Monday, February 28, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
KPMA, British Embassy to hold Korea-UK Life Sciences Webinar
The Korea Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (KPMA), led by Chairman Won Hee-mok, announced on Feb. 25 that it will hold a "Korea-UK Life Sciences Webinar" jointly with the British Embassy in Korea from 4:30 p.m. on March 8. The event will be held through ZOOM for domestic pharmaceutical bio-industry officials interested in entering the UK pharmaceutical market. Each presentation is organized in the form of a pre-recording and provides Korean subtitles, and in the subsequent question-and-answer session, speakers participate in real-time to communicate with domestic companies.
Pyunkang Korean Medicine Hospital director invites envoys, spouses to a brief lecture
Director Seo Hyo-seok of Pyunkang Korean Medicine Hospital in Seoul is inviting the ambassadors and their spouses to an introductory meeting of Oriental medicine to help them stay away from the fast-spreading COVID diseases which claimed a total of new cases totaling 171,452 persons on Feb. 23, 2022. The date/time of invitation is 2 p.m. Thursday March 17, 2022. According to Director Suh, ‘Pyunkang-Tang’ developed and supplied by Pyunkang Korean Medicine Hospital is a clear and clean herbal medicine prepared by mixing various medicinal materials. People have self-healing ability to protect their bodies.
“Sri Lanka maintains most affable, genial ties with Korea in all spheres”
Charge d’Affaires Nilanthi K. Pelawathathage of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Seoul said, “Sri Lanka maintains most affable and genial bilateral relations, in all spheres with the Republic of Korea not only since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1977 but also since many decades ago.”
In a recent interview with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985, CDA Pelawathathage said, “This was hinged mostly on trade, popularly known as ‘Silk Route’ since Sri Lanka is strategically located in the midst of Indian Ocean.’
N. Korea Says It Conducted Important Test for Developing Reconnaissance Satellite
North Korea said on Monday that it conducted an "important test for the development of a reconnaissance satellite" the previous day. The North's official Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) said that the National Aerospace Development Administration and the Academy of Defense Science conducted the test on Sunday. The KCNA said the test helped confirm the working accuracy of a high definition photographing system, data transmission system and attitude control devices "by conducting vertical and oblique photographing of a specific area on earth with cameras to be loaded on the reconnaissance satellite." It added the test is of great significance in developing the reconnaissance satellite.
Putin Puts Russia's Nuclear Forces on Alert
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russia's nuclear deterrent forces on alert as the West imposed a series of sanctions over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Putin said in a televised statement on Sunday that he ordered his defense minister and the chief of the military’s General Staff to put the nuclear deterrent forces in a “special regime of combat duty.” The nuclear deterrent forces refer to the Strategic Rocket Forces and other units that control Russian nuclear arms such as the intercontinental ballistic missiles. Putin issued the order in response to what he called "aggressive statements" by leading NATO powers.
KBS Presidential Poll: Lee, Yoon Tied at 39.8%
With about ten days until the presidential election, a new poll shows that the ruling Democratic Party's Lee Jae-myung and main opposition People Power Party's Yoon Suk Yeol are in a tie. The KBS poll, conducted from Thursday to Saturday, asked two-thousand adults which candidate they would vote for if the election was held the next day. In the hypothetical race, Lee and Yoon both received 39-point-eight percent, each. Sim Sang-jung of the progressive Justice Party won three-point-one percent, while Ahn Cheol-soo of the minor opposition People's Party secured eight-point-two percent.
N. Korea claims to have conducted test to develop 'reconnaissance satellite' seen as missile launch
North Korea claimed Monday to have carried out an "important test" for developing a "reconnaissance satellite" despite South Korea's characterization of it as a ballistic missile launch. Sunday's test came amid concerns the North could fire a long-range rocket under the disguise of a satellite launch or conduct other provocative acts following its veiled threat last month to suspend its voluntary moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests.
S. Korea set for talks with U.S. over joining sanctions on Russia
South Korea will have talks with the United States early next month over joining Washington in export sanctions on Moscow following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the finance ministry here said Sunday. The ministry said it reached the decision following a meeting of its task force on the war in Ukraine, adding its upcoming discussions with the U.S. will cover the process of joining sanctions and export controls against Russia.
Yoon says Ahn rejected candidacy merger deal
Main opposition presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol said Sunday his campaign came close to a deal on merging candidacies with Ahn Cheol-soo of the minor People's Party in overnight talks, but Ahn ultimately rejected the deal for unclear reasons. Despite the rejection, Yoon of the People Power Party said he will continue to wait for Ahn's response to his calls for fielding a unified opposition candidate in the March 9 presidential election in order to meet people's yearning for a change of government. "I will not give up hope for opposition unification," Yoon told a press conference.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Yoon Suk-yeol pursues ‘peace through strength’ on the Korean Peninsula
Presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol of the main opposition People Power Party seeks to establish “peace through power” on the Korean Peninsula, which is the guiding principle of his security and defense strategy.“Peace cannot be kept without strength,” retired Army Lt. Gen. Kim Yong-hyun, who advises Yoon on defense and security policy and previously served as chief director of operations at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told The Korea Herald.
Yoon makes eleventh-hour merger plea to Ahn Cheol-soo
Presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol of the main opposition People Power Party on Sunday made a public proposal for a one-on-one negotiation with Ahn Cheol-soo of the minor opposition People’s Party to unify candidacies, while revealing that the last-minute efforts he had so far made were rejected by Ahn.“Until this time, I have been doing my best for candidacy unification with Ahn Cheol-soo, with a sincere attitude,” Yoon said in a press conference Sunday.
Market regulators, banks mull Ukraine contingencies
South Korea’s financial regulators have begun drafting contingency arrangements, such as ramping up market monitoring and readying market stabilization funds, to grapple with the impact of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, which has led the local stock market to shed 162 trillion won ($134 billion) over the last two months.“At alert level 2, we’re keeping an eye on the stock market and prepared to deploy our resources, should it need our intervention,” a source with knowledge of the matter said, referring to the Financial Services Commission, which raised its level to second-highest of four stages in January.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Presidential race enters final stretch with no overwhelming frontrunner
The presidential race has entered its final stretch with none of the candidates taking an overwhelming lead. A single opposition candidacy deal between main opposition People Power Party (PPP) presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol and People's Party presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo fell through Sunday, but Yoon said he is willing to meet Ahn and will continue to wait for his response to achieve a change of government. The rupture in the candidacy merger deal came as the two leading candidates, Lee Jae-myung of the ruling liberal Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) and Yoon of the PPP, are still in a neck-and-neck race in many opinion polls, with just 10 days left ahead of the March 9 election.
Ukraine crisis casts dark cloud over Korea's growth, inflation
The Korean economy is facing growing risks as the escalating Ukraine-Russia conflict leads to a surge in prices of international oil and raw materials, which will deal a lasting blow to both inflation and the growth of Asia's fourth-largest economy, according to analysts Sunday. Entering its fourth day, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is underway in multiple areas, spawning fears that the large-scale assault could drag on for months and further affect the prices of oil and other raw materials. This is likely to weigh further on forecasts of Korea's economic growth and consumer prices, as most projections were made before Russia's threat of war or did not take into account the possibility of the assault growing into a full-scale conflict.
Korea's Ukrainian residents condemn Russia's invasion
Ukrainians residing in Korea condemned Russia's invasion of their country and appealed for active support from the Korean government and people, Sunday. About 200 Ukrainians held a rally near the Russian Embassy in Seoul and said that the Ukrainian community in Korea strongly condemns Russia's attack on Ukraine and is deeply concerned about the threats to civilians. "It has been four days since Russia's outrageous invasion on Ukraine took place in the heart of Europe in the 21st century. Since Nazi Germany's assault in 1941, the most horrific thing has been happening in the capital," a Ukrainian protester said.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Koreans Diversify Foreign Stockholdings
Koreans invested in more than 24,000 different foreign stocks last year, more than double the number of five years ago as individual investors became savvier. According to the Korea Securities Depository, retail investors here owned shares in 24,602 foreign companies last year, up 3,947 from a year earlier and 2.2 times more compared to 2016. But although retail investors are diversifying, most of their money is still parked in U.S. stocks, rising from 90.1 percent of the US$19.7 billion they owned in 2020 to 96.7 percent last year. The number of countries whose stocks they dabbled in actually fell from 36 in 2016 to 35 last year.
Hyundai, Kia Sweep Top Safety Honors in U.S.
Hyundai and affiliate Kia have received top safety ratings for nearly two dozen of their vehicle models from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The carmakers said Thursday that 11 models earned the highest Top Safety Pick+ rating and 10 models the lower Top Safety Pick rating. Among the 11 models are Hyundai's Tucson small SUV, Palisade and Santa Fe midsize SUVs, and Nexo midsize luxury SUV, as well as the entire lineup of its premium Genesis brand -- G70, G80, G90, GV70 and GV80. Kia's K5 midsize sedan and Stinger large sedan were also included.
Korea Warned of Greater Dependence on China
Business experts on Wednesday warned that Korea's efforts to bring home the production of parts and equipment could paradoxically end up increasing its dependence on China, which controls the global supply of raw materials. Korea has been seeking to localize the production of materials, components and equipment since Japan curbed exports of key semiconductor materials over a historic spat. "Instead of excluding imports from a particular country, the government should diversify global supply chains," said one expert. Korea is already heavily dependent on China for battery and semiconductor materials and needs to prepare for uncertainties in the escalating cold war between the U.S. and China.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: The first fire of a global new Cold War?
As signs of an imminent war in Ukraine became more evident, the United Nations Security Council convened on Wednesday night in New York for its second emergency meeting regarding the crisis. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Russian President Vladimir Putin in a desperate tone to hold off on war, saying, “If indeed an operation is being prepared, I’ve only one thing to say from the bottom of my heart. President Putin, stop your troops from attacking Ukraine. Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died.” Nevertheless, Putin soon announced a “special military operation” around 6 am on Thursday, signaling the start of a war in Ukraine.
Massive masked rallies and the dilemmas of campaigning in a pandemic
As an icy wind whipped across Cheonggye Plaza in Seoul at noon on Feb. 17, a 68-year-old passerby surnamed Kim paused to look at the electronic signboard on a campaign bus, a few steps back from the crowd of onlookers. More than 1,500 people had gathered, according to an estimate by the ruling Democratic Party, to hear a stump speech by their presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung.“It’s worrying to see so many people gathered together when there are apparently 100,000 confirmed [daily] cases [of COVID-19]. That’s why I’m trying to keep a little distance as I watch,” Kim explained.
Race tightening as Yoon Suk-yeol leads Lee Jae-myung 41.9% to 40.5%
The results of a recent public opinion poll show that the two leading presidential candidates, Lee Jae-myung of the Democratic Party and Yoon Suk-yeol of the People Power Party, are neck in neck in the race to become South Korea’s next president. A Realmeter survey of 2,038 voters nationwide was conducted from Sunday through Wednesday. It found Yoon slightly leading Lee, with the two candidates polling 41.9% and 40.5%, respectively. The survey was commissioned by OhmyNews and had a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
U.S. decides to ban some Russian banks from SWIFT
Russia launched an all-out offense by resuming large-scale attacks and street battles to take Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, on Sunday, three days after it first invaded Ukraine. Russia opened fire in Kyiv indiscriminately, demanding Ukraine’s surrender. As Ukraine refused, Russia deployed half of its military force on borders to Ukraine. The Russian force also entered Kharkiv, the second-largest city of Ukraine in the northeastern region of the country. The Russian force began to destroy major infrastructure, such as oil and gas pipes, across Ukraine, including near Kyiv. The U.S. and Ukraine said Russia’s activities have slowed down as the Ukrainian force fought back desperately.
Lee apologizes for his remarks on Ukrainian president
Lee Jae-myung, the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party of Korea, apologized on Saturday that the misunderstanding caused to the Ukrainian people unintended by him was due to the lack of his ability to express himself well. On the Friday TV debate, he said that the novice Ukrainian president with six months of experience in politics provoked Russia, which led to conflicts. Lee apologized a day later as heavy criticism followed both domestically and internationally.
Gasoline price hits 1739.8 won per liter
The average gasoline price has risen for six consecutive weeks to hit 1,740 won (about 1.44 U.S. dollars) per liter in Korea. Analysts say that as international oil prices continue to jump in the wake of Russia’s invasion into Ukraine, the oil tax discount by the South Korean government, which was set to terminate end-April, will more likely be extended by another three months. According to Korea National Oil Corporation’s oil price information service Opinet, the average price of gasoline stood at 1,739.8 won (1.44 dollars) per liter at gas stations nationwide.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum, “The Omicron Wave Will Peak in Mid-March with Around 250,000 Daily Cases”
On February 25, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said, “It (the omicron wave) will peak in mid-March, and we expect the figures to probably reach somewhere around 250,000.” This day, the prime minister presided over a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters in response to COVID-19 at the government office in Seoul. In the meeting, the prime minister said, “The people probably want to know when the omicron wave will peak and how high the numbers will be,” and conveyed the opinion of experts. He said, “We expect to reach the peak sooner than expected,” and added, “Although we do not know when it will be, one thing is clear. We are closely approaching the peak of omicron.”
Rhyu Si-min, “Strange Election with Traditional Boundaries Collapsing. Lee Has a Sharp Mind, Yoon Has No Strengths”
On February 24, Rhyu Si-min, former chairman of the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation, shared mixed assessments on the strengths of Democratic Party of Korea’s presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung, and the People Power Party’s candidate Yoon Seok-youl. He described Lee as “intelligent with a sharp mind,” and Yoon as a person “with no strengths.” He also described the upcoming presidential election as one where traditional boundaries were collapsing making it harder for voters to decide. And he was uncertain as to the outcome of the election. This day, Rhyu Si-min appeared on the MBC TV show, News and More (News Oijeon) and spoke on the presidential candidates Lee Jae-myung and Yoon Seok-youl. He said, “First of all, they are not model figures. I mean they are a type of candidate that we’ve never seen before. They move across boundaries.” He then shared a brief review saying, “Everything is unusual, and it really is a strange election.”
Song Young-gil, “A Constitutional Amendment for National Integration” Introducing a 4-Year Presidential Term with the Possibility of a Second Term and a Two-Round System
On February 24, Song Young-gil, leader of the Democratic Party of Korea suggested changes to make the nation’s power structure more democratic with a constitutional amendment for national integration, which would introduce the mixed-member proportional representation and proportional representation based on regions for parliamentary seats, a four-year presidential term along with a chance at a second term, and a two-round system in the presidential election. This morning at the party office in Yeouido, Seoul, Song held a press conference announcing his suggestions for political reforms in pursuit of national integration and shared these details.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korean firms from manufacturing to service fret impact from sanctions on Russia
South Korean electronics and components makers, traders, and automakers scramble to assess potential damage from West-led sanctions on Russia for full-scale invasion of Ukraine. According to an analysis by Korea CXO Research Institute on Friday, 16 out of 72 business groups in Korea including Samsung and Hyundai Motor operate 53 corporate entities in Russia and 41 in Ukraine.
Hyundai all-electric cars perform better than Tesla on mileage and battery charge in Korea
Contrary to its publicity, Tesla sedans perform inferior to Hyundai Motor’s all-electric cars in terms of mileage on the roads of South Korea with distinctive hot and cold climate as well as battery recharge, government study showed. According to a study by the Ministry of Environment on Thursday, Tesla Model 3 Long Range model was capable of driving up to 528km on a single charge at room temperature (25 degrees Celsius), the longest among 18 models subject to the government subsidy in Korea. Tesla Model Y Long Range version came second with 511km.
KEPCO slips to record loss of near $5 bn ’21 that may double this year
The state-owned Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) last year delivered record operating loss of 5.9 trillion won ($4.9 billion), but the going is to get tougher from energy crisis worsening from Russian invasion of Ukraine with the red projected to become twice bigger this year. KEPCO in a regulatory filing on Thursday reported an operating loss of 5.86 trillion won last year in a staggering reversal from a profit of 4.09 trillion won in 2020. The red has been bigger than the market estimated 5.1 trillion won and more than doubling its last biggest loss of 2.8 trillion won in 2008.
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