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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:01 February 18, 2021

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

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Gyeonggi chief Lee widens lead in presidential hopefuls' poll

SEOUL -- Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung has widened his lead in a poll of potential presidential candidates released Thursday, with his closest rivals falling behind marginally compared to two weeks ago.

In the survey conducted jointly by four polling agencies on 1,007 people over the age of 18 from Monday to Wednesday, 27 percent picked Gov. Lee as their favored candidate in next year's presidential election.

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(LEAD) Independence fighter grandson ends archive donation talks with Harvard over professor's comfort women claim

SEOUL -- A grandson of a renowned Korean independence fighter said Thursday that he had sent a letter to Harvard University's president to end any discussions about donating his historical archives due to a professor's article depicting Japan's wartime sexual slavery as voluntary prostitution.

In an email and phone interview with Yonhap News Agency, Philip Ahn Cuddy, the grandson of Ahn Chang-ho who fiercely fought against Japan's 1910-45 colonization, revealed that he wrote the letter to President Lawrence S. Bacow to terminate the talks in "direct consequence" of J. Mark Ramseyer's "inappropriate academic writing."

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N.K. leader's wife absent from public view possibly due to childbirth: report

SEOUL -- The wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appears to have been absent from public view for more than a year due to childbirth, a think tank linked to Seoul's spy agency said Thursday.

Ri Sol-ju made her first public appearance in more than a year this week as state media reported on her having attended a concert celebrating the birthday of late leader Kim Jong-il.

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Foreign ministry says historical facts about comfort women already 'proven universally'

SEOUL -- The foreign ministry said Thursday that historical facts about victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery have already been "proven universally," amid public criticism of a Harvard University professor's characterization of it as voluntary prostitution.

J. Mark Ramseyer, Mitsubishi professor of Japanese Legal Studies at Harvard Law School, has come under blistering criticism after publishing an article casting the former sex slaves as willing prostitutes who worked under voluntary contracts.

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S. Korea's NSC expresses concern about Myanmar situations

SEOUL -- South Korea's top security officials voiced concern Thursday about political instability in Myanmar in connection with a recent coup.

They also agreed to cooperate with the international community for the "restoration of constitutional order" through a legitimate, democratic and peaceful manner in the Southeast Asian country, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

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Resumption of Kaesong complex must include foreign companies to avoid risk of abrupt suspension: ex-minister

SEOUL -- A former South Korean unification minister called for the inclusion of foreign companies when pushing to reopen the now-shuttered industrial complex in North Korea's border town of Kaesong, saying it will help prevent the risk of the two Koreas abruptly pulling out of the project.

Jeong Se-hyun, former unification minister and current executive vice chairperson of the presidential National Unification Advisory Council, made the remarks Thursday during a virtual seminar urging for the reopening of the complex.

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Ministry reaffirms push for early resumption of N.K. nuke talks

SEOUL -- The foreign ministry on Thursday reaffirmed its commitment to push for an early resumption of the stalled nuclear dialogue between North Korea and the United States, vowing to closely work with Washington for progress.

"To resume the North Korea-U.S. dialogue at an early date and bring real progress in denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, we will accelerate efforts with Washington to develop coordinated strategies," the ministry said in a report submitted to the parliament.

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Multiple investors show interest in Eastar: CEO

SEOUL -- Six to seven companies have shown an interest in acquiring Eastar Jet after a local court approved the corporate rehabilitation process for the budget carrier this month, the company's chief executive officer said Thursday.

The Seoul Bankruptcy Court gave the OK to the rehabilitation program for Eastar Jet in early February. The court appointed two managers that include Eastar Jet CEO Kim You-sang to oversee the program despite the pilot union's demands to exclude sitting executives from the interim undertaker team.

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(LEAD) 16 people affiliated with USFK test positive for virus

SEOUL -- Thirteen U.S. service members and a Department of Defense civilian employee have tested positive for the new coronavirus upon arrival in South Korea in the past month, the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said Thursday.

Six service members arrived at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on U.S. government chartered flights, while the others arrived here on commercial flights via Incheon International Airport, west of the capital, according to the U.S. military.

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(LEAD) Seoul stocks sink 1.5 pct on U.S. inflation concerns

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks finished 1.5 percent lower on Thursday on massive foreign and institutional selling that stemmed from concerns of inflation and bond yield hikes in U.S. financial markets. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 47.07 points, or 1.5 percent, to close at 3,086.66 points, falling for the second straight session.


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