Saturday, October 17, 2009

Korea news links for October 17, 2009

"Money for nothing and the chickens for free." That could be the theme song of North Korea as they try to extract more aid from Seoul — but at least they're calling it humanitarian aid — in exchange for the family reunions the South so desperately wants. Holding a bunch of septuagenarians and octogenarians emotional hostage... stay classy, Kim Jong-il.
  1. 2.46 trillion won Incheon Bridge, Korea's longest at 21.38 kilometers, officially opens to connect downtown Inchon with Incheon International Airport (Korea Times, Korea Herald)
  2. South Korean foreign exchange controls spook foreign investors (Reuters)
  3. General Motors will pay state-run Korea Development Bank, GM Daewoo's largest creditor, 125.8 billion won ($109 million) as loans mature (Reuters, WSJ, Korea Herald)
  4. Hannara Party representative says North Korea is holding 154,000 political prisoners in six concentration camps (Donga Ilbo, AFP)
  5. Samsung to build $2.6 billion LCD plant in Suzhou, China, to meet growing Chinese demand (Reuters, Joongang Daily)
  6. Inter-Korean talks fail to reach an agreement on more family reunions as Pyongyang asks for humanitarian aid in exchange for visits (AP via WaPo, UPI, BBC, Xinhua, Joongang Daily, Korea Herald)
  7. Fifty-three-year-old man with cardiac disorder is nation's sixteenth H1N1 "swine flu" death (Korea Herald)
  8. US to grant rare visa to DPRK official Ri Gun to meet with North Korea scholars and experts in New York; may also meet with US diplomat (BBC, NYT, Reuters via WaPo)
  9. An EU car industry representative says Europe's small car makers stand the most to lose in ROK-EU FTA as Korean car prices would be cut by as much as 1500 euros (WSJ)
  10. South Korea and Peru begin fourth round of free-trade talks in Lima (Xinhua)
  11. Bank of Korea and Bank of Japan agree to extend $20 billion currency swap arrangement (Reuters)
  12. Iraqi-Japanese co-production Kick Off and South Korean film I'm In Trouble win top honors at Pusan International Film Festival (San Francisco Chronicle)
  13. In the latest escalation of the China-Korea culture war, Beijing registers urban gingko nut harvesters with UNESCO, calling their profession a centuries-old Chinese-Gaogouli tradition (BBC)

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