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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:02 November 20, 2020

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

Foreign ministers of S. Korea, China to hold talks in Seoul next week

SEOUL -- Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha will hold talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Seoul next week, her ministry announced Friday, amid expectations the two sides will likely focus on bilateral relations and cooperation ahead of a leadership change in the United States.

The talks will take place on Thursday, a day after Wang arrives in Seoul for a three-day visit, according to the ministry. Wang will fly in from Japan after a two-day trip there. He last visited Seoul in December last year.

Unification minister renews calls for inter-Korean virus cooperation amid criticism

SEOUL -- South Korea will push actively ahead with cooperation with North Korea once coronavirus vaccines and cures are developed, Unification Minister Lee In-young said Friday, after coming under fire for calling for sharing coronavirus vaccines with the North.

"When vaccines and treatment for COVID-19 are developed and distributed in the near future, a new environment will be created in the Korean Peninsula in which people and goods can come and go," Lee said during a meeting with medical experts Friday.

Japan willing to work with S. Korea on monitoring of Fukushima water treatment: embassy official

SEOUL -- Japan is willing to work with South Korea on the monitoring of the envisioned treatment and release into the ocean of contaminated water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant, a senior embassy official said Friday.

The official's remark comes as Tokyo is expected to soon announce its plan to gradually discharge into the sea more than 1.2 million tons of radioactive water stored in tanks since the 2011 meltdowns following an earthquake and tsunami.

(LEAD) Defense committee passes bill allowing distinguished pop stars to defer enlistment

SEOUL -- The National Assembly's defense committee on Friday approved a bill that would allow distinguished male pop culture artists to postpone their mandatory military duties.

The committee gave its nod to the bill to revise the Military Service Act to grant an exceptional right to defer military duties of acclaimed pop artists, such as BTS, who are recognized to have contributed to the elevation of the country's global reputation.

(LEAD) BTS returns with simple, strong truth that 'life goes on' in new album 'BE'

SEOUL -- The year 2020 has been one of the most dismal years for many around the globe, jolting people to face a harsh new reality where the most mundane things in life have become a luxury.

BTS, the K-pop act that has grown into one of the biggest pop groups in the world, is no exception. Carefully planned concerts were indefinitely postponed, and the band's seven members began to question what it means to be musicians when they can't perform in front of fans.

Korean Air's Asiana acquisition faces bumpy road after injunction

SEOUL -- Creditors' plan to sell the debt-laden Asiana Airlines Inc. to its bigger rival Korean Air Lines Co. faces a bumpy road as a local equity fund has filed an injunction against the plan.

On Tuesday, Asiana's main creditor, the Korea Development Bank (KDB), signed an investment agreement with Korean Air's parent Hanjin KAL Corp. to inject 800 billion won (US$723 million) into Hanjin KAL through a rights offering and convertible bonds. Hanjin KAL will then participate in a 2.5 trillion-won stock sale by Korean Air that will be used to acquire Asiana.

AI education to begin in high schools next year

SEOUL -- Artificial intelligence (AI) will be introduced as a new subject in local high schools next year before being expanded to the curriculums of kindergartens and elementary and middle schools by 2025, the education ministry said Friday, declaring a bid to strengthen AI education in preparation for a digital future.

The government's AI education blueprint was announced after Minister of Education Yoo Eun-hae presided over a meeting of social affairs ministers for discussions on adjusting its education policies to better foster human resources in the era of AI.

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