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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:44 February 12, 2020

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

(2nd LD) Korea's virus cases unchanged at 28, 1 more patient likely to be released

SEOUL -- South Korea said Wednesday the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus here remains unchanged from the previous day at 28, with another patient expected to be released from a hospital later in the day.

The country's third confirmed patient with the new strain of virus -- a 54-year-old male patient -- is expected to be discharged later in the day after making a full recovery, according to his doctor. It would be the country's fifth such discharge.

(LEAD) Korea's jobless rate falls to 4.1 pct in January, 568,000 jobs created

SEJONG -- South Korea's jobless rate fell in January, and job additions hit the highest mark in over five years, on the back of the government's initiative to create more jobs for elderly people, data showed Wednesday.

The unemployment rate decreased 0.4 percentage point on-year to 4.1 percent, and the number of employed people reached 26.8 million in January, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

(LEAD) UNC approves Seoul's DMZ entry request for African swine fever survey

SEOUL -- The United Nations Command (UNC) said it has approved a request from the South Korean government for entry into the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) for a survey on the situation regarding African swine fever (ASF).

In a Facebook post Tuesday, the U.S.-led command said it approved "a short notice request" for the South Korean environment ministry the previous day to conduct a follow-up survey on the ASF inside the zone.

(6th LD) S. Korea's 3rd evacuation plane arrives from virus-hit Wuhan with some 140 people aboard, 5 showing symptoms

SEOUL -- South Korea's third evacuation flight from the coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan arrived back in Seoul on Wednesday, carrying 147 of its citizens, their Chinese spouses and family members, with five of them showing symptoms of the coronavirus.

The chartered plane landed at Gimpo International Airport in western Seoul at 6:23 a.m. The passengers with the symptoms were sent to a hospital for additional medical checks and treatment, while the others were transported to a temporary shelter in a city on the outskirts of Seoul.

(LEAD) Samsung shoots for foldable smartphone market with Galaxy Z Flip

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. has doubled down on its move to expand the presence of foldable form factors in the smartphone market as the company introduced its second foldable handset at a relatively competitive price.

The Galaxy Z Flip made its debut at the Galaxy Unpacked 2020 event in San Francisco, alongside Samsung's new flagship, the Galaxy S20 series, on Tuesday (U.S. time).

(LEAD) Samsung unveils new flagship smartphone, vertically folding handset

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. on Wednesday unveiled its new flagship smartphone lineup and a vertically folding handset in a move to solidify its top status in the global mobile industry with premium products.

The Galaxy S20 series and the Galaxy Z Flip were introduced at the company's Galaxy Unpacked 2020 event in San Francisco on Tuesday (U.S. time).

S. Korea renews calls for Japan to remove export curbs

SEOUL -- South Korea on Wednesday renewed calls for Japan to remove its export curbs, hinting it could reverse last year's "temporary" decision to put off the expiry of a bilateral military intelligence-sharing deal.

In November, Seoul temporarily delayed the expiry of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) due to opposition from Washington, which views the pact as a crucial platform to promote its trilateral security cooperation with the two Asian allies.

(LEAD) Fitch affirms S. Korea's credit rating at 'AA-'; outlook stable

SEJONG -- Global credit appraiser Fitch Ratings said Wednesday it has kept South Korea's foreign currency credit ratings unchanged at "AA-" with a stable outlook.

Fitch's rating for South Korea has been AA-, the fourth-highest level on its sovereign ratings table, since 2012, when the rating agency upgraded it from A+.

(LEAD) GSOMIA still 'viable option' for S. Korea: Cheong Wa Dae

SEOUL -- Maintaining South Korea's agreement with Japan on exchanging military information is a "viable option" depending on the neighboring country's attitude on its export control against Seoul, a Cheong Wa Dae official said Wednesday.

The official was responding to a news report that the office of President Moon Jae-in is pushing for the scrapping of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) amid no meaningful progress in related consultations between the two sides.

(Spring Training) Kim Kwang-hyun's flexibility key to signing with Cardinals: general manager

JUPITER, United States -- When the St. Louis Cardinals were keying in on South Korean left-hander Kim Kwang-hyun last winter, they saw a career starter who could also fit in as an effective bullpen piece.

It came down to whether Kim would accept the possibility that he could be a reliever with the Cardinals. Being a starter is so glamorous that some pitchers see a move to the bullpen as a demotion to second class. And some free agents that the Cardinals had pursued demanded a guarantee of a starting spot, which resulted in their talks with the club falling through.

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