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Yonhap News Summary

Diplomacy 13:30 January 23, 2020

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

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Seoul closely monitoring N. Korea's expected meeting of diplomats

SEOUL -- South Korea is keeping a close watch on North Korea over a possible meeting of its overseas diplomatic mission chiefs, a unification ministry official said Thursday, amid speculation Pyongyang could discuss its nuclear strategy during the session.

Last week, top North Korean envoy to China Ji Jae-ryong and Ambassador to the U.N. Kim Song returned home. The North Korean ambassadors to Angola and Singapore were also seen at the Beijing airport on the same day, indicating a possible meeting scheduled in the North.

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Poll: 51.9 pct of S. Koreans back troop dispatch to Strait of Hormuz

SEOUL -- A majority of South Koreans support the government's decision to dispatch troops to the Strait of Hormuz for a maritime security operation, a poll showed Thursday.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of National Defense announced that the country's anti-piracy Cheonghae Unit, operating in the Gulf of Aden, would expand its mission to the strait between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

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U.S. to continue 'patient' diplomacy with N. Korea: official

WASHINGTON -- The United States will continue "patient" diplomacy with North Korea to make clear that the regime needs to return to denuclearization talks, a senior State Department official said Wednesday.

The official spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss last week's meetings involving the top diplomats of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan. His remark suggests Washington is not willing to offer concessions to get Pyongyang back to the negotiation table.

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U.S.-N. Korea diplomacy still possible in coming months: expert

WASHINGTON -- A U.S. expert said Wednesday that he does not rule out the possibility the United States and North Korea will resume diplomacy in the coming months and reach an interim nuclear deal.

Washington and Pyongyang have not made progress in their denuclearization negotiations since an unproductive February 2019 summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

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(LEAD) Senior prosecutors leading major probes replaced in reshuffle

SEOUL -- The justice ministry announced a reshuffle Thursday, replacing senior prosecutors who have led probes into high-profile cases involving former and current presidential officials.

The move affected senior prosecutors who have been investigating suspicions that some Cheong Wa Dae officials intervened in the 2018 provincial elections and attempted to cover up bribery allegations of a former Busan vice mayor.

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(2nd LD) On cloud nine: S. Korea advance to 9th straight Olympic men's football tournament

RANGSIT, Thailand -- South Korea reached cloud nine on Wednesday, as they made it to their ninth consecutive Olympic men's football tournament.

The young Taeguk Warriors shut down Australia 2-0 in the semifinals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship in Thailand. This AFC event doubles as the regional qualifying tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and the top three teams from here will be competing in Japn this summer. With Wednesday's win, South Korea assured themselves a spot in the top three.

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S. Korea going all-out to prevent spread of Wuhan coronavirus during holidays

SEOUL -- South Korea's public health authorities on Thursday remained on alert and spared no efforts to prevent the spread of Wuhan coronavirus during the upcoming four-day Lunar New Year holiday.

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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Renault Samsung ends partial plant shutdown for talks with union

SEOUL -- Renault Samsung Motors Corp. said Thursday it has put an end to a two-week partial shutdown of its plant to resume wage negotiations with the union next month.

The move comes after Renault Samsung workers suspended partial strikes at the company's sole plant in Busan, 453 kilometers south of Seoul, on Tuesday after staging partial walkouts for higher wages.
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