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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 February 29, 2016

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

Presidential official meets with Chinese nuclear envoy

SEOUL -- A senior presidential official met with China's top nuclear envoy on Monday, an official said, the latest in a series of consultations between the neighbors over looming U.N. sanctions on North Korea.

Cho Tae-yong, deputy chief of South Korea's presidential national security office, held talks with Wu Dawei at Cheong Wa Dae, South Korea's presidential office, presidential spokesman Jeong Yeon-guk said, without elaborating.

S. Korea to extend US$500 mln in ODA by 2020

SEOUL -- South Korea plans to extend a total of US$500 million won in financial assistance to developing countries by 2020 to meet its obligations to the international community, the government said Monday.

The Prime Minister's Office said it finalized the size of Seoul's official development assistance (ODA) program for the next five years.

N.K. calls for economic self-reliance in the face of U.N. sanctions

SEOUL -- North Korea on Monday called for strengthening its economic self-sufficiency as the United Nations Security Council is poised to slap tougher sanctions on the country for its nuclear and missile programs.

"Imperialists stick to the scheme to choke liberal countries' economies and coerce them into submission by pushing for sanctions and containment," said the Rodong Sinmun, North Korea's main newspaper.

Former Olympic champ wants South Korean marathoners to run with 'desperation'

SEOUL -- Former Olympic-winning marathoner Hwang Young-cho is still excited when he talks about his gold medal run at the 1992 Summer Olympics Games in Barcelona, Spain.

Hwang's victory washed out South Koreans' painful memory that dates back to 1936. At the Berlin Olympics, the late Sohn Kee-chung took gold in marathon but couldn't celebrate his victory because he had to wear the Japanese flag as Korea was under Japan's colonization.

New subway train with wider seats to be introduced

SEOUL -- The Seoul metropolitan government said Monday it will introduce new subway trains with wider seats beginning late next year.

To be first introduced on Seoul subway's No. 2 line, each seat will be widened so that six people can sit in a row instead of the current seven.

College graduates outside labor force double over 15 years

SEOUL -- The number of college graduates outside the labor force has more than doubled over the past 15 years due to a rise in those who gave up looking for jobs amid a prolonged economic slump, government data showed Monday.

South Korean college graduates who are neither employed nor unemployed reached 3.35 million in 2015, compared with 1.59 million in 2000, according to the data by Statistic Korea.

Film on 'comfort women' tops 1 million views in 5 days

SEOUL -- A local movie about the abhorrent suffering of the Korean women who were forced into sexual enslavement by imperialist Japan during World War II topped weekend ticket sales, data showed Monday.

"Spirits' Homecoming" attracted 767,071 moviegoers from Feb. 26-28, the first weekend after its cinema launch on Wednesday, according to cinema ticketing services. During the same period, the film was put on the silver screen 8,956 times nationwide and accounted for 30.4 percent of all weekend ticket sales.

China likely to tighten enforcement of U.N. sanctions on N. Korea: scholar

BEIJING -- China is likely to tighten its enforcement of U.N. sanctions against North Korea as the North's nuclear test and rocket launch this year appear to change a calculus of the Chinese Communist Party on how to solve the North Korean problem, according to a Chinese scholar on Monday.

Last week's agreement by the United States and China on a draft U.N. resolution, which includes a ban on the supply of aviation fuel to North Korea, was evidence of the shift in Beijing's stance towards its only treaty ally Pyongyang, said Li Kaisheng, research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

Customers set to sue imported auto brands over tax refunds

SEOUL -- South Korean drivers are expected to file a class-action lawsuit against some foreign auto brands, such as Volkswagen, over their decisions not to offer any tax refunds, industry sources said Monday.

Last week, the automakers, including BMW and Mercedes-Benz, decided not to offer any tax refunds to their customers, claiming that the government's tax cut had already been reflected in their ramped-up sales promotions and automobiles' price tags.

E-land's hypermarket sale boils down to three-way race

SEOUL -- South Korea's two biggest retailers -- Shinsegae and Lotte -- have joined the bid to take over E-land Group's hypermarket chain to expand their existing store networks, along with U.S.-based private equity firm KKR, industry sources said Monday.

Kim's Club, the nation's fourth-largest supermarket chain with 37 outlets, was put up for sale in November as E-land decided to reduce debt and focus on its fashion and restaurant franchise business.

Clinton called N. Korea's disclosure of uranium enrichment plant 'very disturbing'

WASHINGTON -- Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed serious concern while in office in 2010 after learning that North Korea showed an American nuclear scientist a uranium enrichment plant in operation, according to newly released Clinton emails.

Clinton called the development "very disturbing," according to a Nov. 13, 2010, email sent to her deputy chief of staff after he forwarded to her a report that Stanford University professor Siegfried Hecker wrote about his trip to the North that included a visit to the North's Yongbyon nuclear complex.

Clinton emails show efforts to win Senate confirmation of Amb. Sung Kim

WASHINGTON -- The State Department made all-out efforts in 2011 to break a hold that a senator had put on the confirmation of then-nuclear envoy Sung Kim as ambassador to South Korea, newly released emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton showed.

After serving as special envoy for the six-party talks on ending North Korea's nuclear program, Kim was nominated by President Barack Obama in June 2011 to be his top envoy in Seoul.

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