Friday, March 4, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Hyundai Steel worker in Dangjin dies after being fallen into a plating container
A worker at Hyundai Steel's Dangjin Steel Mill fell into a plating container and died while working at a cold-rolled factory around 5:40 a.m. on March 2. The place where the accident occurred is where the iron plate produced in the steel mill is plated with zinc. The plating container was 4.2m wide, 5.1m long, and contained high-temperature zinc in a liquid state at the time of the accident. It is reported that the worker lost his balance and fell into a plating container while removing debris generated during the plating process.
Ven. Hongpa says, “War cannot be justified by any logic”
Chief Abbot Ven. Hongpa of the Korean Buddhist Gwaneum Order at the Myogak-sa Buddhist Temple in Seoul issued a statement on the Russia-Ukraine war on March 2 and called for an end to the invasion. Regarding the Russian invasion, Ven. Hongpa said, "Many diplomats consider it to be Russia's first move to restore the glory of the former Soviet Empire. However, war that kills and damages people cannot be tolerated for any reason.” He also urged Russia to stop the war immediately and start negotiations with Ukraine immediately, saying, "There can be no glory that accompanies the sacrifice of the people and the sacrifices of neighboring countries."
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." They said, “We have no doubt that a perfect regime change will be realized with today's declaration of unification. We will make sure to achieve a regime change and prepare for an era of great change for innovation in Korea only according to the will of the people."
Early Voting for March 9 Presidential Election Begins
Early voting for the March 9 presidential election has begun at more than 35-hundred polling stations across the nation. From 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, eligible voters will be able to cast their early ballots at any of three-thousand-552 polling stations after presenting a government-issued photo ID. COVID-19 patients or people in quarantine will be allowed to cast ballots at separate zones in the polling stations if they arrive there between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday. Those who test positive on Saturday will also be allowed to cast their ballots the same way if they present the test results.
PM Kim Tests Positive for COVID-19, to Recover at Home for 7 Days
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum has tested positive for COVID-19. His office said he will remain at his residence for seven days until next Wednesday recovering. It said that people who came in contact with the prime minister have been alerted and they have all tested negative with rapid antigen tests. One official noted that even during the at-home treatment period, Kim will handle reports and other tasks virtually. Earlier, the prime minister's office said that Kim tested positive in a rapid antigen test using a self-test kit Thursday morning. His daily schedule was put on hold as he waited for the result of a PCR test.
Moon Chairs NSC Meeting on Supply Chain Woes, Security Challenges
President Moon Jae-in presided over an extended meeting of the National Security Council on Thursday to inspect the country's defensive readiness a week into Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The meeting of Cabinet ministers and presidential aides in charge of foreign affairs and security was designed to preemptively examine the potential long-term security threats for the next ten years and discuss possible responses. Overcoming global supply chain concerns was also addressed. In a press release, the presidential office said the next decade is critical in defining South Korea's status as an advanced nation.
In a press release, the presidential office said the next decade is critical in defining South Korea's status as an advanced nation.
President Moon Jae-in held telephone talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday and said South Korea stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine fighting against Russia's invasion. "As a country that suffered a tragic war, Korea expresses its respect to President Zelenskyy for his strong leadership. We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine who have risen resolutely to defend their country," Moon wrote, retweeting Zelenskyy's Twitter post, shortly after their 30-minute telephone talks.
Early voting for presidential election kicks off
Early voting for the presidential election kicked off Friday at 3,552 polling stations nationwide, with ruling party candidate Lee Jae-myung and main opposition candidate Yoon Suk-yeol expected to be among the first to cast their ballots. Lee of the liberal Democratic Party is scheduled to visit a polling station in central Seoul at 8:40 a.m., while Yoon of the conservative People Power Party is scheduled to vote in the southeastern city of Busan shortly thereafter.
Early voting is open to anyone who wishes to cast their ballot before Election Day next Wednesday.
S. Korea wins exemption from U.S' Foreign Direct Product Rule regarding exports to Russia
South Korea won an exemption from the United States' expanded export restrictions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, Seoul's industry ministry said Friday. Last week, the U.S. government announced the Foreign Direct Product Rule (FDPR) for "all of Russia" as part of its export controls to block Russia's access to global high-tech products and other major items, such as semiconductors, over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The measure calls on companies to receive a license from the U.S. for tech-related items using U.S. technology before they can be shipped to Russia, which is feared to affect major South Korean exporters, as they use U.S. technology and software.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Yoon, Ahn unify candidacies; Ahn concedes
The two leading opposition candidates for the presidency, Yoon Suk-yeol and Ahn Cheol-soo, merged their campaigns Thursday in a dramatic turn of events, just a day before early voting was to begin. In a joint statement, Yoon of the main opposition People Power Party and Ahn of the minor opposition People’s Party said they have decided to merge their campaigns in pursuit of regime change. Ahn withdrew his candidacy, declaring his support for Yoon.
Ruling party caught by surprise, vows to maintain agenda on coalition government
The presidential election campaign committee of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea is keen on interpreting the effects of the merger deal announced from the opposition with less than 24 hours to go before early voting was due to start at 6 a.m. on Friday. Campaign staff members for the ruling party's candidate Lee Jae-myung insist the effects of the candidacy merger will be limited, and experts agree to an extent. Yet they agree the announcement will increase the odds of presidential nominee Yoon Suk-yeol of the main opposition People Power Party.
Opposition merger adds to Ahn’s career of withdrawal
SoAhn Cheol-soo, the presidential candidate for the minor opposition People’s Party, stepped down once again from a election race on Thursday, marking his fourth withdrawal in a political career that extends just over 10 years. Ahn became a big name in local politics starting in 2011, when there were rumors that he -- a respected doctor-turned-software mogul at the time -- would run in the Seoul mayoral by-election. Ahn, however, declined to join the race, instead choosing to endorse the late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, who was a lawyer at the time.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Yoon wrestling with misogynist image
Prosecutor-turned-presidential hopeful Yoon Suk-yeol struggled to redefine his image as a respectable candidate who has no bias against feminism throughout the third and final pre-election debate that aired Wednesday night on three TV broadcast networks. The main opposition People Power Party (PPP) candidate was put to the test when his main rival, ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) candidate Lee Jae-myung, switched gears from defending his cash-based basic income policy from Yoon's criticism of its potential burden on the national economy, to feminism as a topic to discuss among the four candidates, including Ahn Cheol-soo of the People's Party and Sim Sang-jung of the Justice Party.
'Smartphones, cars not subject to US export ban against Russia'
Korean companies are showing signs of relief, following the government announcement that consumer goods such as smartphones, automobiles and washing machines are exempted from the U.S. export ban against Russia, according to government and company officials Thursday. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said it had been informed by its U.S. counterpart, during an earlier meeting with officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).
Ukraine and Russia agree on evacuation corridors as U.S. punishes oligarchs
Russia and Ukraine agreed on Thursday to the need for humanitarian corridors to help civilians escape Moscow's eight-day-old invasion, the first apparent progress in talks, as the United States added to Western sanctions on more oligarchs. Thousands are thought to have died or been wounded as the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two unfolds, creating 1 million refugees, hits to Russia's economy and fears of wider conflict in the West unthought-of for decades.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Koreans Groan Under Rising Debt Burden
The debt repayment burden of Korean households increased almost 17 percent over the last five years. According to the Bank for International Settlements on Tuesday, the debt service ratio (DSR) of Korean households reached 12.6 percent in the third quarter of 2021. That means every household must pay 12.6 percent of its income on the principal on debt (US$1=W1,204). Out of 17 countries whose DSR the bank tracks, Korea ranked fifth after the Netherlands (14 percent), Denmark (13.8 percent), Australia (13.6 percent) and Norway (13.4 percent). But Korea ranked at the top in terms of the growth rate. Its DSR stood at just 10.8 percent in 2016.
Can Opposition Pact End Presidential Candidates' Neck-and-Neck Race?
Opinion polls showed Korea's two leading presidential candidates still neck and neck the week before the two major opposition parties plumped for a single candidate at the last minute on Thursday. People Power Party candidate Yoon Seok-youl only has a significant lead over Minjoo Party candidate Lee Jae-myung in one survey. But after the People's Party perennial candidate Ahn Cheol-soo decided to step aside in favor of Yoon early Thursday, his support of around five percent is up for grabs.
Koreans Come out in Solidarity with Ukraine
Koreans are being swept up in global support for Ukraine as the Russian invasion intensifies. More people than expected are making donations to Ukraine, according to the Korean Red Cross and NGOs. The Korean Red Cross had raised W109 million as of Wednesday, just three days after it launched the campaign (US$1=W1,206). Global charity Good Neighbors also launched an online fundraising campaign for emergency food aid to help Ukrainian children and women early this week, and 407 Koreans donated W9.9 million in just three hours.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Ahn Cheol-soo pulls out of presidential race, endorses Yoon Suk-yeol
In a late-night Wednesday meeting with People Power Party presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol, People Party candidate Ahn Cheol-soo reached a surprise agreement to drop out of the presidential race and declare his support for Yoon. On Thursday morning, Yoon and Ahn announced a “joint declaration of candidate consolidation for fairness, common sense, unity, and the future” at the National Assembly press center.“I, Ahn Cheol-soo, have decided to support Yoon Suk-yeol as a candidate,” Ahn declared in the statement.
Lee Jae-myung’s campaign bewildered by Ahn’s endorsement of Yoon
The Democratic Party was left in a state of shock after news broke Thursday that People Power Party presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol and People’s Party candidate Ahn Cheol-soo had reached a deal to field a single opposition candidate. The Democratic Party previously viewed the prospects of the two candidates reaching a deal on a single candidate as being “dead in the water.” While the agreement places the party at more of a disadvantage in the election, some are watching for the possibility that it could end up rallying Democratic Party supporters amid the backlash over what some are calling an “unjustifiable” alliance.
Will surging “stealth Omicron” cases affect Korea’s current COVID-19 wave?
South Korea is seeing an upsurge in transmissions of “stealth Omicron” — the BA.2 Omicron subvariant of COVID-19 estimated to be even more transmissible than the original Omicron variant (BA.1). Some project that the uptick in cases of the subvariant could lead to more daily caseloads than previously projected, which may affect the scale and timing of the current COVID-19 wave’s peak. In a briefing Wednesday, Ko Jae-young, an official from the Central Disease Control Headquarters (CDCH), said that “the detection rate for the BA.2 subvariant has been in an upward trend,” and that “the transmission rate and risks [associated with the subvariant] are being assessed based on the World Health Organization’s early data.”
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Yoon, Ahn agree on single candidate and building joint government
Yoon Seok-youl, the presidential candidate of the People Power Party, and Ahn Cheol-soo, the candidate of the People Party, announced their agreement on a single candidate of the opposition parties on Thursday, a day before the beginning of early voting. As Ahn announced his support for Yoon and resigned from candidacy, the presidential election on March 9 has practically become a competition between Yoon and Lee Jae-myung, the candidate of the Democratic Party of Korea.
U.S. excludes consumer goods from export-controlled items to Russia
The U.S. Commerce Department has decided not to impose the Foreign Direct Product Rule (FDPR) restrictions on exports to Russia on consumer goods including smartphones, cars, and washing machines. Shipments until March 26 are exempted from the FDPR rule and can thus be exported to Russia. The South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy announced on Thursday that the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security excluded some consumer goods, such as smartphones, from export-controlled items, so long as they are not exported to Russian military end users, and that it mentioned those items may be deemed as exceptions to the FDPR.
Russia bombs Kyiv central train station and subway stations
The Ukrainian government announced the Russian military dropped bombs around the central train station and metro in the capital city of Kyiv. According to Reuters and CNN, hundreds of refugees are gathering in the central station to escape the city. Currently, around 15,000 citizens of Kyiv have been evacuated in the subway station which doubles as air raid shelter in times of emergency. The International Criminal Court said on Wednesday that it will immediately launch an investigation into Russia’s war crime allegations. The United Nations said more than one million refugees have left Ukraine, a week after the Russian invasion in its soil.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
“Reminds Us of Chung Mong-joon in 2002. It Will Backfire” Democratic Party “Devalues” Yoon-Ahn Coalition for Now
On March 3, the Democratic Party of Korea said the coalition between Yoon Seok-youl of the People Power Party and Ahn Cheol-soo of the People’s Party would “backfire.” The ruling party depreciated the coalition mentioning Chung Mong-joon’s announcement to withdraw his support for Roh Moo-hyun after Roh and Chung tried to form a coalition in 2002. This morning, Democratic Party lawmaker Kim Min-seok shared his views on the opposition coalition on social media and wrote, “Perhaps it is because of the experience twenty years ago, it was not all that shocking.” Kim shared his own experience writing, “In 2002, Chung Mong-joon withdrew his support for Roh Moo-hyun on the eve of the presidential election, and since I had been promoting the coalition of Roh Moo-hyun and Chung Mong-joon, I was devastated.”
Ahn Cheol-soo Opts to “Pursue a Grand Cause Despite Losses” and Hints at a Cabinet Position Saying, “I Have Never Tended to Administrative Affairs”
On March 3, Ahn Cheol-soo, the presidential candidate of the People’s Party surprised the nation by joining hands with People Power Party candidate Yoon Seok-youl. He said, “I have devoted myself to changing this country into a better Republic of Korea by giving everything to the last Seoul mayoral by-election,” and explained, “I think it is right to follow the greater cause even if I have to endure personal losses.” Ahn also mentioned that he had never tended to administrative affairs, leading some to suspect that he was considering a position in the cabinet if Yoon were to win the election. At 8 a.m. this day, Ahn shared these thoughts after announcing his coalition with Yoon Seok-youl at the National Assembly.
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.”
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Hanwha readying to advance into EV charging business
South Korea’s Hanwha Group is speeding up efforts to advance into the electric vehicle (EV) charging market more than two decades after it exited from the energy infrastructure market by abandoning its petrol station business. According to industry sources on Thursday, Hanwha Corp., the parent company of the Hanwha Group, filed an application for trademark registration of “Hanwha Motiev” on Jan. 28 and completed its online domain name. `Motiev` is coined from the two words: Motive and EV (Electric Vehicle).
Korean smartphone, auto, appliance shipments to Russia not subject to US sanction
South Korea confirmed smartphones, electronic home appliances, and automobiles that make up the bulk of exports to Russia are not subject to the U.S. sanction under Foreign Direct Product Rule (FDPR) requiring Washington’s endorsement for shipments to Russia made with technology and materials of U.S. origin.“The U.S. Commerce Department has confirmed that smartphones, automobiles, washers and other consumer products won’t be subject to export cubs as they are not for military use,” said the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy in a press release Thursday after videoconferencing with officials of its U.S. counterpart on March 1.
Seoul readies to lift the 35-floor cap on residential highrise height
The skyline in Seoul will change as the capital city government has decided to lift the cap on residential highrise height. According to a draft of Seoul Metropolitan Government 2040 city design outline released on Thursday, the city will do away with the 35-floor cap on apartment buildings to diversify the riverside view and skyline along the Han River. The city introduced the apartment height regulations in the previous 2030 city planning in 2014, which has led to the monotonous train of apartments in same height along the Han River that cuts through the capital.
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