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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 March 30, 2022

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

(LEAD) Ahn says he won't serve in incoming government's Cabinet

SEOUL -- Transition Committee Chairman Ahn Cheol-soo said Wednesday he will not serve in the incoming government's Cabinet, officially withdrawing himself from consideration for the first prime minister of incoming President Yoon Suk-yeol.

Ahn, a key Yoon ally who dropped out of the presidential race to back Yoon, said he decided to stay out of the Cabinet to open up room for Yoon to "spread his will." Instead, Ahn said he will focus on expanding the support base of the soon-to-be ruling party ahead of June's local elections.

Yoon proposes meeting with Zelenskyy at early date after war ends

SEOUL -- President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol proposed a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at an early date after the Ukraine-Russia war ends, his spokesperson said Wednesday.

Yoon made the proposal during a phone call with Zelenskyy on Tuesday, Kim Eun-hye said during a press briefing when asked if she could disclose details of the conversation.

51.9 pct oppose Yoon's plan to relocate presidential office

SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) -- About half of South Koreans are against President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol's plan to move the presidential office out of Cheong Wa Dae, while some 44 percent support the idea, a poll showed Wednesday.

According to the poll of 1,004 adults, conducted by pollster Embrain Public on Sunday and Monday, 51.9 percent said the presidential office should remain at Cheong Wa Dae and 44.3 percent said they back the relocation plan.

Monetary policy committee member to chair rate-setting meeting in case BOK chief post remains vacant

SEOUL -- A monetary policy committee member of the Bank of Korea (BOK) could preside over an interest rate-setting meeting scheduled for mid-April in the case the central bank chief post remains vacant, the central bank said Wednesday.

Last week, Rhee Chang-yong, director of the Asia and Pacific department at the International Monetary Fund, was nominated to lead the BOK as incumbent BOK Gov. Lee Ju-yeol is set to leave office on Thursday following eight years at the helm.

Seoul stocks up late Wed. morning on U.S. gains

SEOUL -- South Korean shares traded in positive terrain late Wednesday morning, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) had increased 7.73 points, or 0.28 percent, to reach 2,748.8 as of 11:20 a.m.

U.S. still analyzing latest N. Korean missile test, but remains concerned

WASHINGTON -- The United States is still analyzing the nature of North Korea's last missile test that probably involved an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a Pentagon spokesperson said Tuesday, amid reports that Pyongyang may have falsely claimed success in developing a new ICBM.

John Kirby, however, said the U.S. continues to remain concerned about North Korea's efforts to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities.

Held back by sputtering offense, S. Korea unable to put ice on cake in World Cup qualifying round

SEOUL -- Trying to wrap up their World Cup qualifying campaign with an undefeated record, South Korea instead ran into a wall put up by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Dubai on Tuesday.

The Taeguk Warriors suffered a 1-0 loss to the home team in their last World Cup qualifier. With a ticket to the big tournament in Qatar this November already booked, South Korea were trying to put the icing on the cake with a victory. It would have also given South Korea the top seed in Group A.

S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases rise to over 420,000; critical cases at record high

SEOUL -- South Korea's new daily COVID-19 cases rose to over 420,000 Wednesday amid concerns over the continued rise in seriously ill patients and deaths over the fast spread of the highly transmissible "stealth omicron" subvariant.

The country added 424,641 new coronavirus infections, including 42 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 12,774,956, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

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