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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 May 22, 2023

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

(LEAD) S. Korea toughens quarantine inspections on U.S. beef following mad cow case

SEOUL -- South Korea on Monday began strengthening quarantine checks on U.S. beef imports following a report of a mad cow disease case, the agriculture ministry said.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said it increased sampling inspections carried out on American beef from the previous 3 percent to 10 percent, after the United States announced an atypical case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, in a beef cow at a plant in South Carolina last week.

S. Korea's trade balance expected to improve after May: finance minister

SEOUL -- South Korea's finance minister said Monday the country's trade balance could improve after May and he expects a gradual recovery of tax revenue down the road as well.

"After May, South Korea's trade deficit will decrease, and we can anticipate a completely different performance in the fourth quarter," Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho told lawmakers during a parliamentary session.

Seoul shares up late Mon. morning on hope for U.S. debt ceiling deal

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks traded markedly higher late Monday morning, led by big-cap tech shares, amid optimism for a deal over the United State's debt ceiling to avoid a default.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index had added 20.78 points, or 0.82 percent, to 2,558.57 as of 11:20 a.m.

Yoon's approval rating up for 4th consecutive week: poll

SEOUL -- President Yoon Suk Yeol's approval rating rose for the fourth consecutive week, a poll showed Monday, amid positive feedback on his handling of diplomatic and security issues.

This marks the first time since taking office in May 2022 that Yoon's approval rating has shown an upward trend for four weeks in a row.

S. Korea, U.S. hold consultations on N. Korean WMD, human rights

SEOUL -- Senior diplomats of South Korea and the United States held consultations on North Korea's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) development and the country's human rights conditions, Seoul's foreign ministry said Monday.

Chun Young-hee, head of the ministry's Korean Peninsula Peace Regime Bureau, met with Jung Pak, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, last Friday in Washington and exchanged views on developments surrounding the North, and Seoul-Washington's cooperation in dealing with Pyongyang.

Biz lobby calls for S. Korea's inclusion on MSCI watchlist for developed markets

SEOUL -- A major South Korean business lobby said Monday it will send a letter to Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) Inc. calling for South Korea's addition to its candidate list for developed market status, a month ahead of the MSCI's announcement on its annual market review.

The letter, signed by Kim Byong-joon, acting chief of the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), is scheduled to be sent later in the day to Henry Fernandez, chairman and chief executive of the MSCI, the FKI said.

S. Korean inspection team set to kick off on-site inspection of Fukushima nuclear plant

TOKYO -- A team of South Korean experts began its official activities to inspect the planned release of radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant Monday, amid lingering concerns about the safety of the water.

The Korean delegation is scheduled to hold a meeting later in the day with Japanese officials from the Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the wrecked power plant, as well as the industry ministry and the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), the country's top nuclear regulator.

S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases below 7,000

SEOUL -- South Korea's new COVID-19 cases fell below 7,000 on Monday, posting an on-week decline, with the post-pandemic recovery taking hold as the country has almost removed all virus restrictions.

The country reported 6,798 new infection cases, including 22 imported cases, bringing the total caseload to 31,548,083, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

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