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Yonhap News Summary

Economy 13:48 May 17, 2022

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

(LEAD) Yoon names ex-Vice FM Cho as ambassador to U.S.
(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with details from para 2, photo)

SEOUL -- President Yoon Suk-yeol on Tuesday named Rep. Cho Tae-yong, a former vice foreign minister, as South Korea's new ambassador to the United States, the presidential office said.

As a career diplomat, Cho of the ruling People Power Party had also served as South Korea's chief envoy for the North Korean nuclear issue and a deputy chief of the presidential office of national security.

New COVID-19 cases around 35,000; gov't weighs further easing of virus curbs

SEOUL -- South Korea's new COVID-19 cases hit a little over 35,000 on Tuesday, the lowest Tuesday tally in more than three months, reflecting the slowing virus trend amid efforts to restore pre-pandemic normalcy.

The country reported 35,117 new COVID-19 infections, including 26 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 17,830,429, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

(LEAD) Top 500 firms' sales surpass 700 tln won in Q1
(ATTN: RECASTS paras 2, 5, 8 to correct figures)

SEOUL -- The combined first-quarter sales of major firms in South Korea surpassed the 700 trillion-won (US$545 billion) mark for the first time on strong performances by chips, electronics, petrochemicals and auto manufacturers, a corporate tracker said Tuesday.

The total top line of 344 out of South Korea's top 500 companies by sales came to 791.5 trillion won in the January-March period, up 19.6 percent from a year earlier, according to CEO Score.

Biden considers DMZ trip during upcoming visit to S. Korea: sources

SEOUL -- U.S. President Joe Biden may visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas during his trip here later this week, as the allies are in consultations on his specific itinerary, informed sources said Tuesday.

Biden is set to arrive in Seoul on Friday, the eve of his first summit with President Yoon Suk-yeol. The DMZ, the heavily fortified inter-Korean border, is among the key sites that Biden could visit during his three-day stay, according to the sources.

Gov't pushes to build new JCS building in new location by 2026: defense ministry

SEOUL -- The South Korean government seeks to build a new building for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) in a new location by 2026, the defense ministry confirmed Tuesday.

In a parliamentary policy briefing, the ministry made public the relocation plan, as the ministry's key offices have occupied parts of the current JCS building since the presidential office's relocation to what used to be the ministry's headquarters in Seoul's central district of Yongsan.

(LEAD) N. Korea reports 6 additional deaths amid COVID-19; military mobilized for drug supply
(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; ADDS more info throughout, photo)

SEOUL -- North Korea reported six additional deaths Tuesday amid a surge in suspected COVID-19 cases, as it deployed its military to supply medicine to pharmacies in Pyongyang.

According to the information of the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters, over 269,510 people showed symptoms of fever and six deaths were reported as of 6 p.m. Monday, raising the total number of fatalities to 56 amid the epidemic, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

(LEAD) U.S. warns against hiring N. Korean IT workers posing as non-North Korean
(ATTN: UPDATES with reports of statement from state department spokesperson in last 3 paras)

WASHINGTON -- North Korea is dispatching thousands of skilled IT workers overseas to seek employment while posing as U.S.-based or non-North Korean nationals, the U.S. Department of Treasury said Monday.

The revenue raised from such illicit employment may be funneled into North Korea's weapons of mass destruction programs, the department said in the advisory jointly issued by the state department and FBI.

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