Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
KPBMA seeks cooperation with American pharmaceutical association in Washington, DC
The Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-Pharma Manufacturers Association (KPBMA) announced on Nov. 21 that it had time to exchange information with representative American pharmaceutical bio organizations and expert groups in Washington, DC, USA from Nov. 17 to 18 (local time). Chairman Won Hee-mok of KPBMA visited the US Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (US PhRMA) in Washington DC on Nov. 17 and discussed ways to promote cooperation to share government policies related to new drug development and expand information exchange.
Kang Shin-sook, called the “myth of high school graduates,” becomes head of Suhyup Bank
The Suhyup Bank President Recommendation Committee announced on Nov. 15 that Kang Shin-suk, 61, vice president of finance at the Federation of Suhyup Banks, was appointed as the next Suhyup Bank president. She is the third female bank president after former President Kwon Sun-joo of Industrial Bank of Korea (2013) and CEO Yoo Myung-soon of Citi Bank (2020). Newly appointed President Kang is called the “myth of high school graduates of Suhyup.”
26 new contracts, MOUs signed at the Korea-Saudi Arabia investment forum
Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Lee Chang-yang of South Korea attended the Korea-Saudi Investment Forum on November 17, hosted by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) and Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment, and organized by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and the Federation of Saudi Chambers (FSC). Approximately 300 persons attended the event, including Saudi Arabia’s Investment Minister Khalid A. Al-Falih and other representatives of Korean and Saudi officials and companies.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Pandemic Makes More Schoolkids Obese
Three out of 10 Korean schoolchildren are overweight or obese, often as a result of lockdown. According to analysis of 1,023 sample schools across the country by the Education Ministry, overweight or obese schoolchildren increased five percentage points since 2019 to 30.8 percent last year. The ratio was only 22.9 percent in 2016. Fast food and sugary drinks are often to blame. The proportion of elementary schoolkids who eat fast food such as hamburger and pizza more than once a week rose from 68.6 percent to 74.4 percent over the same period, while that of middle schoolers increased from 78.7 percent to 81.3 percent and of high schoolers from 81.1 percent to 82.8 percent.
Korea's Trade Deficit Keeps Growing
Korea has suffered a cumulative trade deficit of US$39.96 billion so far this year, wallowing in the red since April. According to the Korea Customs Service on Monday, Korea's trade deficit rose another $4.42 billion in the first 20 days of this month, although the increase was slightly smaller than a month ago. Exports plunged 16.7 percent on-year to $33.2 billion, which makes it likely that they will decline for a second month running in November. They dipped 5.7 percent in October.
Hyundai's Genesis G90 Named Car of Year by U.S. Magazine
Hyundai's luxury brand Genesis' G90 was named Car of the Year by U.S. auto magazine MotorTrend last Friday. The magazine evaluated 20 different vehicles based on six criteria -- value, safety, efficiency, advancement of design, engineering excellence and performance of intended function. The G90 beat out seven finalists, including Acura's Integra, BMW's i4, Chevrolet's Corvette Z06 and Honda's Civic Type R. Hyundai's Electrified G80 also made it to the final list.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
LG Chem to invest $3.2 billion to build cathode plant in Tennessee
LG Chem will invest $3.2 billion to build a cathode plant in Clarksville, Tennessee, aiming to be a major supplier of electric vehicle (EV) battery materials. It will be the largest of its kind in the United States. The chemical company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Tennessee government Tuesday, with CEO Shin Hak-cheol and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee in attendance. The factory, which will be on a 1.7 million-square-meter site in Clarksville, northern Tennessee, will have 120,000 tons of cathode production per year.
World Cup cheering on the street is approved for Gwanghwamun Square
Thousands of sports fans are expected to gather in Gwanghwamun Square this week and next after Seoul approved World Cup street cheering. On Tuesday evening, the Seoul Metropolitan Government conditionally approved a safety plan submitted by the official supporters club for the South Korean national soccer team, nicknamed the Red Devils, to gather in Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul for games on Nov. 24, 28 and Dec. 2. The city government said it will focus on safety measures and operate a comprehensive situation room. The Red Devils said they will deploy 300 safety personnel, more than three times the 90 employed during the 2018 World Cup Russia.
Security Council resolutions still blocked by China, Russia
A UN Security Council meeting in New York on Monday concluded without a resolution on North Korea’s recent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch, as veto-wielding members China and Russia continued to engage in a blame game.“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the DPRK’s blatant, brazen November 7th launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile,” said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, referring to North Korea by the acronym for its full name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
KCTU to strike at large scale
The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) plans to strike starting with the Cargo Truckers Solidarity from Thursday and well into December. Starting with the Cargo Truckers Solidarity, retail, railway, and subway unions announced to go on a general strike. Given that unions going on a strike are affiliated with the nation’s key industry, the strike’s impact is expected to ripple effect on a stricken economy. On Tuesday, the Cargo Truckers Solidarity announced that its 25,000 members would go on a no-time-limit, all-out strike starting Thursday midnight.
Opposition lawmakers urge party leader Lee Jae-myung to step down
“The government and the ruling party must have a self-reflection about their cold-hearted budgeting on public rental housing and their policies urging people to leverage debt for home purchasing,” Democratic Party Chairman Lee Jae-myung said on Tuesday. The leader of the main opposition party continued his moves to win voters’ hearts without explaining the controversies surrounding his judicial risks. However, Lee is faced with the worst crisis in three months since he was appointed as party leader as some non-supporters of Lee’s are urging him to step down voluntarily.
Household debt in Q3 hits record high
South Korea’s household debt exceeded 1,870 trillion won, hitting a record high again. Household borrowing, however, has reversed downward with the decline in demand for mortgage loans. As of the end of September, total household credits outstanding increased by 2.2 trillion won from the end of June to stand at 1,870.6 trillion won, according to the Bank of Korea’s third-quarter household credit report. The increase was reduced compared to the second quarter (5.5 trillion won).
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
LG Chem to build largest cathode materials plant in US at $3 bn
LG Chem Ltd., parent of South Korea’s top lithium-ion battery maker LG Energy Solution Ltd., will invest $3 billion to build what would be the largest cathode materials factory in the United States with an annual capacity of 120,000 tons in Tennessee to ensure its battery clients comply with the new conditions of Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) requiring sourcing behind electric vehicles come from North American turf for tax credits.
Lotte Chemical assures funds to Lotte E&C redeemable ahead of stock offering
Lotte Chemical offering 1.1 trillion won ($815 million) in new shares made sure its loans to subsidiary Lotte Engineering & Construction (Lotte E&C) in short-term liquidity strains would be redeemed by January, and that most proceeds from the new capital will go to EV battery material business. During an IR event before the rights offering on Monday, LG Chemical assured investors that the funds going to Lotte E&C are redeemable as it has a strong fundamental and order book.
Hyundai Motor sales in Indonesia jumps as its new plant gears into operation
Hyundai Motor Co.’s pivot to Southeast Asia is starting to pay off with sales of vehicles manufactured at its plant in Indonesia sharply rising. South Korea’s largest automaker sold 27,875 vehicles in the first 10 months of this year in Indonesia, according to data compiled by the Southeast Asian country’s automotive industry association Gaikindo. It expects to sell more than 30,000 by the end of this year. This compares with about 3,000 units sold in 2021. Its ranking also rose to eighth place this year, from 13th in 2021.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
S. Korean presidential office installs wall blocking reporters after halting informal Q&A sessions
On Monday, President Yoon Suk-yeol indefinitely suspended the brief Q&A sessions he’s been regularly holding with reporters while commuting to his office in Yongsan. It has been six months and 10 days since he took office and just one day since a wall was installed where these sessions usually take place.
Critics say the president’s decision to halt the so-called doorstepping sessions, which leveraged his conflict with broadcaster MBC, reverses a previous promise by Yoon to communicate directly with the media.
First look at newly released details of Yoon’s “audacious initiative” for denuclearizing N. Korea
The Yoon Suk-yeol administration outlined the details of its North Korea policy, known as the “audacious initiative”, for the first time in an official document released Monday. According to the content of the document, a “package deal” must be reached at the beginning of denuclearization talks with North Korea, and corresponding measures would then be taken simultaneously and step by step in the fields of economy, politics and military in line with progress made on the denuclearization front.
US dispatches B-1B strategic bombers for more drills with S. Korea, Japan after NK missile tests
US B-1B bombers, which are considered strategic assets, took part in separate joint exercises with the South Korean and Japanese air forces on Saturday. The B-1B Lancers were dispatched to the Korean Peninsula in response to North Korea’s test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) the previous day. The strategic bomber’s last appearance was two weeks ago, on Nov. 5. “This exercise served to demonstrate once again South Korea and the US’ joint defense capabilities and posture, which are based on the alliance’s overwhelming military strength, and the US’ ironclad resolve to carry out its promises of extended deterrence and the defense of the Korean Peninsula,” the Joint Chiefs said.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
The Office of the President’s Controversial View of the Press: Press Associations Claim the Office Intends to Alienate MBC
On November 21, the Office of the President announced that the president would no longer receive questions from the press on his way to work in the morning, which he had done since his inauguration. Media organizations and experts criticized that the latest decision meant that the president would no longer answer questions from the people. Earlier on November 20, the presidential office installed a wooden panel between the building entrance and the lobby. Six organizations of active journalists including the National Union of Media Workers and the Journalists Association of Korea held a press conference in front of the National Assembly in Yeouido, Seoul on November 21 and criticized the Office of the President’s decision to suspend the morning press Q&A sessions.
An Event of 100,000 Shincheonji Followers in Daegu Draws Criticism, “It Seems like the Itaewon Disaster Happened Just Yesterday”
Shincheonji Church of Jesus, the Temple of the Tabernacle of Testimony (Shincheonji), held an event with over 100,000 believers taking part in Daegu on November 20. Citizens eyed the event in a less than favorable light, as it was held amid concerns of safety accidents and another COVID-19 wave due to large scale events following the Itaewon crowd crush. According to the explanation by the police on Sunday, Shincheonji held a commencement ceremony for the Shincheonji believers’ Class of 113 at the Daegu Stadium from noon to 3 p.m. November 20. Lee Man-hee, the leader of Shincheonji and his followers arrived at the stadium on buses and helicopters. Reportedly, the Class of 113 consisted of over 106,000 people.
Woo Won-shik Says, “Government-Ruling Party’s Is Arrogant to Mention Provisional Budget. Democratic Party Is May Propose Amendment”
Lawmaker Woo Won-shik of the Democratic Party of Korea, who serves as Chair of the National Assembly’s Special Committee on Budget & Accounts, said on November 18 that approving the budget for the next year within the statutory deadline (December 2, 2022) will be “extremely difficult.” Lawmaker Woo appeared on Kim Jong-bae’s Focus, an MBC radio show, and gave this answer when Kim asked him whether [the ruling party and the opposition] were likely to agree on and approve the budget by the statutory deadline. Woo added, “The ruling party and the opposition tend to differ a great deal over the budget during the transition of governments.”
OECD Cuts S. Korea's Growth Outlook for 2023 to 1.8%
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD) has lowered its growth outlook for South Korea for next year. In its global economic outlook released on Tuesday, the OECD cut its growth forecast for Asia's fourth largest economy for 2023 to one-point-eight percent, zero-point-four percentage points lower than its previous projection of two-point-two percent in September. The OECD assessed that although private consumption has significantly improved, exports are slowing down due to weak demand in semiconductors and China's COVID-19 lockdowns as high prices persist.
Street Cheering Approved for South Korea’s World Cup Matches
Street cheering events in Gwanghwamun Square has been approved for the matches of the South Korean national football team in the 2022 Qatar World Cup. The Seoul Metropolitan Government on Tuesday gave the green light for street cheering events in the public square in central Seoul following a request submitted by “Red Devil,” the official fan club of the Korean national football team.
US Vows to Raise Concerns with China, World after UNSC Inaction on N. Korea
The U.S. Department of Defense said that the United States will continue to raise its concerns with China and other countries around the world about the lack of response from the UN Security Council(UNSC) to North Korea's missile provocation. In a virtual press briefing on Tuesday, Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh addressed the UNSC’s failure to take action against the North’s latest launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile due to opposition from China and Russia.
Yoon to host dinner with ruling party leaders
President Yoon Suk-yeol will host a dinner with ruling People Power Party leaders later this week to discuss his recent Southeast Asia trip and other issues, his office said Wednesday. Friday's dinner will be attended by PPP chief Chung Jin-suk, floor leader Joo Ho-young, Secretary-General Kim Seok-ki and other members of the interim leadership, as well as Yoon's chief of staff Kim Dae-ki and senior political secretary Lee Jin-bok.
N. Korean leader's sister denounces UNSC's 'double standards' over council meeting on recent ICBM launch
The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un bristled Tuesday at this week's U.N. Security Council (UNSC) meeting on Pyongyang's recent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch, accusing the council of applying "double standards." In a statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Kim Yo-jong took issue with the council's open meeting held on Monday (New York time) to discuss the North's launch of a Hwasong-17 ICBM on Friday.
Saudi Arabia shock Argentina for Asia's 1st win in Qatar
With two stunning goals early in the second half, Saudi Arabia shocked Lionel Messi and Argentina 2-1 on Tuesday for the first upset of this year's FIFA World Cup, and also the first win by an Asian team in Qatar. Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari had a goal apiece for Saudi Arabia at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, just north of Doha, as the 51st-ranked underdogs overcame a 10th-minute penalty by Messi before 88,000 fans.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Yoon to host dinner with ruling party leaders
President Yoon Suk-yeol will host a dinner with ruling People Power Party leaders later this week to discuss his recent Southeast Asia trip and other issues, his office said Wednesday. Friday's dinner will be attended by People Power Party chief Chung Jin-suk, floor leader Joo Ho-young, Secretary-General Kim Seok-ki and other members of the interim leadership, as well as Yoon's chief of staff Kim Dae-ki and senior political secretary Lee Jin-bok.
Interior Ministry insists it is 'not responsible' for Itaewon tragedy
The Interior Ministry claimed it does not hold responsibility over the Itaewon tragedy, following criticism the ministry was at the center of control for police response to the incident. The ministry issued an official statement Monday claiming the police bureau did not have authority to intervene in police operations, except at an organizational level. And so the police bureau, as a separate organization from police administration, was not relevant to the police’s response.
China not putting necessary pressure on N. Korea to stop provocations: NSC coordinator
China is not putting the kind of pressure it can on North Korea to help stop Pyongyang from continuing with its provocative actions, a White House National Security Council official said Tuesday. John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications, made the remark one day after Beijing again blocked an US-led effort to have the United Nations Security Council condemn North Korea's recent missile launches.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Presidential office takes credit for 'partial lifting' of China's hallyu ban
Award-winning filmmaker Hong Sang-soo's 2018 movie, "Hotel by the River," which revolves around a poet who is visited by his two sons while staying in a hotel, has been released on the Chinese over-the-top (OTT) service, Tencent Video, starting from Nov. 20. The move has raised hopes among Korean content makers of a partial lifting of the Chinese government's hallyu ban, which was imposed in 2017 following South Korea's deployment of a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile battery.
China unlikely to deter North Korea's nuclear ambitions
Despite U.S. President Joe Biden's warning that China's reluctance to deter North Korea's provocations will ensure a bigger U.S. presence in the region, there are no signs that Beijing will mount any aggressive efforts against the North ― nor compliance by Pyongyang ― according to diplomatic observers. Earlier this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Biden held their first face-to-face summit since the U.S. leader took office in January 2021, during which the U.S. president stressed China's obligation to dissuade North Korea from engaging in unlawful and destabilizing acts.
Korea to build Antarctica's 6th inland station by 2030
The government will build an inland research station in Antarctica by 2030, as part of a long-term plan to elevate the country's standing in the global science and research community, the oceans ministry said Tuesday. About 277.4 billion won ($205 million) will be spent by 2027 to construct the 15,000-ton Araon 2, the latest model of the icebreaker research vessel Araon built in 2009. The chief priority of the first comprehensive policy assistance package is to secure greater power and influence in the global science and technology hegemonic war, marked by fierce competition over the past few decades.
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