Samsung Group Sees Formation of Integrated Labor Union Across Four AffiliatesSignificant Moments in Korean History Spanning Over a CenturyNational Human Rights Commission of Korea Advocates for Bridging Digital Divide Among ElderlyNew DAPA Commissioner Commits to Accelerating South Korea’s Weapons Procurement

SEOUL — A landmark unified labor union, encompassing the labor unions of four affiliates under Samsung Group, including the tech giant Samsung Electronics Co., was inaugurated on Monday. This consolidation represents a significant development in the labor landscape of South Korea's largest conglomerate.

According to Yonhap News Agency, The establishment of the unified labor union aims to address and reform the current labor relations framework, which the union claims applies a uniform approach across all affiliates, irrespective of each entity's specific business conditions, workforce structure, and interests. According to a statement from the union, the new entity will prioritize the enhancement of worker welfare and the cultivation of a positive and constructive management-labor relationship, steering clear of political affiliations or the influence of larger umbrella unions.

The unified union's membership currently spans unionized employees from Samsung Electronics' device sector, Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance Co., Samsung Display Co., and Samsung Biologics Co. An additional labor union from Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co. is slated to join in May, further expanding the union's influence. At present, the union boasts a membership of 15,800 across the four companies, including 6,100 from Samsung Electronics, with projections indicating an increase to 17,900 members following the inclusion of Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co.

SEOUL — Today marks a series of significant events in Korean history, encompassing milestones that have shaped the nation’s socio-political landscape and its relations with neighboring countries, particularly Japan and North Korea, as well as its alliance with the United States.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the journey begins on February 20, 1920, with the establishment of the Korean Aviation School in Willows, California. Founded by Korean independence activists, the institution played a crucial role in training pilots to combat the Japanese colonial rule over Korea from 1910 to 1945. This endeavor highlighted the early efforts of Koreans in exile to contribute to their homeland's liberation struggle.

In 1963, the nation witnessed the commissioning of its first Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) class, with 1,769 students being appointed as second lieutenants. This development underscored the country's efforts to strengthen its military capabilities amid the Cold War tensions in the region.

The Treaty on Basic Relations between the Republic of Korea and Japan, initialed on February 20, 1965, marked a pivotal moment in establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. The treaty also annulled all pre-1910 agreements, a period before Korea fell under Japanese colonial rule. However, the lack of an apology from Japan for its colonial occupation sparked significant opposition within Korea.

February 20, 1996, saw South Korea and Japan agree to establish a 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), setting fishing quotas and restricting the number of vessels in each other's EEZs, indicating a move towards resolving longstanding fisheries disputes.

A notable diplomatic event occurred on February 20, 2002, when South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and U.S. President George W. Bush visited Dorasan Station, near the border with North Korea, demonstrating the strong alliance between South Korea and the United States and urging North Korea toward reform and openness.

In 2003, tensions spiked as a North Korean fighter briefly entered South Korean airspace, an incident that followed a similar intrusion by a North Korean transport plane in 1983, highlighting the ongoing military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The year 2005 saw South Korea expressing its regret to China for repatriating a former South Korean soldier to North Korea, a move that underscored the complex dynamics involving Korea’s post-war history and its relations with neighboring China.

In 2006, former President Kim Dae-jung postponed a planned trip to North Korea, reflecting the intricate interplay between inter-Korean relations and domestic political considerations in South Korea.

The burial of Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, South Korea's first Roman Catholic cardinal and a prominent advocate for democracy and human rights, took place in 2009, commemorating his contributions to the nation’s moral and social development.

A significant diplomatic event occurred in 2019, with Kim Hyok-chol, North Korea's special representative for U.S. affairs, arriving in Hanoi, Vietnam, to prepare for a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, highlighting ongoing efforts to address nuclear issues and improve bilateral relations.

Most recently, in 2023, South Korea announced additional independent sanctions on North Korea in response to its latest ballistic missile launches, signaling continued concerns over regional security and the challenges of dealing with North Korea's missile program.

These events collectively narrate the complex tapestry of Korean history, reflecting the nation's struggles, diplomatic efforts, and its ongoing quest for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.

SEOUL — The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) has called for immediate action to mitigate the digital alienation experienced by the elderly population, recommending the implementation of tailored training programs and the development of senior-friendly digital devices.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the proposal was made to the science minister earlier this month, emphasizing the need for digitalization training courses designed to meet the unique preferences and demands of senior citizens. The commission suggests that such training should include options for at-home instruction to accommodate those who may not easily travel to training centers.

The human rights body also urged the government to establish guidelines that would compel manufacturers to incorporate "universal designs" in their products, ensuring that digital devices are accessible and user-friendly for individuals of all ages and abilities.

The commission highlighted the challenges faced by older adults who struggle with the use of digital devices, noting that such difficulties have been exacerbated by the increasing reliance on mobile applications and kiosks in everyday transactions, a trend that has gained momentum in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To further support the elderly, the NHRCK recommended the establishment of a digital help desk and hotline service, which would be available to assist seniors with any technology-related inquiries or issues at any time.

Moreover, the watchdog stressed the importance of enacting laws to codify these guidelines, ensuring that the rights of seniors to access digital information and services are both protected and facilitated.

This initiative underscores the growing recognition of the digital divide as a significant issue affecting the elderly, particularly in an era where technology plays a crucial role in daily life. The NHRCK's recommendations aim to promote inclusivity and prevent the social isolation of seniors by enhancing their ability to engage with the digital world.

SEOUL — The newly appointed chief of South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) pledged on Monday to expedite the country's weapons procurement process to enhance military readiness against North Korean threats efficiently and promptly.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the commissioner of DAPA, during his inauguration ceremony in Gwacheon, just south of Seoul, he outlined a strategy focused on strengthening the "three-axis" deterrence system. This system is crucial for tracking, detecting, and striking North Korean missile threats and adapting to future warfare through the integration of emerging technologies.

Seok, who has a background as a retired Army major general with extensive experience in military strategy and planning, emphasized the necessity of overhauling the acquisition system. This overhaul aims to allow for the "swift and flexible" procurement of advanced technologies, including areas like artificial intelligence, networks, drones, space, and cyber capabilities.

Additionally, Seok committed to supporting defense companies in their endeavors to export weapons systems internationally. This support is part of South Korea's broader goal to become the world's fourth-largest defense exporter by 2027. He mentioned plans to "diversify financial support measures for arms exports and deepen international cooperation in major markets" as part of a suite of policy support measures aimed at achieving a 5 percent share of the global arms export market by the targeted year.

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