Friday, January 7, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Ahn leads Lee 41% to 33% if Ahn becomes a unified opposition party candidate
A recent poll showed on Jan. 6 that if the Presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo of the People Party becomes a unified Presidential candidate representing opposition parties, Ahn will lead the Democratic Party's Presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung outside the margin of error. According to a survey of 1,003 people aged 18 or older nationwide on Jan. 4 to 5 at the request of Maeil Economy and MBN, candidate Ahn's approval rating topped the list with 41.6% in the three-way virtual competition among Lee Jae-myung, Ahn Cheol-soo and Sim Sang-jung of the Justice Party.
President Moon pledges to usher in Korea's era of being a pacesetter
President Moon Jae-in on Jan. 3 said " We will make this new year, 2022, the first year when we completely overcome the crisis and return to normal," adding, "We will vigorously open up the era where we emerge as a pacesetter at the forefront of the world."According to Cheong Wa Dae, the chief executive delivered his 2022 New Year's address for 20 minutes in front of the stairs of Cheong Wa Dae's main hall, saying, "We will achieve the complete recovery of people's lives." "Thanks to the people's cooperation, enhanced anti-epidemic measures have begun to take effect. The number of confirmed cases continues to decrease, and the number of severely or critically ill patients is expected to begin to decline soon." He added, "The Government will do everything possible to make it through this critical juncture. With a long-term perspective, the Government will nourish hope for a return to normal life by riding out the difficulties along with the people in a steady manner."
“2022 in Uzbekistan will be ‘Year of Ensuring Human Interests, Mahalla Development’”
Dear compatriots! I sincerely congratulate all of you, our entire multinational people, on the New Year. In these joyful moments, I wish you all health, peace and prosperity! Today, on the threshold of the New Year, we with gratitude see off the passing year. The Year of Supporting Youth and Improving Population Health has left a bright mark on our lives. We carried out large-scale activities together. Despite the consequences of the pandemic and the global crisis, the country has achieved high economic growth. Many enterprises, clusters, technology parks and modern infrastructure have been created. New housing, kindergartens, schools and universities, healthcare, culture and sports facilities are being commissioned.
Lee, Yoon Reconcile, Agree to Join Forces for Election Victory
Main opposition People Power Party(PPP) presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol and the PPP chief managed to reconcile on Thursday and put an end to a month-long dispute over election strategies. The surprise reconciliation came 16 days after PPP chair Lee Jun-seok resigned from the party's presidential campaign committee. The party held a general meeting of its lawmakers at the National Assembly on Thursday to adopt a resolution demanding the chairman's resignation. But it withdrew the plan as Lee and Yoon came to an understanding. The presidential candidate made a surprise appearance at the meeting at around 8 p.m. as Lee was speaking. Yoon and Lee agreed to join forces to win the election and embraced.
N. Korea Expresses Support for Beijing Olympics
North Korea has reportedly notified China that it fully supports the Beijing Olympics though it cannot participate in the event. The North's official Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) said on Friday that the North's Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports sent a letter to China's Olympic Committee and other organizations the previous day. In the letter, the North reportedly said it could not take part in the Olympics due to the hostile forces' moves and the COVID-19 pandemic, but it would fully support all the efforts by the Chinese people to hold a splendid and wonderful Olympic festival. The International Olympic Committee earlier suspended the North from the Beijing Olympics as punishment for refusing to participate in last year's Tokyo Games over COVID-19 concerns.
'US in Close Consultation with Allies on Responses to N. Korea's Missile Launch'
The U.S. State Department said on Thursday that it is closely consulting with its allies on responses to the recent missile test by North Korea. Department spokesperson Ned Price made the remarks in a press briefing when asked if the U.S. is seeking to call a UN Security Council meeting on the missile test. Price reaffirmed that the U.S.' commitment to the defense of South Korea and Japan remains ironclad, adding the U.S. will continue to closely communicate with its treaty allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region and the world. North Korea announced on Thursday that it test-launched a hypersonic missile the previous day. Price said the U.S. condemns the North's latest missile launch, calling the projectile a "ballistic missile." He said the launch violated multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions, and "poses a threat to the North's neighbors and the international community."
Lee, Yoon reconcile as PPP drops proposal for party chief's ouster
Main opposition presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol and the chief of his People Power Party (PPP) reached a surprise agreement Thursday to put their long-running feud behind them and move forward for election victory. PPP lawmakers also withdrew their push to oust party chairman Lee Jun-seok as the two patched up the row that has been blamed for the recent sharp fall in Yoon's public support about two months ahead of the March 9 presidential election. The surprise reconciliation came after Lee said during a general meeting of PPP lawmakers that he truly hopes for Yoon's victory and his criticism of Yoon's campaign was meant to draw attention to the urgent need to win support from younger voters.
U.S. experts see little or no chance of U.S.-N. Korea dialogue in 2022
There is little or no chance of talks between the United States and North Korea this year with both sides refusing to make any significant concessions for dialogue, U.S. experts said Thursday. They also argued the U.S. will likely be happy to keep the status quo with North Korea despite the North's recent self-claimed hypersonic missile test, as long as Pyongyang does not pose or demonstrate an immediate threat to the U.S. "The chances of talks with North Korea, sadly, are less than zero," said Harry Kazianis, senior director at the Center for the National Interest, a public policy think tank based in Washington. "The challenge is that the (Joe) Biden Administration has no political bandwidth to offer any concessions and North Korea won't want to deal from such a weakened position," he told Yonhap News Agency.
N. Korean nuclear, missile programs pose 'ongoing' threat: Blinken
North Korea's nuclear and missile programs pose an ongoing threat to the region and the international community, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday. The top U.S. diplomat also highlighted the need to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance to meet such threats. "Meanwhile, the DPRK's unlawful nuclear, missile programs pose an ongoing threat. And we saw that again this week with the most recent launch," Blinken said, referring to North Korea's test launch of a self-claimed hypersonic missile Wednesday (Seoul time). Blinken made the remarks at the start of annual security consultative talks with his Japanese counterpart, Yoshimasa Hayashi, that also involved U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Can scandal-ridden candidates be replaced?
With controversies and allegations continuing to mar the ongoing presidential race, calls have grown for the ruling and main opposition parties to replace their nominees and install ones with cleaner pasts and clearer views. Many voters are unfavorable to the two-way race between Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea and Yoon Suk-yeol of the main opposition People Power Party, holding rallies and releasing statements urging the candidates to drop out. Lee has faced criticism surrounding his family members, and he faces allegations over his involvement in the Daejang-dong land development scandal.
SK plans new AI chip collaboration with Qualcomm
SK and Qualcomm will collaborate on artificial intelligence chips in an effort to lead the burgeoning eco-friendly, low-power AI chip market. Speaking exclusively to The Korea Herald at CES 2022 on Wednesday, SK hynix Vice Chairman and CEO Park Jung-ho said, “SK hynix, SK Telecom and Qualcomm plan to make co-investments and make good AI chips. I‘ll talk to Qualcomm to join in.” “There are about 500 companies that do AI chips. It’s all about who gets into the ecosystem and becomes a (major) player,” Park added. At CES, the world’s largest electronics trade show currently being held in Las Vegas, SK Group, the No. 3 conglomerate in South Korea, has set up a booth to explain its goal to curb 200 million tons -- 1 percent of the world‘s carbon emissions -- by 2030.
N. Korea claims it tests ‘hypersonic missile.’ Why does it matter?
North Korea on Thursday claimed that it test-fired another type of “hypersonic missile,” around 100 days after the test launch of the Hwasong-8 “hypersonic missile,” although South Korean authorities did not confirm the validity of the announcement. The test-launch on Wednesday “reconfirmed the flight control and stability of the missile in the active-flight stage and assessed the performance of the new lateral movement technique applied to the detached hypersonic gliding warhead,” Korean Central News Agency reported. The missile also made a “120 km lateral movement in the flight distance of the hypersonic gliding warhead from the initial launch azimuth to the target azimuth and precisely hit a set target 700 km away.”
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Main opposition party patches up internal rift
The main opposition People Power Party (PPP) managed to patch up a month-long internal dispute that escalated mainly between its Chairman Lee Jun-seok and presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol over election strategies. Lee, who locked horns with Yoon, was on the verge of losing his leadership post in the party when its lawmakers nearly agreed to adopt a resolution demanding the chairman's resignation. But he came to a reconciliation with Yoon and party members endorsed the truce to prevent the candidate from suffering a further decline in his support rate.
Will IPO market lose steam?
A growing number of companies seeking to go public this year are expected to adjust their expectations of immediate windfall gains. The tempered forecasts stem from investor returns on the day of initial public offerings (IPOs) in the fourth quarter of 2021 hitting the lowest level in a year despite the largest number of firms listing on the benchmark KOSPI and junior Kosdaq during that period. Market watchers say the local IPO market could lose momentum compared to the explosive growth momentum seen over the past two years, due to investor sentiment being dampened by tightened monetary policies that steer away from the massive liquidity supplied during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the top 30 firms with the highest public subscription rates measured by institutional investors' book building, only 12 were listed during the October-December period.
North Korea expected to continue missile tests after South's presidential election: experts
North Korea is expected to continue its missile tests this year, regardless of who is elected to be the next president of South Korea in the election set for March 9, according to North Korea watchers, Thursday. This forecast came a day after the North's state-run Academy of Defense Science test-fired a hypersonic missile the day before, according to Pyongyang's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Thursday. It said the missile launch was part of efforts to fulfill the country's national task of modernizing strategic armed force capabilities under its five-year plan for the strategic arms sector, first presented at the eighth congress of the country's ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in January of last year.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Eating Habits Key to Sound Immune System
A sound immune system means patients recover faster even if they are infected with coronavirus, according to Lee Kyung-mi, a professor at Cha University who describes herself as a food therapist. Lee recommends a diet that helps reduce chronic inflammation and strengthens the overall immune system. A compromised immune system often shows up as chronic inflammation, she explains. "Everyone's symptoms are different -- those who are tired even after long hours of sleep and those who suffer from cold or allergies all year around -- but the main cause is chronic inflammation." "That's a sign that something is wrong with the immune system and people should change their eating habits to reduce it."
N.Korea Tests Ballistic Missile in 1st Launch of New Year
North Korea launched a suspected ballistic missile Wednesday, South Korea and Japan reported, Pyongyang's first weapons test of the new year. The North fired what appeared to be a single ballistic missile from its northern Jagang Province toward the sea off its east coast, South Korea's military said. The missile traveled for about 500 km, according to Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi. No further details were available. North Korea typically announces its launches in state-run newspapers the following day. It is North Korea's first launch since October, when it tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile. The North has frequently tested short-range ballistic missiles since mid-2019, shortly after nuclear negotiations between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and former U.S. President Donald Trump broke down.
Court Suspends Mandatory Vaccine Passes for Crammers
The mandatory use of vaccine passes at crammers and other study spaces has been suspended following a court ruling on Tuesday. The Seoul Administrative Court upheld a petition filed against the government by a number of students and parents, and ruled that the mandatory vaccine passes would infringe on youngsters' right to learn. The government earlier made it mandatory for those aged 12-18 to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus if they want to use crammers, leading hundreds of teenagers and parents to sue the government over the vaccine passes for youngsters.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Moon urges dialogue after N. Korea launches presumed ballistic missile
North Korea launched a projectile believed to be a ballistic missile toward the East from its Chagang Province region at around 8:10 am Wednesday, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) stated. South Korean President Moon Jae-in was scheduled to pay a visit the same morning to Jejin Station in Gangwon Province to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the Donghae railway line as agreed upon in the inter-Korean Panmunjom Declaration of 2018. Regardless of whether it was meant as an intentional provocation, the show of force puts a damper on Seoul’s efforts to foster a climate for peace.
Seniors who get booster are 82.8% less likely to catch COVID-19, S. Korean study finds
An analysis of more than 2 million South Koreans shows that people over the age of 60 who have received a booster shot are 82.8% less likely to contract COVID-19 than those who have only received two vaccine doses. That was one of the findings of an analysis of the preventive efficacy of COVID-19 booster shots in a survey of 2,350,207 people that South Korea’s Central Disease Control Headquarters released Wednesday. The analysis also showed that the risk of a case becoming serious or critical was 96.9% lower for those with the booster shot, while the likelihood of death was 99.1% lower.
Strife within S. Korea’s conservative party leads to disbandment of its election committee
People Power Party presidential nominee Yoon Suk-yeol took another step toward completely disbanding his election committee, including the removal of Kim Chong-in as its chairperson. He aims to eliminate the committee entirely, leaving only a bare-bones control center to handle practical matters. The split comes a little over a month after Kim joined the committee in December. “Yoon Suk-yeol is disbanding his election committee, and with the revision of the headquarters system, Kim Chong-in is being dismissed as chairperson as a matter of course,” an official with the party’s election committee told the Hankyoreh on Tuesday.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
US signals quantitative tightening following early interest raise
The U.S. Federal Reserve System (Fed) announced a plan for a more aggressive tightening than what’s been known previously to address inflation concerns. As the Fed not only introduces earlier and faster interest raise and reviews quantitative tightening, which directly retrieves the money from the market, it will have a significant impact on the global financial crisis and economy. “Participants generally noted that, given their individual outlooks for the economy, the labor market, and inflation, it may become warranted to increase the federal funds rate sooner or at a faster pace than participants had earlier anticipated,” the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting held on Dec. 14 and 15 last year said.
Seoul stays silent about Pyongyang’s ultrasonic missile launch
The South Korean government did not make any official statement on Thursday when the North announced that it successfully tested an ultrasonic missile. Critics say that South Korean President Moon Jae-in may behave submissively not to get on Pyongyang’s nerves with the goal of improving the inter-Korean relations with his term nearing an end. Asked what to do with the launch of North Korea’s missile in cooperation with the U.S., the South Korean Foreign Affairs Ministry said, “We have no update to make at this point.” Seoul did not condemn Pyongyang nor express any regret not only on Wednesday when the launch was carried out but also on Thursday. Nevertheless, the launch of a North Korean ballistic missile is a downright violation of the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions.
Gov’t to amp up supplies of holiday season groceries by 31%
The Korean government has made the decision to increase the supplies of a set of groceries particularly in high demand during the Lunar New Year’s holiday (Jan. 29 - Feb. 2) by 31% including Chinese cabbages, apples and beef. The decision was made against the backdrop in which the prices of agricultural and fish products rose by 7% year-on-year for the second consecutive month, further weighing down on low-income households. The government has mapped out a plan to offer loans worth about 40 trillion won to small-sized businesses around the holiday season. On Thursday, the government announced this livelihood stabilization plan at an emergency economic meeting at the Government Complex Seoul where Deputy Prime Minister Hong Nam-ki presided over the gathering.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Lee Jun-seok Refused to Appoint New Secretary-General and Expected to Confront Yoon Seok-youl at Party Headquarters: Yoon’s Key Aides at the Center of Conflict Again
People Power Party leader Lee Jun-seok will meet and confront the party’s presidential candidate Yoon Seok-youl on the morning of January 6 at the party headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul. Lee sought dialogue with Yoon after refusing the appointments of Kwon Young-se as secretary-general and Lee Chul-gyu as director of strategy and planning. A key member of the People Power Party said over the phone, “Lee went to the fifth floor of the party building to meet with Yoon,” and explained, “He went to talk about the personnel appointments, the controversial meeting with young people the previous day, and the schedule to greet citizens on the subway.” Yoon nominated Kwon Young-se as the party’s secretary-general and the director of the election campaign and Lee Chul-gyu as the director of strategy and planning and asked the party’s Supreme Council to pass a vote on his decision. However, Lee refused to put the appointments to a vote after raising issues with the nomination of Lee Chul-gyu.
Kim Chong-in Resigns from Chief of Youn Seok-youl’s Election Campaign, “If We Don’t See Eye to Eye, Then We Can Part”
On January 5, Kim Chong-in, chief of the People Power Party’s election campaign expressed his intention to step down as chief of the camp. This day, in a phone call with Yonhap News, Kim said, “We are trying to reform the election campaign to get our candidate elected as president, but they’re mentioning things like a coup d’etat and an abdicated king--if we don’t see eye to eye, then we can part,” and expressed his wish to resign. Kim Chong-in also said, “They dragged me (to the election campaign, I did not ask to join), so there is no need for me to linger.” As for the press coverage that the party’s presidential candidate, Yoon Seok-youl, delivered his plan to disband the election campaign with the removal of Kim Chong-in as a premise to Kim through Im Tae-hui, director of the general headquarters, Kim said, “I never heard anything like that,” and added, “If I quit, then I will quit. There will be no such thing as a removal.”
A Twenty-Year-Old Man Tried to Sleep in the Bathroom of a Commercial Building
The older boys who left the orphanage dyed their hair yellow and led a cool life. Jang Hyeon-wu (26), who left the orphanage in the late summer of 2014 at the age of nineteen, thought that he too would be able to live like that. He had no idea then that he would be trying to sleep crouched in a men’s bathroom on the first floor of a commercial building in Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul a month later. That was how three years of life on the streets began. There was nothing he could do, so he just walked all day. When the sun rose, the streets were bright, and the people sneaked glances at the dirty Jang. Ashamed, he wandered through empty alleys. He walked all day and when night fell, once again he went in search for a place to sleep.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korea’s M&A pipeline already tops $20 bn to signal another hot year
South Korea’s M&A market remains hot after a record bumper year 2021, with already 25 trillion won ($20.9 billion) worth deals stocked in the pipeline for this year. According to multiple sources from the investment banking industry on Wednesday, valuation of M&A deals in the waiting tops 25 trillion won. Deals in the final making are Hanon Systems with estimated sales price of 7 trillion won to 8 trillion won, Hyundai LNG Shipping 1.5 trillion won to 2 trillion won, and EMK 1 trillion won. Others up for sale are Burger King (600 billion won), Daekyung O&T (400 billion won), and KG ETS (500 billion won).
The Carlyle Group buys 10% stake in Hyundai Glovis for $509 mn from owner family
Global investment firm The Carlyle Group has become the third-largest shareholder of Hyundai Glovis Co., the logistics unit of South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group, after it purchased 10 percent stake in the company for 611.3 billion won ($509.1 million) from the group’s honorary chairman Chung Mong-koo and his son and chief Chung Euisun. Hyundai Glovis said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that the junior Chung sold 3.29 percent of his 23.28 percent stake in the company and his father entire 6.71 percent. The divesture brings down the Chung family ownership in Hyundai Glovis to 19.99 percent.
S. Korea poised to legalize union representation in public enterprise board
South Korean public enterprises are readying to adopt a controversial mandate of seating a labor representative on their managing board despite strong protests from the business community about infringement in management sovereignty. The National Assembly Strategy and Finance Committee on Wednesday approved a revised public institution management act that enables labor representatives to join management boards of public entities despite the boycott of the main opposition conservative party. Representative Yoo Sung-kull of the People Power Party pointed that no country legally mandates labor representation in corporate management.
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