Thursday, September 8, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
“There are many opportunities to further develop, expand fruitful cooperation, ties”
Her Excellency Ambassador Marcia Donner Abreu of Brazil in Seoul said, “In the 20 years since 1822, Brazil has developed into one of the world's 10 largest economies, one of the largest in Latin America, and a vibrant democracy.” Then she said, “Brazil is an agricultural and environmental power, a global trading partner and player, and a member of the United Nations, Mercosur, BRICS and G-20.” Speaking at reception in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Independence of Brazil at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul on the evening of Sept. 1, 2022
Gyeonggi Gov. Kim joins hands with CDA of Canada to seek strategic partnership
Governor Kim Dong-yeon of Gyeonggi Province met with Charge d'Affaires a.i Ms. Tamara Mawhinney of Canada in Seoul at the Gyeonggi Provincial Government Office on Sept. 5. At the meeting, they agreed to develop strategic partnership between Gyeonggi Province and Canada ahead of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Canada next year. CDA Tamara Mawhinney said, “Gyeonggi Province has a good relationship with British Columbia (BC), and although I have been there a few times personally, I think it is a beautiful place with good natural resource and rich in human resources.
2022 China International Fair for Trade in Services kicks off in Beijing
The 2022 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) opened at the China National Convention Center in Beijing on Aug. 31. Themed "cooperate for better development, innovate for a greener future," the fair will run through Sept. 5 and also be held at the Shougang Park in Beijing. It focuses on opening up and cooperation in service trade, green development, digitalization and other frontier areas. The 2022 CIFTIS, with a larger exhibition area and more participants, holds over 200 activities with some 400 Global Fortune 500 companies and industry-leading enterprises.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Rising Flu Infections Stoke 'Twindemic' Fears
The flu season is expected to start early this year while coronavirus infections continue. Some epidemiologists warn that the protracted COVID-19 pandemic has weakened the immunity against the seasonal flu, making people more vulnerable this winter. According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Monday, 4.3 out of every 1,000 outpatients in hospitals in the fourth week of August had flu symptoms, a steady increase for the third straight week and the highest number in five years for the time of year.
SK Hynix Invests in Expected Semiconductor Rebound
SK Hynix will build a new semiconductor plant in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province amid concerns of a prolonged slump in the chip market. The company will invest W15 trillion over the next five years and plans to complete the plant by early 2025 (US$1=W1,372). SK Hynix said on Tuesday it will begin construction of the plant on the 60,000-sq.m site in Cheongju next month. The company currently operates three other chip plants in the city.
Yoon Taps Vice Minister as Minister of Health and Welfare
President Yoon Suk-yeol has taken a step closer to completing his Cabinet as he named the first vice health minister as Korea's Minister of Health and Welfare. During a press briefing on Wednesday, the president's chief of staff, Kim Dae-ki, announced that Yoon had tapped Cho Kyoo-hong to head the ministry. "We decided that Cho would be the right person to realize the Yoon administration's key health and welfare policy agenda as the vice minister has much experience in pension and health insurance reform."
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Busan formally submits World Expo 2030 bid in Paris
The Korean delegation on Wednesday formally submitted Busan's bid to host the World Expo in 2030. A candidature dossier was delivered to the Bureau International des Exposition (BIE) in Paris, the international body with 170 member states that coordinates the holding of world expos. Busan's bid document includes the theme of the expo, the estimated number of visitors, information on infrastructure, including hotels and transportation, government support and comments on how the proposal stands out from those from the competition.
Korean banks stress tested and sound, FSC chairman says
Financial Services Commission (FSC) Chairman Kim Joo-hyun said Korea's banks have been stress tested and are safe, solid and sound. "We frequently ask for stress tests, and the banks are sound because they loan to prime customers with good credit ratings," he said. "While it is true that the results of the tests are different, the stress tests are reliable as we have looked into every scenario."
He made the comments during the Korea JoongAng Daily's annual Korea Economic Forum held at Westin Josun Hotel on Wednesday and as economies and markets globally are being buffeted by volatility and as Korea is being put under strain by a falling currency and declining stock and asset prices.
President names third health minister nominee, completes major reshuffle
President Yoon Suk-yeol named his third health minister nominee Wednesday and completed a major reshuffle of the presidential office ahead of the Chuseok holiday. Cho Kyoo-hong, the first vice health minister, was picked to head the Ministry of Health and Welfare, presidential chief of staff Kim Dae-ki announced during a press briefing. As a traditional economic bureaucrat, Cho has previously served in senior positions at the Ministry of Economy and Finance and has "rich experience and expertise in budget and the finance field," according to the presidential office.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Xi to visit Kazakhstan, first foreign visit in 32 months
Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Kazakhstan in Central Asia. This is Xi's first foreign visit in 32 months since his visit to Myanmar in January 2020, just before the massive spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Bloomberg News on Tuesday, Aibek Smadiyarov, spokesman for the Kazakhstan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, announced that President Xi would visit Kazakhstan on Sept. 14. Xi is said to be meeting with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to sign a number of agreements.
Biden hails achievement in winning investments from S. Korea
U.S. President Joe Biden is highlighting the reinvigoration of the U.S. manufacturing industry powered by investments made by South Korea, a semiconductor and battery power. This is to gain an upper hand in the upcoming midterm election in November by touting economic achievements made under his administration. On his Labor Day speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Monday, President Biden said that manufacturers all over the world are coming to the United States, from Korea, from Japan, and from all over the world.
UK's new cabinet is first with no white male in high office
British Prime Minister Liz Truss, who was inaugurated on Tuesday, is being criticized for her cabinet appointment of loyalists, being likened to former prime minister Boris Johnson, who was involved in a scandal associated with his aides. For the first time, the top four cabinet positions do not involve white males. A female leader was also appointed as the deputy prime minister. “I’m confident that together we can ride out the storm, we can re-build the economy and we can become the modern brilliant Britain that I know we can be,” said Truss in her inauguration speech.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korea’s tax revenue could fall short next year as govt bases relative upbeat data
South Korean government could fall short of tax revenue target next year as it has based economic forecasts more sanguine than what the central bank and most institutions project amid deteriorating trade from strong commodity import prices and slowed global demand. According to the 2023 tax income budget estimate analysis the Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted to the National Assembly for budgetary review, the government projected Korea’s real gross domestic product (GDP) to expand 2.6 percent this year and 2.5 percent next year.’
LGES to stay committed to $1.2 bn factory addition in US, may pursue European JV with Renault
LG Energy Solution Ltd. (LGES) is staying unwavering in global expansion by proceeding with 1.7 trillion won ($1.2 billion) project to add a second standalone plant in the U.S. and pursue a joint-venture plant in Europe with French carmaker Renault who could make the fifth global finished carmaker in exclusive battery partnership. The battery maker under South Korea’s LG Group is moving ahead with 1.7 trillion won ($1.2 billion) standalone factory in Arizona in line with the new U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) restricting tax grants to EVs and parts assembled and sourced in the U.S.
Korea’s major crypto exchanges may face penalty for licensing dubious capital outflow
Suspicious outflow of multibillion-dollar capital from commercial banks under investigation by South Korean financial authority has come from the country’s five major cryptocurrency exchanges including Upbit and Bithumb. According to sources close to the matter, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) has confirmed most of 4 trillion won ($2.89 billion) dubiously remitted outside the country through Shinhan and Woori Bank originated from five prime crypto exchanges - Gopax, Bithumb, Upbit, Korbit and Coinone.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Fatal flaws of Yoon’s pro-America foreign policy are beginning to show
Jake Sullivan, the US national security advisor, was in charge of foreign policy for the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton in 2016. Following Clinton’s shocking loss to Donald Trump, Sullivan took a deep dive into the relationship between US foreign policy and the middle class. The result of his research was an 82-page report titled “Making US Foreign Policy Work Better for the Middle Class,” which he composed along with foreign policy and national security experts from the Democratic Party.
Biden twists knife of Inflation Reduction Act snub by boasting of Korean investment in US
US President Joe Biden has treated South Korean companies’ large-scale investment in the US as one of his signature achievements. Despite controversy over American allies being discriminated against in subsidies for electric vehicles, Biden has hinted that he intends to stick to a protectionist line that emphasizes the motto “Made in America.” “If you take a look, manufacturers all over the world are coming to the United States — from Korea, from Japan, from all over the world,” Biden said during a speech celebrating Labor Day in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Monday.
Why the price of sugar went up 726% in N. Korea over the last 5 years
The price of sugar in North Korea has multiplied by a factor of 8.3 between 2017 and late June of this year, from 5,201 won to 43,000 won per kilogram. During the same time period, the price of flour grew 3.7 times in the country as well, from 5,029 won to 18,700 won per kilogram. Sugar and flour are two of the main food products North Korea imports from other countries. The extent to which their prices jumped in North Korea exceeds what might be observed in South Korea today due to high inflation. What could have happened in North Korea in the past five years to occasion such a surge in prices?
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Verification Panel, “First Lady Kim Keon-hee’s Kookmin University Dissertation Goes Beyond Plagiarism. It is a Forgery... a Criminal Act”
On September 6, a group of professors and academic organizations argued that first lady Kim Keon-hee’s doctoral dissertation from Kookmin University and her three research papers published in academic journals all included plagiarized materials. Their argument squarely countered the conclusion reached by Kookmin University, which claimed that there was no academic misconduct involved in the first lady’s works. This day, a public verification panel across academia to verify the alleged plagiarism in first lady Kim Keon-hee’s theses including fourteen faculty and academic organizations nationwide held a press conference to report their outcome at the Korea Press Center in Jung-gu, Seoul.
Lee Jae-myung Decides Not to Comply with Prosecution Summons, “No Reason to Appear Since Lee Has Answered the Questions in Writing”
Lee Jae-myung, leader of the Democratic Party of Korea announced on September 6 that he would not comply with a prosecution summons. Since the reason for the summons was Lee’s failure to answer the questions in writing, now that he has submitted a written statement, there is no longer a reason for him to appear before the prosecutors. Lee also argued that the allegation that he published false information was not true.
“Bulcheonwi Ritual at Seokdam Head House, Ahem” Is Lee Jun-seok Trying to Draw the Conservative TK Public?
Lee Jun-seok, former leader of the People Power Party, announced on September 5, “Yesterday (Sept. 4), I attended a bulcheonwi ritual at the Seokdam Head House in Chilgok as the jongheongwan.” His action appears to be an effort to draw the support of people in their sixties and seventies, the party’s key supporters, by expressing his respect for traditional culture after meeting party members in Daegu, the heart of the conservatives. This day, Lee wrote about his participation in the ancestral rite on social media along with several pictures of him in traditional clothes.
Yoon Designates Pohang, Gyeongju Special Disaster Zone
President Yoon Suk Yeol has designated the southeastern cities of Pohang and Gyeongju as a special disaster zone after they were hit hard by Typhoon Hinnamnor. The presidential office said Yoon made the decision on Wednesday after visiting the cities ravaged by the powerful storm. President Yoon reportedly decided that the expedited designation was needed in light of the massive damage to the cities, inconveniences for local residents and the preliminary assessment of the damage.
Yoon to Meet US Vice President on Sept. 29 in Seoul
President Yoon Suk Yeol will meet with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on September 29 in Seoul. The presidential office said on Thursday that Yoon and Harris will discuss ways to enhance the bilateral alliance and other issues of mutual interest including North Korea, economic security and pending issues in the region and the world. Seou's concerns with the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act are also likely to be discussed in the meeting. The presidential office said that the planned trip reflects the two governments' firm commitment to strengthen the bilateral alliance following the launch of the Yoon administration.
S. Korea, US Agree to Form Consultative Body on Inflation Reduction Act
South Korea and the United States have agreed to form a council to address Seoul's concerns that the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act(IRA) would hurt South Korean automakers. Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun told reporters on Wednesday that the agreement was made in his meeting with U.S. Trade Representative(USTR) Katherine Tai in Washington D.C. The minister said that the two sides agreed to set up the consultative channel and launch specific discussions on the matter, adding that they will consider as many alternative solutions as possible.
S. Korea, U.S. agree to launch high-level talks on U.S. Inflation Reduction Act
South Korea and the United States have agreed to quickly launch ministerial level talks on ways to minimize damage from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) on South Korean carmakers, South Korean Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun said Wednesday. Ahn made the remarks after meeting with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai. "We will discuss specific dates and other details (of the launch) as quickly as possible, but I plan to meet USTR Tai every week, including next week and week after that," the South Korean official told reporters.
N. Korea holds key parliamentary meeting without leader Kim
North Korea has convened a key parliamentary session to discuss and adopt laws on rural development and landscaping, state media reported Thursday.
The Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) meeting was held in Pyongyang the previous day, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). The country's leader Kim Jong-un did not attend the gathering.
Yoon designates typhoon-hit Pohang, Gyeongju as special disaster zone
President Yoon Suk-yeol Wednesday designated the southeastern cities of Pohang and Gyeongju as a special disaster zone after they were hit by Typhoon Hinnamnor. Yoon said he would carry out all procedures necessary for the designation as soon as possible and provide emergency funds to people in Pohang, about 270 kilometers southeast of Seoul. As a special disaster zone, Pohang and Gyeongju will be eligible for financial support from the government for recovery work, relief funds for victims and other benefits.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Seoul, Tokyo, Washington top nuclear envoys affirm readiness to 'all contingencies' on NK provocations
The top nuclear envoys of South Korea, Japan and the United States reaffirmed the countries' commitment to their shared goal of complete denuclearization of North Korea, and joint efforts to deter the regime's nuclear provocations, at a meeting held Wednesday on Tokyo. The three officials, Kim Gunn, Seoul's special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, Sung Kim, Washington's special representative for North Korea, and Takehiro Funakoshi, director general for Asian and Oceanian affairs at Japan’s Foreign Ministry also vowed to maintain a united front against Pyongyang's nuclear threats, to adjust their joint military posture accordingly.
Hopes up for top-level negotiations on IRA, as US vice president plans Seoul visit
Anticipation is growing here for top-level negotiations on the US Inflation Reduction Act that Korean electric-vehicle makers say would hurt their business, following news of a possible visit to the country by US Vice President Kamala Harris. Harris is reportedly coordinating a visit to Seoul to meet with Korean authorities after going to Japan to attend the state funeral of assassinated former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sept. 27, according to local government authorities.
Seoul-Tokyo fence-mending needed for stronger security cooperation: vice minister
The Yoon Suk-yeol government seeks to develop trilateral security cooperation among South Korea, the United States and Japan to the next level and normalize defense cooperation with Japan to counter North Korea’s rapidly escalating and existential missile and nuclear threats. South Korea wants to take it up a notch, but at the same time, it sees fence-mending with Japan as indispensable for bilateral and trilateral security cooperation to be “sustainable” and more robust, South Korea’s Vice Defense Minister Shin Beom-chul said Tuesday in an interview with The Korea Herald.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Korea, US agree to launch high-level talks on Inflation Reduction Act
Korea and the United States have agreed to quickly launch ministerial level talks on ways to minimize damage from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) on Korean carmakers, South Korean Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun said Wednesday. Ahn made the remarks after meeting with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai. "We will discuss specific dates and other details (of the launch) as quickly as possible, but I plan to meet USTR Tai every week, including next week and week after that," the South Korean official told reporters.
Assembly Speaker voices concerns over US Inflation Reduction Act
National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo on Wednesday expressed concerns that the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) would hurt South Korean automakers, according to Kim's office. In a meeting in Seoul with Robert Pittenger, the head of the Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forum (PISF) based in Washington, Kim asked for help in addressing Seoul's concerns over the IRA in U.S. Congress. The IRA, signed by U.S. President Joe Biden in August, gives tax credits to buyers of EVs assembled only in North America, sparking concerns that carmakers here, such as Hyundai Motor and Kia, will lose ground in the U.S. market as they make EVs at domestic plants for export.
President names health minister, secretaries for political affairs
President Yoon Suk-yeol named First Deputy Health Minister Cho Kyoo-hong as the new health and welfare minister, who will be the third nominee tapped for the position. The post has been vacant for more than 100 days as Yoon's previous two picks withdrew their nominations. "Yoon has named First Deputy Health and Welfare Minister Cho Kyoo-hong as the new health and welfare minister," presidential Chief of Staff Kim Dae-ki said in a press conference, Wednesday. "He is an economic bureaucrat who is well-versed in the budget and finance fields. He has been participating in pension service and healthcare reforms so far."
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