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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:42 April 27, 2021

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

Moon says time approaching for resuming dialogue with North Korea

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday that the time is drawing near for the two Koreas to resume dialogue, stressing the significance of their historic summit deal three years earlier.

"The time is approaching again when (we) should end long deliberation and restart dialogue," he said during a weekly Cabinet meeting.

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S. Korea calls in Japanese diplomat to protest Tokyo's renewed claims to Dokdo

SEOUL -- The foreign ministry called in a Japanese diplomat on Tuesday to protest Tokyo's repeated claims to South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo in its annual foreign policy paper.

The ministry expressed regrets to Hirohisa Soma, deputy chief of mission at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, after Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi reported this year's Diplomatic Bluebook laying claim to Dokdo to a Cabinet session presided over by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

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Seoul stocks edge down ahead of U.S. FOMC meeting

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks continued to trade bearish late Tuesday morning as investors took to the sidelines ahead of a meeting of the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) slipped 6.49 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,211.04 points as of 11:20 a.m.

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S. Korea's economy grows faster than expected in Q1, heralding rebound this year

SEOUL -- South Korea's economy expanded at a faster-than-expected pace in the first quarter, buoyed by a modest recovery of exports and fiscal policy support, amid signs that the economy is inching closer to pre-pandemic levels, the Bank of Korea (BOK) said Tuesday.

Gross domestic product expanded 1.8 percent in the three months ended March 31 from a year ago, the BOK said. On a quarterly basis, Asia's fourth-largest economy expanded 1.6 percent, accelerating from a 1.2 percent expansion in the final quarter of last year.

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U.S. must be ready to make concessions to N. Korea to advance denuclearization: lawmaker

WASHINGTON -- The United States must be ready to make concessions to North Korea that could include temporary sanctions relief if necessary to advance the North's denuclearization process, a U.S. lawmaker said Monday.

Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) also said South Korean President Moon Jae-in needs to explain exactly what options are on the table when he meets his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, next month.

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U.S. to provide up to 10 mln AstraZeneca vaccine doses to other countries in coming weeks: White House

WASHINGTON -- The United States is expected to provide up to 10 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine to other countries in the coming weeks if and when the U.S. Food Drug Administration (FDA) confirms its safety, the White House said Monday.

Spokesperson Jen Psaki made the remark as South Korea and other countries have been calling for U.S. help in addressing vaccine shortages. South Korean officials said they were trying to reach a "vaccine swap" deal with the U.S.

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Biz community joins calls for pardon of Samsung heir

SEOUL -- South Korea's major business lobby groups on Tuesday said they have submitted a petition for the pardon of Lee Jae-yong, the imprisoned de facto leader of Samsung Group, to the presidential office for the sake of the national economy amid a global semiconductor shortage.

The five major lobby groups -- the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Korea Enterprises Federation, the Korea Federation of SMEs, the Korea International Trade Association and the Federation of Middle Market Enterprises of Korea -- presented a pardon recommendation letter for Lee to Cheong Wa Dae on Monday, according to them.

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Unification minister urges N. Korea to implement peace agreements on summit anniversary

SEOUL/PAJU -- Unification Minister Lee In-young urged North Korea on Tuesday to implement inter-Korean summit agreements and come out for talks as he marked the third anniversary of a historic 2018 summit between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Lee made the remarks during an event organized by civic groups to celebrate the anniversary of the Panmunjom Declaration adopted after the summit talks on April 27, 2018, stressing that South Korea is willing to resume talks with the North "anytime, anywhere and on any issues."

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Seoul mayor says he will continue restructuring of Gwanghwamun Square

SEOUL -- Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said Tuesday he will continue the restructuring of Gwanghwamun Square despite opposition from some civic groups.

Oh said at a press briefing that the remodeling project, which began in November before he took office, is already 34 percent complete and has incurred a cost of 25 billion won (US$22.5 million).

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British aircraft carrier to visit S. Korea this year

SEOUL -- A British aircraft carrier strike group will make a port call at the southeastern city of Busan later this year, Seoul's defense ministry said Tuesday, as the European country seeks to expand its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.

South Korea has accepted Britain's request for its HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier to make a port call at Busan in the second half to boost "bilateral defense cooperation and friendly exchanges," the ministry said.
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