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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 January 08, 2020

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

(3rd LD) Samsung beats Q4 earnings estimate, set for better performance in 2020

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. expected market estimate-beating fourth-quarter earnings Wednesday on a slight recovery in chip prices but suffered its worst performance in four years in 2019 due to a prolonged slump in the chipmaking sector.

The world's No. 1 memory chipmaker estimated its fourth-quarter operating income at 7.1 trillion won (US$6.1 billion), down 34.26 percent from a year earlier, but the reading was well above the median market estimate of 6.5 trillion won, largely on the back of a slight recovery in chip prices and better-than-expected market response for its smartphones.

S. Korea ready to take steps over Mideast tension: finance minister

SEOUL -- South Korea is ready to swiftly act to stabilize financial markets if necessary amid escalating military tensions between the United States and Iran, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said Wednesday.

Hong made the remarks as volatility in the nation's financial markets rose in the wake of Iran's revenge rocket attacks against U.S.-Iraqi air bases earlier in the morning.

S. Korea-U.S. defense cost talks 'at crossroads' of deadlock or compromise: official

SEOUL -- The defense cost-sharing talks between South Korea and the United States stand "at a crossroads" of a possible deadlock or major compromise, a Seoul official said Wednesday, ahead of the next round of their negotiations as early as next week.

His remarks came a day after U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris said in a media interview that the negotiation over how much Seoul should pay for the upkeep of the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) is heading toward its last stage and that Washington's top negotiator James DeHart is "optimistic."

Seoul to expand room to move independently on inter-Korean issues

SEOUL -- South Korea will push for joint projects with North Korea as much as it can on its own, the unification ministry said Wednesday, after the U.S. ambassador said that inter-Korean relations should move forward in tandem with denuclearization.

Amb. Harry Harris made the remark Tuesday in an interview with South Korean broadcaster KBS, saying that various inter-Korean issues, including North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's possible visit to South Korea, "should be done in consultation with" the United States.

S. Korea closely watching Middle East developments after Iran's rocket attack

SEOUL -- South Korea has been closely watching developments in the Middle East after Iran launched strikes on U.S. troops in Iraq, while preparing for measures to ensure the safety of its troops and citizens in the region, officials said Wednesday.

Early Wednesday, Iran fired missiles targeting two Iraqi bases that house U.S. troops in retaliation for the U.S. airstrike last week that killed a top Iranian general.

BTS to drop new album on Feb. 21

SEOUL -- K-pop boy band BTS will return to the local music scene next month with a new album, the group's management agency said Wednesday.

The group will put out "Map of the Soul: 7" on Feb. 21, the first release since it rolled out "Map of the Soul: Persona" in April last year, Big Hit Entertainment said.

(LEAD) Hyundai partners with Uber over urban air mobility business

SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor Co. said Wednesday it has partnered with Uber Technologies Inc. to foster an urban air mobility service in its latest move to take a lead in the fledgling business.

Hyundai Motor and Uber signed a strategic deal, the first of its kind for the U.S. ride-hailing company, in Las Vegas on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which kicked off its four-day run on Jan. 7 (local time), the company said in a statement.


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