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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:12 November 19, 2020

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

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(LEAD) Tougher distancing regulations take effect, limiting crowds at public facilities

SEOUL -- As a tougher social distancing scheme took effect on Thursday in the greater Seoul area and some other areas where COVID-19 infections have soared recently, high-risk multiuse facilities, such as restaurants and movie theaters, face restrictions in operation.

The South Korean government earlier decided to raise the five-tier social distancing scheme by one notch to Level 1.5 in the capital city; the surrounding Gyeonggi Province; Incheon; Gwangju, some 330 kilometers south of Seoul; and a region in the eastern province of Gangwon.

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(2nd LD) GM executive warns of possible exit from S. Korea amid strikes

SEOUL -- An executive of General Motors Co., the parent company of GM Korea Co., said the U.S. automaker could withdraw from South Korea if workers at the Korean unit continue to go on strike for wage hikes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to GM Korea Thursday.

GM Korea workers have been staging several rounds of partial strikes since Oct. 30, demanding an end to a wage freeze and a new vehicle production plan at its No. 2 Bupyeong plant in Incheon, just west of Seoul.

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(LEAD) Won sinks after verbal warning against rapid gains

SEOUL -- The South Korean currency dropped against the U.S. dollar Thursday after currency authorities warned that they are ready to take actions at any time to curb the won's sharp gains.

The local currency ended at 1,115.6 won to the greenback, down 11.8 won from the previous session, when the won rose to a 29-month high of 1,103.8 to the dollar.

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Ruling party pushes for early launch of anti-corruption body after bipartisan efforts break down

SEOUL -- The ruling party said Thursday it will push for a law revision to hasten the launch of a special investigative body dealing with corruption among high-ranking government officials, after a round of bipartisan efforts for the launch failed to make progress.

A seven-member committee entrusted with designating two final candidates to lead the envisioned body, the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials (CIO), again failed to agree on the nominations in its third meeting Wednesday.

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More verification needed over N.K. ICBM's reentry capability: defense ministry

SEOUL -- More verification is necessary to determine whether North Korea has atmospheric reentry technology for its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), the defense ministry said Thursday, following a U.S. think tank report suggesting Pyongyang has already mastered the technology.

In the 2021 Index of U.S. Military Strength report, the Heritage Foundation said Pyongyang's ICBM reentry vehicles "would likely perform adequately if flown to a normal trajectory to continental U.S. targets," citing U.S. intelligence authorities.

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Chinese FM likely to visit Seoul next week: sources

SEOUL -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is likely to visit Seoul next week for talks with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, diplomatic sources said Thursday, a trip likely to stress bilateral cooperation ahead of a leadership change in the United States.

Seoul and Beijing have been fine-tuning details on Wang's visit that could begin on Wednesday after his two-day visit to Japan, the sources said. Wang and Kang are likely to meet on Thursday.

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President Moon's approval rating dips to lowest since last October: Realmeter

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in's approval rating has fallen to the lowest level since last October, a poll showed Thursday, amid a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in South Korea and political controversies over major policies.

In a three-day Realmeter survey of 1,506 voters nationwide through Wednesday, 42.5 percent of respondents supported Moon, down 1.8 percentage points from a week earlier.

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