Friday, May 27, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Salaries of medical workers in Uzbekistan to increase from June 1
The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a Decree “On measures to strengthen material support and incentives for employees of medical institutions”. According to the document, from June 1 of this year, the monthly official salaries of medical, pharmaceutical and other employees of state medical institutions will increase, in particular: • medical and pharmaceutical workers with the highest and first qualification categories – by 15%; • medical and pharmaceutical workers who have a second qualification category and do not have a qualification category, as well as other medical and pharmaceutical workers – by 10%;
Pernod Ricard Korea teams up with Environment Action Association to conserve nature and promote biodiversity
Pernod Ricard Korea donated 10 million won to Environment Action Association to support the conservation of nature and protection of biodiversity. Pernod Ricard Korea, the Korean unit of the global wine and spirits company Pernod Ricard Group, announced on May 25, 2022 that it has donated 10 million won to Environment Action Association to help support its activities to conserve nature and protect biodiversity. In addition, Pernod Ricard Korea employees will carry out environmental protection activities in Seoul, Daejeon and Busan on June 16 in conjunction with Environment Action Association.
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.
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."
Fuel Consumption Down Amid Soaring Oil Prices
Diesel and gasoline consumption dropped sharply in Korea last month amid soaring oil prices. According to the Korea National Oil Corporation, the total consumption of diesel and gasoline was 17.3 million barrels in April, down 5.8 percent from 18.4 million in March and 18.3 percent from 21.2 million a year earlier. The decline was mostly attributed to soaring oil prices sparked by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The average price of diesel spiked to a record high of over W2,000 per liter, surpassing that of gasoline. (US$1=W1,266)
Small Businesses Pessimistic Despite End of Lockdown
Small businesses are being hit hard by soaring inflation just as they had hopes of recovering from the coronavirus lockdown. In a quarterly survey with the Chosun Ilbo, Hana Financial Group asked 800 small business owners about their performance and 58.4 percent said their sales until April this year fell from the fourth quarter of last year -- the month of April was included in the quarterly survey to gauge the effects of COVID-19 restrictions being lifted. That means many, especially in residential areas or traditional open-air markets are still suffering even though lockdown has been mostly lifted. They complain that rising costs are eating into profits and if they hike their own prices it damages sales.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Bank of Korea ups rates a quarter point citing high inflation
The Bank of Korea raised the base interest rate by 0.25 percentage points to 1.75 percent on Thursday. It was a unanimous decision by the monetary policy board and came in the context of fast rising consumer prices. "Inflation was higher than we had expected," Bank of Korea Gov. Rhee Chang-yong said during a press conference held in central Seoul on Thursday. The increase, which was widely expected, is the second consecutive rate rise and the fifth in the current round of monetary tightening, which began in August last year. At the previous board meeting, in April, rates were also upped 25 basis points and the decision was also unanimous.
Yoon Suk-yeol picks women for his final two Cabinet appointments
President Yoon Suk-yeol named two women to fill his education and health minister posts, aiming for a bit of gender balance in his male-dominated Cabinet. Park Soon-ae, a professor at Seoul National University's (SNU) Graduate School of Public Administration, was tapped as education minister and deputy prime minister for social affairs, said the presidential office Thursday. Kim Seung-hee, a former lawmaker and former head of the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, was named minister of health and welfare. The presidential office said that Park, as a public administration expert, "is expected to improve the efficiency of education administration and lead the implementation of key state affairs in the education field."
Culture is a key export, overenthusiastic fan a big risk
Just as the growth of culture drove the growth of other industries in Britain, the expansion of Korean pop content will enhance other sectors, including tourism and technology, said Julian Knight, a member of the British Parliament and chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. Knight gave his remarks at “The 3rd Business+ Forum – The Korean Entertainment Industry” held Thursday at Lotte Hotel Seoul in central Seoul. The forum, co-hosted by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra) and the British Chamber of Commerce in Korea (BCCK), was held to discuss how the influence of K-pop, Korean dramas and films has been growing in recent years and how risks can be managed to ensure continued success, according to Kotra.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
BOK chief projects inflation rates to remain at over 5%
“It is very clear that inflation rates will exceed 5% in June, July and August. In particular, if the global crop prices remain on upward trajectory, the rates may remain at over 4% even until early 2023,” Bank of Korea Gov. Rhee Chang-yong said after raising the annual base rate in just a month from 1.50% to 1.75% on Thursday. Rhee’s remarks show that he had no option but to place his strongest card on the table in 15 years, raising the rates for two consecutive months to rein in inflation that are going out of control. He also hinted at the central bank’s consideration of additionally raising base rates in coming months of July and August or taking a “big step” of having 50 basis point hikes at once.
Yoon prioritizes appointment of female leaders in cabinet
President Yoon Suk-yeol nominated Thursday Professor Park Soon-ae at the Graduate School of Administrative Studies at Seoul National University (SNU) as candidate for the Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Education and former lawmaker Kim Seung-hee as Minister of Health and Welfare. The president also nominated Dean Oh Yu-kyeong of the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Studies at SNU, filling the candidate list announced on this day with female nominees and moving away from his tendency to prefer male candidates in their 50s with SNU background.
U.S. pushes the UNSC votes on sanctions on N. Korea
The U.N. Security Council voted on sanctions on North Korea on Thursday, one day after North Korea test-launched an ICBM Wednesday when President Joe Biden returned from his presidential trip to Asia. A draft resolution includes tougher sanctions on North Korea, banning the nation from conducting nuclear and missile tests and all delivery system capable of mounting nuclear warheads. Not only a cruise missile but also a multiple rocket launcher that could carry strategic nuclear weapons are included in the sanctions. The resolution aims to reduce the amount of oil imports by Pyongyang and ban North Korean exports of tobacco and manufactured tobacco.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
BOK hints of further lifting after rate hike to 1.75%, eying annual inflation at 14 yr high
South Korea’s central bank will go on raising interest rates as it sees inflation flying above 5 percent in May and next few months to finish the year at a 14-year high of 4.5 percent, according to its new chief Thursday. The Bank of Korea (BOK) governor Rhee Chang-yong chairing his first monetary policy meeting endorsed a hike of 25 basis points to place Korea’s policy rate at the highest since November 2018. Korea’s overnight call rate has been yanked up through five increases from the record low of 0.5 percent kept since the outbreak of Covid-19 in May 2020 until last August.
S. Korea’s top 5 conglomerates pledge capex nearly matching half of GDP through 2026
South Korean conglomerates this week vied with unprecedentedly aggressive capital investment plans, pledging nearly 950 trillion won ($751 billion), or nearly half of the country’s gross domestic product, over the next four to five years, coinciding with the presidency of Yoon Suk-yeol who had promised various deregulations and tax and financial incentives to corporate investments. The top five lived up to their rank, with No. 1 Samsung Group coming first to vow 450 trillion won and No. 2 SK Group 247 trillion won over the next five years.
NPS to report negative return in asset management for Q1
South Korea’s biggest institutional investor National Pension Service has performed poorly in the first quarter investment after placing nearly 90 percent of its assets in securities. NPS, manager of world’s third largest asset of $800 billion due to confirm its first-quarter performance on Friday, is projected to report minus 2.66 percent in cumulative investment return for January-March period, with loss valued at 25.4 trillion won ($20 billion). The loss is tantamount to 10 months of pension payment to 5.92 million pensioners, according to industry sources on Wednesday.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
East Asia becomes chessboard in face-off between reemerging blocs
US President Joe Biden’s trip to South Korea and Japan has prompted the Indo-Pacific region — the main battleground of the strategic competition between Washington and Beijing — to turn into a veritable chessboard where South Korea, the US, and Japan are facing off against North Korea, China, and Russia. In response to South Korea, the US, and Japan’s move to encircle China, rein in Russia, and counter North Korea’s missiles and nuclear program, North Korea, China, and Russia illustrated their determination to retaliate in their own uncompromising way. In other words, the dismal bloc confrontation of the Cold War era has returned.
Cornered as tensions rise, will N. Korea carry out its 7th nuclear test?
Conflict is brewing and tensions are rising on the Korean Peninsula after North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and two short-range ballistic missiles on Wednesday while US President Joe Biden was returning home from a tour of South Korea and Japan. After Biden reiterated his intention to strengthen deterrence against North Korea during meetings with the leaders of South Korea and Japan, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un responded just as harshly by firing off short-range missiles that could hit South Korea or Japan and an ICBM capable of reaching the US.
Biden secures his anti-China coalition in Asia trip, fueling tensions in region
US President Joe Biden returned to the White House on Tuesday from a five-day tour of South Korea and Japan. On this trip, the US managed to achieve three things: strengthening its alliances with Korea and Japan, demonstrating the Quad’s unity and commitment to action, and launching the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. While the US reinforced its network for containing China, the drawback is that tensions are rising in East Asia. Following his inauguration in January 2021, Biden underlined the importance of the Asia-Pacific region by inviting the leaders of Japan and Korea to the White House before any other world leaders in April and May of that year.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Bank of Korea Raises Base Rate to 1.75%: Inflation Pushes Interest Rate Up for Two Consecutive Months for the First Time in 15 Years
The Bank of Korea’s Monetary Policy Board raised the base interest rate 0.25%. The central bank drastically raised its inflation forecast from the 3.1% it announced last February and predicted that consumer prices would rise 4.5% this year. It also lowered its economic growth forecast to 2.7% from the previous 3.0%. The Monetary Policy Board held a meeting at the Bank of Korea in Jung-gu, Seoul on May 26 and decided to raise the current 1.50% annual base rate by 0.25% to 1.75%. Thus, after announcing the decision to normalize the nation’s monetary policy after the outbreak of COVID-19, the Board raised the base rate by 1.25% on five occasions in August and November 2021 and January, April and May this year.
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.
China, Russia Veto UN Resolution for More Sanctions on N. Korea
The United Nations Security Council(UNSC) has failed to adopt a resolution aimed at imposing more sanctions on North Korea over its ballistic missile launches as China and Russia vetoed it together. The Security Council put the resolution to a vote in a session on Thursday at the UN headquarters in New York. The resolution received the support of 13 members of the 15-member Security Council, with just China and Russia – both permanent members – together vetoing a fresh sanction against the North. A UNSC resolution must secure the support of nine or more members and cannot pass if it is vetoed by any of the five permanent members – Russia, China, the U.S., France and Britain.
N. Korea Reports 100,000 More Fever Cases, One New Death
North Korea has reported about 100-thousand more fever cases, suspected to be COVID-19, with one new death. The North’s official Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) on Friday said that the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters reported 100-thousand-460 more people with fever symptoms in the 24-hour period leading up to 6 p.m. Thursday. The headquarters said one death was reported during the period, with the death toll rising to 69 and the fatality rate standing at zero-point-002 percent. The KCNA said more than three-point-27 million cumulative cases have been reported since late April, and more than three million of them recovered with nearly 234-thousand receiving treatment.
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.
Supreme Court rules against peak wage system
The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against the peak wage system introduced by a large number of local companies to gradually cut the salaries of senior workers several years before retirement. The top court said the peak wage system is an illegal discrimination against workers on the basis of age, making the first ruling of its kind in a lawsuit filed by a former employee of a local research institute. It noted that the peak wage system violates a clause of the Act on Prohibition of Age Discrimination in Employment and Aged Employment Promotion, which stipulates that workers and persons wanting to become workers should not be discriminated against on the basis of age without reasonable causes.
U.S., S. Korea working to find right strategy for dealing with N. Korea: U.S. official
The United States and South Korea are working to find the "right mix" of tools to address the North Korean issue, a senior White House official said Thursday. Edgard Kagan, special assistant to President Joe Biden and senior director for East Asia and Oceania at the National Security Council, also said the countries have no illusions that there is a magic solution to the challenges posed by North Korea. "We have no illusions that there is a magic sort of solution to any of this," Kagan said in a seminar hosted by the Wilson Center, a Washington-based think tank.
Early voting for local elections kicks off
Early voting opened Friday for next week's local elections and parliamentary by-elections that can significantly strengthen or undermine the mandate of the new government of President Yoon Suk-yeol less than a month after its launch. Eligible voters can cast ballots at 3,551 polling stations nationwide from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Saturday, according to the National Election Commission (NEC). COVID-19 patients and those in quarantine will be able to vote from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. only on Saturday.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Small island nations warn developed world: ‘Our present is your future’
Small island countries were on the front lines of climate change but the clock is now ticking for the developed world, former president of Kiribati, Anote Tong, said at the H.eco Forum in Seoul on Thursday. “Hurricane Katrina hit the southeastern US in 2005, at a time when many parts of the country were still in denial of climate change,” Tong said. “The scale of destruction caused by that hurricane left even the most economically developed country on the planet struggling.”
BOK raises its interest rate to 1.75% to curb inflation
South Korea’s central bank on Thursday raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point to 1.75 percent and hinted at further rate hikes to come to fend off the country’s highest inflation spike in 14 years. In the first rate-setting meeting presided by the new Bank of Korea Gov. Rhee Chang-yong, the six-member monetary policy board unanimously voted to carry out its fifth pandemic-era rate hike since August last year, when it decided to end 15 months of its record-low 0.5 percent interest rate.
Humanity must step up to better protect marine ecosystems, experts say
At this year’s H.eco Forum, experts took a moment to highlight the ongoing and expected changes to marine ecosystems due to climate change and discuss what efforts are needed to protect the environment and prevent socioeconomic disasters and challenges from occurring. Chun Seung-soo, professor emeritus of Chonnam National University, started the session speaking about how the marine and coastal environments have been changing abruptly and discussed ways to mitigate and adapt to coastal disasters expected from rise in sea levels.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
UN Security Council fails to pass N. Korea resolution due to opposition by China, Russia
The U.N. Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday failed to pass a resolution to impose additional sanctions on North Korea for its recent missile tests due to opposition by China. "With the adoption of this resolution, we can send a message to all proliferators that we will not stand for their actions that seek to undermine international peace and security," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, urging all council members to vote in favor of the resolution. Thirteen members of the 15-member council voted in favor of the U.S.-proposed resolution.
Why doesn't US want to add South Korea to Quad?
Despite the Yoon Suk-yeol administration's desire to formally join the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), the United States has not been enthusiastic about adding Korea to the four-way strategic forum, aimed at purportedly containing China's assertiveness. The Quad is comprised of Australia, India, Japan and the U.S. The U.S. stance contrasts sharply with Washington's warm welcome to Seoul's decision to participate in the Indo-Pacific Framework (IPEF), a recently launched economic initiative that also seeks to counter Beijing's growing influence in the region.
'They're going to be elected, anyway'
On Wednesday at around 4 p.m., the ruling People Power Party's (PPP) candidate for the Daegu mayoral election, Hong Joon-pyo, showed up at a street market in the city's Paldal District to canvass for support, greeting crowds of people who were rooting for him. After three hours, he then moved to the city's Buk District where he held a Q&A session on the streets with members of the public for an hour ― which he dubbed "political busking." He then wrapped up his schedule for the day ― with less than a week remaining until the June 1 local elections.
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