Tuesday, June 7, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
LG’s software testing center wins accreditation from TUV Rheinland
LG Electronics’ Software Testing Center has officially been designated a TÜV Rheinland Appointed Laboratory, meaning the facility can now conduct functional safety tests on any automotive software solution that falls under the ISO 26262-6 standard. The center possesses the capabilities to independently assess and confirm the quality and functional safety of a wide range of automotive software products, from self-driving systems and in-vehicle networks to electric and electronic devices.
POSCO wins ‘Best Technology Award’ at the int’l Stainless Steel Forum.
POSCO won the Gold Award in the technology category at the 26th International Stainless Steel Forum hosted by World Stainless Association. The technology that won the Gold Award this time was the high-performance ferrite stainless steel ‘430RE (Ridging Endurance)’ manufacturing technology. As the technology was selected as the best case of stainless-related technology development this year, POSCO’s technological skill was recognized worldwide.
Chairman Lee, leaders of ruling party visit Ukraine to discuss support
Chairman Lee Jun-seok of the ruling People Power Party (PPP) is reportedly left for the Republic of Ukraine on the night of June 3, 2022 for a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. According to MBC and other Korean-language news media sources in Seoul, Lee and a number of other PPP members of the National Assembly departed for Ukraine on June 3. Lee and the PPP National Assembly members are expected to meet with President Vladimir Zelenskyy and other dignitaries of Ukraine to discuss cooperation between the two countries.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Does Strength Training Make You Live Longer?
Many Koreans have embraced strength training like lifting weights in lockdown, with a protein diet to help them build up muscle, but does that actually make them healthier? In a new survey recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers reviewed 16 studies of adults on the health benefits and found that people who trained steadily showed a 15 percent reduction in death risk, a 17 percent lower chance of diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, and a 12 percent lower risk of cancer. Doing 30 to 60 minutes of muscle training per week brought the best results. Longer than that actually increased the death risk because of sheer exhaustion
Hyundai, Kia's U.S. Sales Plunge Amid Soaring Inflation
Hyundai and affiliate Kia's U.S. sales plunged last month due to soaring inflation, compounded by an ongoing semiconductor shortage. Hyundai said Thursday that U.S. sales declined 31.9 percent on-year last month. Kia's U.S. sales also plunged 27.8 percent. The poor performance came after the two carmakers had seen their combined sales in the U.S. overtake Honda to reach the No. 5 position there recently. They are not alone. Toyota suffered a 27 percent drop in U.S. sales, while Honda's sales plummeted an alarming 57 percent.
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 )
Yoon Suk-yeol talks tough to North at Memorial Day ceremony
President Yoon Suk-yeol vowed to respond "firmly and sternly" to North Korean provocations Monday, a day after Pyongyang fired eight short-range missiles. "Even at this moment, North Korea's nuclear and missile threats are advancing," said Yoon at a ceremony marking the 67th Memorial Day at the Seoul National Cemetery in Dongjak District, southern Seoul. "North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile [programs] are reaching a level that threatens not only peace on the Korean Peninsula but also in Northeast Asia and the world."
Danuri readied for lunar mission, and BTS 'Dynamite' transmission
Korea is set to launch a spacecraft into orbit around the moon. And there is actually a BTS angle to the mission. The Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO), the country's first moon orbiter, is set for launch in early August from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. It will be carried into space by a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle.
Yoon invites Cheonan survivors, relatives of the dead
President Yoon Suk Yeol will invite survivors of the sinking of the Navy ship Cheonan, as well as relatives of sailors who died, to a memorial luncheon on Thursday, according to a People Power Party source on Sunday. The Cheonan was a naval corvette that sank in the Yellow Sea near Baengnyeong Island on March 26, 2010, following an explosion that caused the ship to break in half. Forty six sailors died and 58 were rescued.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Korea records higher household debt than its GDP in Q1
South Korea has become the only country among 36 major nations to have its household debt exceeding the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter of the year. Its rate of corporate debt increase is the second fastest in the same group. The nation’s private sector debt level hit the all-time high at 4,500 trillion won at the end of last year, thus concerns are growing the debt would turn in to a ‘detonator’ that would threaten its entire economy when interest rate hikes.
Rival parties fail to reach consensus on organizing the legislative body
The tensions between the ruling party and the main opposition party are rising over organizing the legislative body, which includes the chair position of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee, for the second half of the 21st National Assembly. The partie
s even failed in settling on a date for a meeting to start the negotiation in full swing. As the organization of the legislative body is delayed, the ruling People Power Party is on the lookout for a chance to push ahead the appointment of some nominees of cabinet members.
Daily Covid count hit bottom since outbreak of Omicron variant
The daily count of the Covid-19 infections has fallen to a new low since the outbreak of the Omicron variant. According to the Central Disease Control Headquarters, the newly confirmed covid case count stood at 5,022 as of Monday. This is the lowest figure in 139 days or since January 18, which saw 4,068 new patients a day before the more contagious Omicron variant became dominant. One consideration to be made is that the 3-day Memorial Day holidays (June 4 to 6) may have led to a fall in the number of tests.
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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