■ Trade \nS Korean firms move north \nWithin months, more than a dozen South Korean com-panies will set up shop in a long-delayed North Korean industrial park to take advantage of cheap labor there, Seoul's Trade Minister Hwang Doo-yun said on Saturday. Hwang said the Kaesong Industrial Complex project just north of the demilitarized zone Pyong-yangwas suddenly more viable due to an agreement struck on Saturday in economic talks in Pyong-yang to reopen railway and road connections severed 50 years ago. He said more than 600 companies have expressed interest in invest-ing in the North, which has begun to introduce market reforms in an effort to revive an economy shat-tered after a succession of natural disasters worsened by mismanagement. \n■ China \nCellphone use booms \nOne in four Chinese people will have a mobile phone by the end of the year, as the world's most populous country consolidates its status as the largest cell market, state media said yesterday. By later this year, it is expected that 24.5 percent of the people, or about 320 million, will own a cellular phone, the Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Ministry of Information Industry. In the first four months of this year, China's mobile phone users rose by 27.1 million people to 295.8 million, Xinhua said. Cellphones account for about half of all operating revenue in China's telecom industry, with short message and wireless Internet services seen as important growth sectors, the agency said. \n■ Banking \nJapanese clean up loans \nEconomic and Fiscal Policy Minister Heizo Takenaka said yesterday that the Japanese economy has entered a final stage of bad loan disposal. Several banks are still suffering sizable bad loans, "but overall situations have changed," Takenaka said in a TV interview. "Japan is now facing the last hurdle of bad loan disposal." Last month, three of the biggest banks, including Mizuho Financial Group, reported spectacular returns to profit in the year to March after they aggres-sively tackled the problem. But UFJ Holdings Inc, still under pressure, announced a net loss of ?402.8 billion (US$3.6 billion) in sharp contrast to a profit of ?78 billion yen it projected in April. Takenaka said UFJ could even speed up bad loan disposal by asking for the cooperation of the Industrial Revitalization Corp of Japan, a govern-ment body designed to help troubled companies. \n■ Gambling \nMGM Mirage bids for rival \nThe casino group MGM Mirage has made a US$4.85 billion offer to acquire rival Mandalay Resort Group in a bid to create the US' biggest gambling empire. Mandalay said in a statement it would review MGM Mirage's offer, which was announced late on Friday. MGM Mirage offered to buy its rival for US$68 per share in a US$4.85 billion cash trans-action and assume a US$2.8 billion debt, bringing the total offer to around US$7.65 billion. MGM Mirage already owns the MGM Grand, Bellagio, Treasure Island and New York-New York hotels. If the offer is accepted, MGM Mirage would add to its roster the luxurious Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, giving the group three of the biggest hotels in Nevada gambling mecca. Mandalay Resort also owns the pyramid-shaped Luxor hotel and the medieval-themed Excalibur Hotel and Casino.
CONSOLIDATION? Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general Doong Sy-chi said Beijing’s intimidation tactics are further alienating those who identify as Chinese Only 2 percent of respondents to a poll on constitutional amendments and national identity identified as Chinese, while 62.6 percent identified as Taiwanese, the Taiwan Thinktank said yesterday. Legislators have proposed amendments to the Additional Articles of the Constitution (憲法增修條文), which would change the definition of the nation’s territory, remove the Taiwan Provincial Government as an entity, prioritize the use of “Taiwan” for national groups at international events, and remove restrictions on defining the national emblem, national flag and national anthem. The poll showed that 80.5 percent of respondents agreed that the nation should participate as “Taiwan” at events organized by world
NO SIGN OF WAR: Only if Taiwanese showed determination to defend the nation would others be willing to help in the event of a Chinese attack, the premier said Should China launch a war against Taiwan, the military would fight to the last standing person, Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) said yesterday, adding that the nation has fully fleshed-out defense strategies. “Beijing has continued its acts of provocation against Taiwan, but there are currently no signs that it is ready to launch a full-scale war,” Yen said at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. Asked how long Taiwan could withstand an attack from China, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said: “Taiwan will not fall.” Any belligerent force that initiates acts of war would pay a heavy price, and so too would Beijing,
Two Japanese virtual YouTubers (VTubers) were suspended by their employers on Sunday after mentioning Taiwan and showing the national flag during a livestream, stoking controversy that was inflamed further when it was discovered that their management company issued distinct apologies in Japanese and Mandarin. While reading YouTube analytics over livestream on Thursday and Friday last week, Hololive VTubers Kiryu Coco and Akai Haato named Taiwan as contributing a high percentage of viewers. Users on the Chinese video streaming platform Bilibili were quick to criticize the two and report their accounts, prompting Hololive’s parent company, Cover Corp, to suspend the streamers for three
MISTAKE: The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is not a UN body, and the government is committed to protecting the nation’s name, Joseph Wu said The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for listing Taiwanese cities as belonging to China on its Web site, and asked that it correct the error. The organization was inaugurated in Brussels in 2016 as a global coalition of mayors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Six Taiwanese cities at the time joined the coalition as cities in “Taiwan,” the ministry said. However, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government — one of the organization’s members — last week noticed that the city was now listed on the organization’s Web site as a