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Yonhap News Summary

Diplomacy 13:30 January 22, 2020

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

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(2nd LD) U.S. welcomes S. Korea's troop dispatch to Strait of Hormuz

WASHINGTON -- The United States said Tuesday it welcomes South Korea's decision to send troops to the Strait of Hormuz to safeguard its citizens and vessels passing through the strategic waterway.

South Korea's defense ministry announced earlier that it will expand the operational area of its anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden to cover the Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

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(3rd LD) Korea's 2019 growth slowest in decade, Q4 expansion faster than expected

SEOUL -- The South Korean economy expanded at the slowest pace in a decade in 2019, largely weighed down by an extended slump in outbound shipments amid a lengthy trade row between the United States and China, the central bank said Wednesday.

South Korea's gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 2 percent in 2019 from a year earlier, according to advance data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

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N.K. state media confirms appointment of new defense minister

SEOUL -- North Korea's official news agency on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of a military official spearheading leader Kim Jong-un's key pet construction projects as the country's new defense minister.

Kim Jong-gwan, vice minister of the People's Armed Forces, has been believed to have replaced No Kwang-chol as minister since he was named an alternate member of the politburo of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea during a key party meeting held at the end of December.

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U.S. military chief appreciates S. Korea's troop dispatch to Hormuz Strait

SEOUL -- A U.S. military chief expressed gratitude Wednesday to South Korea for its decision to send troops to the Strait of Hormuz, officials said.

On Tuesday, Seoul's defense ministry announced that it will expand the mission area of its anti-piracy Cheonghae Unit stationed in the Gulf of Aden to cover the Strait of Hormuz to safeguard its citizens and vessels passing through the waterway and to contribute to international efforts to ensure the freedom of navigation.

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Black-and-white version of 'Parasite' to hit S. Korean theaters next month

SEOUL -- A black-and-white version of Bong Joon-ho's "Parasite" will be presented in South Korea next month, the film's production house said Wednesday.

The new version will premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Netherlands, which begins Wednesday (local time), and hits South Korean screens in late February, according to CJ ENM.

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Funeral service of late Lotte founder held

SEOUL -- A funeral ceremony for Shin Kyuk-ho, the late founder and honorary chairman of South Korea's Lotte Group, was held Wednesday as his family and associates commemorated his legacy and accomplishments as chief of the retail giant.

Shin, one of the first-generation founders of the country's chaebol, or family-controlled business groups, died of a chronic illness Sunday. He was 99.

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S. Korea remains vigilant against spreading Chinese coronavirus

SEOUL -- South Korea is ramping up screening and quarantine efforts to prevent the spread of Wuhan coronavirus here, especially ahead of the four-day Lunar New Year holidays this week, as the SARS-like illness has been confirmed to spread between humans, the health protection agency said Wednesday.

The country reported its first confirmed case of the new coronavirus on Monday when a Chinese resident who arrived at Incheon International Airport, the country's main gateway on Sunday, tested positive for the virus.

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