Thursday, September 1, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
“Cote d’Ivoire is a stable country in full economic development, dynamic, stable growth”
Ambassador Allou Wanyou Eugène Biti of Cote d’Ivoire in Seoul said, “Under the leadership of the President of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire H.E. M. Alassane Ouattara, Côte d'Ivoire is a stable country, in full economic development which is recording dynamic and stable growth among the strongest on the African continent and in the world, with an average increase of 8% annually since 2012.” Then he said, “The 1st economy of the West African Economic Monetary Union (UEMOA), Côte d'Ivoire is the main economic lung of French-speaking West Africa and exercises a real influence in the region.”
“Korea-Bolivia cooperation is actively supporting Bolivia's industrialization process”
“Korea-Bolivia cooperation is actively supporting Bolivia's industrialization process,” said Charge d' Affairs a.i Louis Pablo Sebastian Ossio Bustillos of Bolivia in Seoul. CDA Ossio Bustillos made the remarks at a gala reception to celebrate the 197th anniversary of the National Independence Day of Bolivia, which was held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul on Aug. 5, 2022 with attendance of many Korean and international dignitaries, including Korean government leaders and ambassadors.
“Bilateral ties transformed into sustainable digital inclusive innovation cooperation”
Ambassador Juan Carlos Caiza Rosero of Colombia in Seoul said, “In the last three years the bilateral relationship between these two countries has been transformed towards the concept of a relationship of ‘Sustainable and Digital Inclusive Innovation,’ which has new and different chapters such as: rural development with digital innovation, green growth, entrepreneurship, creative industries, the blue economy, science and technology, the bio-economy, among others.”
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Korea to Expand Nuclear Power Generation
Korea plans to boost the proportion of nuclear power generation a third of the country's total energy mix by 2030, reversing the previous government's nuclear phaseout as global energy prices soar. But that means the proportion of renewable energy will drop considerably from the level envisioned by the Moon Jae-in administration. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Tuesday announced a new long-term energy plan looking 15 years ahead.
New UN Rapporteur on N.Korea Human Rights Arrives in Seoul
The new UN special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea has pledged thoroughly to investigate the situation in North Korea and will submit a fresh report to the UN General Assembly in September. Elizabeth Salmón arrived in Seoul last Saturday for her first official visit to South Korea. Salmón met human rights activists at the Office for the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights in Seoul on Monday morning and vowed to take a "victim-centered" approach by visiting various organizations and meeting people here.
Korea Joins International Air Combat Exercise in Australia
Korea is taking part in a multinational air combat drill in Australia for the first time. Pitch Black, the 10-day biennial exercise led by the Royal Australian Air Force, began on Monday and will run until Sept. 7. Korea's Air Force deployed some 130 personnel and seven aircraft -- one KC-330 tanker and six KF-16 fighters -- to the exercise. About 100 aircraft from 10 countries including the U.S., U.K. and Japan are taking part to improve air combat capabilities and strengthen military ties.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Lone Star arbitration ruling to be challenged by Korea
Dallas-based Lone Star Funds has been awarded $216.5 million in an arbitration with the Korea government over losses it incurred when it sought to sell a stake in Korea Exchange Bank (KEB). The private equity firm had its complaint heard by International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), an arbitration body under the World Bank. Korea is one of the 163 signatories to the ICSID convention, which means it has agreed to enforce ICSID rulings, which are binding on all parties.
Export support increased to a record 351 trillion won
Export support is being increased by the government as the country battles a trade deficit and a weak currency. The ceiling on trade finance, which includes insurance, loans, bonds and guarantees, will be raised to a record-breaking 351 trillion won, up from 300 trillion won. It was raised from 261.3 trillion won to 300 trillion in July. An export support plan was announced on Wednesday in Changwon, South Gyeongsang. The initiative will be led by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
PPP's leadership vacuum continues to get deeper
Rep. Suh Byung-soo stepped down as chair of the People Power Party's (PPP) national committee Wednesday after opposing the launch of a new emergency steering committee as the party flounders through a leadership vacuum. Last Friday, a court injunction filed by former chief Lee Jun-seok temporarily suspended the duties of interim leader Rep. Joo Ho-young, chair of the PPP's 10-day-old emergency steering committee. The PPP immediately announced plans to launch a new emergency steering committee, and on Monday endorsed Rep. Kweon Seong-dong as the PPP's temporary leader.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Gov’t rejects the ruling to pay compensation to Lone Star
The International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) under the World Bank ruled that Korea has to pay 310 billion won, including approximately 216.5 million U.S. dollars of principal and 18.5 billion won of interest to Lone Star Funds, a U.S. private equity firm. This accounts for 4.6 percent from the 4.68 billion dollars of claim for compensation by Lone Star. Against this backdrop, the Korean government disclosed its stance of dissent.
France discusses possible implementation of energy ration system
The French government has raised the possibility of introducing an energy ration system this winter as Russia's invasion of Ukraine is causing an energy shortage across Europe. This means that the energy situation in Europe is so severe that the energy rationing is being reviewed in France, where about 70 percent of electricity consumption is covered by nuclear power and is highly dependent on Russian natural gas compared to Germany.
S. Korea raises concerns about U.S. EV subsidies
Seoul and Washington began negotiating in earnest about the U.S.’ tax credits for electric vehicles under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which would put South Korean automakers at disadvantage. Expressing regret that South Korea takes electric vehicle subsidies as discriminatory, the U.S. said that it would take note of South Korea’s concerns, but it is reported that the U.S. did not provide any meaningful alternative. Analysts anticipate that measures for South Korea-made electric vehicle makers, which are relatively disadvantaged by the act, will not be prepared anytime soon.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Seoul to appeal to the intl tribunal order to pay Lone Star 4.6% of $4.7 bn claim in decade-old suit
South Korea will appeal to the investment arbitration tribunal ruling ordering it to cover 4.6 percent of $4.68 billion claimed by Lone Star Funds in a decade-long battle over the sale of a Korean bank. The Ministry of Justice on Wednesday expressed “regret over much of the judgments” by the World Bank Group’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) had come to rule the Korean government should pay $216.5 million to Lone Star, which is 4.6 percent of what the firm had claimed in damage suit.
Seoul protesting ISDS ruling in fear of impact on remaining cases
The South Korean government is responding strongly against the arbitration ruling on its decade-old dispute with Lone Star Funds even as the damage amounts to just 4.6 percent of the claim in fear of negative impact on pending disputes with other foreign investors. Seoul had been engaged in 10 cases at the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), of which four including the dispute with Lone Star had been closed.
Samsung files patent application for transparent dual-screen phone
Samsung Electronics, a trendsetter in smart handsets since foldables, is working on a dual-screen with a transparent display, showed its recent patent filings with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). According to the WIPO and foreign media outlets on Tuesday, the patent entitled “Electronic apparatus comprising transparent display” was filed in January and published on Aug. 25. The patent was developed to allow users to create a visual effect on the exterior of the smartphone.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
In US-China semiconductor war, is Korea the odd man out?
The first official step taken by Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong following his pardon on Liberation Day was attending the groundbreaking ceremony of a next-generation semiconductor R&D complex at the company’s Giheung campus, in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, on Aug. 19, 2022. Samsung Electronics intends to build an R&D complex covering an area of 109,000 square meters at a cost of 20 trillion won (US$14 billion) by 2028. In the future, this R&D complex is meant to serve as a base for research in the key areas of system semiconductors (logic chips) and memory semiconductors.
Korean legislative committee adopts resolution denouncing US EV tax credit snub
A South Korean National Assembly standing committee passed a resolution voicing concerns about the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which includes discriminatory measures targeting South Korean electric vehicles (EVs). The National Assembly Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee held a plenary session Tuesday morning, during which it adopted a revised and supplemented form of a resolution sponsored by Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Won-wook, which urges the “prohibition of US tax support discrimination in the areas of imported electric vehicles and batteries.”
Seoul “carefully” weighing whether to attend Japanese naval review, says defense minister
On Monday, Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup responded to questions surrounding South Korea’s potential participation in Japan’s upcoming international fleet review ceremony. The fleet review will commemorate the 70th founding anniversary of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). Lee said that Korea will “take into consideration issues of concern while also comprehensively taking into account the international fleet review concept and customs and use that as a basis for the decision” of whether to participate in the naval celebration.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
South Korea vs. Lone Star ISDS: Court Calls for Korea to Pay Lone Star US$216 Million (of the Requested $4.7 Billion)
The decade-long investor-state dispute between the South Korean government and the U.S. private equity fund Lone Star ended with a decision calling for the South Korean government to pay Lone Star US$216.5 million (approx. 290 billion won). This was only 4.6% of the $4.7 billion (approx. 6.3 trillion won) compensation that Lone Star initially demanded. This case was the largest investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) filed against the South Korean government.
PCR Tests Prior to Entry No Longer Required Beginning Sept. 3: Enhanced Vaccines to Be Introduced in Q4
From September 3, people entering South Korea from overseas will not be required to submit a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test result certificate. However, they will still have to get a PCR test within 24 hours after entering the country. The new improved vaccine, which is more effective against the recently spreading BA.5 variant, will be introduced in the country in the fourth quarter. In a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters on August 31, Lee Ki-il (second vice minister of health and welfare), first general coordinator of the Headquarters said, “From midnight September 3, all Korean nationals and foreigners on board flights and ships arriving in South Korea will not be required to submit a negative Covid (PCR) test result certificate.”
Company’s Lawyer in the Case of “Layoff for 800-Won Embezzlement” Attended Oh Seok-jun’s Alma Mater
Supreme Court justice nominee Oh Seok-jun (pictured, 60, 19th class of the Judicial Research and Training Institute) once ruled that it was just for a company to fire a bus driver who had embezzled 800 won. It was recently revealed that the lawyer who represented the company in the trial went to the same high school and was in the same class at the Judicial Research and Training Institute as Oh.
National Assembly to Kick off Regular Session Thursday
The National Assembly will kick off its regular session on Thursday, the first since the launch of the Yoon Suk Yeol government in May. The Assembly will hold an opening ceremony at 2 p.m. on Thursday for the regular session that will last for the next 100 days until December 9. The main opposition Democratic Party's chair will give a parliamentary speech on September 14 followed by the leader of the ruling People Power Party the following day.
Pentagon Emphasizes Importance of US-S. Korea Defensive Exercises for Peace on Peninsula
The U.S. Department of Defense said that the ongoing joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States are defensive drills that are important for maintaining peace on the Korean Peninsula. Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder issued the position on Wednesday during a press briefing when asked about the ongoing joint military exercises. The spokesperson said that these exercises are important in terms of ensuring that the allies' militaries can closely work together and be prepared to fight and defend South Korea and their partners and allies in the region.
US Appears Open to Consultation Channel with S. Korea on Inflation Reduction Act
The United States has reportedly responded positively to South Korea’s proposal that the two nations establish a formal channel to address Seoul’s concerns about the Inflation Reduction Act. Departing from the U.S. after a three-day trip on Wednesday, deputy trade minister Ahn Sung-il informed reporters of the progress after a delegation of senior officials from the ministries of trade, finance and foreign affairs visited to convey Seoul's concerns about the exclusion electric vehicles assembled outside North America from tax incentives in the new law.
Exports up 6.6 pct in August; trade deficit extended for 5th month
South Korea suffered a trade deficit for the fifth consecutive month in August for the first time in nearly 14 years on high global energy prices, though its exports rose 6.6 percent on-year, data showed Thursday. Outbound shipments stood at US$56.67 billion last month, up from $53.2 billion a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. It is the highest tally for any August since the ministry began compiling related data in 1956. The previous record was set a year earlier.
S. Korea, U.S. flaunt combined firepower in large-scale field exercise amid N.K. threats
South Korea and the United States staged a large-scale combined live-fire exercise near the inter-Korean border Wednesday, in a vivid display of the allies' military might amid North Korea's nuclear and missile threats. A centerpiece of the Combined Joint Fires Coordination Exercise (CJFCX) took place in Rodriguez Live Fire Complex in Pocheon, about 30 kilometers south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), involving high-morale troops, battle tanks, mortars, howitzers and warplanes to boot.
DP chief's wife, aide sent to prosecution over alleged corporate credit card misuse
The wife of opposition leader Lee Jae-myung was named Wednesday as an accomplice to alleged corporate credit card misuse, as police wrapped up the probe and transferred the results to the prosecution for further investigation. Police in Suwon, 50 kilometers south of Seoul, said they booked Lee's wife, Kim Hye-kyung, and one of her aides, surnamed Bae, on charges including occupational breach of trust and violation of election laws.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
NSC chief to have trilateral talks with US, Japan on Thursday
South Korea’s national security adviser Kim Sung-han will meet with his US and Japanese counterparts in a two-day meeting in Hawaii to discuss North Korea, economic security and major regional issues, the presidential office said Wednesday. On Wednesday, Kim will meet bilaterally with US national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Japan’s national security adviser Takeo Akiba to hold trilateral talks the next day at the headquarters of the US Indo-Pacific Command in Honolulu.
South Korea to appeal international tribunal’s order to pay Lone Star
South Korea plans to seek annulment of an international tribunal’s verdict to compensate Lone Star Funds in a decadelong investor-to-state dispute arbitration.According to the Ministry of Justice, the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes has ruled that South Korea should pay damages of 280 billion won ($216 million). The amount is just 4.6 percent of the 6.1 trillion won sought by the US private equity fund plus interest.
N. Korean paramilitary commanders gather in capital amid ‘threat of war’
North Korean commanders of paramilitary and reserve forces gathered for a full-scale meeting in Pyongyang for the first time in three years amid the “constant threat of war,” the state media reported Wednesday. The participants pledged to strengthen their combat capabilities for “all-people resistance.” The sixth “Active Leading Personnel of the Worker-Peasant Red Guards” meeting was held at the April 25 House of Culture for two days on Monday and Tuesday, the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency and the Rodong Sinmun, a party organ, said in their Korean-language reports.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Korea to challenge ICSID decision on Lone Star suit
Korea will request the cancellation of an international tribunal's decision ordering it to pay U.S. private equity Lone Star Funds $216.5 million plus interest over a dispute that began more than a decade ago, the Korean government said Wednesday. "Although the award at the court acknowledged only a partial amount of what Lone Star claimed, the Korean government finds it hard to fully accept the ruling," Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon said during a press briefing, Wednesday. "The government will seek to file for its cancellation or suspension of implementation. We cannot waste a single penny of taxpayer money."
USFK deploys advanced Gray Eagle drones
The U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) has deployed an advanced version of one of its armed drones in Korea amid North Korea's growing nuclear and missile threats. According to the USFK, Wednesday, the U.S. Second Infantry Division, also known as the South Korea-U.S. combined division, has deployed 12 Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) unmanned aircraft systems at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province. The GE-ER is a next-generation upgrade to the battle-proven Gray Eagle drone.
Industry minister calls for U.S.' measure to address concerns over inflation law
Korea's Industry Minister Lee Chang-yang met with U.S. Ambassador to Seoul Philip Goldberg, Wednesday, and called for measures to swiftly address concerns over a new U.S. law that excludes electric vehicles (EVs) assembled outside North America from tax incentives, Lee's office said. The Inflation Reduction Law (IRA), signed by U.S. President Joe Biden earlier this month, calls for the expansion of tax subsidies for EV purchases, but only for those assembled in North America.
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