National Election Commission, "April 23 Is the Deadline to Promulgate Referendum Act Amendment," Constitutional Amendments in June Do Not Seem Likely
The National Election Commission announced that the referendum on constitutional amendments cannot be held simultaneously with the local elections on June 13 if the Referendum Act amendment is not publicly announced by April 23. Given that April 23 is a Monday, the National Assembly will have to pass the Referendum Act amendment by April 20, before the weekend. However, due to the disruption of the April special session, the possibility of lawmakers passing the Referendum Act this week is little, and constitutional amendments in June do not seem likely, either.
North and South Korean Leaders to Discuss the Korean Peninsula Peace Treaty
Cheong Wa Dae announced that the leaders of North and South Korea would discuss a transition from the armistice to a peace system on the Korean Peninsula during the summit on April 27. U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledged this and supported such efforts with his "blessings." Recently, Mike Pompeo, director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and one of President Trump's closest aides appointed to secretary of state, made a secret visit to North Korea and met with Kim Jong-un, chairman of the State Affairs Commission, and preparations for the North Korea-United States summit is also well underway.
Eyes on Change at Samsung As It Moves Away from 80 Years of No Labor Union
On April 17, Samsung Electronics Service decided to directly employ over eight thousand workers of over ninety partner companies and guarantee legal union activities. The latest decision is quite drastic, for the company has opted to directly hire the workers instead of maintaining its existing method뾢stablishing a subsidiary and having the subsidiary hire the workers of partner companies as regular workers. This is particularly noteworthy, for the irregular (temporary) workers of a large company will have their status switched to regular workers and because Samsung will practically abandon its "union-less management," a policy that the company had insisted on for eight decades.
Cheong Wa Dae's Solo Handling of State Affairs Backfires
The recent resignation of Kim Ki-sik as the chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission revealed a negative aspect of state administration led by Cheong Wa Dae. Cheong Wa Dae insisted on openly backing Kim Ki-sik, and now that Kim has stepped down, Cheong Wa Dae faces a political burden, and the ruling party has also lost its bargaining power against the opposition.
In particular, as Cheong Wa Dae took the initiative in state administration, the cabinet was neglected, and efforts to communicate and cooperate with the National Assembly were lacking.
We'll Go Bankrupt, If You Don't Sign the Agreement Soon
Is this a happy ending? Perhaps everyone will say so. Or maybe they believe it to be so.
Let's look back. It is 9 p.m. on March 30. The labor and management of Kumho Tire signed an agreement that mentioned the sale of the company to the Chinese company, Doublestar. This happened three hours before the deadline for court receivership set by the Korea Development Bank (KDB). That morning, Kim Dong-yeon, the deputy prime minister for economic affairs, said, "Court receivership is inevitable if there is no agreement," and Cheong Wa Dae released a statement saying, "We will not solve this problem with politics. This is the opinion of President Moon Jae-in." The labor union, which had claimed to be absolutely against the overseas sale of the company, eventually succumbed. Ten days after the resolution of the Kumho Tire incident, on April 10, the STX Shipbuilding case was settled in the same way. Although the labor and management of STX missed their deadline for the submission of the letter of comfort by one day to avoid court receivership, the Korea Development Bank accepted their agreement. "We will handle things according to the plan if things deviate from our principle. If they have no voluntary recovery plan, we will begin the process to apply for court receivership," the government and the Korea Development Bank said, and such pressure was effective.
Intervention in Real Politics Using Fandom: The Dangerous Evolution of a Digital Political Broker
Kim (48, a.k.a. D-ruking) was arrested for manipulating the number of recommendations of online comments on Naver, and as the details of his actions are being disclosed to the public, the term, a modern day digital political broker, has emerged. This is because the actions of some "power bloggers" and engineers with political clout resemble the behavior patterns of election brokers and "heads" of professions and local organizations who used to run rampant in previous elections.
D-ruking, a Pro-Moon “Power Blogger,” Demanded the Consul-General Position in Osaka
On April 15, it was confirmed that Kim (48), who was arrested for manipulating online public opinion criticizing the Moon Jae-in government, asked a Democratic Party of Korea lawmaker for the consul general position in Osaka after the presidential election. Kim is a famous critic who has been active online under the name, D-ruking, and had shown a pro-Moon Jae-in tendency.
This incident triggered controversy after it was revealed that Kim was a member of the party and that he had secretly been in contact with Kim Kyoung-soo, a Democratic Party lawmaker, via the messenger, Telegram.
Cultural Festival, Yellow Ribbons, and a Shamanistic Ritual for the Dead, "We Won't Forget"
Events commemorating the victims and calling for the disclosure of the truth were held nationwide ahead of the fourth anniversary of the Sewol disaster. On April 15 at Mokpo New Port, where the Sewol is located, a cultural festival remembering the four years after the Sewol accident was held. Over seventy of the bereaved families of the victims attended this day's event. Citizens also visited in memory of that day. Choi Sang-yeol (51), from Dongnae-gu, Busan, said, "Everything that the people want to know, such as why the ferry sank, has to be clearly disclosed."
Supreme Court's Ruling on Mobile Service Subscription Fees
Court Pulls the Brakes on Mobile Operators' "Unknown" Cost of Services: Will 4G Be Cornered, Too?
One of the Moon Jae-in government's major campaign pledges was to lower telecommunication service subscription fees, and on April 12 the Supreme Court made a final decision ordering mobile operators to disclose their cost data, supporting the public opinion in favor of lowering telecommunication fees. Although data concerning LTE, a service used by the majority of subscribers since the spread of the smartphone, was excluded, the latest decision will allow the public to access information on the grounds for calculating mobile service subscription fees, making it easier to monitor the fees and keep them in check. Mobile operators are refraining from openly opposing the Supreme Court ruling, but an air of concern about growing pressure for lower rates can be clearly felt.
More Voices Call for Kim Ki-sik to Step Down: Cheong Wa Dae Facing the Opposition Head on
Public opinion calling for Kim Ki-sik, chairman of the Financial Supervisory Service to step down is growing louder. Kim is at the center of controversy for allegedly enjoying overseas business trips costing tens of millions of won paid by institutions under his supervision. The Liberty Korea Party raised additional allegations against Kim and all four opposition parties including the Justice Party are calling for Kim to step down.
However, on April 12, Cheong Wa Dae consulted the National Election Commission on its interpretation of Kim's actions to determine whether they were legitimate and maintained its position against Kim's resignation. This is fueling political conflicts concerning the future status of Kim.