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Yonhap News Summary

Politics 17:03 June 30, 2020

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

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S. Korea says Hong Kong should enjoy 'high degree of autonomy'

SEOUL -- South Korea believes it is important that Hong Kong enjoys "a high degree of autonomy," the foreign ministry said Tuesday, after China passed a national security law seen aimed at tightening control in the semiautonomous territory.

China's parliament passed the new security law designed to prohibit subversion, secession or treason, a move that other countries have feared would let Beijing bolster censorship and control in the former British colony.

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Gimcheon city seeks to host military football club

SEOUL -- The southeastern city of Gimcheon is trying to become the new home of the country's military football club.

The Korea Professional Football League (K League) announced Tuesday that Gimcheon, about 230 kilometers southeast of Seoul in North Gyeongsang Province, submitted its application to host Sangmu for the 2021 season.

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BOK net sells US$5.85 bln in market smoothing operations in Q1

SEOUL -- South Korea's central bank said Tuesday that it net sold nearly US$6 billion in the first quarter to help ease fluctuations in the local currency market prompted by the new coronavirus outbreak.

In the January-March period, the Bank of Korea (BOK) net sold $5.85 billion in its market stabilization steps.

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U.K. agency sells tour programs to N. Korea for next year

SEOUL -- A travel agency specializing in trips to North Korea has launched a new tour program for next year that includes a chance to fly on Soviet-era passenger jets, according to its website Tuesday.

According to the itinerary posted by the U.K.-based Juche Travel Service, tourists will stay one night in Beijing before flying to North Korea for sightseeing in Pyongyang, Mount Myohyang, Kaesong and the demilitarized zone (DMZ).

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(3rd LD) New virus cases below 50 for 2nd day, religious gathering-tied infections still on rise

SEOUL -- South Korea's new virus cases were below 50 for the second straight day Tuesday, but cases traced to religious gatherings continued in addition to a rise in imported cases.

Health authorities said they could regulate small-scale gatherings tied to churches if the virus continues to spread across the country through such meetings.

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(LEAD) 5G availability in S. Korea at just 15 pct: report

SEOUL -- South Korean smartphone users' connection to 5G network services is far lower than expected, with 5G users only able to use the fastest network 15 percent of the time, a report showed Tuesday.

South Korea, the first country around the globe to commercially launch a 5G mobile network in April last year, currently offers 5G services in non-standalone mode, which requires support from the 4G LTE network. Currently, 5G mobile network services are limitedly available in major cities, such as Seoul.

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Succession row brewing at S. Korea's No.1 tiremaker

SEOUL -- Hankook Technology Group, South Korea's biggest tiremaker, appears to be in a succession process, as the group chief has handed over his controlling stake to his younger son, signaling a potential family feud over the control of the conglomerate.

On Friday, Hankook Technology Chairman Cho Yang-rai sold his entire 23.59 percent stake in the company to President and Chief Operating Officer Hyun-bum for 240 billion won (US$200 million) in a block deal, the company said in a regulatory filing.

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KTO partners with Chinese agency to sell S. Korean travel goods

SEOUL -- The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) said Tuesday it has partnered with Ctrip, China's leading online travel agency, to promote and sell tourism products in South Korea.

KTO, South Korea's state-run tourism agency, said it will co-host the "Super Boss Live Show," a live commerce event, on Wednesday with Ctrip, a subsidiary of China's Trip.com Group.

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Moon's adviser urges N.K. to explain demolition of Kaesong liaison office

SEOUL -- North Korea should offer an explanation about its demolition of an inter-Korean liaison office building, a special adviser to President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday, urging the communist state to change course and return to talks.

Moon Chung-in, special adviser for diplomatic and security affairs, made the remark during a peace forum hosted by Yonhap News Agency, stressing that the liaison office was built as a symbol of inter-Korean reconciliation and peace.

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1 in 4 S. Koreans willing to spend more on 5G amid pandemic: survey

SEOUL -- One in four South Koreans are inclined to spend more on 5G network services and faster internet connection to better prepare for the coronavirus pandemic, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The survey conducted by Ericsson-LG, a joint venture between Sweden-based Ericsson and South Korea's LG Electronics Inc., showed that investing in faster connectivity such as better broadband or 5G was the third-most-taken action to prepare for a prolonged battle against the COVID-19 outbreak.

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S. Korea begins coronavirus antibody tests

SEOUL -- South Korea has started full-fledged coronavirus antibody tests to determine the true extent of infections in the country, a senior health official said Tuesday.

"Serology tests are being conducted on blood samples of 3,055 people to find out how many people have immunity against the novel coronavirus," Kwon Joon-wook, deputy director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), said in a daily briefing in Osong, about 120 kilometers south of Seoul.

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Samsung heir makes another on-site visit amid uncertainties

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong on Tuesday made his fourth on-site visit in two weeks to check the company's future strategy amid global uncertainties.

Lee, the de facto leader of the top conglomerate Samsung Group, visited a plant of Semes Co., an affiliate of Samsung Electronics Co. that produces semiconductors and display manufacturing equipment, in Cheonan, some 90 kilometers south of Seoul.

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(LEAD) KEPCO board OKs Indonesian coal power project amid environmental controversies

SEOUL -- The board of South Korea's state-run utility firm Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) on Tuesday approved a business project to build two units of coal power plants in Indonesia despite controversies over profitability and the environment.

KEPCO clinched a deal with Indonesia-based PT Barito Pacific in May 2019 to participate in the project worth US$3.46 billion to build the ninth and 10th coal-fired power plants with a total of 2,000 MW capacity on Java.
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