Friday, April 22, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Yoon, Modi exchange pleasantaries, assure increased cooperation
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol had a telephone conversation with Naranda Modi of India on March 17, 2022 and discussed ways to further develop and promote relations between the Republic of Korea and India. This shows the importance of India to Korea along with the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and Australia, the so-called Quad nations. Yoon said that he would actively promote close relations and cooperation with India and other member countries of Quad. President-elect Yoon spoke with Prime Minister Modi for over 20 minutes over the phone on that day, according to Yoon’s Spokesperson Mme. Kim Eun-hye.
“Colombia and Korea, two cultures united with innovation and literature”
Colombia once again opened its doors in person to Bogotá International Book Fair, the country's most significant literary festival, on April 19, 2022 as part of the commemoration of 60 years of diplomatic relations between Colombia and Korea. Korea is the guest of honor at the Bogota International Book Fair (FILBo) 2022. "Colombia sent 5,100 soldiers to the Korean War and 72 years later, today we see the results. We were allies in the war, and today in innovation and literature. It is a good moment to commemorate the relations between Korea and Colombia in a cultural area, which makes us able to get to know each other better and share cultures despite the 15,000 kilometers of distance,” said the Colombian ambassador to Korea, Juan Carlos Caiza Rosero.
ICCK is in good hands--as it has been for many years
The newly elected chairman, Mr. Anil K. Sinha, has a total of 37 years of work experience in Indian and Multi-National Organization covering a wide range of functions, Strategic Planning and Team Management. Chairman Sinha is very strongly interested in further upgrading and promoting the close economic-commercial cooperation and relations between the two countries. In a recent interview with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985, Chairman Sinha said, “India is looking for investment in many important areas, such as sunrise sectors like drones, robotics, electric vehicles and renewable energy, energy storage systems, AI & Machine Learning, Industry 4.0, IoT, especially in its Smart City initiative to renew urban life & provide robust technological solutions to improve life in rural areas.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
New Gov't Will Need All Its Wits to Solve Debt Crisis
Disposable household income increased by W52 trillion on-year in the fourth quarter of 2021 but household debt surged by W135 trillion (US$1=W1,235). That means debt increased three times faster, mainly because many people in their 20s and 30s took out huge loans to buy apartments, and they are nervously watching incremental increases in interest rates. The interest rate on housing loans has already risen to the seven-percent range, which means many younger salaried workers have to pay more than W2 million in monthly interest. The Moon Jae-in administration's failed policies are largely to blame for the debacle.
Many Small Investors Lost Money in Stock Market Frenzy
Retail investors lost many of their gambles during the stock-market frenzy and made no profit on money they hastily borrowed from banks and brokerages. It all began on March 19, 2020, when the Korea Composite Stock Price Index plunged to 1,439.43 points at one point in trading due to the coronavirus pandemic. But retail investors snapped up so many of the stocks that foreign and institutional investors were hastily selling that the index rebounded spectacularly. The boom driven by retail investors propelled the KOSPI to over 3,000 points for the first time ever in the first half of 2021.
U.S. Lifts Korea Travel Warning
The U.S. lifted a travel ban to Korea on Monday, switching the travel advisory from the highest level -- "do not travel" -- to the lowest. The State Department made its own decision independently of the advisories of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State Department spokesman Ned Price said last week that its travel advisory levels "will no longer automatically correlate with the CDC COVID-19 travel health notice level." On April 13, the CDC updated its COVID-19 notices, reserving Level 4 for "special circumstances such as rapidly escalating case trajectory or extremely high case counts, emergence of a new variant of concern, or healthcare infrastructure collapse."
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Central bank Gov. Rhee warns again about debt, plugs CBDC
Bank of Korea Gov. Rhee Chang-yong discussed debt and the need to contain it during his inaugural speech on Thursday. He also noted that monetary policy alone is not enough to guide the economy through challenges and expressed enthusiasm for a digital currency. "The Bank of Korea cannot ignore the need for a soft landing of debt issues," Rhee said. He was unanimously approved for the central bank governorship at a National Assembly confirmation hearing on Tuesday and formally became governor on Thursday. Korea has one of the highest household-debt-to-GDP ratios, and the borrowings are beginning to weigh on the economy.
Major greening of Seoul announced by Mayor Oh
Seoul's reputation as a hastily built, uninspired concrete jungle may be endangered as its mayor calls for a green makeover that allows skyscrapers and forests to coexist. Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon unveiled a vision dubbed the Green Urban Space Recreation Strategy on Thursday.“I have a dream; and that dream is a city where all Seoul citizens can stroll around the downtown and everything they see is trees and forests,” Oh said during a press briefing Thursday at Sewoon Hall in Sewoon Plaza, Jongno District, central Seoul. “And anywhere they go, there are clothes shops, hair salons, and mobile phone shops.
DP's prosecution bill shenanigans denounced by some in DP
The ruling Democratic Party (DP) is being heavily criticized, even by its own members, for orchestrating a defection to tip the scales in a committee reviewing the prosecution reform bill. Its complex maneuvering to short-circuit checks and balances has been denounced as a trick and as an affront to democracy. Lawmaker Min Hyung-bae has been picked to serve on the National Assembly's Legislation and Judiciary committee, which is currently overseeing the bill, after quitting the DP on Wednesday. On paper, Min will become one of two independents in the 18-member committee, although he is expected to vote in favor of the DP's agenda. Ten members are from the DP and six are from the main opposition People Power Party (PPP).
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Russia test-launches nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile
Russia, which has begun a new series of attacks in Ukraine, test-launched on Wednesday (local time) an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that is capable of burning Texas or France to the ground. Russian President Vladimir Putin said right after the launch that it will provide “food for thought” for those who threaten Russia. The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation announced on Wednesday afternoon that it successfully test-launched ICBM RS-28 Sarmat for the first time from the Plesetsk launch facility in the northwestern region of the country.
Presidential transition committee to fix Moon’s public petition system
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s presidential transition committee announced its plan to revamp the public petition system, which was introduced by the Moon Jae-in administration by incorporating multiple channels for listening to civil complaints and suggestions run differently by South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, the administration and local municipalities into the executive office of president.“Many citizens have little idea where and how they can submit civil complaints,” Heo Sung-woo, the head of a center for public suggestions in Yoon’s transition team, said in a briefing on Thursday.
US, UK and Canada walk out of G20 meeting during Russian minister’s speech
The finance ministers of key countries trying to remove Russia from international organizations for its invasion of Ukraine, including the U.S., walked out of a G20 meeting of finance ministers and governors of central banks held in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday in protest against Russia. Those who walked out include major financial figures in the world, such as U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve Jerome Powell, President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde, and Governor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey. Deputy Prime Minister and Ca9nada’s Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland who has Ukrainian heritage also joined.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korea’s Yoon gov’t to create presidential secretary for economic security affairs
South Korea’s new government under President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol will create a new secretary post dedicated to economic security affairs in the presidential office’s national security office as Yoon has identified economic security as a top strategic priority of the incoming administration. The new secretary to be appointed under the First Deputy Director at the Office of National Security will be responsible for global supply chain, trade and investment, and new security affairs such as data protection, Maeil Business Newspaper learned from sources from Yoon’s transition office familiar with the matter on Thursday.
Korean econ to slow further in 2% range next year amid policy limit: economists
South Korea’s economy is expected to perform below 3 percent this year and further weaken to early 2 percent range next year due to inflation aftermath and supply crisis stemming from fuel to grains from the pandemic and widened Russian-Ukraine war, economists agreed. Worse, policy maneuvering is restricted against stagflation risk – persistently high inflation and slowing economy – as authorities have used up fiscal and monetary ammunitions to fight the pandemic over the last two years.
KDB after face-losing M&A flops under discussion for streamlining and relocation
Policy lender Korea Development Bank (KDB) has been challenged for its outsized but unproductive role in industrial restructuring amid a series of flops in M&A deals it has arranged and privatization schemes for nationalized entities. Rep. Yoon Chang-hyun of People Power Party, turning into ruling party once Yoon Suk-yeol presidency starts on May 10, hosted a forum to dissect a myriad of problems related to the state lender responsible for corporate bailouts and restructuring. A number of M&A deals that involve KDB as a major shareholder or creditor have collapsed over the recent years.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
S. Korea’s 68-year debate over investigative authority of prosecutors, police
In 1954, a debate was held at the National Assembly to discuss which one of two agencies, the police or the prosecution service, was at a greater risk of becoming fascist. After the debate, the Criminal Procedure Act was enacted, granting the prosecution service both investigative and indictment powers. The police’s negative image was a result of the role the police played during the Japanese colonial period in South Korea. At the time, the prosecutor-general, who attended the debate, argued that “theoretically, it is legal to leave investigations to the police and give the prosecutor only the right to indict, but this would only be possible 100 years down the road,” echoing the sentiment of the era. Thus marked the birth of prosecutors’ investigative powers.
Moon says he’ll stay out of politics and live as “ordinary citizen” after term
Nearing the end of his term, President Moon Jae-in invited former Cabinet ministers for a luncheon Wednesday. During the gathering, he reiterated his plans to “live as an ordinary citizen without taking part in real politics.” In a written briefing Wednesday, Blue House spokesperson Park Kyung-mee said that Moon had held a luncheon at the Blue House that day with previous members of his Cabinet, including former Prime Ministers Lee Nak-yon and Chung Sye-kyun, along with the chairpersons of presidential advisory institutions and other presidentially affiliated chairpersons.
Less than 3 weeks to inauguration, Yoon still hunting for a presidential residence
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol has abandoned plans to move into the Army chief of staff’s official residence in Seoul’s Hannam neighborhood, citing the excessive renovations that would be necessary. The decision came after Yoon previously selected the site as his new official residence and earmarked remodeling expenses for it. With his plans for the relocation of the presidential office proceeding in a sloppy manner, Yoon now finds himself having to find a new official residence with less than 20 days left until his inauguration.“The Army chief of staff’s official residence is a 47-year-old building that leaks when it rains and would need to be more or less rebuilt,” an official with the presidential transition committee said Tuesday.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Democratic Party Opts to Ram Bill to Strip Prosecutors of Investigative Powers Through Parliament: Min Hyung-bae Becomes Independent Lawmaker
The Democratic Party of Korea is taking action to unilaterally push a bill to strip the Prosecution Service of its investigative authority through the National Assembly. On April 20, the Democratic Party of Korea took the extreme measure of having its lawmaker Min Hyung-bae of the parliamentary Legislation and Judiciary Committee, which reviews legislation, withdraw his party membership. This was a move to push the bill through the Legislation and Judiciary Committee before it is put to a vote in the plenary session. Voices inside and outside the party criticized lawmaker Min’s “disguised departure” from the party as trickery and a rash move. The Democratic Party suggested the possibility of revising and improving the bill in question, which even the civic society and legal circle as well as the opposition parties oppose, but party members are expressing growing concern.
“Fearful of the People’s Eyes,” Said Cho Eung-cheon Following Min Hyung-bae’s Departure from the Ruling Party to Pass a Controversial Bill
Democratic Party of Korea lawmaker Cho Eung-cheon said he was fearful of the people’s eyes after lawmaker Min Hyung-bae withdrew from the ruling party to present a bill that would strip prosecutors of their investigative power to the agenda coordination committee. In an interview on the CBS radio show, Kim Hyun-jung’s News Show on April 21, Cho asked, “Didn’t Lee Jae-myung repeatedly apologize for the bloc party (at the time of the parliamentary elections) during the presidential race?” and said, “It hasn’t been that long, and now the party is making this rash move of having Min leave the party. I actually fear what the people might say.”
Chung Ho-young, “My Son Will Be Re-examined Soon, But We Can’t Disclose the Specific Date and Place”
On April 20, minister of health and welfare nominee Chung Ho-young announced that he would have his son undergo another physical examination to clarify any speculation concerning his son’s military service. On his way to work at the confirmation hearing team office set up at the National Pension Service in Seodaemun-gu, Seoul this day, Chung said, “People continue to raise an issue with my son’s military service without any objective grounds,” and claimed that he would have his son receive another examination at a credible hospital soon to resolve the allegations. He went on to say, “We will bring past MRI images and medical records when he goes to get examined.” He also said, “This way, we will confirm whether my son really suffered from a spinal disease and whether the diagnosis at the time was appropriate.”
KCNA: Leaders of Two Koreas Exchange Letters
The leaders of South and North Korea have reportedly exchanged letters recently and expressed hope that inter-Korean relations will develop if the two sides work toward the goal. The North's official Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) said on Friday that leader Kim Jong-un exchanged personal letters with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Kim reportedly received a letter from Moon on Wednesday and sent a reply the next day. The KCNA said the leaders shared the view that inter-Korean relations will improve and develop as desired by the peoples of their nations if the two sides continue to work toward the goal.
Rival Parties to Hold General Meetings Friday on Reform Bills
Rival parties will hold general meetings of their lawmakers on Friday to collect opinions on reform bills that would strip the prosecution of its investigative powers. The main opposition People Power Party(PPP) plans to hold its general meeting of party members at 10 a.m. at the National Assembly to discuss its response to the ruling Democratic Party's move to pass the bills. The DP will also hold its own general meeting at 10:30 a.m. at the assembly to listen to DP lawmakers' opinions on how to pass the bills.
US Urges S. Korea, Japan to Resolve History Issues in a Way that Promotes Healing, Reconciliation
The U.S. State Department said on Thursday that South Korea and Japan need to resolve historical issues in a way that promotes healing and reconciliation. Department spokesperson Ned Price made the remarks during a press briefing when asked to comment on remarks by South Korea's foreign minister nominee Park Jin. Park said the incoming Yoon Suk Yeol government will continue to recognize the 2015 agreement between Seoul and Tokyo on the issue of Korean victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery as an official agreement. Price said that he was aware of Park's remarks and the U.S. has long encouraged South Korea and Japan to work together toward closure and understanding.
N.K. leader exchanges letters with President Moon: state media
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has exchanged letters with South Korea's outgoing President Moon Jae-in earlier this week in an "expression of their deep trust," state media reported Friday. Kim received a "personal" letter from the South Korean president Wednesday and sent a reply letter the next day, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). "Sharing the same view that the inter-Korean relations would improve and develop as desired and anticipated by the nation if the North and the South make tireless efforts with hope, the top leaders mutually extended warm greetings to the compatriots in the North and the South," it said in an English-language report.
S. Korea successfully test-launched two SLBMs earlier this week: gov't sources
South Korea successfully test-fired two submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) consecutively earlier this week, government sources said Thursday, in a sign the missile is nearing its operational deployment. The military launched the SLBMs at an interval of 20 seconds from the 3,000-ton Dosan Ahn Chang-ho submarine in the Yellow Sea on Monday, the sources said. They flew some 400 kilometers and hit the preset maritime targets. The test came after the country successfully carried out an SLBM test-launch from the submarine in September last year, becoming the world's seventh country with homegrown SLBMs.
Biden likely to visit S. Korea from May 20-22: sources
U.S. President Joe Biden is likely to visit Seoul from May 20-22 for his first-ever summit with incoming President Yoon Suk-yeol, sources said Thursday. Biden has widely been expected to visit South Korea before or after he travels to Japan to attend a Quadrilateral Security Dialogue meeting around May 24. Sources said May 20-22 emerged as the likely dates of his visit during talks between officials in Seoul and Washington. "I believe the U.S. is planning the visit with the aim of newly strengthening the alliance relationship with South Korea," one source said.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Plans for new presidential residence raise concerns
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol is reviewing the foreign minister’s residence as a new candidate to use as the presidential residence, after finding that the initial choice, the residence of the Army chief of staff, would cost too much to renovate. But with the change in decision coming less than three weeks before the presidential inauguration, it has been met with public criticisms for being “helter-skelter” in handling the relocation. As the official residence of the foreign minister is often used as a venue for diplomatic events, the transition team’s plans, which do not yet include an alternative for the foreign minister, have also raised concerns.
Internal feud erupts within Democratic Party over prosecution reform bill
Facing immense opposition from almost all sides, cracks are emerging within the Democratic Party of Korea among its legislators over the controversial prosecution reform bill. Rep. Park Hong-keun, floor leader of the Democratic Party, on Thursday requested a plenary session of the National Assembly to be held Friday to pass proposed revisions to the Criminal Procedure Act and the Prosecutors’ Office Act. The request comes as the party seeks to pass the bill that would strip the prosecution of its investigative powers within the April provisional assembly.
Shinzo Abe visits controversial shrine, sparks fury in Seoul
Japanese former and current prime ministers showing respect to a shrine housing a number of war criminals is fanning controversy in Korea as President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s delegation to Tokyo is set to depart Sunday. On Thursday, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Yasukuni Shrine, which includes the enshrinement of Class A war criminals. This is his sixth visit since resigning from office. At Yasukuni Shrine, 14 Class A war criminals of the Pacific War, including Hideki Tojo, are enshrined, and politicians’ visits are perceived as glorifying Japan’s war of aggression.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Stronger ROK-US alliance to provide more options in handling NK: minister nominee
Unification minister nominee Kwon Young-se and U.S. special envoy for North Korea Sung Kim shared the common view that stronger Seoul-Washington relations will provide "room" for South Korea to resolve aggravating relations with the North. According to the ministry, Kwon and Kim had a meeting on Thursday and shared their opinions on the Yoon Suk-yeol administration's North Korea policies. "There has been a common understanding between me and Kim that South Korea can secure greater room in addressing North Korea's denuclearization or other issues when the relations between Seoul and Washington become stronger," Kwon told reporters after the meeting.
North Korean leader exchanges letters with Moon
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has exchanged letters with South Korea's outgoing President Moon Jae-in earlier this week in an "expression of their deep trust," state media reported Friday. Kim received a "personal" letter from the South Korean president on Wednesday, and sent a reply letter the next day, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). "Sharing the same view that the inter-Korean relations would improve and develop as desired and anticipated by the nation if the North and the South make tireless efforts with hope, the top leaders mutually extended warm greetings to the compatriots in the North and the South," it said in an English-language report.
'20 Cheong Wa Dae officials of the Moon administration would be sent to jail': lawmaker
An independent lawmaker, who had once been a member of the ruling liberal Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), explained the reason behind the DPK's push for a prosecutorial reform bill that aims to separate the prosecution's powers to lead investigations and indict suspects, despite opposition from the main opposition People Power Party and prosecutors. "A hardcore DPK member encouraged me to vote for their reform bill. There was another person who said that 'some 20 Cheong Wa Dae officials of the Moon administration would be sent to jail,'" Rep. Yang Hyang-ja said in an interview with Korean daily Chosun Ilbo published Thursday.
What’s ticking around the world at this second?
See what the world media around the world have to report:
Le Monde www.ilemonde.com
Sydney Morning Heraldwww.smh.com.au
Colombia Reports http://colombiareports.com
El Universal http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english
Ecuador Times http://www.ecuadortimes.net
The Jordan Times https://www.jordantimes.com
Philippine Daily Inquirer https://www.inquirer.net
Daily News Hungary http://dailynewshungary.com
Budapest Times http://budapesttimes.hu
The Korea Post is running video clips from the different embassies.
And many other countries.
What are you waiting for?
The Korea Post media are more than eager to be used, and to serve you—with the following five news outlets, 37 years old this year!
Korean-language Internet edition: http://www.koreapost.co.kr
English-language Internet edition: http://www.koreapost.com
Korean-language print newspaper:
English E-daily: http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=10690