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Yonhap News Summary

Politics 17:14 December 07, 2022

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

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(LEAD) Yoon says S. Korea must perfectly overwhelm N. Korea in conventional military strength

SEOUL -- President Yoon Suk-yeol said Wednesday that South Korea must "perfectly overwhelm" North Korea in conventional military strength even though the North may be armed with nuclear weapons, his office said.

Yoon made the remark while meeting with 18 new lieutenants general at the presidential office following a ceremony marking their promotions.

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DP set on railroading dismissal motion for interior minister over Itaewon tragedy

SEOUL -- The main opposition Democratic Party decided Wednesday to continue to push for a motion calling for the dismissal of Interior Minister Lee Sang-min over the bungled government response to the Itaewon crowd crush and seek his impeachment if President Yoon Suk-yeol refuses to sack him.

The DP introduced the dismissal motion last week, but failed to take the next step of reporting it to a plenary session as Speaker Kim Jin-pyo refused to call the National Assembly into a meeting while urging the rival parties to seek compromise on the issue.

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N. Korea should be clearly defined as 'enemy,' S. Korea's defense chief says

SEOUL -- South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup on Wednesday highlighted the need for the country's troops to "clearly" recognize the North Korean regime and its military as an "enemy," citing its continued missile provocations.

Lee made the remarks at a forum on the military's spiritual and mental force enhancement as his ministry is poised to revive the enemy description for the North's regime and military in its defense white paper due next month.

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Gov't likely to hold extraordinary Cabinet session to mull additional back-to-work order

SEOUL -- The government is preparing to hold an extraordinary Cabinet session to consider issuing an additional back-to-work order against striking truckers, an official said Wednesday.

The meeting will likely be held Thursday and be presided over by Prime Minister Han Duck-soo as the nationwide strike continues to disrupt supply chains.

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(LEAD) S. Korea's key policy rate likely to peak at 3.5 pct next year: S&P

SEOUL -- South Korea's central bank will continue raising its key policy rate, possibly peaking at 3.5 percent in 2023, an economist at global credit appraiser S&P Global Rating said Wednesday.

The Bank of Korea (BOK) has hiked the rate by a combined 2.75 percentage points since August last year to tame inflation. The rate currently stands at 3.25 percent.

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(LEAD) S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases above 70,000 for 2nd day; gov't to review indoor mask mandate

SEOUL -- South Korea's new COVID-19 cases stayed above 70,000 for the second consecutive day Wednesday amid lingering concerns of a winter surge in cases.

The country reported 74,714 new COVID-19 infections, including 60 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 27,483,568, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

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Kakao vows to spend big for enhanced backup system to prevent service disruption

SEOUL -- Kakao Corp., the operator of South Korea's largest messenger app KakaoTalk, said Wednesday that it will increase investment to set up multiple backup storage systems on all its servers in a bid to prevent a service outage stemming from a data center disaster.

Due to a fire on Oct. 15 at a building that houses Kakao's data center in Pangyo, just south of Seoul, nearly all online services provided by Kakao, ranging from KakaoTalk to banking service Kakao Bank and traffic app Kakao T, were disrupted for about five days.

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Police to again seek arrest warrant for ex-Yongsan police chief in Itaewon crush probe

SEOUL -- Police said Wednesday they plan to again seek arrest warrants for two senior officers as part of their investigation into the bungled response to the deadly crowd crush in Seoul's Itaewon neighborhood.

Earlier, a court denied a special investigation team's request for the arrests of Lee Im-jae, former head of the Yongsan Police Station covering the Itaewon district, and Song Byung-joo, former emergency monitoring officer of the station.

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(LEAD) New Marine chief takes office, vows to build 'national strategic' force

SEOUL -- South Korea's New Marine Corps Commandant Lt. Gen. Kim Gye-hwan took office Wednesday, highlighting his resolve to make the armed service a "national strategic" force capable of countering threats from "all directions."

His inauguration ceremony took place at the Marine Corps headquarters in Hwaseong, some 40 kilometers south of Seoul. Gen. Paul LaCamera, commander of the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lee Jong-ho and other officials attended the event.

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(World Cup) S. Korean players return home after knockout appearance in Qatar

INCHEON -- After competing in the knockout stage at a FIFA World Cup for the first time in a dozen years, the South Korean men's national football team returned home on Wednesday.

Captain Son Heung-min and 22 other players from the 26-man squad, along with the coaching staff, arrived at Incheon International Airport, just west of Seoul, early Wednesday evening. At the ongoing World Cup in Qatar, the Taegeuk Warriors advanced to the round of 16 but suffered a 4-1 loss to world No. 1 Brazil on Monday night in Doha, or early Tuesday in South Korea.
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