Thursday, February 23, 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)
S.Korea Sends Warning to North with Aerial Refueling Drill
The Air Force on Tuesday released images of an F-35A stealth fighter jet being refueled in mid-air as a warning to North Korea what awaits if it continues its provocations. The North Korea fired short-range missiles from a 600-mm multiple rocket launcher the previous day and warned that just four shots could "reduce to ashes the enemy's operational airfield." The F-35A is capable of evading radar to strike behind enemy positions and is a key asset in preemptive strikes against North Korean missile attacks. It was refueled mid-air by a KC-330 Cygnus multi-role tanker which can refuel up to some 20 fighters in the air at a time and also can carry up to 300 troops. The Air Force has four of them.
China, Russia Block UNSC Action Against N.Korea Again
A UN Security Council meeting on Monday to discuss North Korea's recent launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile ended without results again as Russia and China blocked any concerted action. In the meeting, the U.S. and the U.K. condemned North Korea for its latest flurry of missile launches and urged council members to take action, including adopting a presidential statement. But permanent members China and Russia shielded the North while complaining about combined military exercises by the U.S. and its allies.
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.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Ministry plans to expand pediatric hospitals, services
The government plans to nearly triple the number of pediatric medical service centers that operate 24 hours. The Ministry of Health and Welfare on Wednesday announced plans to improve medical services for children. The move comes as the shrinking number of pediatric medical centers becomes a major social concern, particularly since Korea’s fertility rate hit a new low last year.
GAC opens online collection on the DMZ
Online cultural hub Google Arts & Culture has added the demilitarized zone dividing South and North Korea to its collection of digitized art and civilizational artifacts from around the world. Google Korea and the Ministry of Patriots and Veteran Affairs introduced the “Korea’s Demilitarized Zone,” or “DMZ” collection at a co-hosted event at the War Memorial of Korea of Korea on Wednesday. The DMZ is the heavily fortified no-man's land separating North and South Korea, created at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
Korea, U.S., Japan hold 1st trilateral missile defense drills of 2023
South Korea, the United States and Japan held their first trilateral missile defense exercise of the year on Wednesday. Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the exercise took place in international waters east of South Korea’s Ulleung Island and involved three destroyers equipped with Aegis combat systems: ROKS Sejong the Great from South Korea, the USS Barry from the United States and the JS Atago from Japan. The three countries practiced procedures to detect and track computer-simulated missile targets, as well as share information.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Gov’t pushes forward mandatory placement of pediatricians in the emergency room
The government announced a plan to make 42 high-level general hospitals mandatory to place pediatric emergency specialists and expand pediatric intensive care units nationwide. Public specialist medical centers for critically ill children will be increased to 14, and a 24-hour call center where healthcare staff are on standby will start operating to provide assistance when a child suddenly becomes ill. The Ministry of Health and Welfare revealed the “Plan to Improve the Pediatric Medical System” intended to expand public infrastructure for children’s health care and strengthening pediatrician compensation.
Won-dollar exchange rate breaks through 1,300 won
The prospect of the Fed’s prolonged austerity policy raises the “king dollar” specter again. The won-dollar exchange rate, which fell to 1,220 won earlier this month, soared above 1,300 won in just two months. As a result of a sharp decline in U.S. stocks by 2 percent on Wednesday, the Kospi also dropped more than 1 percent. On Wednesday, the won-dollar exchange rate closed at 1,304.9 won, up 9.0 won from the day before. It is the first time since Dec. 19, 2022, when the exchange rate closed at 1,302.9 won, that the closing exchange rate exceeded 1,300 won again.
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/)
South Korea’s total fertility rate hits record low in 2022
South Korea’s total fertility rate hit a record low last year as the number of childbirths continued to fall, data showed Wednesday, underscoring the country’s chronic low birth rate and gloomy demographic situation. The country’s total fertility rate, or average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime, came to 0.78 in 2022, down from 0.81 the previous year, according to the data from Statistics Korea.
Manufacturers’ business sentiment falls to lowest level in 31 months
South Korea’s reading on business sentiment in the manufacturing sector was the worst in two years and seven months as the economy loses momentum in key industries such as semiconductors, a central bank poll showed Wednesday. Local manufacturers’ business sentiment index (BSI) for February reached 63, down 3 points from what was tallied for the previous month, according to the survey by the Bank of Korea.
LG Energy teams up with Ford, Koc for battery cell venture in Turkey
LG Energy Solution Ltd., South Korea’s biggest battery maker, agreed Ford Motor Co. and Turkey’s Koc Holding AS to build one of Europe’s biggest commercial electric vehicle battery cell facilties in Turkey. The three companies signed a memorandum of understanding on the partnership, LG Energy said. The announcement came about two weeks after the Turkish conglomerate withdrew its non-binding agreement with the U.S. automaker and South Korean battery maker SK on Co. due to an economic slowdown.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Seoul court recognizes rights of same-sex couple in state insurance coverage case
A South Korean court has recognized the right of common-law married same-sex couples to claim a spouse as a dependent under the National Health Insurance Act. The court held that the failure to provide social insurance benefits to these couples constituted unreasonable discrimination based on sexual orientation. This is the first ruling to recognize the rights of same-sex couples under Korea’s social security system. The Seoul High Court ruled Tuesday in favor of So Seong-wook, 32, in a lawsuit he filed against the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS), requesting that the state insurance scheme recognize same-sex spouses of people enrolled in health care through their workplaces as their dependents.
Coming weeks, months may decide war in Ukraine, says Estonian defense chief
With a population of a mere 1.33 million and a territory of 45,228 square kilometers, Estonia is the least-populated and smallest of the three Baltic states. Despite that fact, it provides the highest amount of aid to Ukraine relative to gross domestic product in the world. Six days before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, Estonia sent US-made anti-tank missiles and other weapons to Ukraine. Of all NATO member states, Estonia’s parliament was the fastest to ratify the membership bids of neighboring Finland and Sweden.
The real motive behind Yoon Suk-yeol’s union-bashing
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has emphasized a “stern crackdown on corruption” over the past few days with messaging that characterizes labor unions as groups that rely on “illegal” tactics. His activities appear meant to establish a frame of “fighting corruption” with unions as his target — reminding the public of his history as a former prosecutor general while rallying his support base. Critics described them as reflecting distorted views on labor and a lack of political leadership. Presiding over a Cabinet meeting at his presidential office in Seoul’s Yongsan neighborhood on Tuesday, Yoon made a reference to labor unions’ refusal to make their account books public.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
From March, People Arriving from China Will No Longer Be Subject to Mandatory PCR Tests
People entering the country from China will no longer be subject to mandatory PCR tests upon arrival from March 1. People from China will also be allowed to enter the country through other airports in addition to Incheon International Airport. In a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters (CDSCH) on February 22, Kim Sung-ho (Second General Coordinator, CDSCH), chief of the Disaster and Safety Management Headquarters at the Ministry of the Interior and Safety said, “From the coming March 1, people entering the country from China will no longer be obligated to take PCR tests upon arrival, and we will also allow entry through other airports as well as Incheon.”
Prosecutors Begin Questioning Spy Ring, But Clash with Suspects Who Claim Forcing Them into the Interrogation Room Is Illegal
The Prosecution Service notified suspects arrested for their involvement in a case referred to as the “Changwon spy ring case” to appear for their first questioning on the afternoon of February 22. However, the suspects are fighting back claiming that it is illegal and unjust for an investigative agency to force the suspects into the interrogation room when they have clearly refused to make a statement. According to the coverage by the Kyunghyang Shinmun on February 22, Public Investigation Division 1 (chief prosecutor Yi Hui-dong) of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office sent a notice to four suspects in the Changwon spy ring case to appear at the Prosecutors’ Office at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
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. On February 17, before the vote on the arrest of Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung, more than thirty lawmakers participated in a Deomincho workshop in Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi.
US Fed Likely to Raise Key Rate by 25 Basis Points Next Month
The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to raise its key interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point again next month. The Fed on Wednesday published the minutes from its Federal Open Market Committee(FOMC) meeting held from January 21 to February 1, at which the officials unanimously voted for the quarter-point increase. Most of the officials agreed that slowing the pace of the Fed’s rate increases would better allow them to assess the economy's progress toward reducing inflation to their two-percent target, but a few participants favored a hike of 50 basis points.
US: N. Korea's Missile Program Not Helpful to China
The United States has said that North Korea’s continued missile provocations and its nuclear and missile programs are destabilizing to peace in the region, including for China, repeating calls for the North to engage in dialogue. In a press briefing on Wednesday, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price reaffirmed the U.S.' condemnation of the North's ballistic missile launch as violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and threat to the security of neighboring countries and the international community.
Yoon Orders Measures to Enhance Health Care for Children
President Yoon Suk Yeol has called for measures to prevent any vacuum in health care for children, stressing that taking care of children's health is the country's top responsibility. He made the call on Wednesday while visiting Seoul National University Children's Hospital in central Seoul. Noting a lack of pediatric hospitals despite the country's economic development, the president ordered the government to spare no resources and provide active support to prevent a vacuum in medical services for children.
N. Korean nuclear, missile programs not helpful to China: state dept.
North Korea's continued missile provocations and its nuclear development program are not helpful to any country, including China, a state department spokesperson said Wednesday, two days after China blocked U.S.-led efforts to condemn Pyongyang's latest ballistic missile tests. The department spokesperson, Ned Price, also reiterated that all United Nations member countries have the obligation to fully implement U.N. Security Council (UNSC) resolutions on North Korea.
N. Korea slams Japan for holding annual event on Dokdo
North Korea's state media on Wednesday slammed Japan for holding an annual event that renewed its claim on South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo, calling the event "an undisguised agitation for aggression." Dokdo, which lies closer to South Korea in the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, has long been a thorn in relations between Seoul and Tokyo. Since 2006, Japan has held an annual event on Dokdo.
Prosecutors raid Gyeonggi provincial gov't offices over tycoon's cash transfers to N. Korea
Prosecutors raided the Gyeonggi provincial government offices Wednesday over a former vice governor's alleged involvement in a tycoon's suspected cash remittances to North Korea. Investigators from the Suwon District Prosecutors Office in Suwon, 34 kilometers south of Seoul, searched the provincial government's southern and northern regional offices in Suwon and Uijeongbu, north of Seoul, respectively, to secure documents and materials suspected to be related to former Vice Gov. Lee Hwa-young and his former aides.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Korea declares emergency measures over children’s health care crisis
South Korean hospitals are scrambling to keep their children’s units running, with the government declaring emergency measures Wednesday to keep the faltering pediatric health care system afloat. In an emergency briefing, Minister of Health and Welfare Cho Kyoo-hong said his ministry would be adding more public pediatric intensive care centers, and implement a compensation system that will prompt larger hospitals to operate pediatric emergency rooms around the clock.
South Korea, US, Japan stage missile defense exercise after N.Korea launches
South Korea, the United States and Japan staged a ballistic missile defense exercise on Wednesday in international waters to enhance military interoperability and readiness against escalating threats from North Korea, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The five-hour trilateral drills came days after North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles and one intercontinental ballistic missile, respectively, on Monday and Feb. 18.
Seoul wary of reduced disclosure of radioactive elements in Fukushima wastewater
Japan's nuclear regulation authority tentatively confirmed plans Wednesday to narrow the scope of radioactive elements to be monitored in the radiation-contaminated water from quake-stricken Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the South Korean Prime Minister's Office said in a statement Wednesday. The types of nuclides under the monitoring has been reduced from 64 to 30, according to Prime Minister Han Duck-soo's office. The Seoul government pledged to place the Korean people's safety as the priority and ensure that the wastewater is treated according to international standards.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Activist publishes books on lives of migrant workers in Korea
Han Yoon-soo, 75, a migrant workers' rights activist has published a series of books featuring his decades-long experience of supporting foreign workers in Korea. Titled "Blooming Violets" (literal translation), the 10-book series is a collection of nearly 900 essays Han has written on his personal blog, as well as for his columns for a local newspaper since 2008. The stories feature the difficulties often faced by migrant workers ― harsh working environments, delayed payments, unfair treatment and physical and sexual abuse by employers.
Wall Street dips a day after its worst rout in two months
Stocks dipped on Wall Street Wednesday, a day after falling to their worst loss since December, as markets prepare for interest rates to stay higher for longer. The SP 500 slipped 0.4 percent after drifting between small gains and losses through the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 150 points, or 0.4 percent, to 32,979, as of 3:03 p.m. Eastern time, while the Nasdaq composite was down 0.2 percent. After leaping at the start of the year, stocks hit a wall in February on worries that inflation may not be cooling as quickly or as smoothly as hoped. That has Wall Street upping its forecasts for how high the Federal Reserve will take interest rates, as well as for how long it will keep them at that level.
LGES, Ford to build joint battery plant in Turkey
LG Energy Solution (LGES), Ford, and Koc Holding signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) to form a new joint venture, in order to create one of Europe's largest commercial electric vehicle (EV) battery cell facilities near Ankara, Turkey, the firm said Wednesday. The new joint venture will be located in an industrial zone in Baskent, near Ankara. The project is expected to break ground later this year. Production is likely to start in 2026 with the three parties committing to at least 25 gigawatt hours (GWh) of annual production capacity, which could potentially expand up to 45 GWh.
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