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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:16 March 09, 2016

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

(2nd LD) China tells Kerry its security interests must not be undermined

BEIJING -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Beijing's security interests must not be undermined, China's foreign ministry said Wednesday, in a veiled warning against the possible deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.

Wang made the remarks during a telephone conversation with Kerry earlier in the day as they discussed the current situation on the Korean Peninsula among other issues, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters at a press briefing.

China voices opposition to S. Korea's unilateral sanctions against N. Korea

BEIJING -- China on Wednesday voiced opposition to unilateral sanctions by South Korea against North Korea for its recent nuclear test and rocket launch, saying such sanctions "should not harm China's legitimate interests."

Under the punitive measures announced by South Korea on Tuesday, Seoul will slap new sanctions on 40 individuals and 30 entities linked to North Korea's arms program. It will also ban any ship that has stopped at a North Korean port in the past 180 days from entering South Korean waters.

Gov't toughens rules on medical doctor ethics

SEOUL -- South Korean doctors will face harsher punishments for ethical lapses or criminal acts related to medical services under new regulations unveiled Wednesday.

The measure by the Ministry of Health and Welfare came in response to a series of medical accidents and incidents including the 2014 death of Shin Hae-chul, a popular South Korean singer.

(4th LD) N. Korea says it has miniaturized nuclear warheads

SEOUL -- North Korea said Wednesday it has made nuclear warheads small enough to fit on ballistic missiles in its latest threat to South Korea and the United States, which have recently begun their annual joint military drills.

At a meeting with nuclear scientists and technicians, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said that his country has made a nuclear bomb lighter and achieved its "standardization," according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Japanese firm denies obligation to compensate forced laborers

SEOUL -- A Japanese firm is not liable to compensate five South Koreans who were forced to work for it when the country was under colonial rule in the first half of the 20th century, the company's legal representatives said in a court hearing Wednesday.

Fujikoshi Corp. has been cited for mobilizing some 1,000 Korean girls aged 13-15 as forced laborers at munitions factories during World War II.

Factional feud rocks ruling party

SEOUL -- The ruling Saenuri Party was mired in factional feud on Tuesday after one of its lawmakers was found to have overtly criticized the party's chairman.

A phone conversation transcript revealed that Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun, an influential member of one of the pro-President Park Geun-hye factions within the party, had used abusive language against Chairman Kim Moo-sung.

Ssangyong Motor eyes entering U.S. market in 4 yrs

SEOUL -- Ssangyong Motor Co., owned by India's auto giant Mahindra & Mahindra, plans to enter the U.S. market within four years to compete with global carmakers in one of the world's largest markets, its head said Wednesday.

The U.S. is regarded as a tough market for automakers due to fierce competition and the rigorous protection of customer rights.

Decline in bookstore continues in South Korea, data shows

SEOUL -- The number of independent bookstores is on a steady decline in South Korea, the latest data showed.

According to data released biennially by the Korea Federation of Bookstore Associations on Wednesday, the number is down by 4.1 percent to 1,559 in 2015 from 1,625 in 2013

S. Korea, Philippines to expand criminal investigation cooperation

SEOUL -- South Korea's Supreme Prosecutors' Office signed an agreement with its Philippine counterpart Wednesday to boost cooperation in criminal investigations and extradition of Korean fugitives.

The memorandum of understanding reached with the Philippines' National Prosecution Service and National Bureau of Investigation in Seoul, outlines the forming of a joint investigation team and the dispatching of personnel to the partner country in cases involving their respective nationals, the prosecutors' office said.

Military chief inspects on-going joint S. Korea-U.S. exercises

SEOUL -- South Korea's military chief inspected on-going military exercises with the U.S. forces on Wednesday, ordering "all-out" defense readiness against possible North Korean provocations.

"In order to break out of the current situation, (North Korea) is highly likely to launch further unexpected provocations," Gen. Lee Sun-jin, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during his visit to the Third Army earlier in the day.

(LEAD) S. Korea to be guest of honor at 2016 Paris Book Fair

SEOUL -- South Korea will take part in the Paris Book Fair next week as the guest of honor, as the country celebrates the 130th anniversary of diplomatic ties with France, the Seoul government said Wednesday.

The fair is expected to help promote exchanges among publishers in South Korea and France, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said in a release.

AMCHAM Korea delegation to visit Washington next week

SEOUL -- The leaders of the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) in South Korea will visit Washington D.C. next week to meet with senior U.S. officials and policymakers to discuss bilateral trade issues, the chamber said Wednesday.

AMCHAM Korea Chairman James Kim, CEO of GM Korea, will lead the six member delegation for the annual "doorknock" program from March 14-17 to share key economic issues with members of Congress and senior officials.

T-ara's Hyomin to release new solo album next week

SEOUL -- Hyomin of K-pop girl group T-ara will return with her second solo album next week, the singer's talent agency said on Wednesday.

Hyomin's latest solo album "Sketch," with a title track of the same name, will be released on March 17 at midnight on major music streaming services, her star label MBK Entertainment said.

It's Skin to enter Indian cosmetic market

SEOUL -- It's Skin Co., South Korea's fourth-largest cosmetic maker, said Wednesday it will enter the Indian market through a partnership with local retail giant Dabur India.

It's Skin signed a memorandum of understanding with Dabur to sell 120 kinds of cosmetics in its New U beauty retail chain, stepping up its overseas bid beyond China, Japan and Southeast Asian nations.

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