Friday, November 02, 2007

[ News, Foreign Relations, November 2 2007] Roh receives visiting Algerian minister to discuss cooperation

President Roh Moo-hyun Friday stressed closer cooperation with Algeria in commercial and industrial fields, his spokesman said Friday (Nov. 2).

"Roh received Minister Temmar Friday afternoon and highly evaluated the rapid progress being made in various bilateral economic cooperation projects," Cheon Ho-seon said during a briefing on Roh's meeting with visiting Algerian minister for Participation and Investment Promotion, Abdelhamid Temmar, at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.
[ News, Foreign Relations, October 31 2007] Korea, Slovakia agree to enhance practical cooperation

Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and visiting Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico held summit talks in Seoul on Tuesday (Oct. 30) and agreed to widen practical bilateral cooperation in overall economic and commercial fields, including trade and investment, said Roh's office, Cheong Wa Dae.

At the end of the summit, the two leaders observed the signing of a bilateral cultural agreement calling for expanding cooperation in culture, education and academic areas, said Cheong Wa Dae. In addition, Roh and Fico welcomed their countries' agreement to recognize driver's licenses from each other's countries, and agreed to soon conclude an accord on a bilateral social security rights guarantee.
[ News, Foreign Relations, October 22 2007] Final decision on Zaytun's extended deployment in Iraq imminent: Roh

The Korean government has yet to make the final decision to extend the deployment of its troops in Iraq, although the decision on the Zaytun unit is due later this week, presidential spokesman Cheon Ho-seon said Monday (Oct. 22).

"The final decision on extending Zaytun's deployment for another 12 months will be reached during this week, and the National Assembly will be notified of the plan," said Cheon in his daily media briefing.
[ News, Nation, November 2 2007] Koreas move toward permanent peace

President Roh's Special Contribution for Korea Times' 57th Anniversary

By Roh Moo-hyun
President of the Republic of Korea

More than any period in the past, the time is now ripe to create an atmosphere of peace on the Korean Peninsula. The two Koreas are now taking the path toward viable peace to ensure common prosperity, not just passive peace devoid of war.

Around the time the Participatory Government was launched, the security environment surrounding the peninsula was too grave and tense to talk about peace. The second North Korean nuclear crisis had further exacerbated the conflict between the United States and North Korea, plunging the situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula into an unpredictable crisis.
[ News, Nation, November 1 2007] Roh calls inter-Korean peace zone the No. 1 outcome of inter-Korean summit

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun said on Thursday (Nov. 1) that the biggest outcome of his summit talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il last month was the proposed creation of a special inter-Korean peace and cooperation zone in the Yellow Sea.

"The creation of an inter-Korean triangle zone linking the North's Haeju and Gaeseong with the South's Incheon would be mutually beneficial," Roh said at a meeting of the National Unification Advisory Council in Seoul.
[ News, Nation, November 1 2007] Roh asks overseas S. Korean traders to invest in N. Korea

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun on Wednesday (Oct. 31) urged overseas South Korean traders to play a leading role in accelerating inter-Korean economic cooperation and constructing an inter-Korean economic community.

At the opening ceremony of the 6th annual World Korean Business Convention at BEXCO in Busan, Roh said the creation of an inter-Korean economic community would help open a "big market" in Northeast Asia, providing Korean entrepreneurs at home and abroad with opportunities for a fresh rebound.
[ News, Nation, October 31 2007] Roh to consider constructing new int'l airport near Busan

President Roh Moo-hyun said Wednesday (Oct. 31) that his government will consider constructing a new international airport near Busan in the southeast to cope with the rapidly growing demand for air passenger and cargo transportation.
[ News, Nation, October 30 2007] Korea successfully tests atomic reactor safety simulator

Korea has successfully tested an indigenous atomic safety simulator that is expected to help prevent nuclear accidents and enable the design of next-generation reactors, a state-run energy laboratory said Tuesday (Oct. 30).

The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) said the simulator is capable of recreating all types of accidents that can occur inside both nuclear reactors that are operational in the country, and those under construction.
[ News, Nation, October 29 2007] Roh won't pursue declaration to end Korean War while in office: spokesman

President Roh Moo-hyun will not push the process to declare an official end of the 1950-53 Korean War before his term finishes next February due to lack of time, Roh's spokesman Cheon Ho-seon said Monday (Oct. 29).

Cheon's remark came amid speculation that Roh may drive to hold summit talks with the U.S., China and North Korea before his retirement to declare the end of the Korean War and establish a new peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

With the declaration closely linked to North Korea's denuclearization process, some local media suggested that Roh would hastily seek the launch of four-nation talks on declaring the end of the Korean War before next February.

"The declaration of the end of the Korean War by the leaders of the four concerned nations is not possible while Roh is in office.

For that reason, Roh is not willing to push for the four-way summit before he leaves office," said Cheon in his daily media briefing.
[ News, Government Press Releases, October 23 2007] Address to the nation by President Roh Moo-hyun on a timeframe for the completion of the mission of the Zaytun unit

My fellow citizens,

I stand here before you today to talk about the issue of the withdrawal of the Zaytun unit, which is currently stationed in Iraq.

Last year, the Government obtained approval from the National Assembly to extend the deployment of the Zaytun unit on condition that the number of troops should be cut down to 1,200 from 2,300. It also pledged that the unit would be pulled out by the end of this year. Accordingly, the contingent is carrying out its mission with 1,200 soldiers now.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 2 2007] Global Smartphone Competition Heats Up

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was brandishing a Samsung smartphone when he gave his keynote speech at the CTIA Wireless IT and Entertainment expo in San Francisco on Oct. 23. Ballmer predicted mobile phones will soon be the primary device to access the Internet for most people.

The global IT industry is all a-flutter about smartphones, the BlackJack 2 Ballmer was wielding included. They were the biggest attraction at the CTIA, which brought together 350 global IT companies. Smartphones today are almost on a par with PCs, with their e-mail, camera, music player, and even Internet phone functions. Visitors Googled and checked their e-mail on the new smartphones -- as Ballmer said, the question now before the firm is, “How do we evolve the phone so it participates fully in this world, fully in the lifestyle side of this world, and the work style side of this world?”


◆ Korea lags behind

The smartphone boom has yet to reach Korea. Having developed the code division multiple access (CDMA) technology for mobile phones, there is as yet insufficient demand for smartphones here due to the high PC penetration rate, and the off-putting service price. That is why there are growing concerns that Korea could lose its edge in a rapidly evolving mobile phone market. One Korean mobile phone contents provider at CTIA said, “It’s not easy for Korean software companies to boost their competitiveness since large mobile operators have such a firm grip on the market. Various contents must be developed in order for Korea to maintain its leading status as IT powerhouse.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 2 2007] Korea's 3G Mobile Phone Users Top 4 Million Mark

Use of the WCDMA third-generation mobile phone service is growing rapidly in Korea, with the number of subscribers reaching the four million mark eight months after the service was launched in March.

WCDMA, which stands for wideband code division multiple access, is known for fast data transmission and video calling. KTF said Thursday that it signed up some 390,000 subscribers for its Show 3G service in October, bringing its total to 2.413 million.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 1 2007] High School Beating Video Sparks Outrage

A video clip of a high school teacher beating two students with a bamboo sword has caused a stir among netizens.

In the 38-second video clip, a teacher is seen striking the hips of two students in a push-up position with the sword. When one student stands up, unable to endure the beating, the teacher follows him to strike his back.

The clip, recorded by a student with a mobile phone, has spread on the Internet. Netizens have voiced their outrage in message boards, saying the punishment was extreme.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 1 2007] Jang Dong-gun to Star in Hollywood Action Movie

Korean star Jang Dong-gun will star alongside Kate Bosworth in an upcoming Hollywood movie called "Laundry Warrior," due to start shooting in New Zealand on Friday.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 1 2007] Samsung Electronics Builds LCD from Ordinary Glass Plate

Samsung Electronics said Wednesday that it has developed a technology that allows liquid crystal display panels to be made from ordinary glass plates. The development is expected to reduce production costs and thus increase price competitiveness.

Korea's largest electronics maker said the new LCD panels are as good as existing panels in resolution, brightness, color, and other features. The new Soda-Lime LCD is made of ordinary window glass plates instead of the special glass plates normally used.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 1 2007] Samsung to Bolster Printer, System LSI Units

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Yoon Jong-yong on Wednesday said the company will do everything it can to develop its printer and system LSI units into core business areas with sales of over US$10 billion.


If the plan succeeds, Samsung's core business areas will increase to six from the current four, which are memory chips, mobile phones, liquid crystal displays, and digital TVs.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 1 2007] The Next Test of Power Is Never Far Away

President Roh Moo-hyun a while ago repeated an old complaint: "I have no power,” he said. “Please rally power on my behalf." Koreans have heard it all before. Ordinary citizens who know nothing except taxes and who are thus genuinely powerless may well wonder how much more power he needs at this late juncture before he is satisfied.


A saying has it that the next mirror to look at your face is never far away. This article was written not with the incumbent president uppermost in mind, but with the candidates who dream of presidential power, and the public who expects too much of the president.
[The Chosun Ilbo, October 31 2007] Samsung Buys Israeli Image Sensor Maker

Samsung Electronics has acquired an Israeli non-memory chip company. This is the first time in 10 years that Korea’s electronics giant has bought a foreign company, since it bought American PC maker AST in 1994 and acquired the non-memory chip business of American game company 3DO in 1997. The acquisition is seen as bolstering its non-memory chip capabilities by securing development talent.

Samsung said Tuesday that it bought Israel’s TransChip to strengthen its research and development in image sensors. Reborn as the Samsung Semiconductor Israel R&D Center, the company works on CMOS image sensors and has some 60 staff. CMOS image sensors convert optical images into digital signals and are used mainly in mobile phones and digital cameras. The Korean company ranks third in the world in the sector.
[The Chosun Ilbo, October 31 2007] Russia, Korea to Work Together on Satellite Tech

Russian Federal Space Agency General Director Anatoly Perminov met with Science and Technology Minister Kim Woo-sik at the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province on Tuesday to discuss cooperation in space development.

Korea plans to develop the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) in collaboration with Russia and launch it at the Naro Center next November. The world’s leader in rocket development, Russia wants to strengthen its satellite data transmission technology by using Korea’s mobile telecommunications expertise.
[The Chosun Ilbo, October 31 2007] KT Buys Uzbek Phone, Internet Companies

KT said Tuesday that it has acquired two Uzbek communications companies to break into the Central Asian market.

Korea's leading fixed-line and Internet service provider purchased a 51 percent stake in Uzbekistan's East Telecom, a fixed-line operator, and a 60 percent stake in Super-iMax, a wireless Internet service provider.
[The Chosun Ilbo, October 30 2007] Orb Launches Test Run of Media Sharing Service

Digital streaming company Orb Korea said on Monday that it has launched a test version of its Orb Media Service for mobile phone users.

The service allows users to enjoy content on their mobile phones that is stored on their personal computers, such as music, movies and photos. It also allows users to view overseas Internet TV broadcasts.
[The Chosun Ilbo, October 30 2007] Samsung Focuses on Leading Digital Camera Market

Samsung Electronics is ready to take over the global digital camera market. Korea's largest electronics maker recently integrated the sales and marketing network of its digital camera affiliate, Samsung Techwin, into its own to increase its presence in the market.
[The Chosun Ilbo, October 30 2007] Internet Phone Services Challenge Korea's Calling Market

As businesses scour the market for the next big-buck concept they're turning to an old standby: phone calls.

This time the medium is the Internet because it costs less than cellular and land-based services.

One pioneer of the cutting-edge calling market is cable TV operators. After taking on broadcasting and online services they're now providing cheaper phone service through the Web.

And their sales pitch is hard to beat: call long-distance for the same rate as ringing up your neighbor.

According to industry sources, KT, the nation's largest fixed-line phone and Internet service provider, changed its business plan to launch a Web-based phone service before year's end. That's a year earlier than planned.
[The Chosun Ilbo, October 29 2007] Actress in Celebrity Dicorce Hits Back

The actress Ok So-ri, whose high-profile divorce has been making headlines, on Sunday denied claims by her estranged husband Park Chul and former business partner Baek Jong-eun that their 11-year marriage ended due to the actress’ adultery with an Italian chef. Baek, the owner of a wedding consultancy, at a press conference on Oct. 24 claimed the star couple’s marriage broke up due to the actress’ extramarital relationship with the Italian only identified a G.
[The Chosun Ilbo, October 29 2007] Declaration to End the War or to Praise Roh Moo-hyun?

Addressing confusion within the government over a declaration to end the Korean War envisaged in a document at the end of the recent inter-Korean summit, a presidential spokesman announced last Friday the Roh Moo-hyun administration would pursue a "declaration to begin negotiations to end the war." The declaration that Cheong Wa Dae is talking about involves the leaders of the two Koreas, the United States and China gathering to announce the end of the war on the Korean Peninsula.


If it’s that difficult to abandon this fixation, going so far as to rename it “a declaration to begin negotiations to end the war,” why don’t they just rename it “a declaration for Roh Moo-hyun?”
[The Chosun Ilbo, October 29 2007] Ed. Ministry Declares War On High-tech Cheating

Police and Korea's Ministry of Education are on alert ahead of the College Scholastic Ability Test for 2008 scheduled for Nov. 15. The two are working together to prevent cheaters from using high-tech tools during the exam, including micro-cameras, microchips and other devices.

The ministry is being extremely cautious following an incident in China where cheaters were caught using high-tech devices during the nation's university entrance exam, and incidents during the 2005 test in Korea where students were caught misusing mobile phones.


The ministry also said it will inspect cars parked near exam venues on the day of the test since cases of high-tech cheating will most likely happen near the venues.
[The Chosun Ilbo, October 29 2007] Drug and Sex Party Organizer Busted

In October last year, a 38-year-old office worker identified as Kim posted a message on a website looking for a one-night stand for W1 million won (US$1=W910).


On Sunday, the Seoul Prosecutors' Office said it arrested the office worker and 41 women who joined him in drug-fueled sex parties that he arranged on the Internet.
[The Chosun Ilbo, October 26 2007] A Demand That's Hard to Accept

At a ground-breaking ceremony for the Taean Enterprise City on Wednesday, President Roh Moo-hyun said the people who will run the next administration must express their clear stance on the administrative capital, which was being created incompletely. In the previous presidential election, President Roh suddenly announced a campaign pledge to build a new capital, which he personally said gained him some votes.


It is President Roh Moo-hyun who reaped the most benefits out of the pledge to relocate the capital. So why is he demanding others blindly follow his plan?
[The Chosun Ilbo, October 26 2007] Election Commission ‘Keeping an Eye on Roh’

National Election Commissioner Koh Hyeon-chul said Thursday his agency will keep an eye on whether President Roh Moo-hyun honors his obligation to stay neutral in the presidential campaign. The NEC chief said his agency will take appropriate actions if necessary. Asked at a meeting of an election advisory committee at the Korea Press Center what the commission will do if the president continues to make remarks supportive of one presidential candidate or disparaging of another, Koh said officials “have to respect the obligation to stay away from elections.”

Thursday, November 01, 2007

[The Chosun Ilbo, October 26 2007] Ballerina Disciplined for Nude Photos

The Korea National Ballet's prima ballerina Kim Ju-won will have her salary docked for one month as punishment for appearing nude in a fashion magazine.


The magazine said Kim's nude photos were the most popular item in the October issue. "It is hard to understand why people make an issue out of an expression that has become common in modern art," the magazine said.
[The Hankyoreh, October 27 2007] [Editorial] Korea National Ballet: Embodying hypocrisy

The Korea National Ballet has decided to punish prima ballerina Kim Joo-won by reducing her pay for one month, for violating ballet company regulations which prohibit activities conducted outside the company without permission. The accusations began as a question of how the country’s finest ballerina could be so lewd as to appear topless in a fashion magazine, and it is why the company scurried to get its personnel committee together to respond. In doing so, however, the company avoided making a judgment on the issue at hand and instead focused on peripheral issues.


Bodies are the homes of human life. It is through the body that the health and beauty of life are revealed. Our society will be free from its voyeurism and hypocrisy when it is able to appreciate the beauty and preciousness of the human body. Kim says she is sorry for causing controversy. But is our society that has caused the controversy.
[The Hankyoreh, October 26 2007] Ballet company punishes prima for nude photos

Prima ballerina violated a rule restricting participation in non-company activities, earning her a one-month pay cut

The Korea National Ballet Company punished its prima ballerina, Kim Ju-won, after nude shots of the dancer were published in the October edition of Vogue Korea.

The ballet company announced on October 25 that its disciplinary committee had decided to impose a one-month pay cut on Kim, explaining that as a member of the company, Kim had violated her duties. According to the ballet company’s regulations, all of its members should get the artistic director’s approval before participating in activities outside of the company.

Park In-ja, the KNBC’s artistic director, said, “The committee’s decision is not about an individual’s freedom of expression, but about a violation of the rules as a member of the company.”
[The Hankyoreh, November 1 2007] [Editorial] Gagging Korea’s netizens with an outdated law

Article 93 of the Public Official Election Law prohibits the posting or screening of any expression in support or opposition of a political party or candidate with the intention of influencing the election’s outcome within 180 days of the day of the vote in question. This part of the law serves to gag Korea’s netizens, some 618 of whom are being investigated by the police for violating the law ahead of the presidential election that will take place at the end of the year. The National Election Commission has demanded that material be removed from Internet sites in more than 50,000 instances.


The NEC and the police need to stop their excessive application of the law. If libel is the problem, the police can always prosecute people according to criminal law. If we want to get rid of the potential for controversy, the National Assembly will have to amend the election law. It was way back in 2003 that the NEC first announced its position that online campaigning should be allowed at any and all times, even during the official campaign period. The law has not changed, however, because of opposition from the Grand National Party. In fact, the GNP has proposed an amendment to the law that would go much farther in stifling expression by Internet users, even more than is the case today. The basic rights of the people should not be trampled on any longer because of political interests.
[The Hankyoreh, October 31 2007] Samsung Electronics develops LCD using ordinary glass plate

South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. said Wednesday that it has developed a liquid crystal display (LCD) screen using an ordinary glass plate, raising hopes that it could significantly reduce overall production costs of flat panel products.

The Soda-Lime thin film transistor LCD screen boasts an SXGA-level resolution, 1000:1 contrast ratio, and other high-end flat panel features for vivid motion pictures, the company said.
[The Hankyoreh, October 31 2007] Internet is silent as police crack down on political writing

Alleged election law violations spur authorities to issue summonses to netizens

Ahead of the presidential election, the Internet in South Korea is silent, despite its usually robust flurry of activity. Summonses have been issued by the police against netizens who have posted articles and videos in relation to the election on the Internet. The excessive police crackdown on the views expressed through the Internet is being criticized by netizens and the academic community as a threat to freedom of expression on the net.

A citizen of Ulsan, 51, who asked to remain anonymous, received a summons from the Yeongdeungpo Police Station in Seoul on October 16. According to the police, the user-created content posted on his personal Internet site violates election law. The citizen said, “I just posted one video clip that had been floating on the Internet. I have been operating a blog for six years but this is the first time that I have received a summons.”


Some netizens have begun to stage demonstrations against these measures. A political portal named Surprise and netizens posting articles on this site have rejected requests by the National Election Commission to delete their articles. Instead, tens of thousands of articles protesting against the commission’s measures have been posted on its Internet bulletin board.

These measures have been taken following an election law banning people from posting or screening content that could influence the election, which either supports or opposes a particular candidate, and is effective 180 days ahead of the election.

According to the election commission, though its efforts have been in vain, it has called on the National Assembly to rewrite the existing election law due to the objections of the GNP, which has a negative perspective on campaign-related Internet activity. Part of the GNP’s sense of adversity may be due to unpleasant memories of the previous presidential election, in which its candidate Lee Hoi-chang lost the race.

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: Web sites for draftdodging to be banned

"Ministry of National Defense instates ban after more websites and blogs offer information on how to evade military duty

The Korea Times Sunday,
October 28, 2007
By Kim Tae-jong

Web sites will be soon banned from using phrases and words implying that they offer tips on how to evade military service, the Ministry of National Defense said Sunday. The move came as a large number of Web sites, personal blogs and Internet cafes are offering information to help those seeking to evade duty is increasing. The ministry is now cooperation with the Ministry of Information and Communication as well as major portal sites. Under the regulation, sites would not be allowed to use such keywords and phrases as 'army dodging methods' and 'solution to conscription' and links to other sites that offer the illegal advice. Rep. Maeng Hyung-kyu of the largest opposition Grand National Party estimated there are some 100 Web sites that sell information on how to evade military service and they have around 300,000 members."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: Cyber abuse gets worse in highly wired South Korea

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: Cyber abuse gets worse in highly wired South Korea:
"Korea Internet Safety Commission issues correction orders for websites posting rumors and slander, warnings on the rise

The Straits Times
Thursday, October 25, 2007
By Lee Tee Jong

In Seoul --- Popular actress Kim Tae Hee was incensed when she returned from spending a month in the United States to find the Internet abuzz with rumours about her. She had gone to do a course in English, but gossiping netizens claimed that she had had an abortion and was about to marry into a wealthy business family. Her agency, Namoo Actors, filed a police report and issued a statement saying: 'We could not endure the idle talk and had to take legal measures to stop the rumours.' Police arrested 11 netizens, who were issued stern warnings before being let off."