1) China warns S.Korea over missile defense
In his speech at South Korea-China defense ministers meeting in Seoul, Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan warned against U.S. attempts to deploy THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system in Korea, which is regarded to be aiming at China. It was the first time the Chinese defense honcho officially commented on THAAD in Korea. Chang’s Korean counterpart said the U.S. has made no decision or held formal talks about the deployment with Seoul, and even if it did it would not target China, but only provide a defense against North Korea’s ballistic missiles.
Korean defense minister said he had no official talks on THAAD, so he probably had lots of unofficial discussions. South Korea is like my son on one Saturday many years ago. He either had to follow his father to soccer field or his mother to Lotte department store. Either way he was in trouble.
2) A Korean swimming hero falls hard
Park Taehwan, an Olympic swimming gold medalist in 2008 Beijing, was found to have received a shot that had banned testosterone. Park is now at the risk of being banned two to four years in all competitions, including 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Park’s agency said Park took Nebido shot at the instructions from his doctor, not knowing it had Testosterone. Once proven doping in FINA hearing on Feb 27, Park will lose one silver and five bronze medals he won in Inchon Asian Games last year.
It is a pity our Marine Boy may not get out of FINA hearing in all smiles. It would be hard to believe an impotent who insists he took Viagra, not knowing how it works.
1) Korea tops imports to China
According to Korea International Trade Association, South Korea ranked the 1st in terms of market share in China for the second straight year with 9.7% (U$190 billion), followed by Japan, the U.S. and Taiwan. An increase in demand for semiconductors and auto components helped this achievement. China imported over $50B worth of semiconductors and $3.9B worth of auto parts from Korea last year.
With Korean economy so much depending on China, it would take lots of guts to let U.S. Forces deploy THAAD missiles in Korea. A lot more guts than allowing U.S. aircraft carriers to sail into Yellow Sea during joint Korea-U.S. military training.
2) Suicide over English stress ruled to be compensated
The Supreme Court has ruled that a depressed employee of a construction company who killed himself over poor English skill be compensated by his company. The employee identified as Mr. Oh was sent to Kuwait in 2008, but had to return only after 10 days because of communication problem. He wrote in his diary that he had “no self-confidence”, feeling “suffocating” and wondered if he should retire early. He later jumped to his death from his office.
English is difficult for Koreans. When new in the U.S. Army as a KATUSA (Korean Augmentation to U.S. Army) in 1982, I told an American G.I. in broken English “Korea and U.S. should fight communists together.” He replied, saying “You can say that again!” I had to say “Korea and U.S. have to fight damn communists together” again.
3. Auto Industry
1) Hyundai opens R&D center in Gwangju
President Park Genhye and Hyundai Chairman Chung Mongkoo were at the opening of Hyundai’s Creative Economy Innovation Center in Gwangju, 300km south of Seoul. The Gwangju center will focus on eco-friendly automotive technologies such and hydrogen fuel-cell and hybrid vehicles. Hyundai formed a joint fund worth 177 billion won ($164 million) with Gwangju city and some investors.
Gwangju was the city of tragedy in May 1980 when its citizens took arms, demanding release of then dissident Kim Daejung and resignation of military leader Chun Doohwan who took power through coup in Dec 1979. Total of 191 people, both civilians and soldiers, got killed in street fighting that lasted for 10 days. People outside Korea probably not heard of this incident as world television was busy covering St. Helens volcano that erupted on the same day the street battle began, May 18.