Friday, May 20, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
A strong, free democratic Republic of Korea again!
President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office as the 20th-term President of the Republic of Korea on May 10, 2022, mentioned the following four details in his inaugural address. In particular, it is said that this inaugural address was written by himself without the help of any staff members. The top priority the Present gave in the address is to restore liberal democracy. Liberal democracy has always been neglected overly and clandestinely in the Era of former President Moon Jae-in.
Kenya is committed to strengthening bilateral engagement in energy, other areas
The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications recently had an interview with the visiting Cabinet Secretary. Madam Monica Juma of Energy Petroleum & Mining of Kenya during her visit to Seoul on May 6, 2022. Details of the interview follow: Objective of the interview: To observe the policy direction of bilateral cooperation in energy sector, Kenya’s energy transition and partnership possibilities with Korea, investments. portunities for Korean companies and vice versa. Question: What are the objectives of this visit? Answer: The objective of the visit is for the Cabinet Secretary to reiterate Kenya’s commitment in bilateral engagement and strengthen cooperation in energy sector.
China gains more confidence in understanding universe
Three Chinese astronauts aboard the Shenzhou-13 manned spaceship Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu completed their six-month “business trip” to space and returned to Earth on April 16, wrapping up the longest crewed mission to space in China’s aerospace history. From launching extra-vehicular activities (EVAs) to completing the first autonomous docking between a cargo ship and the core module of the space station, and from witnessing the first spacewalk conducted by a Chinese woman to setting a record for China's crewed space mission duration, the 183-day mission has completed a series of experiments and technological verification, laying a solid foundation for subsequent construction of the space station. The Shenzhou-13 mission marked a historic transition of China’s aerospace undertaking.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
N.Korea 'Poised to Test Missile for Biden Visit'
North Korea is preparing for an intercontinental ballistic missile test to coincide with U.S. President Joe Biden's visit to South Korea and Japan, a U.S. intelligence official said Tuesday. "The things we have noticed in the past for a launch are the things we are noticing now," CNN quoted the official as saying. "North Korea appears to be preparing for a possible intercontinental ballistic missile test within the next 48 to 96 hours." Biden arrives in South Korea on Friday. The launch site under observation is near Pyongyang. The official would not detail specifics of the current imagery, "but typically, intelligence analysts look out for signs of scaffolding or other launcher equipment, fueling, vehicles and personnel," CNN added.
KDI Cuts Growth Forecast But Maintains Relatively Rosy Outlook
The Korea Development Institute expects the country's economy to grow by 2.8 percent this year. The KDI's forecast published on Wednesday is 0.2 percentage point lower than its earlier projection made in November last year, before Russia's invasion of Ukraine. However, it is still higher than others, including the International Monetary Fund's 2.5 percent. The state-run economic think tank stated that private spending will rise in the coming months as COVID restrictions have been lifted in an effort to return to normal. The KDI also said an appropriate monetary policy, including raising the key rate, is needed to stabilize soaring consumer prices. It forecast this year's inflation rate at 4.2 percent, a jump from the 1.7 percent forecast made in November.
Korea to Join U.S.-Led Pacific Trade Bloc
Korea is set to join the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), a strategic initiative aimed at countering China's growing influence in the region. President Yoon Suk-yeol will announce the decision when he meets U.S. President Joe Biden in Seoul on Saturday. After visiting Korea, Biden flies to Japan for the first summit to launch the IPEF, where Yoon will take part via Zoom. Yoon said in a speech to the National Assembly on Monday, "I will discuss with President Biden ways to strengthen cooperation in global supply chains by joining the IPEF." A diplomatic source said, "Korea recently decided to join IPEF as a founding member to secure an advantageous position in global supply chains and digital trade."
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Joe Biden's first stop in Korea is Samsung chip complex
U.S. President Joe Biden will tour a Samsung Electronics chip manufacturing complex as his first stop on a three-day visit to Seoul, but a visit to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) is not on his itinerary. Biden's visit to Samsung's largest semiconductor plant in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, is relevant as he is expected to discuss with Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol a global alliance on stronger supply chains, along with other issues like North Korea and the Seoul-Washington alliance. Biden will be hosted by Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong and Yoon might join them at the factory — a symbol of a new so-called technological alliance between Seoul and Washington.
Qualcomm CEO to meet with Samsung Electronics executives
Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon may meet with the executives from Samsung Electronics when he accompanies U.S. president Joe Biden on his state visit to Korea starting Friday.“A meeting is planned between the Qualcomm CEO and high-ranking executives from Samsung Electronics,” a source with knowledge of the matter said.“Up in the air is whether Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong will make it or not,” the source said. Amon is expected to join a tour of the Samsung Electronics chip manufacturing complex in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, the first major stop during Biden’s visit. Lee will be there, but it is not clear whether he will attend a meeting between executives and Amon.
Worries about new tests by North grow as Biden visit approaches
A U.S. reconnaissance plane flew over the waters east of the Korean Peninsula as North Korea appeared to be preparing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test just before U.S. President Joe Biden's arrival in Seoul on Friday. The U.S. Air Force's RC-135S Cobra Ball reconnaissance aircraft flew from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan to the East Sea on Thursday morning, apparently with the aim of monitoring North Korea's ballistic missile launch preparations. The RC-135S is equipped with state-of-the-art electronic optical devices that can track ballistic missiles from a long distance. The plane is known to have flown over the East Sea and conducted long-distance surveillance of Pyongyang on previous missions.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
ROK-US alliance expands to technology and supply chain
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden have made it official to upgrade the scope of the ROK-US alliance from military and security to the economy, advanced technology, and supply chain during their first summit meeting. It is expected that the relationship between South Korea and the U.S. will be elevated to a global alliance encompassing security, economy, advanced technology, and supply chain beyond the alliance confined to the Korean Peninsula to deter North Korea.“A type of supply chain alliance with the U.S. is needed to properly manage supply chain,” said a member of the South Korean presidential office during a briefing on Thursday, the day before President Biden’s visit to the country.
Kakao Entertainment integrates US webtoon, webnovel subsidiaries
Kakao Entertainment is integrating its U.S. subsidiaries of webtoon and webnovel platforms that the company acquired majority stakes last year in a move to strengthen ‘Beyond Korea’ strategy focused on contents. Kakao Entertainment said on Thursday it is merging its webtoon subsidiary Tapas Media and webnovel subsidiary Radish Media. The merger will be done through acquisition of Tapas by Radish, with the new combined entity to be headed by Tapas CEO Kim Chang-won. The new company has yet to be named. Tapas, the first webtoon platform in North America, and Radish, a webtoon company that was established in 2016, was annexed as Kakao Entertainment’s subsidiaries last year.
New device developed to diagnose babies with no blood drawn
A prototype of a “smart pacifier” has been developed by a group of 10 researchers, nine out of which are Korean, to help diagnose disease in babies without drawing their blood. It is assessed as one of the first steps taken to commercialize smart pacifiers that track health conditions that are used to check out babies in real time. Consisting of 10 researchers from Washington State University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Wichita State University in the United States and Pukyong National University in South Korea, the international research team released a thesis in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics on Monday, demonstrating that sodium and potassium levels in infant patients measured by the smart pacifier are as accurate as those found in an analysis involving blood drawing.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Biden includes a trip to Samsung Elec, not DMZ, to imply rise of biz alliance with Korea
Tighter alliance between South Korea and the United States on security to up deterrence against “all contingencies” related to North Korea and economy amid global supply instability will make up the primary purpose of the first state visit by U.S. President Joe Biden who would be heading first to Samsung Electronics’ chip plant upon arriving in Korea and skipping the usual stop to the demilitarized zone.“With respect to the issue of North Korea, we’ve said from this podium, … that our intelligence does reflect the genuine possibility that there will be either a further missile tests – including a 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,”
Lotte Chemical to invest $8 bn on hydrogen energy, battery materials by 2030
Lotte Chemical Corp. will invest 10 trillion won ($8 billion) on hydrogen and battery materials through 2030 to achieve annual revenue of 50 trillion won and carbon neutrality. The Korean chemical producer on Thursday unveiled its new corporate vision outlining key corporate strategies with focus on growth through hydrogen energy and battery materials businesses. The company has set a target to bump up its sales from petrochemical production to 20 trillion won from 11 trillion won of last year, as well as expand value
Hyundai Glovis opens third subsidiary in SE Asia via JV in Thailand
Hyundai Glovis Co., the logistics unit of South Korea`s Hyundai Motor Group, opened subsidiary in Thailand with ambition to build up business through networking with partners in retail, automotive, and logistics. Hyundai Glovis Logistics Thailand was established as a joint venture with Thai automobile parts manufacturers and logistics companies. In Thailand, foreign companies can launch business in joint venture. Foreign ownership in logistics sector is limited to less than 50 percent.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Conservatives, liberals join hands to honor Gwangju’s beloved
When “March for the Beloved” — a song that commemorates the victims of the May 18 Democratization Movement — resounded across the May 18th National Cemetery in Gwangju’s Buk District on Wednesday, President Yoon Suk-yeol rose from his seat and sang the protest song while holding the hands of Hwang Il-bong, the president of the May 18 Memorial Injured, and Park Hae-suk, the president of the May 18 Bereaved Families Association, who were seated on either side of him. People Power Party (PPP) leader Lee Jun-seok as well as Park Ji-hyun and Yun Ho-jung, co-chairs of the Democratic Party’s emergency leadership committee, also stood side by side and sang the song with clenched fists.
What consequences will joining Biden’s IPEF have for S. Korea?
Leading up to the South Korea-US summit, Seoul has announced that it will join the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), becoming one of the founding members of this new US-led cooperative body. Alongside hopes that this will be an opportunity for Korea to gain a competitive advantage and stabilize supply chains in key industries of the future, there are also concerns that participating in a framework designed to exclude China will spark conflict in the areas of diplomacy and trade. In contrast with existing free trade agreements, which lower tariffs and other trade barriers, the IPEF is focused on establishing new norms and a new order for trade that are oriented around the US.
S. Korea confirms intent to join IPEF, prompting fears of backlash from China
The South Korean government has officially confirmed its intention to join the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), a US-led regional initiative for economic cooperation that is largely designed to contain China. That creates a diplomatic challenge for the newly minted Yoon administration amid concerns about a backlash from China. Officials in the South Korean presidential office told the Hankyoreh on Wednesday that Yoon intends to tell US President Joe Biden that he means to support and join the IPEF when they meet in Seoul for their first summit on May 21. Yoon will also remotely attend the summit in Japan on May 23 at which the IPEF is likely to be unveiled.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Land for Yongsan Park to Be Returned in June Also Smothered in Carcinogens, But Government Insists on Opening the Site in September Without Any Cleanup
Dioxin, a toxic carcinogen, was detected in the U.S. base site in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, which the U.S. Forces Korea is to return to South Korea this coming June. Dioxin was found in the school and residential area near the presidential office in Yongsan, which the Yoon Suk-yeol (Yoon Seok-youl) government is planning to temporarily open as the Yongsan Park. This was the first time that the results of a government pollution survey in this area was released. The government claims that the danger of carcinogens is not high since this area was used as the USFK residence, but an inspection by the Ministry of Environment revealed that there were three oil leaks in this area alone. The government plans to open some of the area without any cleanup operations this year.
President Yoon on the Confirmation of Han Duck-soo, “I Believe They will Handle the Matter Reasonably”
On May 19, President Yoon Suk-yeol (Yoon Seok-youl) spoke on the National Assembly’s confirmation of prime minister nominee Han Duck-soo and said, “I believe they (the opposition, Democratic Party of Korea) will handle the matter well according to reason.” This day, President Yoon met with reporters on his way to work at the presidential office in Yongsan and gave this answer when a reporter asked if he had any message he wanted to give to the opposition party concerning the approval of Han, which the lawmakers will put to a vote in the National Assembly on May 20. When asked what the president wanted to stress as the prime minister’s office continues to remain vacant, President Yoon said, “I don’t have anything special to say.”
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.
Official Campaigning for Local Elections Kicks Off
Campaigning for the June 1 local elections and parliamentary by-elections officially kicked off on Thursday. The National Election Commission said the 13-day official campaign period will end on May 31, one day before the election.More than 76-hundred candidates who registered for over 23-hundred electoral districts across the nation were permitted to launch their campaigns at the stroke of midnight. During the period, the candidates are permitted to deliver speeches in public places using vehicles or loudspeakers and put up placards.
NIS: N. Korea Ready for Nuke Test, Waiting for Right Timing
South Korea's National Intelligence Service says North Korea is ready for a nuclear test, and is waiting for the right timing to conduct the test. Ha Tae-keung of the ruling People Power Party(PPP) on Thursday revealed details of the closed-door meeting of the National Assembly's Intelligence Committee on an NIS report on North Korea. When asked about the possibility of North Korea's missile launch coinciding with U.S. President Joe Biden's visit to Seoul, Ha said there are signs of a possible launch, and the NIS believes Pyongyang is making launch preparations.
Trade Ministry Says IPEF Will Serve National Interest
The government says joining the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework(IPEF) will serve the nation's interest as South Korea continues to establish itself as an open trading country. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy made the statement on Thursday as a summit declaring the framework’s launch will open in Japan next Tuesday. The ministry said that a formal announcement on South Korea's possible participation will come on the occasion of the South Korea-U.S. summit scheduled to be held on Saturday in Seoul. On views that China will protest the IPEF, widely regarded to be part of Washington’s efforts to counter China’s growing influence in the area, the ministry said South Korea is actively taking part in various economic blocs as a country that links developing and advanced countries.
Biden set to arrive in S. Korea for first summit with Yoon
U.S. President Joe Biden is set to arrive in South Korea on Friday for his first summit with President Yoon Suk-yeol on a range of issues, including North Korea's nuclear program and supply chain risks. Biden's visit, his first since taking office, comes as both Seoul and Washington believe a North Korean nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile test is imminent and could happen while he is in South Korea or Japan, the second leg of his tour.
N. Korea's total suspected COVID-19 cases surpass 2 million
North Korea reported over 260,000 new suspected COVID-19 cases Friday, with the total number of such cases surpassing 2 million, eight days after it first confirmed the virus outbreak. More than 263,370 people showed symptoms of fever and two deaths were reported over a 24-hour period until 6 p.m. the previous day, raising the total number of fatalities to 65, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported, citing data from the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters.
S. Korea to resume issuing short-term travel visas, e-visas next month
South Korea will resume issuing short-term travel visas and e-visas starting June 1, officials said Thursday, more than two years after suspending all new applications due to the pandemic. The justice ministry said the decision is aimed at bringing in more foreign tourists to boost domestic consumption and invigorate related industries after South Korea lifted nearly all COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. A short-term general C-3 visa allows foreigners to enter the country for tourism, transit, visiting relatives or similar reasons and to stay here for up to 90 days.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
‘Korea can be Silicon Valley for blockchain’
As South Korea looks ahead into the next five years under the new Yoon Suk-yeol administration, the fourth-largest economy in Asia finds itself at a critical juncture with the inevitable advent of the second era of the digital age based on blockchain technology. Don Tapscott, a leading thinker on blockchain, said in an interview with The Korea Herald that he believes Korea can be the next Silicon Valley if the country has the right national blockchain strategy and a good regulatory environment.“You have a great educated population. You have great computer science. It’s not fully into this area yet but it could be.
US ready to adjust short, longer-term military posture to handle N. Korean provocations
The White House said Wednesday that the US is ready to adjust its “short and longer-term military posture” regarding North Korea and handle “all contingencies,” including major weapons tests during the US president’s trip to South Korea and Japan. US national security adviser Jake Sullivan reaffirmed the US defense commitment to the regional key allies and warned that North Korea could conduct long-range missile and nuclear tests on the occasion of President Joe Biden’s first emblematic trip to the Indo-Pacific region between May 20 to 24.
North Korea’s omicron surge: Kim Jong-un’s ‘double-masking’ and other peculiarities
Lacking vaccines and treatments, North Korea is deploying unconventional methods to fight its growing COVID-19 crisis. In a mere week since “first” cases were acknowledged on May 12, the number of suspected cases there climbed to nearly 2 million. Outside experts say these estimates are likely a vast undercount of the true scale of the outbreak.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Deterrence against North Korea, economic security on top of summit agenda
The deterrence on nuclear threats from North Korea and strengthening economic security will top the agenda at the upcoming summit between President Yoon Suk-yeol and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden, according to Seoul's presidential office, Thursday. The two leaders will sit together for a summit on Saturday afternoon, with Biden visiting Seoul's new presidential office in Yongsan District. The U.S. leader is scheduled to arrive here Friday afternoon. The meeting will focus mostly on confirming that the allies are on the same page on two agenda items. Kim Tae-hyo, first deputy director of the Office of National Security, said the two countries "are reaching a stage of completion" on most debatable agenda items.
Summit could pave way for currency swap: analysts
A possible revival of an expired currency swap contract between Korea and the United States is raising hopes here, as the agenda to be covered during a scheduled summit between the leaders of the two countries in Seoul, Saturday, apparently prioritizes close links between the economy and national security. But while it remains uncertain if a bilateral currency swap is on the agenda, Kim Tae-hyo, the first deputy chief of the National Security Office, fueled optimism over that possibility, Wednesday. "Consultation is underway concerning cooperation on foreign reserves to the equivalent level of a currency swap," Kim said."
US-led initiative expected to bolster economic partnership with Korea
Korea's decision to participate in the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) is expected to bolster the economic partnership between Seoul and Washington, according to diplomatic observers. However, Seoul is also required to make efforts to prevent participation in the IPEF from adversely affecting its relations with China, the nation's largest trading partner, they added. On Wednesday, the presidential office announced its decision to join the IPEF, promoted by the United States to counter China's influence in the region. Relatedly, President Yoon Suk-yeol is expected to announce Korea's intention to join the initiative during his summit with U.S. President Joe Biden, Saturday, and plans to attend a summit virtually for the launch of the trade and economic initiative in Japan, May 24.
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