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Yonhap News Summary

13:30 June 24, 2022

The following is the first summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Friday.

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(LEAD) In key party meeting, N. Korea approves strengthening 'war deterrent,' state media says

SEOUL -- North Korea approved an "important issue" to strengthen its "war deterrent" during a three-day high-profile party session on defense policies and strategies earlier this week, state media said Friday.

Also decided was to "supplement the operation duties" of frontline troops with an "important military action plan," according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), which carried a report on the results of the third enlarged meeting of the eighth Central Military Commission (CMA) of the Workers' Party of Korea that finished the previous day. It did not provide details such as what the duties are and whether the nuclear issue was on the agenda.

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S. Korea's fuel consumption jumps in May despite higher oil prices: data

SEOUL -- Consumption of gasoline and diesel in South Korea jumped more than 40 percent in May from a month earlier, as expanded fuel tax subsidies channeled pent-up demand from the pandemic, data showed Friday.

The combined consumption of the two fuel types reached 24.82 million barrels, up 43 percent from 17.35 million barrels logged in April, according to the data by Petronet, an online petroleum information provider run by the Korea National Oil Corp.

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(LEAD) Annual peace forum opens amid N. Korea's brinkmanship, U.S.-China hegemony competition

SEOUL -- Senior government officials and national security experts gathered at a Seoul forum on Friday to explore ways to deal with multiple challenges facing the Korean Peninsula amid a rapidly changing global security environment stemming from Russia's invasion of Ukraine and a growing rivalry between the United States and China.

The symposium, co-hosted by Yonhap News Agency and the Ministry of Unification, opened at Lotte Hotel earlier in the day under the main theme of "U.S.-China-Russia Competition for Hegemony in the President Yoon Suk-yeol Era."

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(Yonhap Interview) KAI sees aircraft deal opportunities amid Ukraine war

SEOUL -- Korea Aerospace Industries Co. (KAI), South Korea's sole aircraft manufacturer, is seeing new opportunities for aircraft deals from Eastern Europe and developing countries amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, a company executive has said.

Demand for South Korean aircraft is on the rise, particularly from countries that need to beef up their self-defense capabilities or need to refill their depleted weapons stockpiles following arms support to Ukraine.

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Trade deficit expected to widen in June on fewer working days, strike: official

SEOUL -- South Korea's trade deficit is expected to widen this month compared with a month earlier due mainly to fewer working days and a trucker strike, the finance ministry said Friday.

The country had national holidays for the June 1 local elections and Memorial Day on June 6, and truckers staged a weeklong strike over a minimum wage scheme and other state supports earlier this month, disrupting and delaying production and outbound shipping.

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House panel advances 2023 defense bill maintaining U.S. troop level in S. Korea

SEOUL -- The U.S. House Armed Services Committee has endorsed an annual defense policy bill for the fiscal year 2023 maintaining the current level of around 28,500 American troops in South Korea, according to media reports Friday.

The proposed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 also directs the defense secretary to brief the committee no later than March 1 next year on how the Pentagon will continue to strengthen its long-term security commitment to South Korea.

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U.S. Treasury's Yellen to visit S. Korea next month: gov't source

SEOUL -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen plans to visit South Korea next month for meetings with her counterpart, Choo Kyung-ho, and other officials, a government source Friday.

During what would be her first trip here since assuming the post in January last year, the secretary is expected to focus consultations on economic policy coordination under South Korea's new Yoon Suk-yeol administration amid growing concerns about inflation.

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Construction contracts rise 10.7 pct in value in Q1

SEJONG -- The value of construction contracts in South Korea climbed more than 10 percent in the first quarter of the year on more public and private projects, government data showed Friday.

The value of civilian and public work contracts in Asia's fourth-largest economy came to 73.1 trillion won (US$56 billion) in the January-March period, up 10.7 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

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Top Coast Guard officials offer to resign en masse over fisheries official's death

INCHEON -- Top Coast Guard officials, including Commissioner General Jeong Bong-hun, offered to resign en masse Friday, days after the agency overturned its previous announcement that a fisheries official killed by North Korea in 2020 was attempting to defect to the North.

Last week, the Coast Guard and the defense ministry announced they had not found any circumstances backing the probe results from two years ago, reversing from their previous stance and apologizing to the bereaved family.

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Seoul shares sharply up late Fri. morning after extended market rout

SEOUL -- Seoul shares traded sharply higher late Friday morning after the market plunged to a 19-month low the previous session amid growing concerns about a recession.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 53 points, or 2.29 percent, to 2,367.32 as of 11:20 a.m.
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