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Yonhap News Summary

Defense 17:04 January 04, 2021

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

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Minister says he hopes for positive message from N. Korea

SEOUL -- Unification Minister Lee In-young said Monday he hopes to receive a positive message from North Korea on inter-Korean relations as Pyongyang is expected to hold a rare party congress this week.

Lee made the remarks during his online address for the new year to his ministry staff, as the North is set to convene the congress of the Workers' Party this week for the first time in over four years amid expectations that the North is to unveil its economic scheme and policy directions for the United States and South Korea.

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S. Korea in talks with U.S. to cover wages of Korean workers at USFK: official

SEOUL -- South Korea is in talks with the United States to cover the wages of Korean employees at the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), an official said Monday, in an apparent move to avoid another furlough amid the stalled defense cost-sharing negotiations.

The prolonged deadlock in the talks determining Seoul's share of the costs to keep American troops here potentially puts thousands of Korean workers at USFK at risk of being forced to take unpaid leave again this year.

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S. Korea investigating new suspected case of highly contagious bird flu

SEOUL -- South Korea's agricultural ministry said Monday it is looking into yet another suspected case of highly pathogenic bird flu linked to farms amid the prolonged fight against the disease.

The latest suspected case of a highly contagious H5N8 strain of bird flu was reported from an egg farm in Cheonan, 92 kilometers south of Seoul, late Sunday, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

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(LEAD) Seoul stocks at another record high, index inching closer to 3,000 points

SEOUL -- After finishing 2020 with a stellar 30.75 percent gain, South Korean stocks pierced the 2,900-point mark for the first time on Monday, backed by hopes of a quick recovery from the pandemic. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 70.98 points, or 2.47 percent, to close at 2,944.45, extending its winning streak to a sixth day.

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(LEAD) Hyundai aims to sell 7.08 mln units this year

SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. said Monday they aim to sell a combined 7.08 million vehicles this year by selling more of their SUV models despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sales target is 11.5 percent higher than 6,350,851 vehicles sold by the country's two biggest carmakers last year, according to the companies.

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(LEAD) Samsung heir visits chip plant to mark start of 2021

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, the de facto leader of South Korea's top conglomerate, Samsung Group, on Monday checked the company's chip business plans to mark the start of the new year.

Lee discussed Samsung's future strategy with senior executives after attending an event celebrating arrival of foundry production equipment at its second chip factory in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, according to the company.

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23 new virus cases reported in USFK, total exceeds 500

SEOUL -- Seventeen American service members and six others affiliated with the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) tested positive for the new coronavirus upon arrival in South Korea from the United States, the U.S. military said Monday.

The latest cases among the USFK-affiliated population rose to 509, most of whom have tested positive upon arrival in South Korea from the U.S.
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