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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:12 October 30, 2018

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

Parliamentary panel on inter-Korean economic cooperation sets sail

SEOUL -– A parliamentary special committee on inter-Korean economic cooperation held its first meeting Tuesday and ruling and opposition party lawmakers pledged efforts for bipartisan cooperation.

The creation of the ad hoc panel was finalized earlier this month amid rapprochement on the Korean Peninsula that was highlighted with three inter-Korean summits this year.

Nine in 10 defectors wished for unification while living in N. Korea: poll

SEOUL -- Nine out of 10 North Korean defectors believed inter-Korean unification was very much needed when they lived in the North, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The poll, based on interviews with 87 defectors, by the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University, showed 90.8 percent of respondents saying that they thought unification was very necessary during their stay in the North. The interviews were conducted in one-to-one meetings between June and August.

(News Focus) S. Korea, Japan brace for stormy ties after court ruling on WWII victims

SEOUL -- The already tumultuous relations between South Korea and Japan were dealt a fresh blow Tuesday with a landmark ruling by Seoul's top court which acknowledged individual rights to compensation for damage caused during Japan's brutal colonial rule.

It has opened a "Pandora's box" for the neighboring countries dogged by a decadeslong history of territorial disputes, officials and experts here said.

(2nd LD) Supreme Court orders Japanese firm to provide compensation for wartime forced labor

SEOUL -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a Japanese steelmaker to compensate four South Koreans for wartime forced labor and unpaid work, casting clouds over already soured ties between the two neighbors.

The top court upheld an appeals court ruling in 2013, which ordered Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. (NSSM) to pay each plaintiff 100 million won (US$87,720) in compensation. Only one of the four victims who started the lawsuit remains alive.

Life of forgotten Korean independence fighter against Japan unveiled in France

SAINT-BRIEUC, France -- A forgotten Korean independence fighter contributed to Korea's struggle against Japanese colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula after immigrating to France about 100 years ago, his kin said Tuesday.

The achievements of Hong Jae-ha (1898-1960), who came to France via Russia and the North Sea and helped the Korean independence movement against the 1910-45 rule, have remained shrouded in the history.

Upcoming tvN series adds laugh-inducing twist to old Korean fairytale

SEOUL -- In the popular Korean folktale "The Fairy and the Woodcutter," the fairy successfully retrieves her winged clothes and goes back to heaven with her two children, leaving her grieving woodcutter husband behind.

In the upcoming television series "Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter," a fairy's husband passes away in a tragic accident and she waits for 699 years for him to be reincarnated. She lives to the present day and now works as a barista in a cafe tucked away on Mount Gyeryong. One day, she bumps into two men, one of whom she believes is very likely the reincarnation of her former husband.

Shinhan Bank raises US$500 mln in bond issue

SEOUL -- Shinhan Bank said Tuesday it has raised US$500 million in a global bond offering to repay short-term debt and secure liquidity.

The five-year unsecured bonds have a coupon rate of 3.875 percent, Shinhan Bank said.

N. Korea ideal for construction of smart cities, Seoul scholar says

SEOUL -- North Korea is an ideal location for the construction of smart cities, a South Korean expert has said, proposing concrete measures to boost inter-Korean economic cooperation.

Min Kyung-tae, a North Korea expert at the Seoul-based Yeosijae, Future Consensus Institute, said that it is very efficient to build smart cities in North Korea if the entire Korean Peninsula is viewed as one system.

Top U.S. nuke envoy reaffirms allies' shared objective of denuclearizing N. Korea

SEOUL -- The top U.S. nuclear envoy reaffirmed Tuesday that Washington and Seoul have the same objective of denuclearizing North Korea amid concerns about a possible rift between the allies in dealing with the communist state.

"We want the same thing for the Korean Peninsula: peace and stability, primarily the denuclearization of North Korea," Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, said at a meeting with Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon in Seoul.

PM questions law on reducing criminal punishment in case of mental disorders

SEOUL -- Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon instructed the justice ministry Tuesday to look into the criminal code to see if it's right to reduce the punishment for crimes committed when the perpetrators are mentally ill.

The Article 10 of the Criminal Act states that the act of a person who, because of a mental disorder, is unable to make discriminations or to control one's will, shall not be punished. It also says the punishment shall be mitigated in case the perpetrator is deficient in such abilities because of a mental disorder.

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