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Yonhap News Summary

All News 16:38 January 06, 2020

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

(3rd LD) Cheong Wa Dae replaces secretaries in organizational change

SEOUL -- Cheong Wa Dae announced an organizational change and the replacement of some secretaries Monday as part of efforts to streamline its operations and put fresh vigor into state affairs.

The measure was made public a day before President Moon Jae-in's formal New Year's address in which he will detail the direction of his policy this year.

Unification ministry to expand bureau in charge of inter-Korean exchanges

SEOUL -- The unification ministry plans to carry out an internal shake-up to expand its bureau in charge of cross-border exchanges and cooperation, a government source said Monday, in an apparent effort to revive the stalled inter-Korean relations.

The reorganization plan also calls for establishing a new division that will take charge of border cooperation issues, such as Seoul's push to turn the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which bisects the two Koreas, into a global peace zone.

USFK declines to comment on reported deployment of MQ-9 drones

SEOUL -- U.S. Forces Korea declined Monday to confirm a news report that the type of strike drones used in the recent killing of a top Iranian general has been deployed to South Korea.

The local evening daily Munhwa Ilbo reported that the U.S. "tentatively deployed" MQ-9 Reaper drones on the Korean Peninsula "recently." The U.S. used the same type of drone to kill Iran's top military commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, last week.

Number of fires, fire deaths fall in 2019

SEOUL -- The number of fires and fire deaths in South Korea fell last year from the previous year, but the volume of property damage caused by fires surged to a record volume, according to data released by a government agency Monday.

The National Fire Agency said a total of 40,030 fires occurred in the nation in 2019, resulting in 284 deaths and 2,219 injuries.

Seoul stocks sink 1 pct on Mideast tensions

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks plunged by almost 1 percent on Monday amid looming military tensions in the Middle East that are sending global oil prices skyrocketing. The Korean won lost ground against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 21.39 points, or 0.98 percent, to close at 2,155.07. Trading volume was moderate at about 587.5 million shares worth some 5.1 trillion won (US$4.35 billion), with losers outnumbering winners 783 to 101.

U.S. flies surveillance aircraft to monitor N. Korea amid tensions

SEOUL -- The United States flew surveillance aircraft over the Korean Peninsula on Monday, an aviation tracker said, amid simmering tensions over possible provocative acts by North Korea after it warned of a "new strategic weapon."

An RC-135W Rivet Joint of the U.S. Air Force carried out operations over South Korea at 31,000 feet, Aircraft Spots tweeted. It added the flight took place Monday.

Cho Kuk quizzed by prosecutors again in ex-vice mayor's bribery case

SEOUL -- Cho Kuk, former justice minister and senior presidential secretary, was again questioned Monday over his suspected role in ending an inspection into bribery allegations involving a former Busan vice mayor.

Cho reportedly attended a questioning at the Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors Office as part of an ongoing probe surrounding allegations that some presidential officials deliberately closed an inquiry into bribery allegations of former Busan Vice Mayor Yoo Jae-soo.

YG's new boy band, Treasure, to debut this month

SEOUL -- YG Entertainment, the home to boy bands BIGBANG and WINNER, will officially launch a new 12-member boy group, Treasure, this month, the company said Monday.

"Treasure, reconfigured as a 12-piece team, plans to come up with a variety of new content through many various channels starting in January," YG said in a press release.

Ex-Toronto reliever believes Ryu Hyun-jin will be successful with Blue Jays

SEOUL -- During this baseball offseason, South Korean veteran reliever Oh Seung-hwan found himself uniquely qualified to offer advice to two countrymen who will play in major league cities where Oh has pitched before.

First, it was left-hander Kim Kwang-hyun, who left the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals, for whom Oh pitched from 2016 to 2017. Then former Los Angeles Dodgers starter Ryu Hyun-jin joined the Toronto Blue Jays, where Oh spent the first half of the 2018 season before being dealt to the Colorado Rockies.

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