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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:01 January 24, 2022

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

(2nd LD) New COVID-19 cases above 7,000 for 3rd day amid persistent omicron fears

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily coronavirus cases stayed above 7,000 for the third straight day Monday amid deepening concerns over the fast spreading omicron variant that has become the dominant strain in the country.

The country added 7,513 new COVID-19 infections, including 7,159 local infections, raising the total caseload to 741,413, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

(LEAD) Moon calls for swift shift to new response measures to cope with omicron

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in on Monday instructed the government to swiftly shift to new response measures to cope with the spread of the omicron variant, warning the nation could see a surge in infections in the short term.

"The spread of omicron is very fast, making it the dominant strain, and the number of confirmed cases could surge in a short period of time," Moon said, according to Park Soo-hyun, senior presidential secretary for public communication.

Yoon pledges to normalize military drills with U.S., enhance deterrence against North

SEOUL -- Main opposition presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol promised Monday if elected, he will normalize the joint military exercises with the United States and enhance the allies' extended deterrence against North Korea's nuclear threats.

The former prosecutor general representing the conservative People Power Party (PPP) announced his campaign pledges on national security and foreign affairs focused on achieving the complete denuclearization of North Korea and strengthening the alliance with the U.S.

Unification minister to brief foreign envoys on N. Korea policy

SEOUL -- South Korea's minister in charge of inter-Korean relations will brief foreign ambassadors and international organizations on the government's policy direction on North Korea later this week, a ministry official said Monday,

Unification Minister Lee In-young plans to share his assessment of the recent security situation on the peninsula during the Tuesday session to be attended by ambassadors and charge d'affaires of 31 countries and Seoul office representatives of eight international organizations, including the World Food Programme, ministry spokesperson Lee Jong-joo told reporters.

China's Xi sends congratulatory letter on Moon's 70th birthday

SEOUL -- Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a letter congratulating President Moon Jae-in on his 70th birthday, a presidential spokesperson said Monday.

Moon also sent a letter of gratitude to Xi, and they agreed to further develop bilateral ties as this year marked the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties between the two nations, according to Moon's spokesperson Park Kyung-mee.

PM implores people to refrain from traveling during Lunar New Year over omicron

SEOUL -- Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum on Monday asked people to refrain from traveling during the Lunar New Year holiday, as the highly transmissible omicron variant is beginning to tighten its grip on South Korea.

Millions of people usually travel across the nation to meet relatives or visit tourist spots during the holiday for Lunar New Year that falls on Feb. 1 this year. The holiday runs from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks tumbles to 13-month low ahead of Fed meeting

SEOUL -- South Korea's main stock index plunged to a 13-month low Monday, as investors dumped local stocks ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting this week. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) dived 42.29 points, or 1.49 percent, to close at 2,792 points. The KOSPI closed below the 2,800-point mark for the first time since Dec. 23, 2020.

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