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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:34 January 09, 2020

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

(LEAD) S. Korea warns Japan of rolling back decision to suspend GSOMIA's termination

SEOUL -- South Korea can "reactivate" the now-suspended decision to terminate a military information sharing pact with Japan, depending on progress in negotiations over Tokyo's export restrictions and wartime forced labor, the foreign ministry said Thursday.

South Korea decided in August to terminate the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) in a tit-for-tat move after Japan imposed export restrictions against the South in connection with a row over wartime forced labor.

(LEAD) Gov't to lift regulation on protected military areas near border

SEOUL -- The government and the ruling Democratic Party (DP) on Thursday agreed to lift a regulation designating massive swathes of land near the border as protected zones, a move apparently aimed at furthering the government's peace initiative and boosting local economies.

The agreement covers areas spanning 77 million square meters, roughly 27 times larger than the financial district of Yeouido, which were categorized as protected areas for their close distance to military facilities.

U.S. cites progress in defense cost-sharing talks with S. Korea

WASHINGTON -- South Korea and the United States have made progress in their negotiations on sharing the costs for the stationing of American troops on the peninsula, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday, with the two sides expected to resume talks as early as next week.

Washington initially demanded a fivefold increase in Seoul's annual contribution to the upkeep of the 28,500 troops to nearly US$5 billion. After strong resistance from Seoul, the allies have reportedly reached a compromise of sorts ahead of the sixth round of negotiations in Washington.

(LEAD) Court rejects arrest warrant for ex-coast guard chief in Sewol probe

SEOUL -- A Seoul court on Thursday denied a request for a warrant to arrest a former coast guard chief for his alleged mishandling of one of the country's worst maritime disasters, in which more than 300 people died.

The Seoul Central District Court dismissed the prosecution's request to arrest Kim Suk-kyoon, who led the Korea Coast Guard when the 6,800-ton ferry Sewol sank in waters off the country's southwestern coast on April 16, 2014.

SUV sales in S. Korea hit record high in 2019

SEOUL -- Sales of sport utility vehicle models in South Korea hit a record high last year as carmakers strengthened their SUV lineups to meet rising demand for recreational vehicles, industry data showed Thursday.

For the whole of 2019, the country's five automakers, including Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., sold a combined 575,662 SUVs here, accounting for 38 percent of their domestic sales of 1,533,166 passenger vehicles, according to the carmakers' sales data.

(CES 2020) LG Electronics to sell rollable TV in H2: CEO

LAS VEGAS -- South Korean electronics firm LG Electronics Inc. will sell its rollable OLED TV in the second half of the year, the company's new CEO said Wednesday, hoping it can expand its presence in the premium TV sector.

Brian Kwon, who took office as LG Electronics' CEO in late November, said the company's rollable TV is expected to hit the market no later than this year.

Seoul stocks sharply rebound late Thursday morning

SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks continued to trade sharply higher late Thursday morning on eased concerns over military tensions in the Middle East that also helped the local currency jump against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 23.52 points, or 1.09 percent, to 2,174.83 as of 11:20 a.m.

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