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Yonhap News Summary

National 17:00 May 19, 2023

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

(Yonhap Interview) Germany welcomes diplomatic thaw between S. Korea, Japan: Scholz

BERLIN -- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Friday his government clearly welcomed an approach by South Korea and Japan to rapidly thaw long-strained bilateral ties, emphasizing the need for close cooperation with Seoul and Tokyo over geopolitical tensions in the Indo-Pacific region.

In an exclusive written interview with Yonhap News Agency ahead of his visit to South Korea for summit talks with President Yoon Suk Yeol, Scholz said such initiatives to mend ties between Seoul and Tokyo required "political courage and broader perspective."

(2nd LD) Yoon arrives in Japan for G-7 summit, meetings with Biden, Kishida

HIROSHIMA, Japan -- President Yoon Suk Yeol arrived in Hiroshima on Friday for a Group of Seven (G-7) summit and other meetings on the sidelines, including one with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and another with Kishida and U.S. President Joe Biden.

The three-day visit comes amid a flurry of diplomacy as Yoon pushes to rebuild Seoul's relationships with Washington and Tokyo, and strengthen ties with like-minded nations that share the universal values of freedom, human rights and democracy.

N. Korean family decided to cross border amid tightened COVID-19 control: spy agency

SEOUL -- A group of North Koreans who crossed the de facto inter-Korean sea border aboard a fishing boat earlier this month fled the North to escape Pyongyang's rigid COVID-19 restrictions, they were quoted as saying by Seoul's spy agency Friday.

Military authorities found the group of nearly 10 North Koreans, presumed to be a family, on a ship approaching the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea at night on May 6. The government has since been questioning them to verify whether they have an intention to defect to South Korea.

PPP lawmakers visit Wemade for investigation into cryptocurrency scandal

SEOUL -- Lawmakers from the ruling People Power Party (PPP) visited the office of Wemade, the issuer of Wemix cryptocurrency, Friday as part of an investigation into suspicions surrounding now-independent lawmaker Kim Nam-kuk's dubious cryptocurrency trading.

A special investigation team from the PPP, including Reps. Kim Sung-won, Yun Chang-hyun, Park Hyeung-soo and Choi Hyung-du, as well as a group of outside experts, met with Wemade Co.'s CEO Chang Hyun-guk at the company's headquarters for clues into suspicions surrounding Kim's coin trading.

Moody's keeps 'Aa2' rating on S. Korea with stable outlook

SEOUL -- Global credit appraiser Moody's Investors Service said Friday it has affirmed its credit rating on South Korea "Aa2," with a stable outlook.

Moody's has been maintaining South Korea's sovereign credit rating at "Aa2," the third-highest level on the company's table, since December 2015.

(LEAD) Seoul shares up for 5th day amid eased U.S. default woes

SEOUL -- Seoul shares ended higher Friday, extending gains to a fifth day, as optimism the U.S. will avoid default buoyed investor sentiment. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 22.39 points, or 0.89 percent, to 2,537.79. The main index has risen 2.5 percent this week.

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