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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:56 May 26, 2020

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

(2nd LD) Club-linked virus cases still on rise ahead of further school reopening

SEOUL -- South Korea's virus fight appears to be dragging on as sporadic outbreaks tied to an infection cluster in Seoul's nightlife district of Itaewon continued ahead of another phase of school reopening.

The 19 new cases, with 16 being local infections, raised South Korea's total coronavirus caseload to 11,225, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Second phase of school reopening set for Wednesday amid pandemic

SEOUL -- South Korea is on track for its second phase of school reopening Wednesday, bringing back more than 2 million students to their schools nationwide amid the new coronavirus pandemic.

Under the government's phased school reopening plan, schools are scheduled to resume in-person classes for the two lowest grades of elementary school, kindergarten students, middle school seniors and second-year high school students.

(LEAD) S. Korea, U.S. pushing for defense ministers' videoconference next month

SEOUL -- South Korea and the United States are working to set up a videoconference call between their defense ministers next month to discuss defense cost-sharing, North Korea and other pending issues, the defense ministry said Tuesday.

The move came as an annual meeting in Singapore of defense ministers in the region, known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, has been called off due to the coronavirus pandemic. The South and the U.S. have usually held one-on-one talks on the sidelines of the conference.

S. Korea, China to discuss expanding scope of FTA

SEOUL -- South Korea said Tuesday it will hold the seventh round of talks with China this week to discuss expanding the scope of their bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) to better cover the service and investment sectors.

The two countries will begin a four-day virtual meeting Tuesday to "speed up" the progress amid the new coronavirus pandemic that has virtually frozen global travel and economic activities, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

(LEAD) Samsung heir questioned over 2015 merger of key affiliates

SEOUL -- Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong was summoned to the prosecution Tuesday to be questioned about suspicions surrounding the top conglomerate's controversial merger of two leading affiliates in 2015.

Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, appeared before prosecutors at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office at around 8 a.m. to face questioning about the Samsung management's decision-making process in the merger of Samsung C&T Corp. and Cheil Industries Inc. five years ago.

All S. Korean auto plants resume this week as Mexico plant reopens

SEOUL -- Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-largest carmaker, said Tuesday that its plant in Mexico will restart production this week, marking the resumption of operations at all of South Korea's overseas auto plants.

The resumption scheduled for Tuesday (Mexico time) comes after Kia Motors put in place all requirements meant to stem the spread of the new coronavirus, a Hyundai spokesman said over the phone.

S. Korea-made world's largest container ship transits Suez Canal: Cheong Wa Dae

SEOUL -- The world's biggest container ship, built by South Korea, has passed through the Suez Canal en route to Europe, Cheong Wa Dae announced Tuesday, saying it signals the revival of the country's once-powerful shipping industry.

The 24,000-TEU vessel, the Algeciras, transited the waterway without a hitch the previous day and is due to arrive at the Dutch port of Rotterdam, the first destination in Europe, on June 3, according to deputy presidential spokesman Yoon Jae-kwan.

Korea's consumer sentiment improves in May on eased virus concerns

SEOUL -- South Korea's consumer sentiment slightly rebounded in May, central bank data showed Tuesday, apparently on a sharp decline in the number of new COVID-19 infection cases here.

The country's composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) came to 77.6 in the month, up 6.8 points from a month earlier when the index dropped to the lowest level since December 2008, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

Seoul stocks up late Tue. morning on economic recovery hopes

SEOUL -- South Korean shares extended gains late Tuesday morning on hopes of an economic recovery that added liquidity to the pandemic-hit stock market.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) surged 23.82 points, or 1.19 percent, to 2,018.42 as of 11:20 a.m.

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