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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:03 January 03, 2020

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

(LEAD) Air Force chief oversees patrol mission in new year

SEOUL -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Won In-choul oversaw an air patrol mission while flying a fighter jet on Friday in a show of his commitment to maintaining a staunch defense posture in the new year, his office said.

Aboard an indigenous FA-50 fighter jet, Won commanded a formation flight over southern South Korea near the Nakdong River. The areas Won flew over were fierce battlefields during the 1950-53 Korean War.

(LEAD) Moon eyes export growth, 'win-win leap' in economy this year

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in chose South Korea's largest vehicle export port as the venue for his first field visit of the year Friday, a show of his government's resolve to support the development of environment-friendly automobiles and pull off a rally in exports, a key pillar of the country's economy.

"Today, we are starting a new decade to make a leap into the world's big-four export powerhouses by 2030," he said in a speech delivered at the Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port, some 70 kilometers southwest of Seoul.

(LEAD) N.K. nuclear or ICBM test highly unlikely in near future: U.S. expert

SEOUL -- North Korea is unlikely to conduct a nuclear or long-range missile test in the near future, even though the communist nation threatened to show the world a "new strategic weapon," an American expert has said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made the threat during a key meeting of the ruling Workers' Party held through Dec. 31, accusing the United States of abusing their nuclear negotiations to stall for time for its own political and diplomatic interests.

2 dead, 1 injured in Incheon crane collapse

INCHEON -- Two workers were killed and one other was injured when a 30-meter-high tower crane collapsed at a construction site in Incheon, west of Seoul, on Friday, police said.

In the 8:32 a.m. accident at the site for the construction of a cutting tool manufacturer's headquarters, a 58-year-old worker and a 50-year-old worker, both from a crane installment company, were killed. Another worker, 34, from the same company sustained an injury on his left arm and was taken to a nearby hospital.

Finance minister urges financial firms to focus on risk this year

SEOUL -- Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki on Friday called for banks and other financial firms to improve their risk management processes and channel more funds into the real economy.

Hong made the remarks at a meeting for the new year with heads of economic and financial institutions, including Bank of Korea Gov. Lee Ju-yeol and Finance Services Commission Chairman Eun Sung-soo.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks trim gains on escalating Middle East tensions, Korean won sharply down

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks pared earlier gains to close nearly flat Friday as escalating tension in the Middle East spooked investor sentiment. The Korean won sharply fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 1.29 points, or 0.06 percent, to end at 2,176.46. Trade volume was moderate at 622 million shares worth 5.6 trillion won (US$4.8 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 422 to 391.

Moon to issue formal New Year's message next week

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in plans to release his official New Year's message next week, in which he's expected to clarify and specify his policy priorities, his office said Friday.

He will read out a statement, broadcast live, at the main building of Cheong Wa Dae in advance of a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the presidential office said.

Samsung tipped to log better earnings in 2020 after bottoming out in Q4

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest producer of memory chips and smartphones, is expected to see its earnings improve this year after bottoming out in the fourth quarter of last year, on the back of a recovery in the global chipmaking sector and a low base effect, analysts said Friday.

According to industry tracker FnGuide, the median market estimate for Samsung Electronics' operating profit is about 6.6 trillion won (US$5.7 billion) in the October-December period, down 38.9 percent from 10.8 trillion won a year ago.

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