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Yonhap News Summary

National 17:00 May 20, 2022

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

(2nd LD) Biden set to arrive in S. Korea for first summit with Yoon

SEOUL -- U.S. President Joe Biden is set to arrive in South Korea on Friday for his first summit with President Yoon Suk-yeol on a range of issues, including North Korea's nuclear program and supply chain risks.

Biden's visit, his first since taking office, comes as both Seoul and Washington believe a North Korean nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile test is imminent and could happen while he is in South Korea or Japan, the second leg of his tour.

(2nd LD) Yoon, Biden to visit key Air Force operations center

SEOUL -- South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, plan to jointly visit a key Air Force operations center south of Seoul during Biden's visit here, Yoon's office said Friday.

Yoon and Biden are set to visit the Korean Air and Space Operations Center (KAOC) located at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of the capital, on Sunday, the last day of Biden's three-day visit.

S. Korea, U.S. agree to launch 'economic security dialogue'

SEOUL -- South Korea and the United States agreed Friday to launch a dialogue channel between their presidential offices to coordinate policy on cutting-edge technologies and supply chains, the South's presidential office said.

The agreement was reached during a phone call between Wang Yun-jong, presidential secretary for economic security, and Tarun Chhabra, senior director for technology and national security on the White House National Security Council, hours ahead of U.S. President Joe Biden's visit to Seoul.

Hyundai chief expected to drum up support for UAM, robotics in Biden meeting

SEOUL -- Chung Eui-sun, the chief of South Korea's auto giant Hyundai Motor Group, is expected to ask for Washington's support for the group's push in burgeoning sectors that include urban air mobility (UAM) and robotics in a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in Seoul this weekend, according to observers Friday.

Biden is scheduled to arrive in South Korea later in the day for a three-day visit in the first leg of his first trip to Asia as president.

(2nd LD) S-Oil CEO apologizes over Ulsan refinery blast

ULSAN/SEOUL -- The head of S-Oil Corp. apologized Friday over the explosion at the company's refinery unit in the country's southwest that left one person killed and nine others injured, vowing all-out efforts in handling the aftermath.

Hussain A. Al-Qahtani, CEO of S-Oil, made the remarks hours after the blast occurred at its alkylation processing line in Ulsan, about 415 kilometers southwest of Seoul. One subcontractor died, and nine others sustained injuries, mostly severe or minor burns.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks sharply rebound on dip-buying, ahead of Biden visit

SEOUL -- South Korean shares advanced Friday as investors scooped up oversold stocks and pinned hopes for expanded business ties between South Korea and the United States. The Korean won steeply rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 46.95 points, or 1.81 percent, to close at 2,639.29 points. After a volatile week from high inflation, the key stock index gained 1.35 percent from a week ago.

(LEAD) Prosecutors looking into whether to bring Ponzi fraud charges against Terraform CEO Kwon

SEOUL -- Prosecutors are looking into whether to bring Ponzi fraud charges against CEO Do Kwon of Terraform Labs, sources said Friday, a day after investors sued him over the shocking crash of the firm's two cryptocurrencies.

In a crash starting last week, Terraform's two main tokens, TerraUSD and sister coin Luna, had registered more than 99.99 percent falls from their highs, wiping out more than US$38 billion of investors' money in a week, according to data by CoinMarketCap.

(Yonhap Interview) Crypto investors lose life savings due to Terraform Lab's 'deceitful' algorithm: lawyer

SEOUL -- A countless number of investors in two main tokens of Terraform Labs have lost their life savings due to a deceitful algorithm created by Do Kwon, the embattled cryptocurrency firm's co-founder and CEO, a lawyer representing the investors claimed Friday.

In an unprecedented black swan event, TerraUSD, a so-called stablecoin that is meant to maintain a US$1 peg, and its digital coin counterpart, Luna, had been trading in the 10 cent-range and at nearly zero, respectively, registering more than 99.99-percent falls from their highs and wiping out billions of investors' money globally.

70 pct of S. Koreans support giving medical aid to pandemic-hit N. Korea: poll

SEOUL -- More than seven out of 10 South Koreans are in favor of giving medical assistance to North Korea struggling with a massive COVID-19 outbreak, a poll showed Friday.

In a nationwide poll of 1,000 people aged 18 or above conducted by Gallup Korea from Tuesday to Thursday, 72 percent said the government should provide medical support to the North, while only 22 percent opposed the idea.

Ministry looking into reported arrest of N.K. defectors in China

SEOUL -- South Korea is trying to confirm media reports that a series of North Koreans were recently arrested in China after having fled their impoverished country, the unification ministry said Friday.

Cha Duck-chul, the ministry's deputy spokesperson made the remarks, citing a local law calling for diplomatic efforts to protect and support North Korean refugees based overseas.

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