Thursday, January 19, 2023
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Two countries agree to enhance Special Strategic Partnership by strengthening communication thru regular high-level meets
Shri Saurabh Kumar, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, paid an official visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK) from 16-17 January 2023 to co-chair the 5th Foreign Policy and Security Dialogue (FPSD) with his ROK counterpart H.E. Mr. Cho Hyundong, First Vice Foreign Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea, on 16 January 2023.
Chinese consumers favor avocadoes imported from Kenya
Susan, who works for Kakuzi PLC, an agricultural cultivation and manufacture company in Kenya, finished picking the last batch of avocadoes of 2022 with her colleagues in an orchard in Murang'a county, some 70 kilometers away from Nairobi. These fruits were soon shipped to China. Kenya is the world's sixth largest exporter of avocadoes, and the largest in Africa. In January 2022, China and Kenya signed an export agreement for fresh avocado shipment. Five months later, China's General Administration of Customs (GAC) gave nod to allow qualified fresh avocadoes from Kenya to enter the Chinese market.
Ildong Foodis’ eating protein, “Himune”, emerges as a hit product
Ildong Foodis, a milk powder company that suffered from a deficit in the aftermath of the low birth rate, is writing a reversal drama with 'eating protein'. In a situation where the food trend cycle is shortening and hot selling products are rare, it has grown “Himune” into a mega brand with annual sales of 100 billion won. Ildong Foodis announced on Jan. 16 that the sales of its protein supplement 'Himune Protein Balance' exceeded 300 billion in three years after its launch. After posting sales of 30 billion won in the first year of its launch in 2020, it surpassed 105 billion won in 2021 and 165 billion won last year, maintaining the No. 1 position in the domestic protein market.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Yoon Meets with Global CEOs in Davos Platz
After wrapping up his four-day state visit to the UAE, President Yoon Suk-yeol is now in Switzerland the second leg of his eight day two nation tour. Upon arrival in Zurich Tuesday evening, Yoon met with Koreans living in the Central European country.Making note of the new record in bilateral trade volume being set every year, Yoon highlighted that this year marks 60 years of diplomatic ties between Korea and Switzerland, and pledged all efforts for another six decades of strong relationship based on trust and cooperation.
Koreans Head Overseas for Lunar New Year
Many Koreans are heading overseas for the Lunar New Year holiday as travel demand gradually recovers from the stupor of the coronavirus pandemic. At travel agency Hana Tour, around 15,000 people booked tickets for a holiday abroad from Jan. 20 to 24, about half the level of the Lunar New Year 2020 just before the pandemic began and up around 5.7 times from the last locked-down Chuseok in September. A Hana Tour staffer said, "This is the first time that I sense a full-fledged recovery of overseas travel demand since the pandemic."
Korean Fighter Jet Makes 1st Supersonic Flight
Korea's homegrown KF-21 Boramae fighter jet succeeded in its first supersonic flight on Tuesday, six months after its maiden flight. Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup called it a historic feat, saying, "We now have our first supersonic aircraft we've developed with our own technology." The KF-21 has been Korea's biggest-ever defense project and cost W18 trillion (US$1=W1,241). The prototype reached a speed of Mach 1 or about 1,224 km/h around 3:15 p.m. after taking off from the Air Force's 3rd Flying Training Wing in Sacheon,
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Yoon Suk Yeol seeks solutions to global challenges with business leaders in Davos
President Yoon Suk Yeol held a luncheon for business leaders of Korean and global companies Wednesday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. The luncheon was an opportunity to discuss the relationship between the government and private sector and seek solutions to global issues such as supply chain stability, digital transformation and climate change response, according to Yoon's presidential office.
Yoon Suk Yeol heads to Davos to meet business leaders
President Yoon Suk Yeol kicked off a four-day visit to Switzerland, where he will meet with business leaders and take part in the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. Wrapping up a state visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Yoon arrived in Zurich Tuesday for the second leg of his two-country trip, where he will continue his economic diplomacy and attempts to promote Korean culture. In Zurich, Yoon met with Korean residents at a dinner Tuesday and stressed the importance of overseas compatriots' roles in working together to contribute to Korea's economic prosperity.
DP's Lee Jae-myung agrees to another round of questioning
Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung said Wednesday afternoon that he would obey a summons for questioning over corruption allegations in two real estate developments in Seongnam, Gyeonggi that began during his term as the city's mayor. The Wirye New Town development and the Daejang-dong development, which began in 2013 and 2015, are the subject of separate probes by prosecutors, who are investigating allegations of preferential investor treatment and skewed profit distribution in both projects.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Defense ministers of S. Korea and US to visit JSA next month
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who will visit South Korea at the end of this month, will visit the Joint Security Area (JSA) along with South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup. It was reported that they are discussing a detailed schedule at the moment. This will be the first time in five years since October 2017 that the defense ministers of South Korea and the U.S. visit the JSA together. The defense ministers may voice a strong warning against North Korea’s provocations in the JSA, which borders the North.
Finance ministers of U.S. and China to meet in Switzerland
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will meet with her Chinese counterpart, Vice Premier Liu He, in Switzerland on Wednesday for the first time. Amid rising concerns over the grim outlook for the global economy, the world is counting on meeting the finance ministers of the world’s two largest economies, where they will seek cooperation despite the strained bilateral relations. The U.S. Treasury Department announced that Secretary Yellen would meet Vice Premier Liu on her way to Africa via Switzerland.
Korea’s donation ranks hit the bottom
The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) announced Wednesday that Korea ranked 88th out of 119 countries in the “2022 Global Donation Index” announced at the end of last year by the British Charity Aid Foundation (CAF). It fell by 31 places in 10 years from 57th in 2011. Since 2010, CAF has surveyed about two million people in 120 countries every year on topics such as 'helping people you do not know,’ 'donation experience,’ and 'volunteering’ and ranks by country.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korean chipmakers take action to cope with weak chip industry
South Korea’s major chipmakers Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix Inc. are taking full-fledged action to manage inventories and maintain profits amid continued downturn in chip industry. According to multiple sources from the chip industry on Tuesday, Samsung Electronics has launched efforts to optimize its production line since late last year such as by rearranging facilities and equipment.
Woori Financial Group chief Son Tae-seung won’t seek third term
Woori Financial Group Chairman Son Tae-seung will not seek a third two-year term after his current one expires on March 25, according to sources on Wednesday. His intention was expressed prior to Woori Financial Group’s board meeting today to finalize a list of recommendations for the next chairman. The board will soon make public the chairman’s intention. Son has been under pressure from financial authorities to quit on widespread losses caused by the mis-selling of high-risk derivative-linked funds by Woori Bank in late 2019.
President Yoon to oversee exports of Korean creative industry products
The export strategy meeting chaired by South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol is expected to discuss strategies for the service industry including K-contents as the country beefs up efforts to accelerate growth in service exports that account for 15 percent of the entire amount. The working group for export revitalization under the government’s public-private service industry development task force held its first meeting on Sunday, where ways to link the working group with the administration’s regular export strategy meeting were discussed, sources told Maeil Business Newspaper on Tuesday.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
S. Korea-Iran ties shaken after Yoon calls Iran “enemy” of UAE
Remarks that President Yoon Suk-yeol made on Sunday in which he called Iran the “enemy” of the United Arab Emirates are sparking controversy. Iran’s Foreign Ministry has demanded an explanation from the South Korean government and Iranian media is questioning whether South Korea’s policy toward Iran has changed. The IRNA and other Iranian news broadcasters announced that Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani stated that the ministry was “looking into and pursuing the meddling comments of the South Korean president” and is awaiting an explanation.
Economics of entry restrictions on Chinese travelers
Once again, we’re back to talking about China.
With the country suddenly ending its so-called “zero-COVID” policy at the end of last year, the massive country of 1.4 billion people was left defenseless against COVID-19. As if a repeat of February 2020, the United States, Japan, Italy and others scrambled to bolster inspections of people entering from China. Korea adopted the toughest entry restrictions. Starting in early January, everyone entering Korea from China must receive tests before and after arrival; short-term visitors who test positive must be quarantined at a facility, and the issuing of short-term visas has been restricted.
Calls mount within Japan for Korea’s forced labor victims to get their due
Japanese civic groups are slamming a recently unveiled plan calling for a third party — not the Japanese government itself — to compensate wartime Korean forced laborers. The issue of compensating wartime forced laborers is one of the biggest pending issues between Seoul and Tokyo. “We can’t call a plan a solution if the accused companies offer no apologies and provide not even a single yen in compensation.” Atsushi Okamoto, the former editor-in-chief of the journal Sekai (“The World”), writer Kei Nakazawa, and Hideki Yano, the secretary-general of the civic group Japan-Korea Joint Action for Legislation to Compensation Korean Victims of Forced Labor, made the criticism during a press conference on the forced labor issue in Tokyo on Monday.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Yoon Sang-hyun, “Na Kyung-won Practically Disregarded President Yoon as a Leader Who Made the Wrong Decision”
Lawmaker Yoon Sang-hyun, who announced his bid in the People Power Party (PPP) convention, claimed Na Kyung-won’s image as an anti-Yoon member has grown stronger. On January 18, the PPP lawmaker appeared on Kim Hyung-jung’s News Show on CBS radio and shared his views on the Office of the President’s open criticism of Na the previous day. He said, “Didn’t Na Kyung-won drag President Yoon Suk-yeol into it? In that respect, I think it was inappropriate.” He criticized what Na had written on social media the previous day, about how she thought that it was not President Yoon Suk-yeol’s true intention to sack her.
A Drone Appeared Near the THAAD Base in Seongju: Military Believes to Have “Shot Down the Drone with a Jamming Gun”
An unidentified aerial vehicle appeared near the United States Forces Korea (USFK) Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile base in Seongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do and the military conducted an operation in response to the drone. The Army 2nd Operations Command announced on January 18 that a soldier on guard discovered one aerial vehicle believed to be a drone while conducting operational vigilance in the outskirts of the THAAD base at around 12:54 p.m. January 17. The military then responded with its drone defense system.
“Another Diplomatic Disaster” Democratic Party Attacks President Yoon’s Comment, “Iran is the Enemy of the UAE”
President Yoon Suk-yeol stirred controversy by referring to Iran as the enemy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during his trip to the UAE on January 15 (local time). The Democratic Party of Korea criticized, “It was a risky comment that could fuel tensions with Iran,” and attacked it as a “diplomatic disaster.” President Yoon met with the troops of the Korean Akh Unit deployed in the UAE on Sunday and said, “The security of our sister country is our own security,”
Arrest Warrant Sought for Ex-Ssangbangwool Chair with Links to Claims against DP Chief
Prosecutors have filed for an arrest warrant for an ex-Ssangbangwool Group chair with links to allegations against main opposition Democratic Party(DP) chief Lee Jae-myung on a slew of corruption charges. The Suwon District Prosecutors' Office said on Thursday that it requested an arrest warrant for Kim Seong-tae, who returned from Thailand on Tuesday, on charges of embezzlement and bribery as well as violations of laws on the capital market and foreign exchange management.
Yoon Encourages Global Businesses to Invest in S. Korea
President Yoon Suk Yeol has called on global companies to invest in South Korea, vowing active support and deregulation. The president made the pitch on Wednesday during a luncheon with 15 CEOs from global businesses and the heads of six South Korean conglomerates at a hotel in Davos, Switzerland, where the World Economic Forum is under way. Calling himself the "number one salesman of South Korea," President Yoon asked the businesses to invest in his country, saying that both the local market and his office are open to them as he extended an invitation to visit any time.
Parliamentary Itaewon Probe Ends, Report Adopted by Opposition Only
The 55-day parliamentary investigation into the fatal Itaewon crowd crush came to a close on Tuesday, with the committee's opposition parties adopting an outcome report without the ruling People Power Party(PPP). The report, approved by the main opposition Democratic Party(DP), the minor Justice Party and the Basic Income Party, called for the expulsion of interior minister Lee Sang-min and an apology from President Yoon Suk Yeol. The parties stated that the minister failed to set up appropriate government headquarters in response to the tragedy and lied about having a list of bereaved families.
Prosecution seeks arrest warrant for ex-Ssangbangwool chief in corruption probe
Prosecutors on Thursday sought an arrest warrant for a business tycoon who was arrested in Thailand after months of being on the run over several high-profile corruption allegations. Kim Seong-tae, former chairman of underwear maker Ssangbangwool Group, is facing multiple charges, including embezzlement, bribery and the illegal transfer of cash to North Korea, according to the Suwon District Prosecutors Office. Prosecutors, however, have not yet charged Kim over allegedly paying attorney expenses by proxy for opposition leader Lee Jae-myung.
Yoon pitches himself as S. Korea's 'No. 1 salesman' to global CEOs
The CEOs in attendance included Samsung Electronics Executive Chairman Lee Jae-yong, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won and Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Euisun Chung among chiefs of South Korean conglomerates, as well as the CEOs of Intel, IBM, Qualcomm, JP Morgan Chase and Mubadala Investment Company. "I'm the No. 1 salesman of the Republic of Korea," Yoon was quoted as saying, referring to South Korea by its official name.
Opposition leader claims innocence but agrees to comply with summons for questioning
Opposition leader Lee Jae-myung said Wednesday he will appear before prosecutors for questioning over development corruption allegations, claiming once again that he is innocent and accusing the prosecution of fabricating charges against him. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office has asked Lee to show up for questioning on Jan. 27 as part of an investigation involving a high-profile property development project in Daejang-dong in Seongnam, just south of Seoul, launched while Lee was serving as mayor of Seongnam. "As the prosecution told me to come again, I will go, even though I have done nothing wrong," Lee, chairman of the Democratic Party, told reporters during a visit to a traditional market in Seoul.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
National Intelligence Service, police raid labor group over alleged espionage
The South Korean spy agency and police raided the headquarters of a major umbrella labor union in central Seoul on Wednesday morning, on suspicion that some members had violated national security laws. The National Intelligence Service said it obtained a search and seizure warrant from the court for the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions on charges of violating the National Security Act, an NIS official confirmed to The Korea Herald on condition of anonymity Wednesday.
Top 100 firms spend W5.44tr on ESG efforts in 2021
The top 100 Korean companies in terms of sales invested a total of 5.44 trillion won ($4.3 billion) in environmental and safety efforts in 2021, the Federation of Korean Industries said Wednesday. The FKI analyzed the firms' environmental, social and corporate governance, or ESG, efforts based on the companies' own reports. The 100 firms' combined investment of 5.44 trillion won marked a 87.6 percent increase from 2.9 trillion won in 2020.
Globalization under siege, but Davos can bring opportunities for Korea
President Yoon Suk Yeol is set to debut at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting on Thursday in Davos, Switzerland, amid the notable absence of the leaders of the two largest economies, the US and China, against a backdrop of growing nationalism and deglobalization. While there are simmering questions over the forum’s validity in boosting globalization, experts say Davos is still a "good opportunity" for Asia’s fourth-largest economy to increase its global presence and leadership for free trade and international solidarity.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Indoor mask mandate likely to be dropped from Jan. 30
The indoor mask mandate, which has been in place for over two years in Korea, is highly likely to be removed at the end of January, after the Lunar New Year holidays which run from Jan. 21 to 24. The Ministry of Health and Welfare will announce detailed measures Friday on when and how the mask rule will be phased out. In the first stage of the phase-out, which is likely to begin from Jan. 30, mask-wearing in public places will no longer be mandatory, but rather, just a recommendation ― except for high-risk facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes and public transport.
'Iranian Embassy communicated with Korean gov't over Yoon's remark'
The Iranian Embassy in Seoul said Wednesday it has communicated with the South Korean government about President Yoon Suk Yeol's recent remark branding Iran as the "enemy" of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Yoon made the remark earlier this week, comparing UAE-Iran relations to those of South and North Korea during a meeting with South Korean troops stationed in the UAE. "There has been communication between The Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran in Seoul and the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and this diplomatic communication will continue in the future," the embassy said in a statement.
US economic activity tepid but prices seen easing: Fed
Economic activity in the United States remained lukewarm in recent weeks, said a report published by the Federal Reserve on Wednesday, with expectations of "little growth in the months ahead." But selling prices have "increased at a modest or moderate pace," and future price growth is expected to cool further in the year ahead, said the Fed's last "beige book" survey of economic conditions. Since last year, the Fed has embarked on a forceful campaign to cool demand as inflation soared to decades-high levels, and its moves to steeply raise interest rates have dragged the housing market and cast a pall on consumer spending.
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