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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 March 23, 2023

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

(LEAD) S. Korea to raise guard against market instability after Fed rate hike

SEOUL -- South Korea's chief economic policymaker warned Thursday of the possibility of further instability in the global financial market, such as a recent bank turmoil sparked by the failure of American lenders, amid the continued monetary tightening moves by the United States and major economies.

Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho made the assessment during an emergency meeting on the macroeconomic situation, which was also attended by Bank of Korea (BOK) Gov. Rhee Chang-yong and other officials.

(LEAD) S. Korea co-sponsors UNHRC draft resolution on N.K. human rights after 5-yr hiatus: source

SEOUL -- South Korea has co-sponsored a U.N. draft resolution on North Korea's human rights violations for the first time in five years, a diplomatic source said Thursday.

According to the source, Seoul participated as a co-sponsor in the draft resolution to be adopted at the 52nd regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which runs from Feb. 27 to April 4.

(LEAD) S. Korean president to host Summit for Democracy meeting on economic growth

WASHINGTON/SEOUL -- South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol will host a leader-level discussion on economic growth and shared prosperity during the Summit for Democracy next week, the U.S. State Department announced Wednesday.

The meeting will be one of five leader-level plenary sessions to be held virtually during the two-day summit.

DP denounces Lee's indictment as attempt to dilute criticism of summit with Japan

SEOUL -- The floor leader of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) on Thursday denounced the prosecution's indictment of party leader, Lee Jae-myung, as an attempt to dilute criticism of last week's "humiliating" summit with Japan.

Rep. Park Hong-keun made the remark a day after Lee was indicted over development corruption and bribery charges arising from his term as mayor of Seongnam, south of Seoul, from 2010-2018. Lee has denied any wrongdoing, denouncing the investigation as political oppression.

N. Korea fired 4 cruise missiles Wednesday: defense minister

SEOUL -- South Korea's Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup said Thursday that North Korea fired four cruise missiles the previous day, though a detailed analysis is still under way to confirm their specifics.

Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff has said it detected "multiple" missile launches from the North's eastern city of Hamhung on Wednesday morning.

PM defends decision to lower emissions reduction target for industry

BUSAN -- Prime Minister Han Duck-soo has defended the government's decision to revise down the greenhouse gas reduction target for the industrial sector, saying that the adjustment is not insufficient.

"I don't think that it is insufficient," Han replied when asked about views that the revised target for industry falls short of international standards.

Sandstorm from China forecast to push up fine dust levels in S. Korea

SEOUL -- A sandstorm that swept across Beijing and China's northern provinces is forecast to partially affect South Korea on Thursday, sending fine dust levels to "very bad" in parts of the country, a research institute said.

The severe yellow dust that blanketed China over the past two days is expected to pass north of South Korea, but part of it is expected to move southeast into the country Thursday afternoon, the National Institute of Environmental Research said.

State arms agency to sign KF-21 mass-production contract next year

SEOUL -- South Korea's state arms procurement agency is seeking to sign a contract next year to mass-produce the homegrown KF-21 Boramae fighter, its officials said Thursday, in what could be a key milestone for the jet acquisition project.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) briefed lawmakers during a session of the National Assembly's defense committee on the development plan, including its push to complete a "provisional" combat suitability test on the jet in May this year.

Half of S. Koreans see marriage, childbirth as not a must: survey

SEOUL -- Half of South Koreans viewed marriage as unessential and nearly 60 percent of those in their 10s and 20s said childbirth after marriage is not a must, a government report showed Thursday, illustrating the country's demographic crisis amid a record-low birthrate.

Only 50 percent of South Koreans aged 13 and older said marriage is a must. Of male respondents, 55.8 percent voiced support for marriage, but only 44.3 percent of female citizens did so, according to the report by Statistics Korea on the country's social indicators for 2022.

EV battery recycling looms larger amid supply chain woes: report

SEOUL -- South Korea will be able to source 20,000 tons of lithium hydroxide from domestically recycled electric vehicle (EV) batteries by 2045 as EV purchases will increase, an outlook that calls for strategic efforts to promote the emerging industry given supply chain instability, a report showed Thursday.

The projection is based on the estimate that the amount of recyclable used EV batteries in the country will reach 416,000 tons a year in 2045, growing from 18,000 tons in 2030, according to a report by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).

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