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Yonhap News Summary

All Headlines 17:00 December 13, 2019

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

Biegun to visit Seoul next week ahead of N.K. year-end deadline

SEOUL -- U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun will visit Seoul next week, the foreign ministry said Friday, just weeks ahead of Pyongyang's year-end deadline for Washington to show flexibility to advance their stalemated nuclear talks.

His three-day visit starting Sunday will come amid rising tensions in the wake of Pyongyang's apparent rocket engine test last week and Washington's subsequent warnings against additional "hostile" acts.

Delivery Hero buys food delivery app Baemin in US$4 bln deal

SEOUL -- Germany-based Delivery Hero has agreed to buy South Korea's top food delivery app operator Woowa Brothers Corp. for US$4 billion, industry officials said Friday.

The German company, which also has second-biggest delivery player Yogiyo under its wing, will acquire an 87 percent stake in Woowa Borthers, which operates delivery app Baedal Minjok, or Baemin, from existing investors such as Goldman Sachs and Singaporean fund GIC, they said.

(2nd LD) N. Korea could announce end to nuke talks later this month: think tank

SEOUL -- North Korea could announce an end to denuclearization talks with the United States when it convenes a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party later this month, a state-run think tank said Friday.

The North said last week it will convene a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the WPK later this month to address "crucial issues in line with the needs of the development of the Korean revolution and the changed situation at home and abroad."

S. Korea, U.S. to hold defense cost-sharing talks in Seoul next week

SEOUL -- South Korea and the United States will hold a new round of negotiations in Seoul next week on the sharing of the cost for stationing American troops here, the foreign ministry said Friday, amid few signs of either side giving ground.

Seoul's chief negotiator Jeong Eun-bo and his U.S. counterpart James DeHart are set to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday over how much Seoul should pay for the upkeep of the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea (USFK). They last met in Washington early this month.

(LEAD) S. Korea mulls over military role in Strait of Hormuz

SEOUL -- South Korea seems to have begun exploring concrete ways in earnest to help ensure freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz amid apparent pressure from the United States.

Briefing media on the results of a weekly session of the National Security Council's (NSC) standing committee Thursday, Cheong Wa Dae said its members reviewed how to contribute to the international community's efforts to protect South Korean people and ships "in the vicinity of the Strait of Hormuz" and secure maritime security there.

S. Korean rookie falls to Tiger Woods in Day 2 of Presidents Cup

MELBOURNE -- South Korean golfer An Byeong-hun came up just short of slaying the giant at the Presidents Cup on Friday.

An, one of seven rookies for the International Team, and Hideki Matsuyama of Japan lost to Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas of the United States 1-up in the foursome match on Day 2 of the match play competition at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

Former KBO MVP announces retirement

SEOUL -- Yoon Suk-min, former MVP-winning pitcher in South Korean baseball, announced his retirement Friday at age 33.

The Kia Tigers in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said Yoon has decided to call it a career, with his long rehab from a shoulder injury stalled.

Korean Air to allow passengers to buy tickets with mileage and cash together

SEOUL -- Korean Air Lines Co., South Korea's national flag carrier, said Friday it will allow combined payment with cash and mileage for flight tickets from late 2020 to better serve its customers.

Starting from November next year, customers can purchase tickets using their accumulated mileage together with cash or credit card, Korean Air said in a statement.

Court rejects second damage suit against former President Park

SEOUL -- A local court on Friday dismissed a second damage suit filed against former President Park Geun-hye by hundreds of ordinary citizens who claim to have suffered mental distress caused by Park's abuse-of-power and corruption scandal.

The Seoul Southern District Court rejected the damage suit launched in June 2017 by about 340 citizens, who demanded a combined compensation of about 150 million won (US$128,000), or 500,000 won per person, insisting that they suffered mental pain and damages due to Park's abuse-of-power and corruption scandal.

Samsung has sold 1 mln Galaxy Fold smartphones: exec

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. has sold one million Galaxy Fold smartphones, the company's president has claimed, as the South Korean tech giant's first foldable handset apparently exceeded market expectations.

According to the U.S. tech media TechCrunch on Thursday, Samsung Electronics President Sohn Young-kwon said during a conference in Berlin that the company has sold 1 million Galaxy Folds so far, double the industry's earlier estimate.

Convenience stores continue to halt sales of flavored e-cigarettes

SEOUL -- Major convenience stores have suspended sales of flavored e-cigarettes, industry sources said Friday, following the government's warning against the use of such products for health concerns.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety announced that substances suspected of causing severe lung injuries were detected in 13 e-cigarette liquids sold here.

S. Korea withdraws bid to host 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup

SEOUL -- South Korea has pulled out of the race to host the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, citing disagreements with the sport's international governing body.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) announced on Friday that it withdrew its bid to stage the premier women's football tournament. Friday was the deadline for interested countries to submit their bid book to FIFA.

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