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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:31 January 12, 2017

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

(2nd LD) Samsung heir questioned as bribery suspect in influence-peddling scandal

SEOUL -- Samsung's heir apparent was questioned by investigators as a bribery suspect Thursday as special investigators in Seoul accelerated their probe into the influence-peddling scandal centered on President Park Geun-hye and her friend.

Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., appeared before the investigation team's office in southern Seoul to undergo questioning over suspicions the country's largest business group gave undue financial support to Park's friend Choi Soon-sil in return for business favors.

(3rd LD) US imposes sanctions on N.K. leader's sister over human rights violations

WASHINGTON/SEOUL -- The United States imposed sanctions on the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Wednesday for her links to human rights violations in the communist nation.

Kim Yo-jong, the leader's younger sister and vice director of the Workers Party's Propaganda and Agitation Department, was among seven North Korean officials and two agencies that the State Department blacklisted for their roles in the regime's human rights violations.

(LEAD) FM speaks with Kerry amid renewed historical tensions with Japan

SEOUL -- Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se spoke by phone with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday, the ministry said, amid heightened tensions between Seoul and Tokyo over a statue symbolizing Japan's wartime sexual slavery.

Tensions have flared anew between the two American allies after South Korean civic activists erected the girl's statue in front of Japan's consulate in the South Korean port city of Busan.

(LEAD) S. Korea approves Volkswagen's recall plan on faked emissions vehicles

SEOUL -- The South Korean government said Thursday it has approved German carmaker Volkswagen's recall measures for its sports utility vehicles that were found to have been sold in the country using fake emissions-related documentation.

The Ministry of Environment said the recall plan for 27,000 Tiguans submitted by the auto giant met the standards in terms of emissions and fuel efficiency.

Park considers rebutting corruption allegations

SEOUL -- Impeached President Park Geun-hye is actively considering issuing another statement to rebut a string of corruption allegations against her, political sources said Thursday, as public sentiment has deteriorated amid an accelerating probe into the high-profile scandal involving her close friend.

When and how Park will deliver her message has yet to be decided, the sources said.

S. Korean finance minister vows to control household debt

NEW YORK -- South Korea's finance minister on Wednesday pledged to put the country's mounting household debt under control and prevent it from spreading to systemic risks.

"Household debt has been on the rise, but we can definitely slow down the pace," Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho said in a conference on the South Korean economy held at a hotel in New York. "The government has implemented some measures and the rising pace of household debt has been turned down."

Teen figure skater trying to keep focus on present, not hype

SEOUL -- At the tender age of 15, Cha Jun-hwan is the hottest thing in South Korean figure skating today.

The lithe teenager -- an adolescent in a young man's body -- is fresh off his first senior national title in the men's singles last weekend, with a competition record score of 238.07 points at Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung, some 230 kilometers east of Seoul.

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