Thursday, March 3, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Yoon Suk-yeol, Ahn Cheol-soo agree on unification of candidates
Presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol of the main opposition People Power Party and Ahn Cheol-soo of the minor People Party announced the unification of candidates on the morning of March 3. Both sides have reached a unified agreement at the meeting took place early in the day.The two candidates held a press conference at the National Assembly's communication hall in Yeoui-do, Seoul and said, "We have decided to gather our will for a regime change, that is, a 'better regime change,' as the beginning of creating a better Republic of Korea."
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.’
Yoon, Ahn Agree to Unite Candidacies to Achieve Transfer of Power
Presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo of the minor People's Party dropped out of the race and endorsed Yoon Suk Yeol of the main opposition People Power Party(PPP), with less than a week until the election. The surprise announcement came four days after Yoon said Ahn had notified him of a collapse in negotiations to field a single candidate. With the agreement, the election next Wednesday will be a three-way race, including the ruling Democratic Party's Lee Jae-myung and Sim Sang-jung of the minor opposition Justice Party.
S. Korea's Per Capita Income Rises 10.3% in 2021
South Korea's per capita income rose over ten percent last year to surpass 35-thousand dollars on the back of the economic recovery and the local currency's appreciation against the U.S. dollar. According to tentative data by the Bank of Korea on Thursday, the country's gross national income(GNI) per capita came to 35-thousand-168 U.S. dollars in 2021, up ten-point-three percent from a year earlier. The GNI per capita is a nation's total income earned at home and abroad divided by its total population, and is widely considered an indicator of living standards.
UN Assembly Passes Resolution Condemning Russia's Invasion of Ukraine
South Korea and 140 other members of the United Nations voted for a resolution condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine and demanding an immediate withdrawal of Russian troops. The UN General Assembly passed the resolution during a special emergency session on Wednesday, with approval from 141 countries. Five countries – Russia, Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea and Syria – voted against the resolution while 35 abstained. The resolution said that the UN "deplores in the strongest terms" the aggression by Russia against Ukraine, demanding that Russia immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine and immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces.
Yoon, Ahn agree to merge candidacies on eve of early voting
Ahn Cheol-soo of the minor People's Party on Thursday dropped out of the presidential race and declared his support for main opposition candidate Yoon Suk-yeol following a surprise last-minute agreement to merge candidacies. The deal came on the eve of early voting ahead of the March 9 election and is expected to boost Yoon's chances in a tight race where he is running neck and neck with ruling party rival Lee Jae-myung of the liberal Democratic Party (DP) within the margin of error. "Both of us, Ahn Cheol-soo and Yoon Suk-yeol, agreed to combine our minds for a better change of the government," Ahn said during a joint news conference with Yoon of the conservative People Power Party (PPP).
Presidential candidates clash over welfare policies, gender issues in final TV debate
The four main presidential candidates squared off Wednesday over a range of social affairs, including welfare programs and gender issues, as they tried to woo voters in their final TV debate before the March 9 election. The two-hour debate featured Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party, Yoon Suk-yeol of the main opposition People Power Party, Ahn Cheol-soo of the centrist People's Party and Sim Sang-jeung of the progressive Justice Party.
BOK maintains 4 pct growth estimate for 2021, inches up Q4 estimate to 1.2 pct
South Korea's central bank maintained its earlier 2021 economic growth estimate Thursday but slightly increased its estimate for the fourth quarter, citing larger-than-expected exports. South Korea's economy grew 4 percent in 2021 after expanding 1.2 percent in the October-December period, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK). The 2021 growth rate remained unchanged from the BOK's earlier estimate on Jan. 25, but the fourth quarter figure was slightly higher than a projected rise of 1.1 percent.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
UN Assembly votes to demand that Russia stop war in Ukraine
The UN General Assembly voted at an emergency session Wednesday to demand an immediate halt to Moscow's attack on Ukraine and the withdrawal of all Russian troops, with sustained applause breaking out after a formidable show of support among the 193 member nations against the invasion. The vote on the "Aggression against Ukraine" resolution was 141-5, with 35 abstentions. It came as Russia bombarded Ukraine's second-largest city and besieged two important ports, and a huge convoy of Russian military vehicles was poised outside the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
Daily infections fall below 200,000 amid omicron's spread
South Korea's daily coronavirus cases fell below 200,000 Thursday, with health authorities staying on alert over the spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant. The country reported 198,803 new coronavirus infections, including 198,749 local cases, raising the total caseload to 3,691,488 according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). Daily infections surpassed 200,000 for the first time Wednesday, a day after the government suspended the enforcement of the vaccine pass system over the lack of staff handling the pandemic.
BOK maintains 4% growth estimate for 2021, inches up Q4 estimate to 1.2%
South Korea's central bank maintained its earlier 2021 economic growth estimate Thursday but slightly increased its estimate for the fourth quarter, citing larger-than-expected exports. South Korea's economy grew 4 percent in 2021 after expanding 1.2 percent in the October-December period, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).
The 2021 growth rate remained unchanged from the BOK's earlier estimate on Jan. 25, but the fourth quarter figure was slightly higher than a projected rise of 1.1 percent.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Ahn backs Yoon for presidency and drops out of race
Ahn Cheol-soo of the minor People's Party on Thursday dropped out of the presidential race and declared his support for main opposition candidate Yoon Suk-yeol following a surprise last-minute agreement to merge candidacies. The deal came on the eve of early voting ahead of the March 9 election and is expected to boost Yoon's chances in a tight race where he is running neck and neck with ruling party rival Lee Jae-myung of the Democratic Party within the margin of error. "Both of us, Ahn Cheol-soo and Yoon Suk-yeol, agreed to combine our minds for a better change of the government," Ahn said during a joint news conference with Yoon. "I, Ahn Cheol-soo, decided to support candidate Yoon Suk-yeol."
PM Kim tests positive for COVID-19 in rapid antigen test
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum tested positive for COVID-19 in a rapid antigen test, his office said Thursday. He is currently waiting for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result at his official residence, the office added. Kim reportedly felt symptoms of the virus after visiting Daegu on Monday to attend an event commemorating the 1960 democratic uprising in the city. Kim's Thursday schedule has been postponed, his office said.
Orion, Lotte, Paldo on edge over plants in Russia
Korean food companies that operate plants in Russia have been keeping a close eye on Moscow's war on Ukraine and the ensuing U.S.-led international sanctions as they fear the prolonged military conflict could adversely affect their business there, according to company officials and industry analysts Thursday. For now, their plants have been operating normally, the companies said, but they fear they may stop producing foodstuff and other products in Russia if the international community takes more measures against Moscow.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
S.Korea Belatedly Condemns N.Korean Missile Launch
South Korea has belatedly joined the international community in condemning North Korea's latest attention-seeking ballistic-missile launch. An official at the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday, "We took into consideration North Korea's repeated missile launches and the seriousness of the matter." The UN ambassadors of 11 countries including South Korea, France, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. issued a joint statement Monday that said, "This is the 10th ballistic missile launch so far this year, each one a violation of multiple Security Council resolutions."
Korea Gradually Returns to Normal Despite Infection Surge
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 Posts Trade Surplus in February
Korea posted a trade surplus last month after two consecutive months of deficit. Despite concerns over growing prices of imported goods, particularly energy imports, exports of semiconductors and petroleum products increased significantly, helping the trade balance to swing back into the black. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said on Tuesday exports totaled US$53.91 billion last month, up 20.6 percent on-year, while imports rose 25.1 percent to $53.07 billion, resulting in a surplus of $840 million. It was the first time February's exports have exceeded $50 billion, breaking the previous record of $46.3 billion set in February 2012.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Understanding China’s calculated stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
After Russian President Vladimir Putin made the unexpected decision to invade Ukraine on Feb. 24, China’s next steps have naturally been a subject of keen interest around the world. The triangular relationship between the three great powers of the US, China and Russia has defined the world during the 70-plus years since the end of World War II. Amid China’s fierce strategic competition with the US, will it side with Russia, condoning this overt act of aggression, or will it call for restraint in line with global trends? The answer to that question will surely have a decisive impact on the future of the world order.
Washington resurrects talk of two-war doctrine in nod to China
The White House coordinator for the Indo-Pacific remarked that the US will continue to deeply engage in two theaters of conflict simultaneously, brushing off concerns that the war in Ukraine will reduce US interests and influence in the Asia-Pacific region while putting China on notice. During a virtual forum hosted by the German Marshall Fund on Monday, White House official Kurt Campbell said the US simultaneously engaged in “two theaters” of conflict during World War II and the Cold War. On the practice of simultaneous engagement in two theaters, he said, “It’s difficult. It’s expensive. But it is also essential, and I believe that we’re entering a period where that is what will be demanded of the US and this generation of Americans.”
Record exports in February put S. Korean trade balance back into the black
After dipping into the red for two straight months in December and January, South Korea’s trade balance returned to a surplus in February. This was thanks to record-high exports that came despite the continued pandemic, rising raw material prices, and the deepening domestic and overseas uncertainties associated with the situation in Ukraine. Imports were also at an all-time high for a February. According to February export and import trend statistics shared by the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) on Tuesday, South Korea recorded a surplus of US$840 million in its trade balance for February. Exports totaled US$53.91 billion, up by 20.6% from the same month in 2021, while imports were calculated at US$53.07 billion, a rise of 25.1%.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Russia attacks civilian facilities including hospitals
Russian airborne troops entered Kharkiv, the second largest city of Ukraine, on Wednesday (local time), and attacked a local hospital, according to Ukraine’s security service. Residential areas, including a hospital in the city of Zhytomyr and an obstetrics and gynecology in another area near Kyiv, came under missile attack the previous day. The indiscriminate bombing of civilian facilities has been resulting in a large number of civilian casualties, including children.
Game industry mourns death of Nexon founder
Leaders of the IT industry and startups are mourning the death of Nexon founder Kim Jung-joo, posting messages of condolences on social media. Kim was known to have kept to himself, but friends treasured memories of the late entrepreneur as a supportive advisor and investor that helped friends and colleagues. Game players also gathered online to express condolences for creating and sharing memories. Park Jae-wook, the founder of startup VCNC and leader of car-sharing platform So Car, posted a Facebook message on Tuesday looking back when he first met Kim in 2015.
Russia suspected of using vacuum and cluster bombs
Suspicions have been raised that Russia used vacuum bombs and cluster bombs, weapons of mass destruction, on civilians. A vacuum bomb is a type of explosive that generates a high-temperature and high-pressure explosion, causing severe injuries to the respiratory system and thereby killing people. A cluster bomb, which contains smaller explosive submunitions, devastates the ground after firing from the air. These weapons are banned in most nations according to the Geneva Convention.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Kim Jung-ju, Founder of Nexon, Game Developer of The Kingdom of the Winds, Dies in Hawaii
Kim Jung-ju, the director of NXC who founded the game developer Nexon died at the age of 54. On March 1, NXC announced, “Kim, the director who founded Nexon died at the end of last month.” Reportedly, he died while residing in Hawaii. NXC said, “The family is devastated, so please understand that we cannot disclose the details,” and explained, “However, the late director had been receiving treatment for depression. We only regret that his condition appears to have deteriorated recently.” The company added, “We ask that you understand the wishes of the family to quietly send off the late director.”
Mixed Poll Results: Yoon Seok-youl Ahead in ARS Survey, Lee Jae-myung Ahead in Phone Interviews
In a survey of presidential candidates and voter support conducted by the Korea Society Opinion Institute (KSOI), the results were mixed for Democratic Party of Korea candidate Lee Jae-myung and People Power Party candidate Yoon Seok-youl, depending on the survey method. When respondents were asked their views on their mobile phones, more voiced their support for Lee, but when asked using an automated response system (ARS), more people stood behind Yoon.
Upon the request from TBS, KSOI conducted a survey of one thousand adult men and women nationwide on February 25-26 and asked who they supported for president using the automated response system.
North Korea States Position on Ukraine for the First Time, Criticizing the U.S. with No Mention of “Invasion”
North Korea spoke on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for the first time three days after the first attack. North Korea defended Russia and criticized the United States. However, Pyongyang did not specifically mention the details of Russia’s invasion and did not voice its views in an official statement released by the government, but instead released a comment by a researcher at the Society for International Politics Studies, implying the North’s complicated calculations behind the latest incident. On February 26, the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs released on its website a post arguing that the U.S. should not tear down the foundation of international peace and stability in the name of Ri Ji-song, a researcher at the Society for International Politics Studies.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Hyundai Motor earmarks $80 bn to bulk up electric fleet to 1.87 mn by 2030
South Korea’s top automaker Hyundai Motor Co. will spend 95.5 trillion won ($79.4 billion) through 2030 to establish additional EV-designated platforms and production lines to turn out 17 full-electric sedan models. Under electrification roadmap unveiled by Hyundai Motor Wednesday at “2022 CEO Investor Day” forum held online, the automaker will aim to bolster annual global EV sales to 840,000 units by 2026 and 1.87 million units by 2030 from current 140,000 units. The expansion will help raise Hyundai Motor’s market share in global EVs from 3 percent last year to 7 percent in 2030.
Online butcher Jeongyookgak in talks to buy organic grocery chain Chorok Maeul
Jeongyookgak, a fast-growing online butcher in South Korea, is in exclusive talks to acquire Chorok Maeul, a local unlisted organic grocery chain with some 470 stores across the nation, at about 100 billion won ($82.74 million). Jeongyookgak known for its direct distribution of slaughtered meat from farms to consumers was recently chosen by Chorok Maeul’s owner Daesang Holdings as a preferred bidder over rivals such as Emart Everyday, Kurly, and Barogo, according to sources on Wednesday.
Seoul mulling independent sanctions on Russia to earn exclusion in US FDPR sanction
South Korea plans to impose unilateral trade and financial restrictions on Russia while negotiating to exclude Korean shipments in the U.S. sweeping export controls under the Foreign Direct Product Rule (FDPR) affecting finished goods made with technologies and materials of U.S. origin. According to Korea`s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Tuesday, Minister Yeo Han-koo will fly to the United States on Thursday to meet with high-level officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce to argue for Korean exclusion in the FDPR.
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