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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:24 October 15, 2021

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

(2nd LD) Prosecutors raid Seongnam City Hall over development corruption scandal

SEONGNAM/SEOUL, South Korea -- Prosecutors raided the offices of Seongnam City Hall over a massive development corruption scandal Friday amid questions whether the investigation is headed all the way to former Mayor Lee Jae-myung, now presidential nominee of the ruling Democratic Party.

During the raid, a team of 20 prosecution investigators seized documents and other materials from offices in charge of the 2015 project aimed at developing the Daejang-dong district in Seongnam, south of Seoul, into apartment complexes.

(2nd LD) 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).

(LEAD) N. Korea opens western sea route to receive medical supplies: UNICEF

SEOUL -- North Korea has opened a key sea route on the western coast to receive humanitarian aid deliveries following its closure attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, a United Nations agency official said Friday.

The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has begun shipping medical supplies from the Chinese port of Dalian to North Korea's Nampo and plans to deliver more items, according to its Seoul office.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks rebound to 3,000-point level on tech rally

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks retrieved the psychologically important level of 3,000 points Friday, backed by a three-day tech rebound. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 26.42 points, or 0.88 percent, to close at 3,015.06 points.

S. Korea considering 'diverse' ways with U.S. for N. Korea dialogue: ministry

SEOUL -- South Korea is closely cooperating with the United States on "diverse" measures to restart talks with North Korea, the unification ministry said Friday, after the U.S. said it had made overtures to Pyongyang.

"Through close communication, South Korea and the United States have pursued a completely coordinated North Korea policy," Cha Duck-chul, the ministry's deputy spokesperson, said in a regular press briefing. "Diverse measures to engage with the North are being closely discussed."

(2nd LD) BOK continues to normalize monetary policy to ease 'financial imbalances'

SEOUL -- The Bank of Korea will continue adjusting its accommodative monetary policy and determine the timing of another rate hike in a way that could ease "financial imbalances" caused in part by rising household debt, Gov. Lee Ju-yeol said Friday.

Lee made the remarks days after the central bank kept its policy rate unchanged at 0.75 percent for October but hinted at the possibility of an additional rate increase before the end of this year to rein in inflation and household debt.

Unseasonable cold snap to drive Seoul's temperatures to 64-year low

SEOUL -- Temperatures are forecast to drop sharply this coming weekend to a 64-year low for Seoul, the state weather agency said Friday.

The morning low is forecast to fall to 1 degree Celsius in the capital Sunday, compared with Friday's 17 degrees C, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).

(News Focus) S. Korea, Japan ties again at major juncture in leadership transition period

SEOUL -- Relations between South Korea and Japan, long strained due to disputes over shared history, face another key moment with the advent of Japan's new leadership amid a mixture of cautious hope for a turnaround and lingering doubts about an immediate breakthrough.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is widely expected to hold his first phone talks with Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday. Cheong Wa Dae confirmed that the two sides are in consultations for that.

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