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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:31 February 06, 2020

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

(2nd LD) S. Korea reports 4 more cases of novel coronavirus, total now at 23

SEOUL -- South Korea on Thursday confirmed four more cases of novel coronavirus infections, bringing the total here to 23, with the latest patients all being placed under quarantine.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said of the four new cases, three are believed to be person-to-person transmissions involving South Korean nationals, with the other one being a Chinese woman who arrived in the country on Jan. 23.

(2nd LD) Korea's current account surplus narrows in Dec.

SEOUL -- South Korea's current account surplus narrowed sharply in December as its exports fell at a faster rate than imports, central bank data showed Thursday.

The country's current account surplus came to US$4.33 billion in the month, down $1.64 billion from the month before, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

S. Korea vows swift budget spending amid growing virus concerns

SEJONG -- South Korea will swiftly implement its fiscal spending as China's rapidly spreading coronavirus epidemic is expected to cast a shadow on the nation's fragile economic recovery, a senior official said Thursday.

The spread of the virus is likely to have an "unexpected" impact on the nation's economic growth, Vice Finance Minister Koo Yun-cheol said in a meeting with relevant economic officials earlier in the day.

PM calls for crackdown on illegal hoarding of face masks

SEOUL -- Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun instructed government officials Thursday to deal sternly with illegal hoarding of face masks to fight the new virus outbreak.

Chung also stressed joint efforts by provincial governments, citizens and the medical industry to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus that has infected 23 cases in South Korea.

N. Korea unlikely to hold massive public events this month amid nationwide fight against virus

SEOUL -- North Korea is unlikely to hold a military parade or other massive events to mark this month's founding anniversary of its armed forces and the birthday of late leader Kim Jong-il as Pyongyang is on alert to prevent a coronavirus outbreak, an official said Thursday.

North Korea marks the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army on Saturday and also celebrates the 78th birthday of the late father of leader Kim Jong-un on Feb. 16. The North has often used such celebrations as a chance to showcase its new weapons and flex its military muscle.

Subway passenger volume slips 15.3 pct amid coronavirus scare: data

SEOUL -- The number of subway users in South Korea's capital and nearby metropolitan areas fell 15.3 percent, data showed Thursday, apparently reflecting concerns over the new coronavirus.

A total of 37.7 million people used subway lines No. 1 to 8 between Jan. 28-Feb. 2, compared with 44.5 million in the same period last year, according to the data by subway operator Seoul Metro.

N.K. official not to attend security conference in Munich: Seoul official

SEOUL -- A senior North Korean official will not attend a security conference in Germany next week, a decision seen as reflecting concerns about the global spread of the new coronavirus, a Seoul official said Thursday.

Reports had said that North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Son-gyong, who's in charge of European affairs, was planning to attend the Munich Security Conference (MSC) slated for Feb. 14-16.

Trump's commitment to N.K. talks unaffected by domestic politics: O'Brien

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump will remain committed to denuclearization talks with North Korea regardless of U.S. domestic politics, his national security adviser was quoted as saying Wednesday.

In a meeting with foreign ambassadors and reporters in Washington, Robert O'Brien also urged Pyongyang to return to the stalled talks, saying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had made a commitment to denuclearization, according to the Voice of America.

Defense chief attends defense expo in India, seeks ways to boost arms industry ties

SEOUL -- Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo met with Indian officials and discussed ways to boost cooperation in the arms industry while attending a defense expo held in the South Asian country, his office said Thursday.

The DEFEXPO 2020, one of Asia's largest defense expos, kicked off on Wednesday to run until Sunday in the Indian city of Lucknow, bringing together some 700 companies from around 30 countries, including 12 South Korean firms.

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