Wednesday, August 24, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
A new era in relations between Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia
At the invitation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques – King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev paid a state visit to this country on August 17-18. President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev arrived in the sacred city of Medina, from which the program of the state visit to Saudi Arabia begins. The leaders of Medina Province met the President of Uzbekistan at the Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport.
ProGen appoints Kim Jong-kyun as new CEO
ProGen, a new drug development company, announced on Aug. 22 that it has appointed President Kim Jong-kyun as its new CEO. Since 1994, Kim has been in charge of research and development of innovative new drugs at Yuhan Corporation, serving as the head of the Global New Drug Center and the head of the R&D Strategy Office. This year, he joined ProGen as president and oversaw the development of autoimmune disease treatments and immuno-cancer drugs. ProGen plans to speed up the development of new drugs led by CEO Kim.
Taekyung Group Chairman Kim wins grand prize from the Korean academic society
Taekyung Group announced on Aug. 22 that Chairman Kim Hae-ryun received the grand prize in innovation management from the 24th Korean Academic Society of Business Administration. As the head of Taekyung Group, which leads the domestic inorganic chemical basic materials field, Chairman Kim has emphasized communication, innovation, data management, and R&D (research and development).
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Korea's Dependence on Chinese Battery Materials Grows
Korea is increasingly dependent on China for core materials for rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles. China has a near-monopoly on rare minerals and materials used for EV batteries and sales of EVs are surging around the world. According to the Korea International Trade Association on Monday, China accounted for a whopping 80 percent of Korea's total imports of lithium hydroxide, cobalt and natural graphite in the first seven months of this year.
Korea, China Mark 30th Anniversary of Rocky Relations
Korea and China marked 30 years of sometimes fraught diplomatic relations on Monday which have been characterized by both close economic interdependency and fierce ideological differences. National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo marked the occasion with a speech at a reception hosted by the Chinese Embassy at Hotel Shilla in downtown Seoul. Kim said the two countries "need to open their doors much wider for further cultural and personnel exchanges."
Hyundai Starts Taking Pre-Orders for Ioniq 6 EV Sedan
Hyundai has begun taking pre-orders for its new Ioniq 6 sedan. Unveiled at the Busan International Motor Show last month, the new midsize electric vehicle has a sleek exterior and streamlined interior with enhanced convenience features. The Ioniq 6 can travel 524 km on a full charge, boasting the best efficiency among Hyundai's EVs. The sedan is available in two models whose after-tax prices are between W52 million and W61.35 million (US$1=W1,340).
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Economic conditions are 'severe,' Yoon says, as won tanks
Current economic conditions are "severe," the presidential office said Tuesday, as the Finance Ministry warned speculators not to pile into the won trade, with the currency now at levels not seen in more than 13 years. "Internal and external economic conditions, like the weak won and the growing trade deficit, are severe," presidential spokesperson Kim Eun-hye said on Tuesday. Earlier that day, President Yoon Suk-yeol said he will address the economic risks in an emergency meeting and make sure the falling won "does not impose negative impacts on our market."
Two Russian Tu-95 bombers fly through Korea's Kadiz
Two Russian Tu-95 bombers flew through Korea's air defense identification zone (Kadiz) Tuesday, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). The JCS confirmed that the planes entered the Kadiz after the Russian Ministry of Defense warned they would. "Two strategic missile carriers for long-range aviation performed a scheduled flight in the airspace over the neutral waters of the Sea of Japan,” the ministry said in a statement, referring to the East Sea. "The flight duration was about seven hours. At certain stages during the route, the strategic missile carriers were escorted by F-16 fighters of the Republic of Korea air force."
Korea reaches peak of sixth wave of infections
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/)
Russia shuts off natural gas to Europe
Last month, Russia temporarily shut down the Nord Stream 1 pipeline that flows to Europe via Germany after getting slapped with the Western sanctions from Ukrainian invasions, and since the operation resumed, Russia’s gas supply for Europe has halved. And fear over energy shutdown is growing as Russia’s state-run energy mogul Gazprom announced its plan to halt gas supplies to Europe for three days at the end of the month, citing abrupt maintenance.
Potential liquid fuel injection detected in N. Korea, ROK-US authorities say
ntelligence agencies of both South Korea and the U.S. have reportedly spotted signs of possible liquid fuel injection in North Korea. The agencies are reinforcing surveillance on the trend by augmenting their monitoring assets as the signs may suggest potential provocation via mid-to-long-range missiles such as Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) or intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM).
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).
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Expected inflation eases for first time in 8 mos, consumer sentiment improves Aug
Consumer expectations for the inflation rate in the following year softened for the first time in eight months in August to reflect anticipation of strong inflation peaking out at the year-end, helping to slightly ameliorate consumer sentiment for the month. According to the Bank of Korea (BOK) Consumer Survey for August released Tuesday, consumers’ expected inflation for the following year came to 4.3 percent, easing from the historic high of 4.7 percent in July. It is the first decline since December 2021.
Hyundai Motor to break ground for Georgia EV plant six months ahead of schedule
South Korea’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor Co. is pushing forward its electrification manufacturing schedule in the United States to meet the qualification for tax credit of up to $7,500 for purchase of clean fuel vehicles under the new Inflation Reduction Act. According to industry sources and Hyundai Motor on Monday, the Korean carmaker has decided to break ground for its first EV-devoted plant in Georgia in October this year, with an aim to complete the construction in October 2024, about six months earlier than its original plan.
Korea’s exports to China ballooned 162 times since normalization of ties but droop this year
South Korea`s exports to China over the last 30 years ballooned more than 162 times while its overall exports expanded 9 times, but the country has begun to log a trade deficit with China from this year to raise concerns for the trade powerhouse. Korea’s export to China recorded $162.9 billion in 2021, up a whopping 162.4 times versus $1.0 billion in 1991, a year before the two countries established diplomatic relations, according to the Korea International Trade Association on Tuesday.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Changing China, changing Korea: 30 years of diplomatic relations and what lies ahead
How should a country handle ties with a China that has changed significantly? South Korea isn’t the only one grappling with the question as it marks the 30th anniversary of its diplomatic relations with China on Wednesday. As Beijing adopts increasingly aggressive foreign and trade policies — having risen to become one of the world’s “G2 countries” thanks to an unprecedented rate of economic growth — countries around the world are wrestling with the question of what sort of relationship to establish with China.
THAAD could trigger S. Korea’s unwanted involvement in conflict over Taiwan
In the context of South Korea-China relations, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is akin to both an active and dormant volcano. In 2017, when the deployment of a THAAD battery in South Korea prompted retaliation from China, chilling ties between the two countries, South Korea’s declaration of a “three noes” policy of no additional THAAD deployment, no participation in the missile defense system of the US, and no participation in a trilateral military alliance with the US and Japan put the brakes on further conflict.
Prosecutors ramp up probes into Moon-era figures with rapid-fire raids
The prosecution service, which is currently investigating the repatriation of North Korean fishers and the early closure of the Wolsong nuclear power plant, ramped up its search and seizure of presidential records relevant to its probes on Monday. Suh Hoon, former director of the Blue House National Security Office (NSO), will face investigation soon regarding the 2020 case of the civil servant who was slain by North Korean fire in the waters off of Korea’s western coast as well.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
North Korean Media Claims the South Conducting Military Exercises with the U.S. Is the Same as “An Arsonist Claiming to Put out the Fire”
North Korean media outlets continued criticizing South Korea on August 23, the second day of the ROK-US military exercise Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS). The North Korean media outlet, Uriminzokkiri, released a comment this day and said, “The Ulchi Freedom Shield is the most daring exercise to invade North Korea, assuming that there will be a military invasion of our country.”
Lee Yong-soo, “He Said He Would Protect Us, Even If He Didn’t Become President,” Government Ignores the Suffering of the Comfort Women
President Yoon Suk-yeol signed and sealed the promise with a thumbprint with me. But what is he doing without saying a word to me? Talk about cherishing a snake in one’s bosom...” These were the words of Lee Yong-soo, an elderly comfort women victim in the Japanese military, in a phone call on August 22. She added, “I can’t believe it.” She said, “He said he would protect us even if he didn’t become president. I trusted him because those words touched my heart.”
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%.
S. Korea, China to Mark 30-Year Diplomatic Ties with Anniversary Ceremonies
South Korea and China will commemorate the 30th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties with diplomatic events in their capital cities on Wednesday. The Foreign ministry said on Wednesday that official anniversary ceremonies will be held simultaneously at Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul on 7 p.m. and Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing at 6 p.m. in China time. Foreign minister Park Jin will attend the Seoul gathering and read there President Yoon Suk Yeol’s letter congratulating the 30-year milestone.
Japan Says S. Korea Invited to Fleet Review Considering Bilateral Ties
The Japanese government says that it has invited South Korea to an international naval event to be held in Japan later this year after a comprehensive review of the overall situation in both countries. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno relayed the stance on Tuesday, while announcing the details of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium(WPNS) and an international fleet review it will play host to in November.
Lee Jae-myung Apologizes over His Wife's Alleged Use of Gov't Credit Card
Lee Jae-myung, the leading candidate in the main opposition Democratic Party’s leadership race, has apologized to the public over the controversy surrounding his wife’s alleged use of a government credit card while he served as Gyeonggi Province governor. The former DP presidential candidate issued the apology on his Facebook account on Tuesday after his wife, Kim Hye-kyung, returned home from a police questioning session over the matter earlier in the day.
S. Korea warns against speculative bets amid won's sharp fall
South Korea's foreign exchange authorities on Tuesday warned against speculative bets in the currency market, issuing a verbal warning aimed at stemming the local currency's sharp weakness. But despite the warning, the local currency fell below the 1,340 won level against the U.S. dollar for the first time in more than 13 years amid the Federal Reserve's aggressive monetary tightening.
PM holds emergency meeting on welfare system over deaths of mother, 2 daughters
Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on Tuesday held an emergency meeting with relevant ministers to check the nation's welfare systems over the recent apparent suicides of a mother and her two daughters, Han's office said. The mother, who was in her 60s, and her two daughters, who were in their 40s, were found dead on Sunday at their home in Suwon, south of Seoul, after reportedly struggling with illness and financial difficulties.
Former Air Force chief questioned over suicide death of servicewoman
Former Air Force Chief of Staff Lee Seong-yong was questioned Tuesday by an independent counsel team looking into the military's handling of the suicide death of a servicewoman who allegedly suffered sexual abuse. Lee appeared before the office of special prosecutor Ahn Mi-young in Seoul in the morning to face questioning as a witness and returned home after about eight hours. The team, launched this June, is probing into suspicions surrounding the death of Lee Ye-ram in late May 2021, including whether military officials attempted to cover up the case.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
S. Korea, US ‘entirely’ align on incremental approach toward denuclearization
South Korea and the United States “entirely” align on their plans to achieve North Korea’s denuclearization in stages, the US State Department said Monday, urging North Korea to affirmatively respond to South Korea’s “audacious initiative.” The US State Department on Monday reiterated its endorsement of the Yoon Suk-yeol government’s “audacious initiative,” which seeks to achieve North Korea’s denuclearization through a phased, incremental approach.
South Korea, China at crossroads as they mark 30th year of relations
Since South Korea established diplomatic ties with China 30 years ago on Wednesday, Seoul-Beijing relations have developed rapidly, most notably in the area of trade. China has become vital to South Korea’s economy, being its largest trading partner. Last year trade volume surpassed $300 billion for the first time, up 47 times from the $6.4 billion recorded in August 1992.
Xing Haiming says Korea-China relations are solvable
Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming said relations between South Korea and China are declining, but that they could be solved by developing a mature, independent and stable relationship while preserving the core interests of the two. “The current situation is complex and serious. Relations between China and South Korea have entered a new phase,” Xing said at a forum on Tuesday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Korea-China relations in Seoul.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Anti-China sentiment overshadows 30th anniversary of Korea-China ties
South Korea will mark three decades of diplomatic relations with China, Wednesday, and both countries have become important partners of each other, as evidenced by the fact that China is Korea's No. 1 trading partner and Seoul is Beijing's fourth-largest export destination. However, despite these quantitative developments, negative views of China have been increasing sharply among South Koreans, with the country becoming the second-least popular among South Korea's neighboring countries that also include Japan, North Korea, Russia and the United States.
Space out: empty your mind until you find inner peace
Seoul's annual Space-out Competition will return to its signature venue, the Han River, next month, after a three-year hiatus amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Seoul Metropolitan Government said, Monday, that this year's competition will be held on the Jamsu Bridge on Sept. 4 starting at 3 p.m., while the bridge is blocked to vehicular traffic. When registration for the event opened on Monday, over 2,000 people registered to participate in the event on that day.
FSC to accelerate financial deregulation by facilitating digital platform biz
Aiming to facilitate digital financial innovation in the country, the government has decided to deregulate further the financial sector by promoting financial companies' diverse online platform businesses, while strengthening the government's innovation-led growth initiatives. According to the Financial Services Commission (FSC) Tuesday, the financial authority as well as other related government ministries and financial industry associations, met earlier in the day at the Government Complex Seoul to hold the second installment of a joint meeting under the banner of promoting financial deregulation.
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