Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
LG CEO Cho outlines directions to diversify business portfolio
CEO William Cho of LG Electronics reiterated the company’s vision for the future as well as its strategy to strengthen business competitiveness during a press conference held especially for Korean media in Las Vegas, Nevada, the U.S. on Jan. 6. The CEO began by mentioning that, despite the uncertainty created by the prolonged global economic recession and continuing supply chain instability, opportunities still exist within the current environment.
BBQ Chairman Yoon raises university graduates' starting salary by 33.5%
Chairman Yoon Hong-gun of Genesis BBQ announced a drastic increase in the annual salary of new university graduates by 33% compared to the previous year, citing "Best Talent, Best Treatment, and Best Restaurant Company" as the value of management in 2023. Chairman Yoon declared on Jan. 4, "We will open a new era of talent management that fosters young and fresh talent with the best treatment in the franchise industry and innovates into the world's largest and best restaurant company."
Pernod Ricard Korea recruits participants for the sustainable bar operation training program
Pernod Ricard Korea, the Korean unit of the global wine and spirits company Pernod Ricard, announced that it will recruit participants of February class for its sustainable bar operation training program ‘Bar World of Tomorrow’. Pernod Ricard Korea joins hands with its wholesalers and clients to recruit participants for the Bar World of Tomorrow training program in February, in addition to the homepage of Pernod Ricard Korea. The program is a one-day session that is held for a day and there will also be a networking session after the class for the participants, including theoretical and practical training on sustainability.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Business Earnings Shock Casts Pall on Economy
Major businesses' average operating profits may have halved in the fourth quarter of last year as Samsung and LG suffered earning shocks due to inflation and the global economic slowdown. This is raising concerns of a vicious cycle as they cut back on hiring and investments. According to financial information service FnGuide on Sunday, the estimated fourth-quarter operating profit of 20 listed companies was W27.5 trillion, down a whopping 46 percent compared to six months ago (US$1=W1,269).
S.Korea Threatens to Send Copies of N.Korean Drones
The government has threatened to send copies of North Korean drones across the border to bamboozle the enemy if the North invades South Korean airspace with unmanned aerial vehicles again. There are already some mockups in storage here, which were produced in 2014 when some North Korean UAVs crashed near the demilitarized zone. "We're considering various ways to develop and produce stealth drones as early as possible," a government source said Sunday. "We already made copies of North Korean drones that were discovered after they shot images of Cheong Wa Dae in 2014 and are working out the best use for them."
Senior U.S. State Department official visits Korea to Discuss IRA, Supply Chain Issues
The U.S. under secretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, Jose Fernandez, arrived in Korea on Monday afternoon, making him the first senior U.S. official to visit Seoul this year. He's scheduled to hold talks with his Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon about issues including the supply chain resilience and the Biden administration's Inflation Reduction Act. During his visit, he will also meet with Korean and American companies crucial to the two countries' economic cooperation. He plans to stay in Seoul until Wednesday before traveling to Japan for the fifth annual Indo-Pacific Business Forum.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Three individuals accused of working with North Korean agents
Three South Koreans affiliated with the minor Progressive Party and a farmers' group in Jeju are under investigation for allegedly establishing an underground network that collaborated with North Korean agents for over five years. Police confirmed Monday that it conducted a raid on the homes and offices of a former senior official of the small leftist Progressive Party branch in Jeju, a current senior official of the party and the secretary-general of the Korean Peasants League's Jeju branch last November and December for alleged violation of the National Security Act. The raid was conducted in coordination with the National Intelligence Service (NIS).
Yoon threatens to send drones 'deep' into North Korea
Seoul could send drones deep into North Korea if Pyongyang stages another drone incursion into the South, a high-ranking presidential official told the JoongAng Ilbo on Monday. “If the North sends unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) into South Korea again, we will not just respond passively by shooting them down,” the official said on condition of anonymity. As part of its response, Seoul would send its own drones “deep into North Korea in accordance with the principle of proportionality,” he said.
Ahn Cheol-soo is running for chairman of PPP
Three-term lawmaker Ahn Cheol-soo declared a bid for the chairmanship of the conservative People Power Party (PPP) on Monday, vowing to lead the party to victory in next year's parliamentary elections and emphasizing his closeness with President Yoon Suk Yeol. “We should complete the change of government with an overwhelming victory in the general election,” Ahn said during a press conference at the National Assembly on Monday announcing his bid. While last year’s presidential race and the majority of local government elections were won by the PPP, the liberal Democratic Party (DP) still holds a 169-seat majority in the National Assembly.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Riot is caused by former Brazilian president's supporters
Hawkish supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who lost in the recent presidential election with 1.8 percentage points behind, raided the Brazilian National Congress building, presidential palace, and Supreme Court on Sunday (local time), demanding the resignation of the newly elected President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva who took office a week ago. Two years after the January 6 United States Capitol attack, a riot was caused in Brazil by a radical group who didn’t accept the presidential election result.
N. Korean defector artist holds an exhibition for peace in Germany
Sun Mu, an artist who had fled North Korea, is having a solo exhibition carrying a message for peace in Munich, Germany. The Korean, Japanese, and German cultural artist group Art 5 announced that Sun mu would hold a solo exhibition named "Grenzenlos" at Wolfratshausen Kunstturm near Munich, Germany, from January 7 to 29. He was born in North Korea, crossed the Tumen River in 1998, and entered South Korea in 2002 through China and Laos.
Ministry of Education to move outside cities and provinces
The People Power Party, the South Korean government, and the presidential office decided during the new year’s first high-level government officials’ council meeting on Sunday to move the authorities of the Ministry of Education concerning support for regional universities with financial struggles outside cities and provinces by 2025. Efforts for structural reform of poor-performing universities will also be made.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korean securities firms cut yields on short-term notes as market improves
As the capital market crunch eases, large securities firms in South Korea have lowered the yield on short-term discount notes, kicking almost all instruments with more than 5 percent out of the market. Such notes are short-term financial instruments issued with maturity of less than one year by large securities companies with equity capital of over 4 trillion won based on their own credit profiles. According to sources on Monday, Mirae Asset Securities Co. lowered the interest rate on its short-term discount notes by 0.1 to 0.35 percentage point from Jan. 5.
Samsung Electronics to release human assistant robot EX1 in 2023
Lotte Group will join hands with Meritz Securities Co. to create a joint debt fund to support Lotte Engineering & Construction Co., a construction affiliate struggling to secure liquidity amid the country’s credit crunch. According to sources on Thursday, Lotte Group agreed with Meritz Securities to create a 1.5 trillion won ($1.18 billion) fund to support Lotte E&C’s multi-trillion-won real estate project financing (PF), including repayment of debt at maturity.
SK, GS shares tumble as new wholesale price cap weighs on earnings outlook
Shares of SK Inc. and GS Holdings Corp. have tumbled in a month after the Korean government placed a cap on the wholesale price of electricity generated by their power producing subsidiaries. Shares of SK, the holding entity of power generation company SK E&S Co., fell 14 percent to 186,500 won ($149.82) on Jan. 6 from 217,500 won on Dec. 21. GS Holdings, which controls GS EPS Co., also a private electricity provider, slipped 12 percent to 42,050 won from 47,850 won over the same period.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Key Ukrainian leadership figures say war will only be over once all territory is recovered
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began as a gauntlet thrown against the US-led liberal global order that has been in place since the Cold War, has entered a second year, defying initial projections. What this drawn-out war has demonstrated to us is Ukrainians’ powerful will to resist and defend their homeland. But can Ukraine achieve final victory against Russia, a nuclear-armed state? To answer that question while also gauging the progress of the war and gaining a view of what is to come, the Hankyoreh visited the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Jan. 2-3
After S. Korea’s drone defense shield fails, Yoon goes on the offensive
After North Korean drones infiltrated the airspace of South Korea’s capital region on Dec. 26, a South Korean Army corps dispatched two RQ-101 Night Intruder drones on a reconnaissance flight in North Korean airspace five kilometers beyond the Military Demarcation Line. The conservative press reported that South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, after being briefed about the incursion by North Korean drones, ordered the military to send two or three times as many drones into the North. While some South Korean commentators took satisfaction in the fact that the South Korean military had responded to North Korea’s drone incursion with an incursion of its own, the move also raised serious concerns.
Top Zelenskyy aide predicts end to war by summer 2023
Mykhailo Podolyak, 50, a close associate and advisor of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has been one of the most widely quoted figures in global news media with his commentary on the current war in Ukraine. On Jan. 2, he took part in a videoconference interview with the Hankyoreh from Kyiv. According to his analysis, Ukraine, which has “many powerful partners, like the USA, Great Britain, EU, Japan, and so on,” is in an advantageous position over internationally isolated Russia with “a lot more resources available.” He also predicted that the war could be over as early as “the first half of the year, before the summer.”
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
U.S. Satellite May Crash Near Korean Peninsula: Science Ministry Issues Readiness Alert
On January 9, the Ministry of Science and ICT announced that a U.S. Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) was falling and that there was a possibility that the defunct satellite could crash near the Korean Peninsula. The science ministry issued a “readiness” alert at 7 a.m. Monday. The ministry explained that as of 4 a.m. Monday, according to the orbit analysis by the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, there is a strong possibility that the U.S. Earth observation satellite, the ERBS, may crash sometime between 12:20-1:20 p.m. Monday, and the Korean Peninsula was included in the expected crash area.
Chief of the Corruption Investigation Office Kim Jin-wook Apologizes after Buddhists Protest His Teary Hymn at an Official Event Launching the New Year
Buddhists protested when news got out that Kim Jin-wook, chief prosecutor of the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials, sang a hymn during an official event launching the new work year. Kim apologized admitting his action was “inappropriate.” In an official ceremony to launch the new work year at the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials on January 2, Kim Jin-wook introduced the poem, “By Gracious Powers” by the German pastor Bonhoeffer, and sang a hymn based on the poem. While singing the hymn, Kim, a known Christian, was overwhelmed by emotions and cried.
President Yoon Stands Firm and Alert: Tension Peaks on the Korean Peninsula
On January 4, President Yoon Suk-yeol instructed the Office of National Security to review suspending the effect of the September 19 military agreement if North Korea provoked the South by invading South Korean territory again. He also ordered the security office to establish a joint drone unit and to develop micro drones by the end of the year to respond to the North’s drone provocation. The president is considering the suspension of the inter-Korean agreement as he strengthens the military response to a series of provocations by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Military tension on the Korean Peninsula is expected to further escalate as the two Koreas continue this confrontation of hardline positions.
Opposition Leader to Appear for Questioning by Prosecutors
Main opposition Democratic Party(DP) leader Lee Jae-myung is set to appear for questioning by prosecutors on Tuesday in connection to a third-party bribery investigation involving a municipal football club. Lee will turn up for questioning at the Seongnam branch of the Suwon District Prosecutors' Office at 10:30 a.m. It will be the first time that a chair of the country's main opposition party submits to questioning by the prosecution as a suspect.
Current Account Turns to Deficit in November
The country's current account posted a deficit in November for the first time in three months due to a plunge in chip exports. According to tentative data released by the Bank of Korea on Tuesday, the country's current account balance logged a deficit of 620 million U.S. dollars in November. It marked the first deficit in three months and also represented a sharp decline compared to a surplus of six-point-82 billion dollars logged a year earlier.
Foreign Minister Has First Phone Call with New Chinese Counterpart
Foreign minister Park Jin had a phone call with his new Chinese counterpart, Qin Gang, on Monday and discussed ways to develop bilateral relations and cooperation. According to Seoul's foreign ministry, Park offered his congratulations to Qin on his recent inauguration in their first phone talks since Qin assumed the post late last month. The ministry said the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to further developing bilateral relations based on mutual respect and reciprocity, as well as close cooperation to implement what was agreed on in the bilateral summit on the sidelines of the Group of 20 Summit in November.
Opposition leader to appear for questioning in bribery probe
Opposition leader Lee Jae-myung was set to appear at a prosecutors office for questioning Tuesday over bribery allegations surrounding corporate donations to a football club while he was serving as the mayor of Seongnam. Lee, chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party, is scheduled to arrive at the Seongnam branch of the Suwon District Prosecutors Office located just south of Seoul at 10:30 a.m. Senior DP lawmakers are expected to accompany him.
U.S. committed to working with S. Korea on concerns over EV tax credit: State Dept.
The United States is prepared to work with South Korea and other countries to address their concerns over the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a state department spokesperson said Monday. Ned Price also highlighted the need to keep offshore investment between South Korea and the U.S. robust. "Just as we have said with our European allies, this is a consequential piece of legislation. It's a complicated piece of legislation.
POSCO raises US$2 bln via overseas debt sale
POSCO, South Korea's top steelmaker, said Tuesday it has raised US$2 billion by selling debts overseas, its largest-ever overseas debt sale. The three-tranche debt comprises three-year bonds worth $700 million, five-year bonds worth $1 billion and 10-year debts valued at $300 million, according to the steelmaker. POSCO's bond sale marks the first time a South Korean firm has sold dollar-denominated debt since Dec. 15, when the U.S. Federal Reserve raised its key rate by 50 basis points.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
More in North Korea becoming disillusioned with regime: Tae
North Korea’s elite and younger generations are growing increasingly disillusioned with the Kim Jong-un regime, according to emigre-turned-assemblyman Rep. Tae Yong-ho. In recent interviews with The Korea Herald, Tae said the purging of former North Korean foreign affairs minister Ri Yong-ho would “instigate a further divide between Pyongyang’s elite and the leadership.”
Tit-for-tat action not restricted by armistice agreement, ministry claims
South Korea’s Defense Ministry on Monday said that the military’s response to the cross-border infiltration by North Korean drones did not breach the armistice agreement, stressing that the countermeasure was essential to its right of self-defense enshrined in the UN Charter. The ministry’s argument counters that of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea, which said that the South Korean military violated the Korean Armistice Agreement by flying its reconnaissance drones north of the military demarcation line separating the two Koreas on Dec. 26.
US committed to working with S. Korea on concerns over EV tax credit: State Dept.
The United States is prepared to work with South Korea and other countries to address their concerns over the US Inflation Reduction Act, a state department spokesperson said Monday. Ned Price also highlighted the need to keep offshore investment between South Korea and the US robust. "Just as we have said with our European allies, this is a consequential piece of legislation. It's a complicated piece of legislation. It's a large piece of legislation," the department spokesperson said of the IRA when asked if there will be any immediate solution to the countries' concerns over the IRA.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Yoon wavers on pledges for small government
Even before he took office, President Yoon Suk Yeol had been pitching the idea of small government and underscoring that the role of government will be limited so as to empower the private sector to do its part. Tax cuts and deregulation have been proposed to meet Yoon's goal of small government. But it seems he has been doing the opposite since his inauguration last May. Yonhap News Agency reported on Monday that his office is mulling over the creation of a senior presidential secretary for education and culture, citing an official of the ruling bloc.
US may ask S. Korea to pay more for strategic assets
With the United States preferring to position its military strategic assets in or near South Korea to match North Korea's provocations, experts and defense officials who have been involved in Seoul's past defense cost-sharing talks with Washington have said the Biden administration could ask the Yoon government to contribute more for the holding of tabletop drills. Despite Pyongyang's repeated military provocations, top Washington officials aren't ready to drastically scale up some aspects of its military readiness with Seoul including holding joint nuclear exercises, as doing this is still viewed as unnecessary and could even lead to misunderstandings with not just North Korea but also other countries in Northeast Asia.
Envoys show expectations for Korea's bigger role in Indo-Pacific
Korea has unveiled a new strategy for expanding its global influence in the Indo-Pacific region, as the country's elevated international standing now requires it to take on a larger role in promoting freedom, peace and prosperity in the region. The unveiling of the details received noteworthy attention from the diplomatic community in Seoul, as Foreign Minister Park Jin invited over 50 envoys to the announcement held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters, Dec. 28.
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