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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 January 20, 2016

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

Defense minister, top U.S. diplomat discuss joint reaction to N. Korea's nuke test

SEOUL -- Defense Minister Han Min-koo and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken held talks Wednesday as the allies are quickening moves to punish North Korea for its defiant nuclear test earlier this month.

"Despite repeated warnings and worries by the international community, North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test, and it is a grave threat to the Korean Peninsula and the international community," Han said in the opening of the talks held in the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul.

(LEAD) Gov't calls for parliamentary endorsement of anti-terrorism bills

SEOUL -- The government renewed its call on Wednesday for the parliamentary approval of anti-terrorism bills to protect the lives of South Koreans, citing growing threats of terrorism both at home and abroad.

In addition to the first bill proposed by the government in 2011 following the 9/11 attacks, a number of anti-terrorism bills are currently pending in the National Assembly.

S. Korea's beef imports hit record high in 2015

SEJONG -- South Korea's beef imports surged to a new record high in 2015 mainly due to a spike in local meat prices, government data showed Wednesday.

Asia's fourth-largest economy imported more than US$1.81 billion worth of beef last year, smashing the previous record of $1.67 billion in 2014, according to the data by the Korea Customs Service (KCS). It was also the highest tally since the agency started keeping such data in 1995.

(Yonhap Feature) Korean dried seaweed looks beyond dining table to snack market

SEOUL -- What's your favorite way to eat dried seaweed?

If you are a Korean, you may want to have a bowl of rice with dried seaweed, roasted with sesame oil and fine salt, and kimchi. Dried seaweed pressed into a dark green sheet is called "kim," a homonym for the most common family name in Korea.

(LEAD) N.K.'s 'technical capability' has not increased after nuclear test: senior U.S. official

WASHINGTON -- North Korea's nuclear capability is not believed to have increased despite the communist nation's latest nuclear test, a senior U.S. missile defense official said Tuesday.

"I would assess their technical capability has not increased," Vice Adm. James Syring, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, said when he was asked about his assessment of the North's nuclear test during a discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Cold wave sweeps most parts of Korea for three consecutive days

SEOUL -- Most parts of the country were hit by a severe cold wave early Wednesday morning, with South Korea's weather service issuing a cold wave advisory for the third consecutive day.

As of 5 a.m., temperatures had dropped to minus 13.9 degrees Celsius in Seoul, minus 18.3 degrees in Paju, minus 11.6 degrees in Suwon, minus 12.1 degrees in Incheon and minus 17.2 degrees in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province.

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