Thursday, May 19, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
President Yoon sings the song 'March for the Beloved' with PPP lawmakers
At the 'May 18 Democratization Movement Commemoration Ceremony' held at the May 18 Democracy Cemetery in Gwangju on the day, the 'March for the Beloved' was sung in the form of a chant. This is actually the first case of a conservative government. President Yoon Suk-yeol also sang vigorously while holding hands with the attendees in the seat next to him, including the families of the May 18 survivors, waving them back and forth. It is interpreted that the May 18 commemoration ceremony was a starting point to show the will to end conflict and unite.
China’s BeiDou system provides global users with high-precision positioning, timing services
The high-precision positioning and timing services of China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), a global navigation system independently designed and developed by China as well as one of the four major global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), had been used over 100 billion times per month as of March 2022. The number of monthly requests for the system’s acceleration auxiliary positioning service has exceeded 60 billion, and that for its real-time high-precision positioning services with centimeter level accuracy and sub-meter level accuracy has surpassed 48 billion.
Amb. Caiza of Colombia to host a tea meeting in the Seoul Int’l Book Fair
Amb. Juan Carlos Caiza of Colombia in Seoul will host a cup of Colombian coffee and a conversation meeting in the Seoul International Book Fair (SIBF) about the details of the SIBF 2022. Amb. Juan Carlos Caiza hopes to offer insights into the activity’s and the presentation of Colombian writers who will participate in the event. In this regard, he will also recap the Bogota International Book Fair (FILBO) what was the impact of Korea in Colombia for the participation of FILBO.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Rising Airfares Trigger Complaints as Demand Soars
International flights are resuming but travelers are complaining about the high ticket prices as airlines struggle to keep up with surging demand. One culprit is soaring international oil prices, but customers still feel airlines are gouging to make up for two fallow years in the pandemic. "Airfares are rising practically every day. Tickets that cost W500,000 two weeks ago now cost W800,000 or W900,000," one traveler complained on the Internet (US$1=W1,271). A round-trip ticket from Seoul to Paris or London that used to cost between W1.5 million and W2.2 million now costs W2.3-3.5 million. A ticket to Hawaii has more than doubled to between W1.7 million and W1.9 million.
Biden to Visit Samsung Chip Plant, DMZ
U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to visit a Samsung semiconductor plant and the demilitarized zone when he visits Korea on Friday and Saturday. A diplomatic source said on Tuesday, "The two countries are discussing visits by the two leaders to symbolic places for the purpose of expanding the scope of the bilateral alliance to economic security." Biden is in favor of restructuring the global chip supply chain with focus on American allies, and Korea is a major partner. He will be shown around the Samsung plant by Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong and is accompanied on his trip by Cristiano Amon, the CEO of America's leading wireless tech company Qualcomm.
N.Korea Asks China for Urgent COVID Assistance
North Korea has asked China for urgent help to fight the coronavirus pandemic, sources said Monday. "Chinese authorities have recruited 400 truck drivers in Liaoning Province to give medical assistance to North Korea," a source said. The North asked China for help late last month, when signs of a surge in infections emerged. "The North has asked China for COVID vaccines, medicines and testing equipment. The first batch of shipments has already made it to the North by sea," another source said. "A 10-man medical assistance team already arrived in the North in late April, where they are now checking the situation and giving advice."
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Yoon Suk-yeol goes to Gwangju, sings anthem, to unify
President Yoon Suk-yeol said he would uphold the spirit of the May 18 Democratization Movement, stressing the need for national unity in a visit to Gwangju Wednesday. "The spirit of May is the restoration of universal values and embodies the constitutional spirit of liberal democracy," said Yoon in a ceremony marking the 42nd anniversary of the 1980 pro-democracy uprising in Gwangju. "That spirit belongs to all of us and is a valuable asset of the Republic of Korea." As a conservative president, Yoon was marching across the political and ideological divide by attending the celebration in the liberal heartland of Korea.
Luna's Do Kwon may face legal peril, some attorneys argue
The mastermind behind the Terra stablecoin may face legal peril despite regulators in Korea saying there is little they can do about what may be the most dramatic collapse in financial markets history. Fraud, misrepresentation and embezzlement have been mentioned as possible charges against Do Kwon by Korean attorneys. The possibility that the setup could have been a Ponzi scheme has also been suggested. The attorneys warn that actual legal violations or regulatory infractions may be difficult to prove. Much is still not known and much is disputed while the relevant laws are complicated.
Yoon Suk-yeol gets on board Joe Biden's IPEF
President Yoon Suk-yeol plans to announce Korea's participation as an inaugural member in the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) during President Joe Biden's visit to Seoul this week. Yoon is also expected to join a virtual summit launching the IPEF during Biden's visit to Japan next Tuesday, said Kim Tae-hyo, first deputy director of the National Security Office (NSO), in a press briefing Wednesday. The IPEF, a comprehensive economic framework for the region proposed by the United States last October at the East Asia Summit, is expected to be launched on May 24. One of its goals is to help members decouple from the Chinese market by finding alternative supply chains. It will focus on four pillars: fair and resilient trade; supply chain resilience; clean energy, decarbonization and infrastructure; and tax and anticorruption.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Signs of N. Korea preparing for missile launch during Biden’s visit to S. Korea
Measures of South Korean Korea and U.S. authorities are growing more urgent with possible alerts of North Korea firing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) during U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to South Korea from May 20 to May 22. According to sources compiled by The Dong-A Ilbo on Wednesday, intelligence agencies at both countries are intensively monitoring signs of missile firing around Pyongyang. “Activities have been observed by satellite since late last week,” said a military source. The U.S. Air Force’s RC-1355 Cobra Balls flying nearly every day to the East Sea was also the reason to track down such activities.
S. Korea sees a receding stock market impacted by global factors
High value Korean stocks of over one million won per stock are no longer found in the Korea’s contracting stock market, impacted by the US’ fiscal tightening and prolonged Ukraine crisis. Based on closing prices on Korea Exchange on Wednesday, there were no shares priced more than one million won, in contrast to five shares exceeding one million won last year. Shares of Taekwang Industries, which had the highest price in the market, closed at 990,000 won, 0.6% lower than the previous day.
Pres. Yoon vows to uphold the spirit of Gwangju
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol attended a memorial ceremony for the 42nd anniversary of the May 18 Democratic Movement, sang along to the signature anthem for the pro-democracy movement, “March for the Beloved,” and vowed to uphold the spirit of the May 18 spirit. The Gwangju civil groups took a positive note of President Yoon’s remark that he would attend the May 18 commemoration ceremony every year in his term. “President Yoon was the first president who brought ministers, vice ministers, and all the ruling party lawmakers.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Hyundai Motor to invest $16 bn to make Korea base of nearly half of EVs by 2030
South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group said to be readying $7 billion EV plant project in the United States on Wednesday pledged 21 trillion won ($16.55 billion) through 2030 to ramp up domestic capacity for electric vehicle production and related technologies with a goal of turning out 1.44 million EVs annually from Korea. Korean production lines would be responsible for nearly half or 45 percent of total EV output target of 3.23 million by Hyundai Motor and Kia Corp. by 2030.
KDI warns of economic growth slowing to 2.8% this year and 2.3% 2023
State think tank Korea Development Institute (KDI) cut economic growth outlook to 2.8 percent and raised inflation forecast to 4.2 percent for this year in a harbinger of government and central bank’s moderation in forecast from spike in commodity prices. Under the revised outlook published on Wednesday, the state institution projected the Korean economy to grow 2.8 percent this year, slower than 3.0 percent last estimated in November.
S. Korea running short of soft coal could face blackout in peak season
Resource-short South Korea faces energy crisis ahead of the peak summer season as it struggles to obtain bituminous coal, responsible for 34 percent of generating power in the country, amid global shortage from protracted Russian aggression in Ukraine. If soft coal supply runs thin, state power supplier Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) would have to rely more on costlier liquified natural gas (LNG) to make electricity, exacerbating its bottom line which already logged near 8 trillion won ($6.2 billion) in operating loss in the first quarter.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Yoon appoints Han Dong-hoon as justice minister, forgoing parliamentary approval
On Tuesday, President Yoon Suk-yeol appointed Han Dong-hoon as justice minister and Kim Hyun-sook as gender equality and family minister. Just one day after stressing the need for “cooperation across party lines” in his first address to the National Assembly, he pushed ahead with the appointment of his closest aide, Han, which had long been opposed by the Democratic Party. The main opposition Democratic Party, which had previously called Han a “president in miniature,” decried the president’s apparent unwillingness to cooperate and strongly fought the appointment of Han.
“A bundle of blackened bones”: The search for unmarked graves of those killed in Gwangju Uprising
“I can’t tell you how shocked we were to find a bundle of blackened bones tied with a nylon cord in the grave we were digging up in the black of night,” said Yang Gi-nam, who said he will never forget what happened on that early fall evening in September 1988. The 62-year-old man, formerly named Yang Dong-nam, spoke with the Hankyoreh on Friday in the Chipyeong neighborhood of western Gwangju’s Seo District. The interview took place at the office of an organization for veterans of the “mobility strike force” that was organized by Gwangju residents during the uprising in May 1980.
Beijing cautions S. Korea against joining US-led Indo-Pacific economic initiative
In the first videoconference between South Korea and China’s top diplomats since Yoon Suk-yeol became president of Korea, Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi cautioned Korea against taking part in the US-backed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement summarizing the videoconference on Monday afternoon. The most striking part of the statement was Wang’s remark that the two countries ought to oppose “the negative tendency of decoupling” and “maintain the stability and smoothness of the global industrial and supply chains.”
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Confidants over Governance: President Yoon Insists on His Way Putting Politics at a Standstill
On May 17, President Yoon Suk-yeol (Yoon Seok-youl) pushed ahead with his appointment of Han Dong-hoon as minister of justice, showing that he was willing to face a political standstill. The president appears to have made the decision because the newly appointed justice minister, Han symbolizes his first cabinet as the president’s closest confidant. A confrontation between hardline ruling and opposition parties in the early days of the new government seems inevitable. The confirmation of prime minister nominee Han Duck-soo, the parliamentary review of the supplemental budget, and the June 1 local elections will now be sucked into the aftermath of Han Dong-hoon’s appointment.
Central Disaster Headquarters, “Will Form an Independent Committee for Disease Control Centered on Experts Within 100 Days”
The government announced that it would establish a scientific disease control system by forming an independent committee centered on experts within 100 days after the launch of the government. On May 20, the government will announce a decision on whether to advance closer to everyday life. In a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters on May 18, Lee Ki-il, second vice minister of health and welfare said, “The new government will quickly establish a scientific disease control system within 100 days of its launch to prepare for another outbreak.”
New Daily Cases of COVID-19 in North Korea Jumped from 18,000 to 270,000 in 3 Days
New daily cases of COVID-19 reached 270,000 in North Korea. Although the number of cases declined somewhat from the previous day’s nearly 400,000, the virus continues to quickly spread throughout the nation. The Korean People’s Army has begun transporting and providing medical supplies on a 24-hour basis. On May 17, the Korea Central News Agency reported an announcement by the North Korean national emergency disease control headquarters stating that from 6 p.m. May 15 to 6 p.m. May 16, 269,510 new cases of fever occurred nationwide; 170,460 patients recovered; and 6 died.
Sullivan: US Prepared to Respond to Any N. Korean Provocation during Biden's Trip
The White House says that the U.S. is prepared to respond to any North Korean provocation, noting the North is expected to stage a test around President Joe Biden's trip to South Korea and Japan. U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Wednesday during a press briefing that the U.S. has intelligence indicating the genuine possibility of either a further missile test, including a long-range missile test, or a nuclear test in the days leading up to, during, or after the president's trip. Sullivan then said the U.S. is preparing for all contingencies, including the possibility that such a provocation would occur during the trip.
N. Korea Reports One New Death, 260,000 More Fever Cases
North Korea has reported one additional death and over 260-thousand new fever cases, one week after it first admitted to detecting COVID-19 in the country. According to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) on Thursday, the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters reported one new death and 262-thousand-270 more people with fever symptoms from 6 p.m. Tuesday to 6 p.m. Wednesday. The KCNA said the new figures raised the total number of fever cases to nearly two million since late April. It added that about one million-238-thousand of them have recovered and some 740-thousand are receiving treatment. The death toll rose to 63.
S. Korea, US Defense Chiefs Condemn N. Korea's Missile Launches, Nuke Test Preparations
The defense chiefs of South Korea and the United States held talks on the phone to discuss North Korea's recent missile launches and its preparations for a possible nuclear test. According to Seoul's defense ministry, defense minister Lee Jong-sup talked to his U.S. counterpart, Lloyd Austin, in a phone call on Wednesday, the first between the two since Lee took office. The defense chiefs reportedly shared the view that the situation both regionally and beyond is grave, including on the Korean Peninsula, making close cooperation between the two nations more important than ever.
N. Korean missile or nuclear test very possible during Biden's Asia trip: Sullivan
North Korea is widely expected to stage a long-range or nuclear test before or even during President Joe Biden's trip to South Korea and Japan, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Wednesday. He said the U.S. is fully prepared to make any necessary adjustments to U.S. defense posture to ensure the security of the U.S. and U.S allies. "With respect to the issue of North Korea, we have said from this podium, we said at the state department and we have indicated in quite clear terms that our intelligence does reflect the genuine possibility that there will be either a further missile test, including long range missile test, or a nuclear test or frankly both in the days leading into on or after the president's trip to the region," Sullivan said in a press briefing at the White House.
S. Korea, U.S. have 'plan B' ready in case of N.K. provocation during Biden's visit
President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden have a "plan B" ready to command the combined forces of the two countries in case North Korea carries out a major provocation during Biden's visit to Seoul this week, a presidential official said Wednesday. Biden is set to arrive in Seoul on Friday amid concern the North could conduct a nuclear test or launch an intercontinental ballistic missile around his three-day visit. "At the moment, we assess that the possibility is relatively low of North Korea carrying out a nuclear test by the weekend, but preparations for an intercontinental ballistic missile launch appear to be imminent," Kim Tae-hyo, first deputy chief of the presidential National Security Office, told reporters.
Yoon optimistic about National Assembly's confirmation of PM nominee
President Yoon Suk-yeol on Wednesday expressed hope that the opposition-controlled National Assembly would endorse his nominee for prime minister, Han Duck-soo, according to lawmakers of the ruling People Power Party (PPP). Yoon said there was "no big problem" about the prospect of a parliamentary confirmation of Han, according to the PPP lawmakers who traveled with Yoon to the southwestern city of Gwangju for a ceremony marking the anniversary of a 1980 pro-democracy uprising earlier in the day. Yoon told the PPP lawmakers that the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) would suffer a backlash if it rejects Han.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
South Korea to join US-led economic initiative: presidential office
South Korea will join the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a US-led economic initiative, as a founding member, the presidential office said Wednesday. The decision appears likely to put further pressure on Seoul to choose a side in the US-China rivalry, with Beijing already expressing opposition to South Korea’s entry. President Yoon Suk-yeol will be participating in the launching ceremony of the initiative via video call, as the event is planned to take place in Tokyo on May 24, according to the presidential office.
N. Korea claims COVID-19 situation takes ‘favorable turn,’ slams officials’ ‘slackness’
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un rebuked cadres for their “slackness” in handling the COVID-19 outbreak while the country claimed that the pandemic situation was taking a “favorable turn,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Wednesday. Kim on Tuesday convened a rare first meeting of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Center Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, the highest decision-making body, to discuss the spread of infectious disease at the headquarters of the Party Central Committee.
Yoon hails spirit of Gwangju Uprising in change of tone for conservatives
President Yoon Suk-yeol on Wednesday paid tribute to protesters of the Gwangju Democratic Uprising, an unusual move for a conservative president that some say is aimed at dispelling concerns of his bloc’s negligence of the Jeolla provinces and to strengthen the message of national unity.“The spirit of May is the restoration of universal values and constitutional spirit of liberal democracy. That spirit belongs to all of us and is a valuable asset of the Republic of Korea,” Yoon said in a speech on the 42nd anniversary of the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising at the National Cemetery in Gwangju on Wednesday morning.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
South Korea to join US-led Indo-Pacific economic initiative
South Korea has decided to participate in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), promoted by the United States to counter China's influence in the region, according to the presidential office, Wednesday. "President Yoon plans to attend a summit virtually for the launch of the trade and economic initiative in Japan, May 24," Kim Tae-hyo, the first deputy director of the National Security Office, said in a press briefing, adding that there are eight countries that have joined the trade and economic initiative.
Yoon calls for unity at May 18 Uprising anniversary event
The spirit of May 18 Uprising is the cornerstone for national unity, President Yoon Suk-yeol said Wednesday. His participation in a commemorative event in Gwangju came as he had promised to work on uniting the nation, which is divided politically, as seen in the results of the March 9 presidential election. "The spirit of May 18 can be boiled down to the restoration of universal values," Yoon said during a memorial ceremony for the 42nd anniversary of the popular democratic uprising at the May 18th National Cemetery in Gwangju. "The values of liberal democracy and human rights are the philosophy of unity that unites our people. Therefore, the spirit of the May 18 Uprising, which defended liberal democracy with blood, is the cornerstone of national unity."
Kim says Chinese permanent residents should be stripped of right to vote in Korea
Kim Eun-hye, the ruling People Power Party's candidate for the governor of Gyeonggi Province, has reiterated what she says is the need to take away from Chinese permanent residents in Korea their right to vote here, saying it is unfair for Koreans who don't enjoy the same right in China. "Not a single Korean citizen has the right to vote in China, while 100,000 Chinese nationals living in Korea have the right. It is unfair," Kim, 51, said on Facebook Tuesday, ahead of the June 1 local elections. "Some media outlets and politicians have tried to paint me as 'xenophobic' for demanding the same right for Koreans in China. But many citizens, including residents of Gyeonggi, are not convinced that this amounts to 'hatred.'"
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