Friday, October 16, 2009

Korea news links for October 16, 2009

A day ago we had tens of thousands of Moonies getting hitched, and today we have a few hundred million: Seoul and Brussels (that would be the EU, not just Belgium) have signed a free-trade pact that could expand trade by tens of billions of dollars. It might also light a fire under some politicos' butts in Washington (see also here), who may soon realize there's more to be gained economically in freeing up trade between the US and the ROK than there is to be gained politically by bashing South Korea over protectionist policies that were in place in the 1990s (like auditing people who purchased foreign vehicles, a practice that ended years ago but which still gets cited by opponents of the KORUS FTA as if they still go on today).
  1. European Union and South Korea initial free-trade agreement in Brussels, the second-largest FTA ever; pact now needs approval by twenty-seven EU member states (BBC, Yonhap, NYT, Joongang Daily)
  2. North Korea warns South Korea that incursions by ROK ships into North Korea territorial waters could spark clash (BBC, Yonhap, AP via WaPo, NYT, Reuters)
  3. Seoul's wildly popular seasonal ice rink to be moved from City Hall Plaza to Kwanghwamun Plaza (Joongang Daily)
  4. In difficult but "constructive" talks with creditor Korea Development Bank, General Motors CEO says it is ready to join a rights offering to support struggling GM Daewoo, though details need to be worked out (NYT, Reuters, WSJ, Korea Herald, Korea Times)
  5. ROK ambassador to Washington Han Duksoo urges US Congress to approve KORUS FTA, saying the US will be at a competitive disadvantage in South Korea if it doesn't (Reuters via WaPo, Yonhap)
  6. Declaring there is no chance of a double-dip recession, Bank of Korea governor Lee Seongtae says future rate increases may be "different from the usual baby step" (Bloomberg)
  7. Korean won ends near thirteen-month high despite warnings of Bank of Korea intervention to keep KRW rise in check (WSJ)
  8. South Korea's largest department stores report fastest sales growth in eight months (Reuters via CNBC)
  9. Moscow calls for restraint on North Korean missile tests (Xinhua)
  10. Former US nuclear negotiator Victor Cha warns that China aid could mar efforts to rid North Korea of nukes (AP via WaPo)
  11. Swedish football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson denies plans to lead North Korean national soccer team in World Cup bid, despite reports that he was to manage the DPRK team (LAT, Daily India)
  12. South Korea defeats Senegal, 2-0, in pre-World Cup friendly (Yonhap)
  13. Korean food goes global with International House of Korean Pancake (New York Times Magazine)

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