Friday, June 10, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Kim Jong-in says, "Minister Han may catch a stellar moment”
Former Chairman Kim Jong-in of the People Power Party (PPP) Emergency Measure Committee selected Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon as the only person to make a forthright statement to President Yoon Suk-yeol. Former Chairman Kim also said, "Minister Han can catch a stellar moment (which suggests Presidency) depending on how he is reflected in the eyes of the people in the future."
Lee Jun-seok of the PPP meets with Ukrainian President Zelensky
Chairman Lee Jun-seok of the ruling People Power Party (PPP), who visited Ukraine, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss support measures, practical exchanges and cooperation between Korea and Ukraine, the PPP announced on June 8. The PPP quoted President Zelensky as saying in the meeting, "They (Russians) are trying to destroy the evidence, but we are trying to leave the evidence.
Song Hae, Korea’s oldest TV presenter, dies at 95
Song Hae, a 95-year-old veteran TV presenter, passed away on June 8 at his home in Dogok-dong, Seoul. The deceased, was born in 1927 in Jaeryeong, Hwanghae Province. He studied vocal music at Haeju Arts School. After the division into North and South Korea after Korea’s liberation from the Japanese colonial rule, he fled alone during the Korean War in 1951.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
N.Korea Squandered $650 Million Firing Missiles This Year
The total cost of the 33 missiles North Korea has fired so far this year amounts to somewhere between US$400 and 650 million. That would buy the impoverished country enough COVID vaccines for its entire population of some 25 million and nearly solve its food shortage this year. The North has fired six long-range ballistic missiles, one medium-range Hwasong-12 missile, and 26 short-range missiles, including KN-23 Iskander missiles, since early this year.
SNU Scrapes into World's Top 30 Universities
Seoul National University has finally scraped into the top 30 in the latest global university rankings by U.K. firm Quacquarelli Symonds on Thursday. SNU finished 29th in the QS World University Rankings 2023, the first time a Korean university has joined the top 30 since the rankings started in 2003. The previous highest ranking Korea achieved was SNU's 31st place in 2014.
OECD Slashes Korea's Growth Forecast to 2.7%
The OECD has slashed Korea's economic growth forecast this year from three percent to 2.7 percent as global shocks hamper recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The OECD also cut its global growth forecast from 4.5 percent to three percent and raised Korea's inflation outlook for this year from 2.1 percent to 4.8 percent.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Yoon Suk-yeol may go to NATO meeting, summit with Fumio Kishida possible
President Yoon Suk-yeol is expected to attend a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) meeting in Spain at the end of this month, which could be an opportunity for a summit with Japan's leader. Heading into the presidential office in Yongsan Thursday morning, Yoon was asked if he would attend the summit and consider talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. He told reporters, "We are making preparations, but it is difficult to say that it has been confirmed yet."
Seoul contributes to protect Ukraine's nuclear plants
Korea will donate $1.2 million to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to help protect Ukrainian nuclear power plants, the Foreign Ministry said.“In order to support the safe operation and security of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant, as the country is currently under military threat from the war, four related ministries in Korea jointly decided to provide support worth about $1.2 million through the International Atomic Energy Agency,”
CEO of Discovery Asset Management is arrested
Jang Ha-won, CEO of Discovery Asset Management, a troubled fund company accused of causing losses to investors of over 250 billion won, was arrested Wednesday. The Seoul Southern District Court issued a warrant that evening saying there was a "risk of escape and destruction of evidence." Jang faces charges of fraud and violation of the Capitals Market Act.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
‘N. Korea arbitrarily resumes Kaesong Industrial Complex,’ RFA reports
North Korea has brought equipment installed by South Korean businesses in the Kaesong Industrial Complex back into operation arbitrarily to produce school uniforms and clothes for the domestic market according to Radio Free Asia. The South Korean Unification Ministry made it clear that any unilateral infringement of South Korean citizens’ property rights obviously goes against relevant inter-Korean agreements, for which it has zero tolerance.
SK hynix begins mass production of HBM3
SK hynix announced on Thursday that it will start mass production of HBM3 (picture), the world's best performing DRAM, and supply them to U.S. semiconductor manufacturer Nvidia. The news came seven months after the world's first HBM3, which was developed in October last year. HBM is a high-performance product with a faster data processing speed than existing DRAMs by vertically connecting multiple DRAMs, and can process up to 819 gigabytes of data per second.
Jill Biden shares stories of inspiring Korean American citizens
U.S. First Lady Jill Biden delivered a commencement address on Tuesday. She stressed that what defines you is your own story, adding, “But your story is so much more than a place you grew up, or your degree. And my message to you today is this: Never forget where you come from.” Mrs. Biden delivered a commencement speech at Los Angeles City College (LACC) in California on Tuesday (local time).
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Truckers’ strike disrupt production of Korean carmakers, further delaying shipments
Cargo truckers’ strike has added woes to South Korean carmakers, further delaying shipments after disruption from chip shortages. The Cargo Truckers Solidarity, affiliated with the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, on Wednesday ordered its unionized cargo truckers not to deliver auto parts to Hyundai Motor’s main Ulsan factory.
BOK claims Korea safe from stagflation despite OECD and World Bank warning
The Bank of Korea disagreed with the concerns of the South Korean economy facing the dangerous mix of high inflation and low growth as the economy is expected to keep up performance beyond its output capacity. “Given the economic conditions and base scenario, there is low possibility stagflation. Under base scenario, the economy will keep growing more than its growth potential,”
KT to spend record $21 bn over next 5 yrs in digico sector, hire 28,000 new employees
South Korean telecom giant KT Corp. will spend record 27 trillion won ($21.4 billion) to advance telecommunications network and digital capacity and groom startups over the next five years, matching $20 billion-something investment schemes Korean groups of similar rank have been pouring out since last month. It will hire 28,000 new employees and separately enhance contents worth 6 trillion won over the next five years.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Sung Kim warns nuclear weapon test by N. Korea could be imminent
US Special Representative to North Korea Sung Kim said that the North could test a nuclear weapon at “any time” and warned that the US’ response would be “swift and forceful.” Kim added that North Korea’s security concerns could be resolved through diplomacy and once again asked the North to take part in dialogue without any preconditions.“They have obviously done the preparations in Punggye-ri [village], and I understand they could test any time,”
Uncovering the cultural, spiritual energy behind the Korean Wave
he Korean Wave continues to sweep the world. We’ve reached a point where what’s most Korean is being considered the most global. What about the Korean Wave inspires such enthusiasm from people across the world? The international community has reacted before we could even answer this question. No culture and art can consistently grow and bear fruit without having spiritual and ideological roots.
S. Korea still awaiting data as Japan prepares to release contaminated Fukushima water
With Japan launching full-scale preparations to start releasing contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea next spring, South Korea has yet to carry out an assessment of the impact of radioactive material that will arrive in its waters. Given South Korea’s lack of preparations and Japan’s lack of cooperation, there has not even been any model analysis of the possible spread of contamination, which is an essential part of an environmental impact assessment.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
A Private Contract with a Company that Only Has 2 Experts for the 600-Million-Won Renovation of Presidential Office Raises Questions
A newly founded company in Gyeonggi-do with only two experts was hired to renovate the presidential office in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. The company’s building capacity was assessed at far below the down payment for the renovation. In other words, an unverified company has taken on a project for a major state facility just six months after the company was established. According to the Public Procurement Service’s Nara Market, the Office of the President signed a private contract with A, a construction company located in Pocheon-si, Gyeonggi on June 7
CEO Jang Ha-won Arrested for Suspending the Redemption of the Discovery Fund, “He Could Try to Destroy Evidence”
Jang Ha-won, CEO of Discovery Asset Management, was arrested on June 9 for incurring over 250 billion won in losses after he suspended the redemption of the private equity fund. On Wednesday, Gweon Gi-man, chief judge overseeing warrants at the Seoul Southern District Court, questioned the suspect prior to his arrest (warrant review) and at ten minutes after midnight Thursday, issued an arrest warrant for Jang.
Yoon Suk-yeol’s People Everywhere: Prosecutors and Investigators Galore as Former Prosecutors Take over Key Positions
Prosecutors with close ties to President Yoon Suk-yeol are taking over key state positions. They have not only dominated the justice ministry and the Prosecution Service, but are also taking over key functions in state administration, such as overseeing the appointment of high-ranking public officials and national intelligence and managing the Office of the President.
Police: Lee Jae-yong Not Guilty of Violating Employment Restrictions
Police have concluded that Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong is not guilty of violating employment restrictions. The financial crimes investigation unit of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said on Thursday that it has concluded there was "no charge" against Lee and decided not to send the case to the prosecution.
Chief Nuclear Envoys of S. Korea, China Confer on N. Korea
The top nuclear envoys of South Korea and China held a telephone conversation on Thursday, amid a looming possibility of North Korea conducting its seventh nuclear test. In a press release, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Seoul’s special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs Kim Gunn and his Chinese counterpart Liu Xiaoming shared their assessment on a series of North Korea’s recent missile provocations and exchanged views on how to deal with them.
Former Industry Minister Questioned for 14 Hours over Power Abuse Allegations
Former industry minister Paik Un-gyu was questioned for about 14 hours on allegations that he and other ministry officials pressured public firm chiefs appointed under the previous administration to step down. According to legal circles on Thursday, the Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors Office summoned Paik in the morning as a suspect in what has been dubbed the "industry ministry blacklist" case. The questioning, which started at 9:30 a.m., ended at around 11:30 p.m.
Economic recovery momentum weakens: KDI
South Korea's economic recovery momentum has weakened as the manufacturing industry is losing steam over the prolonged supply chain disruptions and soaring raw material prices, a state-run think tank said Thursday. In-person services gained traction due to the lifting of virus curbs, but export growth has gradually eased amid the global economic slowdown and China's COVID-19 lockdowns, the Korea Development Institute (KDI) said in a monthly economic assessment report.
Liberal commentator Rhyu Si-min fined for defaming Justice Minister Han
Rhyu Si-min, a former health minister and an influential liberal commentator, was sentenced to a fine of 5 million won (US$4,000) by a court Thursday for defamatory comments made years ago about Minister of Justice Han Dong-hoon. The Seoul Western District Court handed out the monetary penalty after convicting Rhyu of defaming Han by making false remarks about him in public between 2019 and 2020 when the minister was serving as a senior prosecutor.
Yoon welcomes war heroes, bereaved families to presidential office
President Yoon Suk-yeol welcomed a group of war heroes and bereaved family members to the presidential office on Thursday to demonstrate his commitment to personally taking care of them as the commander in chief. Twenty people, including survivors of North Korea's torpedo attack on a South Korean warship in 2010, were invited to lunch with the president, as June is the month of appreciation for patriots and veterans.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
North Korea holds key party meeting amid high expectations on nuclear test
North Korea opened a key Workers’ Party meeting with its leader Kim Jong-un in attendance to discuss a “series of important issues,” its state-run media said Thursday, amid rampant speculation the country may conduct a nuclear test soon. According to the Korean Central News Agency, Kim presided over the fifth enlarged plenary meeting of the party’s eighth Central Committee, which kicked off Wednesday.
Businesses cornered as cargo truckers’ strike disrupts supply
Manufacturers in the fields of auto, steel and construction that rely heavily on supply deliveries via freight trucks expressed concerns over intensifying logistics disruptions caused by a unionized cargo drivers’ strike on Thursday. According to the industry on Thursday, the country’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor Group has suspended operations of four factories inside its Ulsan plant due to delay in auto parts supply.
Yoon faces diplomatic test at NATO summit
President Yoon Suk-yeol faces his first test in multilateral diplomacy if his visit to an upcoming NATO summit is confirmed. It would also provide an opportunity for him to deepen South Korea’s relationship with the US and its allies amid diplomatic pressures with China and Russia. If Yoon participates in the NATO summit held in Madrid in late June, he would be the first Korean president to attend the meeting.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Yongsan Park to reopen Friday for 10 days on trial basis
A total of 25,000 people who make online reservations will be allowed a two-hour on-site tour of Yongsan Park, near the newly relocated presidential office, in the southwestern part of Yongsan Garrison, Seoul, which the U.S. returned to Korea last week. Reservations will be possible from Friday through June 19, in a partial resumption of an ill-prepared plan scrapped earlier due to environmental contamination concerns, the land ministry said, Friday.
Korea posts 1st current account deficit in 2 yrs in April amid high commodity costs, dividend payments
Korea posted its first current account deficit in two years in April as soaring energy and commodity prices pushed up import bills and overseas dividend payments expanded, central bank data showed Friday. The country's current account shortfall came to $80 million in April, compared with a surplus of $180 million registered a year earlier, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).
Gov't to launch deregulation task force
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Choo Kyung-ho underscored the need for a "drastic paradigm shift in economic policy," Thursday, as the government is buckling down to stimulate a market-driven economy, with the aim of overcoming the structural crisis of low growth and polarization, as promised by President Yoon Suk-yeol.
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