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Yonhap News Summary

Politics 17:10 March 21, 2023

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

(LEAD) S. Korea fully restores bilateral military information-sharing pact with Japan

SEOUL -- South Korea on Tuesday fully restored its military intelligence-sharing pact with Tokyo, the foreign ministry said, as part of efforts to thaw long-frozen ties following a recent bilateral summit.

South Korea sent an official letter to Japan earlier in the day via diplomatic channels informing of its decision to fully restore the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) between the neighbors, the ministry said.

Opposition leader tables bill to officially recognize Oct. 25 as 'Dokdo Day'

SEOUL -- Lee Jae-myung, leader of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), proposed a bill designating "Dokdo Day" as a legally recognized anniversary to bolster South Korea's sovereignty over the easternmost islets that Japan has long laid claim to.

The revision to the Act on the Sustainable Use of Dokdo calls for giving legal recognition to Dokdo Day, which falls on Oct. 25, while requiring the maritime affairs minister to add plans to strengthen the country's sovereignty over Dokdo in a regular report on the use of the islets and its surrounding waters.

S. Korea, Israel to jointly invest US$10 mln in smart car tech development

SEOUL -- South Korea and Israel agreed Tuesday to jointly invest US$10 million in the development of key technologies for the smart mobility sector over the next three years, Seoul's industry ministry said.

The two nations signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that calls for the joint push for research and development programs in the smart mobility field, including autonomous driving, electric vehicles and shipbuilding, with the $10 million fund over the next three years, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Ex-Gyeonggi vice governor additionally charged with colluding in illegal money transfer to North Korea

SUWON, South Korea -- Lee Hwa-young, a former vice governor of Gyeonggi Province who was charged with bribery, was indicted again Tuesday for his alleged involvement in the illegal transfer of millions of dollars to North Korea by a local company.

Lee, a trusted ally of opposition leader Lee Jae-myung, was arrested in September for accepting bribes and illegal political funds from Ssangbangwool Group, an underwear maker. He was indicted the following month.

Main opposition threatens to open parliamentary investigation into Yoon-Kishida summit

SEOUL -- The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) will consider a parliamentary investigation into last week's summit between President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, its floor leader said, stepping up suspicions Yoon made secret concessions during the meeting.

The DP has slammed Thursday's summit as "humiliating diplomacy," denouncing the government's decision to compensate local victims of Japan's wartime forced labor on its own without asking Japan's government or companies for contributions.

(LEAD) Apple launches Apple Pay in S. Korea

SEOUL -- U.S. tech giant Apple Inc. on Tuesday launched its mobile payment service Apple Pay in South Korea.

"Apple Pay is available from today in South Korea," Duncan Olby, who oversees Apple Pay internationally, said in a press conference in Seoul. "Users can add their credit and debit cards on Wallet for their iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and Mac."

(LEAD) Samsung tries to overcome challenges with new energy-saving Bespoke lineup

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. on Tuesday unveiled more energy efficient and AI-powered high-end household appliances for this year, seeking to boost sales and take its standard for smart home life to another level.

The South Korean tech giant showcased the latest line of luxury home devices, Bespoke Life, which is an upgraded version of Bespoke Home, with better personalized and customizable appliances powered by the home automation SmartThings application.

(3rd LD) Exports down 17.4 pct during first 20 days of March

SEOUL -- South Korea's exports fell 17.4 percent on-year in the first 20 days of March, data showed Tuesday, amid the protracted downcycle in the global semiconductor industry.

The country's outbound shipments stood at US$30.9 billion in the March 1-20 period, compared with $37.4 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

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