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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 January 04, 2023

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

Yoon says S. Korea should consider suspending 2018 tension reduction deal

SEOUL -- President Yoon Suk Yeol ordered aides to consider suspending a 2018 inter-Korean military tension reduction agreement if North Korea violates the South's territory again, an official said Wednesday.

Yoon's remark came after a North Korean drone incursion into South Korean airspace last week.

Parliamentary probe committee to hold 1st hearing on Itaewon tragedy

SEOUL -- The special committee on the parliamentary investigation into the Itaewon crowd crush will hold its first hearing Wednesday to question key police officials.

The committee summoned National Police Agency Commissioner General Yoon Hee-keun, Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency chief Kim Kwang-ho, former Yongsan Police Station chief Lee Im-jae, Yongsan Fire Station chief Choi Seong-beom and others as witnesses for the first hearing.

U.S. fully committed to defending S. Korea against N. Korean hostility: White House

WASHINGTON -- The United States remains fully committed to defending South Korea against any hostility, including a nuclear attack by North Korea, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.

She said the allies are also working to further improve their joint readiness.

(News Focus) Home market rout in S. Korea deepens amid higher rates, economic slowdown

SEOUL -- Home prices in South Korea are cooling at a jaw-dropping clip amid soaring borrowing costs and an economic slowdown, portending that indebted home owners may face the toughest-ever challenge this year and Asia's fourth-largest economy may suffer a decline in private spending.

The country's apartment prices nationwide fell 0.76 percent during the last week of December from a week ago, the steepest weekly fall since May 2012, when related data began to be compiled, according to the Korea Real Estate Board, as sharply spiking borrowing costs sapped demand for homes.

(LEAD) S. Korea to spend at least 60 pct of budget in H1 amid economic fears

SEOUL -- South Korea's finance ministry said Wednesday it aims to spend at least 60 percent of the annual budget in the first half of 2023 amid the slowdown in exports and employment.

"Of the expenditure plan of 638.7 trillion won (US$500 billion), we will seek to spend at least 60 percent, or 383.2 trillion won, in the first half," the Ministry of Economy and Finance said in a statement.

Suspect in murders of taxi driver, ex-girlfriend says 'I am sorry'

GOYANG -- A 31-year-old man accused of killing a taxi driver and a live-in girlfriend said Wednesday he is sorry for the murders as he was sent to the prosecution for further investigation and potential indictment.

Lee Ki-young, 31, allegedly killed the taxi driver in his 60s on Dec. 20 and hid the victim's body in a closet after luring him into his house on the pretext of paying compensation money for a collision he caused under the influence of alcohol.

S. Korea's COVID-19 cases fall below 80,000 amid resurgence woes

SEOUL -- South Korea's new COVID-19 cases fell below 80,000 on Wednesday amid lingering concerns over a wintertime surge, and the government has taken steps to tighten entry rules to prevent the virus inflow from China and other regions.

The country confirmed 78,575 new coronavirus infections, including 172 from overseas, bringing the total to 29,299,166, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

S. Korea's content industry exports hit all-time high in 2021

SEOUL -- South Korea's exports of cultural content hit an all-time high of US$12.4 billion for the country in 2021, boosted by the global boom of Korean pop culture, a government report showed Wednesday.

According to a 2021 research study on the cultural content industry released by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the industry's exports increased 4.4 percent to $12.45 billion in 2021 from $11.92 billion in 2020.

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