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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:15 February 06, 2020

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

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(LEAD) FM says S. Korea, U.S. still have 'big' gaps in defense cost talks

SEOUL -- Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Thursday that South Korea and the United States still have "big" gaps in their negotiations over Seoul's share of the cost for stationing American troops here despite a broadening of "mutual understanding."

Her remarks came as the two countries are preparing for the seventh round of negotiations expected to take place in Seoul this month to determine Korea's payments for the upkeep of the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea under the cost-sharing deal, called the Special Measures Agreement (SMA).

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Diplomats of S. Korea, Japan hold working-level talks on wartime history, trade

SEOUL -- Diplomats of South Korea and Japan held working-level talks in Seoul on Thursday to discuss a protracted row surrounding the issue of Tokyo's wartime forced labor, the foreign ministry said.

Kim Jung-han, director-general for Asia and Pacific affairs, met with his Japanese counterpart, Shigeki Takizaki, who arrived in Seoul earlier in the day for the talks. The two last held talks in San Francisco in January.

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Top Chinese envoy clarifies remarks on S. Korea's travel ban

SEOUL -- Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming on Thursday clarified his refusal earlier this week to talk about Seoul's entry ban on visitors to the Chinese epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak after the remark sparked criticism about his attitude.

On Tuesday, Xing said in his first press conference after taking office as ambassador to Seoul that he would not evaluate the South Korean government's decision to temporarily ban the entry of people who have visited the city of Wuhan over the past two weeks.

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(LEAD) Veteran journalist tapped as new Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson

SEOUL -- Cheong Wa Dae announced Thursday it has picked a veteran newspaperman as President Moon Jae-in's spokesperson, filling the post that had been vacant for three weeks.

Kang Min-seok worked at the JoongAng Ilbo, a Seoul-based daily, as a reporter and editor for two decades. He resigned earlier this week.

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

SEOUL -- South Korea confirmed four more cases of novel coronavirus infections Thursday, bringing the total here to 23, with one case being a person who initially tested negative for the illness but was found to be infected later in a check-up.

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.

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S. Korea to expand scope of testing for novel coronavirus

SEOUL -- South Korea said Thursday that it will expand its rules regarding who can be tested for the novel coronavirus in the latest move to contain the spread of the virus.

Under revised rules set to take effect at 9 a.m. Friday, anyone who has visited any part of China and shows symptoms like an elevated temperature or respiratory issues can be classified as a "suspected case" and be subject to a medical check, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

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S. Korea to unveil support measures for tourism sector amid virus fallout

GYEONGJU, South Korea -- South Korea plans to unveil support measures for its tourism sector hit hard by the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said Thursday.

The measures, which could be introduced by the end of this month, will include special loans for the tourism sector, Hong said during a visit to Gyeongju, a popular tourist destination located about 370 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

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(LEAD) Korean Air to sell assets to regain financial health

SEOUL -- Korean Air Lines Co., South Korea's biggest airline and national flag carrier, said Thursday it will sell property and non-core assets to improve its financial status.

Korean Air plans to sell its idle property in central Seoul and a non-core business unit to emerge as a financially healthy company amid growing uncertainties in the airline industry, the company said in a statement.

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(LEAD) Seoul stocks up for 3rd day on U.S. data, China stimulus

SEOUL -- South Korean shares ended higher for a third straight session Thursday as investor sentiment improved, which was helped by China's stimulus measures to support growth amid the spreading coronavirus. The won rose against the dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index added 62.31 points, or 2.88 percent, to 2,227.94. Trade volume was heavy at 683 million shares worth 8.06 trillion won (US$6.8 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 733 to 130.
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