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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 April 16, 2020

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

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(6th LD) Ruling party wins landslide victory in parliamentary elections amid pandemic

SEOUL -- The ruling Democratic Party (DP) clinched a landslide victory in parliamentary elections, according to preliminary election results released on Thursday, as voters apparently supported the government's efforts to overcome the new coronavirus crisis.

South Korea held the quadrennial elections on Wednesday to fill the 300-member unicameral National Assembly -- with 253 directly contested seats and 47 proportional representation (PR) slots -- in the midst of the country's battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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(LEAD) New virus cases stay below 30 for 4th straight day

SEOUL -- South Korea's new coronavirus cases hovered below 30 for the fourth straight day Thursday, but health authorities are still staying vigilant over imported cases and cluster infections following the parliamentary elections the previous day.

The 22 new cases, detected Wednesday and slightly down from 27 a day ago, brought the nation's total infections to 10,613, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

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(LEAD) N. Korea makes no mention of visit to mausoleum by leader Kim on late founder's birthday

SEOUL -- North Korean state media reported Thursday that senior officials paid their respect at the mausoleum of late national founder Kim Il-sung to mark his 108th birthday but did not mention whether leader Kim Jong-un also paid a visit there.

That raises the possibility that Kim skipped an annual visit to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun that he has made on the birthday of the national founder and his grandfather since he rose to power after the death of his father and former leader Kim Jong-il in late 2011.

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BOK names 3 candidates for new members of its rate setting body

SEOUL -- The Bank of Korea said Thursday that South Korea's former top envoy to the U.S. and two others have been named as candidates for new members of its monetary policy board.

The three are Cho Yoon-je, who served as the South Korean ambassador to the United States between 2017 and 2019; Suh Young-kyung, head of the Sustainable Growth Initiative; and Joo Sang-yong, an economics professor at Konkuk University.

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N. Korean defector wins first-ever constituency seat in parliament

SEOUL -- A high-profile North Korean defector won a constituency seat in this week's general elections, becoming the first person hailing from the communist nation to be chosen directly by South Korean voters as their representative.

Thae Yong-ho, a former No. 2 diplomat at North Korea's Embassy in London, was elected to the National Assembly as the main conservative opposition United Future Party's candidate in Seoul's southern affluent district of Gangnam.

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Main opposition chief steps down over parliamentary election defeat

SEOUL -- Hwang Kyo-ahn, chief of the main opposition United Future Party (UFP), announced Wednesday that he will step down from the party post to take responsibility for the party's defeat in the parliamentary elections.

The ruling Democratic Party (DP) was forecast to win a majority of parliamentary seats in the general elections to fill the 300-member National Assembly.

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(News Focus) Landslide victory likely to strengthen Moon's foreign policy hand

SEOUL -- This week's resounding election triumph for the ruling party is likely to set President Moon Jae-in's foreign policy agenda, including engagement with North Korea, on a steadier and stronger footing, observers said Thursday.

The win in the parliamentary elections gave a much-needed boost to the Moon administration whose external policy has faced resurgent skepticism due to North Korea's muscle-flexing, tensions with Japan and doubts over the alliance with the United States.

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S. Korea unveils 2nd extra budget of 7.6 tln won for aid to virus-hit households

SEJONG -- South Korea's finance ministry on Thursday unveiled a second extra budget of 7.6 trillion won (US$6.3 billion) to give shopping coupons and gift certificates to households to help them cushion the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Along with budgets from local government, the central government will spend 9.7 trillion won for the one-time relief package for 14.78 million households, about half of the nation's total households, the Ministry of Economy and Finance said in a statement.
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