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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 March 31, 2022

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

Yoon's spokesperson draws line at trilateral military exercise with U.S., Japan

SEOUL -- President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol's spokesperson said Thursday the incoming administration will likely seek stronger security cooperation with the United States and Japan but drew the line at trilateral military exercises.

Kim Eun-hye's remark came after the Hankyoreh newspaper reported the same day the U.S. and Japanese governments recently made repeated proposals to hold trilateral military exercises in waters around the Korean Peninsula but were rejected by Seoul.

S. Korea, U.S. discuss chip supply chains

SEOUL -- South Korea and the United States held working-level talks Thursday to boost cooperation in the chip industry and to ensure stable chip supply chains, Seoul's industry ministry said.

The subcommittees of the Korea-U.S. Semiconductor Partnership Dialogue had consultation sessions via teleconferencing earlier in the day to discuss projects for joint technologies development, personnel exchanges and investment in the semiconductor industry.

Cheong Wa Dae voices regret over speculation on clothes of first lady

SEOUL -- Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday expressed regret over what it called "indiscriminate" speculation that first lady Kim Jung-sook might have used taxpayer money to buy her clothes during President Moon Jae-in's five-year term.

Park Soo-hyun, senior secretary for public communication, made the remarks a day after the presidential office denied the speculation that Kim might have used off-the-record expenses for her clothes.

Volkswagen to launch 22 new, upgraded models in S. Korea this year

SEOUL -- Volkswagen Group Korea said Thursday it will launch a total of 22 new and upgraded models under its four brands this year to boost sales amid the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.

The 22 models include the Volkswagen ID.4 all-electric SUV, the Audi A3 compact and Q4 e-tron, and several new Bentley and Lamborghini models, the German carmaker said.

(LEAD) S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases fall to about 320,000; critical cases at another high

SEOUL -- South Korea's new daily COVID-19 cases fell more than 100,000 to around 320,000 on Thursday, but the number of seriously ill patients hit an all-time high amid the continued spread of the highly transmissible "stealth omicron" subvariant.

The country added 320,743 new coronavirus infections, including 24 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 13,095,631, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

(2nd LD) Industrial output falls for 2nd month in Feb.

SEOUL -- South Korea's industrial output fell for the second straight month in February as economic uncertainty has heightened amid the upsurge in COVID-19 cases and surging energy costs driven by the Ukraine crisis, data showed Thursday.

Industrial output declined 0.2 percent in February from the previous month, compared with a 0.3 percent on-month fall in January, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

TWICE to hold encore concert in L.A. after sold-out tour of U.S. cities

SEOUL -- K-pop girl group TWICE will return for a one-day encore concert in Los Angeles as part of its fourth world tour that took it to five U.S. cities, including L.A., in February, the group's agency said Thursday.

The nine-piece group will hold the concert at the 22,000-seat Banc of California stadium on May 14 (U.S. time), becoming the first K-pop girl group to hold an individual show at a stadium in North America, JYP Entertainment said on the band's official social media channels.

Business sentiment worsens for April on high raw material prices, pandemic

SEOUL -- South Korean's business sentiment worsened for April amid global supply disruptions, heightened geopolitical uncertainty and the still rampant spread of coronavirus, a central bank poll showed Thursday.

The business sentiment index (BSI) for local companies came to 83 for April, down five points from the previous month, according to the survey by the Bank of Korea (BOK).

More than 80 pct of lawmakers saw assets increase in 2021: data

SEOUL -- More than eight in 10 lawmakers saw their personal assets grow in value last year amid the pandemic, data showed Thursday.

As of December 2021, 240 lawmakers, or 83 percent of the 289 legislators who disclosed their assets, said their assets expanded compared with a year earlier, according to the National Assembly data.

Seoul stocks open higher on financial, tech gains

SEOUL -- South Korean shares opened higher Thursday, buoyed by financial and tech advances, despite overnight falls on Wall Street.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) had increased 9.89 points, or 0.36 percent, to trade at 2,756.63 points of 9:15 a.m.

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