Monday, January 16, 2023
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Korea and U.S. seek critical minerals and energy cooperation
Trade, Industry and Energy 2nd Vice Minister Park Il-jun met with Jose W. Fernandez, visitng U.S. Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, on Jan. 10 at the Government Complex Building in Seoul to discuss cooperation in critical minerals, energy resources, and support for Korean companies’ exports and investment, a ministry spokesman said. Vice Minister Park emphasized that this is an important time for the two countries’ close cooperation in stabilizing the critical minerals supply chain, which is essential for secondary batteries, EVs and other items central to clean energy expansion.
POSCO Group introduces 19 venture companies at CES in Las Vegas
POSCO Group participated in CES 2023, the world’s largest IT and electronics convergence fair held in Las Vegas, the U.S., this year following last year. CES 2023 is held from Jan. 5 to 8, and at the event, POSCO Group introduced the POSCO Venture Platform, which finds and invests in future new growth businesses and 19 venture companies that are growing now after being found by the platform in collaboration with POSTECH. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the world’s largest digital state-of-the-art technology fair, and about 2,200 companies are participating this year.
LG Electronics wins record number of awards at CES 2023 in the U.S.
LG Electronics won its most awards ever compared to previous years at CES 2023 held in Las Vegas, the U.S. – with more than 220 recognitions honoring top innovations across its home appliance and home entertainment categories. Among the top honors received by LG at CES 2023 was the coveted, Engadget Best of CES Award in the Best Home Theater Tech category for its groundbreaking LG SIGNATURE OLED M (model M3) – the world’s first wireless OLED TV with Zero Connect technology.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
S.Korea, U.S. Practice Attacking N.Korea's WMD Facilities
South Korea and the U.S. are staging massive combined drills to practice seizing North Korea's weapons of mass destruction facilities. The Defense Ministry here said Thursday that South Korea's armored brigade in the Army Capital Mechanized Infantry Division and the Stryker brigade of the South Korea-U.S. Command Forces have been conducting massive winter drills since Monday. They end on Friday. They mobilized some 1,200 troops and 158 armored combat vehicles to practice discovering and infiltrating a mock-up North Korean WMD storage facility in Paju, Gyeonggi Province.
More Provincial Universities Have Trouble Finding Students
Two dozen Korean university departments had no applications from new students this year as the young population shrinks and their reputations wobble. All are in the provinces. Private crammer Jongro Academy came across the bleak figures when it compiled the number of applicants to some 208 universities nationwide for the upcoming academic year. It found that 26 academic departments at 14 universities had no applicants at all -- 16 in the humanities and 10 in natural sciences.
China Further Tightens Entry Rules for Koreans
China on Wednesday further tightened entry restrictions for Koreans in retaliation for COVID restrictions on travelers from China here. After China abruptly halted short-term visas for Koreans in a tit-for-tat on Tuesday, the National Immigration Administration said it is suspending exemptions from port visas and 72/144-visa-free transit for citizens of Korea and Japan. It cited "discriminatory entry restrictions against Chinese nationals" in the two countries amid a surge of infections in China.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
UAE pledges $30 billion investment in Korea after summit
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) pledged to invest $30 billion in Korea following a bilateral summit between President Yoon Suk Yeol and UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Sunday. The UAE president told Yoon during their talks that he "decided to invest in the Republic of Korea, with confidence that it keeps its promises under any circumstance," according to the presidential office.
Yoon Suk Yeol takes economic diplomacy to Davos Forum
President Yoon Suk Yeol will make his debut at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss resort town of Davos this week, joining over 50 other foreign leaders and some 600 CEOs to discuss challenges facing the world. Since Saturday, Yoon has been on a two-country, eight-day trip: first, a state visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the to Switzerland to attend the so-called Davos Forum. The trip is heavy on economic diplomacy to help Korean businesses expand overseas.
President sacks PPP lawmaker Na Kyung-won from two jobs
President Yoon Suk Yeol has sacked former People Power Party (PPP) lawmaker Na Kyung-won from her position as vice chair of a presidential committee on population policy, as well as her post as climate ambassador.
In a press briefing on Friday afternoon, presidential spokesperson Kim Eun-hye said that Na submitted an offer to resign from the committee, but that President Yoon decided to dismiss her from both her posts.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
‘Forced labor issue will be resolved before summer,’ says S. Korea
On Saturday (local time), Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said, “We have reached an agreement with Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and have been engaging in communications with South Korea’s diplomatic authorities to swiftly resolve the ongoing issue of compensating victims of forced labor during Japan's colonization of Korea. We’re committed to restoring healthy relations between the two countries.” In his earlier speech at Johns Hopkins University in the U.S. on Friday, he emphasized, “We will swiftly resolve pending issues between Japan and South Korea. We will strengthen security cooperation with South Korea and the U.S. in response to the North Korean threat.”
KIA’s Carens named ‘India’s 2023 Car of the Year’
KIA announced Sunday that its strategic Carens MPV model for India has been named ‘India’s 2023 Car of the Year.’ The award, whose winners are picked by reporters specializing in automobiles, is the most prestigious prize in the automotive sector and plays an important role in consumers’ automobile purchases in India, the automaker said. The Carens beat the Scorpio and the Grand Vitara from the Indian automakers Mahindra and Maruti Suzuki to receive the honor.
Skeletons of woman found during investigation of benefit fraud
The skeletons of a woman in her 70s were found in Incheon over two years after her death during the National Pension Service’s investigation of benefit fraud. According to the National Pension Service and the police on Sunday, the woman, who was 76 years old at the time of her death, received about 500,000 won of national pension and basic pension until recently. About 500,000 won of national and basic pensions had been paid monthly under her name until recently.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korea’s central bank warns negative economic growth in Q4 highly likely
Bank of Korea (BOK) Governor Rhee Chang-yong on Friday expected the economy to post a negative growth in the fourth quarter due to unfavorable factors such as weak chip demand and Covid-19 infections in China, although it will be able to report 2.6 percent growth for full year. “The possibility of a negative growth has become larger,” Rhee told reporters after the central bank took a baby step of raising the base rate by 25 basis points in this year’s first hike amid rising prices and prospects for a continued rate increase by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Korea’s December export prices drop the most in almost 14 years
South Korea’s export prices in December fell the most in almost 14 years due to a stronger won, a fall in crude oil prices and weak global demand for the country’s key products such as semiconductors and chemical products. The December export prices index stood at 118.03, a 6 percent drop from a month earlier, the Bank of Korea said Friday. The index has been on a downward trend for two consecutive months and is the biggest drop since April 2009. Still, it’s 3.1 percent higher than a year ago.
FKI chief expresses intention to step down
Huh Chang-soo, chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), South Korea’s major business lobby group, has expressed his intention to resign from the current post, ending his term next month. According to sources on Friday, Huh expressed his intention to step down from the position while having a meal with officials in the FKI leadership team at a hotel in Seoul last week.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Lacking mediator, two Koreas engage in hostile one-upmanship
The leaders of the two Koreas are in an escalating contest of aggressive rhetoric. They do not hesitate to refer to each other as the “undoubted enemy,” and are going so far as to use phrases such as “preparations for war,” and “the ultimate end.” Words are not the only things being thrown around. North Korea, which shot off more missiles in 2022 than it had in any year in history, is proposing “mass production” of tactical nuclear weapons as well as an “exponential increase” of its nuclear arsenal as the foundation for “clarifying the epochal strategy of the development of nuclear force and national defense for 2023.”
China defends visa stoppage for Korea, Japan as response to “discrimination”
In response to questions about why it has suspended the issuance of visas to South Korea and Japan while not acting against the US and Europe, China has stated that this response is “based on discrimination against China.” Wang Wenbin, the spokesperson of China’s Foreign Ministry replied to a question he received in his regular press conference on Thursday as to why China hasn’t taken reciprocal measures against the US and some European countries that, like South Korea and Japan, have adopted restriction measures. “We have made it clear that China has taken reciprocal measures in response to relevant countries’ actual discriminatory measures against China.”
Shortcut to good Japan-Korea relation mustn’t run over victims’ rights
The government has unveiled a proposal to pay compensation to victims of Japan’s wartime forced labor via the Foundation for Victims of Forced Mobilization by Imperial Japan through a concurrent assumption of debt. It is unclear whether the offending companies in Japan will apologize or take a part in the compensation. If the government, in its haste to improve Korea-Japan relations, pushes ahead with a plan that erases the historical significance of the forced labor solution and offers no apologies or sincere condolences to victims, it will only face a headwind that will further worsen the relationship between the two countries.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Office of the President to Allow MBC Reporters on Board Presidential Jet
The Office of the President decided to permit MBC reporters on board the presidential jet when President Yoon Suk-yeol travels to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Switzerland on January 14. According to an official from the presidential office on Friday, the Office of the President informed MBC reporters that they could board Code One on Thursday night. The president normally flies on the presidential jet, the Air Force Code One, for his overseas trips and reporters covering the presidential office accompany him. All costs during the trip including the cost to board the presidential jet are covered by the newspaper and broadcasting companies.
Police Arrest Head of Real Estate Consulting Firm, the Figure Behind the Dead “Villa King”
The police caught the head of a consulting firm and accomplices in fraud, who were the masterminds behind Jeong, the “villa king” who died in Jeju in 2021. This group cheated tenants out of their rent deposits by making gap investments with no capital in the greater Seoul area. The Financial Crime Investigation Division of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency announced on January 13 that they arrested 78 people including Shin, the head of a real estate consulting firm, and Gim, a rental property businessman, who schemed frauds in the Seoul metropolitan area from July 2017 to September 2020.
Lee Jae-myung Proposes a Referendum on Constitutional Amendment to Introduce Two 4-year Presidential Terms in Next Parliamentary Elections
On January 12, Democratic Party of Korea leader Lee Jae-myung claimed that a constitutional amendment and political reforms to uphold the thoughts of the people were urgent and officially proposed a constitutional amendment changing the presidential term to four years with the possibility of a second term. Lee suggested that a referendum on the constitutional amendment be held simultaneously along with the parliamentary elections next year. The Democratic Party leader held a New Year’s press conference at the National Assembly on Thursday and announced, “This year marks the thirty-sixth year of the Constitution that was amended in 1987,”
Yoon: UAE's Trust in S. Korea Not to be Forgotten
President Yoon Suk Yeol says he will not forget his UAE counterpart’s trust in South Korea. Yoon made the remark via his social media account on Sunday, local time, in an apparent reference to a statement by UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, who cited his nation’s trust in South Korea as the reason behind a pledge to invest 30 billion U.S. dollars in the Asian nation’s industries.
S. Korea, UAE's Over Dozen MOUs on Attracting UAE Oil Money, Enhancing Nuclear, Energy, Defense Cooperation
More than a dozen memorandums of understanding (MOU) signed between South Korea and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday are mostly aimed at Seoul attracting UAE's oil money and bolstering cooperation in nuclear power, energy and the defense industry. The Korea Development Bank (KDB) and Abu Dhabi's second-biggest state fund Mubadala Investment Company signed a strategic investment partnership for joint investment into South Korea's promising companies.
Nepal Plane Crash Casualties Rise to 68, 2 S. Koreans Unaccounted for
The number of the passengers confirmed dead in an airplane crash in Nepal on Sunday has climbed to 68. Media outlets at home and abroad on Sunday quoted the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal as saying that at least 68 out of the 72 people aboard the ATR72 plane operated by Nepal’s Yeti Airlines were found to have died. Sixty-eight passengers and four crew members were on the plane when it crashed in the city of Pokhara in central Nepal, a gateway to the Himalayas, after departing from the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu on Sunday morning.
Yoon meets with S. Korean troops of Akh unit in UAE
President Yoon Suk Yeol visited with South Korean troops of a military contingent in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, his office said. The Akh unit has been carrying out various missions in Abu Dhabi since its establishment in 2011, including training UAE troops and protecting Korean nationals in the region in case of emergencies. Akh means brother in Arabic. "The security of the UAE, which is our brother nation, is our security," Yoon told the troops. "The UAE's enemy and biggest threat is Iran, while our enemy is North Korea ... We are in a very similar position to the UAE."
Proportion of self-employed hits all-time low in 2022 amid pandemic
The proportion of self-employed people in South Korea touched a record low in 2022 in the wake of the prolonged coronavirus pandemic, data showed Monday. Asia's fourth-largest economy had 5.63 million self-employed people as of end-December, accounting for 20.1 percent of the 28.09 million employed in the country, according to the data from Statistics Korea. The proportion was the lowest since data tracking began in 1963. It was also 17.1 percentage points lower than the all-time high of 37.2 percent recorded in 1963.
Two S. Koreans on crashed Nepal plane, fate unknown: foreign ministry
Two South Koreans were confirmed to have been aboard a passenger aircraft that crashed in a resort town in Nepal on Sunday, and the Seoul government is working to figure out their fate while extending necessary support for their families, the foreign ministry said. The two South Koreans were among 68 passengers aboard the Yeti Airlines flight that crashed near Pokhara International Airport at around 10:30 a.m. (local time) after flying from Nepal's capital city of Kathmandu. There were also four crew members on the ill-fated aircraft.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Leaders agree to broaden ties with $30 billion investment
The United Arab Emirates has decided to invest $30 billion (37 trillion won) in South Korea at a summit held between South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Emirati leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Sunday, during which the leaders agreed on stronger strategic cooperation, the South Korean presidential office said. “We decided to make the investment with confidence in the Republic of Korea that keeps its promises under all circumstances,” the UAE leader was quoted as saying by Yoon’s office, using the formal name for South Korea.
Eyes on NK leader at upcoming parliamentary meeting
Eyes are riveted on whether North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will convey another key message on the country’s nuclear buildup and hard-line foreign policy at a parliamentary meeting scheduled to be held this week. But experts have said the focus of the meeting is to discuss key domestic issues, including annual economic plans and the state budget, as well as preparations for nationwide events marking key anniversaries this year. North Korea’s legislative body, the Supreme People’s Assembly, will meet Tuesday in Pyongyang, in accordance with the decision made by the SPA Standing Committee in December last year.
Market expects near end of key rate hike cycle
After Korea’s central bank delivered yet another rate hike, market participants have begun to anticipate the end of the monetary tightening cycle is near. Seeking to fight inflation, the Bank of Korea continued a streak of seven consecutive rate hikes, jacking up the key rate by another 25 basis points on Friday. With the latest hike, the base rate has reached 3.5 percent, the highest figure in more than 14 years, since the rate stood at 4 percent in November 2008.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
UAE pledges to invest $30 bil. in Korea at summit
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will invest $30 billion (37 trillion won) in Korea as part of a pledge made by the leaders of the two countries to elevate bilateral ties to the highest level, the presidential office said Sunday (local time). The decision came during President Yoon Suk Yeol's summit with his UAE counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan earlier in the day. Yoon is visiting the Middle Eastern country on the first leg of an eight-day tour to the UAE and Switzerland.
Kyochon set to enter Taiwan
Kyochon F&B, the owner of Korea's leading fried chicken franchise Kyochon Chicken, said Sunday that it signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with La Kaffa International Group (La Kaffa) for a master franchise contract to enter the Taiwanese market. La Kaffa is one of Taiwan's top three food and beverage companies that leads the restaurant business there with its solid infrastructure. It operates a global beverage company that has 2,500 stores around the world along with several more dessert and tea cafes in and outside of Taiwan.
LG's Tennessee factory adds dryer line to get closer to US consumers
After exiting the highway northwest of Nashville, the capital of Tennessee, there is a road called LG Way named to commemorate LG Electronics' first U.S. washing machine manufacturing plant. LG opened its Tennessee factory at the end of 2018 as part of the home appliance giant's preemptive move to reduce logistics costs, tariffs and delivery times. Since then, the factory has been operating three manufacturing lines to produce front-loading and top-loading washing machines and dryers.
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