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Yonhap News Summary

Economy 13:30 May 19, 2022

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

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N.K. gauges timing for nuclear test after completing preparations: Seoul spy agency

SEOUL -- North Korea has been gauging the timing to conduct what would be its seventh nuclear test after completing its preparations, South Korea's spy agency said Thursday.

The National Intelligence Service also said in a closed-door briefing to lawmakers that there are signs North Korea could launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) even though it is grappling with the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Supply chain resilience is key reason behind S. Korea's decision to join IPEF

SEOUL -- South Korea said Thursday it has decided to join the U.S.-led new economic initiative, as it could help diversify and stabilize the country's supply chains amid fast-changing global trade circumstances.

President Yoon Suk-yeol is likely to announce the country's intention to join the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) during his summit with U.S. President Joe Biden in Seoul on Saturday.

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(LEAD) N. Korea reports 1 additional death amid COVID-19 outbreak

SEOUL -- North Korea reported one additional death and over 260,000 new suspected COVID-19 cases Thursday, raising its total number of fever cases to nearly 2 million amid its battle with the virus outbreak.

According to the information of the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters, more than 262,270 people showed symptoms of fever and one death was reported over a 24-hour period until 6 p.m. Wednesday, increasing the total number of fatalities to 63, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

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New COVID-19 cases fall to 28,000s as omicron wave ebbs

SEOUL -- South Korea's new COVID-19 cases fell to around 28,000 on Thursday, continuing the modest decline as the omicron spread has been slowing for weeks.

The country added 28,130 new COVID-19 infections, including 15 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 17,889,849, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

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Official campaigning for local elections begins

SEOUL -- Official campaigning for local elections and parliamentary by-elections kicked off Thursday with the ruling and opposition parties looking to expand their presence from the start of President Yoon Suk-yeol's new government.

The 13-day campaign period will last until the eve of the June 1 elections.

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S. Korea to resume issuing short-term travel visas, e-visas next month

SEOUL -- South Korea will resume issuing short-term travel visas and e-visas starting June 1, officials said Thursday, more than two years after suspending all new applications due to the pandemic.

The justice ministry said the decision is aimed at bringing in more foreign tourists to boost domestic consumption and invigorate related industries after South Korea lifted nearly all COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.

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(3rd LD) N. Korean missile or nuclear test very possible during Biden's Asia trip: Sullivan

WASHINGTON -- North Korea is widely expected to stage a long-range or nuclear test before or even during President Joe Biden's trip to South Korea and Japan, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Wednesday.

He said the U.S. is fully prepared to make any necessary adjustments to U.S. defense posture to ensure the security of the U.S. and U.S allies.

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