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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:20 September 17, 2020

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

(LEAD) New virus cases tick up to over 150; cluster infections back in focus

SEOUL -- South Korea reported an uptick in daily new infections of the novel coronavirus Thursday due to sporadic cluster outbreaks and untraceable cases.

The country added 153 more COVID-19 cases, including 145 local infections, raising the total caseload to 22,657, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

(LEAD) LG Chem decides to spin off its battery biz

SEOUL -- LG Chem Ltd., South Korea's leading chemical company, said Thursday it has decided to spin off its battery business in a move to further strengthen its leading position in the sector amid growing demand for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The new entity -- tentatively called LG Energy Solutions and will be wholly owned by LG Chem -- is set to be launched Dec. 1, LG Chem said in a regulatory filing.

Moon to give video speech in virtual U.N. session next week

SEOUL -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in will deliver a pre-recorded video speech at the annual United Nations General Assembly session next week, Cheong Wa Dae said Thursday.

It is expected to be played during the virtual event at around 2 a.m. Wednesday (Seoul time), according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok.

(LEAD) Kia halts 2 domestic plants following confirmed COVID-19 cases

SEOUL -- Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-biggest carmaker, said Thursday it has suspended two of its domestic plants as at least eight workers have been confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus.

Kia halted the operations of two plants in Gwangmyeong, just south of Seoul, from late Wednesday and sent all of the 6,000 plant workers home, a company spokesman said over the phone.

Bioneer wins approval for clinical trials of COVID-19, influenza kits

SEOUL -- South Korean small drug firm Bioneer Corp. said Thursday it has won approval from the local drug safety watchdog to conduct a clinical trial of multi-diagnostic kits that can detect both the novel coronavirus and seasonal influenza.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has given the green light to the two kits that can simultaneously check for the COVID-19 virus and both type A and B influenza infection, it said.

Esper says 'Quad' will be more effective than bilateral alliance

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Wednesday reiterated the need to build a collective security alliance in the Indo-Pacific region, insisting his country must focus more on multilateral cooperation than one-on-one alliances.

Speaking in a seminar organized by U.S. think tank RAND Corporation, the U.S. defense chief said the country's bilateral alliances with countries in the Indo-Pacific, including South Korea, provide a valuable, cost-free asset to deter conflict with China or Russia.

(LEAD) Finance minister asks lawmakers to approve extra budget by next Tuesday

SEJONG -- Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki on Thursday asked the National Assembly to approve a fourth supplementary budget by early next week, in order to give emergency handouts to small merchants ahead of the Chuseok holiday season.

The ruling Democratic Party and the main opposition People Power Party reached an agreement earlier this week to vote on the fourth extra budget bill this coming Tuesday.

N.K. leader says relations with Cuba will steadily develop

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent a message to Cuban President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez, saying he firmly believes relations between the two countries will "steadily" develop, state media reported Thursday.

The message was sent in response to a congratulatory letter that the Cuban president sent on the occasion of the North's 72nd state founding anniversary earlier this month, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

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