Monday, November 28, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
President Yoon, Kenyan President Ruto seek closer cooperation in business fields
President Yoon Suk-yeol held a summit with Kenyan President William Ruto, who officially visited South Korea on Nov. 23, and exchanged opinions on ways to strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the two countries, especially in energy, defense and nuclear fields. Ruto, who took office in September, visited Korea for the first time in 32 years as Kenyan president. In 1990, then Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi visited Korea at the invitation of President Roh Tae-woo. President Moi was his nation's first leader to visit Korea since the two countries formed diplomatic ties.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev Elected President
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has won the presidential election in Kazakhstan after receiving 81.31% of the vote. This was announced by the Central Election Commission (CEC) today after the votes were counted. According to the preliminary results, other candidates received votes as follows: Zhiguli Dairabayev 3.42%, Karakat Abden-2.60%, Meiram Kazhyken-2.53%, Nurlan Auesbayev-2.22%, Saltanat Tursynbekova-2.12%, against all-5.8%. According to the CEC, 8,300,046 citizens cast their ballot, a turnout of 69.44%. Voting took place at 10,101 polling stations across the country, including 68 polling stations at 53 diplomatic missions of Kazakhstan around the world.
Korea, Singapore sign Digital Partnership Agreement
Minister for Trade Ahn Duk-geun met with Singapore’s Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng in Singapore on Nov. 21 and signed the Korea-Singapore Digital Partnership Agreement (KSDPA). The KSDPA was settled in December 2021, followed by a legal examination and deliberation process. Signing of the KSDPA concludes the two countries’ negotiation procedures. One of the key accomplishments of this year’s ASEAN summit meetings, the KSDPA is regarded as Korea-ASEAN trade cooperation strategy put into practice to lead the regional trade order and expand digital economic collaboration, starting with ASEAN’s digital hub Singapore.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Korea's Arms Exports to Exceed $20 Billion This Year
Korea's arms exports crossed a record US$17 billion early this month and will likely exceed $20 billion by year's end. The main driver has been Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which spurred frantic arms purchases from neighboring Poland. Arms export deals Korea struck with Poland alone this year are worth $14.76 billion, including K2 tanks, K9 self-propelled howitzer guns, FA-50 light combat fighter jets and Chunmoo multiple rocket launchers.
Kim Jong-un's Sister Has Another Hissy Fit
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Yo-jong on Thursday launched another tirade against the South Korean government. The hysterical outburst was prompted the South Korean government seeking additional sanctions against the North Korean regime after a string of recent provocations. "I wonder what 'sanctions' the South Korean group, no more than a running wild dog gnawing on a bone given by the U.S., impudently will impose on North Korea," she said according to the usual garbled translation in the state media. "What a spectacle sight!"
Yoon Asks Elon Musk to Invest in Korea
President Yoon Suk-yeol in a Zoom meeting on Wednesday asked maverick Tesla CEO Elon Musk to build a giant factory in Korea to make electric cars. Musk said he considers Korea one of top candidates for investment. Tesla already has five factories -- three in the U.S. and one each in China and Germany -- and is looking for a second production base in Asia. The Zoom meeting lasted about 30 minutes, according to the presidential office. "If there are unreasonable obstacles to global high-tech innovative companies' investment in Korea, we will reform them to meet global standards," Yoon promised the billionaire.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
To celebrate ICBM, North pins a medal on a launch platform
North Korea celebrated its successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Nov. 18 by promoting key figures in its missile program — and, bizarrely, by bestowing an honor on the launch platform used to fire the missile. According to the state-controlled Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the Standing Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly, the North's rubber-stamp legislature, awarded a DPRK Hero title and Gold Star Medal, as well as an Order of the National Flag, 1st Class, to launch vehicle no. 321, which was used to fire the Hwasong-17 ICBM in the Nov. 18 test.
Air Force general demoted for covering up sexual assault
An Air Force brigadier general became the first general officer to be demoted in rank in 43 years because of his cover-up of a sexual assault case that led to the suicide of a female officer, military sources said Saturday. Jeon Ik-soo, the Air Force’s chief legal affairs officer, was demoted by one rank to colonel for mishandling the case of Master Sgt. Lee Ye-ram, who took her life in May 2021 after being groped by a male sergeant after a work dinner two months earlier. The Defense Ministry approved the disciplinary measure on Nov. 18 and President Yoon Suk-yeol approved it Tuesday, the sources said.
Perfect property storm in Korea as rates rise and prices fall
Rising interest rates are squeezing property owners — especially those who borrowed big last year driven by the fear of missing out. Monthly payments are rising as property values fall. For these people, many of them young, it's the worst of both worlds. In line with the rise in U.S. rates, the Bank of Korea increased the base rate from a record-low 0.5 percent last year to the current 3.25 percent. The vast majority of property loans in Korea are floating rate, so as the base rate rises, so do the repayments.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Shanghai citizens shout ‘Step Down, Xi Jinping and Communist Party’
Protests against China's COVID-19 lockdown are continuing in Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai. On Saturday, a large-scale demonstration took place in downtown Shanghai, with citizens chanting, “Step down, Xi Jinping! Step down, Communist Party!" Major global media outlets such as CNN, Reuters, and the BBC reported that “anger and protests against the COVID-19 quarantine policy are spreading throughout China.” Local Chinese reported to The Dong-A Ilbo that citizens' antipathy toward "Zero COVID-19," a blockade policy that has been maintained for three years to prevent the spread of the virus, is spreading.
Eight US B-2 bombers stage ‘Elephant Walk’ to warn Pyongyang
The U.S. issued a warning message against North Korea by staging a show of force by deploying B-2 Spirit strategic bombers capable of loading nuclear warheads on Saturday. The move comes as Pyongyang has been widely advertising the successful test fire of its new ‘Hwasong-17’ intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland. The U.S. Air Force’s 509th Bomb Wing posted on Facebook ‘Elephant Walk’ of eight B-2 bombers, a concurrent sortie exercise of fully armed bombers, at the Whiteman Airbase in Missouri.
Korea and China to begin 1.5-track dialogue in next spring
South Korea and China have allegedly agreed to begin the ‘1.5-track’ dialogue centering on economy and trade before spring next year at the latest and are having detailed discussions. The two nations also decided to launch a high-level economic cooperation body on which the discussions are already underway. Amid its recent all-out efforts for an economic rebound, the government reportedly concluded that enhancing the relations with China, the country’s biggest export market, is key to revitalizing the economy. Cooperation with China has become ever more important for the Korean government to rein in North Korea, which is about to undergo its seventh nuclear test.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korean crypto exchanges to delist Microsoft-backed Wemix token
Wemix, the native token of South Korean major game publisher Wemade’s blockchain platform Wemix, will be kicked out from the country’s top five crypto exchanges, causing Wemade shares to plunge by the daily limit of 30 percent on the Kosdaq market on Friday. The Digital Asset eXchange Alliance (DAXA), consisted of Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, Korbit and Gopax, announced on Thursday that Wemix coin trading will stop as of Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. from their exchanges due to false information on distribution volume and the issuer’s poor management.
SK on, EcoPro, GEM to build nickel refining facility for batteries in Indonesia
SK on Co., a pure-play battery maker under South Korea’s SK Group, is building a nickel processing facility in Indonesia, world’s top nickel producer with largest reserves, together partners from home and China. SK on announced Friday that it has signed a business agreement with Korean secondary battery materials firm EcoPro and Chinese precursor production firm Green Eco Manufacture (GEM) to establish a production entity for nickel intermediary goods.
Seoul seeks to extend VAT exemption on carbon trade
The Korean government is planning to extend an exemption from the value-added tax directive for carbon emission transactions for three years until 2025 in a move to bring vitality to the emerging carbon trade market. The plan was released during the first meeting of the Emission Allowance Allocation Committee under the Yoon Suk-yeol administration on Thursday. The meeting was presided over by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Choo Kyung-ho.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Korean government threatens to order striking truckers back to work
Workers with Korea’s Cargo Truckers’ Solidarity Division (TruckSol) commenced their strike on Thursday, demanding that the minimum pay system for truckers be extended and expanded to include other freight types. The government denied that the strike would prompt a distribution crisis, but has responded aggressively by saying that they will not hesitate to order the truckers to go back to work. TruckSol, which belongs to the umbrella Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union, held launch ceremonies at 16 local headquarters across the country at 10 am on Thursday to signal the start of a general strike in major distribution bases such as various ports, petrochemical complexes, and oil refineries.
With 0.4 degrees left until “red line,” are we doing the best we can on climate change?
Will humankind overcome this unprecedented climate crisis? Representatives from around the world gathered in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh from Nov. 6-18 for the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) to discuss countermeasures, but the future seems grim. This year’s weather has been more than unusual. Europe and Australia suffered from bizarre heat waves, drought and wildfires. Many were killed in unexpected heavy rains in Nigeria and Pakistan.
After Sewol, Itaewon disasters, young Koreans ask how many more friends’ funerals they’ll have to attend
The Itaewon disaster, which claimed the lives of many young people, recalls memories of the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster in which more than 200 Korean high schoolers perished. Among the thousands of notes commemorating the victims at Exit 1 of Itaewon Station, 26 directly mentioned the Sewol.“Eight years ago, when I lost friends in the Sewol ferry disaster, I thought those were my last tears, but now I’ve lost friends again. I really hope this is the last time I lose someone.... I miss you, my friends. 2022.11.04 REMEMBER221029,” read one.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Prosecutors Investigate “Cash in Lee Jae-myung’s Home,” Democratic Party Calls It “A Malicious Accusation” and Claims President Yoon Refers to the Unionized Truckers’ Strike as “Bullying Colleagues” and an “Illegal Act Trampling on Other People”
President Yoon Suk-yeol spoke on the cargo truckers’ strike, which began on November 24, and said, “The government has no choice but to consider various measures including orders for the commencement of business operations.” President Yoon wrote on social media Thursday night and described the strike by unionized truckers as “an act taking the distribution system as hostage in a national crisis situation,” and released his position on the issue. At 10 a.m. Thursday, the cargo truckers’ union held a ceremony launching the strike demanding the continuous implementation of the Safe Trucking Freight Rates policy as well as the expansion of the policy to include more vehicles and items.
DPRK Kim Yo-jong’s Comment “Yoon Suk-yeol, Those Fools” Draws a Fierce Response from the South Korean Government
Kim Yo-jong (pictured), a deputy director in the Workers’ Party of Korea and also the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, protested South Korea’s separate sanctions against North Korea on November 24 and spoke harshly against President Yoon Suk-yeol. The South Korean government fiercely criticized her remarks claiming it was like “a thief trying to give a scolding.” In a statement released by the Korean Central News Agency on Thursday, Deputy Director Kim said, “On November 22, those in the South Korean foreign ministry called the exercise of our right to self-defense a ‘provocation’ and used it as an excuse to rattle that they were reviewing additional sanctions of their own,”
Prosecutors Investigate “Cash in Lee Jae-myung’s Home,” Democratic Party Calls It “A Malicious Accusation” and Claims “Property Was Registered”
On November 24, there was news that the prosecutors investigating the alleged corruption in the Daejang-dong development project in Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi launched a probe into cash amounting to hundreds of millions of won that Lee Jae-myung, leader of the Democratic Party of Korea stored in his home. On Wednesday, Anti-corruption Investigation Division 3 (chief prosecutor Gang Baek-sin) of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office called in A, a former employee in the secretary’s office at the Gyeonggi-do government, as a witness for questioning. A is the person who first reported the alleged misuse of the Gyeonggi-do government corporate credit card by Kim Hye-kyung, Lee Jae-myung’s wife.
Gov't Raises Emergency Alert to Max amid Continued Cargo Truckers' Strike
The government on Monday raised its emergency alert status to its highest level as the massive cargo truckers’ walkout continues into a fifth day. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said it is raising the crisis alert system regarding inland cargo shipping from “alert” to “emergency,” stressing growing losses from the strike. “Emergency” is the highest in the four-tier system, which starts from “attention” and shifts to “caution” and “alert.”
Gov't Likely to Revise 2023 Growth Outlook Downward to Below 2%
The government is reportedly considering revising next year’s growth target downward to below two percent amid deepening concerns over an economic slowdown. According to the finance ministry on Monday, the government is scheduled to announce its economic policies and outlook for next year in December. Back in June, the Yoon Suk Yeol administration revealed its forecast for next year’s growth at two-point-five percent, but, according to Yonhap News, officials are likely to lower it to the one-percent range.
Kim Encourages Officials Involved in Hwasong-17 ICBM Launch
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un encouraged and promoted scientists and officials involved in the North's recent launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). According to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Sunday, Kim took a photo with those officials who contributed to the successful launch of the Hwasong-17 ICBM. Kim reportedly called the Hwasong-17 a great creation by the North Koreans, urging the North to beef up efforts to further bolster its national defense capabilities without being complacent about its achievements.
S. Korea to reduce bond issuance of state-run firms, stabilize market
South Korea plans to reduce the issuance of bonds by state-run companies, the finance ministry said Monday, in line with the country's efforts to stabilize the bond market hit by uncertainties. The plan was announced during an emergency meeting of economy-related ministers in Seoul earlier in the day, presided over by Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance. "Under cooperation with the banking sector, we will seek to have state-run organizations, including the Korea Electric Power Corp. and the Korea Gas Corp., reduce their bond issuance, or issue them over different periods, and have them seek bank loans," the finance ministry said in a release.
PM orders safety measures over World Cup street cheering
Prime Minister Han Duck-soo instructed authorities Monday to ensure safety measures for World Cup fans expected to turn up in large numbers for street cheering events as South Korea takes on Ghana later in the day. Tens of thousands of fans are expected to hold street cheering events in central Seoul to root for South Korea's second World Cup match in Qatar, although the state weather agency has predicted a cold wave and rain later in the day. "The heads of local governments, and the heads of police and fire departments should inspect crowd management measures in advance in preparation for rain," Han said, according to the Office for Government Policy Coordination.
N. Korean leader makes second public appearance with daughter
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made a second public appearance with his daughter during a photo session with officials involved in this month's intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch, state media said Sunday. Photos published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) showed the daughter, presumed to be Kim's second child, Ju-ae, dressed in a long black winter coat with a fur collar and with her hair partially tied back, as she walked hand in hand or linking arms with her father.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
PM orders safety measures over World Cup street cheering
Tens of thousands of fans are expected to hold street cheering events in central Seoul to root for South Korea's second World Cup match in Qatar, although the state weather agency has predicted a cold wave and rain later in the day. "The heads of local governments and the heads of police and fire departments should inspect crowd management measures in advance in preparation for rain," Han said, according to the Office for Government Policy Coordination.
Democratic Party gives Yoon ultimatum to fire safety minister
The Democratic Party of Korea on Sunday gave President Yoon Suk-yeol a one-day ultimatum to fire Lee Sang-min, the minister of interior and safety, over the deadly crowd crush in Seoul’s Itaewon last month. “The president needs to stand by his words that there will be accountability. The first step to do that is to remove the interior and safety minister from his post,” Democratic Party spokesperson Rep. Lee Soo-jin said in a briefing. If Yoon fails to respond to do so by Monday, the party “would do everything in our power conferred to us by the people,” she said.
Possible Wemix delisting prompts jitters in crypto market
South Korea’s top five crypto exchanges' decision to delist the token issued by Wemade’s blockchain platform has sent another shock wave through the digital currency market here that is still reeling from the earlier terraUSD-luna crash. The Digital Asset Exchange Alliance (DAXA) comprising Bithumb, Upbit, Coinone, Korbit and Gopax announced Thursday they would halt trading of Wemix tokens on their platforms from Dec. 8.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Yoon's approval rating rises to 36.4 percent: Realmeter
President Yoon Suk-yeol's approval rating rose to 36.4 percent, surpassing the mid-30 percent range for the first time in four weeks, a poll showed Monday. Yoon's approval rating climbed 3 percentage points from the previous week, posting the biggest on-week jump since he took office in May in a Realmeter poll, while his disapproval rating fell by 3 percentage points to 60.8 percent. The poll was conducted on 2,514 voters nationwide from Monday to Friday last week.
Tanker carrying 2 Koreans freed from pirates to be towed due to engine damage
An oil tanker in West Africa with two South Koreans and 17 Indonesians aboard, which was freed after being hijacked by pirates earlier this week, is expected to be towed to its destination due to damage caused to the engine by the kidnappers, according to Seoul's foreign ministry officials Sunday. The 4,000-ton tanker owned by a South Korean shipping company was hijacked by pirates in international waters off of West Africa on Thursday then released a day later. The pirates reportedly stole petroleum stored in the tanker and destroyed the ship's internal equipment before leaving the vessel.
KCCI chairman heads to Paris to represent Busan at BIE Expo General Assembly
Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Chairman Chey Tae-won, who concurrently serves as co-chairman of the Busan World Expo 2030 bidding committee, is scheduled to attend the 171st General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) held in Paris, France, Nov. 28 and 29, to conduct a presentation on Busan's bid to host the World Expo in 2030, according to industry officials, Sunday. It is the first general meeting to be held since the candidate countries submitted their official bid applications in September, and one year ahead of the host country selection. Korea, Saudi Arabia, Italy, and Ukraine are expected to engage in a fierce bidding competition.
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