Friday, June 3, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
New leaders of Korea, Turkmenistan have many things in common
The Republic of Korea now has a new leader, President Yoon Suk-yeol, who is trying to steer the country, hopefully to a new height of prosperity and international prestige. A similar development is observed in Turkmenistan, which was immediately apparent at a recent interview with Charge d’Affaires Dovlet Seyitmammedov whom The Korea Post media recently met at the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Seoul. Excerpts from the interview follow:
President Mirziyoyev the main ideological inspirer for constitutional reforms
The past week in the life of Uzbek parliament has been full of significant events for long-term development and strengthening of constitutional and legal foundations, as well as large-scale and rapid democratic transformations in the country to build New Uzbekistan and form the third Renaissance. As a result, on May 16, separate meetings of the Oliy Majlis's (Parliament) two largest factions - UzLiDeP and National Revival (Milliy Tiklanish) Democratic Party were conducted, followed by a joint meeting on May 17 dedicated to the implementation of constitutional reforms in Uzbekistan and submission of this issue to the Councils (Kengashes) of the Oliy Majlis.
Ruling party achieves landslide victory in June 1 local elections
The ruling People Power Party (PPP) achieved a landslide victory in the June 1 local elections, as its candidates defeated their opponents in most regions. The PPP won 12 out of 17 key races for big city mayors and provincial governors, including Seoul, while the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) won five key races, including three in its stronghold of the Jeolla provinces. The PPP garnered a victory in the mayoral elections of Seoul, Incheon, Daejeon, Sejong, Daegu, Ulsan and Busan, and its candidates also turned out victorious for the provincial elections of Gangwon, North Chungcheong, South Chungcheong, North Gyeongsang and South Gyeongsang provinces.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
People Power Party Wins Local Elections by Landslide
The ruling People Power Party triumphed over the main opposition Minjoo Party in all areas of the country except the Jeolla provinces and Jeju Island in Wednesday's local elections. Voters appear to have sided with President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office just 20 days ago, and sent a strong message to the Minjoo Party that it is abusing its super-majority in the National Assembly. The PPP was victorious in 12 out of 17 metropolitan cities and provinces where mayors, provincial governors and members of the National Assembly were being elected, including Seoul, Incheon, Gangwon and the Chungcheong and Gyeongsang provinces.
Voter Turnout Lowest in 20 Years
Voter turnout in Wednesday's local and by-elections was a mere 50.9 percent, the lowest in 20 years. In Gwangju, a traditional stronghold of the Minjoo Party, it stood at just 37.7 percent, the lowest ever for the city and the entire country, suggesting there was no love lost for Minjoo after five years in government but voters could not bring themselves to vote for the conservatives either. The National Election Commission said 22.57 million out of 44.3 million eligible voters cast their ballots this time. Early voting last Friday and Saturday resulted in a turnout of 20.62 percent, the highest yet for local elections, but the momentum faltered by election day.
N.Korea 'Testing Nuke Detonators'
North Korea appears to be testing nuclear detonators to prepare for another nuclear test, the presidential office here said Wednesday. Deputy national security adviser Kim Tae-hyo told reporters, "We're watching what's happening at the Punggye-ri test site. It's unlikely that there will be a nuclear test in the next couple of days, but there's certainly a possibility after that." Testing the detonators is an essential part of the development of nuclear bombs. In order to achieve symmetry in a nuclear blast, detonators each have to trigger within microseconds of one another. Kim said the North has carried out about 130 high-explosive tests since the 1980s and six nuclear tests since October 2006.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Local elections, by-elections are triumph for Yoon Suk-yeol's PPP
After major defeats in Wednesday's elections, the leadership of the liberal Democratic Party (DP) stepped down Thursday to take responsibly. President Yoon Suk-yeol's People Power Party (PPP) won big in the local elections and parliamentary by-elections Wednesday, clinching 12 of 17 key metropolitan mayor and provincial governor posts contested, according to the National Election Commission (NEC) Thursday morning. PPP candidates won gubernatorial posts in Gangwon, North and South Chungcheong and North and South Gyeongsang, and mayoral posts in the cities of Seoul, Incheon, Sejong, Daejeon, Daegu, Ulsan and Busan.
NATO invites Yoon Suk-yeol as it looks beyond Europe
President Yoon Suk-yeol is expected to attend the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Spain from June 29 to 30 as the North American and European-centered military alliance expands its focus by defining China's military rise as a new threat. The invitation to U.S.-friendly leaders of the Indo-Pacific region, including Yoon, came after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it was time for NATO to adopt a new strategic concept at a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the State Department in Washington on Wednesday.
Oh Se-hoon could keep running for Seoul mayor — or president
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon of the People Power Party (PPP) won another term, and moved a step closer to running for president. According to the National Election Commission on Thursday, Oh beat Song Young-gil, a former five-term Democratic Party (DP) lawmaker and ex-mayor of Incheon, with 59.05 percent of the vote, compared to 39.23 percent for Song. Oh won majorities in all 25 districts, receiving an overwhelming number of votes in Seocho (72.31 percent) and Gangnam (74.38 percent) districts in southeastern Seoul. Even in areas that were considered pro-DP, Oh did well, such as Guro (56.2 percent), Gangbuk (53.62 percent), Eunpyeong (53.49 percent), Geumcheon (53.85 percent), Dobong (56.44 percent), and Gwanak (53.03 percent). Oh's margin of victory increased by more than two percentage points in all these districts compared to last year’s by-election.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Kim Eun-hye’s defeat to become first-ever female provincial governor
The People Power Party’s (PPP) candidate Kim Eun-hye was defeated by a tight margin by Democratic Party of Korea’s (DPK) candidate Kim Dong-yeon in a nerve-racking battle of the Gyeonggi governor election. Given a wholehearted support from President Yoon Suk-yeol, she was seeking to become the first-ever female provincial governor but suffered a defeat by 0.15 percentage points. “I congratulate Mr. Kim who was elected governor of the Gyeonggi Province. As we need a bipartisan effort to make the province prosper, I hope Mr. Kim will cooperate with the Yoon administration for just policymaking and live up to our people’s expectations,”
Balance brought to liberal-led educational field with rise of conservatives
Eight conservative candidates and nine liberal candidates were elected in the elections for education superintendents across 17 cities and provinces on Wednesday. This year’s local elections have put a stop to liberal education superintendents’ dominance in the two previous elections where 13 and 14 liberals in 2014 and 2018, respectively, bringing balance between conservative and liberals to the educational field. Five regions – Busan, Gyeonggi Province, Gangwon Province, North Chungcheong Province, and Jeju Province – changed their liberal superintendents to conservatives in the June 1 local elections according to the National Election Commission on Thursday.
Seoul apartment prices turn downward in two months
Prices of apartment units in Seoul have started decreasing in two months. This may have resulted from transactions made at a lower price around the Gangbuk area or the northern part of the capital before June 1, based on which possession tax is imposed on property. According to weekly trends in apartment transactions during the 5th week of May announced by the Korea Real Estate Board, prices of apartment units in Seoul went down by 0.01 percent compared to the previous week. The decrease was seen for the first time in two months since prices declined by 0.01 percent on a week-on-week basis on March 28.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Global Sae-A goes after Ssangyong E&C under ICD
Ssangyong E&C may turn to Korean capital as M&A-active Global Sae-A Group is bidding for the controlling stake held by the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD). According to the M&A industry on Thursday, Global Sae-A Group submitted a letter of intent (LOI) for the acquisition of Ssangyong E&C. Global Sae-A is the largest shareholder of Sae-A Trading, the world’s largest manufacturer and exporter of apparel. It also has over 10 subsidiaries including top paper production company Taerim Paper, a global engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company Sae-A stx Entech, and an eco-friendly energy company Valmax Technology. Global Sae-A’s consolidated revenue amounted to 4.2 trillion won ($3.3 billion) last year.
Conservative party sweeps local elections in South Korea after presidential win
Conservative People Power Party (PPP) commanding the central government in South Korea through the presidential election win in March has come to dominate local governments as well by securing 12 out of 17 mayoral and gubernatorial titles in Sunday local elections. PPP candidates won 12 local government chief posts in capital, central, and norther regions, while the Democratic Party (DP) managed to defend just five mostly in its voting base in Jeolla Province.
Stagnation may follow after ebb of high inflation, but policy options restrained, BOK chief
South Korea, China, and Thailand with fast aging and advanced economies could enter “secular stagnation”, or persistent slow or no economic growth, once the current strong inflationary wave subsides, with restricted policy options, warned Bank of Korea (BOK) Governor Rhee Chang-yong Thursday. “The chance of returning to a very low inflation and low growth environment again is significant for advanced economies and some emerging market economies, at least for Korea, Thailand and maybe China considering their rapid aging problem,” said Rhee in an opening remark for the BOK International Conference titled “The Changing Role of Central Banks: What Can We Do and What Should We Do?”
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Wednesday’s elections: A shot in the arm for Yoon, and a lesson for Democrats
Candidates from the People Power Party (PPP), the party of South Korea’s new president Yoon Suk-yeol, have won the lion’s share of major mayoral and gubernatorial races in the country’s local elections on Wednesday. That outcome can be seen as a shot in the arm for Yoon, who has barely been in office for 20 days. Consecutive defeats in the presidential election and the local elections place the Democratic Party, Korea’s other major party, in jeopardy of forfeiting its political dominance. Exit polls from Korea’s three terrestrial broadcasters gave the PPP a lead in 10 of Korea’s big cities and provinces, including Seoul, Incheon, and Gangwon Province, while the races in Gyeonggi Province and two other areas were too close to call.
Election fatigue, lack of galvanizing issues leads to dismal turnout in S. Korea’s local elections
The turnout in Korea’s eighth nationwide local elections, held on Wednesday, amounted to 50.9%. That was the second-lowest turnout since Korea began holding local elections, with the lowest on record being 48.8% in the 2002 local elections. The low turnout appeared to be a result of multiple factors, including the lack of major issues to draw out voters and “election fatigue” at having to show up at the polls a mere 84 days after the presidential election in March.
Democratic Party’s 2nd election rout of year likely to bring underlying conflict to surface
The Democratic Party succumbed to another nationwide election defeat after losing in this year’s presidential election in March. According to vote counts reported by the National Election Commission (NEC) at 7 am on Thursday, the Democratic Party managed to win only five of the 17 mayoral and gubernatorial races it fought, with victories in Gwangju, North and South Jeolla provinces, and Jeju. In the battleground of Gyeonggi Province, Democratic Party candidate Kim Dong-yeon managed to come from behind and eke out a win against People Power Party (PPP) candidate Kim Eun-hye after the lead had swung back and forth throughout the night.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Avenging the Defeat from 4 Years Ago: People Power Party Sweeps Lower-Level Local Governments in Gyeonggi
The People Power Party achieved a landslide victory in lower-level local government elections in the Gyeonggi area, but the Democratic Party of Korea managed to escape utter defeat. According to the election results by the National Election Commission on June 2, the People Power Party swept 22 of the 31 mayoral elections in lower-level local governments (si, gun), while the Democratic Party won nine. This was a dramatic change from the elections four years ago. Back then, the Democratic Party enjoyed a landslide victory, snatching 29 of the 31 positions, while the People Power Party faced a devastating defeat barely holding on to two positions.
Kim Dong-yeon Makes a Dramatic Comeback to Win the Race at the Last Minute: From a Rookie from the “Third Zone” to a Political Heavyweight in the Democratic Party
Kim Dong-yeon (65), the Gyeonggi gubernatorial candidate of the Democratic Party of Korea, made a dramatic comeback to overturn the race at the last minute. Governor-elect Kim caused quite a commotion after defeating People Power Party candidate Kim Eun-hye, President Yoon Suk-yeol’s key aide, in a race that did not seem to run in his favor just 22 days after the launch of the Yoon Suk-yeol government. Experts claim that Kim Dong-yeon, who emerged as a rookie politician representing the “third zone” (neither the Democratic Party nor the People Power Party), has now secured the foundation to grow into a future presidential candidate of the Democratic Party.
BTS Goes to the White House, “Stop Anti-Asian Hate Crimes”
The global K-pop star BTS met with U.S. President Joe Biden in the White House in Washington on May 31 (local time). BTS visited the White House briefing room and urged people to stop anti-Asian hate crimes after explaining that they were able to become one with their fans through music by acknowledging differences in language and culture. There were significantly more journalists in the White House briefing room this day than usual, and BTS fans also came out to show their support. BTS visited the White House to discuss ways to address anti-Asian hate crimes with President Biden this day, the last day of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month in the U.S.
Top Nuclear Envoys of S. Korea, US, Japan to Hold Talks Friday
The top nuclear envoys from South Korea, the U.S. and Japan will hold talks in Seoul on Friday to discuss North Korea issues. The foreign ministry in Seoul said that Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Kim Gunn, who took office last month, is set to hold bilateral and trilateral meetings on Friday at the ministry building in Seoul. His counterparts are U.S. Representative for North Korea Sung Kim and Takehiro Funakoshi, the director-general of the Japanese foreign ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau.
US Expresses Serious Concerns about Violations of Religious Freedom in N. Korea
The United States has expressed serious concerns about the violations of religious freedom in North Korea, saying that the North has continued to seriously limit its people’s freedom to worship. In its "2021 Report on International Religious Freedom," the U.S. State Department said that the U.S. has designated North Korea as a "Country of Particular Concern" for violations of religious freedom since 2001. The department said the U.S. has raised concerns about religious freedom in North Korea in other multilateral forums and in bilateral discussions with other governments, particularly those with diplomatic relations with the country.
N. Korea's New Fever Cases Below 100,000 for 4th Day
North Korea's daily new fever cases, suspected to be COVID-19, remained below 100-thousand for a fourth day. The North’s official Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) on Friday said that the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters reported 82-thousand-160 more people with fever symptoms in the 24-hour period leading up to 6 p.m. Thursday. The daily tally stayed below 100-thousand for a fourth day since Monday. The KCNA did not mention any new deaths.
DP leaders offer to quit interim leadership committee en masse over election defeat
Leaders of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) on Thursday offered to quit the interim leadership committee en masse following the party's crushing defeat in this week's local elections. Rep. Yoon Ho-jung and Park Ji-hyun, the DP's co-interim chiefs, announced that all eight members of the party's emergency leadership committee will step down to take responsibility for the defeat in Wednesday's local elections. The PPP won 12 out of 17 key races for big city mayors and provincial governors, including Seoul, while the DP won only five key races -- three in its stronghold of the Jeolla provinces, as well as Gyeonggi and Jeju governorships.
Police looking into online post threatening terror attack at Yoon's home
Police are investigating an online post threatening a terror attack at the home of President Yoon Suk-yeol in southern Seoul, officials said Friday. The post was uploaded on the online community FM Korea at around 8:40 p.m. Thursday, threatening to launch a terror attack at Yoon's house at 6 p.m. Friday, according to the police officials. After an unidentified person reported the post to the National Intelligence Service, the Seocho Police Station beefed up security around Yoon's home, including deploying a team of police commandos, officials said.
Ruling party wins resounding victory in local elections
The ruling People Power Party (PPP) clinched a resounding victory in local elections, giving the newly inaugurated government of President Yoon Suk-yeol an added mandate to push forward with its agenda. The PPP won 12 out of 17 key races for big city mayors and provincial governors, including Seoul, while the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) won five key races, including three in its stronghold of the Jeolla provinces. The PPP's victory lost its luster, however, as the party failed to win the race for Gyeonggi governor that has been considered the biggest battleground in this week's elections.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
With Gyeonggi governor win, Democratic Party saves face
The main opposition Democratic Party took a major loss in the local elections, but Kim Dong-yeon’s narrow victory for Gyeonggi Province governor came as a partial relief and possible sign that all may not be lost for the party. Although the party lost 12 of the 17 seats in the elections of metropolitan government to the ruling People Power Party, it won in the biggest battleground Gyeonggi Province.
Disconnected from mainland, Jeju delivers DP one of its few wins
Among the few consolation prizes for Democratic Party of Korea’s bitter loss in Wednesday’s local elections was the resounding victory won by its candidate Oh Young-hun in the race for the Jeju governor’s office. Born and raised in the southern resort island, the 53-year-old politician was the first Democratic Party candidate to be elected Jeju governor in 20 years. Woo Keun-min in 2002 was elected on the ticket of the Democratic Party’s forerunner, the Millennium Democratic Party.
Hong adds Daegu mayor to his unconventional career trajectory
Even by the standards of South Korea’s convoluted politics, Hong Joon-pyo has had a rather unusual career trajectory. He was a five-time lawmaker, twice elected governor of South Gyeongsang Province and head of the main conservative party for two separate stints. He was the party’s presidential candidate five years ago and recently was a runner-up in its presidential primary, losing to Yoon Suk-yeol who went on to take the top state office.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Voters give president boost to pursue key policies
President Yoon Suk-yeol has gained a major boost in his administrative and policy drive after voters sided with the ruling People Power Party (PPP) which achieved a landslide win in Wednesday's local and by-elections. The resounding victory for Yoon's party came less than three months after he won the presidential election by a narrow margin against his opponent and just three weeks after he took office. After vote counting for Wednesday's local and by-elections ended on Thursday, the PPP clinched 12 out of 17 provincial governor and metropolitan mayor posts.
Different futures await prominent winners of latest election
High-profile politicians survived the local elections or the by-elections, simultaneously held, Wednesday. But they are expected to head in different directions in the post-election political landscape. Former presidential candidates Ahn Cheol-soo of the ruling People Power Party (PPP) and Kim Dong-yeon of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) won a parliamentary seat and the governorship of Gyeonggi Province, respectively, positions that will allow them to gain another shot at the presidency.
Ukrainian employees prevent shutdowns of Korean firms after Russian invasion
Ukrainian employees have enabled Korean companies to continue their operations in the Eastern European country, even after the evacuation of their Korean managers in the wake of Russia's invasion, according to industry officials, Thursday. POSCO International announced that it has partially resumed the operation of its grain terminal in the southern city of Mykolaiv, as its employees there have maintained the facility and remote communication with the Korean office.
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