Thursday, March 2, 2023
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Kuwait looms great for remarkable opportunities for increased cooperation
Nowadays, economic cooperation between Korea and other countries of the world is becoming more and more important. In this regard, the State of Kuwait, according to Ambassador Deyab Al Rashidi of the State of Kuwait in Seoul, looms remarkably great as Kuwait has great opportunities for the Korean business enterprises. Here are details of an interview with Ambassador Deyab Al Rashidi of Kuwait:
Trade Minister Ahn presides over Foreign Business Community Roundtable
Minister for Trade Ahn Duk-geun presided over the “Roundtable Meeting for Foreign Business Community in Korea” on Feb. 23 at the Lotte Hotel Seoul. At the meeting, Minister Ahn announced the ministry’s foreign investment promotion policy for 2023, which aims to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) with focus on high-tech industries. The roundtable was held to resolve investment challenges through in-person communication with foreign-invested companies and the American, European, Chinese, Japanese and other major countries’ Chambers of Commerce in Korea.
LG Electronics satisfies the latest global standard for vehicle cybersecurity
LG Electronics has announced that its vehicle components have been verified for complying with ISO/SAE 21434, fundamental for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s (UNECE) regulation No. 155 (UN R155). This standard automotive cybersecurity measure requires vehicle and vehicle parts manufacturers to employ certified cybersecurity management systems for protection against hackers and other cybersecurity threats.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Opposition Leader Narrowly Avoids Arrest
The National Assembly narrowly voted against a motion on Monday to strip main opposition Minjoo Party leader Lee Jae-myung of his immunity so he can be arrested for corruption and bribery. Of the 297 lawmakers who cast their ballots, 139 supported the motion and 138 opposed it, nine abstained and 11 other votes were deemed invalid. But a lawmaker's immunity can only be lifted by an absolute majority or at least 149 votes, so Lee scraped through safely in the end.
Most Fund Investors Lost Money Last Year
Six out of 10 Koreans who put their money into investment funds suffered a loss last year when the Korea Composite Stock Price Index plunged nearly 25 percent amid rising interest rates and the economic slump. According to a survey of 2,500 people by the Korean Financial Consumers Protection Foundation on Monday, 25.8 percent of them put money into investment funds last year. Each invested in an average of 2.7 funds. A whopping 57 percent of fund investors suffered a loss, up from 34.6 percent in 2021. Their average loss rate rose five percentage points to 18.3 percent.
Won Falls to Lowest Point This Year on Interest Rate Freeze
The Korean won plunged W18.2 to W1,323 against the U.S. dollar on Monday, the lowest level so far this year. The won took a hit after the Bank of Korea decided to free the benchmark rate last week despite expectations that U.S. interest rates will rise even further. The last time the won fell to over W1,320 against the greenback was on Dec. 7 last year. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index also closed down 0.87 percent at 2,402.64 points.
Joongang Ilbo (https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com )
Samsung Electronics losing billions of dollars on chips: Source
Samsung Electronics lost 3 trillion won ($2.3 billion) from its memory chip business in the first two months of the year, according to a semiconductor industry source, and losses could be even bigger for the full quarter. The Suwon, Gyeonggi-based chipmaker estimates that the operating loss could balloon to 4 trillion won by the end of the first quarter as the market downturn has continued into 2023. “Internally, there was a report projecting up to 4 trillion won in operating losses from the memory chip business in the first quarter,” one of the sources said.
President Yoon calls Japan 'partner' in dealing with security, economic issues
President Yoon Suk Yeol called Japan a "partner" in tackling security and economic issues and other global challenges on Wednesday in his first address commemorating the March 1 Independence Movement. Yoon spoke at a ceremony at the Memorial Hall of Yu Gwan-sun in central Seoul marking the 104th anniversary of Korea's nationwide demonstrations protesting Japanese colonial rule (1910-45) that began on March 1, 1919. "Now, a century after the March First Independence Movement, Japan has transformed from a militaristic aggressor of the past into a partner that shares the same universal values with us," said Yoon.
Hyundai chief meets ambassadors to promote Busan's World Expo bid
Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Euisun Chung met with 12 ambassadors from African and Caribbean nations to the United States, to ask for their support for Busan’s bid to host the World Expo 2030. The meetings were held Tuesday at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Washington D.C. Ambassadors from 12 countries including Malawi, Central African Republic and The Bahamas, held a meeting with Chung, Chang Jae-hoon, CEO of Hyundai Motor, along with Cho Tae-yong, Korea's ambassador to the United States. "Korea, as a country that overcame various crises and achieved economic growth in short term, could serve as a bridge between emerging and developed countries," Chung told the ambassadors.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Yoon: Japan has transformed into security and economic partner
“Japan has transformed from a militaristic aggressor of the past into a partner that shares the same universal values with us,” said South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol during his speech on March 1 Independence Movement Day, which was the first after his appointment. “The trilateral cooperation among the Republic of Korea, the United States, and Japan has become more important than ever to overcome the security crises, including North Korea's growing nuclear threats and global polycrisis,”
Semiconductor exports halved, continuing deficit for 12 months
In the fifth straight month of decline, overall exports took another hit last month, with semiconductor exports experiencing a sharp drop to almost half. In contrast, energy imports surged by nearly 20% year-on-year, causing a trade deficit for the twelfth month. Despite the government's all-out efforts to boost exports, the Korean economy is projected to grow by only around 1% this year, and the country remains mired in a negative trend. As per the latest "February Export-Import Trends" report released by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy on Wednesday, the total export value for the previous month stood at 50.1 billion U.S. dollars, reflecting a 7.5% decline from a year ago.
Russia deploys mercenary fighters into Bakhmut
A year into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine forces are struggling in the eastern city of Bakhmut. With President Putin of Russia’s deployment of private military contractors belonging to Wagner Group to capture Bakhmut, there is a likelihood that Ukraine forces may have to withdraw from Bakhmut. Having been hit by a spate of drone strikes near Kolomna, Russia is also struggling, leading the war to a deadlock. According to Reuters on Tuesday, Ukraine forces are being hammered by the Russian military in Bakhmut.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korea seeks to reduce reliance on China for key mineral imports
The South Korean government plans to reduce its reliance on China for imports of key minerals, such as lithium and cobalt, to 50 percent by 2030 from the current 80 percent as part of a move to stabilize the supply chain for critical items. The government will designate 33 key minerals, of which 10 strategic minerals essential for the production of chips and secondary batteries will be managed intensively, according to measures announced by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Monday.
Samsung’s Lee visits solid-state EV battery line amid his push for future growth
Samsung Electronics Co., a tech giant in South Korea, is focusing on future technologies, such as solid-state electric vehicle batteries and next-generation semiconductor packaging, as a breakthrough to overcome the downturn in semiconductor and home appliance markets. Executive Chairman Jay Y. Lee Monday visited Samsung SDI Co.’s pilot production line for solid-state batteries in Suwon. Lee was accompanied by the battery maker’s Chief Executive Officer Choi Yoon-ho and met with employees after having lunch at a canteen, according to sources.
SK IET studying possible move into North America, says company president
SK IE Technology Co. (SK IET), battery materials maker under South Korea’s SK innovation Co., is examining thoroughly the plan of advancing into North America and is preparing the development of next-generation battery separators, said the company’s president on Tuesday. “Through innovation in productivity, automation and so on, as well as maintaining excellent properties and quality based on our differentiated technology, we have been securing our competitive edges that can dominate any region,”
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Case of powerful parent shielding child from consequences touches nerve in S. Korea
The fate of attorney Chung Sun-sin, whose appointment as National Office of Investigation director was withdrawn after revelations that he had pursued legal action to reverse disciplinary action against his son for bullying, hit a raw nerve with the South Korean public last weekend as it touched on an issue that has long been a trigger for conflict: fairness. For many, the revelations brought home the fact that stories about abusive behavior in school — such as those seen in the Netflix series “The Glory”
“Those souls can rest now”: Vietnam massacre survivor reacts to Korean court win
On Tuesday, a South Korean court ruled that the state had a responsibility to compensate a woman who was injured and lost her family in a massacre of Vietnamese civilians by Korean troops in 1968. Did this verdict help to clear away some of the bitterness that had built up in her heart over the past 55 years? “I was so happy and thrilled to hear about the victory,” 63-year-old Nguyen Thi Thanh said with a broad smile after a court ruling finding the South Korean government responsible for a massacre of civilians during the Vietnam War.
Top opposition leader Lee avoids arrest in unexpectedly close vote
A bill that would have cleared the way for the arrest of Lee Jae-myung, head of the opposition Democratic Party, was narrowly defeated in the National Assembly on Monday as a large number of lawmakers from Lee’s own party voted to approve his arrest. The arrest warrant requested by the prosecutors in their first attempt to jail the head of an opposition party listed charges connected with the municipal football club and development projects in the neighborhoods of Daejang and Wirye of Seongnam, where Lee had served as mayor.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
National Assembly Votes Against Lee Jae-myung’s Arrest, But Lee Suffers a Blow to His Leadership
On February 27, the National Assembly barely rejected the motion to arrest Lee Jae-myung, leader of the Democratic Party of Korea, for allegations connected to the development of Daejang-dong and the Uirye New Town and to donations for the Seongnam Football Club (F.C.). More legislators voted in favor of the motion than against it, but it failed to obtain the majority of the votes necessary for the arrest and was rejected. Unlike the expectations of the Democratic Party’s leadership, which was confident the motion would be rejected by an overwhelming number of votes, a large number of the party’s lawmakers voted against Lee, leaving a critical blow to his leadership.
Kim Gi-hyeon Requests Investigation into His Land Near the KTX Ulsan Station, “I Will Leave Politics If I Made Huge Profits”
On February 26, Kim Gi-hyeon, who is seeking a bid for the People Power Party (PPP) leadership, decided to ask the National Office of Investigation to investigate and verify the allegation that he gained profits from the land adjacent the KTX Ulsan Station. In a press conference at the National Assembly, Kim announced, “I plan to request a thorough investigation into my land in Ulsan, which they (opponents) are raising an issue with.” If authorities confirm that Kim had abused his authority to illegally change road plans or earned illegal capital gains that jumped 1800 times in connection to his land in Ulsan, Kim said he would “immediately leave politics.”
Questions Raised on the Presidential Office’s Responsibility in the Disastrous Appointment of Chung Sun-sin
Voices are holding the Office of the President responsible for the latest withdrawal of the appointment of attorney Chung Sun-sin as chief of the National Office of Investigation at the National Police Agency. The presidential office failed to identify and verify issues, such as Chung’s secondary victimization in the process of resolving the school violence practiced by his child and in responding to the disciplinary actions taken by the school. The failure to properly verify the candidate in a timely manner has led to the cancellation of Chung’s appointment. The Office of the President mentioned its limitations in candidate verification and said it would improve the system.
US Adds to Sanctions List to Restrict Illicit Revenue for N. Korea
The United States has imposed sanctions on three entities and two individuals accused of illicitly generating revenue for the North Korean government and party. The Office of Foreign Assets Control(OFAC) under the Department of the Treasury announced on Wednesday that the three companies include Chilsong Trading Corporation and Korea Paekho Trading Corporation.
State Dept.: US Backs Yoon’s Vision for Cooperative Ties with Japan
The U.S. State Department said on Wednesday that the United States supports President Yoon Suk Yeol's vision for cooperative relations between South Korea and Japan. Department spokesperson Ned Price issued the position in a press briefing when asked to comment on Yoon's March First Independence Movement Day speech, in which the president called Japan a "partner that shares the same universal values with South Korea."
Justice Ministry Appeals Court Ruling that Sided with 2 Russian Men
The justice ministry has appealed a court ruling that sided with two Russian men whose applications for refugee status were denied. The ministry said on Wednesday that it decided to appeal out of concerns that it could be swarmed with similar requests for refugee status in the future. Last month, the Incheon District Court ruled in favor of two of three Russian men seeking refugee status in suits filed against the Korea Immigration Service under the justice ministry.
Industrial output up 0.5 pct in Jan.; retail sales down for 3rd month
South Korea's industrial output edged up 0.5 percent on-month in January, while retail sales extended losses to a third month, data showed Thursday. The latest rise in the industrial production came after the figure remained unchanged the previous month, according to the data from Statistics Korea. The industrial output earlier shed 1.2 percent and 0.4 percent on-month in October and November, respectively.
Interest Limitation Act upheld as constitutional
The Constitutional Court has ruled that the Interest Limitation Act that criminally punishes lenders charging higher interest rates than the legally allowed maximum rate of 20 percent a year is constitutional, officials said Thursday. The nine-member court unanimously made the decision, rejecting a petition filed by a person who took about 93 million won (US$71,155) in interest in a span of 11 months on a loan of 180 million won to a borrower in 2018.
U.S. supports Yoon's vision for S. Korea-Japan relations: State Dept.
The United States supports South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol's vision for cooperative relations between Seoul and Tokyo, a state department spokesperson said Wednesday. Department Press Secretary Ned Price said the U.S. also applauds both South Korea and Japan for their recent efforts to improve their bilateral relations. "Let me say generally that bilateral cooperation between the United States and our treaty allies is important, but so too is trilateral cooperation," Price said when asked about South Korea-Japan relations.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Yoon, calling Japan a partner, offers new vision to reboot sour relations
South Korea needs Japan on its side as a partner to elevate its own global status, President Yoon Suk Yeol said Wednesday, as he looked to move beyond the constraints of their historical disputes dating to Tokyo’s 1910-45 rule of the Korean Peninsula. The speech, made to mark Independence Movement Day, laid out a clear blueprint of how Seoul will handle relations with Tokyo in the context of a three-way coalition that includes the US -- the chief ally of both Korea and Japan. The trilateral ties are more crucial than ever to counter global challenges, including growing nuclear threats from North Korea, according to Yoon.
While Yoon offers new vision to mend ties, protests against Japan continue
Soon after President Yoon Suk Yeol gave a key address, calling Japan a partner for South Korea's regional security and economy, some hundreds held a rally on Independence Movement Day on Wednesday, urging him to keep his promise of resolving historic disputes with the neighboring country including the one over sexual slavery during its 1910-45 rule of Korean Peninsula. In the late morning chill, around 200 civic activists gathered near the Japanese Embassy in central Seoul, holding paper cutouts of yellow butterflies -- a symbol of victims representing a wish to escape from violence and fly -- chanting "apologize," and demanding compensation from Japan.
Korean government maintains Russian draft evaders not refugees
The South Korean government once again held firm in its stance that Russians coming to the country to avoid being drafted in the war in Ukraine would not qualify as refugees. In a message to reporters on Wednesday, the Ministry of Justice said it would appeal Incheon District Court’s Feb. 14 decision that two of the three Russian men who arrived here in October should be allowed the chance to apply for refugee status here.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Aerospace administration to be launched by end of 2023
Korea will launch an independent aerospace administration to assume full charge of the state-led space programs and aeronautics research by the end of this year, the science ministry said Thursday. The Ministry of Science and ICT preannounced the enactment of a special law to establish the national aeronautics administration, or the Korean version of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The ministry said it will seek parliamentary approval in June and open the administration in December.
US imposes fresh sanctions to restrict North Korea's revenues
The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday imposed sanctions on individuals and companies that it accused of illicitly generating revenue for the government of North Korea. The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Chilsong Trading Corporation, which it says is used by North Korea to earn foreign currency and collect intelligence; and Korea Paekho Trading Corporation, which is accused of generating funds for the North Korean government since the 1980s by conducting art and construction projects throughout the Middle East and Africa.
Financial authorities increase pressure on banks
The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) will be conducting a regulator inspection into Shinhan Financial Group and Shinhan Bank later this month, the watchdog agency said Wednesday. It will be the first of its kind conducted on Shinhan in four years. The FSS' regular inspection takes place every two to five years, during which the financial watchdog thoroughly examines a financial company's overall management, ranging from corporate governance, executive appointments, internal control systems, banks' loan-to-deposit interest ratios and salary increases.
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