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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 October 15, 2020

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

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(3rd LD) Esper says OPCON transfer will take time

WASHINGTON -- The United States is committed to the envisioned transition of the wartime operational control (OPCON) of South Korean forces back to Seoul, but it will take time to meet the required conditions, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday.

Esper made the remark at the start of annual defense talks with his South Korean counterpart, Suh Wook, amid growing speculation that the OPCON transfer is unlikely to be completed before the term of President Moon Jae-in ends in May 2022.

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(3rd LD) S. Korea's national security adviser in U.S. on unannounced visit

WASHINGTON -- South Korea's national security advisor Suh Hoon has been in Washington on a previously unannounced trip and has already met with his U.S. counterpart Robert O'Brien, multiple sources confirmed Wednesday.

Suh arrived in Washington on Tuesday, an informed source said on condition of anonymity without providing further details, including what the purpose of his trip was.

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(LEAD) S. Korea's new coronavirus cases bounce back to triple digits

SEOUL -- South Korea's new coronavirus cases rebounded to over 100 on Thursday mainly due to a new cluster infection in the southeastern port city of Busan amid an eased social distancing scheme.

The country added 110 COVID-19 cases, including 95 local infections, raising the total caseload to 24,988, with the death toll reaching 439, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

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Air Force vows to boost missile defense capabilities

SEOUL -- The Air Force vowed Thursday to boost missile defense capabilities, days after North Korea unveiled a massive new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and other weapons during a military parade.

In a parliamentary audit report, the Air Force also said it will set up new units for surveillance operations and strengthen its capabilities to strike enemies' nuclear and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program.

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(2nd LD) N.K. leader visits typhoon recovery area again

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un once again visited a typhoon-hit region in the country's east and urged officials to redouble recovery efforts, state media said Thursday, in an apparent effort to rally public support and unity.

Kim visited the country's eastern area, including Sinpo City and Hongwon County in South Hamgyong Province to inspect recovery efforts and encourage division members, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

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(LEAD) BTS agency listed amid fanfare on stock market

SEOUL -- Big Hit Entertainment, the management agency of K-pop superstar BTS, soared to the maximum daily ceiling of 30 percent as it debuted on South Korea's main bourse Thursday.

With the opening bell, the company's stocks spiked by 30 percent to 351,000 won (US$306), but Big Hit Entertainment exchanged hands up 19.44 percent at 322,500 won as of 9:33 a.m.

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Former president's son indicted for allegedly underreporting his wealth

SEOUL -- Rep. Kim Hong-gul, the youngest son of late former President Kim Dae-jung, has been indicted on charges of falsifying his wealth, the prosecution said Thursday.

The Seoul District Prosecutors Office said the first-term lawmaker was charged with violating the Public Official Election Act by failing to fully disclose his wealth during his mandatory property filing with the National Election Commission in the runup to the April general elections.

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Police ban Gwanghwamun rallies by conservative civic group

SEOUL -- Police on Thursday announced a decision to ban large-scale outdoor rallies planned by a conservative civic group critical of the Moon Jae-in government around Gwanghwamun Square, downtown Seoul.

According to police officials, Seoul's Jongno Police Station has notified the "August 15 emergency civic response committee" of its decision not to permit its Gwanghwamun rallies planned for Sunday and Oct. 25, citing risks of coronavirus transmissions.

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