Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
"Armenia takes 1/5 of Azerbaijani territory, ethnic-cleanses over 1 million Azerbaijanis"
26, Feb. 2023 marks the 31st anniversary of the genocide committed by the Armenian armed forces in Khojaly during Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan that had resulted in occupation of one-fifth of the Azerbaijani territories and ethnic cleansing of more than one million Azerbaijanis. Before the genocide, 7,000 people lived in this town of the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. From October 1991, the town was entirely surrounded by the armed forces of Armenia.
The business climate of Uzbekistan is presented on the Trading Economics platform
The leading international economic statistical online portal Trading Economics, which evaluates over 20 million economic indicators in 196 countries of the world, has published for the first time the Business Climate Index of Uzbekistan calculated by the Center for Economic Research and Reforms (CERR). According to the results of the January survey, the consolidated business climate indicator has shown a slight decrease since the beginning of the year. In particular, in January, the decline was significantly influenced by the dynamics of indicators in the agriculture and services sector.
105th Anniverssary of the Restoration of the State of Lituania and presents a concert
Republic of Lithuania Embassy invited all members of Ambassadors in Korea and media some Korean Musician at Myeong-dong cathedral on 20, Feb. 2023. The program Resounding Sea of Colours. Debussy and Člurifonts unites two symphonic masterpieces from the early twentieth century adapted for piano four hands. Debussy and Čiurlionis started composing their majestic marinist opuses in the same year, 1903. Debussy completed Three Symphonic Scetches, La Mer" in 1905. In the same year, the work was performed in Paris, but without much success - the language of the work was too modern for the listener.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Inflation Hits Delivery Drivers, Chauffeurs
Inflation has dealt a heavy blow to the income of platform workers like food delivery drivers and chauffeurs. When the Federation of Korean Trade Unions surveyed hundreds of food delivery drivers, chauffeurs, taxi drivers and housekeepers last September, they found that their average monthly earnings rose 14.9 percent from W2.99 million in late 2021, at the height of lockdown, to W3.44 million from June to August last year (US$1=W1,295). But their expenses also increased, resulting in a decline in real income. Their average monthly expenses soared 68 percent from W688,000 in 2021 to W1.16 million last year.
N.Koreans 'Starving to Death'
The food shortage in parts of North Korea is so severe that people are starving to death, the Unification Ministry said Monday. "We believe some parts of the North are suffering from such a severe food shortage that people are dying of starvation," ministry spokesman Koo Byoung-sam told reporters. The protracted coronavirus lockdown made things even more difficult for the country, which has chronically suffered from malnutrition and famine. Last fall the regime started regulating food distribution centrally, which may, if anything, have exacerbated the situation.
N.Korea 'Sold Arms to Russia in Return for White Horses'
North Korea is suspected of supplying arms to Russia since late last year in return for luxury goods including a trainload of white horses. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is thought to have used the prized steeds as gifts for his family and high-ranking officials. An intelligence source said some of the horses were used in a recent military parade. White horses carry powerful symbolism in North Korea, and Kim and his wife Ri Sol-ju have posed riding them through a winter landscape on Mt. Baekdu looking like a pair of tubby Elves from "Lord of the Rings."
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
National Assembly receives arrest warrant bill for Lee
The Justice Ministry on Tuesday submitted a request for the arrest of Democratic Party (DP) leader Lee Jae-myung to the National Assembly. The document handed to the National Assembly’s office accuses Lee of breach of duty, bribery and concealing criminal proceeds, as well as conflicts of interest and corruption. Arrest warrants for sitting lawmakers must be approved by the National Assembly by a majority vote with a majority of lawmakers present before they can be sent to a court.
Yoon blasts unions for a second day, warning against illegal acts
President Yoon Suk Yeol doubled down on his hard-line stance against unions, warning against illegal actions by these groups, especially those in construction.
The comments come just one day after he said the government will deny unions financial support if they don't open their books. “We can’t call it a country if violence and illegal acts are neglected,” Yoon said on Tuesday in starting his weekly cabinet meeting. “We have to make a concentrated inspection and crackdown and take stern action according to the law if illegal acts are found.”
Yoon pitches space economy as source of great opportunity
President Yoon Suk Yeol stressed on Tuesday that the space economy "will open up infinite opportunities." "The space industry will contribute to the development of various cutting-edge technologies and provide a better life for mankind through improvements in communication, weather forecasting and disaster management," said Yoon. "The space economy has no boundaries." He stressed that the space field is "attracting attention as a key driver of technological innovation, economic growth and national security."
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
The Presidential Office vows to veto the ‘Yellow Envelope Act’
The Democratic Party and Justice Party of Korea passed the so-called “Yellow Envelope Act” (the Trade Union and Labor Relations Adjustment Act with the proposed amendment of Articles 2 and 3) with the assent of only the opposition party at the general meeting of the National Assembly Environment and Labor Committee on Tuesday. Votes on the amendment bill were taken on a show of hands, with nine votes in favor and zero vote against. All participating committee members, including eight Democratic Party lawmakers and one Justice Party lawmaker, voted in favor of the bill, except for Rep. Woo Won-shik, who was absent from the meeting.
Science journals ban listing of ChatGPT as research paper author
“Ultimately the product must come from the wonderful computer in our heads,” said Holden Thorp, Editor-in-Chief of the Science. In an editorial published on Tuesday, Mr. Thorp wrote that “machines play an important role,” but they are ultimately one of the tools for “the human endeavor of struggling with important questions.” The Science has restricted the use of quotes from paragraphs generated by an advanced AI-driven chatbot, such as ChatGPT, as well as the listing of these AI programs as a co-author of research papers. Thorp pointed out that using ChatGPT to write and submit theses to academic journals is equivalent to taking shortcuts using image manipulation programs such as Photoshop.
Marking the first year of the Ukrainian War
U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a "counteroffensive speech" ahead of the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which falls on Friday. This is the reason why there are observations that the confrontation between the free democracy camp led by the U.S. and the authoritarian camp centered on Russia and China has become more intense. On Tuesday (local time), President Putin gave a State of the Union address to members of the Senate and House of Representatives, military commanders, and soldiers at the Great Gostiny Dvor, a battleground in the center of Moscow, the capital of Russia.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Chipmakers expand borrowing, layoffs as they wait for rebound in second half
Memory chipmakers are expanding their borrowings and layoffs as they brace to stay afloat in an industry that’s expected to rebound in the second half. Top memory chipmaker Samsung Electronics Co. borrowed 20 trillion won ($15.5 billion) from its subsidiary Samsung Display Co., an indication that the dip in the industry could be deep. At the end of 2022, Samsung Electronics’ short-term financial assets plunged 99 percent to 137 million won, from 15 trillion won a year before, according to its regulatory filings.
Korean pharmaceutical companies look to expand into the Middle East
South Korean pharmaceutical and bio companies are focusing on entering the Middle Eastern market this year, targeting the rapidly growing local drug markets. The Middle Eastern pharmaceutical market is expected to become the new ‘blue ocean’ for Korean companies as these countries lack research and development capabilities. The Korean government’s efforts to expand economic cooperation with the Gulf region can also be seen as positive for Korean bio companies.
Soured Korea-Japan relations caused $15bn in economic losses in 2019-2021
The deteriorated relations between South Korea and Japan that are tied to a colonial past have led to an economic loss of more than 20 trillion won ($15.4 billion), data showed Monday. According to an analysis by Maeil Business Newspaper and Korea Economic Research Institute, Korea and Japan have lost 20.3 trillion won in exports and investments over the three years between 2019 and 2021 when bilateral relations worsened the most.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Escalating tit-for-tat with Pyongyang puts Yoon’s crisis management skills to the test
Tensions are mounting on the Korean Peninsula after North Korea broke a period of silence with a show of force just ahead of large-scale South Korea-US joint military exercises scheduled for March, prompting South Korea and the US to respond with their own display. The situation is now putting the Yoon Suk-yeol administration’s crisis management capabilities to the test once again. The intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launched by the North on Saturday and the “super-large” multiple rocket launcher rounds (short-range ballistic missiles/SRBMs) launched on Monday are respectively categorized as a strategic nuclear weapon and a tactical nuclear weapon.
War in Ukraine spurred Finnish public’s support for NATO membership
Measuring some 1,340 kilometers in length, Finland shares the longest border with Russia in all of Europe. During the Cold War, it became the face of nations caught between the US and the West on one side and the Soviet Union and the East on the other. Finland’s choice to be nonaligned in the aftermath of World War II was a geopolitical tactic for surviving its tight position between massive powers. Last May, Finland declared its intention to join the NATO military alliance of the West, abandoning the strategy of neutrality it had maintained for nearly 80 years.
N. Korea launches 2 missiles, warns of more shows of force to come
North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its eastern coast on Monday in a gesture of protest against South Korea-US joint aerial exercises Sunday, which included a B-1B strategic bomber belonging to the US. It was part of a series of tailored shows of force — targeting South Korea two days after a high-angle launch of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Saturday targeted the US. For a second straight day, Kim Yo-jong, a high-ranking member of the Workers Party of Korea and sister of Kim Jong-un, issued a statement on the launch.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Vitality Lost in “Fandom Politics”: “The Age of Lost Beliefs” for First-Time Democratic Party Lawmakers
Two days after the Democratic Party of Korea was utterly defeated in the mayoral by-elections in Seoul and Busan on April 9, 2021, five first-time lawmakers of the party in their twenties and thirties released a statement and announced, “We will not remain silent on policies based on the vested interests, arrogance and self-righteousness of the party, promoted without any effort to persuade the people.” They decided to turn Deomincho, a group of first-time lawmakers in the party, into an official organization. However, the public has never seen these rookie lawmakers stand up to the party’s mainstream since then.
Joo Ho-young Proposes to Open a Special Parliamentary Session on March 6 and Asks Lee Jae-myung to Appear for His Warrant Review Before Then
On February 21, Joo Ho-young, floor leader of the People Power Party (PPP) said, “Let’s open an extraordinary session on March 6 or 13, and in the meantime, Democratic Party of Korea leader Lee Jae-myung should appear for a warrant review.” In a meeting to discuss the party’s strategy on the floor at the National Assembly Tuesday, Joo made the suggestion and said, “If the Democratic Party asks to hold a special session on March 1, they are clearly announcing a ‘bulletproof’ session.” Earlier on February 17, the Seoul Central District Court sent a motion for Lee’s arrest to the Prosecution Service. The motion was reviewed by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office and the Ministry of Justice before President Yoon Suk-yeol approved it on Monday.
Under Pressure from the Government and Politicians, Korean Air Postpones Introduction of New Mileage Policy
Korean Air appears to be delaying changes to its mileage program. The airline had decided to introduce a new mileage program on April 1, but under pressure from the government and even the National Assembly following complaints from consumers, the company is said to be considering improvements to its policy. According to the airline industry on February 20, Korean Air tentatively decided to push back its new mileage program, which was scheduled to launch on April 1.
Türkiye-Syria Death Toll Tops 48,000 after Fresh Earthquake
The death toll in Türkiye rose by more than one-thousand in one day following Monday's six-point-three magnitude quake that shook the same area that was devastated by powerful earthquakes two weeks ago. According to the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Authority(AFAD), as of Tuesday, 42-thousand-310 people have died in Türkiye since the first earthquake on February 6. The new figure marks an increase of one-thousand-154 from the previous day, but it is uncertain whether the newly confirmed deaths were from Monday's quake.
Business Sentiment Remains Flat in February
Business sentiment remained flat in February amid lingering economic uncertainties. According to the Bank of Korea on Wednesday, the business survey index(BSI) for all industries posted 69 for February, unchanged from the previous month, to remain at the index’s lowest in 28 months since September 2020, when it marked 64. A reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists.The BSI for manufacturers came to 63 in February, down three points from a month earlier. It slipped for the third consecutive month and marked the lowest since July 2020 when it posted 59.
UN Security Council Remains Divided over N. Korean ICBM
Anchor: Seoul, Washington and Tokyo sought a stern, unified response to North Korea's latest missile launches from UN Security Council members on Monday. China and Russia, however, argued that further sanctioning Pyongyang is counterproductive in dealing with the situation. Kim Bum-soo has more. Report: The UN Security Council failed to adopt a resolution on North Korea’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile(ICBM) launch during an open session on Monday. In the meeting at the UN headquarters in New York, South Korea, the United States and Japan condemned the North but fell short of deriving support from China and Russia.
Yoon vows to root out violence at construction sites within his term
President Yoon Suk Yeol vowed Tuesday to root out extortion and violence at construction sites within his term, saying their negative consequences are being passed on to the people and the state would not deserve its name if it left them unattended. Yoon made the remarks during a Cabinet meeting and later while receiving a separate briefing on violence at construction sites from Land Minister Won Hee-ryong, Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon, National Police Agency Commissioner General Yoon Hee-keun and Vice Labor Minister Kwon Gi-seob.
Court rules in favor of gay couple seeking spousal health insurance coverage
An appellate court on Tuesday ruled in favor of a same-sex couple demanding the same spousal coverage from the state health insurance program as heterosexual couples. The Seoul High Court delivered the landmark decision, overturning a lower court's ruling that marriage in South Korea is considered a union between a man and a woman, and there are no legal grounds to expand the concept to same-sex couples. It marks the first time a court has recognized legal rights of same-sex couples.
S. Korea conducts aerial refueling drills, involving F-35A stealth fighters
South Korea's Air Force staged aerial refueling drills, involving F-35A stealth fighters, on Tuesday, a day after North Korea fired two rockets, which it claimed can be mobilized to "destroy an enemy operational airfield." The armed service deployed a KC-330 refueling tanker and an unspecified number of F-35A jets for the drills, officials said. It has conducted such drills regularly but disclosed them to the media for the first time.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
President Yoon approves motion for opposition leader’s arrest
President Yoon Suk Yeol approved the motion to arrest the Democratic Party of Korea's leader and his former presidential opponent, Lee Jae-myung. Lee’s fate -- whether he will become the first prominent opposition leader to be arrested -- will be decided by an anonymous vote of lawmakers on Monday. “The motion for Lee’s arrest was received yesterday (Feb. 20) and approved by the president,” the presidential office said in a written statement early in the morning. “It will be sent to the National Assembly.” The statement was submitted through the Supreme Prosecutors Office and the Justice Ministry.
Iran repeats S. Korea should make up for Yoon’s ‘enemy’ remarks
Iran repeated its demand that South Korea make up for remarks that President Yoon Suk Yeol made during his mid-January trip to the United Arab Emirates, where he referred to Iran as “the enemy” of Abu Dhabi, Tehran’s state-run news outlet IRNA said Monday, quoting Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman. At a regular briefing, spokesman Nasser Kanaani called Yoon’s comments unprofessional and suggested the diplomatic row would not be forgotten unless Korea makes up for the incident. Seoul’s Foreign Ministry says it has cleared up the misunderstanding, having communicated to Iran that Yoon’s comments were only meant to encourage Korean troops stationed in the UAE.
Joint development of cargo aircraft with UAE is KAI’s top priority: CEO
The priority of South Korean defense company Korea Aerospace Industries in the Middle East is to advance the project to co-develop multirole transport aircraft with the United Arab Emirates, KAI CEO Kang Goo-young said Monday. Speaking at the region’s largest international defense exhibition in UAE capital Abu Dhabi, he said the KAI was also eyeing opportunities to export combat helicopters and fighter jets to the Middle East.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
US, allies 'will never waver' in Ukraine: Biden
President Joe Biden on Tuesday warned of "hard and bitter days ahead" as Russia's invasion of Ukraine nears the one-year mark, but vowed that no matter what, the United States and allies "will not waver" in supporting the Ukrainians. A day after his surprise visit to Kyiv, Biden used a strongly worded address in neighboring Poland to praise allies in Europe for stepping up over the past year and to send a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that "NATO will not be divided, and we will not tire."
"One year ago, the world was bracing for the fall of Kyiv," Biden said before a crowd of thousands outside Warsaw's Royal Castle.
Feud deepens between gov't and labor unions
A conflict between the government and labor unions has been escalating as President Yoon Suk Yeol tightens the reins on Korea's labor unions, warning that authorities will not turn a blind eye to "illegal practices" committed by "militant" construction unions. "At construction sites, militant labor unions are still blatantly committing illegal practices such as demanding bribes, coercing employers and hindering construction," Yoon said during a Cabinet meeting at the presidential office, Tuesday. "If we leave such violence and illegalities unchecked, we cannot say that we are living in a proper country,"
Seoul's smart city award launched to bridge urban digitization
With a new award kicking off this year, the World Smart Sustainable Cities Organization (WeGO) declared, Tuesday, that it will encourage and help cities around the world to adopt emerging technologies and help them do it. At a conference in Seoul, the global smart city promotion organization said it has launched the Seoul Smart City Prize. The award is to recognize and showcase ongoing or planned smart city projects. The prize was launched jointly by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, which launched WeGO in 2010 with 50 member cities and has since been its chair city government.
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