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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:04 December 29, 2022

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

(2nd LD) At least 5 killed, 29 injured in expressway tunnel fire

GWACHEON -- At least five people were killed and 29 others injured, three of them seriously, Thursday in a noise-barrier tunnel fire along an expressway in Gwacheon, just south of Seoul, fire authorities said.

The blaze was reported to have occurred at 1:49 p.m. inside the noise tunnel in Gwacheon along the Second Gyeongin Expressway that connects the western port city of Incheon to Seongnam City, the authorities said.

Seoul restaurant denies Chinese police station allegations

SEOUL -- A Chinese restaurant in southern Seoul denied allegations of its suspected operation as a secret Chinese police station in a news conference Thursday.

A restaurant official, who introduced himself as its representative, said that the restaurant was a normal place of business until the secret police speculation surfaced.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks close at 2-month low on China woes, Wall Street tech decline

SEOUL -- Seoul stocks closed at a two-month low Thursday, the last trading day of the year, amid concerns that China's reopening could lead to a global economic slowdown. The Korean won advanced for a fourth consecutive session against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 44.05 points, or 1.93 percent, to close at 2,236.4 points.

Military denies N. Korean drones' alleged entry into no-fly zone near presidential office in Seoul

SEOUL -- The South Korean military on Thursday denied an opposition lawmaker's claim that a North Korean drone might have entered a no-fly zone set for security around the office of President Yoon Suk Yeol in Seoul during its infiltration earlier this week.

Rep. Kim Byung-joo of the main opposition Democratic Party raised the possibility in a CBS radio interview that the drone might have passed through the "P-73" zone -- an area within 3.7 kilometers of the presidential office in Seoul's central district of Yongsan.

Ex-spy chief, ex-defense minister indicted in fisheries official's death

SEOUL -- Prosecutors on Thursday indicted former National Intelligence Service Director Park Jie-won and former Defense Minister Suh Wook without detention on charges connected to the 2020 death of a fisheries official at the hands of North Korea.

The top officials under the previous Moon Jae-in administration have been accused of involvement in the Moon government's groundless conclusion that the fisheries official was killed while attempting to defect to the North.

Millennium Hilton Seoul to permanently close Saturday

SEOUL -- The Millennium Hilton Seoul hotel will permanently close Saturday 40 years after the hotel opened in South Korea.

The hotel chain posted a notice on its official website, saying it will close down all operations by the last day of 2022, according to industry sources Thursday.

PM says he is willing to meet Itaewon tragedy victims' bereaved families

SEOUL -- Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said Thursday he is willing to meet the bereaved family members of victims of the deadly crowd crush in Seoul's Itaewon neighborhood, as he brushed off criticism that the government has demonstrated a lack of communication with them.

"If there is a request, I have to meet and I will meet," Han told reporters.

Kakao to compensate small businesses in cash for massive service disruption

SEOUL -- Kakao Corp., the operator of South Korea's most popular mobile messenger, KakaoTalk, said Thursday it will give cash compensation to all small business owners for damage caused by the massive service disruption stemming from a fire at its data center.

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

(LEAD) S. Korea stages drills to counter N. Korean drone threats

SEOUL -- The South Korean military conducted drills Thursday to strengthen its defense against potential drone-based provocations by North Korea, Seoul officials said, as it has vowed to adopt an "aggressive" approach to counter the renewed security challenge.

The drills were arranged after the military failed to shoot down five North Korean drones that violated the South's air space on Monday, in an infiltration that raised questions over its readiness posture.


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