Thursday, May 26, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
President Yoon, first lady Kim attend KBS Open Concert
President Yoon Suk-yeol and first lady Kim Keon-hee on May 22 made a surprise appearance at the main garden in front of the main office building of Cheong Wa Dae, where a commemorative episode of "KBS Open Concert" was held to mark the opening of the former presidential compound. This was the first time for the president to visit Cheong Wa Dae since his inauguration. He had the presidential office relocated to Seoul's Yongsan-gu District under his campaign pledge to open the compound to the public.
Gifted Korean brother and sister win entry in prestigious school in Arizona
A Korean boy and sister won their matriculation at a prestigious school for very gifted boys and girls in Arizona, USA. They are won entry in the Arizona State University's ASU Gary K. Herberger Young Scholars Academy. The boy is a 12-year-old Tae Eun-shik and the girl a 13-year-old Tae Hee-yeon. (Incidentally, they are the grand-son and grand-daughter of Vice Chairman Song Na-ra of The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985.)
Korea, U.S. agree to expand joint military drills to cope with N.K. threats
President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden agreed in the summit on May 21 to begin discussions on restarting and expanding joint military drills between the two countries amid growing nuclear and missile threats from North Korea. Both sides reached the agreement during their first summit in Seoul, which took place as both countries believed a nuclear test or missile launch from the North was imminent. In a joint statement on the summit, the two leaders said, "South Korea and the U.S. agreed to initiate discussions to expand the scope and scale of combined military exercises and training on the Korean Peninsula."
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
IT Companies Try to Lure Staff Back to the Office
IT companies are looking for ways to stir staff out of working from home, which they have become comfortable with over the last couple of locked-down years. Naver has just completed construction of a new headquarters, but now there is nobody to fill it. The portal giant is letting staff choose between working from home all the time or coming to the office at least three days a week but most chose the former. Surprisingly perhaps it is thrusting young game companies that insist everyone has to come to the office. One industry insider said, "There's no choice but to work at the office to develop new games fast that could boost our faltering earnings."
N.Korea Fires 3 More Ballistic Missiles
North Korea fired three ballistic missiles toward the East Sea on Wednesday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff here said Wednesday. The fresh provocation came a day after U.S. President Joe Biden wrapped up his trip to Seoul and Tokyo early this week, vowing to use all defense capabilities including nuclear weapons to defend South Korea against a nuclear attack from the North. A provocation of one kind or another was widely expected at this time. This was already the North's 17th missile launch this year alone. The JCS said the missiles were launched from Pyongyang over the course of an hour between 6 and 7 a.m.
Chinese, Russian Warplanes Buzz Korean Air Identification Zone
Six Chinese and Russian warplanes on Tuesday buzzed Korea's air defense identification zone as Chinese warships entered the East Sea. The show of force came a day after Korea joined the anti-China Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) led by the U.S., while leaders of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad, an informal anti-China alliance of the U.S., Japan, Australia and India, met in Tokyo. According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff here, two Chinese H-6 bombers entered Korea's identification zone without identifying themselves 126 km northwest of the submerged shelf of Ieo around 8 a.m. and exited again an hour and a half later.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
North Korea fires three missiles, possibly an ICBM
North Korea fired three ballistic missiles into the eastern waters off the Korean Peninsula on Wednesday, a day after U.S. President Joe Biden wrapped up his Asia visit. South Korean defense officials believe one was a Hwasong-17, the North's latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected the launches as they took place at 6 a.m., 6:37 a.m. and 6:42 a.m. in the Sunan area of Pyongyang. Military authorities said they thought the first missile might have been the North’s newest ICBM, the Hwasong-17, which they said flew approximately 360 kilometers (224 miles) and reached a top altitude of 540 kilometers.
Samsung SDI, Stellantis to invest $2.5 billion to build EV battery plant in Indiana
Samsung SDI and Stellantis are jointly investing over $2.5 billion to build an EV battery plant in Kokomo, Indiana, the two companies confirmed Wednesday. The factory will be the Korean battery maker's first battery facility in the United States. Samsung SDI has a battery pack assembly facility in Detroit. The two companies signed an agreement Tuesday in Kokomo, Indiana, with Samsung SDI CEO Choi Yoon-ho and Mark Stewart, COO at Stellantis North America, in attendance. Groundbreaking is scheduled for the end of the year, with the goal of starting operations in the first quarter of 2025.
Samsung to co-develop memory software with Red Hat
Samsung Electronics will co-develop memory software with U.S. software company Red Hat, the electronics maker said Wednesday. The goal is to develop open-source software for existing and emerging memory and data storage hardware products through extensive collaboration, said the companies. Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, Red Hat is a wholly-owned subsidiary of IBM that sells open-source software services for enterprises. Open-source software is computer software which anyone can access to modify its source code. Red Hat’s Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which is a commercial operating system based on open-source software Linux, is one example.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Presidential office says N. Korea is in final preparation stage for 7th nuclear test
The South Korean government believes that North Korea is likely to conduct its seventh nuclear test, following the launch of ballistic missiles. It is predicted that North Korea will adopt a written decision for a nuclear test at a plenary meeting of the Workers' Party of Korea, which is scheduled to be held in the first half of June, and conduct the test soon after the meeting.“North Korea’s nuclear test is imminent and it is in the final preparation stage,” said Kim Tae-hyo, the first deputy director of the Office of National Security of the presidential office. “It is unlikely that the test will be conducted within a day or two but it is very much possible after that,” he added.
Pandemic wave may reoccur in summer, say health authorities
The Korean government predicted the number of daily new confirmed cases in Korea may reach 100,000 to 200,000 cases if the pandemic reoccurs. The number of daily new confirmed cases has been reduced to 20,000 per day.“Experts predict that the pandemic wave may reoccur in Korea in summer or autumn,” said Park Hyang, the head of Pandemic Control at the Central Disaster Management Headquarters. “The number of new daily confirmed cases should be around 100,000 to 200,000.” Health authorities had predicted that a pandemic wave might occur again in June, as a new mutant virus that spreads faster has recently entered Korea.
Quad to launch real-time tracing of Chinese vessels in Indo-Pacific
Real-time monitoring by Quad, the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Security Framework, on maritime activities in Chinese sea, which was determined at the U.S.-Japan summit on Tuesday is seen as a move to counter-balance China’s rising dominance of the seas. The U.S. aims to build a siege near seas of China including the Taiwan Strait, Senkaku Islands (Diaoyudao) of the East China Sea, and South China Sea in dispute between China and Southeast Asian countries, and the Pacific. Quad will be putting a stop to China’s activities of dispatching civil maritime organizations in areas of territorial dispute. Experts expect that the move will raise military tensions between the U.S. and China.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
S. Korea and US fire missiles after NK tests ICBM and two shorter missiles
South Korea and the U.S. combined forces Wednesday fired missiles in response to North Korea’s missile provocations for the first time in nearly five years after the two summits in recent meeting vowed to enhance deterrence capabilities against North Korea’s nuclear and missile dangers. The Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement that the U.S. and South Korean militaries fired two surface-to-surface missiles in response to three ballistic missile launches by North Korea earlier in the morning that included a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)
Samsung Elec, Red Hat enter collaboration in next-gen memory software
Samsung Electronics Co. Wednesday announced far-ranging collaboration in next-gen memory software technology with U.S. open source solutions provider Red Hat Inc. as it goes all-out to strengthen its chip leadership through $356 billion investment pledge for the next five years. The two companies under the partnership will cooperate on software development related to next-gen memory solutions like for non-volatile memory express (NVMe) SSDs and CXL memory and jointly conduct verification work and promotional activity, Samsung Electronics said Wednesday.
Korea’s OTC derivatives trade hit $14.36 tn in 2021, nine times of GDP
South Korea’s over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives market grew about 6.6 percent last year from the previous year to the extent of overwhelming the country’s economy by nine times amid active hedging against rising interest rate and U.S. dollar. The combined turnover of OTC derivatives, such as interest rate swaps and currency forwards, amounted to 18,146 trillion won ($14.36 trillion) in 2021, up 1,127 trillion won from 2020, according to the data from the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) Wednesday.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Bearing down on Russia and China, Quad leaders vow to “act decisively”
“We’re navigating a dark hour in our shared history. The Russian brutal and unprovoked war against Ukraine has triggered a humanitarian catastrophe[. . . .] This is more than just a European issue. It’s a global issue.” US President Joe Biden was the last leader to take the microphone in introductory remarks for the second Quad summit in Tokyo on Tuesday morning. In his remarks, he mentioned the war in Ukraine as one of the reasons that the leaders of four major countries in the Indo-Pacific region had gathered.
Han Dong-hoon and prosecution-tied figures to control Yoon’s personnel appointments
After South Korea’s Ministry of Justice announced the establishment of a team that will screen nominees for public office on Tuesday, the Hankyoreh has learned that the final stage of vetting will be overseen by the secretary to the president for civil service discipline. That means that the entire process of nominating and vetting officials under the Yoon administration will be handled by veterans of the state prosecution service, including Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon, who is widely regarded as Yoon’s right-hand man, and Lee Si-won, the newly appointed secretary to the president for civil service discipline who was implicated in a trumped-up espionage case.
Chinese, Russian warplanes enter KADIZ without notice
Two Chinese bombers and four Russian fighters and bombers flew through South Korea’s air defense identification zone (KADIZ) east of Dokdo on Tuesday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. Coming on the heels of US President Joe Biden’s attempt to tighten the screws on China and Russia during a tour of Korea and Japan from Friday to Tuesday, the two countries may have intended the maneuver as a show of force. The Joint Chiefs of Staff said that two Chinese H-6 bombers entered the KADIZ 126 km northwest of a submerged rock called Ieodo at 7:56 am on Tuesday and traveled to the East Sea before exiting to the north at 9:33 am.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Park Ji-hyun, “We Need to Discuss the Voluntary Retirement of ‘5-8-6’ Politicians to Restore Public Trust”
On May 25, Park Ji-hyun, co-chair of the Democratic Party of Korea’s emergency committee said, “We need to discuss the voluntary retirement of ‘5-8-6’ politicians to restore public trust.” (5-8-6 refers to politicians in their fifties, who went to college in the 1980s, and were born in the 1960s.) She called for 5-8-6 politicians to voluntarily retire after declaring an end to “fandom politics” and double standards inside the party in a written appeal to the people the previous day. At a meeting of the party’s election campaign at the National Assembly this day, Park said, “The mission of the 5-8-6 was to restore democracy and make sure it firmly settled in this land. Now, they have nearly completed that role. They should prepare a beautiful exit.”
President Yoon Presides over First National Security Council and Condemns North Korean Missile Launch as “Serious Provocation”
On May 25, President Yoon Suk-yeol defined North Korea’s launch of a missile believed to be an inter-continental ballistic missile and a short-range ballistic missile as serious provocation and fiercely condemned the North’s action. This morning, President Yoon expressed such views while presiding over a National Security Council (NSC) meeting at the presidential office in Yongsan. This was the first NSC meeting that President Yoon presided over since his inauguration, and the meeting was held for an hour from 7:35 a.m. The president convened the NSC meeting immediately after receiving a report on the North Korean missile launch this day.
Welfare Minister Nominee Chung Ho-young Resigns, But Some Claim He Was Replaced
On May 23, Chung Ho-young (pictured), the minister of health and welfare nominee, resigned, 43 days after he was nominated by President Yoon Suk-yeol. Chung was the second ministerial nominee who failed to secure his position in President Yoon’s cabinet following Kim In-chul, deputy prime minister and minister of education nominee. However, some believe Chung was replaced. The Democratic Party of Korea cooperated and approved Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, weakening President Yoon’s cause to push ahead with Chung’s appointment. Besides, with the local elections approaching on June 1, the president probably judged that insisting on keeping Chung could fuel negative public opinion.
US Condemns N. Korean Missile Launches, Reaffirms Support of Humanitarian Aid
A senior U.S. official has condemned North Korea's latest missile launches, but reiterated that the U.S. continues to support humanitarian aid efforts and the provision of COVID-19 assistance to the North. Mark Lambert, deputy assistant secretary of state for Japan and South Korea, issued the position on Wednesday during a virtual press briefing when asked to comment on the North Korean missile launches. Lambert said that North Korea fired a total of 23 ballistic missiles this year, including Wednesday's launches, all of which violated multiple UN Security Council resolutions.
Report: UN to Vote on N. Korea Sanctions in Coming Days
The UN Security Council will reportedly vote in the coming days on a U.S.-led resolution to impose additional sanctions against North Korea for its ballistic missile launches. Reuters issued the report on Wednesday quoting a senior official of the U.S. government. After the North's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile(ICBM) on March 24, the U.S. produced a draft of the new resolution and has discussed it with other UNSC members. The draft text would halve the amount of crude oil that North Korea can legally import each year to two million barrels. It would also halve the annual cap on refined petroleum exports to a maximum of 250-thousand barrels.
N. Korea Claims No New Deaths for Third Day
North Korea has reported about 100-thousand new fever cases, suspected to be COVID-19, with no deaths for the third consecutive day. The North’s official Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) on Thursday said that the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters reported 105-thousand-500 more people with fever symptoms in the 24 hour-period leading up to 6 p.m. Wednesday. The KCNA said more than three-point-17 million cumulative cases have been reported since late April, and about two-point-89 million of them recovered with 270-thousand receiving treatment. The headquarters said no death was reported during the period, with the death toll remaining at 68.
N. Korea tests nuclear detonation device: presidential office
North Korea has been testing a nuclear triggering device apparently in preparation for what would be the country's seventh nuclear test, a senior presidential official said Wednesday. The experiments have been taking place at a location away from Punggye-ri, the site of all six North Korean nuclear tests to date, said Kim Tae-hyo, first deputy director of the National Security Office, without naming the place. "Operation tests of a nuclear detonation device, which are to prepare for the seventh nuclear test at Punggye-ri, are being detected," Kim told reporters.
N. Korea reports no new deaths for 3rd day amid COVID-19 outbreak
North Korea reported no new deaths for the third consecutive day and over 105,000 new suspected COVID-19 cases Thursday amid its virus outbreak. More than 105,500 people showed symptoms of fever, but no deaths were reported over a 24-hour period until 6 p.m. the previous day, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, citing data from the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters. The total number of fever cases since late April in the nation, with a population of 24 million, came to more than 3.17 million as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, of which more than 2.9 million have recovered and at least 271,810 are being treated, it added. The death toll remains at 68.
S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases in 20,000s for 2nd day amid receding omicron wave
South Korea's new COVID-19 cases stayed in the 20,000s for the second consecutive day Wednesday, down nearly 7,400 cases from a week ago, as the COVID-19 pandemic is in retreat. The country added 23,956 new infections, including 21 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 18,017,923, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said. The daily tally fell to a 16-week low for a Wednesday and declined 23.5 percent from a week earlier, in an apparent sign of the pandemic slowing down. South Korea's daily caseload peaked at over 621,000 on March 17, driven by the rapid spread of the omicron variant nationwide.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Democratic Party Seoul mayor hopeful says he will be ‘balance that Yoon needs’
In the aftermath of a divisive race that put a conservative back into presidency, the Democratic Party of Korea’s candidate for mayor of Seoul, Song Young-gil, said he would serve as “a voice for the other half.” On June 1, Koreans head to polls for elections to pick municipal heads and fill vacant parliament seats.“0.73 percent. That’s how thin the margin was,” he said as he sat down for an interview with The Korea Herald on Tuesday at his office in Yeouido, Seoul. At the end of a polarizing race in March, Yoon Suk-yeol of the People Power Party won 48.56 percent of the votes over his Democratic Party opponent Lee Jae-myung’s 47.83 percent.
Seoul braces for NK nuke test, warhead detonation device test detected
Seoul is closely monitoring North Korea for a possible nuclear test, with authorities having detected the testing of nuclear warhead detonation devices, a top security official said Wednesday, following a National Security Council meeting to address North Korea’s three ballistic missiles launches early the same morning. When asked about the possibility of the North’s nuclear test, Kim Tae-hyo, the first deputy director of the National Security Office, said, “It is unlikely that it will be imminent within a day or two, but I think there is a sufficiently high possibility after that.”
S. Korean military commits to stepping up Ukraine support at US-led dialogue
South Korea’s Defense Ministry committed to seeking ways to step up support for Ukraine at the US-led defense dialogue while taking a cautious stance over providing lethal weapons to the war-torn country. Vice Defense Minister Shin Beom-chul on Monday attended a second virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group hosted by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense announced Tuesday.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
North Korea launches missiles to test Seoul-Washington deterrence
North Korea fired three missiles, including what appears to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), off its east coast on Wednesday, putting to test an extended Seoul-Washington deterrence against the bellicose regime pledged by President Yoon Suk-yeol and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden during their summit over the past weekend. The South Korean government, along with the United States, responded with a show of force. Both the South Korean and U.S. militaries countered the missile launch by firing ground-to-ground missiles off the east coast, following Yoon's order to pursue "practical measures on extended deterrence and stronger combined defense capabilities between South Korea and the U.S."
Chaebol leaders pledge support for SMEs
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun, LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo and Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin promised Wednesday that they will support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) here to prosper together with them. The chiefs of the nation's five largest conglomerates made the pledge at the Korea Federation of SMEs' (KBIZ) annual convention held in front of the presidential office in Seoul's Yongsan District, on the occasion of the federation's 60th anniversary.
Will government establish new immigration agency?
Discussions over the possible launch of a new government agency encompassing migrant-related policies are expected to pick up speed under the Yoon Suk-yeol administration, as newly-appointed Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon vowed to carry out advanced immigration policies. Migrant experts welcomed the ministry's plan and called for the swift establishment of the immigration agency, pointing out that Korea's migration policies have already fallen behind those of other Asian countries. During his inauguration speech on May 17, Han said, "We will establish a system to carry out advanced immigration policies, including reviewing the launch of an immigration department."
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