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Yonhap News Summary

All News 12:09 February 02, 2017

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

(2nd LD) Consumer prices growth hits over 4-yr high in Jan.

SEJONG -- South Korea's consumer prices rose at the fastest clip in more than four years in January on a sharp rise in food prices, government data showed Thursday.

The country's consumer price index gained 2 percent last month from a year earlier, accelerating from the previous month's 1.3 percent rise, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

(LEAD) Mattis departs for S. Korea on first overseas trip aimed at reaffirming alliance

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis departed for South Korea on Wednesday in his highly symbolic first overseas trip designed to underscore the U.S. security commitment to the Asian ally in the face of a saber-rattling North Korea.

The trip, which also includes a stop in Japan later this week, comes as tensions are running high on the Korean Peninsula after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the country is close to test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile apparently capable of reaching the U.S.

U.S. could consider pre-emptive strike as possible option for N.K.: researcher

SEOUL -- The United States could consider a pre-emptive strike as a possible option to deal with North Korea's evolving nuclear weapons capabilities, given that its new diplomatic and national security team is comprised of many hardliners, a researcher of a Seoul-based state-run think tank said Thursday.

In the report on the outlooks for U.S.-China relations under the new administration in Washington, Lee Ji-yong, a researcher of the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS), also underlined the need for South Korea to open communication channels with the North to help resolve the drawn-out nuclear stalemate.

70 percent of Americans support long-term U.S. military presence in S. Korea: survey

WASHINGTON -- About 70 percent of Americans believe the U.S. should have long-term military presence in South Korea, a survey showed Wednesday.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs survey, conducted jointly with research institutes in five other nations, also showed that 62 percent of South Koreans are supportive of long-term U.S. military presence in their country.

N. Korean soldiers cross into China to get firewood: report

SEOUL -- North Korean soldiers have been seen crossing into China to illegally cut trees for firewood as part of efforts to beat the cold as they suffer a shortage of heating timbers, a U.S. broadcaster reported Thursday.

"An increasing number of North Korean border guards who risk being caught cross the border to gather firewood on the Chinese side," a source in northern Yanggang Province told Radio Free Asia.

Less emphasis on traditional family, marriage values: survey

SEOUL -- More South Koreans, noticeably young people and women, are putting less emphasis on traditional values such as family and marriage, a survey showed Thursday.

The survey was conducted by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHASA) on people aged over 18 in 2006 and 2016. It showed that 46.4 percent of the respondents agreed that married women are happier than single women in 2016, compared to 57.1 percent in 2006

Ticket lottery for 2018 Winter Olympics to open next week

SEOUL -- The online ticket lottery for the first Winter Olympics in South Korea will open next week, when the countdown to the competition reaches one year, its organizers said Thursday.

The organizing committee for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games said the first window to apply for tickets will stay open from 2 p.m. next Thursday to April 23. PyeongChang, located some 180 kilometers east of Seoul in Gangwon Province, will mark the one-year countdown to the Olympics on the first day of the lottery.

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