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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:14 September 29, 2021

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

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(LEAD) N. Korea's 'hypersonic missile' appears to be at early stage of development: JCS

SEOUL -- North Korea's newly unveiled "hypersonic missile" appears to be at an early stage of development and can be intercepted by South Korean and U.S. military assets, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Wednesday.

The assessment came hours after the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the country's Academy of Defense Science conducted the first test fire of the hypersonic Hwasong-8 missile from Toyang-ri, Jagang Province, on Tuesday.

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S. Korea to launch 1st homegrown space rocket on Oct. 21

SEOUL -- South Korea will launch its first homegrown space rocket next month as it is in the final stages of preparations, the science ministry said Wednesday.

The Ministry of Science and ICT said the rocket, Nuri, will lift off Oct. 21 as scheduled at the Naro Space Center in Goheung, 473 kilometers south of Seoul.

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(LEAD) Top nuclear envoys of S. Korea, China discuss N.K. missile launch in video talks

SEOUL -- South Korea's chief nuclear negotiator, Noh Kyu-duk, held video talks with his Chinese counterpart Wednesday and discussed North Korea's latest missile launch and recent statements, the foreign ministry said.

Noh's talks with Liu Xiaoming, Beijing's special representative on Korean Peninsula affairs, came a day after the North test-fired a hypersonic missile into the East Sea.

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(2nd LD) New cases spike to 2nd largest; 4th wave peak yet to come

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily coronavirus cases stayed in the 2,000s for a fourth day Wednesday, bouncing back to the second largest since the outbreak of COVID-19 in January last year on a spike in infections in the greater Seoul area.

The country reported 2,885 new COVID-19 cases, including 2,859 local infections, bringing the total caseload to 308,725, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

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Nearly 70 pct of South Koreans agree on need to declare formal end to Korean War: poll

SEOUL -- A majority of South Koreans agree on the need to declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War, as proposed by President Moon Jae-in, a survey showed Wednesday.

According to survey of 1,000 adults by the National Unification Advisory Council on Sept. 24 and 25, 67.8 percent said the end-of-war declaration was necessary. Among them, 41.7 percent replied the declaration was "very necessary," while 26.1 percent said it was "necessary to an extent."

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(LEAD) S. Korea ready to promote trade ties with Japan: minister

SEOUL -- South Korea will seek to strengthen trade cooperation with Japan amid challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, and a more friendly business environment will be offered to Japanese firms here, Seoul's top trade official said Wednesday.

"The government will spare no efforts to promote the economic ties between South Korea and Japan," Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo said during a meeting with Japanese business officials based here.

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(News Focus) N. Korea's newly unveiled hypersonic missile feared to be hard-to-intercept 'game changer'

SEOUL -- North Korea's first hypersonic missile unveiled this week could ultimately prove to be a "game changer," experts warned Wednesday, as such missiles traveling at a speed of at least Mach 5 -- five times the speed of sound -- are hard to intercept with existing missile defense shields.

Though the North's missile is still in its early stage of development and is believed to fall far short of its U.S., Chinese or Russian counterparts, experts said the beginning of such development itself is worrisome enough.

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Breakthrough cases near 8,000, most frequent among those in 30s

SEOUL -- South Korea has reported nearly 8,000 coronavirus infections involving people who tested positive for COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated, health authorities said Wednesday.

Out of more than 17.75 million people who have received the full-dose vaccine regimen, there were 7,772 breakthrough cases, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

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Delta variant cases nearing 30,000 in S. Korea

SEOUL -- South Korea has confirmed 3,066 more cases of four major contagious variants of the new coronavirus over the past week, including 3,060 of the highly transmissible delta variant, health authorities said Tuesday.

The caseload of such infections reached 33,053 here, with the number of delta cases, first reported in India, tallied at 29,593, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

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Population aging, low fertility continue in N. Korea: CIA data

SEOUL -- North Korea's population is steadily aging, with the number of people aged 65 years and older accounting for 9.75 percent this year, up 0.1 percentage point from last year, recent U.S. government data showed.

North Korea's total fertility rate -- the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime -- also fell to 1.91 this year from 1.92 the previous year, according to the World Factbook of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
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