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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 October 15, 2021

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

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New virus cases slow down, eased distancing rules to be applied for 2 weeks

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new COVID-19 cases stayed in the 1,000s for the seventh straight day Friday as the government announced eased social distancing rules ahead of a gradual return to normal life.

The country added 1,684 more COVID-19 cases, including 1,670 local infections, raising the total caseload to 339,361, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

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Top nuke envoys of S. Korea, U.S., Japan to meet in Washington over N.K. diplomacy

SEOUL -- The top nuclear envoys of South Korea, the United States and Japan will meet trilaterally in Washington next week to discuss joint efforts to bring North Korea back to dialogue, the foreign ministry said Friday.

The planned talks among Seoul's chief nuclear negotiator, Noh Kyu-duk, and his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Sung Kim and Takehiro Funakoshi, come as Seoul is stepping up diplomacy to salvage its peace drive following a recent series of North Korean missile launches, including a hypersonic one last month.

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S. Korea faces continued economic uncertainty: finance ministry

SEOUL -- The South Korean economy is facing continued uncertainty as slumps in person-to-person service sectors have extended amid the latest spike in COVID-19 cases, the finance ministry said Friday.

In its monthly economic assessment report, the ministry said the country's exports remained robust, while the job market has markedly improved despite the fourth wave of the pandemic.

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Gov't to raise gathering size limit to 8 under new distancing rules: PM

SEOUL -- The government decided Friday to raise the private gathering size limit to eight people for the capital area and 10 for elsewhere before the country shifts to a "living with COVID-19" scheme next month, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said.

Under the renewed plan that will go into effect Monday, the greater Seoul area will remain under the toughest social distancing of Level 4, while the rest of the country will be under Level 3, Kim said during an interagency meeting on the government's coronavirus response.

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U.S. awaits N. Korean response to U.S. proposals for dialogue: State Dept.

WASHINGTON -- The United States continues to be prepared to meet with North Korea without preconditions as it awaits the North's response to its "specific proposals," a State Department spokesperson said Thursday.

Ned Price also stressed that the U.S. remains actively engaged in diplomacy with its allies to discuss ways to enhance their collective security.

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U.S. needs to reassure allies against N. Korean threats: U.S. expert

WASHINGTON -- The United States must reassure its allies of American commitment to help defend them against possible North Korean attacks to prevent key strategic alliances from falling apart, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO said Thursday.

Ivo Daalder, currently serving as president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent global affairs think tank, also argued U.S. failure to do so may encourage its allies to consider having nuclear capabilities themselves.

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Prosecutor General Kim previously worked as legal adviser to Seongnam city

SEOUL -- Prosecutor General Kim Oh-soo worked as a legal adviser to the city government of Seongnam for five months before taking over as top prosecutor, officials said Friday, amid a prosecution probe into a development corruption scandal in the city.

The Seongnam city government is a subject of the investigation in connection with the probe that is zeroing in on allegations that a private partner of the 2015 project reaped astronomical profits through possible collusion with a key figure at the city's development agency.

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Seoul stocks up late Fri. morning on tech gains

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks traded higher late Friday morning, led by strong advances by tech stocks.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 25.6 points, or 0.86 percent, to 3,014.24 points as of 11:20 a.m.
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