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(LEAD) Saenuri leader begins two-day tour to check typhoon damage

All Headlines 14:46 October 06, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS more info in 6th para)

SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Yonhap) -- Saenuri Party leader Lee Jung-hyun embarked on a two-day tour of South Korea's typhoon-hit southern region Thursday, marking the first onsite trip since he halted a weeklong hunger strike over the parliamentary speaker's political neutrality standoff.

Despite his doctor's advice to rest a little longer, the ruling party chief pushed ahead with his trip to offer his encouragement to residents in Ulsan, Busan, Yangsan and Jeju Island that have been reeling from the aftermath of Typhoon Chaba that struck the region a day earlier. He ended his hunger strike on Sunday.

His trip began with a visit to the Daejeon National Cemetery to pay his respects to the three Navy officers who died after their Lynx helicopter crashed into waters off the country's east coast last month during military drills between South Korea and the United States.

In the guestbook at the cemetery, Lee wrote, "To uphold the noble spirits of you who have dedicated to safeguarding the Republic of Korea and its people, I and the Saenuri Party will renew ourselves."

Later in the day, Lee plans to travel first to Ulsan, the hardest-hit city, and then to Busan and Yangsan. The next day, Lee will visit the affected areas on the southern resort island of Jeju.

In Busan, Lee plans to hold an emergency government-party meeting to discuss how to support the victims of the latest typhoon.

According to the Ministry of Public Safety and Security, the typhoon has left seven people dead and three others missing as of 1 p.m. Thursday.

Before returning to Seoul, the Saenuri chief plans to visit his constituency in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province, to meet with his supporters and take a brief rest, his aides said.

Saenuri Party leader Lee Jung-hyun pays his respect to the three Navy officers who were killed in a chopper crash last month, at the Daejeon National Cemetery in Daejeon, 164 kilometers south of Seoul, on Oct. 6, 2016. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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