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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:00 January 07, 2022

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

(2nd LD) N. Korea says it's not joining Beijing Olympics due to 'hostile forces,' pandemic

SEOUL -- North Korea has told China that it fully supports the upcoming Beijing Olympics though it cannot participate in the event, criticizing the U.S. diplomatic boycott of the Winter Games, state media reported Friday.

The North's Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports delivered the message in a letter to China's Olympic Committee and other organizations earlier this week, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

(LEAD) N. Korean nuclear, missile programs pose 'ongoing' threat: Blinken

WASHINGTON -- North Korea's nuclear and missile programs pose an ongoing threat to the region and the international community, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday.

The top U.S. diplomat also highlighted the need to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance to meet such threats.

(LEAD) COVID-19 antiviral pills to arrive in S. Korea next week: PM

SEOUL -- Antiviral COVID-19 pills will arrive in South Korea next week, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said Friday.

"We will make sure they can be used swiftly in the medical field," Kim said during a COVID-19 response meeting in Seoul.

(LEAD) Daily virus cases fall below 4,000 for first time in 3 days amid omicron woes

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily coronavirus cases fell below 4,000 for the first time in three days Friday as the country is speeding up booster vaccination shots amid persistent concerns over the potentially more transmissible omicron variant.

The country added 3,717 new COVID-19 infections, including 3,529 local infections, raising the total caseload to 657,508, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

S. Korea to boost domestic reserves of economic security-related items

SEOUL -- South Korea plans to announce measures to boost the domestic reserves of key items related to economic security in the first quarter in a bid to cope with risks from strains on the global supply chain, a senior government official said Friday.

In a related move, the country plans to boost the stockpile of rare metals to 100 days of use from the current 57 days and raise the reserves of some rare metals to a maximum of 180 days of use in case their supply faces instability, according to First Vice Finance Minister Lee Eog-weon.

Cafes, restaurants defiantly stay lit up at night in resistance to anti-virus biz curfew

SEOUL -- A number of cafes and restaurants in commercial districts in Seoul have defiantly stayed lit up past midnight in collective action protesting the government's 9 p.m. anti-COVID-19 business curfew.

Small bistros lining the Baekhack traditional marketplace in central Seoul, and restaurants and food vendors on a food street near Gocheok Sky Dome in western Seoul were among the participants in the so-called lighting protest, launched a day earlier in resistance to the business curfew.

(LEAD) Samsung Electronics likely to post record Q4 sales on upbeat chip biz

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. said Friday it is likely to post record quarterly sales in the fourth quarter of last year, boosted by its solid semiconductor business.

The company expected the sales to hit 76 trillion won (US$63.1 billion) in the September-December period, up 23.5 percent from a year earlier, it said in the earnings preview.

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