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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 November 21, 2019

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

(2nd LD) Biegun believes N.K. can still make choice to denuclearize

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun said Wednesday that he has not seen concrete evidence that North Korea plans to dismantle its nuclear weapons program but believes Pyongyang can still make that choice.

Biegun made the remark before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a confirmation hearing on his nomination as deputy secretary of state.

Minister expects more U.S.-N. Korea talks this year

WASHINGTON -- South Korean Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said Wednesday he expects the United States and North Korea to have one or two more opportunities to discuss the regime's nuclear weapons program before the end of the year.

Speaking at a seminar at the U.S. Institute of Peace, the minister also said it will be important for the two sides to seize those opportunities because it is uncertain if they will ever return.

S. Korea elected to UNESCO executive board

SEOUL -- South Korea has been elected to the executive board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the fourth consecutive term since 2007, Seoul's foreign ministry said Thursday.

The election to the 58-member body for the 2019-2023 period took place at the 40th UNESCO General Conference in Paris on Wednesday. Since its first election in 1987, South Korea has held the executive board membership, except for the 2003-2007 period.

(Yonhap Feature) Celebrities open YouTube channels to ride new media trend

SEOUL -- Lee Eun-hee, an office worker living in Seoul, subscribes to the YouTube channel of South Korean golfer Ko Jin-young, the 2018 Rookie of the Year and the current World No. 1 in the LPGA tour.

"Ko Jin Young Ko Jin Young Ko," the player's YouTube channel, shows the professional golfer's daily life between tournaments in the United States and Canada. The first video, posted in September, is about her daytrip to Niagara Falls in August while visiting Ontario for the CP Women's Open, which she won.

Switzerland to donate $70,000 in aid to N. Korea

SEOUL -- Switzerland has decided to donate around US$70,000 in humanitarian assistance to North Korea, an American broadcaster reported Thursday.

According to Voice of America, Switzerland will make the donation to the North through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

NSC to discuss post-GSOMIA strategy

SEOUL -- South Korea's top security officials will hold a weekly meeting Thursday that is expected to focus on security cooperation in the looming absence of an accord with Japan on exchanging military information.

The arrangement, called GSOMIA, is slated to expire at 12 a.m. Saturday due to Seoul's decision made in response to Tokyo's export restrictions.

S. Korea eyes striking FTAs with 12 more countries by 2022

SEOUL -- South Korea's trade ministry said Thursday it plans to strike free trade agreements (FTAs) with 12 more countries by 2022, which will further allow Asia's No. 4 economy to expand its presence covering around 90 percent of the world's combined gross domestic product with its FTAs.

"Amid growing protectionism around the globe, and growing tension between the United States and China, South Korea will focus efforts on penetrating into new markets," Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee said during a meeting with officials from trade-related organizations.

U.S. committed to maintaining current level of troops in S. Korea: defense ministry

SEOUL -- The United States reaffirmed its commitment to maintain the current level of U.S. troops in South Korea during last week's annual defense ministers' meeting, the defense ministry here said Thursday.

It was the ministry's response to some media reports that the U.S. is considering bringing a brigade home from the South should Seoul refuse to accept a fivefold increase, or around US$5 billion per year, in the upkeep of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK).

S. Korea sends back dead body presumed to be N. Korean citizen

SEOUL -- South Korea sent back a dead body presumed to be a North Korean citizen to the North on Thursday after it was found in waters off the country's west coast earlier this month, the unification ministry said.

The body was delivered to the North through the truce village of Panmunjom at around 11:10 a.m., according to the ministry that handles inter-Korean affairs.

Exhibition presents audio records documenting key moments in turbulent modern Korean history

SEOUL -- A rare exhibition kicked off in Seoul on Thursday to walk visitors through key moments in modern Korean history through rare historical audio records.

The exhibition, "An Audible Witness to History," at the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History, is scheduled to run till March 1 next year.

Seoul stocks extend losses late Thursday morning

SEOUL -- South Korean shares traded sharply lower late Thursday morning as renewed worries about a U.S.-China trade deal dampened market sentiment, led by a foreign sell-off.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) tumbled 32.94 points, or 1.55 percent, to reach 2,092.38 as of 11:20 a.m.

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