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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:19 October 15, 2020

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

(LEAD) Top S. Korean, U.S. security officials discuss alliance, N. Korea: Cheong Wa Dae

SEOUL -- Top national security officials of South Korea and the United States held talks in Washington, D.C. this week and reaffirmed that their alliance remains robust, Cheong Wa Dae said Thursday.

Suh Hoon, director of national security at the presidential office, arrived in the U.S. on Tuesday (local time) for his first trip to the U.S. since assuming the post in July.

LEAD) N. Korea upgrades surface-to-air weapons: Air Force chief

SEOUL -- North Korea has upgraded its surface-to-air weapons to augment its air power considered way weaker than that of South Korea, the South's Air Force chief said Thursday, vowing to boost missile defense capabilities against the North's nuclear and missile threats.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Lee Seong-yong made the remark during a parliamentary audit session, saying around 10 new weapons have been identified from the North's military parade held last week.

(2nd LD) 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).

(LEAD) BTS wins fourth Top Social Artist prize at Billboard Music Awards

SEOUL -- K-pop boy band BTS won the Top Social Artist award at this year's Billboard Music Awards (BBMA), their fourth consecutive victory in the category.

At the award event held at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles without spectators on Wednesday (U.S. time), the septet beat Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande, as well as fellow K-pop acts EXO and GOT7.

S. Korean economy to perform well over next 2 years, but still in deep recession: S&P

SEOUL -- The South Korean economy is expected to fare better than other countries over the next two years, but it will be in a deep recession amid the coronavirus pandemic, an economist at ratings agency S&P Global Ratings said Thursday.

Shaun Roache, chief economist on the Asia-Pacific region at S&P, said South Korea's central bank is expected to keep its policy rate low at least throughout 2023 to prop up the economic recovery.

Volkswagen Korea to expand lineup to regain market share after scandal

SEOUL -- Volkswagen Korea will expand its product lineup by 2021 to boost sales and regain consumer confidence in Asia's fourth-biggest economy, a company executive said Thursday.

Volkswagen Korea launched the all-new Jetta compact sedan in the Korean market earlier in the day to woo customers who want imported but affordable models.

U.N. rapporteur urges N.K. to punish those responsible for killing of S. Korean citizen at sea

SEOUL -- The U.N. special rapporteur on North Korea's human rights situation has urged Pyongyang to punish those responsible for the killing of a South Korean fisheries official, compensate the official's family and ensure no such incident happens again.

Tomas Ojea Quintana made the appeal, denouncing the killing as a "violation of international human rights law" in his latest report on the North's human rights situation. The document was released by the U.N. human rights office in Seoul, and Quintana plans to present it to the U.N. General Assembly next week.

(LEAD) 4 school teachers part of infamous Telegram sex crime case: lawmaker

SEOUL -- At least four school teachers were under investigation for allegedly downloading illegal child pornography produced by the group behind the infamous Telegram sexual exploitation case that unsettled the nation earlier this year, a lawmaker said Thursday.

According to Rep. Lee Tahn-ey of the ruling Democratic Party, three regular school teachers and a contract-based teacher from Incheon and the provinces of South Chungcheong and Gangwon have been probed by law enforcement as part of the larger so-called "nth room" sex crime investigation.

S. Korean, U.S. defense chiefs' briefing cancellation not due to discord over key issues: Seoul ministry

SEOUL -- The abrupt cancellation of a planned joint press conference between the South Korean and U.S. defense chiefs was not because of differences between the two sides but because of "internal issues" of the United States, the defense ministry said Thursday.

South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook and U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper had been scheduled to hold a news conference in Washington on Thursday after the annual ministerial talks, the Security Consultative Meeting (SCM). Suh flew to the U.S. for the meeting Wednesday amid the new coronavirus.

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