Bank of Korea chairperson, Kim Choong Soo, worries about Japan’s suddenly strong yen.
The yen fell against the dollar and the won after the G-20 refrained from censuring Japanese policies that have driven the currency’s decline. Bank of Korea Governor Kim Choong Soo said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in Moscow that the monetary authority will closely monitor the impact of Japan’s policy stimulus on the South Korean economy.
“There were expectations the G-20 would comment on the Japanese currency and that didn’t happen,” said Jeon Seung Ji, an analyst at Samsung Futures Inc. in Seoul. “That’s prompting the drop in the won, which had gained a lot” before the meeting, she said.
Another “bell and whistle” gimmick South Korea’s new rocket gurus need to master is snazzy live TV feeds. NASA-TV’s live feed provided computer-generated video replete with data of its TDRS-K launch yesterday, and watching the stages separate or the sheath housing the satellite falling away had all the feel of a PC game. And, night launches are more photogenic. Is the United States feeling the heat from Korean upstarts?
“With this launch, NASA has begun the replenishment of our aging space network,” said Jeffrey Gramling, TDRS project manager. “This addition to our current fleet of seven will provide even greater capabilities to a network that has become key to enabling many of NASA’s scientific discoveries.”
TDRS-K was lifted into orbit aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41. After a three-month test phase, NASA will accept the spacecraft for additional evaluation before putting the satellite into service.
The TDRS-K spacecraft includes several modifications from older satellites in the TDRS system, including redesigned telecommunications payload electronics and a high-performance solar panel designed for more spacecraft power to meet growing S-band requirements. Another significant design change, the return to ground-based processing of data, will allow the system to service more customers with evolving communication requirements.
Former American Senator and Minority Leader, Everett Dirksen, quipped that “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money.”
South Korea’s Unification and Finance ministries are divided over the billions – indeed, trillions – of won South Korea will pay for unification. The most recent, post-election, Finance version is cheaper than the 2011 Unification numbers, but that rosier scenario includes assumptions and predictions about the economic health of both states, and how unification could alleviate structural problems, like an aging South Korean population and energy consumption.
Korean unification will increase both the economically active population and capital investment, improve productivity, and invigorate foreign economic cooperation, all of which will contribute to increasing the potential growth of the Korean economy. Corporation facilities investment and infrastructure investment, including transportation and communication, is expected to increase. There will be long-term synergy effects, such as a reduction in costs arising from separation (national defense, diplomacy, etc) and a boost to economic cooperation. Energy development projects are expected to become more efficient as underground resources in North Korea are developed, and the North and South are connected through gas pipelines and power grids. The diffusion of risk on the Korean peninsula will enhance economic cooperation and accelerate joint cooperation with regional neighbors, such as China and Japan. There are fiscal burdens associated with unification, such spending on social security, expanding social overhead capital facilities, and improving institutions. In the case that Korea reunifies by 2020, the cost of reunification will amount to 1%-7% of GDP annually for 10 years. Even though tax revenues will increase due to economic growth, the fiscal burden of unification will be considerable and it is possible for sovereign debt to increase.
In other words, what has changed in a year is not the real costs of unification, which are staggering, but electoral gain in South Korea.