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Yonhap News Summary

Economy 13:20 May 11, 2022

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

(LEAD) Yoon makes first commute to work in motorcade

SEOUL -- President Yoon Suk-yeol made his first commute to work by motorcade Wednesday, an unusual spectacle that followed his relocation of the presidential office.

Yoon left his private home in southern Seoul at 8:21 a.m. and arrived at his office in the central district of Yongsan at 8:34 a.m.

Yoon says security situation is tough amid talk of possible N.K. nuclear test

SEOUL -- President Yoon Suk-yeol said Wednesday security conditions are tough amid talk of a possible North Korean nuclear test and called for a close monitoring of the situation.

Yoon made the remark during his first meeting with his senior secretaries after taking office the previous day.

New Defense Minister Lee takes office, warns of 'stern' response to possible N.K. provocations

SEOUL -- New South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup took office Wednesday, vowing to "sternly" respond to North Korea's possible provocations and cement the alliance with the United States.

In his inauguration speech, Lee, a retired three-star Army general, stressed his commitment to ensuring a "robust" defense as he pointed to the "very grave" security context marked by the North's evolving nuclear and missile threats and an intensifying Sino-U.S. rivalry.

(2nd LD) Job growth extended for 14th month in April amid economic recovery

SEOUL -- South Korea reported job additions for the 14th consecutive month in April as economic recovery momentum has been extended despite heightened global uncertainty, data showed Wednesday.

The number of employed people came to 28.08 million last month, up 865,000 from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

(LEAD) S. Korea's exports up 28.7 pct in first 10 days of May

SEOUL -- South Korea's exports rose 28.7 percent in the first 10 days of May from a year earlier on the back of demand for chips and petroleum products, but the trade deficit widened over high global energy prices, customs data showed Wednesday.

The country's outbound shipments stood at US$16.1 billion in the May 1-10 period, compared with $12.5 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

(LEAD) Gov't to submit extra budget bill to National Assembly this week: finance minister

SEOUL -- The government has drawn up an extra budget bill aimed at compensating pandemic-hit small merchants and will submit it to the National Assembly later this week, Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said Wednesday.

Choo made the remarks at the first consultative meeting between the ruling People Power Party (PPP) and the government, a day after President Yoon Suk-yeol took office.

(LEAD) S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases above 40,000 for 2nd day

SEOUL -- South Korea's new COVID-19 cases stayed above 40,000 for the second straight day Wednesday amid the government's effort to move the country back to pre-pandemic normalcy.

The country added 43,925 new COVID-19 infections, including 37 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 17,658,794, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

Seoul shares nearly flat late Wed. morning amid inflation, recession woes

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks traded nearly flat late Wednesday morning, as investors remain wary of potential impacts of high inflation and the U.S. central bank's rate hikes on the global economic growth.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) had added 0.01 percent, or 0.33 point, to 2,596.89 as of 11:20 a.m.

(LEAD) N. Korea likely to continue nuclear, missile development in 2022: US military

WASHINGTON -- North Korea is expected to continue advancing its nuclear and missile capabilities this year to increase its leverage in any potential negotiations with the United States, the top U.S. military intelligence official said Tuesday.

The remarks by Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, come amid speculation that Pyongyang may conduct a nuclear test as early as this month.

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