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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:00 May 09, 2022

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

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S. Korea, U.S. closely monitoring N. Korea's nuclear test site: ministry

SEOUL -- South Korea said Monday it is closely monitoring North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site in close coordination with the United States amid reports that the secretive regime seems to be preparing for another nuclear experiment there.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson said Friday (U.S. time) that North Korea could be ready to carry it out as early as this month. South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol is scheduled to be inaugurated Tuesday, with U.S. President Joe Biden slated to visit Seoul in late May.

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S. Korea, U.S. begin combined drills involving F-35A stealth fighters

SEOUL -- South Korea and the United States on Monday kicked off their regular air force drills involving F-35A radar-evading fighters and other key assets, sources here said.

The two-week Korea Flying Training came on the eve of the inauguration of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, who has vowed to strengthen the alliance to counter North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile threats.

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(Yonhap Interview) S. Korea-U.S. alliance 'nearly at its best': outgoing defense chief

SEOUL -- The military alliance between South Korea and the United States has reached "nearly its best level" over the recent years, outgoing Defense Minister Suh Wook said Monday, rejecting claims it has waned due to the Moon Jae-in administration's drive for peace with North Korea.

In an exclusive interview with Yonhap News Agency, Suh pointed to the close-knit cooperation he has maintained with his counterpart, Lloyd Austin, and other U.S. defense officials as proof that the alliance remains robust at least from a military perspective.

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Yoon names vice foreign, defense ministers

SEOUL -- Incoming President Yoon Suk-yeol on Monday named 20 vice ministers, including those for foreign affairs and defense.

Cho Hyun-dong, a former career member of the foreign service, was tapped for first vice foreign minister, while Lee Do-hoon, who served as top nuclear envoy under President Moon Jae-in, was named second vice foreign minister.

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Yoon likely to tap ex-deputy NSA as spy chief: source

SEOUL -- Kim Kyou-hyun, a former deputy national security adviser and career diplomat, is likely to be incoming President Yoon Suk-yeol's first spy chief, a source said Monday.

Kim, who served as the deputy national security adviser under former conservative President Park Geun-hye, has been chosen as director of the National Intelligence Service, according to the source.

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Cheong Wa Dae to open to public this week

SEOUL -- Cheong Wa Dae will open to the public on incoming President Yoon Suk-yeol's inauguration day Tuesday as the sprawling compound ended its 74-year-old role as the site for the presidential office and residence in line with Yoon's pledge to relocate the top office.

With online reservations, visitors will be able to look around the compound, including the Nokjiwon garden and the state guest house of Yeongbin-gwan, from noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and then from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day after that, according to the officials of the Cheong Wa Dae relocation task force.

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Police to minimize public inconvenience during Yoon's commuting

SEOUL -- Police will focus on minimizing inconvenience to the people that could arise from providing security for incoming President Yoon Suk-yeol during his commute from his private home to the new presidential office, Seoul's chief police officer said Monday.

Yoon, who takes office Tuesday, will be the first president to work from what is now the defense ministry compound in Yongsan in western Seoul, as he decided to move the presidential office there to keep his campaign promise to return Cheong Wa Dae to the public.

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S. Korea launches preliminary feasibility study for Nuri rocket successor

SEOUL -- South Korea has launched a preliminary feasibility study for the successor to the Nuri rocket, the country's first homegrown space launch vehicle, with the goal of sending a lunar landing module to the moon in 2031, the science ministry said Monday.

The ministry said it plans to invest 1.93 trillion won (US$1.53 billion) into the project of a next-generation space launch vehicle from 2023 to 2031. It aims to send a lunar landing module to the moon using the envisioned space rocket in 2031 after testing the rocket's capacity.

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(LEAD) Seoul shares sink 1.27 pct on recession woes; Korean won hits over 2-yr low

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks fell to about a 17-month low Monday on concerns over a global economic slowdown amid the U.S. central bank's monetary tightening and the prolonged lockdowns of major Chinese cities. The local currency weakened the most against the U.S. dollar in more than two years.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 33.70 points, or 1.27 percent, to close at 2,610.81, extending losses for the fifth consecutive session. It is the lowest figure since November 30, when the KOSPI closed at 2,591.34.

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