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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 January 06, 2017

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

Japan calls in top envoy in S. Korea in protest of comfort women statue

TOKYO -- Japan called in its ambassador to South Korea on Friday in protest against a statue symbolizing the victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery in front of its consulate building, local media reports showed.

The statue, which was installed at the end of last year by a civic group before the Japanese Consulate building in the southern port city of Busan, has become a diplomatic thorn between the two countries, as Tokyo demands its immediate removal.

Former Oxy CEO gets 7-year term for toxic humidifier sterilizers

SEOUL -- A Seoul court on Friday sentenced a former head of Oxy Reckitt Benckiser to seven years in prison, more than five years after the scandal over the household goods maker's toxic humidifier sterilizers came to light.

The Seoul Central District Court convicted Shin Hyun-woo, 68, of selling the products without going through due safety checks, and affecting 181 people, including the deaths of 73.

(LEAD) S. Korea, U.S., Japan agree to accelerate efforts to increase pressure on N. Korea
(ATTN: ADDS Blinken's remarks in paras 6-11; ADDS byline)

WASHINGTON -- South Korea, the United States and Japan agreed Thursday to step up joint efforts to increase pressure on North Korea after the communist nation threatened that it's close to perfecting a long-range ballistic missile.

South Korean Vice Minister Lim Sung-nam, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama reached the agreement when they held the last round of deputy-level trilateral consultations under the outgoing U.S. administration.

(3rd LD) Samsung Electronics estimates Q4 operating profit to jump nearly 50 pct
(ATTN: ADDS analysts' comments in last 5 paras; latest share price in para 8)

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. predicted Friday that its fourth-quarter operating profit last year may have jumped about 50 percent on-year, beating market expectations as strong sales of chips and displays appeared to help offset losses from a global recall of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones.

Operating profit is estimated at 9.2 trillion won (US$7.72 billion) in the October-December period last year, up 49.84 percent from the same quarter of 2015, Samsung said in a statement.

Culture ministry to focus on preparations for PyeongChang Olympics in 2017

SEOUL -- South Korea's culture and sports ministry said Friday it will place top priority on preparing for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics with the key international sporting event just 14 months away.

The government will also support the development of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) content as a growth engine in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution while enhancing the people's chances of enjoying culture, sports and tourism activities.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism reported its 2017 policy plan to Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn.

Gov't to open fish farming business to conglomerates

SEJONG -- The government will selectively open the fish farming business to conglomerates and set up a third management agency to guard the country's southern waters from illegal Chinese fishing, the oceans ministry said Friday.

In a policy goal report for 2017, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said it will allow large conglomerates to operate fish farms for salmon, bluefin tuna and other kinds that require high-cost facility investments. Companies with total assets of more than 500 billion won (US$419.6 million) or annual sales of over 100 billion won are eligible.

The size of allowed offshore farms will be enlarged to 60 hectares from the current 20 hectares, the ministry reported.

S. Korea brings latest technologies to CES

SEOUL -- South Korea will showcase a wide range of advanced technologies and products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, providing their Korean developers a chance to introduce their products to the rest of the world, a trade agency said Friday.

The state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) said it has set up the largest-ever Korea pavilion with 64 separate booths run by 55 small and medium-sized firms from the country, many of them startups.

The CES kick-started its four-day run Thursday (U.S. time).

"The small and medium-sized enterprises making up this year's Korea pavilion drew keen attention from many visitors and buyers from various countries with their advanced technologies and innovative ideas," KOTRA said in a press release.

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