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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:05 July 28, 2020

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

(3rd LD) S. Korea allowed to develop solid-fuel space rocket under revised missile guidelines with U.S.

SEOUL -- South Korea announced Tuesday it has become able to develop solid-propellant space rockets under the new missile guidelines with the United States, saying the deal is expected to help sharply improve the military's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities and boost the space program of the private sector.

The allies agreed to lift the decades-old restrictions on Seoul's use of solid fuels for its space rocket launch, effective as of the day, according to Kim Hyun-chong, deputy national security adviser.

(3rd LD) New virus cases under 30 for 2nd day on slowing imported cases; local infections at 1-week low

SEOUL -- The number of daily new coronavirus cases in South Korea stayed below 30 for the second consecutive day on Tuesday as both imported and local cases showed a clear sign of a slowdown.

The country added 28 new cases, including 23 cases coming in from abroad, bringing the total to 14,203, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

(News Focus) Reform committee's recommendations to diffuse chief prosecutor's power draw backlash

SEOUL -- Tensions are simmering again between Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae and Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl, after a ministry committee announced a list of prosecutorial reform measures that included depriving the top prosecutor of power to direct investigations.

The Judicial Affairs and Prosecutorial Reform Committee, under the justice ministry, on Monday urged the prosecution to abolish the top prosecutor's right to command and direct individual investigations. It also recommended that the top prosecutor be appointed from among a pool of outside experts with various backgrounds.

(LEAD) Women's groups ask rights commission to probe allegations into late mayor

SEOUL -- Women's groups and a lawyer representing a victim who accused a late Seoul mayor of sexually harassing her formally requested the national human rights commission to look into the high-profile case on Tuesday.

The victim, who worked as a secretary for Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, filed a complaint with the police earlier this month, claiming that he sexually harassed her over four years and that her repeated calls for help went unanswered. The police launched a probe into the case, but Park was found dead at a Seoul mountain two days later in an apparent suicide.

S. Korea to invest 50 bln won in 32 firms to boost defense industry

SEOUL -- Thirty-two defense firms have been selected to receive a total of 50.7 billion won (US$42.4 million) in government funding for localization of key parts for weapons systems and other purposes, the arms procurement agency said Tuesday.

Of them, 11 small- and medium-sized companies will receive 30 billion won over the next five years to develop homegrown parts, while another eight firms will receive 14.1 billion won over the next three years to tap into overseas markets, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration.

(LEAD) Defector's border crossing captured by military's surveillance equipment

SEOUL -- A North Korean defector was caught on military surveillance equipment as he fled across the border to his communist homeland, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Tuesday.

The border crossing by the 24-year-old man, surnamed Kim, became known after North Korea revealed Sunday that a "runaway" returned home in the border city of Kaesong with coronavirus symptoms and the entire city was blocked off to prevent the spread of the virus.

(LEAD) S. Korean stocks rally on stimulus hopes, foreign buying at 7-year high

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks rallied by almost 2 percent Tuesday on the back of massive foreign buying with techs and market heavyweights leading the market gain. The Korean won slightly fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) jumped 39.13 points, or 1.76 percent, to close at 2,256.99. Trading volume was high at about 851 million shares worth some 17.2 trillion won (US$14.4 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 495 to 344.

S. Korea may ease some construction rules to supply more homes

SEJONG -- South Korea's policymakers have discussed easing some construction rules to supply more homes in Seoul and the neighboring area, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said Tuesday.

A potential measure may allow an apartment building to have more homes by raising the residential floor area ratio, Hong told lawmakers.

KBO to begin taking draft applications from overseas-based S. Korean players

SEOUL -- The nation's top baseball league announced on Tuesday it will start accepting applications for its amateur draft from overseas-based South Korean players.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) will hold its annual draft on Sept. 21. And starting Tuesday, players who hold South Korean citizenship and who have played amateur ball outside the country will be able to declare their intention to enter the draft.

Intelligence chief nominee threatens legal action against opposition party's claim over inter-Korean secret deal

SEOUL -- South Korea's intelligence chief nominee warned of legal action Tuesday against an opposition lawmaker who claimed he signed an under-the-table deal with North Korea before the first-ever inter-Korean summit in June 2000.

During Monday's confirmation hearing for Park Jie-won, nominee for the National Intelligence Service director, Rep. Joo Ho-young, floor leader of the United Future Party (UFP), revealed a copy of an agreement, dated April 8, 2000, about the South's commitment of US$3 billion financial support to the North.

Foreign ministry cites need for international comity over 'Abe statue'

SEOUL -- The foreign ministry said Tuesday that international courtesy for foreign leaders should be taken into consideration, after a local botanical garden reportedly installed a pair of bronze statues of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bowing on his knees before a wartime sexual slavery victim.

The garden in the eastern county of Pyeongchang plans to unveil the statues next month, according to local media reports. Its sculptor told local media that Japan must atone for wartime atrocities until South Korea accepts and forgives it.

All options, including nationalization, on table for Asiana: regulator

SEOUL -- South Korea's financial regulator said Tuesday that all viable options are on the table to deal with Asiana Airlines Inc. as the sale of the country's No. 2 carrier is teetering on the brink of falling through.

An HDC Hyundai Development Co.-led consortium has been seeking to take over Asiana Airlines, but in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the deal runs the risk of collapsing.

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