Monnesday, December 20, 2021
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
“Bangladesh, Korea have great potential for deeper mutually beneficial collaboration”
The year of 2021 is a special moment for Bangladesh. This year, the nation is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the independence and also in the midst of celebration of the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The year also marks the official endorsement of the graduation of Bangladesh from the status of a Least Development Country to a developing one, as the country fulfilled all three eligibility criteria of the United Nations by substantial margins for the second time. The founding father Bangabandhu dreamt of ‘Sonar Bangla’ (Golden Bengal)-a prosperous, happy, and exploitation-free Bangladesh.
‘New envoy of R.P. shows signs of excelling her top-rated predecessor’
Newly accredited ambassador of the Republic of Philippines in Seoul, Madam Maria Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega, reminds the Korean people of one of the most active Philippine ambassadors in Seoul, Ambassador Francisco L. Benedicto who served in Korea from June 14, 1993 to May 16, 1995. Many Koreans agree that during that period of his service in Korea bilateral relations, cooperation and friendship flourished in the highest degree. And 16 years later today, it appears that the two countries are in for another Golden Time of win-win cooperation and friendship—with the newly accredited lady ambassador, Mme. De Vega in place. All in all, Korea and the Philippines are in for another period of most active cooperation in all areas between the two countries.
‘Cooperation between Uzbekistan, Korea develops dynamically, fruitfully since formation diplomatic ties’
Cooperation in various areas between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea has been developing steadily, dynamically and fruitfully since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries in 1992.The Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership was adopted in 2006. There is a most favored nation regime in the field of trade between our countries. The Republic of Korea is Uzbekistan's fourth most important foreign trade partner. The Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation plays an important role in bilateral relations. Since 2018, a format has been introduced for meetings of the Deputy Prime Ministers of the two countries on economic issues.
Presidential Office Refutes Opposition's Criticism of Moon's Australia Trip
A presidential secretary has rejected criticism from the political circle regarding President Moon Jae-in's recent visit to Australia. Senior presidential secretary for public communication Park Soo-hyun wrote on social network on Sunday that it is not the right attitude for the country and its people to disparage and speak ill of the president's state visit to Australia. Last week, main opposition People Power Party (PPP) presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol criticized Moon for making the overseas trip with no urgent diplomatic issues and posting a photo on his Facebook page with the Sydney Opera House in the background.
S. Korea's House Price Growth Highest in Q3 among 56 Countries
South Korea's house price growth rate was the highest among some 60 countries in the third quarter. According to the Global House Price Index by the London-based property consultancy Knight Frank on Sunday, South Korea's house prices grew 23-point-nine percent in the July-September period from a year earlier. It marks the highest annual growth rate in real terms among 56 countries and territories tracked by the index. Sweden ranked second with 17-point-eight percent, followed by New Zealand with 17 percent, Turkey and Australia. In nominal terms, Turkey marked the highest rate with 35-point-five percent, followed by South Korea with 26-point-four percent.
Daily COVID-19 Cases Fall to 6,236, Critical Patients at 1,025
Health authorities reported more than six-thousand new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, with critical cases hitting a new high. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said Sunday six-thousand-236 infections were reported throughout the previous day, raising the accumulated caseload to 565-thousand-98. The daily tally dropped over one-thousand from Saturday and fell below seven thousand for the first time since Tuesday. The drop is attributed to fewer tests on Saturday which saw heavy snow and cold weather. The number of critically ill patients hit a new high of one-thousand-25, staying above one-thousand for the second straight day.
KEPCO decides to freeze electricity rate for Q1 of 2022
South Korea's state power firm Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) said Monday it will freeze the country's electricity rates in the first quarter of 2022 amid rising inflation. KEPCO said it has decided to set the adjusted unit fuel cost at zero won per kilowatt-hour for the January-March period of next year, the same as that three months earlier. Late last year, KEPCO adopted a flexible electricity rate system linked to global fuel prices in a move to improve its profitability. It previously charged an electricity rate under a fixed-rate electricity billing system.
Bank holding firms' 2021 dividends expected to hit new high on bumper profits
Dividends by South Korea's four major financial holding firms are expected to hit an all-time high in 2021 as they have decided to return more of their bumper profits to shareholders, sources said Monday. The combined dividend payout of the four is likely to reach around 3.83 trillion won (US$3.23 billion) this year, according to the sources and an estimate by Yonhap Infomax, the financial news arm of Yonhap News Agency. It would represent the largest-ever dividend payout by the four holding companies -- KB Financial Group Inc., Shinhan Financial Group Co., Hana Financial Group Inc. and Woori Financial Group Inc. It is also sharply up from their dividend payout of 2.29 trillion won in 2020 and 2.87 trillion won in 2019, when their dividend payout ratio, or the percentage of dividends to earnings, was the highest at 26.2 percent.
Kim Yo-jong, sister of N. Korean leader, believed to have been promoted
Kim Yo-jong, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's powerful sister, is believed to have been promoted to a higher official position, according to a North Korean media report Saturday. In the report on a memorial event for late former leader Kim Jong-il held a day earlier, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) listed Kim Yo-jong alongside members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party as having attended the ceremony. Kim was listed between eight sitting members of the Political Bureau and other alternate members, suggesting she may have been named a member or an alternate member of the organ.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
US seeks ‘step-by-step’ approach toward denuclearization: Sullivan
The Biden administration seeks a “step-by-step” approach toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which is a midpoint between strategic patience and grand bargain with Pyongyang, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Friday. Sullivan explained the Biden administration pursued striking a balance between the North Korea policy previously implemented by the Obama and Trump administrations, expressing his skepticism of the predecessor’s approaches. “The Obama administration, especially as the policy evolved over the course of the eight years, really adopted this view of strategic patience, which was essentially -- I would call it certain none for none. Just let things go,”
Samsung’s new China team signals strategy reboot
Samsung Electronics has reportedly launched a new China team under the direct supervision of vice chairman and Chief Executive Officer Han Jong-hee, signaling a change in its strategy to reenter Asia’s largest market that is already dominated by homegrown manufacturers. According to media reports, Samsung Electronics has kicked off a new operation, loosely translated as the China Business Innovation Team. The unit is dedicated to businesses ranging from mobile handsets to semiconductor chips. Han, who was promoted to one of Samsung’s CEOs earlier in December, will take charge of its operation. Samsung Electronics declined to comment on the matter.
Ministry reveals names of non-custodial parents rejecting child support
The government on Sunday released the personal details of two non-custodial parents who have failed to pay child support for the first time since a related law revision came into effect in July. The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said it has disclosed the personal information of two separate obligors of child support who failed to provide the expenses ordered by the court, on its website. According to the ministry, one obligor did not provide 65.2 million won ($55,543) of accumulated child support expenses over the past 14 years and 8 months, and the other person did not provide 125.6 million won of child support expenses accumulated over 10 years and 8 months.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
South Korea's boycott rejection unlikely to damage alliance with US: experts
In the wake of President Moon Jae-in's decision not to join the U.S.-led diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, concerns have been rapidly mounting that the decision may harm the nation's strategic partnership with the United States. But diplomatic observers said the rejection of the boycott will not have a negative impact on the longstanding alliance and ongoing negotiations to declare an end to the Korean War ― although the U.S. government may not be pleased about it. However, they also believe that China will not live up to South Korea's expectations of playing a role in improving inter-Korean relations and supporting Moon's proposal to end the war as a reward for refusing to participate in the boycott.
Samsung Electronics revamps business strategy in China
Samsung Electronics has launched a special team to exclusively take charge of its businesses in China aiming to achieve a breakthrough in sluggish sales in one of the largest IT markets in the world, according to sources, Sunday. The new team will report directly to Vice Chairman Han Jong-hee, head of the newly merged unit for mobile devices and home appliances called the DX (Device eXperience) Division, the industry sources said. The team consists of two sections ― one supporting human resource management and marketing, and the other comprised of officials from the mobile device, home appliances, display and semiconductor divisions.
Omicron detected in 4 people administered with booster shots
Four people have tested positive for the Omicron variant, even after receiving COVID-19 booster shots, prompting concerns that the inoculations may not offer protection from the new strain where three doses were previously thought to be sufficient. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 12 more Omicron cases for Saturday, pushing the total caseload to 178 after the first cases were detected here on Dec.1. The 12 new infections were all detected in inbound travelers. Six cases were reported among people entering Korea from the United States, four from the United Kingdom, along with one each from Ghana and Tanzania.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
How Kim Jong-un Ran N.Korea's Economy into the Ground
In the decade since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un succeeded his father amid promises of modernization, North Korea has become poorer and more miserable than ever. Returning to Pyongyang from a posh boarding school in Switzerland to be groomed as the next leader, Kim ascended to North Korea's throne on Dec. 19, 2011, just two days after Kim Jong-il died of a massive heart attack. Amid brutal purges as he tried to cement his power, Kim Jon-un came to see the completion of North Korea's nuclear weapons program as his greatest task. Blatantly ignoring warnings from the international community, he conducted four nuclear tests and 60 missile tests in violation of UN resolutions.
S.Korea Declines to Sponsor UN's N.Korea Rights Resolution
The UN General Assembly passed its annual resolution condemning North Korea's human rights on Thursday, but South Korea once again refrained from co-sponsoring it. The resolution has been adopted for the 17th consecutive year, but Seoul did not co-sponsor it for the third year running for fear of agitating Pyongyang. The resolution "condemns in the strongest terms the long-standing and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights in and by [North Korea], including those that may amount to crimes against humanity." Noting that its humanitarian situation has worsened in the coronavirus pandemic, it also urged North Korea to cooperate with the international community to "ensure the timely delivery and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines."
Moon Apologizes for Return to Lockdown
President Moon Jae-in apologized to the country on Thursday after a phased return to normal ended up creating more serious COVID-19 cases than the health system can handle. "I am very sorry that we have to strengthen lockdown measures once again," Moon was quoted as saying by Cheong Wa Dae spokespwoman Park Kyung-mee. "In the course of the return to normal, we were unable to suppress the increase in critically ill patients and failed to secure enough hospital beds." A little over two weeks ago he vowed there will be "no turning back."
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
China’s southern railway expansion is not all good news for Laos
On Dec. 3, a railroad running for a total length of 1,035 kilometers (642 miles) began operations between Kunming, capital of China’s Yunnan Province, and Vientiane, capital of Laos. It’s a distance comparable to that between the South Korean port city of Busan and the Russian port city of Vladivostok. The railway’s construction and operation are being handled by the Laos-China Railway Co., a joint venture in which the China Railway group controls a 70% share and a Lao state company has a 30% share. Laos is famous for its rugged jungles and mountains. The jungles, which cover a wide range of uplands in Southeast Asia and are known collectively as Zomia, have long been home to a range of tribal minorities who live free from the meddling of the state governments of the plains.
Democratic presidential nominee's campaign marred by scandal-embroiled son
On Thursday, Lee Jae-myung, presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, admitted that his son had engaged in illegal gambling, and issued an immediate apology. But ongoing allegations about visiting a massage parlor for sex are making party members nervous about the potential fallout if the claims about Lee’s 29-year-old son blow up. It’s true that my son signed up for a card game website and wrote posts on the website as reported in the press. My son appears to have fallen into temptation for some time,” Lee said in a statement released on Thursday morning.
More false claims found on CV of wife of opposition party presidential nominee
It was learned Thursday that Kim Keon-hee, the wife of People Power Party presidential nominee Yoon Seok-youl, falsely claimed to have won an award in an art competition on a CV she submitted in 2001 for a lecturer position at Hallym Polytechnic University. Coming on the heels of allegations that she also falsified a work history at the Korea Association of Game Industry, known also as K-Games, the latest revelations about her false claim to an art accolade is expected to feed a growing controversy about other fraudulent aspects of her CV. A copy of Kim’s CV provided by Hallym Polytechnic University to the office of Democratic Party lawmaker An Min-suk showed a handwritten reference to her having been awarded second runner-up honors at the Misul Segye Grand Prize Exhibition in May 1995.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Lee, Yoon race to attract moderate voters
With the presidential election some 80 days away, ruling and opposition party standard bearers are scrambling to attract moderate voters. Ruling Democratic Party candidate Lee Jae-myung is demanding the government to reconsider the policy to reflect actual transaction prices of real estate in taxation in a move to differentiate himself from the Moon Jae-in administration, continuing so-called ‘realty power game.’ Countering this move, People Power Party candidate Yoon Seok-youl said, “The next administration will have a number of ministers who are in their 30s,’ attempting to lure voters in their 20s and 30s.
Emergency healthcare is in state of emergency
The number of new daily Covid-19 patients under intensive care surpassed 1,000 for two consecutive days. According to the disease control authority, the number of Covid-19 patients under intensive care stood at 1,025 as of 12 a.m. on Sunday. Since the start of ‘With Corona’ policy, confirmed cases have surged, and patients with severe illness is increasing rapidly. The number of patients with severe symptoms stood at 343 on November 1, the first day of ‘With Corona,’ but surpassed 700 a month later. The number topped 800 a week later, 900 six days later, and 1,000 four days thereafter.
Pres. Biden warns unvaccinated of ‘winter of death’
“For the unvaccinated, we are looking at a winter of severe illness and death.” U.S. President Joe Biden gave Americans this warning and advised the unvaccinated to take the jab immediately on Thursday. President Biden issued the warning due to a surge of confirmed cases amid the spread of the new Omicron variant. “The Response Team will give a detailed briefing tomorrow, but I would like to send people a message in person,” President Biden said after being debriefed by the Covid-19 response team at the White House.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
“Celebrities Can Live with Covid, But the Staff Can’t” COVID-19 Threatens Jobs of Media Workers
Media workers, whose employment is unstable, have been exposed as a group vulnerable to the fifth wave of COVID-19. They not only have to worry about contracting the virus, they also have worry about getting their contracts terminated if they do. A, a freelance staff working on the production of a TV drama said he can get fired if he gets COVID-19. On December 16, the Kyunghyang Shinmun obtained a service contract for the production of a TV drama with one major broadcasting company, and it stipulates, “If the staff cannot fulfill his obligations concerning the drama due to a disease, accident or other inevitable cause, the production company can terminate this contract.”
New Government Package for Business Owners Struggling with Tougher Distancing Measures
The government will hand out a disease control support fund of one million won, aside from the compensation for losses, to 3.2 million small business owners whose sales dropped due to stronger distancing measures in the wake of another COVID-19 wave. The government will also provide 100,000 won worth of supplies to 1.15 million owners of restaurants and cafes where the vaccine pass (vaccination certificate, certificate of negative test result) will be mandatory. The latest compensation for losses will be given to 120,000 businesses, previously not eligible for compensation, including barber shops, hair salons and other businesses with quotas or restrictions in the use of facilities.
Starting Dec. 18 Restaurants and Cafes to Close at 9 p.m. and Only 4 People Allowed for Private Gatherings
The government will enforce strong physical (social) distancing measures allowing up to four people per private gathering and restricting business hours of restaurants and cafes to 9 p.m. beginning December 18. On December 16, in a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters to discuss the government’s response to COVID-19, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said, “We believe that we can overcome the latest challenge only by suppressing the spread of the virus as soon as possible with strong social distancing measures.” The prime minister announced, “We will reduce the number of people allowed for private gatherings to four and this will be applied equally nationwide.” He also said, “In restaurants and cafes, up to four people can eat together only if they are fully vaccinated. People who have not received their vaccines must eat alone or order take out or delivery.”
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
SK Senior Vice Chairman Chey Jae-won to return to management as SK On CEO
Chey Jae-won, senior vice chairman at SK Group and younger brother of Chey Tae-won, chief of South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate, will return to management nearly 8 years after he was imprisoned for embezzlement to spearhead the group’s burgeoning battery business. According to multiple industry sources on Friday, SK On Co., pure-play battery maker that recently spun off from SK Innovation Co., will hold a board meeting and appoint the younger Chey as its chief executive. The company will be co-headed by Chey and current CEO Jee Dong-seob.
BOK predicts strong inflation next year to uphold normalization campaign
The Bank of Korea (BOK) expects inflation to hover above 2 percent target throughout next year as other factors from supply bottleneck are expected to drive up prices, its governor said, emphasizing on the need of pursuing with normalization in interest rates. “The U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks, as well as experts, are in general agreement that inflationary buildup cannot be a temporary phenomenon,” said BOK Governor Lee Ju-yeol on Thursday in a meeting on prices. “Supply-end factors pushed up prices this year, but various other factors can influence prices next year,” he said.
Kogene Biotech develops Omicron detection kit for the first time in Korea
Kogene Biotech, a Korean in vitro diagnostics company, has succeeded in developing a test kit that detects all five variants of concern of the SARS-COV-2 virus designated by the World Health Organization (WHO), including the latest variant Omicron, with a sensitivity of 99 percent for the first time in Korea. It is a result of a public-private joint development project led by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). Shipments of the new product are expected to head out Europe, the Middle East and Asia as early as this week, according to sources on Thursday.
What’s ticking around the world at this second?
See what the world media around the world have to report:
Le Monde www.ilemonde.com
Sydney Morning Heraldwww.smh.com.au
Colombia Reports http://colombiareports.com
El Universal http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english
Ecuador Times http://www.ecuadortimes.net
The Jordan Times https://www.jordantimes.com
Philippine Daily Inquirer https://www.inquirer.net
Daily News Hungary http://dailynewshungary.com
Budapest Times http://budapesttimes.hu
The Korea Post is running video clips from the different embassies.
And many other countries.
What are you waiting for?
The Korea Post media are more than eager to be used, and to serve you—with the following five news outlets, 36 years old this year!
Korean-language Internet edition: http://www.koreapost.co.kr
English-language Internet edition: http://www.koreapost.com
Korean-language print newspaper:
English E-daily: http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=10690