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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:00 January 12, 2018

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

Top commander vows full military support for Olympics security

SEOUL -- South Korea's highest-ranking military officer inspected the preparedness of the country's troops Friday for the security of the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.

Gen. Jeong Kyeong-doo, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), reaffirmed that the military will provide "maximum support" for the success of the quadrennial event to open next month in the eastern province of Gangwon, according to the JCS.

He was visiting the ad-hoc "on-site command posts" in PyeongChang and Gangneung, where the Olympics will take place from Feb. 9-25, followed by the 10-day Paralympics to kick off March 9.

S. Korea celebrates opening of 2nd terminal at Incheon airport

SEOUL -- South Korea's transport ministry and Incheon International Airport Corp. (IIAC) held an event on Friday to celebrate the opening of a second passenger terminal at Incheon International Airport.

The second terminal at the Incheon airport begins commercial operations on Jan. 18, with Korean Air Lines Co. scheduled to make the first flight from the new terminal at 7:55 a.m. to Manila, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said in a statement.

The ceremony, attended by 1,000 people, was also held four weeks ahead of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, which are slated for Feb. 9-25, to promote the expansion of the country's main gateway to the world, the statement said.

N.K. calls for total suspension of Seoul-Washington military drills

SEOUL -- North Korea's propaganda outlet called for the total suspension of joint military drills between South Korea and the United States on Friday, in response to the allies' decision to delay them until after the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

The North's website Uriminzokkiri said that dialogue and a "war rehearsal" cannot go together, calling the exercises the source of catastrophe for the Korean Peninsula.

"They should totally stop the military drills, not just delay them," it said in a commentary.

IT industry watches for fallout on blockchain due to cryptocurrency bans

SEOUL -- Local IT firms and academics raised concerns on Friday that the government crackdown on cryptocurrency trading may adversely affect the blockchain sector, the core technology of such transactions.

The justice ministry on Thursday moved in on the virtual currency market that has become overly speculative, with regulators currently unable to keep pace with developments in areas such as security against hacking, money laundering and other potential abuses. The ministry said it will legislate bans on digital currencies and could ultimately shut down domestic exchanges.

Firms engaged in blockchain-related businesses drew the line on possible effects from the government action, saying that virtual currencies like bitcoin are only one of the many services of blockchain, an open, distributed ledger system that is safe to use.

S. Korea preparing for Pyongyang's possible participation in PyeongChang Paralympics

SEOUL -- South Korea's Paralympic committee said Friday it is preparing to invite North Korea to the PyeongChang Winter Paralympics, which are slated for March, amid hope of inter-Korean reconciliation through sporting events.

During the first official talks between the two Koreas in more than two years, North Korea said earlier this week that it plans to send a delegation of athletes to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, also raising the possibility that the North could join the Paralympic Games in March.

"To bring North Korea to the Winter Paralympics, we have been making various efforts, including sending invitations to Pyongyang with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC)," an official from the Korean Paralympic Committee told Yonhap News Agency in a phone call.

KOSDAQ trading suspended on bio shares surge

SEOUL -- The Korea Exchange temporarily suspended trading of the KOSDAQ market Friday afternoon as the secondary market jumped more than 3 percent on a bio stock rally.

KOSDAQ rose 3.69 percent from Thursday's close to 883.98 points shortly before 2 p.m., leading to a five-minute sidecar, a restraining measure adopted in case of a sudden market fluctuation, the Seoul bourse operator said.

Prosecutors raid 3 ex-presidential aides' homes for suspected bribery in NIS probe

SEOUL -- Prosecutors said Friday they raided the residences of three former aides to ex-President Lee Myung-bak as part of a probe into allegations that they accepted bribes from the National Intelligence Service (NIS) between 2008 and 2012.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office sent its investigators to search the houses of Kim Paik-joon, a former senior presidential secretary for administrative affairs; Kim Hee-joong, one of Lee's private secretaries and Kim Jin-mo, an ex-official at Cheong Wa Dae's civil affairs office.

They confiscated evidence including mobile phones, documents and computer files, the prosecutors' office said.


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