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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:37 May 13, 2022

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

(LEAD) S. Korea, U.S. express serious concern over N.K. missile launch

SEOUL/WASHINGTON -- The national security advisers of South Korea and the United States spoke by phone after North Korea's latest missile test and expressed "serious concern" over the regime's ongoing provocations, the South's presidential office said Friday.

Kim Sung-han, head of the presidential National Security Office, and U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan held the phone call late Thursday (Seoul time) after the North fired three short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea in its first show of force since President Yoon Suk-yeol's inauguration this week.

White House highlights possible N. Korean nuclear test this month

WASHINGTON -- North Korea may be ready to conduct a nuclear test before the end of the month, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.

Her remarks come less than a week after a state department spokesperson hinted at a possible resumption of nuclear tests by North Korea in the near future.

(2nd LD) N. Korea reports 6 COVID-19 deaths amid 'explosive' spread of fever

SEOUL -- North Korea said Friday six people have died from COVID-19 and symptoms of fever were newly reported among more than 18,000 people nationwide the previous day, as leader Kim Jong-un formally blamed loopholes in the country's virus control and prevention system.

"On May 12 alone, some 18,000 persons with fever occurred nationwide and as of now up to 187,800 people are being isolated and treated," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in its English-language report.

U.S. supports efforts to contain COVID-19, vaccinate people in N. Korea: State Dept.

WASHINGTON -- The United States strongly supports providing COVID-19 vaccines to North Korea, a State Department spokesperson said Thursday, urging the impoverished country to work with the international community to vaccinate its people.

The remarks come shortly after North Korea said some 18,000 people with fever were identified on Thursday (Seoul time) alone. It also said six people died on the day, with one of them testing positive for the omicron variant of the new coronavirus.

Seoul Bankruptcy Court selects KG Group as designated buyer of embattled SsangYong Motor

SEOUL -- The Seoul Bankruptcy Court on Friday selected a consortium led by chemical-to-steel conglomerate KG Group as the designated buyer of the debt-ridden automaker SsangYong Motor Co.

The decision approves the consortium between KG and homegrown private equity (PE) firm Pavilion PE as the new candidate to take over the automaker after a previous sales deal with local electric vehicle maker Edison Motors Co. fell apart.

S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases below 40,000s for 2nd day

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

The country added 32,451 new COVID-19 infections, including 15 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 17,727,086, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

(LEAD) Ukraine war, supply snarls feared to dent investment, exports: gov't

SEOUL -- The war between Russia and Ukraine, and extended global supply disruptions are feared to sap South Korea's corporate investment and exports, and add upward pressure on inflation, the finance ministry said Friday.

The South Korean economy faces heightened external uncertainty, as global economic downside risks have heightened amid major central banks' monetary tightening and China's COVID-19 lockdowns of major cities, the ministry said in its monthly economic assessment report, called the Green Book.

Yoon names new chief nuclear envoy

SEOUL -- President Yoon Suk-yeol on Friday named Ambassador to Britain Kim Gunn as his first chief negotiator for the North Korean nuclear issue while tapping 20 other vice minister-level officials.

Kim, who also worked as deputy foreign minister before becoming the top envoy to Britain last year, will serve as Seoul's point man on the North Korean nuclear issue as special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs.

Gov't to significantly increase international flights to meet travel demand

SEOUL -- The government will add an additional 230 international flights by next month to meet growing demand for travel in the wake of an easing of COVID-19 restrictions, Interior Minister Lee Sang-min said Friday.

The addition will raise the number of weekly international flights from 532 in May to 762 in June.

Samsung holds first-ever 6G forum to discuss next-gen communications tech

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. on Friday held its first 6G forum with experts from academia and industry to discuss the future of communications technologies, in a bid to lead 6G research and development and standardization.

At the forum, titled "The Next Hyper-Connected Experience for All," global industry experts had presentations and discussions on the topics of 6G air interface and AI-based intelligent networks for 6G.

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