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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:24 June 16, 2017

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

Justice minister nominee refuses to withdraw despite controversy

SEOUL -- The nominee for South Korea's justice minister apologized Friday for his illegal marriage registration decades ago, but refused to withdraw his nomination, defending himself against other allegations about his ethical views and qualifications.

Ahn Kyong-whan, a law professor and former chief of the state human rights watchdog, was tapped on Sunday by President Moon Jae-in to become the next justice minister. He faces a parliamentary confirmation hearing in less than two weeks.

(LEAD) Support for president's performance further gains ground: poll

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in's approval rating notched up again this week, reflecting steadfast support for the new liberal leader, a poll showed Friday.

According to a poll by Gallup Korea, 83 percent of Koreans held a positive view of his performance as the country's leader, up 1 percentage point from the previous survey last week. Only 10 percent disapproved while 7 percent did not answer.

N.K.'s freeze on nukes would be precondition for dialogue: nominee

SEOUL -- South Korea's unification minister-nominee said Friday that he agreed that a freeze on North Korea's nuclear programs would be a precondition for opening inter-Korean talks.

Cho Myoung-gyon made the remark after President Moon Jae-in said Thursday that South Korea is willing to hold unconditional dialogue with the North if Pyongyang does not make additional nuclear and missile tests.

N.K. drone presumed to have spied on THAAD angle: lawmaker

SEOUL -- A recent drone infiltration, presumably by North Korea, appeared aimed at gathering intelligence on the deployment angle of a U.S. missile defense system rolled out in South Korea, a lawmaker said Friday.

Lee Cheol-woo of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, who chairs the parliament's intelligence committee, made the remarks a day after he was briefed by the National Intelligence Service on the latest drone incursion.

Megabox follows CGV, Lotte Cinema in not screening 'Okja'

SEOUL -- Megabox has decided not to show internationally acclaimed South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's Netflix film "Okja" following the country's two other major cinema chains, movie industry sources said Friday.

"We reached the conclusion after much discussion that it's hard to accept a plan to simultaneously release the movie on Netflix and in movie theaters," a Megabox official said. "We informed Next Entertainment World of our final position," it said, referring to the movie's local distributor.

S. Korea's won expected to remain steady despite U.S. policy tightening

SEOUL -- South Korea's won currency is likely to remain steady for the time being, despite U.S. Federal Reserve's move to tighten its monetary policy, analysts here said Friday.

The won has risen 6.9 percent against the U.S. dollar so far this year, and the local currency market showed a muted reaction after the Fed raised interest rates by 25 basis points as expected.

S. Korean tech giants beef up after-sales services in U.S.

SEOUL -- South Korean tech giants are seeking to bolster their after-sales services in the United States to appeal to consumers and narrow the gap with their archrival Apple Inc., industry sources said Friday.

Samsung Electronics Co. has been providing what it calls "premium care" services in the U.S., allowing users to receive various services for monthly pay of US$11.99, along with on-site visits by tech experts.

S. Korea's export prices down 1 pct in May on strong won

SEOUL -- South Korea's export prices fell slightly in May from a month earlier due to the strong won and a drop in oil prices, central bank data showed Friday.

In local currency terms, overall export prices fell 1 percent month-on-month in May, according to preliminary data provided by the Bank of Korea (BOK). Still, year-on-year, export prices jumped 5.3 percent last month, marking the seventh consecutive month of gains.

(LEAD) U.S. student released from N. Korea has severe brain damage: doctor

WASHINGTON -- A comatose American college student released from North Korea this week has severe brain damage and is in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness," a doctor was quoted as saying Thursday.

Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old University of Virginia student, returned to his Ohio home in a coma earlier this week after spending 17 months in the North on charges of stealing a political propaganda poster. North Korean officials claimed Warmbier fell into a coma in March last year due to botulism and a sleeping pill.

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