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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 September 03, 2021

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

(LEAD) S. Korea renews toughened social distancing rules for 1 month: PM

SEOUL -- South Korea will maintain toughened social distancing rules across the nation for one more month, the prime minister said Friday, as the country is bracing for a potential upsurge in infections in the runup to the traditional Chuseok holiday.

Under the renewed plan that will be effective from Monday to Oct. 3, the greater Seoul area will remain under the toughest Level 4 social distancing, while the rest of the country will be under Level 3, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said during an interagency meeting on the government's coronavirus response.

(2nd LD) New cases under 1,800, toughest social distancing extended in greater Seoul

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases fell under 1,800 on Friday as the country extended the toughest social distancing guidelines in the greater Seoul area through early October.

The country added 1,709 more COVID-19 cases, including 1,675 local infections, raising the total caseload to 257,110, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

(2nd LD) N.K. leader chairs politburo meeting to discuss antivirus efforts, food shortage

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over a politburo meeting to discuss a series of key issues, such as nationwide anti-coronavirus measures and farm production, state media reported Friday.

Kim also discussed measures to thoroughly boost production of consumer goods and implement a land management policy, during the enlarged politburo session of the Workers' Party held Thursday, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

CIO demands prosecution indict Seoul education chief for alleged abuse of power

GWACHEON, South Korea -- The state corruption investigative agency asked the prosecution Friday to indict the chief of the Seoul education office on charges of alleged abuse of power in the process of reinstating dismissed teachers.

The Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials (CIO) said Cho Hee-yeon, the superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, and one of his aides should be charged for illegally influencing the process of reinstating five dismissed teachers, including members of a teachers' labor union, in 2018.

Local governments advise against hometown visits and travel during Chuseok

SEOUL -- The upcoming Chuseok holiday, the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving and one of the country's most celebrated holidays, is posing a significant hurdle to health authorities struggling to contain the fourth wave of COVID-19.

This year's three-day Chuseok holiday runs from Sept. 20-22, and it will be extended by an extra two days due to a preceding weekend. Traditionally, Koreans head back to their hometowns to be with their family members and visit their ancestors' graves to commemorate them.

BOK chief, top financial regulator vow to ease financial imbalances

SEOUL -- The head of the Bank of Korea (BOK) and the new chief of the financial regulator agreed Friday to join forces to ease financial imbalances, including curbing household debts.

In their first meeting, BOK Gov. Lee Ju-yeol and Koh Seung-beom, the new chairman of the Financial Service Commission (FSC), also agreed to provide support for small merchants hit hardest by the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BOK said in a statement.

Moon set for luncheon meeting with parliamentary leaders

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in will meet with the leaders of the National Assembly over lunch Friday, according to his office.

Moon is expected to request support with regard to a proposed budget for next year and pending bills, with the final regular session of the parliament under way before the end of his tenure in early May 2022.

S. Korea to invest 1.6 trillion won in space technology development over next decade

SEOUL -- South Korea will invest around 1.6 trillion won (US$1.38 billion) over the next 10 years to expedite the development of key space technologies after the full lifting of U.S.-imposed restrictions on missile development, the arms procurement agency said Friday.

Under the plan, diverse defense projects, such as the development of surveillance and communication satellites and rockets, will be pushed for between 2021 and 2030 in close cooperation with civilian experts and private firms, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

S. Korea's FX reserves hit record high in August on new IMF SDR allocation

SEOUL -- South Korea's foreign reserves rose to an all-time high in August, partly thanks to an allocation of the International Monetary Fund's Special Drawing Rights (SDR), central bank data showed Friday.

The nation's foreign reserves came to US$463.9 billion as of end-August, up $5.25 billion from the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

House committee passes defense bill with no lower limit for USFK troops: source

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House committee on armed services passed a defense authorization bill Thursday that does not specify a lower limit for the number of U.S. forces stationed in South Korea, an informed source said.

Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA), who sponsored the draft National Defense Authorization Bill, however, has said the lower limit for U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) has been removed because it was no longer necessary.

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