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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:10 September 04, 2020

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

(LEAD) Russian energy company Rosneft denies supplying oil products to N. Korea

SEOUL -- Rosneft, a Russian energy company, has denied supplying oil products to North Korea.

"Rosneft does not supply North Korea and does not conduct any commercial activity in that country," the company said in a statement. "As a public company and one of the leaders in the global energy industry, Rosneft operates in strict compliance with Russian and international law, corporate standards, and in the interests of its shareholders."

(News Focus) BTS' big win reignites debate on military service of K-pop stars

SEOUL -- As BTS conquered the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week with "Dynamite," the achievement has also rekindled a debate on whether global K-pop stars should be offered preferential treatment in terms of military duties so as to avoid a hiatus during the height of their careers.

On Tuesday, BTS surprised the nation by debuting at No. 1 on Billboard's main singles chart with its latest single, becoming the first South Korean singer or group to achieve the feat. President Moon Jae-in congratulated the seven-member boy band on social media and thanked them for further elevating "pride in K-pop."

(LEAD) U.N. special rapporteur calls for N. Korea's release of political prisoners

SEOUL -- The U.N. special rapporteur on North Korea's human rights situation has renewed calls for North Korea to release political prisoners, saying that Pyongyang should "follow suit" after Venezuela recently let such people free.

Tomas Ojea Quintana made the appeal in a tweet following Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's decision earlier this week to pardon over 100 political prisoners and activists who had been exiled or imprisoned.

Mercedes-Benz appoints new chief for S. Korea operations

SEOUL -- Mercedes-Benz Korea Ltd. said Friday that Thomas Klein in charge of Mercedes-Benz Middle East will head South Korean operations starting next year.

In May, Mercedes-Benz appointed Bjorn Hauber in charge of the German carmaker's Sweden and Denmark operations as president and CEO of Korean operations, but his appointment was canceled due to personal reasons.

(LEAD) Striking doctors set to resume work, more talks over key issues still needed

SEOUL -- Thousands of junior doctors are set to return to work soon, ending their two-week strike, as an agreement was reached with the ruling party on Friday to put the government's medical reform scheme on hold amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The pact was reached between a group of representative doctors led by the Korean Medical Association (KMA), and the government and the ruling Democratic Party (DP) at 11 a.m.

Trump says KORUS FTA led to U.S. losses before but now is great

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump again blasted his Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden for supporting the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (FTA) in its original form, arguing the initial pact only caused losses for the United States.

"Joe Biden supported NAFTA, China's entry into the world trade. He supported the Korean deal. The Korean deal was so bad. It was so bad. This was a deal ... done by crooked Hillary Clinton. This was a deal that was going to produce 250,000 jobs," Trump told a group of supporters in Pennsylvania.

(LEAD) New virus cases under 200 for 2nd day, tougher social distancing likely to be extended

SEOUL -- The number of additional new coronavirus cases stayed below 200 for the second day in a row Friday, but South Korea is likely to extend the enhanced social distancing scheme under way in the greater Seoul as untraceable cases and cluster infections continued to rise.

The country reported 198 new COVID-19 cases, including 189 local infections, raising the total caseload to 20,842, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

(LEAD) S. Korea's current account surplus at 9-month high in July

SEOUL -- South Korea's current account surplus widened to a nine-month high in July as exports fell at a slower pace than imports amid major economies' reopenings following the pandemic-caused lockdowns, central bank data showed Friday.

The current account surplus reached US$7.45 billion in July, up from $6.88 billion the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). The current account is the broadest measure of cross-border trade.

U.S. flies spy aircraft over S. Korea ahead of N. Korea's founding anniversary

SEOUL -- A U.S. surveillance aircraft has flown over South Korea earlier this week, an aviation tracker said Friday, on an apparent mission to monitor North Korea.

The U.S. Air Force's E-8C, or JSTARS, was spotted in the skies over the central part of South Korea and the metropolitan area the previous day, No Callsign tweeted.

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