Friday, January 21, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Mongolia gives COVID-19 vaccine to 66.6% of her population
Mongolia has begun to administer the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine nationwide on a voluntary basis starting from January 7, 2022, According to the Embassy of Mongolia on January20 this year, currently, 66.6 percent of the population has received two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 28.7 percent have had the third or booster shot. Mongolia has started a vaccination campaign immediately after the outbreak and is one of the leading countries in the world with high rates of vaccination. As a result, the country was able to withstand the recurring waves of coronavirus with minimal damage without imposing strict quarantine measures. In Mongolia, mortality from coronavirus is several times lower than in developed countries. As the Omicron variant is spreading rapidly worldwide, Mongolia pursuing a strategy to overcome the new wave by administering the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to the entire population, as well as by administering the fourth dose on a voluntary basis. The strategy also avoids imposing strict quarantine measures.
“Iran offers low-cost energy opportunities, young and active manpower”
Question: As the head of the Commercial-Economic activities at your Embassy, please introduce yourself fully. Answer: It is my great pleasure to introduce myself. My name is Hassan Molla Jafari and I am Deputy Head of Mission and First Counselor (in charge of economic affairs) of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Before my term of office as First Counselor of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Korea I served as the Second Counsellor (economic affairs) in Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Ankara, Turkey from 2012-2014 and First Secretary (economic affairs), Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 2009-2011 and Expert at Economic Affairs Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran.
"We congratulate the 60th anniversary of Korea-Nicaragua diplomatic relations”
"Korea and Nicaragua mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations on Jan. 26, 2022. To celebrate this diplomatic occasion, I sincerely congratulate this day with an anniversary logo decorated with chrysanthemums and symbolic butterflies, meaning friendship and happiness between the Republic of Korea and Nicaraguan people," Ambassador Rodrigo Coronel Kinloch of Nicaragua in Seoul said on Jan. 18. In sending a congratulatory message and a commemorative logo to The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985, Ambassador Cornel Kinloch said, "I deeply appreciate the creation of such a great friendship and hope that a more prosperous and friendly relationship will continue between the beloved Republic of Korea and Nicaragua people.
Moon, Egyptian President Agree to Make Joint Efforts to Complete K-9 Deal
President Moon Jae-in held a summit with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Thursday for talks on cooperation between the two nations in defense and transportation. Moon's trip marks the second visit to the African country by a South Korean president and the first since 2006. In the summit, the two leaders discussed negotiations for South Korea's export of K-9 self-propelled howitzers to Egypt. After the summit, President Moon said in a joint statement that the two leaders agreed that the ongoing negotiations for the K-9 deal will contribute greatly to strengthening the Egyptian military’s capabilities. Additionally, the technology cooperation and local production of the howitzer will be a model case of mutual cooperation.
Report: China, Russia Block UN Sanctions on N. Koreans
China and Russia have reportedly blocked a U.S. bid to impose UN sanctions on North Korea. According to Reuters and AFP, China and Russia delayed a U.S. bid to slap UN sanctions on five North Koreans who are allegedly responsible for the North's missile development. Last week, the U.S. imposed unilateral sanctions on six North Koreans, one Russian and a Russian firm after a series of missile launches by the North. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield proposed five of them also be subjected to a UN travel ban and asset freeze. The proposal required agreement by consensus by the Security Council's five permanent members and ten non-permanent members.
Poll: Presidential Candidates Lee, Yoon in Neck-and-Neck Race
With less than 50 days until the March presidential election, a new poll shows ruling Democratic Party's Lee Jae-myung and main opposition People Power Party's Yoon Suk Yeol in a fierce neck-and-neck race within the margin of error. The KBS poll, conducted from Monday to Wednesday, asked one-thousand people which candidate they would vote for if the election was held the next day. In the hypothetical race, Lee received 34-point-five percent, while Yoon garnered 33 percent, narrowing the gap which was as large as over ten percentage points in the previous poll earlier this month.
Moon, Egyptian leader to make joint efforts for K-9 howitzer deal
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday he will make joint efforts with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for the conclusion of negotiations for a deal to sell Seoul's K-9 self-propelled howitzers to the African state. Moon made the remarks during a joint announcement on the conclusion of his talks with the Egyptian president, raising hopes for another K-9 howitzer export deal, following a 1.9-trillion won contract signed during Moon's visit to Australia last month. The two leaders agreed that a deal on K-9 howitzers is "an achievement of defense cooperation based on mutual trust between the two nations and K9 self-propelled artillery greatly contributes to enhancing the Egyptian military's power," Moon said.
U.S., 7 other nations urge full implementation of N. Korea sanctions
The United States and seven other members of the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday called on all U.N. members to fully implement UNSC sanctions on North Korea. The call came after China blocked a U.S. proposal to impose additional U.N. sanctions against the North for conducting at least four missile launches since the start of the year. "We also call on all member states to implement Security Council resolutions, to which the Security Council unanimously agreed, and which calls on the DPRK to abandon its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner," said the joint statement, delivered by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield on behalf of her counterparts from Albania, Brazil, Britain, France, Ireland, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
Presidential candidates denounce North Korea's threat of weapons tests
South Korea's major presidential candidates slammed North Korea on Thursday after Pyongyang threatened to consider resuming nuclear and long-range missile tests. Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party expressed "strong regret" and urged the regime to halt all actions that could make the situation worse. "I ask our government to be clear and firm so that North Korea does not miscalculate the situation and make the wrong move," he wrote on Facebook. "At the same time, make continued efforts for dialogue for the easing of tensions and denuclearization."
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
US, 7 other nations urge full implementation of N. Korea sanctions
WASHINGTON -- The United States and seven other members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday called on all UN members to fully implement UNSC sanctions on North Korea. The call came after China blocked a US proposal to impose additional UN sanctions against the North for conducting at least four missile launches since the start of the year. "We also call on all member states to implement Security Council resolutions, to which the Security Council unanimously agreed, and which calls on the DPRK to abandon its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner," said the joint statement, delivered by US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield on behalf of her counterparts from Albania, Brazil, Britain, France, Ireland, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
End-of-war declaration ‘meaningless’ if no progress on NK denuclearization: US lawmaker
US Rep. Gregory Meeks, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed support for South Korea’s proposal to declare a formal end to the Korean War, but stressed that the declaration on its own is “meaningless” if Pyongyang is reluctant to talk or makes no progress toward denuclearization.“I commend the Biden and Moon administrations for taking steps to engage North Korea and urge North Korea to return to the negotiating table,” Meeks said in a statement released Wednesday. “Although I’m supportive of an end of war declaration as part of a comprehensive process and talks, a declaration on its own is meaningless if North Korea is unwilling to engage in talks, is making no progress towards denuclearization, and is actively threatening and endangering US allies and regional stability.”
2022 economy faces downside risks: finance minister
SEJONG -- The nation’s economy is heading toward uncertain territory due to a variety of factors at home and abroad which could restrict its growth, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki on Thursday. In a meeting for economic policies at the Government Complex Seoul, Hong cited three main factors-- quarantine, external factors and fiscal situation -- that may weigh on the growth of gross domestic product. He clarified that the government would push for main policies -- including supporting microbusiness owners, stabilizing consumer prices and supporting economic recovery -- during the first half of 2022. The incumbent administration is to finish its tenure on May 9.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Korea, Egypt to begin joint study on free trade deal
CAIRO ― President Moon Jae-in and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi held a summit, Thursday (local time), and exchanged their views on future-oriented and sustainable bilateral cooperation. The summit drew keen attention on whether the two countries would reach a deal on Korea's exports of K-9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers to Egypt. Although there was no announcement of a deal, Moon kept a positive note on K-9 exports, citing the two countries' recognition of the benefits of the pact.
1st Indian twin priests ordained in Korea hope to help needy in both countries
It is not a simple road to become a Catholic priest in Korea, as it is in many other countries. To be ordained into the priesthood, men need to spend at least a decade in seminary training. Seminarians undertake bachelor's and master's degrees at Catholic universities to learn requisite skills, engage in volunteer activities and also mandatory military service. After the completion of these duties, various facets of the individual such as faith and personality are taken into consideration before ordination. Due to the difficult process, about 30 percent of priestal candidates in Korea reportedly drop out. The country has two cardinals, 40 bishops and 5,538 priests according to 2020 data from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK). Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk died on April. 27, last year.
Hyundai Samho's IPO plan angers investors in parent firm
Minority shareholders of Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) are furious after the company reaffirmed its earlier plan to go public with one of its subsidiaries, Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries, this year, according to industry analysts, Thursday. The shareholders saw the KSOE stock prices plunge when another subsidiary, Hyundai Heavy Industries, was listed on the main KOSPI last September. According to a report from Daishin Securities, KSOE Vice Chairman and CEO Ka Sam-hyun told local securities analysts Tuesday that Hyundai Samho will go public as planned, despite the recent failure in its attempt to acquire Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Vaccine Pass Plans Crumble
The government's plans for mandatory COVID vaccine passes are crumbling one by one. Now the exemption, which already applies to larger stores, has been expanded to those who refuse a second jab or booster because they experienced severe side effects from their first shot, whether the link has been proven or not. It will take effect next week, the government said Wednesday. Early this week the vaccine pass mandate was lifted for superstores and department stores in Seoul after a court suspended it citing "excessive restrictions." The court said that infection risks in those shops are lower than in other crowded places like cafés and restaurants, where users do not keep their masks on. Currently exempted from the vaccine pass mandate are those whose second vaccination has been postponed or suspended after they experienced a proven adverse side effect from the first dose;
U.S. Condemns N.Korea's Recent Missile 'Attacks'
The U.S. has condemned a series of North Korea's recent missile "attacks" and asked for a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss fresh sanctions. In an interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, "We will continue to ramp up the pressure on the North Koreans. Their attacks are a violation of Security Council resolutions." The term is much stronger than the usual "provocations" the North is accused of. "We had an intense discussion about this in the Security Council [last week], and we're likely to have another such discussion over the course of this week," she added.
Hyundai, Kia Pass BMW in European Auto Market
Hyundai and affiliate Kia have climbed one spot to fourth place in the European car market to claim it from BMW. The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association said Tuesday the combined share of Hyundai and Kia in Europe last year was 8.7 percent, a record high. The automakers sold more than 1 million cars together, up more than 21 percent on-year, despite a 1.5-percent contraction in European vehicle sales overall. Among their best-selling models were Hyundai's Tucson with some 147,000 cars sold and Kia's Ceed with 135,000 cars. The best-selling eco-friendly model was Kia's Niro with around 89,000 cars. Volkswagen topped the market, followed by Stellantis and Groupe Renault.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Construction of collapsed Gwangju apartment was 2 months behind schedule
Framework construction on the 39th floor of the apartment building that partially collapsed in Gwangju, leaving one worker dead and five still missing, began around two months behind the schedule set by the contractor, HDC Hyundai Development Company, it has been learned. This has lent credence to speculation that the concrete placement was conducted recklessly in below-freezing temperatures due to the time pressure. An examination of the construction schedule for the two Hwajeong Ipark complexes in a review report showed that framework construction for the 39th floor of the 201 block — referring to the pouring of concrete after rebar placement — was supposed to be completed in early November.
Is dumping contaminated Fukushima water our best option?
Last November, the Tokyo Electric Power Company published a radiological impact assessment on its plan to release contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The report stated that if the concentration of 62 radionuclides in the contaminated water is lowered below the accepted limit using the Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS, and if tritium is diluted with water and released at a lower concentration, local residents will only be exposed to a very small amount of radiation. But is releasing the contaminated water into the ocean really our best option? TEPCO’s report overlooks several important issues.
Countless ties to heterodox figures cast shadow over Yoon’s campaign
Associations with shamanism continue to be a source of controversy for People Power Party (PPP) presidential nominee Yoon Suk-yeol and his wife Kim Keon-hee. Since the primary, Yoon and Kim have faced accusations of consorting frequently with figures who bill themselves as Buddhist “monks” and “priests” and seeking their advice at crucial times. Yoon’s longtime associations with a fortune-teller also come up in the recordings of seven hours of telephone conversations between Kim and a journalist which were partially released this week.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
S. Korea, U.S. detect signs of North Korean military parade
Signs of North Korean military parade have been detected by the intelligence authorities of South Korea and the U.S. North Korea fired tactical guided missiles at the dawn of the new year, making a series of provocations. The intelligence authorities are closely monitoring the situation with a focus on the signs of military parade to mark the 80th birthday of the regime’s former leader Kim Jong Il, which is February 16. According to the South Korean military authority on Thursday, its reconnaissance satellite captured images of a large number of soldiers and weapons gathering and marching near the Mirim airfield in Pyongyang, which Seoul and Washington consider as a rehearsal for military parade.
Hyundai Motor to develop next-gen battery with quantum computer
Hyundai Motor Company announced on Thursday that it would cooperate with U.S.-based quantum computing company IonQ to develop next-generation batteries with better efficiency and stability. Quantum computers have computing speed several million times faster than the highest performing supercomputers available now. They can perform a quantum simulation to calculate complex molecular structures and chemical reactions. It garners attention as a core technology of the future to resolve unsolved issues in battery materials, new drug development, and aerospace.
British prime minister’s leadership is at risk
The ruling Conservative Party of Britain has been embroiled in a growing internal conflict among its party members since British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership was put at risk of being ousted due to his involvement in a series of parties held in his official residence during the COVID-19 lockdown, a.k.a. ‘partygate.’ The British prime minister lost face when a Conservative lawmaker told him in person to step down. Another Conservative member walked to the opposition Labour Party’s side saying that he will join the opposition party right in front of Prime Minister Johnson at the British Parliament.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
“Completely Reconsider Trust in the U.S.” North Korea Hints at Plans to Resume Nuclear and ICBM Tests
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) hinted at intentions to resume its nuclear and missile tests claiming it would reconsider its preemptive measures to establish trust with the U.S. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) announced on January 20 that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended the sixth Political Bureau Meeting of the eighth Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, listened to a report of the situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula and international affairs, and discussed the direction of North Korea’s future response to the U.S. The North Korean state media reported, “The Political Bureau Meeting relisted national defense policy tasks to promptly strengthen and develop stronger physical means to firmly overpower hostile actions against the DPRK by the U.S., which are becoming more intense every day.”
Hong Joon-pyo Meets Yoon Seok-youl, “I Will Join the Election Campaign as a Senior Advisor If Two Issues Are Resolved”
On January 19, People Power Party lawmaker Hong Joon-pyo announced that he would join the election campaign of the party’s presidential candidate, Yoon Seok-youl, under a couple of conditions. This day, Hong wrote on his communication platform, Youth Dream, and said, “While having dinner with Yoon for two and a half hours this evening, I made two requests,” and added, “If these two issues are resolved, I will join the election campaign as a senior advisor.” He went on to describe his two requests. “First, I would like him to take measures that can guarantee his ability to manage state affairs and ease the public’s concern. Second, I would like him to declare to the nation stern legal action against the corruption in his wife’s family.”
A Firefighter Gets off with a Warning after Sharing Nude Video Captured During Rescue Operation
A firefighter dispatched to a rescue site downloaded a video of the person he rescued, who was lying down naked at the time, from a wearable camera onto his cell phone and later shared the video with a colleague. The firefighter was referred to the disciplinary board at the fire station, but only received a warning for his action. Fire stations introduced wearable cameras to prevent violence against rescue workers, but experts point out that the latest incident occurred because fire authorities had no guidelines on the operation and management of the videos captured on site, including editing and distribution. According to the coverage by the Kyunghyang Shinmun on January 18, A, a rescue worker in the field response team of the Seoul Jungbu Fire Station, was dispatched to a multiplex housing in downtown Seoul last August following a report that the caller’s family, B, could not be contacted.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
South Korea’s EV subsidies for 2022 to be cut
The price of electric vehicles in South Korea may rise this year as the government has decided to downsize subsidies on EV purchases, effective as early as this month. According to the Ministry of Environment and industry sources on Thursday, only EV models costing 55 million won ($46,000) or less will be eligible for 100 percent of the central government subsidy, down from the current ceiling of 60 million won or less. This means that EVs that fall between 55 million won and 60 million won will only receive about half of what was received last year. For example, purchasers of Genesis GV60 whose base price starts from 59.9 million won will receive a 3.5 million won subsidy, not 8 million won.
PEFs sweep 85% of Korea’s major M&A deals last year, readies more this year
Private equity firms were involved in 17 out of 20 biggest South Korean M&A deals, helping to push the M&A market to a record-high last year, and are gearing up for more this year, study showed. Their share behind big M&As rose to 85 percent last year, compared with 80 percent in 2020 and 65 percent in 2019, according to Maeil Business Newspaper’s joint study with management consulting company Bain & Company on Wednesday. The top 20 deals include minority stake trade. MBK Partners, a Seoul-based PEF, topped the list upon selling Doosan Machine Tools to DTR Automotive for 2.5 trillion won ($2.1 billion). American global investment firm KKR ascended with its purchase of 2.4 trillion won worth of newly issued redeemable convertible shares from Korean energy firm SK E&S.
SK hynix celebrates 10th year as SK family with epic success story
Over the 10 years SK hynix has become a part of SK Group, the chipmaker has turned around nicely as the world’s third largest in terms of sale after Samsung Electronics and Intel and the most important flagship for the conglomerate that helped transformation from energy and wireless to a global IT components and materials powerhouse. February 14 marks the 10th anniversary since the former Hyundai unit Hynix Semiconductor joined the SK family at a cost of modest 3.5 trillion won ($2.9 billion). SK would not have imagined the chipmaker would become the second most expensive Korean company with market cap at 90 trillion won.
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