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Yonhap News Summary

Economy 13:30 January 21, 2021

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

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(LEAD) Moon sends congrats message to Biden, vows cooperation in peace drive

SEOUL -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in has sent a congratulatory message to new U.S. President Joe Biden on his inauguration, stressing Seoul's commitment to unswerving coordination for regional peace and prosperity, Cheong Wa Dae said Thursday.

In the note delivered to Washington, Moon expressed hope for a meeting with Biden in the near future to build "trust and friendship" as well as to have "candid dialogue" on issues of mutual concern, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok.

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(2nd LD) Biden takes office with pledge to repair alliance, U.S. leadership

WASHINGTON -- Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, promising to repair the country's global leadership, as well as its relationship with allies.

The former vice president took the oath of office on the steps of the Capitol in an inauguration ceremony with only a few participants and nearly no spectators.

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Biden administration tipped to have positive impact on S. Korea's exports

SEOUL -- The new administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to have a positive impact on South Korea's exports as he pledged to reverse the Trump administration's protectionism and trade wars, along with a massive economic relief package.

However, trade tension between the U.S. and China is likely to persist as he is predicted to confront Beijing by stepping up cooperation with Washington's European and Asian allies, although Biden is unlikely to engage in a trade war seen under Trump.

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(News Focus) Biden's speech signals better ties with Seoul, less drama with Pyongyang

WASHINGTON -- North Korea is and will continue to be a major challenge for the new U.S. administration, but not as great a challenge as other domestic issues such as the pandemic, at least for now, as evidenced by President Joe Biden's inaugural address on Wednesday.

The new U.S. leader took office with a speech that mostly focused on the need for unity among Americans to fight off the deadly new coronavirus, but also other foes facing the U.S. that he said included "anger, resentment, hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence."

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New virus cases in 400s for 2nd day amid downward trend

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases stayed in 400s for the second consecutive day Thursday as health authorities try to further slow down infections with an enhanced social distancing scheme.

The country added 401 more COVID-19 cases, including 380 domestic infections, raising the total caseload to 73,918, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

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(LEAD) S. Korea's exports grow 10.6 pct in first 20 days of Jan.

SEOUL -- South Korea's exports rose 10.6 percent on-year in the first 20 days of January on the back of robust shipments of chips and autos amid the pandemic, customs data showed Thursday.

The country's outbound shipments stood at US$28.2 billion in the Jan. 1-20 period, compared with $25.5 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

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(LEAD) Independent anti-corruption investigative body begins operation

SEOUL -- A powerful investigative agency officially launched Thursday with a focus on uprooting corruption among high-ranking officials, heralding a new chapter in the history of the country's legal establishment.

President Moon Jae-in formally authorized Kim Jin-wook as the inaugural chief of the agency, the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials (CIO), after the National Assembly endorsed his appointment earlier in the day following his confirmation hearing.

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(Yonhap Interview) Outgoing LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan cherishes memories with Korean stars

SEOUL -- About two weeks after making a surprise announcement that he would step down as LPGA commissioner in 2021, Mike Whan is, in his own words, "at peace" with his decision.

As the longest-serving commissioner in LPGA history, Whan, 55, is leaving the women's tour in a better place than when he took the reins in 2010. The LPGA Tour went from 34 tournaments in 2008 to just 24 by 2010. This year, the total has gone back up to 34 events, with a record purse of US$76.5 million up for grabs.

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