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Yonhap News Summary

National 17:00 November 18, 2021

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

Cheong Wa Dae says Japan's boycott of presser over Dokdo row 'very unusual'

SEOUL -- A Cheong Wa Dae official said Thursday it would be "very unusual" if Japan's absence from a joint press conference with South Korea and the United States in Washington was due to an ongoing row over Seoul's easternmost islets of Dokdo.

The comment comes after Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori boycotted the joint event following talks with his South Korean and U.S. counterparts in Washington on Wednesday (U.S. time).

Police chief's initially secret Dokdo trip disclosed by mistake: officials

SEOUL -- This week's trip to South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo by the country's police chief had initially been planned as a schedule not to be publicized but was revealed by mistake, officials said Thursday amid Japan's protest of the trip.

Tokyo strongly protested National Police Agency Commissioner-General Kim Chang-yong's visit to Dokdo, with Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori boycotting a joint press conference with his South Korean and U.S. counterparts in Washington on Wednesday (U.S. time).

S. Korean ministry takes issue with U.N. Command's news release on Panmunjom tour resumption

SEOUL -- South Korea's unification ministry has lodged a complaint against the United Nations Command (UNC) over its unilateral announcement of the decision to resume a tour program to the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom, according to a ministry official Thursday, in an unusual exposure of disharmony between the two authorities that have long cooperated on such issues.

Earlier in the day, the UNC broke the news that the tours to Panmunjom, or the Joint Security Area, in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas will resume on Nov. 30 in line with South Korea's "living with COVID-19" campaign.

Sino-U.S. tech war casts pall over SK hynix's looming overhaul of its Chinese chip plant

SEOUL -- SK hynix Inc., a major South Korean memory chip maker, said Thursday that it will flexibly operate its Chinese plant as its plan to overhaul the facility could be jeopardized amid the escalating tech tussle between the United States and China.

"We have nothing to say on the matter. We will continue to operate our Chinese factory in a flexible manner," a spokeswoman of the company told Yonhap News Agency.

Lee narrows gap with Yoon to 1 percentage point in presidential race: survey

SEOUL -- Ruling party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung has narrowed his gap with his main opposition rival Yoon Seok-youl to 1 percentage point in a hypothetical four-way race, a survey showed Thursday.

Lee of the liberal Democratic Party garnered 35 percent support against Yoon of the conservative People Power Party's 36 percent, according to the survey of 1,004 adults conducted Monday through Wednesday by Embrain Public, Kstat Research, Korea Research and Hankook Research.

(LEAD) Ruling party, satellite party agree to seek merger

SEOUL -- The ruling Democratic Party said Thursday it has agreed with the minor Open Democratic Party to seek their merger, a move that comes less than four months ahead of the presidential election.

The agreement was reached Wednesday between DP Chairman Song Young-gil and his Open Democratic Party counterpart, Choe Kang-wook, according to Koh Yong-jin, a senior DP spokesperson.

Samsung's Lee discusses COVID-19 vaccines, wireless business with leaders of Moderna, Verizon

SEOUL -- Samsung Group's de facto leader Lee Jae-yong has met with leaders of Moderna and Verizon in the United States to enhance cooperation with the global partners, Samsung said Thursday, as part of efforts to secure the conglomerate's next growth engines.

Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., met Noubar Afeyan, chairman and co-founder of U.S. biotech company Moderna Inc., at the headquarters of Flagship Pioneering in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Tuesday. Flagship Pioneering is a venture capital firm also founded by Afeyan, focusing on biotechnology.

Director Hwang Dong-hyuk says 'Squid Game' poses questions about capitalism

SEOUL -- Hwang Dong-hyuk, the creator of "Squid Game," said Thursday the smash-hit Netflix series was intended to pose questions about modern capitalist society that corners people into extreme competition.

"I thought capitalism has proved its own limitations in the 21st century," Hwang said in an online speech during the SBS D Forum organized by SBS TV. "Everybody faces fiercely competitive situations and they are dragged down to the rock bottom of society if they fail to survive the competition."

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