1) Wind of change in
The sun rose in the west in North Korea last week as Mickey Mouse,
Winnie the Pooh have entertained North Korean officials, including Kim
Jongun and his seemly wife, at a debut concert for the troupe,
Moranbong whose members wore short skirts and revealing dress.
Highlights and the theme song from “Rocky IV” were also played. Note
Rock IV was Sylvester Stallone against Soviet boxer. Experts said the
Swiss-educated young leader has different way of thinking from his late
father, and just expressed his desire to improve relationship with the
U.S. in the concert filled with American characters.
2) N.Y Choi wins U.S.
Korea’s Na-Yeon Choi won her first career major championship by
capturing the U.S. Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run golf club in Wisconsin
last week after beating another Korean Amy Yang by four shots. Choi is
the 2nd straight Korean champion of the U.S. Women’s Open after So-yeon
Ryu in 2011 and the sixth ever since Seri Pak won the title at the same
Blackwolf Run in 1998. Choi thanked Seri Pak for being her spiritual
mentor at the trophy awarding ceremony.
3) Handcuff brouhaha in
Seven U.S. military policemen got into an argument with three Korean
men over parking in front of Osan Airbase in Pyeongtaik, the same place
World Hotel is located, and tried them take into the airbase after
handcuffing them. Huge criticism came from all over the place, and
there was a fear that it might be another “Anti American candle lights”
triggered by the death of two Korean girls by a U.S. military tank
during an exercise. American authority at that time looked at it as a
simple traffic accident, which was right, and made no apology as they
had no knowledge of Korean sentiment over death. (Koreans might mourn
at the death of a serial killer.) The commander of U.S.
Forces in Korea made a right decision this time by making an apology
saying, “I want to express my sincere apology to the individuals and
community affected by the incident.” Things have quiet down quiet after
1) SK Group fined for
unfair aiding of its affiliate
SK Group, Korea’s 3rd largest conglomerate, got a fine of 30 billion
won ($26.3M) for giving work to its affiliate, SK C&C, a system
integration company. The seven SK Group companies were found to have
paid SK C&C over 1.7 billion won in service fees since 2008, an
unusually high amount, to support SK C&C mostly owned by SK
Group owner’s family. The amount was up to 72% more than
other companies would pay to other system integration
providers. This was the first time the government has fined a
top conglomerate for excessively supporting its sister company. Other
big conglomerates, including Samsung and Hyundai, are also criticized
for supporting their smaller affiliates owned by group owners, and this
unfair practice is turning into a major issue in the presidential
election in December.
1) Doosan Infracore makes
big deal with PSI in U.S.
Doosan Infracore announced that it has won a 98 billion won ($85.8
million) business to supply engine blocks and diesel engines to Power
Solutions, Inc(PSI). Doosan will deliver 4,400 engine long
blocks to PSI by 2015. The engine long block consists of everything in
engine except the fuel systems and ignition systems. In a
separate deal, Doosan Infracore will also supply 800 diesel engines to
Clark Equipment within this year.
2) Hyundai in strike
Hyundai Union waged a warning strike on Jul 13 and 14 for four hours
each shift, the first time in four years. GM Korea and Kumho Tire were
also under strike last Tuesday. Analysts believe the strikes
were part of a broader industrial action being organized by the Korean
Metal Workers’ union, Korea’s top umbrella union for shipbuilders and
automobile companies. The strike can become a big threat to
Korean economy as the auto industry accounted for 13.5% of Korea’s
total export for the first half of this year.