Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Saudi Crown Prince visits Korea, ‘sprinkles’ sweet snow on Korea
On November 17, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the prime minister of Saudi Arabia, called Mr. Everything of the oil kingdom, visited Korea. During his 20 hours of stay, his every move heated up the Internet all day long and sprinkled sweet rain, the second Middle East boom, for us, who were struggling with the economic recession. The MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), which was initially discussed at 8.5 trillion won, reversed the situation with Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Won Hee-ryong's visit to Saudi Arabia in early November, leading to the prince's visit from Korea Passing last month, which is reported to be worth 10 trillion won. Saudi Arabia has now officially started 'LOVE KOREA!'.
Two exhibitions from Uzbekistan to be main museum attraction of Paris
During the official visit of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to France, at the invitation of the President of France Emmanuel Macron, the heads of the two states opened two major exhibitions: “The Splendours of Uzbekistan’s Oases. At the Crossroads of Caravan Routes” in the Louvre and “The Road to Samarkand. Miracles of Silk and Gold” at the Arab World Institute. Both exhibitions are dedicated to Uzbekistan’s history and culture. The exhibition in the Louvre covers the 5th-6th centuries BC to the reign of the Timurids, and the Arab World Institute presents exhibits of the 19th – mid-20th centuries, as well as paintings of the Turkestan avant-garde from the collection of Uzbekistan state museums.
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.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
U.S. to Launch Regional Space Force Command in Korea
The U.S. Space Force will set up a regional command at U.S. Forces Korea headquarters this year. A USFK spokesman told the Chosun Ilbo on Sunday that the first regional command was launched under the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii on Nov. 22, and more regional commands will be established here and at U.S. Central Command this year. The announcement comes after North Korea escalated missile provocations and launched an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.
Kim Jong-un Bestows Hero's Title on Mobile Missile Launcher
North Korea has bestowed a hero's title on a transporter erector launcher that was used to fire a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile. This seems to be the first time that an inanimate object has been honored with the crackpot country's highest medal, reflecting the strategic importance the North places on its missile program. The standing committee of the Supreme People's Assembly awarded the highest national honor of "Hero and Gold Star Medal and Order of National Flag 1st Class" to the Hwasong-17 launching vehicle, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.
U.S.-Korea Interest Gap Could Still Widen
Thursday's increase of Korea's base interest rate by just a quarter percentage point to 3.25 percent narrows the gap with the U.S. federal funds rate from one percentage point to 0.75. But the U.S. Federal Reserve still has one more policy meeting left next month, and if it raises the rate by 0.5 percentage points, the difference between the two countries will widen to 1.25 percentage points. The won is not a key currency like the dollar, and a much higher federal funds rate than Korea's policy rate could prompt investors to leave and weaken the Korean currency further. A drastic fall of the won could result in rising prices of imports, resulting in soaring inflationary pressure.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Korea to plant flag on moon by 2032, space agency to be formed
Korea is establishing a space agency and plans to reach the moon by 2032 and Mars by 2045. “Korea’s flag will be planted on Mars in 2045,” President Yoon Suk-yeol said Monday. The missions will be uncrewed and one way, but Korean rockets and landers will be used. Under the plan issued by the president, Korea will develop a rocket engine for a lunar mission with domestic technologies in five years and begin resource mining on the lunar surface in 2032. The government hopes to achieve a Mars landing by 2045.
DP threatens interior minister with impeachment
The Democratic Party (DP) kept to its demand Monday that President Yoon Suk-yeol dismiss the interior minister over the Itaewon crowd crush — or face an impeachment or no-confidence motion. Last Friday, DP floor leader Park Hong-keun presented Yoon with an ultimatum to sack Lee Sang-min to hold him accountable for inadequate public safety measures that led to the death of 158 people in a Halloween celebration in Itaewon in Yongsan District, central Seoul. On Monday, Park warned Yoon that the DP, which holds a supermajority of 169 seats in the 300-member National Assembly, would take action to punish Lee if Yoon refused to.
Luxembourg pitches itself as gateway to Europe, and space
Luxembourg wants Korean start-ups, the grand duchy looking for everything from digital technology companies to those involved in asteroid mining. “One of the big selling points for Luxembourg is that we are a gateway to Europe,” said Franz Fayot, Luxembourg’s minister of the economy, at a round table interview on Monday. “We have networks of companies of all different types of nationalities, and I think that's what makes it an attractive place to start opening your business to Europe.”
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Moody's predicts that global inflation peaked in October and will drop
Global inflation is likely to have peaked in October and is expected to drop as the producer price inflation (PPI), a leading indicator of the consumer price in G20, including the U.S. and Europe, is slowing down. The Financial Times reported on Sunday (local time) that the PPI, shipping rates, and the increase of energy prices are slowing down in the U.S. and European countries, including Germany and the U.K., and global inflation has peaked. One of the key drivers of inflation, energy price surge and supply chain bottleneck issues are being resolved.
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.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korea to cut ’23 growth outlook to 1% range, ’22 econ to fall under OECD average
The South Korean government will agree with the central bank in grimmer outlook for next year’s economy by projecting the economy to underperform the potential growth rate of 2 percent, but won’t likely revise the tax revenue estimate that has been the basis for a tighter budgetary outline for 2023. According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance on Monday, the government will lay out next year’s economic policy direction and outlook in December. It is expected to shave the estimate to under 2 percent for next year from 2.5 percent proposed in June.
Korean companies face new obstacle as EU pushes for U.S. IRA-like policy
The European Union has sought feedback from companies globally on its Critical Raw Material Act (CRMA) to reduce its dependency on countries such as China, stoking concerns that its new law would resemble U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and could undermine South Korean firms’ competitiveness. The Korean Business Association Europe (KBA Europe) and the Brussels branch of the Korea International Trade Association said last week that they had submitted written opinion to the European Commission.
Seoul to package another $3.7 bn bond purchase program joined by BOK
South Korean authorities are packaging another round of 5 trillion won ($3.74 billion) bond purchase program joined by the Bank of Korea after the first batch of 3 trillion won fund amid lingering jitters over liquidity crisis ahead of the year-end maturity of commercial papers worth $15 billion collateralized by property projects under construction. The additional stabilization measure was discussed at the emergency macroeconomic finance meeting on Monday, headed by Minister of Economy and Finance Choo Kyung-ho and attended by government officials and others from the Bank of Korea and the Presidential Office.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
It’s time for S. Korea to think seriously about crisis stability
The confrontation between South Korea and the US on the one hand and North Korea on the other is growing more inflexible every day, with the two sides unable to find a way out. After a series of short-range and intermediate-range ballistic missile tests, North Korea test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile toward the East Sea on Nov. 18. South Korea and the US countered by forward deploying B-1B strategic bombers.
Once war deterrents, are N. Korea’s nukes now meant for preemptive use?
Since the collapse of its February 2019 summit with the US in Hanoi, North Korea has been working to develop new tactical guided weapons with improved interception avoidance capabilities and strike accuracy. More specifically, it has been test-launching submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and new short-range ballistic missiles that are difficult to intercept due to their irregular up-and-down movements, including the “North Korean Iskander” (KN-23), “North Korean tactical surface-to-surface missile ATACMS” (KN-24), and “super-large multiple rocket launcher” (KN-25).
5 years after declaring nuclear forces complete, NK shifts focus from targeting US to perfecting arms
“[They] flawlessly completed the most powerful Juche-oriented strategic weapon [. . .] and thus more strikingly displayed the great might of the powerful and dignified nuclear power.” These were the words spoken by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Saturday as he promoted 106 officials who had contributed to the development of the new Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and its successful test launch on Nov. 18. His use of the phrases “flawlessly completed” and “more strikingly” are especially notable.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Kim Jong-un’s Daughter Appears Again in Mother Ri Sol-ju’s Style
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s second daughter accompanied him a second time to a public event involving nuclear weapons. Chairman Kim, who had appeared with his daughter for the launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Hwasong-17, on November 18, was with his daughter again at a ceremony celebrating the successful launch of the ICBM. On November 27, the Korean Central News Agency reported, “Our respected comrade, Kim Jong-un took a picture with the people who contributed to the successful test launch of the new intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-17,”
Lee Jae-myung Accuses Government and Ruling PPP of Being an “Evil Stepmother” for Not Showing Interest in Passing the Budget
Lee Jae-myung, leader of the Democratic Party of Korea said on November 28, “The government and the ruling party (People Power Party) seem like an evil stepmother, who doesn’t care whether the child dies or not and is only interested in her property.” Lee made the statement in a meeting of the party’s Supreme Council at the National Assembly on Monday, and added, “The deadline for passing the budget (Dec. 2) is approaching, yet the government and ruling party don’t seem to be in a hurry at all.”
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.
S. Korea, EU Sign Digital Partnership Agreement
South Korea and the European Union(EU) have launched a new digital partnership to strengthen cooperation in semiconductors and other technological areas and to advance discussion in digital trade issues. The Ministry of Science and ICT said that Minister Lee Jong-ho and EU Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton signed the Digital Partnership Agreement on Monday in a virtual meeting. The ministry said that the two sides shared the recognition that the development and use of digital technology should be carried out based on democratic values, respect for human rights, resolution of social issues and the principle of improving people's lives.
Ambassador: N. Korea's Sharp Reaction Proves Effectiveness of S. Korea, US Efforts
South Korea's Ambassador to the U.S. Cho Tae-yong said on Monday that the strong rhetoric and protest issued by North Korea prove that the joint efforts by South Korea and the U.S. are working. Ambassador Cho presented the assessment in a meeting with reporters in Washington, saying that North Korea is continuing its provocations this year at an unprecedented pace. Kim Yo-jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, recently called the Yoon Suk Yeol administration “idiots” as she lashed out against Seoul’s push to impose additional sanctions on Pyongyang over its continued missile launches.
Local Research Confirms Omicron's Contagiousness among Children, Adolescents
Local research has found that the omicron variant of COVID-19 is more than five times as transmissible among children and adolescents than previous variants of the virus. The findings by Chun June-young, an infectious disease specialist at the National Cancer Center, and a team led by Seoul National University statistics department professor Kim Yong-dae were published in the international journal BMC Medicine last Wednesday. The research showed that the rate of transmission of the virus for those aged ten to 15 climbed five-point-28 times during the omicron wave from before the previous delta variant became a dominant strain, and those aged 15 to 19 also saw the rate rise about five times.
Yoon says S. Korea aims to land spacecraft on moon in 2032
President Yoon Suk-yeol said Monday that South Korea will land a spacecraft on the moon in 2032 and begin exploring lunar resources under its ambitious roadmap for a "future space economy." Under the long-term plan, South Korea aims to land a spacecraft on Mars in 2045, when the nation will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Liberation Day, Yoon told a meeting on space policies. "From now on, a country with a vision for space can lead the global economy and solve the problems facing humanity," Yoon said.
DP to present no-confidence motion for interior minister following Itaewon tragedy
The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) on Monday decided to present a motion calling for the dismissal of Interior Minister Lee Sang-min for the bungled emergency response to the deadly crowd crush in Seoul last month. The DP has called for President Yoon Suk-yeol to sack Lee to hold him responsible for the failed government response to the tragedy that killed 158 people in Seoul's Itaewon neighborhood, saying the National Assembly will take action on its own if Yoon defies the demand.
83 pct of unionized civil servants want interior minister sacked over Itaewon crowd crush
More than 83 percent of unionized civil servants support punishing and sacking Interior Minister Lee Sang-min for the bungled emergency response to the deadly crowd crush in Seoul's neighborhood, their union said Monday. The results came in a poll conducted among members of the Korean Government Employees' Union from Tuesday through Thursday, asking civil servants to rate the Yoon Suk-yeol government's policies in a seven-point questionnaire. About 38,000 of the union's 120,000 took part in the survey.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Moon landing in 2032, Mars by 2045: Yoon sets space goals
President Yoon Suk-yeol announced South Korea’s space economy road map with goals of landing on the moon and Mars in about two decades. The plan includes developing an independent projectile engine that can fly toward the moon within five years, “land on the moon in 2032” to start mining resources and “land on Mars in 2045," he said at a ceremony held to mark the government's new space plan.
Wartime labor dispute still remains as hurdle to Yoon-Kishida meeting
An unresolved dispute over compensating South Koreans forced to work for Japanese companies during World War II is likely to be the source of unease preventing the two leaders from meeting for some time, experts said Monday shortly after Seoul quickly downplayed speculation over a potential summit taking place by the end of the year. Seoul and Tokyo are working to reset their strained ties as President Yoon Suk-yeol -- who came to office in May vowing to address the issue -- steps up efforts to deliver on the promise by reaching a deal in person with his Japanese counterpart.
Cambodian boy visited by first lady to get free care at top Seoul hospital
The Cambodian boy who was visited by South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee last month will be given cost-free care at a top hospital in Seoul next month. Asan Medical Center, one of the largest hospitals in Seoul, said Monday that all of the boy’s medical expenses will be covered by the hospital and its parent foundation, the Asan Foundation. The boy, who is reported to be suffering from a congenital heart disease, will likely be treated at the Seoul hospital’s pediatric cardiac center.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Government poised to order striking truckers back to work
President Yoon Suk-yeol will convene a Cabinet meeting Tuesday to determine whether to issue an executive order to require striking truckers to resume work immediately, as the first negotiation between the government and truckers' union broke down Monday afternoon, government sources said Monday. Truckers refusing to comply face a suspension of their driver's licenses and possible revocation thereafter. A continued failure to comply will result in a maximum prison term of three years or a fine of 30 million won.
Korea denies media report on lethal aid to Ukraine
Korea's defense ministry reaffirmed its stance, Monday, that South Korea will not provide lethal weapons to Ukraine, dismissing a report that Seoul will supply artillery shells to the war-torn country via the United States. Citing a U.S. defense official, CNN reported, Friday (local time), that Washington intends to buy 100,000 rounds of artillery ammunition from South Korean arms manufacturers to provide to Ukraine. Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal, also made a similar report.
N. Korean provocations prove S. Korea, US moving in right direction: Amb. Cho
South Korea and the United States are moving in the right direction when dealing with North Korea, South Korea's ambassador to the U.S. Cho Tae-yong insisted Monday, arguing North Korea's recent rhetoric against the allies prove the effectiveness of their joint efforts. Cho made the remarks while meeting with reporters in Washington, about 10 days after Pyongyang staged its 10th intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test of the year. "North Korea's sharp reaction is an evidence that the efforts by South Korea and the U.S. are making progress,"
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