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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 April 17, 2017

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

(3rd LD) U.S. VP Pence visits DMZ amid rising tensions

SEOUL -- U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Monday visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas in an apparent move to underscore the robust alliance with South Korea against the North's unrelenting saber-rattling.

Upon arrival at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjeom inside the DMZ, Pence said "all options are on the table" although Washington wants to achieve security peacefully. He also called the U.S. relationship with the South "ironclad and immutable," according to the AFP.

Prosecutors to indict Park, conclude investigation into corruption scandal

SEOUL -- Prosecutors will indict ousted President Park Geun-hye on Monday on bribery and other charges related to 13 criminal allegations, and conclude their probe into the influence-peddling scandal that brought her down, prosecution sources said.

Prosecutors have sought to wrap up their monthslong investigation and Park's indictment before this week's launch of the official campaign for the May 9 presidential election. The official campaign period kicked off earlier in the day, with 15 hopefuls vying for the top elected office.

(2nd LD) Daewoo shipyard's main bondholder accepts debt rescheduling proposal

SEOUL -- The main bondholder of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. on Monday agreed to the debt rescheduling measures proposed by the state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) led creditors, paving the way for the troubled shipyard's other bondholders to support the plan.

After a weeks-long tussle over the debt rescheduling proposal, the National Pension Service (NPS) said earlier in the day that it has accepted the plan to keep the troubled shipbuilder afloat.

(2nd LD) Official campaign for presidential vote kicks off with 15 contenders

SEOUL -- The official electioneering period for the country's upcoming presidential election began Monday with 15 hopefuls vying for the top elected office.

The 22-day campaign period will end one day before the May 9 election, according to the National Election Commission.

Police beef up security ahead of May presidential election

SEOUL -- The National Police Agency (NPA) opened its election security headquarters in Seoul and supporting offices at police stations across the country Monday as the official campaign period for the upcoming presidential election kicked off.

The offices will operate 24 hours a day, and police will maintain a high level of security until the May 9 election day.

N.K. sets up special operation forces amid military tensions

SEOUL -- North Korea has formed special operation forces for the first time in an apparent show of military strength, an analysis on North Korea's media reports showed Monday, amid tensions over its nuclear and missile program.

The country unveiled the existence of the Korean People's Army (KPA) special forces for the first time at a military parade Saturday to mark the 105th birthday of late founder Kim Il-sung, according to an analysis on the reports by Yonhap News Agency.

British band Coldplay honors Sewol tragedy victims in Seoul concert

SEOUL -- British rock band Coldplay paid tribute to the victims of the Sewol ferry tragedy, South Korea's worst maritime disaster to-date, during its recent Seoul concert, according to the concert organizer Monday.

In its Sunday concert at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, the band paused during the middle of performing "Yellow," followed by frontman Chris Martin saying, "We want to stop this show right now because of this song and because of the Sewol ferry (tragedy)," a Facebook video from Hyundai Card, which invited Coldplay to Seoul, showed.

Followers of former U.N. chief announce support for Ahn Cheol-soo

SEOUL -- Claimed supporters of Ban Ki-moon, the former South Korean secretary-general of the United Nations, on Monday declared their support for the presidential candidate of the center-left People's Party.

The group, claiming to have 70,000 members, said its members will support Ahn Cheol-soo in the May 9 presidential election.

Major shipyards forecast to have returned to black in Q1

SEOUL -- South Korea's major shipyards such as Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. are widely expected to have swung back into the black in the first quarter of the year from a year earlier, largely thanks to cost-cutting measures, industry sources said Monday.

According to the sources, Samsung Heavy Industries Co., a major shipyard here, is expected to have racked up an operating income of 38 billion won (US$3.3 million) in the first quarter on sales of 2.1 trillion won. Last year, Samsung Heavy suffered a loss of 139 billion won.

Torch relay for PyeongChang 2018 to start in Nov.

SEOUL -- The torch relay for the first Winter Olympics in South Korea will begin on the day when the countdown reaches 100 days, the event's organizers said Monday.

The organizing committee for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games said the Olympic flame, as per the 80-year tradition, will be lit in Olympia, Greece, the site of the ancient Olympic Games, on Oct. 24. The flame will travel around Greece for a week and will be handed over to a PyeongChang delegation on Oct. 31 in Athens.

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