Friday, August 19, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
SK acquires U.S. energy solution firm, 'Atom Power'
SK Inc. and SK Energy announced on Aug. 18 that they would acquire the management rights of U.S. energy solution company “Atom Power” for $150 million (about 200 billion won).‘Energy solution’ refers to technology that helps to produce and consume electricity most effectively. SK Inc., SK Energy, and Atom Power management signed an agreement on Aug. 17 to acquire SK's stake at SK Seorin Building in Jongno-gu, Seoul.
Former Triple CEO Choi Hwi-young named as CEO of Interpark
Interpark held a general shareholders' meeting and a board of directors’ meeting to appoint Choi Hwi-young, the former CEO of Triple, as the new CEO. Choi, a former Yonhap News Agency reporter, joined Yahoo Korea after 10-year career of journalism and contributed to the establishment of a portal news service. In 2002, he moved to NHN and served as CEO, and in 2016, he started and operated Triple, a super-personalized travel platform.
U.S. Rep. Ellen Park says, "American interest in K brand is increasing higher”
"There are a lot of American consumers at H Mart and Korean restaurants, which are Korean marts, and there are many Korean brands in popular products during the Amazon sale period," said Ellen Park, a New Jersey assemblywoman in the U.S. Ellen Park said in an interview with the Korea Economic Daily on Aug. 15 that American consumers’ interest in Korean products is increasing in the U.S. society.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
COVID Infections Rise But Critical Cases, Deaths Remain Low
COVID infections are on the rise in Korea, but critical cases and deaths remain low, health authorities said Wednesday. According to Our World in Data, confirmed cases stood at around 14,000 per 1 million people in the first week of August, which is higher than the 11,000 in Japan and 2,000 in the U.S., but the number of fatalities is smaller than in both countries.
U.S. Halts Subsidies for Korean-Made Electric Cars
The U.S. on Tuesday halted tax credits for all electric cars that were not produced in North America. The measure was part of the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law by U.S. President Joe Biden. A list of vehicles qualifying for the US$7,500 credits for final assembly in North America does not include Korean cars. The provisions affecting the availability of EV credits will be phased in over the coming years.
COVID Surge Hampers Budget Airlines' Recovery
Low-cost airlines' earnings were dismal again in the second quarter of the year despite hopes of a rebound as lockdown ended. Jeju Air suffered an operating loss of W55.7 billion from April to June on sales of W126.2 billion (US$1=W1,310). Although the losses narrowed compared to W71.2 billion in the same period last year, it still saw few signs of a recovery. Jin Air suffered a W15.1 billion operating loss, T'way Air W29.5 billion and Air Busan W21 billion.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Korean tech blue chips squeezed by higher costs and weak pricing
Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are dealing with a double whammy of rising costs and high inventory levels, a prelude to poor profitability. The electronics companies have experienced double-digit growth in the costs of parts and transportation as the prices of their products rose marginally or even declined in the first half, according to regulatory disclosures released by the companies on Wednesday.
Oh Se-hoon wants to spiff up Seoul with Ferris wheel, art on the Han
To put Seoul on a par with New York City, London, and Paris, Mayor Oh Se-hoon has some lofty ambitions. One is the world's tallest Ferris wheel offering views over the Han River. Oh thinks the Korean capital can become one of the top five global cities. His rallying slogan for the vision doesn't translate into very stirring English — "Attractive Seoul" — but it's behind some very big goals. One is to attract 30 million tourists a year from across the globe. Another is to draw investors from cutting edge industries and create a new Silicon Valley in Asia.
After 104 days, new prosecutor general finally named
President Yoon Suk-yeol named Lee One-seok, deputy chief of the Supreme Prosecutors' Office, to his former job as prosecutor general Thursday. Lee's appointment came after concerns over a prolonged vacancy in the position: for 104 days since the resignation of former Prosecutor General Kim Oh-soo on May 6, days ahead of Yoon's presidential inauguration. Lee, 54, has been serving as acting prosecutor general since May 23.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
If N. Korea reins itself in, it will help ease sanctions, says Minister Park Jin
“If North Korea carries out grave provocations such as by conducting the 7th nuclear test, the South will put the individuals and companies involved in the production and the development of their weapons of mass destruction on our own sanctions list,” said South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin (pictured) in an interview with The Dong-A Ilbo on Wednesday, adding the ministry will review a step to strengthen sanctions in cyber, maritime and exports control.
SK acquires Atom Power ofor 150 million U.S. dollars
SK has completed its acquisition of U.S.-based energy solution company Atom Power. With the acquisition, the energy solution and electric vehicle charging business, which help effectively produce and consume electricity, are expected to be reinforced. SK Corporation and SK Energy announced on Thursday that they had acquired the management rights of Atom Power for 150 million U.S. dollars.
27 ‘KITSAT’ researchers to donate 3 billion won to KAIST
Twenty-seven researchers from KAIST's Satellite Technology Research Center, including former Satrec Initiative Chairman Park Seong-dong, donated 3 billion won (approximately 2.27 million U.S. dollars) to KAIST. The donation was made on Thursday last week, commemorating the 30th anniversary of Korea's first artificial satellite KITSAT-1. Their donation will be used to promote innovative and creative technology research in the aerospace and technology sector.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Seoul, HMG scurry to respond to US IRA stripping of tax credits to Korean EVs
South Korean government will continue to argue for the conflict in the bilateral Free Trade Agreement as well as the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules as the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) puts brake on the strong drive of Korean-made green vehicles on U.S. roads. The IRA that immediately went into effect upon signing by President Joe Biden on Tuesday strips full-electric Ioniq of Hyundai Motor and EV6 of Kia Corp. of tax grant.
Samsung Elec, SK hynix on stockpile of inventories likely to adjust yield H2
South Korean IT component and finished goods majors are expected adjust their factory operation and output in the second half as they are required to ease the stockpiling of inventories from slowed demand. According to Samsung Electronics’ half-year business report, its inventory assets totaled 52.09 trillion won ($39.6 billion) as of the end of June, up 26 percent from 10.7 trillion won six months ago.
Korea to drop 42 public entities from direct management to rationalize public sector
The Korean government will change guidelines to drop 42 entities from direct state management for greater independence and liability in the public sector. The change was decided at the public institution management committee meeting held on Thursday. Second Vice Minister Choi Sang-dae of Economy and Finance presided over the meeting.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Yoon’s 100th-day presser: 54 minutes of sidestepping and self-congratulation
In a press conference marking his 100th day in office on Wednesday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said that “when it comes to government operations, the people are the most important thing.” He also said that he planned to “continue making even greater efforts in the future.” But critics called the remarks “hollow,” noting that he avoided giving answers or sharing concrete solutions on pressing matters in domestic politics, foreign affairs and national security.
Yoon tacks on conventional arms reduction talks to plan for N. Korean denuclearization
In remarks on Wednesday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol mentioned that diplomatic and arms reduction discussions would be part of the comprehensive initiative for North Korea he had unveiled in his Liberation Day speech one day prior. Coming on the heels of an announcement of six economic cooperation projects — support for food, agricultural technology, healthcare and infrastructure as well as financial and international investment
Guest list shows questionable figures were invited to Yoon’s inauguration
An individual surnamed Kim who was convicted alongside South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s mother-in-law on charges of forging a bank balance certificate was invited to Yoon’s inauguration ceremony on May 10 at the recommendation of first lady Kim Keon-hee, it has been learned. Also confirmed to have been invited to the ceremony were the wife of former Deutsch Motors Chairperson Kwon Oh-soo and the company’s vice president.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Former President Moon Jae-in, “We Need President Kim Dae-jung’s Spirit and Values More Now Than Ever Before”
On August 18, the thirteenth anniversary of former President Kim Dae-jung’s death, former President Moon Jae-in said, “We have failed to advance on the path to democracy, stable livelihoods for the people, peace and integration--a path that President Kim Dae-jung laid.” Former President Moon wrote a post on social media this day and also wrote, “We need the spirit and values of President Kim Dae-jung now more than ever before.”
“Suspension of Party Position When Prosecuted” Democratic Party Decides to Keep Existing Article in Party Constitution after a Heated Debate over “Bulletproofing” Lee Jae-myung
On August 17, the Democratic Party of Korea’s emergency response committee decided not to amend Paragraph 1 of Article 80 of the party’s constitution, which stipulates that the party can suspend the status of a party member prosecuted for corruption. The committee took a step back after lawmakers criticized the revision as an attempt to make lawmaker Lee Jae-myung “bulletproof” in a general meeting of lawmakers and after the public showed a less than favorable response.
“Drive in State Administration Missing after Drop in Approval Ratings” Na Kyung-won on the Yoon Suk-yeol Government’s Report Card on Its 100th Day in Office
Na Kyung-won, former People Power Party lawmaker spoke on the report card of the Yoon Suk-yeol government on its 100th day in office on August 17 and said, “After the approval ratings dropped this far in the polls, it seems like they lost the drive for state administration.” This morning, Na appeared on the CBS radio show, Kim Hyun-jung’s News Show and said, “The public approval ratings in polls tell us a lot. It is quite unfortunate.”
N. Korea Corrects S. Korea's Announcement of Missile Launch Venue, Ridicules Seoul's Capacity
North Korea said on Friday that its latest two cruise missiles were launched from Anju, South Pyongan Province, not in Onchon in the same province as announced by South Korea. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong, who overseas Pyongyang’s policies vis-à-vis South Korea, said in a statement that the test-launch was conducted on Kumsong Bridge in Anju,
Prosecutor General Nominee Pledges Efforts on Political Neutrality
Prosecutor General nominee Lee Won-seok says he will ensure the prosecution will remain politically neutral. Lee made the pledge in a meeting with reporters on Thursday soon after President Yoon Suk Yeol tapped the deputy prosecutor general for the vacant chief prosecutor position. The choice of Lee, who is considered to be a close aide to the prosecutor general-turned-president,
Interior Minister Says Will Consider Replacing Inaugural Police Bureau Chief
Interior and Safety Minister Lee Sang-min says he will consider the replacement of Kim Soon-ho, the inaugural head of the interior ministry’s unit designed to oversee police operations, amid the allegation that Kim had betrayed his fellow labor activists in return for a career as a police officer. In a policy briefing session at the National Assembly’s Public Administration and Security Committee on Thursday,
Yoon names new prosecutor general, chief of antitrust regulator
President Yoon Suk-yeol has named the deputy chief prosecutor to be the new prosecutor general while also nominating a law professor to head the state antitrust regulator, Yoon's chief of staff said Thursday. Lee One-seok, the deputy chief prosecutor who has been serving as the acting prosecutor general since May, has been tapped to be the prosecutor general,
U.S. agrees with taking 'incremental steps' to denuclearize Korean Peninsula: State Dept.
The United States sees the need to take "incremental steps" with North Korea to completely denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, a state department spokesperson said Thursday, in apparent support of South Korea's offer to help the impoverished North when and if Pyongyang takes denuclearization steps. Department Press Secretary Ned Price also said "practical steps" may be taken to denuclearize the peninsula.
New COVID-19 cases near 180,000; imported cases hit record high
South Korea's new COVID-19 cases stayed above 170,000 for the second consecutive day Thursday as the country is experiencing a new virus wave amid the continued spread of a highly contagious omicron subvariant. The country added 178,574 new COVID-19 infections, including 633 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 21,861,296, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Yoon says he will closely listen to people's voices
President Yoon Suk-yeol said Thursday his press conference held the previous day to mark his first 100 days in office was intended to show that he will closely listen to the people's voices. “The purpose of yesterday's press conference was that I will closely look into and honor the people's words," he said as he arrived at the presidential office.
Presidential office set for shake-up
The presidential office on Thursday announced plans to add a senior secretary position to the secretariat in a move apparently aimed at strengthening the office‘s policy coordination capabilities.“As there has been problems of communication with civil affairs and policy agendas, there needs to be a post that helps the presidential office, Cabinet and people to communicate with each other,”
S. Korea to participate in Australia-led air combat exercise for first time
South Korea’s Air Force will join an Australia-led large-scale multilateral air combat exercise for the first time to enhance interoperability and military cooperation with participating Indo-Pacific countries and key NATO members. South Korea’s fighter jets departed Jungwon Air Base in North Chungcheong Province on Thursday for Base Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia to take part in Exercise Pitch Black 2022, South Korea’s Air Force announced in a statement Thursday.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Mending Korea-Japan ties can facilitate growth of Korean studies in Japan: professor
Relations between Korea and Japan have been undermined over the past few years, triggered by a series of incidents such as the Korean Supreme Court's 2018 ruling that demanded Japanese companies in Korea liquidate their assets to compensate the Korean victims of Japan's wartime forced labor. According to Junya Nishino, a professor in the Faculty of Law and Politics at Keio University in Tokyo, this deterioration in bilateral ties has reduced the number of Japanese students willing to major in Korean studies.
N. Korea rejects S. Korea's 'audacious initiative' in statement by leader's sister
The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said Friday her regime will never accept the South Korean government's "audacious initiative" that seeks to help Pyongyang improve its economy in return for denuclearization steps. Kim Yo-jong slammed the Yoon Suk-yeol administration's plan as the height of folly, describing it as nothing but a copy of the former conservative Lee Myung-bak government's approach, called the Vision 3,000 for Denuclearization and Opening, which ended in failure.
Yoon to reshuffle presidential office to regain public trust
President Yoon Suk-yeol plans to carry out an overhaul of his office, including the creation of a new senior secretary position for policy planning, the presidential office said Thursday. This is a follow-up measure to Yoon's remarks from his press conference marking his 100th day in office, Wednesday, during which he hinted at reshuffling the presidential office to regain the public's trust in the administration. "Regarding the organization of the presidential office, we are now considering creating a new position of a senior secretary for policy planning," presidential Chief of Staff Kim Dae-ki said.
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