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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:26 February 17, 2021

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

(LEAD) New virus cases most since early January, post-holiday resurgence looming

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases increased by the most in more than a month to over 600 on Wednesday, prompting concerns over a virus resurgence after the Lunar New Year holiday amid eased social distancing rules.

The country reported 621 more COVID-19 cases, including 590 local infections, raising the total caseload to 84,946, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

(2nd LD) Captured N. Korean man crossed sea border in diving suit: JCS

SEOUL -- A North Korean man, who was captured after crossing into South Korea, appears to have crossed the border via the sea while wearing a diving suit and a set of fins, the military said Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the man was spotted moving south in the early hours inside a restricted area north of the Civilian Control Line in the eastern border town of Goseong before being captured following a three-hour manhunt.

S. Korea, U.S. have 'clear commitment' to conclude defense cost talks before April: source

SEOUL -- South Korea and the United States share a "clear commitment" to strike a deal on the sharing of the cost for stationing 28,500 America troops here before April, a diplomatic source said Wednesday.

Seoul and Washington have been stepping up final-stage efforts to reach the deal, called the Special Measures Agreement (SMA), as South Korean civilians working for the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) could be forced to go on unpaid leave on April 1 absent a new deal.

N.K. state media use 'president' as new English title for leader Kim

SEOUL -- North Korea's state media have used "president" as the official English title of leader Kim Jong-un, instead of the previous title of "chairman," in what experts see as intended to rev up the image of a "normal state."

The North's Korean Central News Agency used the new title for the first time in an English article last Thursday while reporting on a Cuban leaders' message to Kim. On Wednesday, KCNA also referred to Kim as "president" in reporting on his visit to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun on the occasion of his late father Kim Jong-il's 79th birthday.

(LEAD) N.K. leader's wife makes 1st public appearance in over a year

SEOUL -- The wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appeared in public for the first time in more than a year as she attended a concert commemorating the birthday of late leader Kim Jong-il, according to state media Wednesday.

Ri Sol-ju was last seen in January last year when she attended a concert celebrating Lunar New Year's Day at the Samjiyon Theater in Pyongyang with leader Kim.

(LEAD) Moon's senior secretary offers to quit over prosecution reshuffle: Cheong Wa Dae

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in's senior secretary for civil affairs and justice has repeatedly offered to resign in protest over the latest reshuffle of senior prosecutors led by new Justice Minister Park Beom-kye, Cheong Wa Dae confirmed Wednesday.

Moon, however, rejected the resignation offer by Shin Hyun-soo, a former career prosecutor appointed to the post less than two months ago, while he remains intent on stepping down, according to a senior Cheong Wa Dae official.

Over 110 workers from Namyangju factory infected with COVID-19

SEOUL -- More than 110 workers at a factory east of Seoul have tested positive for the new coronavirus, officials said Wednesday, becoming the latest in a recent string of mass infections at industrial workplaces.

According to the municipal officials of Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province, as many as 114 employees from a single factory in the city's Jingwan General Industrial Complex, about 40 kilometers from Seoul, have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

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