Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Movie Stars Kim Seung-ho, Kim Hee-ra pioneers of Korean film industry
Last Sunday, I had a rare opportunity to meet with Mrs. Kim Hee-ra, madam of Korea’s famous actor, Kim Hee-ra. His farther, Kim Seung-ho, was even more famous for many outstanding award-winning movies, including Mabu (A Horse Cart Driver). The meeting was also attended by Vice Chairman Ha Hee-chul of The Korea Post media, Director Mme. Kim Eun-jeong of Wall Art Gallery in Seoul, Mme. Nam Ki-hee (chairperson of Art Education Committee of the Korean Fine Arts Association).
LG CEO Koo Yeon-kyung holds a growth hormone donation ceremony
The LG Welfare Foundation announced on Aug. 19 that it held a "growth hormone donation ceremony for short stature children" at LG Science Park in Magok, Seoul. A total of 1.5 billion won worth of growth hormone drugs will be provided to 192 children with short stature. CEO Koo Yeon-kyung of the LG Welfare Foundation, delivered the donation letter to the children and said, “I hope that the growth hormone support will help our children grow taller and gain confidence. We will continue to support children so that they can realize their full potential and dream of greater hope.”
POSCO, Vale sign a pact to promote HBI production
POSCO and Vale signed a joint research agreement to promote HBI production on Aug. 1, the company announced on Aug. 19. Under the pact, POSCO and Vale, a global leading iron ore supplier, will expand cooperation to secure low-carbon steel raw materials. POSCO and Vale decided to conduct joint research in the areas of ▲selection of potential regions, ▲cost and investment cost analysis by the production process, and ▲carbon emission reduction measures in the production process to promote the HBI business.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Peaches Beat Watermelons as Koreans' Favorite Summer Fruit
Peaches have overtaken long-term favorite watermelons as Korea's top summer fruit. Supermarket chain E-Mart said Sunday that peaches were the bestselling fruit in July and August. Previously watermelons ranked first, but this year sales of peaches soared 22.9 percent on-year while those of watermelons dropped 8.7 percent.
Hyundai Reeling from Loss of EV Subsidies in U.S.
Korean automakers are reeling from the loss of U.S. tax credits for electric cars not made in North America. Hyundai had only just promised a US$10.5 billion investment in the U.S. when President Joe Biden visited Korea in May and experienced the Inflation Reduction Act signed by Biden last week as a kick in the teeth. The Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association had written to the U.S. Senate on Aug. 10 urging lawmakers to revise the act so Korean EVs still qualify for tax credits.
S.Korea, U.S. Resume Massive Military Drills
South Korea and the U.S. are conducting combined military drills that consist of field maneuvers, command post exercises and civil defense drills from Monday until Sept. 1. The exercise, dubbed "Ulchi Freedom Shield," includes training to dispose of weapons of mass destruction. Preliminary drills were already conducted last week. The first phase is training to drive back an attack from North Korea while defending the capital region. The second phase includes a simulated counterattack pushing forward across the military demarcation line.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Korea may take U.S. to WTO over EV subsidies
The Korean government may file a complaint against the United States with the World Trade Organization (WTO). It says that the Inflation Reduction Act, which offers subsidies for the purchase of domestically-manufactured electric vehicles (EV), could violate trade agreements and discriminate against non-U.S. automakers. Korea "will actively review whether to file a complaint with the WTO," Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Lee Chang-yang told the National Assembly.
Won falls to a new 13-plus-year low against the dollar
The won hit a 13-plus-year low as the currency fell more than 1 percent against the dollar, hitting levels not seen since the global financial crisis. It traded at 1,340.20 won per dollar intraday on Monday, the first time the won broke 1,340 since April 29, 2009, when it reached 1,357.7. The currency is down more than 10 percent this year following the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, on strong inflation and as the U.S. Federal Reserve quickly increases interest rates.
Lotte's Shin Dong-bin visiting Vietnam to attend groundbreaking
Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin will visit Vietnam for his first overseas business trip after receiving a presidential pardon on Liberation Day on Aug. 15. Shin, who is currently in Japan, will depart for Vietnam at the end of this month to attend a groundbreaking ceremony set for Sept. 2. The Thu Thiem Eco Smart City project is led by Lotte E&C in Ho Chi Minh City. The project is a large commercial complex with a total floor area of 680,000 square meters (7.3 million square feet), 1.5 times the size of COEX mall in Seoul.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Seoul, Washington begin joint military drill
South Korea and the United States began their joint military drill Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS) on Monday, and their intelligence authorities are eyeing on whether North Korea will carry out its provocation scenario to mark its Day of Foundation of the Republic (Sept. 9) or Party Foundation Day (Oct. 10). This forecasts come from the North's recent action to fire cruise missile last Wednesday,
Hyundai, LG acquire foreign investment for battery factory in Indonesia
Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, Hyundai Mobis and LG Energy Solution have acquired one trillion won of investment capital from overseas financial institutions for their joint battery cell plant, currently under construction in Indonesia. The Korean companies announced on Monday that five overseas financial institutions have decided to invest 710 million dollars (approximately 952.4 billion won). The investment will be made for 10 years and the joint companies will draw-down the capitals in order from the five institutions according to their business progress.
‘ROK-US drill conducted to deter China,’ says Chinese media
Chinese state media reported that the ROK-U.S. combined military exercise-Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS) is the U.S. strategy that aims to keep China in check which will raise tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.” Ahead of the ROK-U.S. military drill, China expanded its military exercise near the Taiwan Strait to include the Shandong Peninsula and Bohai Bay which are geographically close to the Korean peninsula. As China-U.S. ties have become more confrontational, not only North Korea but also China is conducting a military exercise targeting or directly denouncing the drill.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
KRW at 1,341 vs USD as trade deficit widens to $25 bn amid fall in chip exports
The Korean won fell to fresh weakest point of 1,340 versus the U.S. dollar since the 2009 global financial crisis as widening in the trade deficit accelerated in August from the weakening of the primary chip exports that have so far buttressed the economy. The U.S. dollar closed Monday 13.9 won up from Friday at 1,339.8 won after breaching both 1,330 and 1,340 marks during the day. The last time the greenback breached above 1,340 won was in April 2009.
Korean battery makers may lose tax grant in US unless they wean off Chinese materials
South Korean battery makers are in urgent need to wean away from their heavy reliance on Chinese raw materials as not to lose tax credits in their prime market of the United States. According to the Korea International Trade Association on Monday, Korea imported total $1.48 billion worth lithium hydroxide from China, taking up 84.4 percent of its total lithium hydroxide imports.
SK Group’s T Map Mobility refueled with $149 mn funding from KB Kookmin
SK Group’s T Map Mobility attracted 200 billion won ($149 million) funding from KB Kookmin Bank, bringing the commercial bank major onboard as the fourth largest shareholder of the mobility service provider. T Map Mobility will sell 1,487,111 new common shares at 134,489 won apiece, 200 billion won in total, to KB Kookmin Bank on Sept. 7, according to its regulatory filing made on Monday. This will make KB Kookmin Bank the fourth largest shareholder of T Map Mobility with an 8.3 percent stake.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Indiscretion by S. Korea’s first lady reignites calls for appointment of independent inspector
Amid mounting allegations that South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee has handed out favors and meddled in appointments, attention is focusing on when an independent inspector general will be named to monitor President Yoon Suk-yeol’s relatives and high-ranking officials. While the presidential office has promised to fully accept whomever the National Assembly nominates,
A world apart: 3 hurdles put ground level out of reach for Seoul’s semi-basement dwellers
As the city of Seoul pledges to fundamentally improve residential living conditions and phase out semi-basement dwellings following tragic deaths in a catastrophic downpour, Seoulites who actually live underground have sobering advice to share. Semi-basement dwellers report facing considerable hurdles on the journey to ground level. They shared that both things that are crucial and those which might sound trivial end up being quite taxing.
Will 2022 mark the turning point in the climate crisis?
Over the last six months, the world took a giant step backward in its efforts to address the current climate crisis. In February, after finally reversing its position and pledging to become carbon-neutral by 2060, Russia invaded Ukraine and set off a panic around access to fossil fuels. In March, South Koreans said goodbye to an administration that had put a Green New Deal at the center of its agenda and voted in a new president whose idea of a sustainable energy transition is to build more nuclear power plants.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
President Yoon’s Approval Rating at 32.2%, Slowly Climbing for the Second Week
President Yoon Suk-yeol’s approval rating climbed slightly for the second week in a poll released on August 22. The polling firm, Realmeter conducted a survey of 2,011 adults nationwide on August 16-19, and the results showed that 32.2% of the people approved of President Yoon’s handling of state affairs, while 65.8% disapproved. Compared to a poll conducted by the same firm the previous week, the president’s approval rating rose 1.8%, while negative assessments of the president fell 1.4%.
A Larger Security Zone Around Former President Moon Jae-in’s Residence and Tighter Inspections
The security zone around former President Moon Jae-in’s residence will be expanded beginning August 22. On August 21, the Presidential Security Service announced that they designated a larger security zone surrounding former President Moon’s residence in Pyeongsan Village in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do. The previous security area only covered the space enclosed by the house fence, but the Security Service explained that they expanded the zone up to 300 meters from this fence. The newly designated security area will be enforced as of midnight August 22.
Kim Yo-jong, “The ‘Audacious Initiative’ Is the Height of Stupidity... We Just Hate Yoon Suk-yeol as a Human Being”
On August 19, North Korea rejected the “audacious initiative,” President Yoon Suk-yeol’s policy on North Korea which he mentioned in his address on National Liberation Day four days earlier. This day, Kim Yo-jong, a vice director of the Workers’ Party of Korea, criticized the “audacious initiative” as “the height of stupidity” and claimed that North Korea would never consider any offers from Seoul.
S. Korea to Review WTO Complaint on US Inflation Act
Industry minister Lee Chang-yang said on Monday that the government will actively review whether to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization(WTO) over a new U.S. law that excludes electric vehicles(EVs) built outside of North America from tax breaks. The minister made the remarks during a parliamentary session when asked about the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, which calls for expanded tax subsidies for electric vehicle purchases,
Top Diplomats of S. Korea, China to Attend Events Marking 30th Anniversary of Diplomatic Ties
The top diplomats of South Korea and China will reportedly attend official events commemorating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties this week. According to diplomatic sources in Seoul on Monday, foreign minister Park Jin and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, will attend the celebratory events in their respective countries on Wednesday. The two nations are reportedly arranging for Park and Wang to read out congratulatory messages from Presidents Yoon Suk Yeol and Xi Jinping in the events in Seoul and Beijing.
US Urges N. Korea to Respond Positively to S. Korean Offer
The U.S. State Department said that North Korea has a duty to respond positively to the recent proposal by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol. Last week, Yoon proposed his so-called "bold initiative" calling for denuclearization in exchange for economic assistance, an offer quickly rejected by Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, calling it the height of foolishness.
Inflation expectations mark 1st fall in 8 months in August: BOK data
South Korea's inflation expectations declined for the first time in eight months in August, amid hopes that the country's fast-rising inflation hike may peak later this year, a central bank survey showed Tuesday. Ordinary people expected consumer prices will grow 4.3 percent over the next year, which was down from an all-time high of 4.7 percent a month ago, according to the poll conducted by the Bank of Korea (BOK). This marked the first monthly decline since December 2021.
Calm returns to Moon's village as strengthened security rules come into effect
Tranquility and calmness appear to have returned to a southeastern rural village where former President Moon Jae-in's residence is located on the first day of strengthened security measures there. Gone from Pyeongsan Village in Yangsan, 420 kilometers southeast of Seoul, are loud noises and abusive language from anti-Moon demonstrators. Instead, the silence is only broken by the intermittent natural sounds of insects, such as the chirping of cicadas.
Former Air Force chief, legal officer to be questioned in probe into suicide death of abused servicewoman
An independent counsel team looking into the military's handling of last year's suicide death of an Air Force servicewoman following alleged sexual abuse will summon then key Air Force officials this week, officials said Monday. The team led by special prosecutor Ahn Mi-young said it will question then Air Force Chief of Staff Lee Seong-yong as a witness Tuesday. Jeon Ik-soo, chief legal affairs officer of the Air Force,
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Anti-China sentiment at its peak: survey
While South Korea and China celebrate 30 years of their diplomatic relationship this week, Koreans’ dislike for the neighboring country appears to be reaching its peak. According to a survey of South Koreans by Hankook Research on Monday, China was the second-least popular country among five countries -- the United States, Japan, North Korea and Russia.
Seoul's 'audacious plan' entirely consistent with US approach toward N. Korea: State
South Korea's offer to help North Korea in exchange for denuclearization is entirely consistent with the United States' own plan to rid the North of its nuclear ambition, a state department spokesperson said Monday. Ned Price also called on Pyongyang to respond positively to Seoul's outreach. "We have been clear about our support for the bold or the ambitious plan that the South Korean administration has put forward,"
No one’s really happy with food delivery platforms anymore
When food delivery platforms first emerged, they were hailed as an innovative new business that would bring convenience to our everyday lives. With just a few taps, foodies were able to enjoy a wide range of dishes delivered right to their doorsteps. Small restaurants could reach a much wider pool of customers. People got jobs as delivery riders. Delivery startups were the darlings of the capital market, receiving huge investments.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Iranian ambassador urges Korea to release frozen funds
Korea's relations with Iran have been stuck for many years over Iran's frozen assets in Korea. Iran Ambassador to Korea Saeed Badamchi Shabestari has stepped up diplomatic efforts to bring bilateral ties back to the days when the two nations considered each other good economic partners. He thinks the timing is perfect for a fresh new start as South Korea has a new president, Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office on May 10. "I had chances to visit Korea a few times before my term as Iranian ambassador here. For me, Korea was a friendly and beautiful country with kind people,"
Chinese envoy calls for trust-based ties with Korea
Since Korea and China established diplomatic relations in 1992, their bilateral relations have been put to the test occasionally as the two sides were not on the same page, particularly in the area of security. Despite ups and downs, their relations have continued for three decades. Chinese Ambassador to Korea Xing Haiming highlighted the long-standing friendship between China and Korea as the two countries will mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations on Wednesday.
Seoul to review possible WTO complaint over US inflation act: industry minister
South Korea will review whether to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over a new act in the U.S. that excludes electric vehicles built outside of North America from tax breaks in America, Seoul's industry minister said Monday. The Inflation Reduction Act, signed by U.S. President Joe Biden last week, calls for expansion of tax subsidies for electric vehicle (EV) buyers, but only for EVs assembled in North America.
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