europe where she was accompanying Moon. "The pope is from Argentina, which is a warm country, so my understanding is that it's difficult for him to travel in the winter."
Soaring consumer prices burdening economy, markets
Consumer prices surged by 3.2 percent in October year-on-year, the steepest growth in almost a decade ― since the 3.3 percent in January 2012 ― due to oil price hikes, according to data from Statistics Korea, Tuesday. Growing inflationary fears have further increased the possibility of the Bank of Korea (BOK) raising its key interest rate this month. "This year's inflation projection will be higher than our earlier forecast of 2.1 percent due to rises in consumer prices in the fourth quarter," the BOK said in a statement. The expanding inflationary woes could result in the central bank's key rate being raised to 1 percent during its upcoming final monetary policy board meeting of the year scheduled for Nov. 25.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
World Opens to Korean Travelers Again
One country after another is reopening its borders to vaccinated travelers, and travel agencies and duty-free shops are rolling up their sleeves to kick-start their business. Thailand opened to fully vaccinated travelers from 63 countries including Korea on Monday as long as they spend one night in a designated hotel on arrival while they await their coronavirus test results. Singapore has also decided to exempt Korean travelers from hotel quarantine if they carry a vaccination certificate, a COVID negative certificate and a travel insurance from Nov. 15. Vietnam will reopen some major tourist spots to fully vaccinated foreign tourists in December, and Cambodia will reopen some tourist spots on Nov. 30 and Angkor Wat temple in January. Vaccinated Koreans can already travel to Hawaii, Saipan and the Maldives without quarantine, while Guam does not even require vaccination.
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. Seongnam Development Corp., wholly run by the city,
Record Numbers of Graduates in Temporary Jobs
More than 2.8 million university graduates are working in temporary jobs, the most since records began. Statistics Korea on Monday said 2.84 million graduates had only temporary jobs as of August of this year, up 12.7 percent on-year and accounting for 35.2 percent of all 8.07 million temporary workers in the country. Some 71.2 percent were on limited contracts, many in part-time jobs created by the government with taxpayers' money. Statistics also show that more young people in their 20s and 30s have difficulty finding permanent jobs. A total of 2.43 million people in those age groups worked in temporary jobs as of August, an increase of 250,000 from a year earlier. They accounted for 30.1 percent of all temporary workers.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Global climate change measures not immune to US-China rift
In the current era that has been described as a “new Cold War,” global warming has been viewed as a meaningful issue on which international cooperation between the world’s two giants — the US and China — may be possible. But the two-day G20 summit in Rome on Saturday and Sunday showed how difficult it will be to achieve US-China cooperation and other forms of international solidarity on the issue. The key question at the summit was whether the world’s major powers would be able to reach a meaningful and unanimous decision on climate change response measures ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, which commenced in Glasgow, Scotland, on Sunday.
Victory for Japan’s ruling party sets stage for PM Kishida’s policies
In the general election in Japan’s House of Representatives on Sunday, Oct. 31, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) clinched an absolute majority, enabling it to control the Diet without a coalition. The main issues in this election were the government’s response to COVID-19 and economic policies to boost the standard of living. The competing parties joined in a lively debate over how to improve economic conditions for Japan’s struggling populace. Japan saw some economic recovery and higher employment during the Abenomics program that former prime minister Shinzo Abe launched in 2013, but living standards remained stagnant during those years.
Top US, S. Korean diplomats hold “serious discussions” on end-of-war declaration
The South Korean and US foreign ministers held “serious discussions” on methods of quickly resuming the Korean Peninsula peace process, including a possible declaration formally ending the Korean war, the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said. South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Chung Eui-yong and US Secretary of State Tony Blinken met for 30 minutes on Sunday morning in Rome, where the G20 summit was being held. According to MOFA, Chung and Blinken exchanged views on areas of mutual interest, including South Korea-US relations, Korean Peninsula issues, and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Moon proposes inter-Korean forestry cooperation
South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivered a speech at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), pledging to facilitate an inter-Korean forestry cooperation in an effort to reduce carbon emissions on the Korean Peninsula. Back in 2018, the leaders of the two Koreas agreed on forestry cooperation and issued a joint communique at the Pyongyang summit, but the efforts have been stalling since the collapse of the Hanoi Summit between the United States and North Korea in 2019. “Forestry cooperation is a way to promote peace in the border region between the South and North,” said President Moon in the keynote speech of the COP26 in Glasgow on Monday.
Seoul-Tokyo business leaders seek to expand economic exchanges
Business leaders of South Korea and Japan said the two countries need to start improving the strained relations through economic cooperation. During the 53rd conference hosted by the Korea-Japan Economic Association at Lotte Hotel in Seoul and Okura Hotel in Tokyo on Tuesday, SK Group Chairman and the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Chairman Chey Tae-won said the two countries should expand the breadth and depth of their cooperative relations by establishing a cooperation platform at the industry level, adding if the business circles of the two countries join forces, it will help restoring bilateral relations in the political and diplomatic spheres.
Queen Elizabeth seen driving, easing health concerns
The Queen, 95, who has recently been in the news over her health scare, was spotted driving by herself around Windsor Castle near London. This is seen as a political message, emphasizing that there is no problem with her health. According to the Guardian on Monday, the Queen was seen behind the wheel of her green Jaguar, wearing sunglasses and a scarf on her head. The car is usually being used to take her dogs out for walks. Both Rolls-Royce and Jaguar are famous car brands representing the U.K. British monarchs mostly rode a Rolls-Royce but the Queen is known for favoring Jaguar.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
North Korean Government Officials Were Present When President Moon Gave a Speech on “Inter-Korean Cooperation in Forest Restoration”
On November 1 (local time), President Moon Jae-in gave a keynote address at the 26th United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (COP26) and suggested inter-Korean cooperation in forest restoration. North Korean government officials were on site and listened to the president’s speech until the end. However, President Moon was not able to meet with the North Korean officials. This day, President Moon gave a keynote speech at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, where the COP 26 summit is taking place. The president said, “Cooperation in forest restoration is a way to promote peace in the border area,” and added that the two Koreas could reduce greenhouse gases on the Korean Peninsula through cooperation in forest restoration.
Media Executive Hong Made Transactions of Billions of Won with Kim Man-bae: Eyes on the Hong in the 5 Billion Won Club
Hong, an executive in a media company, was involved in financial transactions exceeding 5 billion won with Kim Man-bae, the biggest shareholder of Hwacheon Daeyu. Earlier in a parliamentary inspection by the National Policy Committee, People Power Party lawmaker Park Soo-young disclosed a list of names from a group known as the “5 billion won club”--people who were promised 5 billion won by Hwacheon Daeyu--and argued, “There was a person who signed an IOU and borrowed money (from Hwacheon Daeyu).” Now, it appears this person could be Hong. The prosecutors are also looking into the financial transactions between the two men and investigating any connections with the Daejang-dong development project.
Who Will Defeat Lee Jae-myung? Hong Joon-pyo 38.2%, Yoon Seok-youl 33.1%
On October 28, a poll showed that lawmaker Hong Joon-pyo was ahead of former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl outside the margin of error in the People Power Party primaries. Hong was also ahead in a virtual two-way race against the Democratic Party of Korea’s presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung with a lead bigger than the margin of error. This day, Realmeter released the results of a survey commissioned by OhmyNews. The polling firm surveyed 2,035 people ages 18 and older nationwide on October 25-26, and the results showed that respondents supported the presidential candidates in the People Power Party in the order of Hong Joon-pyo (38.2%), Yoon Seok-youl (33.1%), former lawmaker Yoo Seong-min (10.9%), and former Jeju Governor Won Hee-ryong (4.1%).
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korean startups pull in record $4 bn from foreign capital this year
South Korean startups drew over $4 billion from foreign venture capital so far this year as they benefited from Beijing’s discriminative actions on foreign capital that turned attention on promising Korean innovative enterprises. According to a study jointly carried out by Maeil Business Newspaper and startup data firm The VC, foreign venture capitals invested 4.96 trillion won ($4.2 billion) in 144 Korean startups between January and September, nearly six-fold from 871.8 billion won in 128 startups for full 2020. Korea’s online hotel booking app Yanolja was most hot, winning 1.94 trillion won investment from Japan’s SoftBank in July.
Korea’s inflation above 3% for the first time in a decade, likely invite rate hike
South Korea’s inflation shot above 3 percent for the first time in nearly a decade in October on broad price surge from strong fuel prices and expensive housing cost, strengthening grounds for a second rate hike this year later this month. According to Statistics Korea on Tuesday, the country’s consumer price index (CPI) jumped 3.2 percent year over year to 108.97 in October, marking the steepest rise since 3.3 percent in January 2012. CPI has been hovering at mid 2-percent level for the last six months due to strong oil and food prices.
LG Energy Solution new CEO’s first task is to restore confidence after recall
“Winning confidence from customers is the highest priority as lithium battery is still in fledging stage,” said the new CEO of LG Energy Solution Ltd. which has agreed to near $2 billion recall to replace batteries for all Chevrolet Bolt vehicles. “The battery business has only begun,” Kwon Young-soo told the Maeil Business Newspaper upon inauguration following shareholders’ endorsement in a reshuffle in the management for liability in the most expensive recall ever on a per-vehicle basis on Monday. “What’s important is customers’ value, not market share,” he said.
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